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  • Oct 13th, 2017 6:57 pm
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[OP]
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Dec 13, 2016
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CT and MRI scanners

First of all I want to say straight I am not bashing Canadian healthcare at all, but I do have a question.

Why is there such a long wait for MRI and CT scanners?

I was reading that USA has about 20 scanners per million people while Canada has 4.

Now, would it not be much easier and cheaper long term if we could just purchase more machines which would in turn diagnose many diseases in advance and avoid costly healthcare bills? The cost of a CT scanner is only 2 million. I don't think it's that much to spend considering the advantages.

The real reason why I am asking this question is because a week ago I fainted and almost split my head in 2. The cut was so deep I was rushed to a hospital and the nurse said she could see mu skull. I was sent to do a CT scan which was fortunately 100% fine (the cost was $300). This brings me to the other part of the question. If this happened to me in Canada, would the doctors order a scan for me or I would just have to pray everything was fine with my head? Is it not more expensive to keep me in hospital for observation than to have a simple scan?

I would be really curious if a doctor or a nurse could answer my 2 part question.
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BiegeToyota wrote:
Sep 19th, 2017 7:57 am
The real reason why I am asking this question is because a week ago I fainted and almost split my head in 2. The cut was so deep I was rushed to a hospital and the nurse said she could see mu skull. I was sent to do a CT scan which was fortunately 100% fine (the cost was $300). This brings me to the other part of the question. If this happened to me in Canada, would the doctors order a scan for me or I would just have to pray everything was fine with my head? Is it not more expensive to keep me in hospital for observation than to have a simple scan?

I would be really curious if a doctor or a nurse could answer my 2 part question.
If the scan was determined to be needed, they would do it. Things like that are prioritized. I've been in situations where I have had to go to the ER and a doctor has determined a CT is needed and it was done. In your case though there might have been other tests that could have been done depending on what they are looking for. For example in my instance an ultrasound was done first and then it was decided a CT would also be done. In your case maybe an x-ray could have told the doctor what they wanted to know but there is incentive to sell other services.
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I am not a nurse or doctor, but below is my personal experience and observations after frequenting the hospitals numerous times.

Other than the costs to buy the CT and MRI machines, it is more expensive to maintain them 24/7 (nurse, scanners, and radiologists).

In your case (head injury), if checked into an ontario hospital emergency department, e.g., in an ontario city where I am living with the waiting time for CT or MRI scans is worse than the provincial average, you should be able get an immediate X-ray or Cat scan within hours of admission at the emergency department. On the other hand, if the scan is "optional" (not emergent) or for preventive medicine, expect a long wait (months).
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Canadian healthcare system is all about waiting. American Healthcare system is all about paying.
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Canadian system -> reactionary, infrastructure based on need.
American system -> excessive expenses (thus overkill on assets), pass that cost along to insurers and government (thus the patient).

As an American myself, the fact that their wait times are shorter doesn't make the system any better. The Canadian system is a lot more fiscally responsible and more aimed at long term sustainability.

Anyways, I had a MRI on my lower back done, after fracturing L5/S1, at Calgary SHC. Wait time was 3 weeks. Wasn't going to die, so I don't see how this is outrageous.
[OP]
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I understand.

I don't mind waiting for non emergency stuff. I also think x-rays are pretty useless in this day and age. I am simply arguing that having more scanners could save healthcare costs long term. Maybe I'm wrong.


The government could set up semi-private clinics where this stuff could be offered for a fee. They are already experts in Ontario setting up marijuana and alcohol shops, so why not have cat scan clinics that could potentially save lives.
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I'm in Montreal and I had 3 MRI's in the past couple years. Longest I waited was 2 months, shortest was 2 weeks. None were considered an emergency. Compared to 10-15 years ago (paid for MRI at private clinic because wait time was 6 months), the improvement is considerable.
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BiegeToyota wrote:
Sep 19th, 2017 11:13 am
I understand.
I don't mind waiting for non emergency stuff. I also think x-rays are pretty useless in this day and age. I am simply arguing that having more scanners could save healthcare costs long term. Maybe I'm wrong.
X-ray can show a lot of information at a relatively low cost. X-rays are not only for bone injuries, for example and chest x-ray can show build up of fluids in your lungs. In your case an X-ray of your head injury could show if your skull was fractured in seconds and could even show if there is damage to your brain.
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BiegeToyota wrote:
Sep 19th, 2017 11:13 am
I understand.

I don't mind waiting for non emergency stuff. I also think x-rays are pretty useless in this day and age. I am simply arguing that having more scanners could save healthcare costs long term. Maybe I'm wrong.


The government could set up semi-private clinics where this stuff could be offered for a fee. They are already experts in Ontario setting up marijuana and alcohol shops, so why not have cat scan clinics that could potentially save lives.
our healthcare system is set against people being allowed to pay out of their pocket for extra medical services. That's what medical vacations are for.

People say that our healthcare system is great since it gives all people equal access to services. However, I believe that this just promotes low quality effort/service since there is no benefit to putting in an extra effort.

by the way, if you injure yourself always tell the docs that you play a major sport or are training to. Surgery wait times are ridiculous if you tell them you have an office job. They dont care if your hobbies/ rec-sports/ quality of life is diminished for a few years while you wait for surgery. Tell them you're striving sports star and you jump the wait-list and get tended to in months, if not weeks
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JustBob wrote:
Sep 19th, 2017 11:35 am
I'm in Montreal and I had 3 MRI's in the past couple years. Longest I waited was 2 months, shortest was 2 weeks. None were considered an emergency. Compared to 10-15 years ago (paid for MRI at private clinic because wait time was 6 months), the improvement is considerable.
Yes, I know Quebec has private clinics. I lived in Montreal for 15 years and used them myself. Ontario doesn't have private clinics, however public care is much better.

Can you share how much did you pay for a scan? How many slices (contrast?) was the machine.
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BiegeToyota wrote:
Sep 19th, 2017 11:47 am
Can you share how much did you pay for a scan? How many slices (contrast?) was the machine.
Long time ago but it was roughly $700. No idea about your second question.
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BiegeToyota wrote:
Sep 19th, 2017 11:13 am
I also think x-rays are pretty useless in this day and age.
X-rays are the most common and widely available diagnostic imaging technique. Even if a patient may need a more sophisticated test, they will often receive an X-ray first. When the rays pass through the body, dense objects—such as bones—appear white on the film. X-rays are typically used to view and diagnose bone disease, degeneration, fractures, dislocations, infections and tumors.

In your head injury case, a CT scan may prove beneficial. A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to create a detailed view of the brain. A CT scan can quickly visualize fractures and uncover evidence of bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage), blood clots, bruised brain tissue (contusions) and brain tissue swelling. Meanwhile, CT scans can expose you to as much radiation as 200 chest X-rays.
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te1648 wrote:
Sep 19th, 2017 12:31 pm
Meanwhile, CT scans can expose you to as much radiation as 200 chest X-rays.
That's a good point. Completely forgot about radiation. Another thing to worry about....
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You can, in fact, pay for a private MRI in Ontario. Of course, typically no one does this because no one wants to pay.

If OP was injured and the cut was so deep, it's likely the appropriate scans and tests would be done at a hospital. Your scenario is vastly different than the wait times you are describing because you would have been prioritized due to your emergency.
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You can, in fact, pay for a private MRI in Ontario. Of course, typically no one does this because no one wants to pay.

If OP was injured and the cut was so deep, it's likely the appropriate scans and tests would be done at a hospital. Your scenario is vastly different than the wait times you are describing because you would have been prioritized due to your emergency.

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