St. Mary's General Hospital Foundation

Healthcare history at St. Mary’s: new MRI scans first patient

News Release

St. Mary's MRI
Kitchener, Ont. | March 26, 2024
St. Mary’s General Hospital celebrated a milestone moment for local healthcare this week after scanning its first patients with a new, donor-funded magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.
The first patient was scanned on Monday afternoon while three were scanned on Tuesday. More appointments were booked for Wednesday and Thursday.
St. Mary’s secured the MRI, a vital diagnostic imaging machine, following a multimillion-dollar joint fundraising campaign with Grand River Hospital that wrapped up last March.
The addition of St. Mary’s MRI means the Kitchener-Waterloo area’s 620,000 residents – a population that’s swiftly expanding – will have three operational magnets between the two hospitals. Strengthening access to MRI services means decreased wait times, faster diagnoses, and reduced travel burden on patients.  
“This is going to have a significant, positive impact on patients by increasing equitable access to care,” says Dr. Derek Karanwal, Joint Chief and Medical Director of Medical Imaging at St. Mary's and Grand River.
Home to the Regional Cardiac Care Centre, St. Mary’s was the only hospital in the region and only cardiac program in Ontario without MRI – until now.
Together with funding from the Ministry of Health for operational costs, the new donor-funded MRI machine will further enhance the cardiac program by allowing patients who require heart scans to have those done at either St. Mary’s or Grand River. e Kitchener-Waterloo community.”
St. Mary’s and Grand River will operate all three MRIs through an integrated program that leverages an established shared team of radiologists and administrative leadership. This integrated approach provides standardized imaging and improved efficiencies, which ultimately improves patient access and experience.  The MRI program at St. Mary’s will run Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. as of Tues., April 2 and will provide on-call services for emergency cases after hours.
St. Mary’s MRI is expected to complete roughly 4,500 scans in its first year.
“Our community has long anticipated additional MRI resources to support the growing need within our region,” says Natisha Lal, Administrative Director of Imaging and Nuclear Medicine at St. Mary’s and Grand River. “Having MRI capabilities here means in-patients no longer need to be transferred from St. Mary’s to have their scans. That not only reduces a lot of stress on patients, but also decreases strain on hospital resources as staff often had to accompany patients to their scans.”
The joint fundraising campaign between the two Kitchener hospitals raised $10 million to update MRI capabilities at Grand River and bring St. Mary’s its first MRI. 
“Scanning the first MRI patient at St. Mary’s marks a major milestone not only for our hospital, staff and patients, but for our entire community,” says Susan Dusick, President and CEO of St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation. “Our community recognized the importance of having access to multiple MRIs, and donors throughout Waterloo Region stepped up to bring this vital piece of equipment to our hospital. This is a very historic time for St. Mary’s.”
The MRI suite is named after Thomas J. Motz, the renowned community-builder who died of an aortic dissection at St. Mary’s in June 2020 at age 57. Tom held various volunteer leadership roles at the hospital, serving on the board of trustees for two decades and helping bring the cardiac centre to life in the early 2000’s.
“My dad came to view St. Mary’s as a second home. He took enormous pride in the hospital’s commitment to innovation, positive outcomes, and compassionate care,” says Tom’s son Chris Motz. “We are extremely proud to attach his name to this MRI suite. We know this will continue his legacy by providing cutting-edge care to the community.”
The MRI’s 8,200-pound magnet was craned into the hospital last month following seven months of construction on the 4,000-square-foot MRI suite on the first floor.
The suite includes the magnet room and control centre where staff will operate the machine, as well as waiting rooms, changing rooms and washrooms, a radiology reporting room and a technical processing and administration area.
St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation
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About St. Mary's General Hospital Foundation
St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated solely to generating financial support for the life-saving care provided by St. Mary’s General Hospital. Funds donated by the community through St. Mary's General Hospital Foundation go toward vital equipment, construction and resource requirements for St. Mary’s General Hospital which are not covered by or exceed funding provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health.   
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About St. Mary's General Hospital
Located in the heart of Kitchener, St. Mary’s is home to the Regional Cardiac Centre, Regional Chest Program and Regional Eye Program. As leaders in our field recognized globally for world-class, innovative healthcare, our vision of “Inspiring Excellence. Healthier Together” is not just about our approach to patient-centred care, it’s also about our commitment to our staff.
For nearly a century, St. Mary’s has provided compassionate care to our community serving over 1.4 residents locally and beyond each year. We are the second-largest acute care hospital in the St. Joseph’s Health System with a team of over 2,000 staff, physicians and volunteers dedicated to ensuring patients receive the highest-quality care possible.
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St. Mary's General Hospital Foundation

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