What happens after funding?
The journey to St. Mary’s first MRI
Three months of designing, seven months of construction, thousands of work hours between builders, engineers, electricians, administrators and consultants.
That’s what it took to bring an MRI suite to Kitchener’s St. Mary’s General Hospital following a $10-million investment from the community last year.
The massive project began in early 2023. By the end of March 2024, St. Mary’s will see its first cardiac MRI patient.
“It’s very exciting to be a part of building the first MRI suite at St. Mary’s,” says Rick Smith, Director of Engineering Services and Redevelopment at the hospital – and a former cardiac patient.
“It’s hard to believe we’re a Regional Cardiac Care Centre and we didn’t have a specialized cardiac MRI.”
Location, location, location
Rick has overseen planning for the MRI suite, which began with deciding where to put it.
The area needed to be big enough – roughly 4,000-square feet to house not only the magnet, but changing rooms, washrooms, waiting areas, a radiology room where results will be read, a control room for staff to operate the machine, and a breakroom. The area also needed access to an exterior wall that could be knocked down to get the machine in via crane.
Space on the first floor, near St. Mary’s cardiac clinics and diagnostic imaging department, was chosen. To ensure it could bear the weight of the 8,200-pound magnet, the basement underneath was reinforced with steel beams.
Inside the magnet room, the walls, floor and door have been lined with copper to prevent the MRI’s radiofrequency from disrupting electronics within the hospital.
Making a difference
For Rick, a Kitchener-Waterloo resident, watching the construction progress over several months has been rewarding.
“This MRI suite is going to make such a difference to all the patients in the community,” he says. “I can’t thank donors enough for supporting this project.”
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 lifesaving 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.
For more information, visit supportstmarys.ca
About St. Mary's General Hospital
Located in the heart of Kitchener, Ontario, St. Mary’s is an adult acute-care hospital and Regional Cardiac Care Centre. Serving Waterloo Region, Wellington County and beyond, St. Mary’s has an established reputation for providing quality, compassionate and innovative care. The hospital’s cardiac team provides more than 4,800 cardiac catheterizations, 825 cardiac surgeries and 425 pacemaker insertions every year. St. Mary’s patient-centred approach to care is augmented by a strong and dedicated team of more than 325 volunteers who contribute nearly 40,000 hours of service a year in 100 unique roles and programs.
For more information, visit smgh.ca