Hospital wins Siemens MRI contest despite finishing third

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Lockport Memorial Hospital in Lockport, N.Y., and Sumter Regional Hospital in Americus, Ga., have both won a Magnetom Essenza from Siemens Medical Solutions, through the "Win an MRI" contest, an online video competition which began in October 2007 for U.S. facilities in need of an MRI system.

When voting ended Dec. 31, 2007, Sumter Regional showed 260,000 votes, more than 100,000 votes ahead of Grant Regional Health Center in Lancaster, Wis., with Lockport coming in third. Siemens CEO Randy Hill was at the podium Friday in the Lockport Memorial cafeteria, saluting Lockport’s victory, to the confusion of many.

According to The Buffalo News, Siemens Medical was not forthcoming in explaining why the one of the top two performers did not win the contest.

“Once the voting closed [Dec. 31], everything had to be validated,” said Kristen Saponara, corporate affairs manager, Siemens. “Lockport submitted the qualified entry with the most valid votes. The key words are ‘qualified’ and ‘valid.’ ”

Sumter Regional also was promised a free MRI. The hospital was destroyed by a tornado March 1, 2007 and is about to reopen in temporary quarters, with a permanent new hospital set to open in 2010. Jeffrey Bundy, a Siemens vice president, told an audience in Americus that when the permanent hospital is ready, Siemens will donate the MRI.

Saponaro did not say what qualifications Sumter and Grant may have failed to meet or why their votes were invalidated. She referred a reporter to the rules of the contest, which state that the winner must be able to install the MRI on its premises within six months “consistent with Siemens specifications,” reported The Buffalo News.

Lockport Memorial officials had speculated as the contest was ending New Year’s Eve that the Georgia hospital, having been destroyed by a tornado, might not be able to comply with that requirement.