Donors improve care for patients in our Hospital’s Bob Ireland Family Intensive Care Unit and Linamar Emergency Department by funding new portable ultrasound machines

No longer is the ultrasound’s use in patient care restricted to the Diagnostic Imaging Department.

More and more, the ultrasound machine is used at the bedside to help guide medical procedures with greater patient safety, and in emergency diagnosis of illness or trauma with greater speed and efficiency.

“Today, the ultrasound machine is used as commonly as the stethoscope,” said Dr. Mary Cameron, one of GGH’s Emergency Department physicians.  “In the ED, it is in continuous use.”

In our Hospital’s ICU, the ultrasound is equally as essential. “Patient safety is a top priority at Guelph General. Because the ultrasound provides a visual guide, nurses and physicians can perform medical procedures with greater accuracy, which is safer for patients,” said Carrie Anderson, GGH ICU Clinical Educator.

A common procedure in the ED and ICU is the insertion of a central line into a main artery to deliver medications and fluids. When the procedure is guided by ultrasound imagery, it is much easier to place the line.

“I’ve been a doctor in the ED for nearly 18 years now and have seen our practices change so much. We used to do so many procedures using landmarks we could see or feel on the outside of the body, but now with ultrasound, we are able to see into the body and we use ultrasound to guide our needles and scalpels exactly where we want them, making procedures much safer for patients,” said Dr. Cameron.

The portable ultrasound is also a valuable tool in bedside diagnosis. For example, kidney stones are seen very commonly in the ED.  The pain from a kidney stone can be exactly like the pain from a leaking aneurysm, which is rapidly fatal if not quickly diagnosed and treated.  We can’t get immediate CT scans on every patient who has severe kidney stone type pain, but having a portable ultrasound machine lets doctors quickly screen patients so that aneurysms can be diagnosed at the bedside without delay, and life-saving surgery can happen as quickly as possible.

Thanks to our caring community, Guelph General has a new portable ultrasound machine in both the ICU and in the ED. A shout-out to the 2019 Beyond Borders Kairos fundraising event which provided funding for the unit in the ED

“We have so much appreciation for all the donors who helped fund the new machines,” says Anderson. “Our previous one was so old and the image quality was glitchy; the image quality on the new machine is so clear, we see better and can perform procedures more easily.”

Community support is essential to achieving the best possible patient outcomes at Guelph General Hospital. Our caring donors help save lives and improve health.