It’s faster. It’s quieter. And once it’s totally installed, Northern Montana Hospital’s new magnetic resonance imaging machine will help Havre doctors provide cutting edge treatment for years to come.
A month after the hospital brought in a new computed tomography scanner, another massive piece of imaging technology is being brought into the hospital.
The old MRI machine was lifted out through the roof of the building Friday morning, through the same hole it entered in 2003.
Before the new one goes in, contractors are working on installing aluminum supports to hold the nearly seven-ton imager and layers of copper shielding to ensure the greatest image quality.
John Rosenbaum, vice president of professional services and the hospital’s imaging director, said the improved imaging of the $3 million upgrade is only one of the many new benefits.
The staffs that run the imagers are going to be, over the next few months, joining multi-week training sessions to get up to speed on the new equipment and its bells and whistles.
“This is routine for Toshiba (the imaging manufacturer), ” Rosenbaum said. “It’s a major investment of time and money. We’re very excited to work with Toshiba. ”
Some of the new features include the ability to capture images of the heart, blood vessels and digestive system that were previously impossible. Rosenbaum said the new MRI machine will allow a new breast cancer-detection process that that has existed for “only a year or two anywhere. ”
The hospital is also installing new transformers, battery backup systems, and filling a room with 1,800 pounds of new computers.
“When you can scan a whole body in five seconds that's the kind of power you need, ” Rosenbaum said.
The new equipment will not only allow scanning in Havre that patients used to have to traverse the state for, but it makes it easier for Havre to share scanned images with healthcare providers elsewhere.
Though the prior machine was showing its age after ten years, Rosenbaum is confident that, with software updates, this level of care will both last and continue to improve for even longer.
“I see it lasting more than 10 years, ” Rosenbaum said.