As tears slid down Dr. Awie Du Toit’s face, he struggled to show his appreciation for the big news he had just heard.
On Friday at the Heritage Inn, the radiologist finally had reason to celebrate after it was announced the new regional hospital in Moose Jaw would be receiving a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) unit.
“This has been 15-years (of) waiting that has come to fruition,” Du Toit told the Times-Herald. “I came here 15 years ago and I came from a background where I worked with MRI. I was MRI-capable and MRI-trained, but I came to this community where there was no MRI.
“I had it on my wish list that one day we would have an MRI here and that it would make the perfect environment for physicians to practice.”
Although the MRI unit is not expected to be operational until 2016, Du Toit cannot wait to use the state of the art medical device.
“It will be a steep learning curve,” he added.
One person who it likely will not be a big learning curve for is Dr. Uzma Shaheen.
The recently recruited radiologist started an MRI program in Yarmouth, N.S., and still practices with the machines.
How you ask?
“Every three months she goes back to Nova Scotia to work on their MRI unit to keep her skills up while we don’t have one on site,” said Du Toit. “It’s quite an effort on her part to be ready for the MRI once it arrives.”
Shaheen was recruited to the Five Hills Health Region before news that the region would soon have an MRI, but Du Toit believes the new hospital and specialized equipment is an avenue for recruitment.
“It makes the recruitment of specialties much easier because … they all rely on MRI images, diagnostics and studies,” he said.
FHHR CEO Cheryl agreed.
“This means our ability to recruit and retain physicians and staff has just taken one giant leap,” said Craig.
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks
To read the full story from Friday's announcement of a new MRI click here.