Hospital installs new CT machine

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Healthcare is advancing rapidly in Portales with the placement of a new Computerized Tomography Imaging (CT) machine at Roosevelt General Hospital this week.

According to hospital officials, the new CT machine has the ability to scan images five to 10 times faster than older machines.

“Scans will be more accurate and more comfortable for the patients so they can get through the exams faster,” said Laurie Johnson, a CT applications trainer for Toshiba.

Valued at over $1 million, the CT machine was purchased with a USDA grant-loan, provided through the Roosevelt County Rural Telephone Cooperative. The CT machine, a critical piece of equipment for the hospital, will pay for itself, because of it’s high usage, said James D’Agostino, RGH Administrator.

The Aquilion 16 Detection CT machine will be able to produce images of a patient that can be transformed into a three-dimensional image for viewing, said D’Agostino.

This ability allows the technicians and physicians to manipulate the images and read through them slice by slice, to help make an accurate diagnosis, said D’Agostino.

After the images are taken, they can be transferred electronically to radiologists in Amarillo for viewing. Turnaround for a diagnosis is much faster and more helpful for the physicians and patients, said D’Agostino.

“The importance (of the machine) is to get a good diagnosis in order to get the patient to the facility or doctor to treat that diagnosis,” said D’Agostino

The CT machine is used in emergency and trauma cases, said D’Agostino. In an emergency situation, a diagnosis can be made much more quickly than before. This in turn, helps to treat the patient much less invasively than before, said D’Agostino.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” said Dr. Raymond Ortiz, RGH emergency room physician. “It makes diagnosis a lot easier.” “The quality of care will go up and we can do an awful lot of diagnosis in the ER we couldn’t do before,” Ortiz said.

The state of the art machine has the largest opening that is offered in the industry and the capacity to hold up to a 480 pound person, said D’Agostino. The CT machine also has a longer table and a patient can be placed on the table, to go in either head first or feet first.

Radiology technicians at the hospital are currently being trained to run the new machine. This training, will allow a certified technician, to be on call 24 hours, seven days a week, said D’Agostino. D’Agostino also said that with the addition of the new CT machine at the hospital, patients will not have to travel out of the area for tests. Studies can be conducted at the hospital here in Portales, rather than other facilities, he said.

“An advancement in technology, with better diagnosis and faster treatment, it just improves care,” D’Agostino said.