Aspirus Tomahawk Hospital upgrades ventilator and ultrasound machine | WXPR

Recently, Aspirus Tomahawk Hospital upgraded some of its technology.

It got a new ultrasound machine, as well as a new ventilator. Ultra Sound Machine

Aspirus Tomahawk Hospital upgrades ventilator and ultrasound machine | WXPR

“I really felt like a kid in a candy store."

That’s Peter McCool, ER physician at Aspirus Tomahawk Hospital.

About a month ago, the hospital got a new high-tech ultrasound machine and McCool was excited.

He says that it’s made a huge difference.

“The other day one of the nurses, or maybe a tech, had made the comment that, ‘Wow, I've never seen anybody put in a central line that fast.’ And it was just, I mean, it just makes it so much easier,” he said.

McCool explains that ultrasounds are useful throughout patient exams.

For example, he frequently uses them to put in central lines, which are special IVs that go in big veins.

If someone’s really dehydrated, a physician may not be able to find a peripheral line since their veins have collapsed.

“Using the ultrasound machine, you can also find peripheral IVs much easier. I can't state enough how much of an impact it's made," said McCool.

The new ultrasound machine has a larger screen with more advanced features than their previous model.

A large portion of the funding for the machine came from the Aspirus Tomahawk Hospital Foundation, which made the upgrade possible.

“I'm very appreciative to everybody who came together and made that happen. I can't say how much it makes a difference for the patients and us providers too, not only the doctors, though the nurses use it all the time, just looking for IVs. And it helps out so much,” said McCool.

The hospital also recently got a new ventilator, which McCool says is particularly user friendly.

“From a standpoint of just simplifying a very critical situation, that's also been just an incredible difference. What we're doing here in terms of bringing technology to play and to help our patients and the community get the best care they can, it's really been just a game changer,” he said.

McCool says that when he began practicing medicine 20 years ago, ultrasounds were relatively new.

“It does make such a big difference. And you want to be able to give your patients the best advantage that they can possibly have. And help them in the best way that you can. And so the technology with this is just, I mean, it's lightyears ahead of whatever I've used in the past, and so it's been just a really great experience,” said McCool.

For example, he says in some situations you can use an ultrasound to determine the cause of shock within six minutes.

“If you didn't know or didn't have that ability, it would just make it very difficult to properly address certain things, or very, very critical at the time,” he said.

As for future technology updates, they’re planning on upgrading all six of their cardiac monitors in March.

Aspirus Tomahawk Hospital upgrades ventilator and ultrasound machine | WXPR

Patient Monitor Rural areas like Tomahawk are up against a host of healthcare obstacles and technology upgrades like these have big impacts on the communities they serve.