Lakeshore Hospital confirms three-day breakage in CT scanner

Emergency patients on the West Island who require CT scans had to be transferred to downtown facilities for the first half of the week, when a critical part in the only CT machine at the Lakeshore Hospital had failed.  The failure began on Sunday and wasn't resolved until Wednesday afternoon.

When reached for comment by CJAD 800 News on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Lakeshore Hospital confirmed that their CT scanner was not functional, but refused further requests for comment.  This morning, CJAD was forwarded a statement from the hospital that acknowledged the scanner had broken on Sunday and had not been fixed until Wednesday afternoon.  The statement described such a failure as "unusual, but not unheard of."

Further slowing the process of repairing the machine was the three-day-weekend in the rest of the country; a source told CJAD 800 that the CT scanner's manufacturer was based in Toronto and was unable to process the hospital's repair request until Tuesday morning.

The hospital claimed in a statement that all patients that had pre-existing appointments to undergo a CT scan were contacted and had their appointments rescheduled.  Patients arriving from emergency, however, were not informed until they had to be transferred to another facility.  As well, multiple requests for comment from the media were declined on Monday and Tuesday.  The provincial Health Ministry has not yet returned a request for comment.

With the hospital's MRI machine also closed during the weekend, throughout the three-day-long equipment failure, patients arriving in emergency were largely limited to receiving ultrasounds and X-Rays, which are ineffective in diagnosing strokes, brain bleeds and other life-threatening conditions.  A healthcare professional working at the Lakeshore described a logistical "mess" that saw patients in life-threatening emergencies sent across the island to facilities downtown, with results of CT scans being read over the phone back to doctors at the Lakeshore.  

The MUHC indicated that the extra patient load had not presented logistical problems for them, and Saint Mary's Hospital (where the majority of patients who required CT scans were transferred) could not be reached for comment.  Urgences-santé had been responsible for shuttling patients from the Lakeshore to other hospitals in the region with working CT scanners since the problems first began on Monday.  When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Urgences-santé indicated that while they were responsible for transporting patients during the outage, it had not presented any logistical problems for them.