Wide Open Spaces

Wide-Open-SpacesFrom the Fall 2012 Franciscan Focus

Janet Howard says she is “very, very, claustrophobic” and thus “very, very scared” when her doctor ordered a magnetic resonance imaging test to help evaluate a lumbar problem she was having after a fall. That was before she underwent the examination in the new open MRI unit at Franciscan Point outpatient health complex, which is under the auspices of Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point.

The doctor even gave me meds to calm me down before the test, but it didn’t help. I was still scared and started to panic. I felt like I couldn’t breathe,” the Roselawn resident said.

However, things soon improved.

The MRI tech, Paula (Baldner), was fantastic. She talked me through each step, calmed me down and it was nothing. I even fell asleep during the test, I was so relaxed,” Howard said.

Franciscan Point in July was the first health care facility in the area to offer the state-of-the-art, Hitachi Oasis open MRI , according to the company. Unlike closed units, which contribute to the claustrophobic feelings experienced by Howard and other patients, the open unit contains no narrow tunnels through which patients must pass, which helps reduce anxiety and discomfort.

Hospital president David Ruskowski is enthusiastic about the new equipment. “We are pleased to offer this new technology to the community. Although open MRI isn’t a new concept, this latest Hitachi technology offers diagnostic image quality that leaps beyond standard systems presently in use in this country.”

Howard is a believer. “I was petrified, but now, I would do (the test) again. It was a wonderful experience,” she said, adding she even has recommended the treatment to others.

When I was standing in line to get my MRI results, I heard a woman say she needed the test, but wasn’t sure where to go. I told her to go to Franciscan Point. The staff and the MRI there are awesome. I even call it my friend now,” she said.

For more information call 219.662.9500, or visit FranciscanAlliance.org/CrownPoint