KAPAA — Lance Segawa, Hawaii Health Systems Corp., Kauai Region CEO, was excited when he learned of the release of $1.4 million in general obligation bonds by Gov. David Ige for improvements at the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital CT scan room.
“The installation of a CT Scanner at the Mahelona Hospital will greatly enhance the hospital’s diagnostic capabilities,” Segawa said. “Currently, a lot of patients are directed to the Wilcox Hospital because of the need for a CT scan that improves the accuracy of the diagnosis and treatment.”
Donna Washington, an image technologist at SMMH, described the difference between the current equipment and the new CT scanner as having more capabilities.
“The diagnostic we have can get photographs of broken bones,” she said. “The CT scanner goes beyond that and is capable of rendering surrounding areas of the body. This greater detail information is used to make more accurate diagnosis and better treatment.”
The improvement project is budgeted at $2.7 million, with the cost of the scanner coming in at $1.3 million.
“The room where the CT scanner will be located needs to be expanded,” Segawa said. “Adjoining rooms will also be worked on, with walls being removed and redesigned to accommodate the current diagnostic machinery as well as the new CT scanner.”
Additionally, the emergency room has plans to expand, starting with a new safe room that is expected to start construction in January.
“We’re excited about this new addition to Mahelona Hospital’s capabilities,” said Devon Crowell, emergency room manager. “A lot of the time, we’re needing to send patients to Wilcox Hospital for the CT scan. A lot of those scans come out negative, which means an extra, nine-mile trip that can be agonizing when you’re not feeling well. This addition is going to help the community, especially those patients who come in from the North Shore.”
Segawa added that having the ability to do CT scans also helps the patients who need to be moved to Wilcox Medical Center because the information is already there, eliminating the need for a CT scan when they get to Lihue.
“We spoke with people at Wilcox before making a decision on a scanner,” Segawa said. “We needed to know the level of the scans and the information we need to derive from scanning. This collaboration is important for patients — the same level of treatment at any of the three hospitals.”
Once construction starts, the project is expected to take about 12 months to complete.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island