No MRI services at JDWNRH as lone machine gets defunct
Patients wanting to avail Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) services from the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) will have to wait till January next year so that the lone and the old MRI machine at the hospital gets upgraded.
It has been a month since the hospital stopped providing MRI services. The lone MRI machine is not only old, but does not function well with occasional breakdowns too.
The Medical Superintendent of JDWNRH, Dr Gosar Pema said the hospital stopped the MRI services because the machine needs to be upgraded.
“The machine has been used for 13 years; surpassing the 10 years mark of function limit issued by the manufacturing company,” he added.
Dr Gosar Pema said alternative methods are used to diagnose the patients such as CT scan in emergency cases and that patients who are severe and need MRI services at the earliest are sent to Siliguri in India with the hospital (JDWNRH) bearing the charges for MRI and travel expenses of the patients as well.
The Head of Biomedical Department, Ms.Prapha said the discontinuation of the MRI services was also due to low helium level leading to power fluctuations.
“The discontinuation is for the wellbeing and safety of the patients. The machine is worn out and we felt the need to upgrade it. The hospital is in the process of sending the MRI machine for maintenance and by December it is expected to function as usual,” she said, adding that they are communicating with the counterparts in India to try to solve the problem as soon as possible.
She further said it is not necessary for MRI machine to diagnosis simple diseases unless the case is extreme and that machines such as CT scan, ultrasound and X-ray can suffice the method of diagnosis and investigation of diseases.
Dr. Gosar Pema said the government has specifically allocated certain budget for the maintenance of the machine.
“As there is not a single maintenance expert to fix the problem in the country, therefore, JDWNRH has to rely on expertise from other countries. This is why it is taking time,” he added.
On the other hand, the registered list of patients wanting to avail MRI services has been increasing.
A diabetic patient, who doesn’t want to be named, said it has been a week since he registered for MRI checkup.
“I am eagerly waiting for the machine to be fixed,” he said.
Another patient, Namgay said, “Though the MRI checkup is closed, the hospital still register our names. This is a positive sign for steady up gradation.”
However, the JDWNRH management assures that the MRI machine and services will be available by January 2019.
Meanwhile, MRI scanning uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. It’s an extremely accurate method of disease detection throughout the body and is most often used after the other testing fails to provide sufficient information to confirm a patient’s diagnosis.
The MRI scan is also helpful to diagnose other abnormalities such as trauma to the brain in the head, brain aneurysms, stroke, tumors of the brain, as well as tumors or inflammation of the spine, besides getting valuable information on glands and organs within the abdomen, and accurate information about the structure of the joints, soft tissues, and bones of the body. It is said that surgery can be often deferred or more accurately directed after knowing the results of an MRI scan.