Sycamore Shoals Hospital retires MRI machine, new system to arrive this Spring

Published 8:09 am Monday, March 9, 2015

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye  The MRI unit was lifted onto the bed of a flatbed trailer. From there, workers transferred it into the trailer for transport.

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye
The MRI unit was lifted onto the bed of a flatbed trailer. From there, workers transferred it into the trailer for transport.

Sycamore Shoals Hospital bid farewell to its old MRI machine on Friday in preparation for the new and improved system which will be coming into the hospital this Spring.

“This is a 14-year-old piece of equipment,” said Corey Paulson, director of marketing and communications at Sycamore Shoals Hospital. “Obviously it was time for a new system with updated software and better capabilities.”

The new system will provide doctors with better imaging which will in turn allow them to provide better care for the patients.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It can do more scans,” Paul said. “This new machine can doe abdomen and breast imaging, which we couldn’t do before.”

The new MRI equipment will not only have more technological advances, it will provide better patient comfort as well, Paulson said. The tube which patients must enter to have their scans completed will be larger on the new machine, which Paulson said will help those patients who suffer from claustrophobia be more at ease during the procedure.

With the machine which was removed on Friday, technicians were limited to doing “head first” only scans, Paulson said. That meant patients receiving an MRI scan on a knee, for example, had to be fully placed into the unit for the imaging to be completed.

The new MRI unit will have the capability for patients to be placed in “feet first,” Paulson said, adding that will also help to improve patient comfort.

“It will be a better experience for patients overall and better imaging leads to better patient care,” he said. “Patients who come here to Sycamore Shoals to get their MRIs done will be getting the most advanced MRI technology available in all of the Mountain States facilities.”

The cost for the new MRI unit was about $1.2 Million. “We are investing in the community and in caring for our patients,” Paulson said.

But, before the new unit can be installed, the old unit had to be removed. To get the old machine out of the hospital, part of an exterior wall, including some windows, had to be removed because the unit was too large and heavy to be moved any other way.

Once the wall was removed, the machine was placed on skids to help it better move across the floor. Crews worked to get the machine right to the edge of the opening in the wall.

From there, a crane had to be brought in to life the 11,500 pound machine from the floor. The MRI unit was hoisted by the crane and transferred to the back of a rollback wrecker truck.

Once on the back of the wrecker, the truck operator moved the flat bed to line up with the open door of a tractor-trailer truck. Workers then used skids to transfer the machine into the trailer for transport.

The whole process of removing the MRI unit and all of its supporting equipment, including a cooling unit which was removed from the roof, took more than two hours on Friday.

The old MRI unit was purchased by a company that will transport the unit to Florida and sell it to another medical facility.

With the old MRI unit out of the way, Paulson said some renovations must be made to the room which had housed the equipment before the new machine can be installed.

“The new MRI doesn’t come in until about the first of May or so, then it takes about 30 days to set up,” he said.

However, Sycamore Shoals Hospital will not be without MRI services, Paulson said.

“We are still fully functional and doing MRIs with our mobile unit,” he said.