The new 64-slice CT scanner at the Hargreaves Memorial Hospital after installation. Here, Janelle Henry (second from right), CT scan technician, explains the functions to (from left) marketing manager, Sandrea Dennis; financial director, Chetwynd Chuck; and senior medical officer Dr Azzard Comrie.-Photo by Tamara Bailey
Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Mandeville, Manchester:Recognising the need for technologically advanced methods of diagnostics, and an increase in the quality of health care given, the management of the Hargreaves Memorial Hospital has secured a 64-slice CT scanner, a step-up from the commonly used eight- and 16-slice scanner.
The machine, said to be the third of its kind in the island, along with a newly retrofitted CT scan room has seen an investment of more than $50 million dollars, and is expected to significantly boost patient care in the central region.
“The process of securing this scanner really began when one of our very own shareholders became ill and had a near-death experience. She had to travel overseas because the resources were not present here (in Jamaica) and upon her return thought one of these machines must be made available at the hospital, limiting the chance of having others go through what she had gone through,” stated financial director, Chetwynd Chuck.
With the ability to make more accurate diagnosis with better image quality, the new scanner, outfitted with the latest software, according to senior medical officer, Dr Azzard Comrie, also exposes the patient to less radiation and reduces the possibility for more than one scan.
“As the number of the slices get higher, actually what the machine does is (it) gives you far more detail in scanning, if you were to get, for example, one of the brand new ones like the 258-slice, it could pick up the bacteria on your hair … so the 64-slice is much more detailed than the16, and not only that, but it gives out less radiation.”
He continued, “This machine is able to do virtual colonoscopy. You have a few people who are scared of having tubes inserted into their colon, and so now we have this method. It can do cardiac imaging – straight imaging which looks at the vessels of the heart and gives what we call ‘calcium scoring’, which tells how wide the vessels are and gives an idea of the actual circulation to the heart muscles. Then, there are the more detailed images from CT angiograms … which will allow us to put in stents where people’s coronary arteries are closed to a certain level. This machine can do that.”
In addition to having acquired this machine, the revamped facility, with a new management team since 2006, is seeking to change the face of medicine with innovative ways of providing health care, with special emphasis on cardiac and neurosurgery (brain and spinal surgery).
“Hargreaves is not just a hospital; it’s a medical complex which seeks to provide holistic health for the public … . Our hope is to recruit more doctors with different specialities into the region and eventually into the Caribbean. Contrary to what persons may think, though it is a private facility, we are very much for the public as our costs reflect such. This facility is not for the affluent but for all,” ended Chuck.
Just recently installed, the machine is now fully available to those who require its services.