Newly installed CT Scanner improves patient care onboard the Africa Mercy currently in Pointe Noir, Congo

from Mercy Ships
Published on 30 Sep 2013

17-year-old patient with large facial tumor benefits from updated technology on Mercy Ships

Pointe Noir, Congo, September 30, 2013: A recently installed CT Scanner onboard the Africa Mercy is providing improved free scans for surgery patients in Pointe Noir, Republic of the Congo, where the hospital ship is docked until next summer.

One patient who benefitted was a spirited 17-year-old named Grace. Her facial tumor had been growing for nine years, but she had no access to healthcare treatment to remove it prior to visiting the Africa Mercy. The new CT Scanner provided critically needed scans that enabled her surgeon to successfully remove the huge facial tumor.

The new CT Scanner is greatly appreciated on board the hospital ship. “The reconstructions on the head and especially the internal auditory canal, providing detailed pictures of the inner ear, are night-and-day improvements over the old scanner,” said Mercy Ships volunteer Radiation Technologist, Jeremiah Harvey.

“This improvement will insure better image capture, minimizing patient movement anomalies, and will shorten the time a patient is required to be on the table. This helps patient comfort and procedural expediency, and we are able to move patients through the process with far less discomfort. The images are better quality than those from the previous machine,” Harvey said.

This CT Scanner was purchased “at cost” from All Parts Medical, in Nashville, TN, which has provided CT Scanner support to Mercy Ships since the launch of the Africa Mercy in 2007. The new scanner was shipped to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, last June and was installed onboard the Africa Mercy while the vessel was in shipyard for annual repairs and inspections. Surgeries began onboard the hospital ship in early September, putting the scanner into immediate use.

“Our new GE VCT 32Pro CT Scanner provides better quality images, while allowing us to gather greater detail in a much shorter time. This is especially helpful for young patients who are unable to hold still for very long,” stated Tom Velnosky, Senior Biomedical Systems Engineer for Mercy Ships. “This upgrade will prove to be one of the most significant improvements to our diagnostic radiology program in years,” he added.

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Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1 billion, impacting more than 2.42 million direct beneficiaries. Each year Mercy Ships has more than 1,600 volunteers from more than 45 nations. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. For more information, click on

Caption: Mercy Ships' Radiological Technologist Jeremiah Harvey prepares to examine Grace in the new GE VCT 32Pro CT Scanner. Baufray Kouloungou (right) assists with translation. ©Mercy Ships/Debra Bell (HIGH RES AVAILABLE)