The new cardiac ultrasound at The Memorial Hospital in Craig doesn’t take up much space, but don’t let the understated appearance fool you.
The machine — which looks like little more than a wand and a monitor on wheels — stands only shoulder high, yet it can be a big help, especially in the emergency room, said Dr. Tinh Huyn, an ER physician at TMH.
Physicians can use it to detect a heartbeat when a patient’s pulse is weak, he said, and it can reveal if there’s bleeding in a lung.
It can even be used for more routine procedures, like finding a vein.
“With this, I know what’s going on and I can intervene,” he said.
Huyn (pronounced win) believes strongly in what the equipment can do — so much so that he made a specific request for it when the hospital hired him, said Jennifer Riley, TMH chief of organizational excellence.
“This was a piece of equipment that he felt was important to have in our emergency room, and he felt that it would definitely enhance our patient care in a really critical cardiac emergency,” she said.
Huyn showed the ultrasound to Craig resident Betsy Peck on Thursday morning. She listened intently as he described how it works and peppered him with questions.
She has reason to be interested: funds donated in memory of Rod Peck, her late husband and former TMH board chairman, helped buy it.
The contribution — which included money donated by the Peck family and other residents — paid for $2,700 of the ultrasound’s $37,632 total cost.
The rest of the funding came from a grant, an anonymous donor and the hospital, Riley wrote in an email.
In Peck’s eyes, purchasing the cardiac ultrasound was a fitting way to use funds donated in memory of her husband, who died in 2000.
“Quite a few members of my family have been treated in the emergency room, so it seemed like a good place to (use the money),” she said.
The ultrasound didn’t look quite like what she’d envisioned.
“I expected it to be a big machine,” she said.
There’s a reason such an inconspicuous tool comes with a big price tag.
Smaller machines usually cost more, Huyn said, because they’re portable.
The ultrasound has been put to work in the month or so the hospital’s had it.
It’s been in use since “day one,” Huyn said.
Peck was pleased with what the memorial donations had helped purchase.
“I’m very happy it’s being used,” she said. “That’s the best part.”
Written by Bridget Manley and printed in the Craig Daily Press December 9, 2011.