WA Premier Mark McGowan has offered well wishes to the family of a Goldfields Aboriginal elder who shared personal news of a heartbreaking diagnosis at the official unveiling of a new MRI machine at Kalgoorlie Health Campus today.
- Premier Mark McGowan and Health Minister Roger Cook officially open the new MRI suite in Kalgoorlie
- It is the only public MRI machine outside of Perth
- The new technology is saving Goldfields residents from making a 1,200km round trip to Perth
The long-awaited magnetic resonance imaging machine has been used by more than 200 patients since the $6.3 million facility became operational in June.
Aboriginal elder Trevor Donaldson performed a Welcome to Country at today’s official opening ceremony and revealed to the crowd that his son had been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
“My son had an MRI at this hospital only last week and they found a brain tumour,” Mr Donaldson said.
“It’s close to Country and it’s a great thing for the Goldfields.”
Mr McGowan paused at the start of his speech to acknowledge Mr Donaldson.
“I know everyone here was saddened when we heard that news and wishes your family well,” Mr McGowan said.
The Premier said the MRI machine was a key election promise.
Peter Tredinnick, the Goldfields regional director for the WA Country Health Service, said the MRI machine had already becaome an invaluable resource since it came into use five weeks ago.
“For argument’s sake, yesterday we had a man who we weren’t sure whether he had suffered a stroke or not.
“By having the MRI, we were able to establish that before having to transfer him to Perth.”
200 patients scanned since June
Health Minister Roger Cook said an old archives room housing medical records had been transformed into the MRI suite, with the builders forced to knock down existing walls to install the machine.
“This high-tech piece of machinery had to be retrofitted into a busy, working hospital,” he said.
The project was delayed as studies were completed into how blasting at Kalgoorlie’s nearby Super Pit gold mine would affect the imaging technology.
Mr Tredinnick also revealed at the official opening that the machine’s journey from Germany had not been without drama.
“I had a phone call one morning from the redevelopment manager saying she had some good news and bad news,” he said.
“The good news is the machine is on the way on a ship.
“The bad news is it’s stuck behind the Evergreen, the ship that’s stuck in the Suez Canal.
“Luckily it only held us up for four days before the ship was able to get through and the team re-jigged the program so we could get the MRI open on time.”