Hospital: New CT scanner to be online in June

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The Memorial Hospital will add an expensive and important piece of equipment -- a new computed tomography machine -- in June, Chief Clinical Officer Bob Lindberg said Wednesday night.

CT, sometimes called CAT scan, uses X-ray equipment to obtain images from different angles around the body and allows radiologists to more easily diagnose medical problems such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.

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Last month, the hospital board approved purchase of a Philips CT scanner for $556,509 after researching the feasibility of such a purchase since February.

Two other companies, Toshiba and General Electric, presented bids to the hospital to provide a CT scanner.

Dr. Catherine Crow prompted the research when she told board members in February the current CT scanner, which is six years old, was antiquated and should be considered for replacement.

Lindberg said the new scanner should be installed by June 4 and online a few days later.

"We have dates now, so it's kind of exciting," he told board members during their monthly meeting Wednesday. He added, "We should be live sometime around the 8th or 9th" of June.

George Rohrich, TMH chief executive officer, said the hospital will need 30 days to uninstall the old machine and re-configure the room where it is located, in preparation for the new scanner.

In the meantime, the hospital will utilize a temporary unit for an estimated five weeks.

The hospital board unanimously approved Wednesday funding the mobile CT unit for about $26,000.

"I think we have to have a CT here," board member Don Myers said, and board members agreed.

Lindberg said the hospital has plenty of patients go through the CT scanner and that frequent use will help offset the added expense of the temporary scanner.

"It's definitely an expense, but we average right around $100,000 a month in CT scans," Lindberg said.

Rohrich has said in the past that a CT scanner is "one of the most expensive pieces of equipment (at TMH) ... but we believe it's important."

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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