Out with the old, in with the new

Out with the old, in with the new

Groote Schuur Hospital, standing in the shadow of Devil’s Peak, is one of Cape Town’s largest and busiest hospitals. It is also a teaching hospital linked to the University of Cape Town, where many famous doctors, surgeons and nurses have been trained and where new medical personnel are currently being trained.

Old Groote Schuur Hospital, image courtesy of Danie van der Merwe

The original hospital was placed on the world map when Dr Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first heart transplant in December 1967. Another first for Groote Schuur Hospital was when the very first prototype Lodox full-body scanner was installed in the trauma unit in 1996 to test the feasibility of diagnostic, low-dose, full-body imaging. The next prototype was installed in 1999,and the first true Statscan was installed in 2002. This Statscan stood the test of time, reliably producing radiographs for the trauma unit for 12 years, until finally being retired in March 2014.

Lodox scanner timeline. Top left: original Lodox prototype; top right: first Lodox medical prototype; bottom left: Lodox Statscan; bottom right: new Lodox Xmplar-dr

The replacement Lodox scanner is the new Xmplar-dr. Many of the old features remain, but new functionality has been added. For example, the trolleys are no longer hydraulically raised, but now have electrical actuators which communicate with the scanner. Thus, the “smart” trolley can now be controlled from the operator’s console and raises or lowers automatically when changing from AP to lateral scan.

This Xmplar-dr is only the second such installation country-wide, the first being at the Harry Surtie Hospital in Upington, Northern Cape. The process of swopping out an older Statscan for a new Xmplar-dr was also a first for Lodox. The well-organised, well-co-ordinated and committed team of Lodox technicians managed to decommission the old Statscan in one day, and had the new Xmplar-dr in its place the following day. A bit more than a week of installing and commissioning took place, followed by training for the radiographers.

Unload, uncrate, install (images courtesy of Juanco Bosman)

We’re looking forward to continuing our long relationship with Groote Schuur Hospital, providing world-class radiography equipment unique in its ability to scan a full body in just 13 seconds at such a low dose. All this is backed up with a 24/7/365 service agreement to ensure maximum uptime for this busy hospital.

And the old Statscan? Well, it may yet get to live another day as a refurbished machine in a forensic pathology lab oneday.

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