You may have noticed this puppy parked outside the hospital if you were driving to the Elementary School, or while walking the loop. You may have even been wheeled out there yourself if you were being cared for by our Imaging Staff. For those who didn’t know, contained inside is the WMC CT scanner.
Before diving into the conveniences or challenges with having a CT scanner separate from the main facility, and the need for an indoor home in the new building, let’s start by showing the old gal some love.
The date was Nov. 9, 2011. Pictured is our beloved Imaging Dept. staff cutting the ribbon, excited to be now offering WMC patients a step beyond X-Ray. Dr. Lynn Prysunka told the Wrangell Sentinel the scanner, “helps diagnose or rule out conditions that may have required patients to leave town, possibly by Medevac … a wonderful addition to local services.”
Ultimately, the scanner saves precious time and money. In the years prior to the trailer, patients may have to be sent to Ketchikan or Juneau just for diagnosis. This was not practical, for the patients or the WMC staff.
“At the time, it was amazing to receive the CT scanner,” said Ann Kramer, who heads up the Imaging Dept. “We’ve saved patients millions of dollars in Medevacs. Before, we’d just have to send them out.”
WMC was long overdue for this capability, and through the magic of grants, no local money was needed. Funding from the Denali Commission, Department of Agriculture and the Murdock Charitable Trust footed the entire bill, shipping all the way from Ann Arbor, Mich., included.
For six and a half years, the scanner has faithfully served WMC patients. Though, when the ribbon is cut on the new hospital, I’m not sure any tears will be shed when they eye-sore of a trailer isn’t parked outside. Being disconnected causes many challenges, be it the isolation from the rest of WMC staff and equipment, the elements from taking patients physically outside in the weather, or the distance between the trailer and the rest of the Imaging Dept.
The good news - Wold has a designated spot in the conceptual design for an in-house CT scanner. Not only do they have a spot for the scanner, but they’ll have designated rooms for all radiology services.
Gone are the days of a maze of connected rooms and a single shared bathroom. In the conceptual, separate rooms are mapped out for all services offered by WMC Imaging, not including the support area placeholder for more spaces, and each of those areas are equipped with bathrooms and/or changing rooms. Imaging will also be adjacent to the Sub-Waiting area, which will provide patients another location to gather in addition to near reception, and pass-thru hallways will provide ease of service to all areas of the campus.
It was a great day for WMC and Imaging when the trailer showed up and parked outside in the fall of 2011. It will also be a great day for WMC and Imaging when it’s gone and services are provided under one roof.