A portable MRI machine from California has arrived at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Medical care in motion

In wake of ER flood, a portable MRI unit arrives to temporarily serve SMH patients.

A portable MRI is being set up at Surrey Memorial Hospital to temporarily replace one that may have been damaged during the Nov. 19 flood in the emergency department.

The mobile MRI will provide the same service as a stationary unit and was brought in to alleviate pressure on the hospital’s remaining seven MRIs, including one located at the nearby Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre.

The portable unit was trucked from California Wednesday, and will likely remain in use for three to five months at a rental cost of $100,000 per month.

The expense will be submitted as an insurance claim, although Fraser Health Authority spokesperson Roy Thorpe-Dorward could not confirm if it would be covered, saying if not, the machine will be funded by Fraser Health.

“The insurer will make evaluations,” Thorpe-Dorward said.

The temporary MRI unit’s first clinical use is expected to be in late December after a phased-in opening involving a diagnostic accreditation process to make sure it meets safety and quality standards. Construction work on a ramp to enable patient access to the unit in the parking lot is also underway, as are measures to ensure there is adequate heating and lighting.

Until it’s ready, outpatients and stable patients in hospital requiring MRI services will continue to be sent to the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre a few blocks away, while acute in-patients will access another site within the Fraser Health network.

In late November, Surrey Memorial’s ER department was closed for two weeks after a water line break flooded it under several inches of water. It reopened Dec. 3.

The cost of the flood – including restoring damage to the building and some medical equipment, lost supplies, and extra staff time – is estimated at between $2 and $3 million. That figure does not include any damage to the ER’s stationary MRI machine.

GE Canada has assessed the magnet of the affected unit and Fraser Health is awaiting its report. MRI shielding experts at ETS-Lindgren have also assessed the copper shielding containing the MRI, and those findings are currently under review as well.

 

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