the Lac La Biche Regional Health Foundation has announced that a prominent local family will pay for a nearly million dollar CT Scanner for the region.
“This donation is an amazing gift – not just for the region, but also for our healthcare system as a whole,” says foundation president Zicki Eludin.
The CT Scanner will help improve response times for patients suspected of having a stroke and will also be used for other purposes, including cancer detection, trauma, and cardio vascular events. The family funding the purchase has chosen to remain anonymous.
“The lifetime costs for healthcare of just one stroke patient can add up to more than a million dollars,” says Eludin. “And that’s not counting the personal costs – such as pain and suffering — experienced by both the patient and their family members.”
The best chance for full recovery exists if clot-breaking drugs are administered within the first hour following an incident. This is considered the golden hour. Medical staff first need to confirm a stroke, which requires a CT scan.
“You don’t give clot-busting drugs without knowing it is a stroke,” Eludin notes. “If it’s not, that could cause other problems – even death. “You need to know. And, you need to know fast. Timing is everything.”
Time is so critical Alberta Health Services is now working on a stroke protocol of 30 minutes.
However, even the original standard is difficult to meet in the Lac La Biche region when the closest CT Scanner is located more than an hour and a half away in Cold Lake.
“And that’s assuming ideal conditions,” says Eludin. “But whoever heard of things going perfectly during a stroke?”
The CT Scanner will shorten regional response times dramatically. Local doctors are hoping this is the first step in making Lac La Biche the Stroke Centre for Zone 7.
The family initially contacted the Foundation with the donation back in January, but wanted to keep things under wraps until AHS approved the purchase. However, the paperwork is still being sorted out and the family has now agreed for news of the donation to be made public.
The foundation also has plans to tackle other needed improvements, such as upgrading of the emergency department at William J Cadzow Hospital, and purchase of other diagnostic equipment. They plan to do so with a calendar lottery with a lot on Elinor Lake as the grand prize. A battle of Alberta between Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers alumni scheduled for September 23rd and the Foundation’s annual gala will raise money as well. The foundation is hoping for about 400,000 dollars from all three of them.
“This is big, but it’s only the beginning,” says Eludin.