Thank Walmart for the MRI

Published 8:26 pm Friday, November 23, 2012

Three cheers for Main Street Walmart! And four cheers to the generous people who shop there!

Why? Because, thanks to the store and its customers digging deep, the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters has been able to purchase a second magnetic resonance imaging scanner.

This year, the Suffolk store raised the highest amount of any Walmart in the nation in a companywide effort to raise money for local children’s hospitals.

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A grand total of $83,580.23 was raised at the North Main Street store, and, judging by the pile of $1 (and perhaps even larger) bills in an incubator near the customer service window Wednesday, they’re not content to rest easy just yet.

At CHKD Tuesday, medical staff explained how the second machine will benefit sick and injured children.

Like with most medical procedures, there’s a wait to get an MRI scan at the hospital, sometimes up to 30 business days.

With the second and more powerful machine, however, doctors hope to reduce that wait to 10 business days. “They will both be running at the same time,” radiologist John Conery said.

Unlike CT scans, MRIs use no radiation, Conery said, making them much safer for children whose growing cells can more easily be damaged.

MRIs also result in images with much finer detail. The extra detail comes in handy when imaging complicated parts of the body, like feet, which have many different small bones.

Entering the MRI chamber is like preparing to board a plane at the airport. Anything metal has to be removed from the body, and one of several questions on a form asks whether one’s eye has ever been speared by a sliver of steel.

The powerful magnetic waves used by the machines would be problematic, I guess, for any eye containing a residual shard of metal, and a belt buckle would be drawn across the room by an irresistible force.

Despite these unnerving scenarios, 11-year-old Katharina Martin of Virginia Beach was fairly cool and relaxed about getting imaged Tuesday.

She’d injured her foot while running, the second time she had done so and had to go before an MRI.

It’s reassuring to know that many of our corporate partners such as Walmart are proactive and sincere in giving back to their communities. Next time your child crashes his or her bicycle in the driveway, it’s worth thinking about.