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Equipment breakdown impacts patients

An equipment failure at Vernon Jubilee Hospital meant some patients were whisked off to Salmon Arm and Kelowna while others with less urgent ailments were told to come back another day.
January 24, 2014 - 1:10 PM

VERNON - An equipment failure at Vernon Jubilee Hospital earlier this week meant some patients were whisked off to Salmon Arm and Kelowna while others with less urgent ailments were told to come back another day.

Vernon Jubilee’s only Computed Tomography (CT) scanner stopped working Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. and stayed that way for a day and a half while new parts were shipped from Toronto.

Hospital administrator Nancy Serwo says the machine is used on a daily basis as a diagnostic tool whenever someone has been in a car accident or experienced other trauma. Unlike a standard X-ray, the scanner can retrieve detailed images from within muscles and organs.

The scanner was back online by 3 p.m. Wednesday, but in the meantime, the hospital had to send people elsewhere for treatment, which isn’t ideal.

“It’s better if we have (the scan) done here, but we do have contingency plans in the event any of our equipment goes down,” Serwo says. “We send urgent cases to Kelowna and anything that isn’t urgent we book for another time.”

The CT scanner has been at the hospital since 2008 and Serwo isn’t all that surprised it broke down.

“When equipment is well used it does occasionally need repair,” she says.

Despite the high level of wear and tear on the scanner, Serwo says it doesn’t make sense to invest in a second one, even if just for backup.

“The data and wait lists don’t really support a second CT scanner,” Serwo says. “I think that’s so rare (to have a break down)... it’s an extremely expensive piece of equipment to have one as backup.”

The scanner is worth around $2 million, and there are other items on the hospital’s wish list.

“With any piece of equipment, we have to weigh all the demands as to what need is most urgent.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca, call 250-309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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