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TCHC installs new CT machine

The mobile MRI unit that’s been parked in front of Tri-County Health Care the past couple weeks isn’t cause for alarm. It’s a sign of progress.

The hospital was replacing its six-year-old CT (computed tomography) scanner with a more advanced device that offers speedier imaging and limits radiation exposure. The new unit debuted Wednesday.

“(The CT scanner) is a heavily used piece of equipment for our emergency department,” said Joel Beiswenger, TCHC president and CEO.

To ensure continuous availability of the device, which uses X-rays to create detailed images of the inside of the body, TCHC parked a mobile CT unit in the bay usually reserved for the mobile MRI machine, which was temporarily relocated to the parking lot.

CT scans are a non-invasive way to assess trauma victims and assist diagnosis for a wide range of non-emergency conditions, such as cancer and heart disease.

The new 128-slice (128 slices of information in each rotation) scanner produces 3D images in seconds, providing more detail in less time - and with less radiation exposure - than the 16-slice device it replaced.

“We’re doing everything we can to reduce the radiation our population is exposed to,” Beiswenger said.

The new CT scanner is the most advanced in the region, officials said.

“It will put us ahead of our competition,” said Judy White, clinic administrator.

By the end of the year, TCHC also plans to replace the mobile MRI unit with an MRI machine within the hospital, Beiswenger said.

The diagnostic equipment upgrades, he said, are a part of TCHC’s effort to continuously “invest the profits back into the organization for the benefit of the community.”