Going to the hospital typically isn’t at the top of anyone’s list, and once you’re there, the last thing you want to do is jump back and forth between various clinics for your care. Up until recently, however, Grays Harbor Community Hospital inpatients in need of an MRI had no other option but to take an ambulance to an off-site imaging center for their scans. That hop is no longer necessary. With the introduction of Grays Harbor Community Hospital’s new mobile MRI unit, hospital patients no longer have to bounce between facilities — they can get their MRI and other medical care all at one convenient location.
Grays Harbor Community Hospital’s Director of Imaging and Cardiopulmonary, John J Simon, III, says there are a lot of reasons why patients may need an MRI. From strokes and shoulder pain to spinal injuries and more, MRIs are used to detect many kinds of conditions, especially, involving soft tissue. Because MRIs take scans at the cellular level, MRIs can differentiate between normal cells and diseased cells, which is important in cancer cases, and they also illustrate cell interaction with the brain, which is critical for patients who have experienced a stroke.
Simon says by having an on-site MRI, Grays Harbor Community Hospital will be able to provide better service to both their inpatient and outpatient populations by providing everything they need on location. But, more than just saving Grays Harbor Community Hospital patients a trip to the imaging center, Simon says the hospital’s new on-site MRI equipment will be also highly advanced.
“The mobile MRI scanner is a newer machine,” says Simon. “It’s superior in its detail and the time it takes to do an exam.” While clearer, faster scans are great from a medical standpoint, the efficiency of the new machine is also a bonus for claustrophobic patients who would rather be anywhere else than inside a tube for an hour. Time spent in the machine varies depending on what part of the body is being scanned, but overall, Simon says scan times in the new MRI unit are shorter.
While the technology behind the MRI unit is complicated, in layman terms, Simon says the difference between the new MRI unit versus older models is similar to that of last century’s tube televisions and the newer LED screens of today. “You have a lot more clarity,” he says. And, this is important. With clearer, brighter scans, doctors are better able to read the results of the MRI.
The MRI unit at Grays Harbor Community Hospital is currently on a trailer, which makes transporting the unit convenient. However, by early next year the hospital will transition the unit from its trailer to a comfortable and relaxing fixed location in the hospital. However, while being able to move the MRI can be convenient, it also limits some of the functionality of the machine, which is another reason why the hospital looks forward to the MRI unit’s new permanent location.
In addition to the availability of MRI at Grays Harbor Community Hospital, Simon says there are a lot of other treatments people can receive from GHCH. Some of these treatments include quick procedures like back injections for chronic pain, injections for migraine headaches, and many other exams that are provided from a full range Imaging Department of GHCH. Simon says, “We want to be a one-stop shop for all of the harbor’s imaging needs.” The hospital is even looking into other services they can provide once the new MRI unit is installed in the hospital. The hospital staff are currently discussing whether or not to offer breast MRIs, which could save many Grays Harbor residents a trip that takes them out of Grays Harbor.
Grays Harbor Community Hospital’s new MRI unit is just another example of how the hospital is committed to providing the community with outstanding service and quality care. If you would like to learn more about Grays Harbor Community Hospital and the many services it offers the community, visit Grays Harbor Community Hospital online or call them at 360-532-8330, for Imaging information call 360-537-5161 and scheduling call 360-537-5045.