Helmand’s largest hospital introduces new MRI capabilities

Posted: October 18, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Story and photo by Cpl. Timothy Solano

The MRI center that was recently opened in Helmand province is an invaluable asset to the base's concussion rehabilitation care center, which treats wounded servicemembers for head injuries. The MRI is to be fielded in order to detect brain trauma, specifically after explosions in a combat environment.

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – The Role 3 Hospital aboard Camp Bastion, Helmand province, celebrated the opening of its first magnetic resonance imaging scanning center Oct. 15 during a brief ceremony just outside the hospital.

The machine will enhance the hospital’s ability to diagnose and care for servicemembers who have experienced a variety injuries, to include concussions, traumatic brain injury and other head injuries.

“This machine adds diagnostic capability to our concussion rehabilitation center so that servicemembers with anything from concussions to serious head injuries can be scanned,” said U.K. Lt. Col. Martin Bell, deputy medical director for Regional Command Southwest. “This can ultimately provide us with a much better idea of how to treat them.”

By design, the MRI is an advanced sort of X-ray machine. Using radio waves and magnetic fields, the machine produces transparent images of organs, bones and musculoskeletal tissue inside the body.

The arrival of the MRI scanner gives hope to leaders that it can deliver a more in-depth treatment of injured servicemembers in theater.

“Everything we do here at Camp Bastion is in an effort to provide the highest standard of care that we can to our wounded warriors,” said U.K. Royal Navy Cdr. Carol Betteridge, Role 3 Hospital commanding officer. “Not only will this help us with an increased clinical capability but it will be able to provide us with any sort of research that we may need while treating a patient here.”

The MRI center was ceremoniously opened for business with the cutting of a ribbon, conducted by Betteridge and Maj. Gen. John A. Toolan, commanding general of RC(SW). Following words from Toolan and the cutting of celebratory cake, the MRI center became operational.

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