The new Terrace MRI is up and running, taking its first patients and now being worked in at Mills Memorial Hospital.
Giving quicker access to people across the north, the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) was bought by Northern Health along with one for Fort St. John and an upgraded one for Prince George.
It will save northern residents a trip to Prince George or Vancouver, and the machine arrived in Terrace early-July.
It’s undergoing “application testing,” said Northern Health public affairs officer Eryn Collins.
“It’s not training per se,” she said. “Real patients are obtaining real scans.”
But the difference is that right now, patients are being booked based on which area of their body needs to be scanned.
“So one day they will do a head day and all of the scans will be of the head. Then the next group of patients will have abdominal scans,” Collins explained.
It’s done that way for two reasons, Collins said.
“One to make sure that the programming and the protocols of the machine are running optimally,” she said, adding that representatives from the manufacturing company, Siemens Healthcare, are on site as well.
Secondly, “it gives the technicians an opportunity to become really proficient on that machine in looking at those specific regions of the body,” Collins said.
The application testing started Aug. 8 and wraps up Friday Aug. 18, when patients will begin to be booked normally based on timing and urgency.
The new MRI cost a total of $2.87 million, including renovations. The cost was covered 60 per cent by the provincial government and Northern Health, and the other 40 per cent will be raised through property taxes by the local North West Regional Hospital District, which runs from Haida Gwaii to Houston.