Community support helps to bring new technology to hospital | TheUnion.com

Community support helps to bring new technology to hospital

Walking through the halls near Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital's Emergency Department, it's hard to miss the telltale signs of a construction project. Workers with hardhats and tools and sectioned off areas seem to pop up here and there, all while the critical flow of hospital activity remains uninterrupted.

The hospital's Emergency Department currently handles 35,000 visits a year, which is more than double what it was when the department was built in 1958. SNMH has begun transforming its inpatient diagnostic imaging to include new state-of-the-art technology and equipment that will expedite patient care and save lives.

While small remodel projects have helped cope with the patient volume over the years, a modernization of the inpatient diagnostic area will allow the hospital to serve the community to its fullest potential. Diagnostic equipment is not only utilized in the Emergency Department, but also in Oncology, Neurology and Orthopedics.

Thanks to more than $700,000 in community donations provided by Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation, the hospital has purchased a new CT (computed tomography) machine and an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine that will be housed next to the Emergency Department.

CT and MRI machines are used for diagnostic and follow-up purposes as well for early detection and preventative care for life-threatening diseases such as cancer.

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In addition to the purchasing of the much-needed new equipment, the project will relocate the interventional radiology room, as well as replace and relocate a 17-year-old nuclear medicine camera.

The upgraded technology will allow patients to stay in the same building for testing, decrease overall emergency room wait times, and reduce the need for patients to leave the community for care.

SNMH Director of Diagnostic Imaging and Radiation Oncology Linda Waring feels the additional machines will provide top-of-the-line care to multiple patient populations.

"Having state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging equipment right next door to our emergency room will complement the equipment we already offer at our Diagnostic Imaging Center in Building 4, giving our hospital's inpatient and outpatient services access to additional and updated technology," said Waring.

Having the new equipment in such close proximity to emergency room patients will also help doctors and hospital staff expedite life-saving care for patients suffering from acute conditions, when additional seconds can mean the difference between life and death.

SNMH Plant Maintenance and Engineering Director Sue Urban is overseeing construction and says she is confident the proximity of the new CT and MRI machines will have a positive impact on patient care.

Urban says this is especially true for patients who are suffering from a stroke, when immediate CT scan results are crucial for time-sensitive treatment.

According to Urban, the project will be completed in June 2019, with continuity of outstanding patient care being the foremost priority. Urban and SNMH Plant Maintenance and Engineering Manager Calob Rangel are working with contractors and their employees to ensure patient care remains uninterrupted as construction continues in that section of the hospital.

The addition of updated diagnostic imaging and equipment is the first step SNMH is taking to transform its Emergency Department to fit the needs of a growing community while also bringing advancements in technology to the community.

For questions or to learn more about Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation's Emergency Department Campaign, please call 530-477-9700 or visit http://www.support sierranevada.org/ourpromise.

Diagnostic Imaging Facts

CT: Uses combination of X-rays and a computer to create images from various angles of organs, bones and other tissues. CT scans create detailed images.

MRI: Uses magnets, radio waves and a computer to also create images. Unlike X-rays and CT scans, an MRI machine does not use radiation.