New mammography unit at hospital

Published 7:19 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2012

CEO Billy Walker, center, wields the scissors to cut the ribbon inside the Memorial Hospital Women’s Center, as hospital staff, foundation and board members, and representatives of the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce and community representatives look on.|Carolyn Iamon

Memorial Hospital staff, foundation and board members held a reception on Tuesday morning to introduce the new digital mammography unit recently installed in the Women’s Center of the hospital’s Radiology Department.

Digital mammography is a specialized process that uses digital receptors and computers instead of X-ray films to examine breast tissue and screen for breast cancer. This type of screening is also used in stereotactic biopsy procedures. The technology is a spin-off from that developed for the Hubble Space Telescope.

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A Chamber of Commerce-sponsored ribbon cutting preceded an opportunity for those in attendance to view the new equipment and hear an explanation of its usage and benefits from radiology technician Natasha Powell and Dr. Jerjis Thomas Alajaji, radiologist.

Opening remarks from Charles Tyson, chairman of the hospital authority, as well as from CEO/Administrator Billy Walker, stressed that Memorial Hospital is fortunate to be able to offer the latest, state-of-the art digital mammography procedures.
Walker stated that those seeking mammography cannot find any better equipment or procedures than those offered at Memorial Hospital. He said it is equal to that offered at any large city hospital.

He and Tyson both expressed gratitude for the hard work of the Hospital Foundation, who hosted a successful Derby Night on April 14 to raise the funds necessary to purchase the new equipment. Approval was given by the board at the January 2012 meeting to purchase the G.E. Goldseal Senographe DS Mammography system at a cost of $286,672, plus a five-year service plan of $195,150.

According to information supplied at that board meeting, the American College of Radiology, the Society of Breast Imaging and the American Cancer Society all recommend that patients receive a screening mammogram annually. The board had also been advised that many of the hospital’s existing mammogram patients had been opting to schedule appointments at facilities offering the digital mammography, and they hoped to recover some of those patients. The digital system is thought to be more reliable and more comfortable for the patient.