The Hawkesbury and District General Hospital (HGH) Foundation recently celebrated those who have helped make two major projects at the hospital possible.

On January 14, the foundation formally announced the end of its Access 2018 campaign that raised $4 million for the new CT and MRI scan machines at the hospital over the past two years.  The foundation used the occasion for a reception to show appreciation to the donors who made the campaign a success.

The Ontario government does not fund the purchase of new hospital equipment.

The new scanning machines are part of the $160 million redevelopment project at the facility, which began in 2014 and is scheduled for completion this year.

HGH CEO Marc Le Boutillier was not at the January 14 event but in a video recorded message, said the redevelopment project is now 90 per cent complete.

“We are grateful for each donor and the commitments they have made to the campaign,” said Le Boutillier.

HGH Chief of Staff Dr. Julie Maranda said the new CT and MRI machines means that patients and physicians will now have access to tests that could not be done previously at HGH.

The CT machine has already been installed and is operational.  The first patient used it on October 7, 2019.  The MRI machine will be installed during the coming summer.

“I am so happy and beaming with pride that together, we have achieved our objective,” said HGH Foundation President Nathalie Ladouceur.

She said that having an improved CT machine and adding an MRI machine, are a major part of making HGH a fully regional hospital.

Dr. Maranda said that HGH has achieved becoming a regional hospital.

She said that the facility services a vulnerable segment of the population that is “one of the most vulnerable in Canada.”

Having CT and MRI facilities locally will make it easier for people in the vulnerable segment of the population with limited means of transportation to access the services closer to home.

The new CT machine at HGH can provide test results within four hours instead of the previous 16 hours.  The machine was manufactured by General Electric and can take 128 photos in a rotation around a patient’s body.  The previous machine, which was one the oldest in Canada, took just 16 photos per rotation.  A patient only must hold their breath and stay still for 10 seconds in the new machine.  The time was 30 seconds in the old machine.

Due to the improved performance of the new CT machine, patients will have less contrasting agent dye injected into them for certain tests.  This is better for patients with kidney problems as the organs will not have to process as much of the chemicals.

“The quality of examination has definitely improved,” said HGH Radiologist, Dr. Antoine Robillard.

“I think it’s going to be a revolution for this hospital,” he said.

The improved scanning facilities will be beneficial for oncology screening and diagnosis, said Dr. Robillard.

Dr. Maranda said that plans continue to expand HGH’s services as a regional health care facility will continue.  Areas of planned expansion include orthopedics, cardiology, and urology.

HGH staff showing the new CT scan machine to visitors at the HGH Foundation donor appreciation event. Photo: James Morgan