With the addition of a new CT scanner, MercyOne Dyersville continues to combine the latest equipment with top-level care for Dyersville and the surrounding area.
The new scanner was unveiled to the public during an open house Jan. 23.
MercyOne Dyersville Director Amy Phelps explained the reasoning for the new scanner. “Making this new technology available here in Dyersville answers a health care need in our community.”
Phelps said before the acquisition of the CT scanner, patients traveled to Dubuque or elsewhere for CT scans. “This is life-saving technology for people having any type of brain injury such as a stroke.”
Phelps said in the case of a stroke, fast action is critical. “Time is very important. Our goal is as soon as a patient notices a change in their symptoms they present to the emergency room for care. We can get them here and get them scanned in approximately 30 minutes.”
Ischemic strokes occur when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is obstructed. They account for 87 percent of all strokes. Phelps said results from the scan can help facilitate the treatment of an ischemic stroke more quickly.
“If it’s an ischemic stroke, we have the medications available so we can immediately start treatment and then get them transferred to either Dubuque or Iowa City for their next level of care,” Phelps said.
CT technologist Emily Stelken explained the process. “Once we complete the scan, we send images to our radiologists in Dubuque. We can have the report read and back to us within half an hour.”
Funding for the scanner came from several sources, including a grant from the Helmsley Foundation, the Dyersville Health Foundation and community donations. Phelps said costs for the project are close to $1 million, with the CT scanner itself costing $400,000. Initial plans began a year ago, while work on remodeling an existing area to house the scanner began in August 2019.
The scanner is located near the x-ray and emergency room areas. Since becoming fully operational in December, close to 20 scans have been completed, according to CT technologist Nichole Clemen.
Clemen said the new scanner offers another advantage. “With the newer software and newer equipment, these are safer, lower dose CT scans that use less radiation to get optimal imaging.”
“We are really excited to provide this service in Dyersville,” Phelps added. “It’s a move to have as high a quality of care as possible in our community.”