New ultrasound machines at Charlottetown hospital 'just a joy'

Five new ultrasound machines purchased by P.E.I.’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation are providing a much-needed morale boost for the technicians who use them.

‘We will definitely see things that perhaps we couldn’t have seen before’

Sonographer Samantha Thompson says even after examining thousands of babies she is amazed at what ultrasound can do. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Five new ultrasound machines purchased by P.E.I.'s Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation are providing a much-needed morale boost for the technicians who use them.

"We've been waiting for these machines for a long time. The other ones are pretty old," said sonographer Samantha Thompson.

"With COVID and everything the last couple of years, we've been short staffed, it's been kind of tough. So this was a huge morale boost for us. Every patient is a treat, scanning. Like, I don't want to stop scanning them because this machine is so nice"

The new machines have several advantages over the old ones, said Thompson.

The quality of the images is much better, says Samantha Thompson. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

To start with, better ergonomic design makes them easier to use, and less likely to cause injuries to the operators.

There are some simple changes. The machines have a battery so they can be moved without being turned off. This is important because it can take five minutes to power down and power up a machine. Those minutes can be stressful when you have to move it to the emergency department for diagnosis on an urgent case.

"The best thing, of course, is the imaging. The quality is so much better," said Thompson.

"It's just a joy."

Images almost seem to be 3D, she said, and the machine can look more deeply into patients.

"We will definitely see things that perhaps we couldn't have seen before," she said.

Big Day of Giving

Tracy Comeau, the CEO of the QEH Foundation, was also amazed by the quality of the images.

"The clarity, it quite takes you by surprise when you can see the spine in its absolute detail," said Comeau.

It's a thrill to see the level of clarity the new ultrasound machines provide says Tracy Comeau, CEO, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

"It's a true thrill and I wish every donor who has supported this would be able to see this."

At $156,000 each, the foundation spent a total of about $780,000 on the machines.

The foundation is planning a Big Day of Giving for May 25, a 24-hour fundraising initiative.

Samantha Thompson said she has looked at thousands of babies with ultrasound, and she is still amazed at what the technology can do.


Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. Kevin has a specialty in data journalism, and how statistics relate to the changing lives of Islanders. He has a BSc and a BA from Dalhousie University, and studied journalism at Holland College in Charlottetown. You can reach him at

With files from Sheehan Desjardins


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