There is much about modern American healthcare that is controversial, but few doubt that scientific advances have made amazing strides in diagnosing and treating ailments. Advanced imaging technology is an essential workhorse of diagnostic medicine, with even small rural hospitals now able to peer inside patients with remarkable clarity to see exactly what is going on.

Patty Hardin, a longtime Observer contributor and stalwart supporter of the Ocean Beach Hospital Foundation, wrote last week about the initiative to upgrade OBH’s antiquated CT scanner. We heartily endorse this effort.

Steve Curry, a CT technologist at OBH, told Hardin that the hospital is overdue for a better scanner.

“Our current scanner is the second-oldest Phillips scanner in the state of Washington,” Curry said. “Scanners usually have an average of a 6 to 7-year lifespan, and we’re going on 12-13 years. It has far exceeded its life expectancy, but it’s been a good scanner.”

OBH is an impressive and accomplished medical facility, particularly considering our relative degree of isolation at the southwestern tip of Washington state. Making the most of its financial resources, the Ilwaco hospital is acquiring a high-quality “new-used” scanner.

Reconditioned, or refurbished, scanners are trustworthy. “The scanner coming to OBH is a 4- to 5-year-old scanner,” Curry said. “Probably a large facility had it and wanted to upgrade to the newest, greatest thing, and traded it in. This goes back to the factory. It’s completely stripped down and comes out totally retested. They check every nut and bolt on the thing. It looks like it just came off the showroom floor. But they sell it at a fraction of the price since it’s reconditioned. It is 100 percent functional.”

Will the new CT scanner be more reliable than what we have now? “Yes. That’s my hope,” Dr. John Dawson, medical director of the OBH emergency room, told Hardin. “I’ve worked at bigger centers in the past and we had the higher, better equipment. Refurbished is not bad.”

“Even the techs have used other ones are really ready for the new scanner because of increased resolution and increased speed. Both very good things to have,” Dawson said.

The OBH foundation, filling a vital role in terms of community fundraising and general support for the hospital, has been leading the charge for a newer scanner.

“The Ocean Beach Hospital Foundation is thrilled to be able to help purchase this much-needed CT scanner for Ocean Beach Hospital,” Kacia Lessnau, Ocean Beach Hospital Foundation president, said. “We are working hard to reach our goal of raising over $200,000 and the community has really stepped up with donations, but we still have a ways to go. We are still accepting donations.”

Donations may be made via:

• Calling 360-642-3181.

“Every donation helps us reach our goal, and we thank you for your support,” Lessnau said.

OBH does a good job and will do an even better one with this enhanced ability to non-invasively see what is happening inside us when we are brought in for care. This is an eminently worthwhile community investment that we all should support.

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