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Ascension St. John gets first mobile PET/CT scan unit in Oklahoma

The Ascension St. John mobile PET/CT unit.
Provided by Ascension St. John
The Ascension St. John mobile PET/CT unit.

Ascension St. John is getting the first mobile PET/CT scan unit in Oklahoma, which will use advanced technology to serve patients in northeast Oklahoma.

St John has been without a PET/CT scan since 2017, causing them to have to send cancer patients out to other facilities. Liz Stamile, a nuclear medicine technologist with St. John, said this was challenging for such a large health system.

But this year, health care company Ascension gave St. John a mobile unit with a PET/CT scan.

The camera used in the scan is the most advanced on the market, and the scan time is 10 minutes or less, Stamile said. It can also detect smaller tumor sizes than its competitors

Stamile said it will bring convenience and comfort to the patient experience.

"A lot of patients are really anxious. We're here to soothe that anxiety in the experience. … There's lighting and patterns on the actual scanner that helps, kind of, distract and soothe,” Stamile said.

The scan can be used to track the progress of different diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The unit will be available at satellite hospitals in Owasso, Broken Arrow and Tulsa. Stamile said St. John hopes to start scanning patients in mid-January.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Jillian Taylor reports on health and related topics for StateImpact Oklahoma.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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