Recently the Wrangell Medical Center held a blue ribbon cutting introducing their latest medical device, a computerized axial tomography or better known as CT scan. But what exactly is a CT scanner and why should we be excited about. That’s what I found out from Radiology Technician Ernest Bliss

“Before we just did regular x-rays, this is much more progressive and you can see a lot more and a lot quicker than a regular x-ray,” he says.

The new device is a GE 16 slice Lightspeed CT scanner, which helps doctors diagnosis more accurately as well as view three dimensional images of internal injuries, such as in the neck, abdomen, and chest. Bliss says in the past these kinds of procedures usually meant an expensive and often time consuming trip to another medical facility.

“The doctors would be unsure and they would have to send patients to other locations, and now the patients don’t have to go to other locations and they can have diagnostic study done here,” he says.

“A CT Scanner in Wrangell is a really big advancement.” That’s Ann Kramer who works as the Radiologist Supervisor for the Wrangell Medical Center. Kramer says since the CT scanner was introduced in early July the medical center has done 105 scans and out of that 105, 60 of them were able to get diagnosed in Wrangell instead of being medivacted to a larger facility in Seattle or Anchorage.

“Now if someone has a head injury they can do a CT scan, prior to having a CT scanner they had to be shipped to have it done. It has a cleared a lot of people so they don’t have to be shipped out,” she says.

Kramer says the CT scanner has the ability to examine the pelvis, vascular system, and abdomen to name a few and says starting in January the radiology department will be offering bone density testing through the new software.

“I know there are a lot of women in the community who go elsewhere for bone density testing. So this will be a very big asset for the community to be able to do it here,” she says.

Currently the CT scanner is stored and operated in a storage van outside the medical facility. The Wrangell Medical Center plan to move the device to the new hospital facility once it’s built.
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