Langley Memorial Hospital’s new MRI has already scanned 584 patients already, it was announced as hospital administrators, a patient, and local MLAs officially declared it open on Thursday.
“My experience there was nothing but good,” said Jessie Pears, one of the first patients who got to use the MRI, which began accepting patients shortly after being run through its final tests in December.
Pears described the MRI clinic as beautiful and spacious – and she mentioned that the outfit she had to wear for her session was also spacious, as it was one-size-fits-all.
The MRI is expected to do 7,500 scans a year, said Jason Cook, the executive director of LMH.
“Having an MRI in Langley Memorial is a game changer,” Cook said.
It means that ill patients won’t have to be loaded into an ambulance, along with a nurse as an attendant, and shipped to and from another hospital for an MRI. Now it’s just a matter of wheeling them down the hall to the elevator and then back to their room.
Last year, there were more than 73,500 MRI scans done in Fraser Health, which includes Langley, Cook noted.
But waiting for an MRI is one of the choke points for patients, who need a soft tissue scan to get a diagnosis before treatment or surgery.
“Waiting for medical tests can be stressful,” said Cook.
The new MRI is one of two locally that are aimed at cutting that wait time.
In November, Maple Ridge added an MRI clinic at its hospital, and Langley’s began operating in December.
The goal is for Fraser Health to exceed 90,000 MRI scans a year in 2021, Cook said.
“It represents hope for thousands of patients every year,” said Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation executive director Heather Scott.
“We know that early diagnosis means early treatment,” said Langley East MLA Megan Dykeman.
Andrew Mercier, NDP MLA for the Langley riding, said the new MRI machine will operate 16 hours a day, seven days a week.
The new MRI project was budgeted at $8.75 million, with $4.75 million from Fraser Health and $4 million from the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.