AMHERST - Twelve doctors from Cumberland County spent the weekend at Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre learning the ins and outs of a portable ultrasound to be used in emergency departments in hospitals.
"The portable ultrasound is the stethoscope of the 21st Century," Dr. Chuck Wursten, Emergency Physician at Dartmouth General Hospital said.
Wursten brought this course to the Amherst hospital to train 16 doctors, 12 from the immediate area, with the EDE (Emergency Department Echo) Course to promote the safe, effective and potentially life saving use of ultrasound in emergency departments in hospitals across the country.
Dr. Carlos Beltran, a physician at Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre took the EDE course in Dartmouth last July and moved forward in making arrangements for the course to be brought to the Amherst hospital.
"A this time there isn't a portable ultrasound in the Amherst Hospital
emergency room. This is something we have to work toward to promote the benefits of the machine and to provide funding for Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre to acquire the ultrasound machine," Beltran said.
Explaining how the use of ultrasound in emergency rooms can save lives, Wursten said the machine should be standard in every emergency room across the country.
"If there was an accident, for example, a patient would be brought into the emergency room and with the ultrasound doctors would be able to assess immediately as to whether or not there was internal bleeding that may not be evident with the use of a stethoscope alone," Wursten said.
"The portable ultrasound does not give a detailed scan like a radiologist would provide with x-rays and CT scans but it would certainly be able to be used to see if there was fluid (blood) in the abdomen or around the heart, which would then tell doctors immediately that the patient required surgery to repair damage," Wursten said.
"Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre is the regional trauma centre, therefore if there were an accident on the highway victims would be brought here making the portable ultrasound an important possibly life-saving acquisition for this hospital," Beltran said.
There are presently no plans for Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre to have a portable ultrasound in the emergency department but Beltran said they are certainly looking into funding options for the facility to acquire one in the future.