New ICU adds service depth to Big Bend Regional Medical Center
By BARBARA RICHERSON
ALPINE – Big Bend Regional Medical Center opened its new two-bed Intensive Care Unit Monday with a ribbon cutting hosted by the Alpine Ambassadors and refreshments provided by the dietary staff. The wing was crowded with well wishers and hospital staff.
James Cobb, Emergency Room and ICU director, was introduced by hospital CEO Mike Ellis, who gave an introduction to the staff and new facility. The ICU is under the medical direction of Dr. Melinda Banister, general surgeon.
Chief Nursing Officer Trey McGraw, who has overall clinical responsibility for the hospital, gave tours of the unit and talked about the new equipment. Director of Diagnostic Imaging Randy Ballard explained the new Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS).
“With the addition of the ICU unit,” McGraw said, “skill levels of the staff have increased with specialized training which included critical care classes at the hospital and hands-on experience in the ICU unit in San Angelo, as well as new equipment which has increased our abilities to treat patients.”
And McGraw said the monitor tracks so much more than heartbeats. It also tracks arterial line pressure, heart pressure, and more.
“With expanded staff availability,” he added, “respiratory therapy is available in-house 24/7.” Their office is also housed in the ICU unit for close monitoring.
“This service is really needed,” said hospital executive Mary Clare Spear. “The new equipment also includes the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), which is networked to offices of all local doctors in the area. Any time a doctor needs to look at an X-ray, they can pull it up on their computer.”
“I think two beds are just right for our needs,” Spear added. “It will reduce the amount of transfers needed and increase our acuity. Our Board of Trustees identified this as a major goal and now it has come to fruition – it is exciting to see this happen.”