New MRI Unit Arrives at Prowers Medical Center

MRI Transport into Hospital (Photo: Anna Bockhorn)

 

The long-awaited MRI unit, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, arrived at Prowers Medical Center this past Tuesday, November 16th.  Amber Rider, Project Manager for Prowers Medical Center, provided a detailed tour of the new offices and suites that will accommodate the 10,000-pound imaging unit and associated equipment.

Equipment Off-loaded from Crane Outside Main PMC Entrance

 

MRIs help providers diagnose various diseases and injuries, and they can also be utilized to monitor treatment plans.  MRIs enable a provider to evaluate an issue with your brain, neck or spinal cord, or to diagnose issues in your joints, chest, heart, abdomen or blood vessels.

 

 

Prior to the MRI arrival, PMC patients accessed a unit which was located in a trailer, parked adjacent to the building on the east side of the hospital.  This entailed braving the elements through the years to receive treatment.  The hospital board of directors approved the initiation of plans to replace the MRI unit that has been in use since 2008, as well as construct an in-house treatment area.  Contractors for the project were contacted in July 2020 and a press release from Prowers Medical Center in March, 2021 announced that construction for the imaging area and configuring several new offices would soon be underway.

Photo: Courtesy of Anna Bockhorn

While the final steps of preparing the heavy-duty crane and transport semi-truck were underway, Rider provided a tour of the new offices that were constructed to house the MRI as well as new business offices for hospital staff.  All of the construction work was done to the interior of Prowers Medical Center.  “Once the team has finalized the installation, testing and applications for the MRI unit and the team has become acquainted with its operation, the city building inspector will give his approval and we will be ready to accept patients by mid-December,” Rider explained.  She said the current team was already familiar with the workings of the current MRI unit which had been in operation for the past 13 years.

MRI Telemetry Installation

The quality of the imaging, the speed by which tests will be conducted and the improved comfort for the patients will all be a plus for the hospital.  Imaging Manager at PMC, Larry Booker, explained that the new MRI will be housed in a more home-like setting instead of the interior of a trailer.  “The bore of the unit will be much larger which will help ease any feelings of claustrophobia, and the décor has been designed to offer a feeling of comfort such as special lighting and ceiling tiles,” he explained.  He added,

”Our imaging team is extremely excited to have an in-house MRI unit with latest technological advancements, one of two technologists who will be performing MRI says this is what she has dream about since she started performing MRI in 2007. Imaging is still providing all services at this time with some scheduling modifications for some modalities including MRI as we bring new team members to the team. We are currently performing MRI on Tuesday and Thursday; nuclear medicine on Tuesdays; mammography on Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays and ultrasound, CT, and x-ray are still Monday through Friday.”

The readings from the MRI will be much more precise, Rider said, adding that imaging interpretations are still conducted by a facility in Colorado Springs, usually with a 24-hour turnaround and the MRI will benefit patients who use the unit for brain imaging, breast, cancer and soft tissue injuries for example.  “All of our imaging equipment has been updated over the past five years which includes three-dimensional mammography, our nuclear medicine camera, and CT scanner. and the MRI is the latest improvement to the department.

Booker said that while the time spent with the MRI will vary per a patient’s needs, the process will be faster, “Where it used to take 45 minutes for a general knee scan, the new unit will take only about 18 minutes from start to finish.”  He added, “Prowers Medical Center has the same equipment as a Level 1 Trauma Center.  Our nuclear machine, DEXA scanner and mammography unit are what you’d find in any big-city imaging center. Everything we have right now is as good — if not better — than what you’d find at larger hospitals.”

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarEmploymentEventsFeaturedHealth

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