Leak halts MRI machine

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MRI machine run by Great Southern Radiology.
Camera IconMRI machine run by Great Southern Radiology. Credit: Laurie Benson

The region’s only MRI machine is out of action until March 18 after a water leak at Albany Health Campus.

The water leak happened late on Friday night or in the early hours on Saturday morning, and while the machine is still working correctly, the room in which it operates in could have been compromised.

Great Southern Radiology chief executive Glen Marshall said they noticed a drip on Saturday and brought a specialist team down from Perth for an inspection.

“The machine sits inside a very large copper cage ... to ensure that radio frequencies don’t come into the room and the ones we are creating don’t escape the room,” he said.

“When you have a floor that is made of chipboard, which all MRI rooms are made off, if that gets wet and swells, the integrity of that copper room is suspicious.

“For people that need an MRI there are two strategies for the meantime. You either have a CAT scan or an ultrasound which we traditionally did before MRIs were invented, or if you really need one we are providing bulk-billed services at our sister practice in Perth. This is just a fact of living in a remote or regional town and we are very fortunate to have a fantastic piece of equipment but unfortunately it is very sensitive.”

Experts will fly into Albany to work on the room. The facility is expected to be fully operational by March 18.

A WA Country Health Service spokeswoman confirmed there had been a moderate water leak at the hospital.

“In line with the WA Country Health Service’s unwavering commitment to patient safety, technology housed within the area will now undergo a safety review. This includes the facility’s MRI machine,” she said.

“In the interim, WACHS is providing alternative imaging pathways for patients and working with Great Southern Radiology where appropriate noting there are currently no urgent cases waitlisted for an MRI. WACHS is confident there will be minimal impact to patient care.”

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