This article was published in the Lenoir News-Topic.

Right now, it’s not much more than an empty room.

But in a few weeks, a now-empty room at the McCreary Cancer Center in Lenoir will house a CT scan machine that will be only the county’s second such machine – and will be its most advanced.

The $500,000 machine is a large-bore, 16-slice CT scanner – a more advanced technology than the county’s only other CT scan machine, at Caldwell Memorial Hospital. It will allow for greater precision and more detailed imaging.The device is scheduled to be delivered on Aug. 5 and should be in use by mid-September, said Sharon Kimball, chief nursing officer for Caldwell Memorial.

When the center opened, funds were about $60,000 short of what was needed for the CT scanner. So for the first eight months, what’s now an empty room was “just gravel,” Kimball said.

Then McCreary Modern owner Bob McCreary – who initially contributed $1 million to the center’s construction – committed to an additional $60,000 on behalf of McCreary Modern’s employees, said Kim Edmisten, public relations director for Caldwell Memorial.

As the only large-bore CT scanner in the county, the new machine could benefit patients even outside the oncology department, Kimball said. And the hospital system will be freed from worries about relying on just one CT scanner – the other could break down and need repair, for example.

“Having two in our system helps tremendously,” Kimball said.

The second machine also plays into the McCreary Cancer Center’s goal of providing integrated care for patients. The idea is to provide all of a cancer patient’s treatment under one roof, minimizing the need for multiple appointments and travel across the county, said Angela Reid, director of the center.

Currently, patients still have to make appointments for CT scans at Caldwell Memorial. That will end this fall when the new machine is installed.

“If you’re going to receive cancer care in Caldwell County, you’re going to receive all your care under one roof,” Kimball said.