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Blue Mountain Hospital Installs New MRI System, Building

JOHN DAY – Construction workers last week installed a modular building at Blue Mountain Hospital to house a new state-of-the-art MRI system.

Hospital radiology director Dan Goldblatt was pleased to see the installation get under way on July 2.

“This will be the most open MRI between Boise and Portland,” Goldblatt said.

He said the open-bore technology will make the MRI experience “a lot less claustrophobic,” adding the machine is faster than older models, 90 percent quieter and includes an audio system that allows patients to listen to their favorite music.

Part of the work included lowering the 8,000-pound Toshiba magnet by crane into the new building.

Because the magnet needs to stay cold, the job required careful planning.

Toshiba Project manager Johnnie White of Vancouver, Wash., said the magnet is filled with helium to keep it cold.

Helium is not only expensive and hard to find, he said, but also evaporates, making a fairly quick setup important.

Hospital CEO Bob Houser said the MRI system is financed by a bond through Special Districts Association of Oregon.

Additional MRI equipment expected to arrive in mid-July will complete the project, and Goldblatt said that, after testing, the system should be ready to use in August.


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