Ultrasound arrives at Rainy River ER

Ken Johnston

Earlier this year, the nurse manager for the Rainy River Health Centre came to the hospital auxiliary with a vision: to buy an ultrasound machine for the emergency room.
Last week, that vision became clear as day as Drs. Albert Beller and David Singleton began training on the newly-delivered diagnostic tool.
Hopes initially were to buy a machine that cost around $44,000.
But as the “Ultrasound 9-1-1” fundraising drive took off it, became clear there was strong support for the project and officials decided to purchase a more expensive machine with more bells and whistles.
Last month, the Rainy River Legion and its auxiliary donated $5,000 and $1,000, respectively, putting the project just $7,000 short of its $60,000 goal.
Teresa Hazel, executive director of the Riverside Foundation for Health Care, now says $57,000 has been raised to date.
The ultrasound was ordered with hopes of training the doctors by year-end and having it operational by January or February.
Well, the training is complete and the machine now is available for use in the ER.
Dr. Beller said the ultrasound machine has become the most common emergency diagnostic tool in ERs today.
“In the old days, every ER needed access to X-ray,” he noted. “Now they should have this technology.”
Dr. Beller explained it has many uses, including checking for free fluid in abdominal injures (i.e., blood).
“We can also check for fluid around the heart, clots in veins, fetal viability, and much more,” he said.
While the machine has most of the capabilities of the larger, fixed location one in Fort Frances, the local hospital will not be doing scheduled ultrasounds.
It is for emergency use only.
Dr. Beller was very impressed with the machine, saying, “It is excellent! I am very impressed!”
“We can now see immediately inside a patient,” he added as he demonstrated on volunteer Andrea McNabb, showing the Rainy River Record her spine and several internal organs instantly.
Dr. Beller said Fort Frances has the same tool, but Emo does not as of yet.
Larry Armstrong, who chaired the “Ultrasound 9-1-1” campaign, was pleased to see the new technology here.
“Our community made this happen,” he said. “They responded to our ‘9-1-1’ call so we could get this new equipment here quickly.
“The success of the campaign was a team effort, and demonstrates what can be accomplished when people work together for a common cause,” Armstrong added.
Tammy McNally, nurse manager at the Rainy River Health Centre, said having an ultrasound machine in the emergency department will better serve patients in Rainy River District.
“Our mission is to provide excellent health care services and programs, and this new technology will assist us in making accurate diagnoses and setting up the required supports and transfers,” she noted.
“Ultimately, this means better and more efficient patient care.”
Wayne Woods, president and CEO of Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc., was equally appreciative of the community’s support.
“Our foundation and our auxiliaries partner with the communities we serve to raise funds which, in turn, helps us provide health care in first-class health care facilities with state-of-the-art medical equipment and technology,” he said.
“Our district residents have shown again and again how much they value health care, and this investment is making our health care system better even during tough economic times,” Woods added.