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Hospital to add $2.1M MRI machine
[August 06, 2008]

Hospital to add $2.1M MRI machine

(The Meadville Tribune, Pa. Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 6--Good things don't always come in small packages. Sometimes they come in really, really big ones, as will be the case Aug. 17 and 18 when a 150-foot-long rig delivers a crane that will be used to install a new life-saving, high-tech, magnetic resonance imaging system at Meadville Medical Center.

During that two-day period, drivers should expect traffic delays throughout the Meadville area.

The new more powerful MRI, a General Electric HDi 1.5T, 8-channel, state-of-the-art imaging system, will be assembled using a 180-foot-tall, 500-ton crane that will be delivered on a 150-foot-long trucking rig -- one of only two trucks of its size in the United States, according to Duane Koller, director of marketing at MMC.

In addition to the rig, throughout the two-day period, a convoy of about 15 tractor trailers will pass through the area, delivering components for the crane and sections of the building that will house the self-contained MRI system.

According to Koller, transportation arrangements for the super-sized rig have been anything but an easy task. The rig, which will soon be headed this way from Milwaukee, will have to take a very long detour through Kentucky because Ohio has weight restrictions which do not permit it to pass.

MRI technology uses magnets and radio waves to produce pictures of organs and other internal body structures. It's a non-invasive diagnostic test that may reveal problems to doctors that aren't visible using other imaging methods.

Currently, Meadville Medical Center operates two MRI suites, according to Terry Beck, director of radiology services at the hospital. And to maintain that level of care, the hospital has already made arrangements for the changeover interim.

The open MRI at the Liberty Street location will continue to be operational throughout the installation of the new unit, as will a mobile MRI unit that is being brought in and set up at the hospital's Grove Street location, according to Beck. This will prevent any interruption of services to the community.

Plans are set for the older, self-contained, 1.5 T MRI scanner system, currently in use, to be disassembled and removed on Saturday. For safety purposes, the Liberty Street loading dock will be inaccessible. It will also be closed again Aug. 17 and 18 while the new system is being installed.

The MRI/Liberty Street surgical care unit entrance and the helicopter pad at the hospital will also be closed Sunday, as well as Aug. 17 and 18. Patients who require helicopter transport will be transferred to the Port Meadville airport in Vernon Township by ambulance, according to Beck.

There are many advantages to the new $2.1 million MRI unit, Koller said, including reduced exam times and "a larger tube" which provides added patient comfort. Many exams will permit the patient's head to remain completely outside of the magnet bore.

The new MRI system is expected to be fully operational within several weeks after installation, following completion of adjustments and calibration tests.

Penni Schaefer can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at

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