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With key equipment down, Stanton warns of ‘interruptions’

Stanton Territorial Hospital pictured in April 2018, with the new hospital (not pictured) to the right of shot
Stanton Territorial Hospital pictured in April 2018. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

The NWT’s health authority said on Wednesday evening two important pieces of equipment were out of service at Yellowknife’s Territorial Hospital, and patients should expected “service interruptions.”

The hospital’s CT scanner and main sterilizer units are unavailable, affecting some diagnostic imaging and surgical procedures.

Urgent and emergency treatment is unaffected. However, the health authority said some patients requiring urgent CT scans “may be referred to Alberta.”

The health authority said the timing of the two issues was “unfortunate” but added they were not related.



To date, the authority said, 45 CT scans and 12 surgeries have been cancelled as a result of the issues.

The authority said it remained capable of referring anyone needing urgent treatment to facilities in Alberta. It was not clear how many, if any, of the cancelled scans and procedures to date had resulted in patients travelling south instead.

It was not clear when exactly the twin technical problems began.

The hospital’s lone CT scanner – which allows healthcare professionals to see cross-sectional images of patients’ bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues – has “a technical issue,” the authority said, and a technician is on-site. Parts for the machine are en-route.



Cancelled scans will be rescheduled as soon as the scanner is working again. The authority could not say when that might be.

The sterilizer units ensure surgical instruments remain clean for use during procedures.

The hospital has backup units, but those “have significantly reduced capacity,” the health authority said.

A technician is expected to arrive at the hospital on Thursday to begin repair work. The issue keeping the units out of service was not explained.

“Stanton is working to reduce demand for instruments in order to preserve capacity to sterilize instruments for emergency cases,” read a news release issued by the health authority.

“Certain priority procedures may also go ahead depending on sterilization capacity. Due to the Easter long weekend, there are no scheduled surgeries April 19 through 22 inclusive.”

The health authority said any patients directly affected by the equipment failures “will be contacted directly.”

The news comes just over one month before an entirely new Stanton Hospital, built next-door to the present facility, accepts its first patients.