Renovations Underway To Expand Imaging Capabilities At Huntsville Hospital

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Construction is underway at the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital (HDMH) Site to replace the Nuclear Medicine machine in the Sprott Foundation’s Diagnostic Imaging department, supported by the Huntsville Hospital Foundation’s Focus on Imaging campaign and an incredible $2 million contribution by Eric and Vizma Sprott’s family foundation.

Nuclear medicine is an essential component of any acute care facility as a specialized area of radiology used for both diagnosis and treatment. The existing machine that is end of life will be replaced with a new state-of-the-art machine equipped with a SPECT/CT camera, which produces a type of nuclear medicine scan where the images or pictures from two different types of scans are combined together. The combined scan can provide more precise information about how different parts of the body are working and more clearly identify where problems may be arising from. Nuclear medicine scans show the body’s function as opposed to providing just a static image like traditional radiology.

“MAHC’s nuclear medicine machine is just shy of 20 years old and has been on the hospital’s capital equipment list for replacement for several years,” explains Dr. Jason Blaichman, Chief and Director of Diagnostic Imaging. “This machine has provided decades of service to all of Muskoka and Parry Sound, supporting surgical breast services, cardiac care, and oncology patients, and a new, more advanced machine will be key to enhancing our diagnostic capabilities for all patients.”

To accommodate a new, larger machine, extensive renovations are underway to expand the Sprott Foundation Diagnostic Imaging department. The footprint required is significant and involves substantial controlled land alterations to be able to bump out the existing department to house the high-functioning unit and accommodate the potential for future forward-looking imaging needs. Within the hospital, other spaces and functions have temporarily relocated to accommodate the work. The foresight of upgrading nuclear medicine with a SPECT/CT camera provides an alternate/backup for the existing CT Scanner as well.

“A great deal of planning goes in to a project of this magnitude to minimize the impacts of renovation on patient care and services,” says Cheryl Harrison, President and CEO of MAHC.  “We are thankful for the collaboration with hospital partners in Barrie, Orillia and North Bay to support our patients’ nuclear medicine needs during the construction phase, and are so grateful for the incredible generosity of the Sprott Foundation and the Foundation’s hard work to support this much-needed project that has been years in the making with COVID-related delays.”

Katherine Craine, Executive Director of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, adds as technology advances, so must the equipment that our clinicians use, which is why it’s so important for the Foundation to always be looking forward.

“We know the better the image, the more accurate the diagnosis,” says Craine. “The more accurate the diagnosis, the more effective the treatment and the quicker the recovery. Through the Focus on Imaging campaign, and the leadership donation from the Sprott Foundation, we will help ensure our community has access to the best healthcare, here.”

Up to 2,000 nuclear medicine procedures are completed every year in Huntsville, allowing patients to receive diagnostic services closer to home without the need for out-of-region travel. Meanwhile faster diagnosis through high-quality onsite services means faster treatment and better patient outcomes.

The project is anticipated to wrap up early in the New Year.

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