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Brockville Hospital performs first scan on long-awaited MRI machine Wednesday

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The Brockville General Hospital (BGH) used its long-awaited new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine for the first time on Wednesday.

The machine will provide Brockville and the surrounding region with crucial medical imaging. Previously, patients would have to travel to Kingston, Perth or Ottawa to receive their MRI's, each more than 50 kilometres away.

The construction of the suite was the first of its kind in Ontario. It was constructed off-site, then installed as an extension in March.

"We've been waiting for this moment for a long time," said BGH's president and CEO Nick Vlacholias.

"Today we get to see our first patient, and it's just an incredible feeling for the organization, for the community, and for our patients here."

The suite also has some unique features, including ceilings with scenic details in an effort to calm patients before and during their scan.

A unique feature of Brockville's new MRI suite includes ceilings with scenic details in an effort to calm patients before and during their scan. (Jack Richardson/CTV News Ottawa)

There is also a magnetic detector right before entering the imaging room that acts as a failsafe in case a patient has their phone or keys with them.

MRI machines are used to diagnose medical conditions such as abnormalities of the brain, tumours, cysts and soft-tissue injuries. The cost to install the machine was pegged at $6 million when the Ontario government announced it would be investing in the technology in the fall of 2021.

The hospital says it will start accepting MRI referrals later this summer.

"It's going to take us a little bit of time to get into the phased approach and to be fully operational," Vlacholias said.

"I think by the fall, we should be fully operational."

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