Burns Lake and area patients are to benefit from CT scan services coming to the Bulkley Valley District Hospital (BVDH) in Smithers.
The project has been approved in Northern Health’s 2018/2019 capital cycle and Hikisch said hopefully it will be implemented in late 2018. There are planning sessions starting this week to get the ball rolling.
CT scans are special X-ray tests that produce cross-sectional images of the body using X-rays and a computer.
There is an estimated 3,000 CT procedures a year that are done for patients from the Smither hospital’s catchment area which runs from Burns Lake to Hazelton.
Most patients are sent to Terrace and Prince George for the service.
“It will help with decision making for local medical staff with the patient. A simple example is someone on a c-spine, can we clear that c-spine? A CT may allow that decision to be made in Smithers before any transfer of a patient,” said Cormac Hikisch from the Northern Health Authority.
“Also, stroke protocol in the emergency room: there are certain treatment plans that can be made relatively quickly with an available CT scan. As well, just the outpatient opportunities: many people require a CT during their health care journey and have had to travel and wait for an appointment.”
The project comes with a $2.9-million price tag, which includes equipment and renovations required to install it at BVDH.
The Bulkley Valley Health Care and Hospital Foundation recently met their fundraising goal of $1.75 million to help bring the service to Smithers. This amount includes the donation from Frtiz Pfeiffer of $1.6 million.
Other sponsors include the Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament, Seabridge Gold, Bulkley Valley Kinsmen and other individuals and businesses.
As well, an upcoming BV Kinsmen truck demolition derby, comedy night and dance on May 5 will raise funds for it.
The remainder of the money will come through the regional hospital district via property taxes and the Ministry of Health.
The chairman of the Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament is also excited with the news.
The biennial event that raises money for the Bulkley Valley Health Care and Hospital Foundation brought in $90,000 last year for the CT scanner project.
Hikisch added the CT services are just one of the exciting things happening for diagnostic imaging at the Smithers hospital.