Health and government officials formally cut the ribbon on the new MRI machine at the Cayman Islands Hospital last week.
The 3 Tesla MRI, which has been in use since July, is part of a $4 million public-private partnership between the government and 3T Cayman, which runs the MRI inside the hospital.
The hospital expects more than 2,500 patients to make use of the imaging machine every year.
The hospital had been without an MRI – magnetic resonance imaging – a crucial tool in diagnosing a host of problems from torn ligaments to brain tumors, for six months until the new machine arrived.
It’s a complicated piece of equipment, essentially using a powerful magnet to see inside the body. Councilor for Health Roy McTaggart, speaking at the ribbon cutting, said, “I may not quite know how it works, but I do know it’s critical to the delivery of healthcare in Cayman.”
The nearest similar machine is in Miami, said practice manager for 3T, Ethel Slay. She came from the radiology unit at Miami Children’s Hospital and landed a job using the same technology here.
Showing off the new facility, she said patients undergoing MRI can change the color of the lighting in the room, play their own music or load photos or video onto a screen. MRI patients basically have to lay in a small metal tube for 20 minutes while the system takes images – not an easy thing for anyone with even mild claustrophobia.
The lighting and music, Ms. Slay said, gives the patient, who could be facing a serious illness or injury, some choices. “They can be empowered in some ways,” she said, even if it’s changing the room lighting from red to purple.
The hospital had an MRI – with half the power – set up in a trailer, before the new machine came online.