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Seeing is diagnosing

November 19, 2014

Advanced ultrasound comes to Seton-Jasper Healthcare Centre

Story by Kerri Robins; photo by Declan Unsworth

Fundraising for an advanced ultrasound for the Seton-Jasper Healthcare Centre crossed the finish line and the Sonosite X-Porte Portable Ultrasound diagnostic tool joined the team at the Healthcare Centre in mid September.

This diagnostic tool employs sound waves to display images from inside the body, as it helps health care professionals to ‘see’ organs, such as the kidneys, liver and spleen, and is especially useful in emergency situations where organs may be damaged.

Spearheaded by the Seton Health Care Ladies Auxiliary, fundraising by the Jasper Healthcare Foundation began in January; a huge community effort with business and private donations pulled in $88,500 to buy the device.

Dr. Declan Unsworth demonstrates the Sonosite X-Porte Portable Ultrasound on ‘patient’ Lorraine Wilkinson, a registered nurse at the Seton-Jasper Healthcare Centre in Jasper“Our portable ultrasound helps diagnose a number of conditions,” says Dr. Declan Unsworth, a physician at the centre.

“Examples include internal bleeding, ectopic pregnancies (where the fertilized egg fails to implant in the uterus, most often implanting in a fallopian tube), pericardial effusions (fluid build-up around the heart), or an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is a ballooning of the large artery in the abdomen.

“It really helps with treatment decisions, and may help keep some patients from having to travel to larger centres like Hinton or Edmonton. We will be using it most often in our emergency department.”
Until now, the health centre has relied upon a loaner machine for treatment and diagnoses.

Lorna Chisholm, Site Manager at the health care centre, says she’s pleased with the promise of the centre’s own machine and the benefits it brings.

“We live in a rural area, so this type of diagnostic equipment is especially important because travelling can be tough on patients in terms of physical and monetary costs and time commitments,” she adds, “and not just our patients but their family members as well.”

Eleanor Bye, Chair of the Jasper Healthcare Foundation, says she’s proud of how the community has rallied to purchase this critical piece of equipment.

“I’m really proud of our community — both private and business,” says Bye.

“The care our neighbours show for one another in donating not only funds, but time and effort is outstanding. We really see the circle of life here where people are helping people to help improve the quality of health care in the community through the purchase of much-needed equipment.”

For more information, visit www.albertahealthservices.ca/give.