The Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre has a piece of equipment unique to Nova Scotia hospitals, and it’s all thanks to the generosity of supporters of the Cumberland Health Care Foundation and its annual Christmas Light the Way fundraiser.
The hospital recently took delivery of a C-Arm for its diagnostic imaging department. What makes it unique is its wireless capabilities.
“This machine has fluoroscopic capabilities, which is its primary use, and it also takes still images,” diagnostic imaging and cardiac investigation unit manager John Wright said. “This unit is used in our operating suite for various procedures under the direction of the surgeon and anesthetist. The diagnostic technologist operates it and our radiologist reads the image.”
Wright said the equipment went into use Aug. 14 after coming to the hospital two to three weeks before that. After being set up, Wright said, there were a number of tests to ensure the equipment was optimized before going into service.
The equipment cost $185,000 and was funded by the foundation through the 2018 Light the Way campaign that raised more than $100,000 as well as additional funding available in the foundation’s equipment budget.
The C-Arm has the capacity to be used for a wide variety of procedures including nerve blocks in the pain clinic or in the operating rooms.
Its fluoroscopic capabilities provide real-time X-ray video.
“It’s really going to help in the ER and other areas of the hospital where images can be transmitted wirelessly,” he said. “Before if we were in the OR and the surgeon wanted the radiologist to see something we would have to pull the equipment out, go to a network drop and download it. With the C-arm, if the surgeon wants the radiologist to look at something, all the technician has to do is send it right to the radiologist. They don’t have to disconnect anything.
“We are the first in the province to have a wireless C-Arm and we’re quite proud of that.”
Wright said the C-Arm is emerging technology in diagnostic imaging that provides so many opportunities as opposed to a hard-wired unit. It will work hand-in-hand with the portable X-ray machine that was recently purchased as well.
He said newer diagnostic imaging equipment provides much clearer images and requires a smaller footprint within the hospital, using less radiation. It makes the job easier for the surgeon and radiologist to detect things in the body and it’s done in real time.
“We’re quite fortunate here to have such a great foundation that supports our program, and it’s not just the foundation, it’s the community that supports the foundation to support our programs and their own health care,” Wright said.
He said this equipment doesn’t only enhance health care locally, but should help attract and retain specialists since it’s the same equipment many of them trained on in medical school.
“It’s very valuable to our patients and health-care professionals,” he said.
The portable machine is used to take X-rays of patients too sick to be moved to the diagnostic imaging department. The machine can be moved to the emergency room, ICU, or an in-patient room as needed.
It cost approximately $80,000 and was also funded by the foundation.
Foundation managing director Gwen Kerr said the organization was excited to do something bigger than normal.
“The C-Arm has a wide range of capabilities, can be used by a wide variety of people across the hospital such as surgeons in the OR,” she said. “It’s going to have a big impact on patients.”
For the foundation, she said, it’s nice to see new equipment that will impact the health outcomes for many people.
“We’re very excited about this one,” she said, adding the neat thing about the C-Arm is it arrived quite quickly after being ordered. “Sometimes with the procurement process things can take a while to arrive. It’s nice to see it here already.”
Light the Way is the foundation’s primary equipment fundraiser, but people can make donations to the equipment fund throughout the year. During Light the Way, she said, the foundation chooses equipment that’s a high priority and can be afforded.
“Some of the equipment has been at the hospital since it opened and in some cases is nearing the end of its useful life,” Kerr said. “That’s a problem when you build a new building, things become redundant at the same time.”
The Cumberland Health Care Auxiliary also makes equipment purchases for the hospital.