Big city equipment in small hospital
September 11, 2009
The staff at the new Park City Medical Center at Quinn’s Junction, opening for patients this week, believe they’re equipped to handle almost any kind of emergency for which Summit and Wasatch county residents used to drive the extra 30 minutes to Salt Lake City. Three features in particular that aren’t commonly had in rural hospitals make them confident saying that.
According to staff-member Ivan Mitchell, the Park City Medical Center has the best ultrasound machine money can buy. Although the Emergency Department has a regular one for their use, the 3-D machine is totally mobile and can be taken anywhere in the hospital it’s needed.
Perhaps the easiest way to imagine how this machine is superior is to recall the private businesses offering pre-natal photography of an unborn baby. Traditional ultrasounds are black and white and have to be interpreted by the parents-to-be for family and friends. Even when the image is clear, the cross-section makes the baby look a bit like an alien.
Medical technology has advanced to the point where machines that detailed are now practical and available for medical use. A large flatscreen television has also been installed in the room where the ultrasound is usually kept for easy viewing by the mother or patient.
Ultrasounds are useful for more than just looking at babies, explained hospital spokesperson Amy Roberts. They’re used to see gall bladders, blood clots and excess fluid in the chest or abdomen.
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The more detail physicians can see, the smaller the problems they can diagnose, Mitchell explained.
Jayme Howard, who has practiced using the machine in preparation for their opening day, said the screens provide a much sharper image with more pixels and the key pad is more user-friendly than older models.
Color can also be shown by the computer to depict blood flow. Any organ not filled with air or obscured by a bone can be studied with ultrasound, explained Emergency Department physician Kris Kemp.
"Think about a stethoscope. It’s the most basic way doctors try to see inside that has been around for years this is the cutting edge of that," he said.
Full-body radiant-heat warmer
The Emergency Department at the Park City Medical Center can handle trauma and is designed to function like a temporary Intensive Care Unit (ICU), he said.
"We have all the same things any other Emergency Department in the state has. The only difference is that instead of getting on an elevator to get to an ICU, here you take a helicopter," he explained.
One feature making that possible is a radiant-heat warmer. It’s very common for body heat to be lost during a crisis. Anywhere an injury can occur from a ski slope to a reservoir to a highway, there’s a risk of heat loss. A cold body can experience trauma and doesn’t allow blood to clot quickly. To warm a body, or keep one warm, many care givers use large heated blankets. But these make it hard for physicians to treat the patient, Kemp explained.
The radiant-heat warmers are turned on as soon as an ambulance informs them there’s a patient coming in. No matter what the problem is, the warmers can keep a patient at a healthy temperature, he said.
One of the treatment rooms in the hospital has its own ventilation and plumbing system to prevent anything harmful on, or in, a patient from spreading. It opens up to the ambulance bay so a contaminated patient never enters the main hospital area.
Anthrax, a contagious disease, meth-lab residue, noxious vapors and anything else that can spread from a patient is cleaned up in this room.
The ventilation system gives it negative pressure so not even air escapes. Adjacent to the treatment room are showers to wash off anything harmful on the outside. The drains go into a separate septic system and never reach the main sewers.
This is the room that anyone suspected of having Swine Flu, or the H1N1 Virus, will be seen in, Kemp said. The virus is so contagious that anyone who seems a little sicker than a normal flu will be sent straight to this area to be examined without the risk of infecting other patients.
The hospital opens Sept. 15 to patients. For more information call 658-7000 or visit intermountainhealthcare.org/ hospitals/ParkCity.