Lufkin hospital through the roof over equipment upgrade

Lufkin hospital through the roof over equipment upgrade
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - CHI St. Luke's Health Memorial in Lufkin installed a new MRI machine today, but what's special is the unique way they did it.

By removing a skylight, crews were able to lower the 11,000 pound machine into place, using a large crane capable of holding several times that amount of weight.

And why a missing roof may look rare to someone walking by, hospital officials say it's more common than you think.

"We actually built this center so that we can come through the roof. These things are very heavy, doorways have to be very large for them to go through and 11,000 pounds plays havoc on most flooring materials," said Bill Malnar, Director of Imaging Services and Radiology at CHI St. Luke's Memorial Health.

It's a project that's been in the works for a while and came with a price tag of $1.4 Million. And while the old MRI machine was removed weeks ago, hospital officials say patients didn't suffer.

"We actually have a second MRI at the Temple Imaging Center, very nice technology and we brought in a mobile unit, just so we were going to be able to take care of the patients as we needed to during the interim," Malnar said.

And as for what prompted the upgrade?

"The old machine was about 15 years old and 15 years is a very long time when it comes to technology. We were still getting very good images out of the old machine, but there's always advancements, there's always something better," Malnar said.

And the something better directly benefits patients requiring examinations that will use an MRI. The new equipment is what doctors call an 'Open-bore system'. That means instead of being closed, the machine is built with a larger opening than usual. And a larger opening benefits patients who suffer from claustrophobia.

The machine now sits in the W. Temple Webber MRI Center.

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