Eastern supplies the medical clinic a new x-ray machine


Rob Le Cates

Sara Verdeyen, Eastern’s radiographer, showcases the new x-ray machine that was purchased. Verdeyen said that on average, depending on the season, she sees around 10 people a week to do x-rays.

Luke Taylor, News Editor

Eastern’s Medical Clinic has recently purchased and installed a new x-ray machine to replace an old one which had been in use for several years.

Sara Wilson, the radiographic specialist at the clinic, operates the x-ray and EKG machines.

Her office is located at the end of a long hall of other offices, but she says she loves it because it is bigger than most of the others.

Wilson’s area is split between the office itself and a second room which holds the two machines.

In the past, she completed five to 10 x-rays nearly every day. Since the beginning of the pandemic, that average has dropped closer to three to five.

Most of these x-rays are of athletes; even a minor injury can be a concern for players who are practicing or playing every day, so they’re more likely to get it checked out.

Other students come in too, even if they’re just stopping at the Medical Clinic before heading to Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center for treatment that isn’t available on campus.

After all, x-rays at the clinic cost around $30, as opposed to the hundreds of dollars they may cost at the hospital.

Wilson said that students could bring injuries of any severity to get checked out at the clinic.

“I would say if your bone is not sticking out of your body, come here,” Wilson said. “Or if it is, you can come here and we can take a look at it and tell you what you need to do.”

Once an x-ray is completed at the clinic, the images are sent on to Cape Radiology in Cape Girardeau, MO, where a radiologist looks it over and makes a reading.

The clinic typically receives readings back within 24 hours.

This new machine will make the process of taking an x-ray even easier.

The most expensive piece, the detector, cost $25,000. It sits behind the patient and forms an image as radiation is directed through their body toward it.

Within seconds, the image shows up on Wilson’s computer.

The old x-ray machine took a little bit longer as it processed on a type of film to be computerized, rather than going directly to a digital image.

Wilson said the old machine was “on its last legs” and that she had been asking to get a new one since she was put in the position in 2016. Her predecessor had also said that the machine would need to be replaced soon.

Funding for the new machine came out of the clinic’s surplus budget, so things like the budget impasse slowed the process of actually making the purchase.

“This digital machine, when it first came out, it was like when a VCR first came out or Microsoft first came out. It was very, very expensive,” Wilson said. “And now it’s more affordable, so it’s actually kind of a good thing that we waited.”

Luke Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].