Magnet for new MRI moved into Nanaimo Regional General Hospital

WatchThe $5.5 million project will reduce wait times for MRI scans while providing enhanced detail for clinicians and surgeons.

Construction workers, using a crane, carefully moved a heavy magnet into Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Tuesday morning.

The 12,000-pound (5,440 kg) magnet is a crucial piece of a new state of the art MRI for the hospital.

“There’s a lot that goes into it. That was the fastest lift I’ve ever been a part of,” said Jesse Cote, Superintendent of Western Medical Inc.

“It’s full of helium so if it tilts one way or the other it’s got a risk of blowing off or quenching.”

Island Health says the sophisticated medical imaging technology will benefit patient care and reduce MRI wait times.

“It’s very exciting. We’re getting our second MRI installed and that’s going to lead to improved ability to provide MRI services to central Vancouver Island,” said Brent Carson, a radiologist and clinical head for MRI at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

The machine includes technological advancements that will increase scanning efficiency and allow for automated corrections in less than ideal exam situations. This will lead to reduced repeat exams and improved patient experience.

“We’re going to be able to scan MRI in 3-D,” said Carson. “It will allow us to do some heart scans that we currently do but it will allow us to give more information to the clinicians.”

The total cost of the project is $5.5 million with $3.3 million provided by the Province of British Columbia through Island Health and $2.2 million provided by the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District.

In 2018/19 NRGH’s diagnostic imaging department performed 11,264 MRI’s, nearly 2000 more than in 2017/18.

Island Health says the MRI, will be operational by April.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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