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Patients coming to Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will soon enjoy greater convenience, comfort and more highly detailed scan images to help guide their diagnosis and treatment.

The MRI replacement project is a partnership between Samaritan Health Services, North Lincoln Hospital Foundation and the North Lincoln Health District.

The foundation launched its community fundraising campaign last month with a generous contribution of $580,000 by the health district, and a $250,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, with additional donations being solicited. The total project is estimated to cost $1.6 million.

“I am so pleased to accept this amazing gift from the North Lincoln Health District,” said Cathy Sandoval, executive director of North Lincoln Hospital Foundation. “Convenient access to the latest medical technology is crucial to the health care of our community.”

The new state-of-the-art MRI will be located inside a small ancillary building to be placed near the Emergency Department of the new hospital, which opened on Feb. 4. On an average day, the hospital performs six outpatient MRI scans and one or two inpatient MRI scans.

MRI is a medical imaging technique that uses a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues inside the body. MRI services have been offered at SNLH for many years, in a small building located on the hospital campus. Planning for the new hospital did not include relocating the MRI or allocating space for a new MRI, as that would have been cost-prohibitive. However, the equipment will need an upgrade, so now that the new hospital is operational, focus has returned to the acquisition of this new MRI.

This project is in its initial stages, so many details are not yet finalized. However, it has been decided to purchase a Siemens 1.5T scanner, to replace the current GE equipment. The new MRI will have a larger diameter bore for improved patient comfort. Also, by placing the MRI next to the new hospital, the heat from the magnet can be captured using the hospital’s chilled water system and converted into heating or cooling, to reduce energy consumption in the hospital.

For information about the MRI project and how you can contribute, contact Sandoval by email at csandoval@samhealth.org.

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