Lack of X-ray machine
upsets Simpson resident

by Arthur Milnes
Northern News Services

FORT SIMPSON (Feb 06/98) - A Fort Simpson man is angry that until last week the village's health centre hadn't had a working X-ray machine since before Christmas.

On the other side, Deh Cho Health and Social Services (DCHSS) officials say as soon as the Fort Simpson health centre's X-ray unit went down, immediate action was taken to replace it.

Gerard Fradsham went to the press after his niece was medevaced out of Fort Simpson almost two weeks ago after a snowmobiling accident.

While he says he is full or praise for the work of the frontline medical staff, he says a health centre should always have an X-ray machine.

"Do you think it's fair to staff not to have an X-ray machine," he says. "This puts undue strain on the medical staff and victim... For the life of me, I can't see why anyone would leave a health centre without an X-ray machine."

For their part, DCHSS representatives say they are doing the best they can. Last December, when the health centre's old X-ray machine went down, they immediately took steps to acquire a unit to replace it.

And, DCHSS made no attempts to hide the fact the X-ray machine broke in December.

Last week, the DCHSS acquired a backup machine from Wrigley to fill in the gap until a permanent unit -- for which DCHSS has received approval -- is available. Another unit is still at work in Wrigley, meaning the region's X-ray machine compliment has not been compromised.

The new machine for Fort Simpson will be installed and people trained on it within the next six to eight weeks, officials say.

"We're in the course of buying a new one," DCHSS public administrator Nick Sibbeston said Monday, adding that all necessary GNWT approvals have been received. "We have (a temporary X-ray) one now."