MRI experience makes lasting impression

July 19, 2021

Maury Bay has a discerning appreciation for the qualities of the human voice.

From the enclosure of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, the retired radio-industry professional welcomed the reassuring tone and words of technologist Richelle Kapilik.

“She had such a clear and distinctive voice,” said Bay. “I said ‘it’s not too late to go into broadcasting.’ She had the confidence.”

Bay suffered a fall in May 2020. Resulting problems with his back brought him to the Dr. Andrei Sakharov MRI Centre on the St. Boniface Hospital campus later in the year.

While it wasn’t his first MRI scan, Bay still had concerns.

“Breathing can change for the worse when your position changes – that was my worry. With a sore back, I was also concerned about being comfortable. Right away, Richelle said, ‘do you need a little extra support?’”

“You’re helpless in a funnel. When someone on the other end cares about you – that’s a good feeling.”

Bay shared his experience through the Foundation’s Circle of Compassionate Care program. His praise extended to a warm welcome at reception and the fact his doctor received the scan results quickly and as a result was able to prescribe treatment immediately.

Richelle Kapilik learned of Bay’s commendations for the department during weekly rounds with colleagues.

“It was a sweet thing to hear.”

Like a pilot

She agrees with Bay’s observations on her approach to the job.

“I like to make the patient aware of what’s going to happen. For some patients, just laying on a table is a challenge. It’s a hard surface; you might have to hold your breath. Some have issues with the confined space. It can be loud, like a jackhammer.”

“I talk to my patients between every set of pictures. I’m like the pilot who keeps the passengers up to speed.”

Kapilik has been an MRI technologist nearly 15 years, entirely at St. Boniface Hospital. While she demurred on Maury Bay’s encouragement for a new career in broadcasting, a past career informs her approach in health care.

“I was a professional server in restaurants, including some fine-dining establishments. I have definitely learned to be patient over the years while having to provide excellent service for my guests who often needed some extra attention.”

“If I spend a little more time getting patients both mentally and physically comfortable, they are typically more successful at completing the exam and the images are often more diagnostic for the radiologists to interpret,” said Kapilik, adding that a psychology degree has also helped her recognize and address patient concerns.

MRI technology makes very clear images of the human body without using x-rays. Where x-rays take an image of dense structures like bones, the MRI scanner takes images of soft tissues in joints such as shoulders, wrists, and knees.

Kapilik and her colleagues together see 60 to 70 patients a day for scans that range from 15 minutes to 90 minutes.

“We get many compliments but they’re usually in person. Letters are not as common. We do focus on constant communication during the scan. Lots of patients are grateful for this and will thank us during their scan.”

If you don’t take the time, who will?

For Maury Bay, better health allows him to pursue his interests. The record collector, music enthusiast, and onetime bookstore operator is planning a series of Leonard Cohen poetry readings at seniors’ care homes.

And he’ll continue to recognize exceptional service.

“As I get older and comprehend what people do – and Richelle was one such person – I appreciate it more. Feedback is important. If my comments help in some positive way, I want to do it. If you don’t take the time, who will?”

Be like Maury. Recognize your St. Boniface Hospital caregivers today.