CT scanner on its way to Nunavut: health minister
But with no 3G, "it will be limited by the bandwidth"
The Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit still lacks a CT scanner, even after the Government of Nunavut said it would purchase one, following a set of recommendations from a coroner’s inquest into the death of an Iqaluit woman, Elisapie Michael, 52, in 2009.
A CT scanner, which uses a medical imaging method to diagnose internal injuries — and costs up to $2 million — was to be be in operation at the Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit by March 2012, the GN said in 2011.
Speaking Sept. 11 in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly, Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott asked health minister Keith Peterson about the status of the promised CT scanner.
“The minister has indicated that the department would be purchasing a machine this year,” Elliott said.
Peterson told him in a conversation this past June that the CT scanner would be flown up during the summer. Elliott also said Peterson told him that hospital staff would be trained to use it and the scanner would be fully operational by September.
Responding to Elliott, Peterson said the purchase of the CT scanner is underway and that officials are visiting QGH later this month to discuss where to put the scanner.
Peterson did not say when CT scans could start taking place.
And there’s some question about whether the device will be able to do what it’s supposed to.
Peterson said he met last year with Dr. Ivar Mendez, a Dalhousie University physician, to talk about “providing robo-technology in our health centres and our hospitals.”
“He indicated that we need 3G technology, which we don’t have currently,” Peterson said.
That means the CT scanner will have a “slower transmission of diagnostic imaging to health professionals who can look at the X-rays there and offer diagnosis to our health practitioners,” Peterson said.
The scanner will still be able to operate.
“So even though we have the equipment here, it will be limited by the bandwidth,” Peterson said, adding that he hopes Nunavut gets 3G technology soon.
“Until we get more bandwidth, we will always be limited by what we can do with technology,” Peterson said.
In a March 2013 sitting of the legislative assembly, Peterson deplored Nunavut’s lack of hospital equipment, which also prevent doctors from detecting cancer earlier.
“We don’t even have a CT scan, we don’t have an MRI… these are the types of sophisticated technology that are needed in Nunavut to detect cancer early,” he said.