As reported by the Register Citizen, July 28, 2009.

Couple Donates $3.8 Million to Medical Center

A former Torrington couple’s gift of $3.8 million to the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington paid for the center to begin using a new computerized tomography (CT) scan last month.

“Ultimately it leads to real, significant improvements in patient care,” Dr. Douglas Fellows, chairman of the Health Center’s Department of Diagnostic Imaging and Therapeutics, said in a written statement. “It means better care for today’s patients in that it captures so much more in so much less time and can be performed with less radiation exposure to the patient. And it means better care for tomorrow’s patients by way of both educational applications and as a research tool to advance the science of medicine.”

Carole and Ray Neag have given more than $42 million to the university, including $3.8 million to invest in upgrades in its diagnostic, planning and treatment services that are designed to enhance patient care, especially in the areas of cardiology and cancer, the university said.

The new CT scanner is the first installment in a series that also will include a high-dose radiation system and a CT simulator.

The new CT scanner uses what’s known as “dual-source and dual-energy” technology, in which two sources of radiation are used to acquire information that is used to create a complex cross-sectional and three-dimensional image of a patient’s internal anatomy, the university said. Scans that used to take 30 seconds or more now take five seconds or less, making it easier on the patient while at the same time yielding the most precise images available, the university said.

The dual-energy component allows for the accurate subtraction of portions of the images that may obstruct the view of other structures, such as the skull when imaging the blood vessels within the head. These technological advances give physicians, particularly cardiologists and oncologists, sophisticated images that were not previously available.

“We have seen firsthand the advances that are occurring daily within the Cancer Center and understand the tremendous implications for those whose lives are affected by this disease,” Ray Neag said in written statement, as provided by the university.

The new scanner is fast enough to capture an image between heartbeats, eliminating the need for the patient to take beta blockers to slow and stabilize his or her heart rate. It also benefits patients with cancer by obtaining images with the least amount of radiation in the shortest amount of time without sacrificing quality.

The health center expects to receive the high-dose radiation system in fiscal year 2009-2010, and the CT simulator in fiscal year 2010-2011, spokesman Chris DeFrancesco said Monday.