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Posted: March 21, 2014

Giuliano pushes for improvement to MRI access

Cold or heat and a complete lack of privacy while people are decked out in in-patient apparel while accessing and leaving the mobile MRI unit has spurred City of Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano to seek some improvements.

In a recent email to members of the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District (KERHD) board of directors, Giuliano suggested something should be done to the MRI access at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital (EKRH).

Fernie Mayor and KERHD Director Mary Giuliano
Fernie Mayor and KERHD Director Mary Giuliano

“I had the occasion to accompany someone to the regional hospital to have an MRI test done. I couldn’t help but notice that the people getting tested have to go outside of the building in order to get into the trailer hosting the MRI equipment. They have to go out into the elements wearing only the cotton hospital gown.”

Giuliano said a recent board discussion concerning the EKRH Intensive Care Unit and hospital electrical upgrade prompted her to think further about the problem.

“My comment is that considering the amount of monies being spent on improvements to the hospital wouldn’t it be prudent to purchase some type of canvas covering or else to build a structure that protects the individual’s privacy and protects them from the cold and heat?” she stated, adding, “I understand this is a small issue but it is important to the individuals who had to step into the cold air this past week. It is also small enough that it could be addressed and make a difference to the many who need an MRI.”

Giuliano’s suggestion was passed along to KERHD Chair John Kettle and KERHD chief administrative officer Lee-Ann Crane who forwarded the query to Interior Health’s director of business support Todd Mastel.

He replied shortly after: “Access changes to the MRI trailer are not part of the scope of EKRH ICU/Electrical Project or of the recently approved MRI upgrade project. The current covered and heated walkway for accessing the MRI trailer was designed for keeping the patients ‘inside’ as much as possible given the physical constraints of moving patients from a fixed structure to a mobile vehicle. That being said, people have to go outside the covered walkway to get into the MRI trailer in all weather; it is approximately six feet distance from the covered walkway door to the staircase up the MRI. Patients will now be offered warm blankets to protect them from the cold while walking between the building and the trailer. Previously they were available upon request,” Mastel said.

The suggested solution of providing blankets didn’t satisfy Fernie’s Mayor.

“Yes, they will now offer warm blankets, yippee!” She exclaimed.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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