Donor-funded, cutting-edge MRIs are a leap forward for patient care at PRHC

Every year since her breast cancer diagnosis almost ten years ago, Amy Semple attends a mammogram and MRI appointment at PRHC to monitor her health. This past year, her check-up was different for one big reason: Amy underwent an MRI in one of PRHC’s two new, state-of-the-art MRI machines.

Before her appointment, Amy learned about the benefits of the advanced technology, which produces detailed images of organs and structures in the body. The new equipment takes higher resolution images, faster, in a more comfortable experience for patients like her – representing a giant leap forward in patient care at PRHC.

“I’ve always appreciated the level of care I’ve received at PRHC and the big scope of donor-funded equipment needed to support my and other patients’ survival,” said Amy. “But seeing firsthand the new technology at this year’s appointment really highlighted the impact that donors have made in my life over the last decade. Thank you!”

The more recent installation of the second MRI unit, funded by a $2 million legacy gift, has allowed the hospital to increase diagnostic imaging capacity, performing an additional 6,000 scans since the new machine became operational.

PRHC Physician Chief & Medical Director of Diagnostic Imaging, Dr. Rola Shaheen, elaborated, “It’s having a positive impact on regional wait times. It’s increasing our overall efficiency and empowering us to offer a level of care not previously possible, including MRI-guided breast biopsy procedures, and better, clearer neurological, prostate and cardiovascular imaging.”

“We’re able to produce much higher quality images in less time,” she added, “while providing a significantly improved patient experience. With the support of donors, we can deliver the full spectrum of service needed to diagnose and treat disease, close to home.”

The estate gift that made this possible was from Dr. Anne Keenleyside, a highly respected Trent University professor of bioarcheology who passed away in October 2022 after succumbing to cancer.

PRHC Foundation President & CEO, Lesley Heighway, said Anne was inspired to invest in equipment and technology that support cancer care innovation: “Anne wanted her gift to connect her passion for scientific innovation with her desire to help the patients who would come after her. We’re so grateful for her incredible generosity.”

For more information on legacy giving or to donate, please call 705-876-5000.

Impact Spotlight: First in Canada SPECT/CT bringing best possible care closer to home

A medical radiation technologist demonstrates a SPECT/CT machine

Did you know that with the help of donors, in 2019 PRHC invested in a cutting-edge new SPECT/CT machine that was the first of its kind in Canada? This state-of-the-art technology represented the biggest leap forward in nuclear medicine in over a decade.

Since its installation made possible by donor generosity, the new SPECT/CT has scanned approximately 2,000 patients a year, providing PRHC’s experts with detailed 3D images so they can more clearly identify and pinpoint the site of any abnormality, particularly tumours, diagnose and stage cancer, and determine how patients’ treatments are progressing.

SPECT/CT uses two types of scans that when combined, allow doctors to gather more precise information about a specific part of the body. Scans with this machine are higher quality, take less time and use less radiation than the machine it replaced. For patients this means a more precise and timely diagnosis, and a more comfortable and safe procedure.

“PRHC has been on the leading edge, using advanced technology like SPECT/CT to bring the best possible care closer to home for our region’s residents,” says PRHC Nuclear Medicine Charge Technologist Brad Plain. “This equipment allows us to obtain the best quality images possible in a much shorter period, helping patients feel less anxiety and discomfort during the process, and helping doctors make diagnoses and treatment decisions sooner.”

Impact Spotlight: X-Ray Trauma Suites

A medical radiation technologist prepares to X-Ray a patient

Three years ago, Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation donors made it possible for the hospital to make a $1.1 million investment in two new X-Ray Trauma Suites in the Diagnostic Imaging department. In constant use, the previous suites were worn out, the equipment was out of date, and they were no longer able to keep pace with the high demand for X-Rays, almost half of which were supporting the diagnosis and care of Emergency Department patients. PRHC’s Emergency Department is one of the busiest in the province.

At the time the new suites were installed, PRHC’s Chief & Medical Director of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Mark Troughton, explained why having new, up-to-date equipment is so important to the care of patients:

“When older technology starts to break down, it causes delays in patient diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr. Troughton. “We knew we couldn’t afford to let that happen – not in a department with patients in urgent need, when minutes or even seconds can mean the difference between life and death.”

Dr. Troughton and the technologists who work with the equipment also explained that the new technology wasn’t replacing like with like. Upgrades in technology mean that the new suites feature equipment that is faster, smaller and more portable.

Three years later, the new suites continue to be in high demand and allow PRHC’s experts to provide quicker, safer care to patients. In the last year, 32,000 exams were conducted in the X-Ray Trauma Suites, with the majority performed in the care of Emergency Department patients, who may be experiencing great pain and distress.

The PRHC team members who use these suites every day to provide great care, say they’ve seen a lot of benefits with the advanced equipment.

The updated technology allows the equipment to be positioned around the patient, meaning that patient has to be moved less throughout the exam. The older equipment required much more movement of the patient to facilitate an X-Ray at the necessary place on the body, causing them further discomfort. The auto-positioning feature of the equipment also makes an exam faster for the patient and safer for the technologists, who have to do less manual maneuvering of the equipment.   

The wireless detectors used in the suites to achieve certain views during an exam, display an image right away, which also helps decrease exam time for the patient. The less time a patient spends being examined, the less discomfort they’ll feel.

All of these advancements in X-Ray technology improve diagnostic quality, too, providing clear imaging quickly to staff, to support fast, accurate diagnoses and treatment.

PRHC’s healthcare workers are so appreciative of the incredible donor support that is helping them provide excellent patient care every day. “Having timely access to the best equipment available is central to providing the highest quality patient care,” says Dr. Troughton. “On behalf of those patients and everyone here at PRHC, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who supports our critical fundraising priorities, like the X-Ray Trauma Suites.”