The Bluewater Health Foundation has launched a two-year campaign to raise the $2.8 million needed to replace an aging Magnetic Resonance Imaging device for the health care provider.
About 7,000 MRIs were taken at Bluewater Health last year and since the machine was put into operation about 10 years ago, there has been what is described as "significant growth and improvement" in MRI technology.
Indeed, the current machine is about three years past the average life-expectancy of an MRI.
"An MRI is the most effective tool we have to diagnose and treat a variety of ailments and diseases," said Kathy Alexander, executive director of the Bluewater Health Foundation. "We are extremely grateful to all of the donors who supported the purchase of our first MRI. The Foundation is confident that, together again with the Sarnia-Lambton community, the funds required to purchase a new MRI can be raised."
Marilyn Williams, Director of Diagnostic Imaging at Bluewater Health, said a new MRI will translate into improved patient care, “The new technology will allow Bluewater Health to perform some examinations that are beyond the capabilities of the existing MRI, and that require our patients to travel to other centres."
One of those tests is for a test that is part of an expanded Ontario Breast Screening Program. Specialized neuro and paediatric examinations are also beyond the scope of the current machine.
A new machine will offer faster scanning time and a larger opening for patients—something that will enhance patient comfort for those who are claustrophobic or may need sedation.
In addition, risk of movement will be minimized with a shorter scan time resulting in improved image quality. And, while the current MRI table is stationary, a new safety feature on the new model includes a quick release dockable table that can be easily detached in the event of an emergency.
Dr. Rishi Duggal, Medical Director for Diagnostic Imaging at Bluewater Health, is at the helm of the acquisition team and has spent considerable time evaluating different MRIs.
Kathy Alexander, who recently replaced retiring executive director Liz Kenny, calls fund-raising for the new MRI critical, even more so because these costs are not covered by any government grants or subsidies.
"All new hospital equipment purchases are solely the responsibility of the hospital and community. However, Bluewater Health deems the purchase well worth the expenditure for improved patient care."
Dr. Duggal agrees. “We are confident that a new MRI will successfully enhance the breadth of services in our Diagnostic Imaging department. I am truly excited to know that with it, we will be able to provide a much broader range of examinations for our community!”