Medical radiation technologist Robert Hurford directs Elise Verge in a preview of a CT exam at Penticton Regional Hospital. The South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s Tree of Dreams campaign looks to raise the final $500,000 needed for a second CT at the hospital. (Contributed)

Medical radiation technologist Robert Hurford directs Elise Verge in a preview of a CT exam at Penticton Regional Hospital. The South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s Tree of Dreams campaign looks to raise the final $500,000 needed for a second CT at the hospital. (Contributed)

Tree of Dreams campaign raises money for new CT at Penticton Regional Hospital

Less than $500,000 left in $3 million South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s initiative

The South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s 15th annual Tree of Dreams campaign is looking to complete the fundraising for a second CT at Penticton Regional Hospital.

The medical foundation launched the $3 million drive in spring and now has less than $500,000 remaining.

Donors have contributed $2.5 million, including a $1.7 million commitment from Peters Bros. Construction Ltd.

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The new CT (computerized tomography) machine will be located steps away from the hospital’s emergency department, now undergoing a major upgrade under Phase 2 of the hospital expansion.

Jeff Wojcik, section head for medical imaging at the hospital, said this latest model CT scanner provides higher quality images. It will also reduce the heavy demand on the existing machine.

The CT currently operates from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on-call overnight.

“We’re having trouble keeping up with the volume,” Wojcik said. “We often try to sandwich emergency patients in between outpatients and oncology patients.”

Along with the CT itself, extensive building renovations are required, which brings the total project cost to $5 million. The Okanagan Similkameen Regional Hospital District is contributing $2 million with the medical foundation raising the remainder.

Peter Steele, the foundation’s board chair, said the public response to date has been gratifying. “We can’t thank our donors enough for their support for quality healthcare,” he said.

The new CT scanner will be operational by the time the emergency department renovation is completed in early 2022. The new admitting and triage area is now open with work continuing on other sections of the emergency room, which has remained in operation throughout the construction period.

To donate, visit sosmedicalfoundation.com or phone 250-492-9027.

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