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Thanks to a lot of hard work by transportation and installation crews and hospital staffers in two states, a storm-battered New York medical center can offer imaging services to patients over the Christmas holiday season.

Superstorm Sandy heavily damaged New York University Langone Medical Center in Midtown Manhattan, one of the city’s top academic medical facilities. The hospital is reopening in stages with the help of several Federal Emergency Management Agency grants—including one for nearly $25.9 million earmarked for, among other things, replacing MRI and CT scanners.

Dean and Chief Executive Robert I Grossman, MD, told the New York Times the storm could eventually cost the hospital $1 billion. Floodwater destroyed lots of expensive equipment, including four MRI scanners, all in the basement. Restoring scanning ability was a crucial step in bringing Langone back online—and generating critically needed revenue.

DOTmed News tells the story of how a 1.5-tesla mobile scanner made the 630-mile trip from Chelsea, Michigan, where Chelsea Community Hospital personnel worked overtime to get their own scanner operational in a new building four days ahead of schedule. Chelsea then relinquished its lease on the machine a few days early.

That allowed the scanner to be trucked to New York in time for it to be installed and certified by health inspectors before the holidays.

Kathy Brubaker, executive vice president for patient care services at Chelsea, said:

We knew it would be a bit of a stretch for us. However, when we thought about everything the patients and staff and community of NYU have been through, we said, ‘We can handle this. We can make it work.’ So we did.

The scanner left Michigan at 10:30 a.m. and arrived in New York shortly before midnight the same day. The truck drove right through Langone’s foyer (clearing the doorway with three inches to spare on each side) to the courtyard.

Wooden beams spread the load, keeping the 65,000-pound scanner from crashing into the basement below. Workers spent four hours repeatedly disassembling and reassembling the beam structure as the truck maneuvered the scanner trailer into place.

Langone expects the trailer to remain for up to a year while it figures out a permanent radiology setup.

“The people in the area will have MRI to come to in the holiday season, which is a tough season,” said John Vartanian, owner of Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Medical Imaging Resources, a mobile medical company that supplied the scanner. “People get sick quite a bit then, and staff is low, so they need that service.”

Related seminar: UCSF Musculoskeletal MR Imaging

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