Doctors in the local emergency room want to provide the best care possible, and the’ve backed it up with their own cash.
About a dozen ER doctors have contributed a great deal of money to purchase a portable ultrasound and other equipment.
“Essentially we’ve given back close to $100,000 for equipment to further enhance our ability to care for Salmon Arm patients,” says Dr. Darren Lorenz, head of ER. “That includes a new portable ultrasound machine and a warming and cooling machine which will be very helpful for traumas, near drownings and cardiac arrest.”
Lorenz describes the portable ultrasound as providing “an extra physical exam” that can be used for traumas to make sure people aren’t bleeding in the belly and around the heart or check for aneurisms or ectopic pregnancies. “It gives us a lot more information to make more timely decisions,” he says, emphasizing the new machine in no way diminishes the need for the imaging department.
As well as the doctors’ contribution, Shuswap Lake General Hospital received $200,000 from the British Columbia Medical Association’s Joint Standing Committee for Rural Issues.
“We want people to know this has helped with physician retention and recruitment,” says Lorenz. “We’ve opened up an extra shift on weekends, especially in summer. This is pretty huge for us.”
The funds have also been directed to various educational opportunities for doctors and nurses to keep them at the top of their game.
“Everyone wants to provide the best care to patients in Salmon Arm,” says Lorenz, noting the new equipment has other doctors interested in coming to Shuswap Lake General Hospital.
Hospital manager Mark Pugh agrees.
“There’s been a good progression in the past five years. We started doing CT scans in October 2009 and now they’re being done 24-7 and we have the third X-ray room,” he says.
Another new piece of equipment is a non-invasive colonography, essentially a CT scan that is performed when a doctor feels a patient should not have a colonoscopy or when colonoscopy results are not satisfactory says radiologist Kevin Beckner.