New CT focus of Tree of Dreams campaign

Medical radiation technologist Robert Hurford directs young “patient” Elise Verge in a preview of a CT exam at Penticton Regional Hospital. The SOS Medical Foundation’s Tree of Dreams campaign looks to raise the final $500,000 needed for a second CT at PRH.

The SOS Medical Foundation’s 15th annual Tree of Dreams campaign is looking to complete the $3-million fundraising effort for a second CT at Penticton Regional Hospital.

There’s now less than $500,000 remaining in our CT drive launched last spring. So far donors throughout the region have contributed $2.5 million – including a $1.7 million commitment from Peters Bros. Construction Ltd.

The new CT (computerized tomography) machine will be located steps away from the Emergency Department, now undergoing a major upgrade under Phase 2 of the PRH expansion.

Jeff Wojcik, section head for medical imaging at PRH, said not only will this latest model CT scanner provide higher quality images, but it will also reduce the heavy demand on the existing machine. The CT currently operates from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on-call overnight.

“We’re having trouble keeping up with the volume,” Wojcik said.  “We often try to sandwich Emergency patients in between out-patients and oncology patients.”

Along with the CT itself, extensive building renovations are required which brings the total project cost to $5 million. The Okanagan Similkameen Regional Hospital District is contributing $2 million with the SOS Medical Foundation raising the remainder.

Peter Steele, the Foundation’s board chair, said the public response to date has been extremely gratifying. “We can’t thank our donors enough for their support for quality healthcare,” he said.

The new CT scanner will be operational by the time the Emergency Department renovation is completed in early 2022.  The new admitting and triage area is now open with work continuing on other sections of the ER which has remained in operation throughout the construction period.