Magnetic Resonance Imaging appointments, better known as MRIs, don’t appear particularly fun to have done.
Fortunately this reporter has never had to undergo one, but the very idea of sliding into a tiny tube for 15 to 90 minutes is enough to induce second hand claustrophobia.
That said, the fact an MRI machine is on its way to Lennox and Addington County General Hospital is a major reason to celebrate. As unpleasant as they may be, they really are non-invasive and can be a critical tool in diagnosing a whole host of ailments, from joint injuries to cancer. Though anyone who undergoes a scan has the potential to discover something very troubling, there’s peace of mind to be found in knowing exactly what is causing the discomfort. It also makes devising a treatment plan much more efficient and ultimately greatly increases the chance of a good outcome.
Those making the announcement did a great job of keeping it under wraps until last Thursday’s press conference. Most times when politicians invite media to make a ‘surprise’ announcement, the meat and potatoes of the big news have already been leaked to the press.
Sometimes days in advance, the odd time maybe a few hours, but more often than not when a reporter walks into the room to cover a special announcement, the gist is already known.
In this case, a simple email invite showed up in the inbox a few days ahead of the event inviting media to an announcement at the hospital, hosted by Hastings-Lennox and Addington MPP Ric Bresee. No other details were provided. Some 24 hours before the event, LACGH CEO Wayne Coveyduck phoned to double check the Beaver would have someone in attendance. That was a hint something big was to be announced, but still the actual purpose of the press conference was kept secret.
In retrospect, the fact the hospital was able to keep that secret is impressive. News of state-off-the-art technology coming to a community hospital like Napanee is exciting-at least as exciting as new medical equipment can be. While patients may not be particularly eager to line up for a scan, it sure beats the alternative of having to wait months and even then likely having to drive several hours to a completely different health unit just to lay inside a giant metal tube.
At Thursday’s announcement Coveyduck said once operational, LACGH’s MRI machine projects to see 5,000-7,000 patients a year from communities all around Greater Napanee. The province pledged funding to cover the operational costs of the MRI. That’s and important cost that often gets forgotten – it’s one thing to have an MRI in the hospital but without the operating dollars to staff and operate it, there is little benefit.
Recently, most headlines involving Ontario’s medical health system spell doom and gloom. There’s certainly work that needs to be done and one MRI machine won’t fix it-but it’s always nice to celebrate a major win. This announcement certainly qualifies.