Months of campaigning and community fundraising have come to fruition as expectant mothers and the general population begin to benefit from Tumut Hospital’s new portable ultrasound machine.
The need for the machine was first identified well over a year ago at which point members of the community launched into action hosting fundraising events and digging deep.
Tumut Hospital’s nurse manager Narelle Mckenzie said the community support has astounded those who work at the hospital with locals raising thousands on thousands of dollars to assist the hospital.
“The community raised $20,000 and the health service virtually matched that. It’s the machine the doctor was very happy to receive and have access to,” Narelle said.
“The community put in a lot of effort. Over time they donated individually and groups held fundraising events.
The hospital is inviting everyone from the community who contributed to the ultrasound, whether in a large or small way to attend the hospital on Thursday August 8 at 1.30pm for a commemorative photo.
The hospital wishes to acknowledged and preserve the work of those involved as they recognise the mammoth effort that went into the machine’s purchase.
The fundraising project took about a year in all, with the community raising all the money by this January before the machine was purchased and delivered earlier this month.
“The machine arrived about two weeks ago, we’re really thrilled,” Narelle said.
The tremendous effort of the local community has lead to the state of the art technology being delivered to Tumut Hospital, allowing doctors and nurses to properly access many emergency situations or areas of concern without taking the patient to Wagga.
“Previously if there was any maternity concern we would ship the mother straight to hospital, unless it happened to be the same day the ultrasound technician was here,” Narelle said.
“Now we will be able to have clarity in our decisions to keep someone here or ship them to Wagga, we will be better informed.”
The manufacturer’s representative trained doctors and Narelle in the SonoSite portable ultrasound’s use.
The machine will be mostly used where there is an immediate concern about a foetus’ wellbeing, but can also be used in various procedures for the general population.
“In maternity we can use the machine to tell the position of the baby, diagnose whether there is any cord compression or involvement, and use it if there is any concern about the child’s wellbeing or heartbeat,” Narelle said.
“In the emergency department we can use it to view ectopic pregnancy and if a pregnant women presents with lower abdominal pain it may be used depending on the situation, which could save us sending women straight to Wagga.”
The new machine will be a great addition to the hospital’s existing bi-weekly ultrasound technician visits.
Doctors and nurses themselves willnow able to do preliminary ultrasounds to ascertain the correct action to take and use the machine to assist their work.
“We will be able to use the machine to find veins and cannulate in difficult situations, this will help us detect a vein or artery, it can even help us with blood gas test which people need to get oxygen for home,” Narelle said.
“It’s really just an extra diagnostic tool which will add to what we do. “
Tumut doctor Osman Darwiche started the fundraising drive for a digital diagnostic ultrasound system.
The local community subsequently backed the campaign, with Rotary handing over almost $4000 from its annual Carols by Candlelight, as well as a $5000 cheque from the Triple 0 Charity Bowls event.
Local businesses and individuals opened their wallets to ensure Tumut Hospital received what many believe to be an essential service.
– Sophie Boyd