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Vernon hospital doubles diagnoses with 2nd CT scanner

2 new machines and expanded space brings timely healthcare to residents

Installation of two new CT machines and expanded, purpose-built space brings faster patient care to Vernon Jubilee Hospital (VJH) patients.

After an aging CT scanner was replaced with a top-of-the line new machine in 2022, another advanced CT scanner, a new patient waiting area, a control room next to the existing one, and new offices for radiology staff have been opened.

“Improving access to life-saving medical imaging has been a top priority for the foundation in our partnership with (Interior Health) in recent years,” said VJH Foundation executive director Kate McBrearty. “Population growth and increasing demand for CT scans had pushed our old machine to its limits and CT expansion was identified as an area of crucial need.”

No one knows better than Leanne Ramsey just how meaningful access to a CT scan can be. The young mom and mental health worker has lived through three cancer diagnoses in three years, needing 15 CT scans through her journey back to health. She has been a vocal champion of the expansion project since its launch.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the early diagnoses that I received through CT scans,” said Ramsey. “Just think how many more people now have access to life-saving treatment thanks to this important initiative.”

Having two scanners will enhance response times for emergency and trauma patients.

“It’s a testament to the remarkable generosity of our donors and our wonderful community that we were able to raise the $6.3 million needed in record time,” said McBrearty.

A $1 million anonymous gift was the spark for the Foundation to take on this project. The campaign went public during the annual Light a Bulb appeal in 2022. The outpouring of generosity enabled the foundation to reach their goal months ahead of schedule.

“People living in Vernon and the surrounding areas will have increased access to crucial and timely diagnosis with this additional CT scanner,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Our government is expanding team-based health care, reducing wait times for patients, and increasing state-of-the-art care for those who need it most across the province. We deeply appreciate the generosity and dedication of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation and thank them for all they do to strengthen health care.”

A CT scanner is a medical imaging device that uses X-rays and advanced computer processing to produce detailed cross-sectional images of the body’s internal structures.

“This is technology that can help healthcare providers diagnose and plan treatments for patients,” said Andrew Hughes, IH executive director of clinical programs, laboratory, medical imaging and pharmacy. “Embracing innovation and replacing aging equipment are important priorities to maintain a high standard of care.”

Newer CT scanner technology, like the machines acquired by VJH, produce better, sharper images with faster scan times, and enable medical teams to see inside the body without operating.

“This will help to reduce wait times and will help with quicker diagnoses for better health outcomes,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. Our government is dedicated to continuing to grow capacity in our health care system so people can access the care they need close to home.”

This means more patients at VJH will have access to life-saving treatment. Medical teams will also have greater ability to perform non-invasive procedures that reduce pressure on operating rooms and decrease patient recovery times.

In 2023, VJH conducted a total of 26,850 CT scans, averaging approximately 2,237 scans per month.

“The CT expansion is a huge investment in patient care, but it’s also a significant investment in our staff,” said Dr. Adam Weathermon, former department head of Imaging at VJH and VJH Foundation campaign cabinet member. “As physicians and medical staff, we all want to provide the best possible care. Having access to this innovative, life-saving technology in a bright, open welcoming space means we can do a better job of caring for our patients.”

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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