A radiologist observing someone getting put into a MRI
By Makenzie McNeill

The Eyes of UNMH

New Critical Care Tower to Include Expanded Imaging Capabilities

There is an imaging exam for nearly every stage of life.

The demand for the services that only The University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) provides continues to grow every year. That includes radiology, which is why, when the new Critical Care Tower opens in 2024, it will include expanded X-ray, CT and MRI capabilities.

UNMH is the state’s leader in radiology and imaging services, performing nearly 400,000 procedures each year. New Mexicans young and old, with conditions ranging from cancer to broken bones, come to UNMH to access these crucial services.

“We touch almost everybody in the hospital during their stay with us,” said Jane Potter, clinical director of Radiology. “There’s so much that we can do within Radiology. We are the eyes of the hospital, in many ways.

I’m excited for this upgrade. Bringing the imaging capabilities of our organization where they need to be to best serve our patients and support our staff is a step in the right direction.
Meaghan Carey Eiland, Executive Director of Radiology

“I’m excited for this upgrade,” said Meaghan Carey Eiland, executive director of Radiology. “Bringing the imaging capabilities of our organization where they need to be to best serve our patients and support our staff is a step in the right direction.”

Because of radiology’s central role in a patient’s care, imaging equipment will be strategically located in the Critical Care Tower to support all other critical care services.

The main imaging suite on Level 1 will house a combination fluoro-general radiology room, one computed tomography (CT) scanner, two magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines and two ultrasound machines.

In the adult Emergency Department one floor below, there will be two general X-ray rooms and two CT scanners. For trauma patients who need imaging even more quickly, portable X-ray machines will also be available.

New imaging equipment will also live in the interventional platform on Level 3. This includes four cardiac catheterization labs and six interventional radiology suites, where doctors perform minimally invasive, image-guided procedures.

Jumping to Floors 5 and 6, the new adult intensive care unit will also enjoy its share of imaging capabilities, including a C-arm (mobile fluoroscopy unit), a mobile CT unit and more portable X-ray machines.

Overall, the hospital expansion will dramatically increase the bandwidth of UNMH’s radiology services, doubling the total number of CT scanners (from five to 10) and adding two more MRI scanners to the four already in use.

“Having a larger footprint will make things better for patients across the board,” Potter said. “It will present challenges at first because it’s a big transition. But I believe that our community will embrace it. They know that we need this, too.”

The imaging spaces in the tower have been designed with staff in mind. Amenities like more breakrooms will ensure that radiology staff can receive the self-care that they need throughout the day. This will inevitably lead to more successful patient exams and less medical errors.

“I feel that we did a really good job of being the voice of our employees,” said Chris Wallace, clinical director for Radiology. “We made sure that we were designing a platform that will help their workflow and will make them comfortable.”

The UNMH Department of Radiology uses the most technologically advanced equipment to care for patients across the full spectrum of life, from newborns to those in end-of-life care.

This Critical Care Tower will help ensure that the eyes of UNMH can continue to watch over New Mexicans for generations to come.

“UNMH is the place where we are making a difference every single day,” Wallace said. “Growing our imaging services gives us the opportunity to better serve our community.”

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