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MRI project on track: Diagnostic Services

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If everything works according to plan, Dauphin will have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) unit in Dauphin Regional Health Centre (DRHC) before the new year.
“We’re very excited to see the opening of the facility in around the middle of November,” said Diagnostic Services, Shared Health Chief Operating Officer, Petr Kresta.
The MRI unit is being manufactured by Siemens in Germany, he explained, and the addition on DRHC is being outfitted to receive the unit.
Kresta noted the MRI is a large, heavy piece of equipment that will be unloaded with a crane and requires precise co-ordination and planning.
“The exterior wall of the MRI building has to be opened up, so literally a single car garage door sized opening has to be made into the side of the building,” he said, noting it was part of the building construction plan to allow for that.
When the MRI is installed, Kresta said, there are mechanical and electrical connections, such as a water source, which cools the unit and a special chimney to exhaust gases at various times.
It takes about 12 to 16 weeks to manufacture and ship to a site that is fully prepared to receive the MRI, he said, and with the latest timelines, the MRI unit will arrive in October for installation.
After a period of testing and validation, plus purchasing some specific MRI-safe small equipment, such as stretchers and wheelchairs, Kresta said, it is expected the unit will be operational in November.
The process is already underway to fill positions with qualified staff and Shared Health, which Diagnostic Services is under, will provide training for successful candidates.
Kresta explained an MRI technologist receives training specifically for the unit.
“Prior to delivery of the MRI, there will be MRI technologists in the space, to ensure that everyone in the facility is appropriately made aware of how they should behave around the MRI,” he said, noting it is a powerful magnet and part of the training for an MRI technologist is to ensure safety around the unit for not only medical staff, but also facility services staff.
When it is fully operational, Kresta said, the target is to have three MRI technologists on staff in Dauphin.
He pointed out a new health care service such as an MRI will have a “ramp up period” where DRHC will not immediately begin with a full schedule of patients.
Once operational, Dauphin will become the second site, along with Brandon, in the Prairie Mountain Health region to offer MRI services and Kresta is pleased.
“Just really looking forward to seeing this project come to fruition and for the MRI services to become available,” he said.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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