Cooper Clinic Gets New State-Of-The-Art Equipment

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Cooper Clinic in Fort Smith is home to a new state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) machine. The machine arrived early Friday morning.

To get the new machine inside the facility, it took a crane, a floating dolly system and a handful of men. That's because it weighs several tons.

Doug Babb, the Chief Executive Officer at Cooper Clinic, said they decided to purchase the new machine to better suite the needs of its patients.

"This is a brand new piece of equipment," Babb said. "Instead of people scheduling out a week, we'll be able to get them in the same day."

Babb explained that patients are having to wait to use the current MRI machine. He said that once they've installed new machine they will be able to get patients in much more quickly. Cooper Clinic estimates that after the new technology is installed, they will be able to run tests the same day.

In addition, the new MRI system features a wider hole, which will give patients more room inside the machine while tests are being run. In particular, the new machine will ease the minds of patients who suffer from claustrophobia, Babb said.

"It's going to allow us to get heavier patients in," Babb said. "Some of our patients are claustrophobic and this will allow people to have the test run and not feel so frightened about the examination."

Babb explained that patients tend to be worried enough about just having to have the tests run in the first place.

"It is scary because this machine is used for diagnostic purposes," Babb said. "People are ill and so they want to know right away what the results are and this way you'll get the tests done hopefully the same day, which will give our patients peace of mind."

In total, the new MRI system cost Cooper Clinic $1.8 million.

Before the machine is fully up and running, engineers will be testing its performance. The new MRI system will start being used for patient diagnostics by February.

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