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SJCH and Quest Imaging Join Forces

News Sometimes, partnerships are just meant to be. When each party complements the other, everyone benefits – and when a combination of two entities in healthcare occurs, it’s the people in that community who benefit the most.

As if on a “quest” to bring even more high quality healthcare options to the residents of Bakersfield and the surrounding Kern County area, Quest Imaging Medical Associates merged with San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) in 2010 – yet another significant milestone for the hospital during its banner 100th year. 

The marriage of these top-notch facilities marks the beginning of a wonderful relationship.
“It does not hurt to be associated with the premier hospital in the area,” said Dr. Donald Fitzgerald, a founding physician of Quest. “The synergies could be good for the future and beneficial to the community as well.”

The 93 Quest employees are now SJCH employees, though all personnel and services will remain at their facility on Stockdale Highway, just down the road from California State University, Bakersfield.
“We are so pleased to welcome the entire Quest staff to our SJCH family,” said Jarrod McNaughton, SJCH vice president of marketing and development. “We see this new partnership as yet another way our hospital can continue our mission to provide even more quality healthcare options to our patients.”

Quest Imaging was founded in 2002 by Drs. Donald Cornforth and Donald Fitzgerald. Quest Imaging is an all digital facility. Among its state-of-the-art equipment are two top-tier Magnetic Resonance (MR) units – the Siemens Verio 3 Tesla MRI and the Siemens Espree 1.5 Tesla MRI. Now getting those machines actually into Quest’s 17,573-square-foot facility was quite a sight! Using the building’s retractable roof, each major piece of each machine had to be craned in and assembled once inside.

Other imaging equipment came in the old-fashioned way: on wheels. The degree to which imaging technology and equipment have changed over the last four decades in the careers of Drs. Cornforth and Fitzgerald is immeasurable.

Each has seen the field metamorphosize over and over again, always improving patient diagnosis and care.

“There’s been an amazing expansion of our ‘tools,’ such as catheters, guide wires and new devices to open vessels, treat tumors, remove clots, etc.,” said Dr. Cornforth, who graduated from Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 1968. He was certified by the American Board of Radiology in 1975.

Dr. Fitzgerald has also witnessed the many changes.

“I have enjoyed seeing most of the great technologies develop during my career,” said Dr. Fitzgerald, who graduated from the National University of Ireland in 1967. He was certified by the American Board of Radiology in 1973. “Of course, I have had to learn all of these areas, and this has been a great challenge throughout my career. Imaging in the last 40 years has been a nonstop learning experience.”

Now that Quest and SJCH have partnered, together they can prepare for whatever comes next in imaging technology, again benefiting their patients.

The leadership teams at SJCH and Quest worked diligently to make sure this new partnership formed in 2010 would be a very smooth transition. In fact, it’s believed the merger has created even stronger facilities for this community.