Administrators at Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital say their new MRI scanner will be operational 24 May, saving residents from expensive trips off-island for medical care.
The new MRI scanner is part of a $1.7 million upgrade to the hospital’s Radiology Department that also includes a new CT scanner, a digital mammography machine and a digital X-ray system.
Hospital CEO Ed Hansen said the new equipment would improve the quality of healthcare services on the island, putting the hospital’s Radiology Department on par with American ones.
MRI scanning is a relatively new medical imaging and diagnostic technology that allows doctors to take internal images of the body without making any incisions.
It is particularly helpful for diagnosing patients with inflammation or infection in an organ, degenerative diseases, strokes, musculoskeletal disorders, tumours and irregularities in tissues and organs.
Mr. Hansen said the facility will provide residents with a significantly cheaper alternative to travelling off-island when costs like airline tickets, lodging and lost time are factored in.
‘This technology is badly needed here and once it is available, we think it will be a tremendous asset for the island.’
Dr. Yaron Rado of the Radiology Department explained that MRI scanning poses no known risks to patients and can obviate the need for invasive surgery.
‘For example, in the knee, the fluid and cartilage are about the same density and the X-ray and CT scanner can’t distinguish between the two.
‘That made it necessary to do an arthroscopy just to get a diagnosis. With MRI, we can get a diagnosis by doing a scan rather than having to cut into the knee.’
The MRI scanner is just one part of a new range of services the Radiology Department will be offering the island for the first time, Mr. Rado explained.
He said the new CT scanner is among the best on the market and will allow for easier disease diagnosis.
The department will also be boosted by the help of radiology specialists in Germany who will be on call via video link to provide expert advice on problematic and obscure diagnoses.
‘It’s very exciting. We now have a state of the art radiology department on the island that could rival any facility in Florida,’ Mr. Rado said.
‘For doctors, access to enhanced diagnostic equipment will allow us to deliver better results to our patients.’