2 hospitals join forces to get SC vets imaging machine

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) - The Naval Hospital in Beaufort and the Ralph Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston are using a new $2 million imaging machine to help patients.

Naval hospital commander Capt. Joan Queen told The Island Packet of Hilton Head that the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department approved the request.

Officials say the machine will stay in Beaufort and save the hospitals $1 million a year because patients won't have to be referred elsewhere for MRIs. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. The scan uses a magnetic field and radio waves to show organs and tissue inside the body.

The Naval Hospital treats only active-duty military members, their dependents and retirees with 20 years of service. The Charleston VA hospital treats all military veterans.