MHC considers adding diagnostic CT scanner

MANITOULIN—Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) is taking an exploratory first step in determining the feasibility of bringing a computed tomography (CT) scanner to Manitoulin Island.

At the MHC board meeting on January 24, 2019, President Lynn Foster noted in her report that the professional staff had placed a formal request through the medical advisory committee to investigate if there might be a business case for providing CT services on Manitoulin Island.

“Management has been directed by physicians through the medical advisory committee to put together a business case, to see if it could be feasible for Manitoulin. Tim (Vine, CFO of MHC) and I are hoping to work and have something for the March meeting,” Ms. Foster said.

In Mr. Vine’s report, he stated other hospitals have already begun to explore CT scanning and that they will be a valuable resource.

“With the new regional CFO group as a resource and some other small hospitals in the North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) already being on the road to a CT scanner, advantage is being taken of opportunities to leverage knowledge and experience,” he wrote.

Ms. Foster stressed that this concept is in its early stages and there is a chance it may turn out to be a poor fit for Manitoulin.

“We will have to have a discussion with the board regarding their priorities,” she said. “We have to ask, ‘should we focus our funding on a CT scanner or on an expansion/renovation of the Mindemoya emergency department?’”

CT scanners are important in the medical field because they show a three-dimensional view of a person’s body and especially the brain, making them able to gather more detailed information than a standard x-ray. In stroke victims especially, CT scans can be used to determine whether a stroke is caused by internal bleeding or a blood clot. If caused by a clot, doctors can administer so-called clot-busting drugs to save stroke victims. However, this medication must be given within 4.5 hours in order to be effective. Having CT services closer than Sudbury would greatly increase a stroke victim’s chance of survival.