New, state-of-the-art radiology equipment at Winnipeg’s largest hospital is expected to help reduce the surgical backlog brought on by the pandemic.
On Thursday, the Health Sciences Center Foundation unveiled its upgraded radiology suites, which have been operating since March 2020, thanks largely to a $5-million private donation.
The Health Sciences Center can treat six additional patients a day at the expanded Paul Albrechtsen Interventional Radiology Suites — up to 16 from 10.
The new technology means physicians can do live X-ray procedures that frequently replace open surgery and free up hospital beds, said interventional radiologist Dr. Alessandra Cassano Bailey.
Procedures that used to require surgery, such as feeding tube placements and removing bowel obstructions, blood clots and uterine fibroids, can be done in the radiology suites.
Even patients with emergency wounds such as stabbings can be diverted, Cassano-Bailey said.
“We’ll take them from the emergency department, go in through the arteries, stop the bleeding, and that person can be discharged in four hours from the emergency department, without ever having to go in a hospital bed. That’s the kind of thing this technology (can do), and it’s advancing.”
Charles Schroeder, who has undergone three liver transplants out of province because of a rare congenital disorder, has been a patient at the upgraded radiology suites 10 times for followup care since March 2020.
Schroeder told the Free Press he’s thankful to receive treatment at the upgraded, fully staffed facility.
“The staff is the important bit. You could get new equipment, but if the staff don’t know how to operate well, then you won’t get as good treatment. So now we have both. We have outstanding staff and we have state-of-the-art equipment, and that is a really powerful combination and that gives me a lot of confidence as a patient,” he said.
The late Albrechtsen, a transportation magnate and philanthropist, donated $5 million to the project, while the provincial government contributed $5.2 million.
Albrechtsen, who died in 2019, donated more than $20 million to Winnipeg hospitals.