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Doctors takes delivery of MRI unit at new Valley Cancer Medical Center
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Workmen ease a new MRI imaging unit into a wide doorway in the front of Doctors Hospitals new Imaging Center easing it down onto rollers on a steel plate adjacent to the new cancer treatment center facility. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Doctors Hospital of Manteca took delivery of a multi-million dollar Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) unit gift Tuesday morning that was installed in the new Imaging Center next to the Valley Cancer Medical Center still under construction.

The Imaging Center on Norman Drive in Manteca’s Spreckels Park is one of three buildings making up the campus with one building set aside for doctors’ offices.

The Hitachi MRI was shipped from Japan to a Southern California port in Long Beach and trucked to Otis, Kansas, where it was charged with helium to make it operational.  Mayflower Transit driver Kevin Kirkland picked up the 18-ton unit there on his flat bed 18-wheeler and headed for Manteca.

Kirkland said he had left Kansas Friday afternoon and was held up overnight by a snow storm in Winslow, Arizona, arriving in Manteca Tuesday morning where DHM administrators, gathering with CEO Mark Lisa, watched the unloading of the unit with a massive crane across from an existing two story medical facility.

Hospital spokesman Eric McMurtrey said the current MRI unit at the hospital will continue to meet the needs for emergency room patients, in-house patients and outpatients.

McMurtrey noted that there are many benefits to having a second MRI unit for the residents of the greater Manteca community and the region as a whole with new applications being developed with ongoing research.

The total body can be imaged with the Open MRI that is said to be effective in evaluating a long list of conditions from brain disorders and cardiac malformations to blood flow disorders, tumor detections to eye abnormalities and traumatic injuries.

MRI images are formed when signals emitted by body tissues are processed by software and turned into clinical images.  Safe magnetic fields are generated in a combination with radio waves of a specific frequency.  Differing tissue characteristics are translated into contrasting images.

A normal procedure takes some 30 minutes being a noninvasive procedure with no known side effects or after affects.  The procedure is painless with only a slight knocking noise reflecting the unit’s operation. 

A PET/CT scan unit has already been installed in the new facility patients.  The PET unit will for used for cancer detection and the CT scanner will be used as a compliment to the PET as well as for routine CT exams.

One North Carolina medical center administrator was quoted as saying their “Hitachi Oasis” MRI unit has “essentially made our Open MRI services limitless.”  She said patients “are able to tolerate its wide open design very well and the image quality is exceptional.”