Hospital Needs Your Help to Win MRI Machine - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/31/07

Hospital Needs Your Help to Win MRI Machine

Sumter Regional Hospital in Americus, Georgia after being hit by a tornado on March 1. Sumter Regional Hospital in Americus, Georgia after being hit by a tornado on March 1.
Image of an MRI machine. Image of an MRI machine.
Sumter Regional Hospital in Americus, Georgia after being hit by a tornado on March 1. Sumter Regional Hospital in Americus, Georgia after being hit by a tornado on March 1.
Sumter Regional Hospital in Americus, Georgia after being hit by a tornado on March 1. Sumter Regional Hospital in Americus, Georgia after being hit by a tornado on March 1.
Sumter Regional Hospital in Americus, Georgia after being hit by a tornado on March 1. Sumter Regional Hospital in Americus, Georgia after being hit by a tornado on March 1.

Nearly eight months after a deadly tornado hit, a small Georgia town is still struggling to recover.

The powerful twister struck Americus the night of March 1, killing two people and devastating the community. One of the hardest hit areas was the hospital. Sumter Regional Hospital was destroyed and lost all of its equipment. Now, the hospital is asking you to come to their aid.

We think of hospitals as a place to find help, but the night the tornado hit, Sumter Regional Hospital found itself a victim looking for help. By daylight, the damage looked much worse. Cars tossed in piles like toys, boards driven through walls by the tornado's powerful winds. Fortunately, the staff and patients were safe, but the medical center and all of its equipment was gone.

Months later, the hospital moved into a temporary building, but they are still $13 million short as they try to rebuild. Now, the chance to win an $800,000 state of the art MRI machine has given them a glimmer of hope.

"This is not something they dreamed up just because we were unfortunate enough to have a tornado strike our community and our hospital," said David Seagraves, CEO of Sumter Regional Hospital. "But certainly, it's a good fit for our needs."

The contest by Siemens requires each hospital to make a video, explaining why it needs the MRI machine. The video is then posted on the company's website so that visitors can vote once a day for the hospital they like best.

"Our team came up with a really good script that really tugs at the heart a little bit, so we felt our chances were pretty good going into it," explained Mark Grimes, the hospital's director of education.

Hospital officials say casting your vote will not only make a difference for the community now, but also as it continues to serve patients in the years to come.

Right now, Sumter Regional Hospital is in first place out of 49 medical centers with more than 45,000 votes. You can vote online once a day, every day through December 31. For a link to that website where you can watch the video and cast your vote, go to: winanmri.com

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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