A group that travels the world helping patients with extreme deformities and cancer was in Nashville on Tuesday to pick up an important medical device that could change lives.
The Mercy Ships organization prides itself on caring for those who lack basic healthcare. For their upcoming mission to Africa, representatives were in town to get a type of CT scanner that is available at most American hospitals.
The devices will help cancer patients when it arrives at its destination across the Atlantic.
"Some of the surgeries we do are extremely complex and lengthy," said Velnosky, a biomedical engineer with Mercy Ships.
The CT scanner will be used on patients who've never had medical care in their lives. Some have had tumors they've been afflicting with for decades.
"What starts as a small growth on the gum may end up as a large tumor that suffocates them at some point in their lives," said Velnosky.
The group estimates that about 30 to 50 percent of people in west African have never been examined by a doctor. Patients with birth defects, which are common, are often cast out from society.
"We at one point had an infant who had a tumor on their head that was bigger than its head, and we successfully removed that," said Velnosky.
Mercy Ships looked at companies around the world and chose AllParts Medical of Nashville to service their older model CT scanner that kept breaking. The company then offered the group a newer version.
"This one is much more efficient with a better image quality," said AllParts Medical VP operations Frank Lewis.
Patients in the past whose conditions were too risky to treat now might be able to have care from doctors.
"This technology is state-of-the-art and enables us to do what we could never do in those countries," said Velnosky.
Employees from that Nashville company will make the trip to install the scanner on the boat.
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