After spending time in an emergency room (ER) in Ottawa earlier this year, Peter Hyde decided to find a way to donate a modern assessment tool that would help patients like him leave the hospital faster.
“I suspected that using a more modern type of scanner could help increase efficiency and reduce wait times, making the process easier for both patients and ER staff,” Mr. Hyde explains.
His research led him to a fundraising initiative by Dr. Joanna Bostwick to purchase a Clarius handheld ultrasound scanner for the Montfort Hospital’s ER. Dr. Bostwick and her husband had decided to take advantage of a planned hike up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for a specific item that she knew would help in the ER, instead of donating to the general hospital foundation.
“We started out with the intention of raising a few thousand dollars towards an item we knew the hospital wouldn’t likely fund since we already had a couple portable ultrasound machines in the ER. We didn’t think we’d get enough to buy the handheld scanner, but then Mr. Hyde found out about our fundraising effort and donated the balance needed to buy the Clarius scanner. We are very grateful of his generosity,” says Dr. Bostwick.
Although the ER team has only been using Clarius for a short time, Dr. Bostwick is already seeing the benefits of a handheld ultrasound machine, especially due to isolation and cleaning protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Practically speaking, the biggest advantage of having a handheld device right now is that it’s how much easier it is to clean compared to a regular ultrasound system,” she explains. “We’ve had people put the iPad and the device in a Ziploc bag, so we can quickly go from patient to patient. It’s so much easier to go to a patient on a gurney or stretcher – normally it’s very hard to maneuver around them.”
When not in use, the Clarius scanner is placed in a central location with an iPad so it’s accessible to the whole department. All 40 rotating emergency physicians have access to the scanner for 24 hours every day. A second battery sits in a charger so the scanner is always ready for use.
“We used to have only two ultrasound systems for the whole department, which at times was not enough. It’s so nice to have a handheld machine, especially one that makes life simpler in terms of cleaning because that’s been a big, big problem.”
Dr. Bostwick claims the quality of the images produced by the device is incredible. “The images enable the ER team to quickly diagnose lung, heart and abdominal concerns in our patients.”
With ebbing morale due to the constant pressures related to COVID-19, Mr. Hyde’s gift has provided a much-needed boost to the team.
“During these difficult times, it has brought our team so much joy to receive such an amazing gift,” says ER physician Dr. Joanna Bostwick. “We are so pleased with the new portable ultrasound and with how much more convenient and efficient it has already made our daily work.”