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Feature StorySometimes it seems we live in a world of diminishing personal service with automated telephone operators and self-service-only gas stations. It's rare to see the type of personal service we all deserve. It's nice to know that the Emergency Department (ED) at Ivinson Memorial Hospital (IMH) is committed to giving patients sophisticated and compassionate care.
Some things have changed in IMH's emergency room like expanded service offerings and state-of-the-art technology advancements; but the things you have come to depend on, like personal attention and first rate medical care, will never change. Even on the busiest day, the ED staff strives to provide individual attention to each patient while delivering sophisticated service tailored to every individual need.
Gasper Mascarena's experienced personal service and life-saving care on April 24, 2002 from IMH. Mascarenas had spent the morning fixing a fence in Rock River, Wyoming. He felt chest pain but thought he had pulled a muscle, so he finished the fence and made the long drive back to Laramie.
Even after arriving at home, his chest pain persisted. At the urging of his family he agreed to get medical attention. His son, Ed Mascarenas, helped him into a car and started driving to IMH. On the drive, Ed called the ED from his cell phone and alerted them of the situation.
With this information, the emergency department staff activated their trauma response program. This program is a team style response where physicians, nurses, cardiopulmonary, laboratory, and diagnostic imaging staff are assembled and informed of case specifics before the patient arrives.
"They had a team of physicians and nurses waiting for us when we pulled up," exclaimed Ed. "It was curb side service!"
The response program allows patients to begin receiving treatment as soon as they reach the ED's front door, or in some cases, the curb.
"This process has really made a difference in the outcomes of many patients," says ED Director Judy Gorham, RN. "In the emergency room every second counts, being able to begin testing and treatment a few minutes earlier can make the difference between life and death."
In Gasper's case, the fast response may have done just that - saved his life. Dr. Ty Battershell was the ED physician on duty and headed the team of approximately seven staff members. Gasper arrived in the ED at 11:30 a.m. and was placed on a monitor, administered oxygen, had two IVs started, blood drawn for laboratory tests, completed an EKG, was given two doses of nitroglycerin and a clot-buster given to heart attack victims, a Heparin IV was started, given a chest x-ray, a dose of aspirin, and psychosocial support from hospital staff all before 11:54 a.m.
"The fact that we completed diagnostic testing and stabilized Gasper in 24 minutes is something we are very proud of," explains Gorham.
"It was obvious that they had a plan and initiated it efficiently. I was most impressed with their quick response and the fact that they allowed my sister and me to sit in the room while they were stabilizing Dad," remembers Ed. "It was comforting to us, and more importantly it was comforting to my dad."
The treatment they gave Gasper worked and he was stable enough to be transported to the Heart Center of the Rockies. Gasper's cardiologist in Fort Collins was complimentary of the work the IMH emergency department team had done.
"After my dad was at the Fort Collins heart center, his cardiologist, Thomas Downes, MD, remarked 'this had catastrophic heart attack written all over it and what they did in Laramie saved your life,'" recalls Ed.
After a lot of care and two procedures, Gasper is back in Laramie and mending fences again.
The ED's fast response program and "curb side service" is about more than convenience, even more than service - it's about saving lives. And, although you may not need the ED's services today, or even tomorrow, it's important to know that they are there.