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Local radiology tech welcomes new state-of-the-art CT scanner 

Mee Memorial Hospital acquires new scanner for improved imaging

– Diagnostic imaging has taken a huge technological leap forward within Mee Memorial Healthcare System, located in King City, following the acquisition of a state-of-the-art Toshiba 128 Slice CT Scanner.

While most hospitals use a 32- or 64-slice scanner, Mee Memorial’s new 128-slice machine represents a significant advancement for southern Monterey County patients.

“It’s fast, it’s efficient, and for patients with claustrophobia, it’s a breeze,” said Edgardo Ferrer, radiology manager at the hospital and a Paso Robles resident.

It now takes only 10 seconds to scan the chest, abdomen, head, or neck areas, reducing scanning time by half. The new model has a similar operating system to the previous equipment, but it has more options for altering and improving images. Images are produced immediately and can be manipulated, if needed, to achieve the correct angle, with clarity and resolution dramatically improved.

Additionally, patients are now exposed to much less radiation through the use of dose-reduction software.

While X-ray is still sufficient for more clear-cut and superficial wounds, such as broken bones, those images are only 2D. When something deeper or more complex is involved, a Computed Tomography (CT) scan could be required. A CT scanner is actually slicing an area into 128 thin images and then assembling them again for a very defined, 3D-image, making it much easier to visualize difficult-to-see places.

The Mee Memorial Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Department is equipped with X-Ray, MRI and CT images. MRI and CT scans have similar uses, but they produce images in different ways. A CT scan uses X-rays, whereas an MRI scan uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves. CT scans are more common and less expensive. MRI scans can produce even more detailed images.

“The old scanner was a 16-slice machine so upgrading from 16 to 128 slices — the resolution gained is dramatic,” said Ferrer. “Before it took around 30 to 40 seconds to complete a scan. Patients are often surprised by how quick this one is. By the time they start to count to 10, it’s over! It saves time, produces better images, with less radiation; it’s a great offering and such a gift to have this state-of-the-art equipment here in our area,” he said.

Ferrer and his radiology department colleagues are all CT-trained. His training comes from time in the service, where he trained in radiology at the Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego. His on-the-job training started at Lemoore Naval Airforce Base but, as his family home was in Paso Robles, he applied at Mee Memorial 10 years ago and has been with the organization ever since. In addition to Ferrer, over 50 Mee Memorial Hospital workers live in Paso Robles.

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