Patients of all ages are seeing the benefits of technology upgrades at Mercy Hospital Aurora, and it’s all thanks to volunteers. A donation of $26,200 by the Mercy Auxiliary – Aurora has boosted three key projects at the hospital.
“From our tiniest patients to those who are undergoing surgery, our auxilians have made a major impact yet again,” said Doug Stroemel, Mercy Hospital Aurora administrator. “They’ve worked year round to raise funds to help update our equipment, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
A majority of the funds were earmarked for Mercy Sleep Center - Aurora to enhance sleep lab patients’ experience – virtually. About $12,000 of the donation paid for a new Rubbermaid video cart that allows Mercy sleep technicians to sync patients up with Dr. John Brabson, a board certified sleep medicine specialist.
“This is a huge enhancement of what we already offer,” said Curt Kester, manager of Mercy Sleep Center – Aurora, located at 500 Porter Avenue. “Time is valuable and it allows the patient to come in, connect with the doctor, have a visual teleconference for 15 minutes, and they are out the door getting on with their lives.”
The upgrade brings a clearer, one-on-one video interaction with Dr. Brabson to discuss issues like sleep apnea and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). He’s able to see more patients in real time, whether in the sleep lab or several miles away.
“Patients have really been impressed,” said sleep lab technician Christi Burchett. “They’re so happy they don’t have to travel several miles away to talk with a specialist. It’s a great service to Aurora and our surrounding communities.”
An additional $9,000 of the auxiliary donation was earmarked for two new BIS™ brain monitors. The equipment helps certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) determine and administer the precise amount of anesthesia a patient needs during a major surgery.
“These were much-needed upgrades,” said Ashley Wallace, surgery manager at Mercy Hospital Aurora. “We’re now providing the most current and up-to-date care for our patients – and that means surgeries are even safer.”
The monitors replace other equipment that was becoming outdated.
“The monitors are also wonderful tools to help CRNA students learn about the effects of the medications they’re giving patients and how it impacts sedation in the operating room,” Wallace said.
A new jaundice meter, purchased for around $5,000, will ensure babies born at Mercy Hospital Aurora are healthier, through a painless testing technique. The new device is also expected to save the baby’s parents time and money.
“Before, if we were testing a baby with jaundice, we’d have to stick him or her with a needle more than once,” said Natalie Hill, manager of obstetrics at Mercy Hospital Aurora. “Instead, this new device can prevent that. It’s placed on the baby’s skin and uses light to detect bilirubin (BR) levels.”
BR is a yellow substance that’s made when the body breaks down old red blood cells. A healthy baby will remove BR naturally, but a buildup in the liver will cause a baby to be discolored and indicate a more serious illness, requiring additional testing.
“We screen all newborns before they go home, to see if they might need further blood sampling,” said Dr. Bradford Garner. “This new jaundice meter is very accurate and helps us prevent some potentially serious complications early in life.”
If parents are asked to return to the hospital for regular BR level checks, “the device will also speed up their visits considerably,” Hill said. “It’s a win-win for babies and their parents.”
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.