Province announces $1.1 million for upgrades to MRI unit at IWK

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By Ruth Davenport - Metro Halifax

HALIFAX - The announcement of over a million dollars for upgrades to the MRI unit at the IWK had the hospital’s chief of radiology beaming like a kid on Christmas morning.

Premier Darrell Dexter talks with Cody Campbell, aged four, at the IWK Health Centre prior to a funding announcement on Wednesday.

“I can’t wipe the smile off my face today,” said Dr. Deborah Thompson at an event Wednesday. “This upgrade will mean a huge amount to us.”

Premier Darrell Dexter and MLA Leonard Preyra were on hand to announce $1.1 million for hardware and software improvements for the IWK’s 11-year-old machine.

“What this does is, it essentially creates a brand new machine,” said Dexter, adding that it was IWK staff who recommended the upgrades over buying a new unit. “With health care costs being what they are, we looked really hard at trying to make sure that we’re getting the best possible service at the best possible price.”

Thompson said the upgrades will allow doctors to perform more specialized imaging sequences faster than is currently possible.

“The MRI unit will go faster and make us more efficient,” she said. “So the least amount of time that a young child has to be in a claustrophobic-like environment that’s noisy is better.”

Lower Sackville parents Holly Redden and Joey Campbell told the small crowd an MRI revealed an aggressive form of brain cancer in their son, Cody, last September.

“Cody wouldn’t be with us today if it wasn’t for an MRI,” said Redden, as the four-year-old – now cancer free – looked on from his father’s arms. “We’re not sugar coating it, he wouldn’t be with us.”

The MRI unit performs 600 exams per month, and Thompson said the improvements will increase its capacity.

The total cost of the upgrades is just under $1.5 million. The IWK Foundation will also contribute about $370,000.

Organizations: IWK Foundation

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