New MRI machine signals recovery in Americus - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

New MRI machine signals recovery in Americus

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

AMERICUS, GA (WTVM) - Signs of progress are now evident in Americus, where more than three years ago, two people were killed, numerous buildings were damages, a hospital was destroyed.

Today, Phoebe Sumter Medical Center took yet another step toward rebuilding.

And that did not seem possible on March 1st, 2007.

An EF-3 tornado ravaged the town, causing so much damage to Sumter Regional Hospital, it had to be torn down.

Since then, a temporary hospital has been built, while a permanent replacement is constructed.

[CG :2 LINE CGDon FowlerSiemens, VP of MRI]

'The story that came from Sumter, at the time, was something that caught all of our attention," Don Fowler, VP of Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Siemens, said.

Community support and a flood of votes for a Siemens online contest made this day possible.

They won a state of the art MRI machine, worth about 800 thousand dollars.

"To see how the community brought each other together, and really tried to figure out how they could begin to put the pieces together was something nothing less than breathtaking to us as an organization," Fowler said.

The new MRI unit has already arrived and is already servicing patients at the hospital.

And while an all new Phoebe Sumter Medical Center may still be under construction, it is certainly a sign that the worst is behind them, according to Phoebe Sumter Medical Center CEO Keith Petersen.

"And in a way, today closes a chapter, not the book, but a chapter in that book because of the tremendous community involvement that came with the Siemens group and the MRI contest," Petersen said.

The new hospital is slated to open by the end of 2011.

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