Dr. Mike Concannon, ER Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Dr. Ed Hardy, Oncologist, MLA Eric Foster, Dr. Adam Weathermon, Head of Radiology and Dr. Curtis Mohamed, Medical Representative for VJH Foundation. (Photo: Min Sidhu)

Cutting-edge MRI machine comes to Vernon Jubilee Hospital

As of Friday the $7-million machine is fully operational

Patients in Vernon and throughout the North Okanagan will no longer have to travel to Kelowna or Kamloops for an MRI scan.

The Vernon Jubilee Hospital has been testing out its state-of-the-art MRI machine since it arrived in early September, and on Friday, the machine became fully operational.

“It’s a cutting edge MRI and it can do a lot of exams in significantly less time than traditional scanners, and it’s also larger than some of the other magnets in the area,” says Dr. Adam Weathermon, head of radiology at the Vernon hospital.

According to Weathermon, the machine is a Siemens 1.5T Sola MRI, and it’s just the fourth one to be installed in Canada. Between the machine itself and the MRI suite it lives in, the cost of the project was around $7 million.

Penticton also has an MRI that’s just become fully operational as part of its tower expansion, in place of a mobile machine that came to its hospital on a rotating basis.

With the new high-speed scanner, the hope is that wait times for MRI scans will decrease in the area.

“The MRI in Kelowna has been very busy and so wait times have been a problem,” says Weathermon. “I think the additions of a permanent new MRI in Penticton and Vernon is really going to improve access, and that means shorter wait times for patients.”

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, half of the patients in B.C. who are in need of a scan wait an average of 44 days, while the average wait time for patients in the 90th percentile is 214 days.

While the machine only became fully operational on Friday, it’s been scanning between 10 and 15 patients a day over its month-long training period.

“The technologists were getting used to the machine and just basically fine tuning everything, but we’re doing real scans and it’s been going very well so far,” says Weathermon.

It’s a significant piece of equipment to add to a radiologist’s toolkit to say the least, and Weathermon is excited to be able to provide patients with the treatment they need without having to travel far.

“It really gives the doctors here the tools that they need when they have patients who need evaluations of their joints, their brain, their spine, their cancer,” he said. “So it’s very important for us.”

READ MORE: ‘It’s never too early’: B.C. women urged to speak to their doctors about breast cancer

WATCH: Canadian doctor says blowback to meat study is ‘hysterical,’ more discourse needed


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tronson Road in Vernon closed next week

A portion of the road will be closed to traffic while crews upgrade water service utilities

Vernon Performing Arts Centre goes ahead with bursary program amid COVID-19

Vernon-area students urged to apply for three $1,000 bursaries to pursue education in performing arts

Vernon business restores faith in humanity for houseboat fire victims

Community kindness leaves out-of-province father in tears of appreciation

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Mitchell’s Musings: Hockey’s comeback begins in earnest in August

Sports is back. Well, at least sports in a bubble is back.… Continue reading

Penticton man wakes to wildfire, forced to evacuate

A wildfire sparked off the side of Highway 97 near Penticton on Thursday

Anti-gang cops probe Kelowna’s street-level drug trade over B.C. Day long weekend

CFSEU’s Gang Enforcement Team was deployed to Kelowna last weekend

Man allegedly wielding knife at Kelowna Superstore arrested

The 29-year-old Kelowna man has been released on strict conditions for a future court date

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Most Read