First Mobile MRI Systems to be Sent to Afghanistan Theater
Navy News Service
Story Number: NNS110608-24
From Navy Medicine Public Affairs
FORT DETRICK, Md. (NNS) -- Naval Medical Logistics Command (NMLC) announced the award of a contract for two mobile Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems to Philips Healthcare June 7, to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury of wounded warriors in Afghanistan.
The Navy has been working closely with the Army and Air Force to field an unprecedented MRI capability for deployed forces as part of the overall comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating concussive injuries.
The procurement of the MRI systems has been a joint initiative between NMLC's technical and operational partners including: Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, U.S. Army Medical Material Agency, Chief of Mobility Command, the Veterans Administration, and the Army's Rapid Equipping Force.
While there is no clinical requirement for MRI systems in battlefield trauma care, they will be informative and may lead to cutting-edge discoveries in the diagnosis, treatment and enhanced follow-up care for wounded personnel with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
"The acquisition of an MRI system for use in a combat theater is something new and provides some interesting challenges but it's amazing to see those challenges being overcome so quickly," said James B. Poindexter, commanding officer of NMLC. "This is a complex and unprecedented acquisition issue and our team is working hard to field this equipment as soon as possible while ensuring it will do the job we intend it to do, taking care of our men and women in uniform close to the battlefield."
According to Poindexter, the MRI systems destined for Afghanistan are unlike anything commercially available. The units need to be self-contained, requiring that they be designed from the ground up to account for the many unique and challenging working environments that will be encountered in combat theater such as vast temperature differences, fine blowing sand and power issues. They must also meet size and weight requirements to be capable of being airlifted into theater.
"We are taking prudent measures to ensure successful deployment of this important equipment by late summer," said Poindexter. "We continue to aggressively address every element involved including engineering, logistical and technical issues."
The contract to build the MRI systems was awarded to Philips after a competitive, best value acquisition process.
"We are honored to help improve access to care by bringing advanced medical technologies to Afghanistan as part of our longstanding efforts to support soldiers and veterans," said Joe Robinson, senior vice president, Government and Enterprise Solutions, Philips Healthcare.
NMLC is the center of logistics expertise for Navy Medicine, designing, executing and administering individualized state-of-the-art solutions to meet customer's medical material and healthcare needs. Headquartered at Fort Detrick, Md., NMLC supports the U.S. Navy with acquisition and logistics systems training, healthcare services strategies, operational forces support, medical equipment and logistics solutions, acquisition management, deployable platforms and eye wear fabrication. NMLC has responsibility as technical manager of the Navy's Direct Healthcare Services Contracting Program and has formal agreements with the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard to provide medical logistics and materiel management information and medical mobilization planning assistance.
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