Pullman Hospital new modalities allow for more local patients diagnosis

PULLMAN, WA - Pullman Regional Hospital recently installed two new modalities that will allow more patients to be diagnosed locally instead of having to drive all the way to Spokane.

Meet General Clank.

"This is my six and a half ton baby in here," said Pullman Regional Hospital Lead MRI Technologist Andi Gallagher. "The other one used to be Clink. I name my magnets."

This magnet is actually the new $1.5 million MRI machine, and the upgrade means that some of the latest imaging technology is right here on the Palouse . It can be used to diagnose everything from skiing injuries to cancer.

"It's more convenient for patients, it's more comfortable for patients," said Gallagher. "It is faster."

It's more comfortable because there's more room for the patient.

"So instead of a 60 centimeter bore, which is the standard, and a 350 pound limit, this is a 500 pound limit with a 70 centimeter bore," said Gallagher.

And because it takes clearer pictures in less time.

"The amount of quality is just unparalleled," said Gallagher.

Down the hall, the hospital recently installed a new modality for nuclear medicine.

"Actually, it's a CT and nuclear medicine machine and we call it a 'Spect Camera,' so we can produce nuclear medicine images and computed tomography images on the same machine," said Pullman Regional Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Director Darin Porter.

Nuclear medicine may sound bizarre, but all it really means is cellular.

"That helps us image things like heart," said Porter. "We can look at you thyroid gland, we can look at your bones."

Patients are injected with a small amount of a radioactive isotope so their body parts show up on the scan.

"That's the worst part of it," said Porter. "After that, you just get to lay here."

The scan itself may be boring, but having this type of machine on the Palouse is exciting news for the hospital.

Next on the hospital's list of upgrades is a brand new CT scanner.

The same MRI machine was also recently installed across the state line at Gritman Medical Center.