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Victoria Hospitals Foundation seeks donations for critical imaging equipment

A Victoria charity has launched its largest campaign yet to bring critical diagnostic equipment to island hospitals, benefiting patients up and down Vancouver Island.

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation is hoping you can help raise $11 million to upgrade and replace six pieces of medical imaging equipment, including a CT Scanner and three MRIs.

“We are fundraising for this equipment because we are responding to the greatest needs in our hospitals,” says VHF CEO, Avery Brohman. “Our patients depend on our clinicians to provide the best possible care and to provide that best care our clinicians need to be able to depend on this equipment.”

The campaign will start by refurbishing three MRI machines at Victoria General Hospital and Royal Jubilee.

“Their downtime is becoming intolerable,” says Island Health’s director of medical imaging, Dr. Alan Andrew. “They’re broken in some cases more than they’re working.”

For the MRIs, radiologists say they’re taking a new approach that could mark a Canadian first under new Health Canada regulations. Instead of replacing the machines, they can rebuild the technology on-site.

“What that allows us to do is avoid all the costly renovations, all the disruptions to the hospital flow and allows us to get back to imaging patients faster,” says Andrew.

The machines provide images used for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up and emergency care.

Several families who rely on them for their health-care needs were at the campaign launch, expressing gratitude and uniting in their support for the improvements.

“It’s basically our lifeline,” says Sophie Shackleton.

Her daughter, Odette, had her first MRI at Victoria General Hospital when she was a day old. She was diagnosed with achondroplasia dwarfism – and received follow-up MRIs and care for eight months for hydrocephalus and a severe spinal cord compression, which could be life-threatening.

“The MRI is really the tool that allows us to ensure the initial surgeries were successful. As well they are our lifeline if ever there were some health impacts or if we were ever concerned the hydrocephalus was returning,” says Shackleton.

The toddler receives specialized care through BC Children’s Hospital and her family dreams of a future where her daughter could be treated in Victoria.

Another patient, Rahul Ray, says he’s thankful for medical imaging because it allowed him to take a medication for multiple sclerosis that’s generating positive results.

“In the last seven years, I haven’t had any disease progression,” says Ray.

The father of three says his doctors told him he’d need MRIs to consider the medication since the drug could activate a virus that attacks the brain. The imaging helps monitor whether its dormant and whether his MS was responding to the treatment.

Now he’s among those lending a voice advocating for support to VHF’s Imaging is Power campaign to help a team that’s empowered his life.

“It’s allowing me to plan for the future with my kids and my family and not think about the continual degradation of my body,” says Ray.

Donations to the campaign are being accepted online. Top Stories

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