Shelley’s Story

A diagnostic exam can mean the difference between life and death for you or your loved one.

I’m living proof. Imagine going about your normal day at work when you suddenly start feeling knee buckling chest pains.

That was me almost a year ago today.

As a nurse at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital – I was lucky the Emergency Department wasn’t far away.

It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest – but when the Emergency physician ordered blood tests, an x-ray and an ECG, they showed nothing abnormal.

The doctor decided to order one more test – the CT scan which saved my life. It revealed I had a life threatening aortic dissection, which is when the main blood vessel in your chest is torn open.

I’m writing you today because I want the best diagnostic equipment available for you or your loved ones when they come to Soldiers’. Our Hospital is in desperate need of replacing its aging CT scanner, and we need your help.

If you don’t know – a computerized tomography scan (CT scan) uses computers and rotating X-ray machines to create cross sectional images of the body. These images provide more detailed information than normal X-ray images.

They can show the soft tissues, blood vessels, and bones in various parts of the body, and are used to diagnose infections, detect the locations of cancer, assess the severity of internal injuries and more.

Because a CT scan is so thorough, it was the only test able to detect my aortic dissection.

Immediately following the scan, I was rushed to Toronto General Hospital for surgery. I don’t think I’d be able to write you this letter today if it wasn’t for the amazing emergency room physicians at OSMH – and the scan that detected this life threatening condition.

That’s why we need your help.

In the past six months alone, we have had four unplanned outages of our CT scanner, with an accumulated 100 hours of downtime. As the scanner ages, downtimes become longer due to more limited availability of parts.

During this downtime, all urgent CT scans must be performed at other area hospitals and non-urgent appointments rescheduled to a later date, resulting in longer wait times.

Last year alone, more than 13,000 CT scans were performed at OSMH, with technologists operating the scanner 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Not only will a new CT scanner be more reliable, helping to prevent unscheduled downtimes and patient inconvenience, today’s scanners are much more technologically advanced.

The new scanners take faster, sharper, cleaner pictures at a lower radiation dosage, and can see through objects that were previously impenetrable.

For context, the most popular cell phone in 2005 (the year our current CT scanner was installed) was a Nokia 1110. When compared to today’s iPhones, the technological advancement is truly exponential. As you can imagine, the trend in medical equipment is no different.

Our Hospital receives no government funding for new and replacement equipment, so the responsibility is on our community to fund the entire amount.

Do not take your health for granted.

When it comes down to it, a new CT Scanner means faster access to care and a more accurate diagnosis for patients like you and me. This piece of equipment saves lives, and by making a gift today you can ensure we have the most up to date tools in place to keep doing just that.

Thank you in advance for your support.


Shelley Johnson