New technology flies high at Union Hospital

With the precision of a watchmaker, a crane operator deftly lifted a six-ton MRI magnet assembly from the bed of a semi-trailer and placed it softly at the ramp into Union Hospital.  From there the installers pushed the machine on heavy-duty casters the final few feet and into position inside the building.   The high-flying MRI magnet was the final piece of the $1.5 million machine to be delivered to the new facility this week.




The six ton MRI magnet is slowly lifted from the bed of a semi-trailer (left) by a large crane.  After rising 40

feet into the air the magnet is gently placed (right) on a steel platform outside the hospital and rolled on

heavy-duty casters through the opening in the wall.


Carey Gardner, director of development and community relations, says the hospital plans to finish the installation of the MRI equipment and begin testing in the next few days.


?The MRI facility is a 3,200 sq. ft. addition to the Radiology Department next to the Main Entrance of the hospital,? Gardner said.  ?We expect to be ready to serve patients in early August.?


MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is not a new service at Union Hospital.  Beginning with a mobile machine in 1988 that scanned a handful of patients each week, the use of MRI has grown to nearly 3,800 scans done last year.  The MRI has been located in small building on the UH campus near Country Club Center.  Patients will now come directly to the main hospital building and the Radiology Department.


Gardner says the new MRI machine is manufactured by the Siemens Company, one of the world?s leading manufacturers of imaging technology and is comparable to the equipment found in the largest medical centers in Ohio.


?The first thing patients will notice about this new MRI is the comfort.  The feeling will be more like having a CT scan due to the wide bore and very short ?tunnel? reducing any sense of claustrophobia,? Gardner said.


The larger capacity of the MRI will also accommodate a wider range of patients, including heavier patients who would have had to travel out of the area for MRI imaging Gardner added.


Gardner says another advantage to moving MRI service to the main hospital building is improved access.  Inpatients needing MRI imaging can be moved comfortably in a wheelchair or in their bed to the Radiology Department and back to their room.  Up to now, a patient transport service had to be called to the hospital to transfer the patient from the hospital to the MRI building and then back to their hospital room, adding to the cost, inconvenience, and discomfort for the patient.


?The staff in the Radiology Department is excited to bring this important technology into their department,? Gardner said.  ?Patients will enjoy the friendly reception and personal service our Radiology staff offers to all their patients and can now offer to MRI patients.?


July 2009




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