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LETTERS – Where is the PET scan for West Coast?

A new hospital in the works for St. John’s. Well, good news for St. John’s, but why is the province talking a new hospital when it has not fulfilled a commitment for a PET screening device for the hospital nearing completion in Corner Brook? A new hospital to serve the health needs of western and northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador is all but done. Yes. The Corner Brook hospital is due to open in 2023. A new hospital with the latest in medical technology and new services including radiation treatment for cancer patients. But, what about the PET scan facility within this new hospital, as promised? PET scan technology saves lives in early detection of cancer and heart disease. A need for the PET Scan on the west coast has not only been identified, it has been promised. PET scan technology is a major tool in oncology imagery playing a life saving role in the detection and treatment plans for cancer patients. However, PET scan imagery has multiple use in other medical treatments including detection of heart and neurological issues. A big advantage of a PET scan when combined with a CT scan is that a PET scan provides the structural details allowing for staging a cancer diagnosis and the early detection of a recurrence. The bottom line is a PET scan can locate invasive cancers saving painstaking time, surgery and treatment options in not only preserving life but adding to an individual’s overall quality of life. There is currently only one unit in the province. Yes, one. St. John’s! What does this mean for diagnostic care on the west coast? Inequality. Delays in diagnostic work. Barrier to health care access. Limitation bound by expensive travel, food and accommodations. The province stated it supports a PET scan for the Corner Brook hospital. This commitment has gone far enough that during the last provincial election $2 million dollars was set aside for the unit. Yes. The ruling Liberal Party headed by Premier Furey is on record to see this through. But wait, what is now happening? A new hospital to replace St. Clare’s on Lemarchant Road in St. John’s. It is time for Liberal leadership to end piecemeal promises during election campaigns. Action speaks volumes. Let’s finish one commitment before talking about another. A PET scan for the west coast needs to be in place before a new hospital surfaces inside the Avalon. John Spencer Channel-Port aux Basques

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