PRH medical imaging technologist Shawn Kisch (right) demonstrates the abilities of the new permanent MRI on test patient Nadia Wojcik. (Contributed)

Permanent MRI machine at PRH will result in shorter waits, faster diagnosis

The new machine is the first of its kind to be installed in a Canadian hospital

The Penticton Regional Hospital now has a permanent MRI machine offering service in the David E. Kampe Tower.

Once this new equipment is fully operational, patients in the South Okanagan-Similkameen will benefit with shorter wait times and faster diagnoses as the hospital can now perform 5,000+ scans each year. In addition, this latest version of Siemens’ Sola MRI is the first of its kind to be installed in a Canadian hospital.

According to a release from Interior Health, expanding the number of MRI suites in IH is a key part of the provincial diagnostic strategy. A total of 27,219 scans were performed across IH in 2018-19, an increase of more than 30 per cent from the 20,726 scans done in 2017-18.

READ MORE: Foundation notes: Attention turns to Phase 2 of Penticton hospital

The release states that the new equipment was scheduled to begin service at the time of the new tower opening, but was delayed due to issues with flooring in the MRI suite. During the delay, which has since been resolved, IH and contractor EllisDon secured a mobile MRI machine that performed 650 scans over the three-month time period.

Charlene Ferguson, a Princeton resident, was one of the first patients to receive an MRI on the new permanent machine on Aug. 6. She was referred for an MRI to determine if any further follow-up was needed for her right ear that was damaged last summer.

“You want to get to the root cause of the problem,” said Ferguson, who was impressed with the new MRI service. “The facility is amazing—ultra modern and really cool. It kind of felt like I was stepping into a scene from Star Trek.”

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