Dr. Zaneta Lim sits on a patient bed at Mills Memorial Hospital May 4 to demonstrate how the two-way video conferencing works between the facility and BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. (Brittany Gervais photo)Be

Specialized care now accessed in Terrace

Mobile cart can virtually connect locals to pediatrician specialists in Vancouver

Mills Memorial Hospital staff are using two-way video conferencing to connect pediatric specialists at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver with young patients in Terrace.

The tele-pediatric intensive care unit (tele-PICU) is a mobile cart with a high-definition camera run through two video screens, one facing the operating physician and the other facing the patient. The equipment allows physicians from two separate sites to care for a patient together.

“If we need more specialized advice that’s when the pediatric internists are really helpful,” said Dr. Zaneta Lim, a pediatrician at Mills Memorial. “Seeing the child in real time helps us make better decisions.”

She explained that in severe cases, sick children can actually appear to be relatively healthy until they suddenly crash, which can lead to complex situations when trying to stabilize the patient.

Through tele-PICU, doctors can connect with pediatric intensive care subspecialists in Vancouver, who can then make the call as to whether or not a transfer is needed.

Terrace was the first Northern Health site and one of nine sites provincially to join the initiative. The Mills Memorial team gained the capabilities of using the equipment in November 2017 and used the mobile cart for the first time in mid-March 2018, according to Cara Christopherson, communications officer for BC Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Lim said she has used the tele-PICU cart twice before, the first involving a child in respiratory distress. When she felt she needed a second opinion, she was able to connect with pediatric intensive care subspecialists in Vancouver who then assured the staff at Mills Memorial that the patient as stable enough to remain in Terrace.

“If this camera wasn’t here it would be completely based on my clinical exam and clinical judgment,” Dr. Lim said. “The whole idea is when I’m asking for help I feel like I’m missing something, or I feel like I’m not seeing something that they might see.”

The cart can also come in handy in smaller rural communities where pediatricians may not be readily available or have enough training to treat difficult cases. As a pediatrician in Terrace, Dr. Lim said she takes phone calls from all the surrounding communities like Smithers, Prince Rupert, Hazelton, Houston and health centres in the Nass Valley.

READ MORE: Province to boost ER services at Mills Memorial

In theory, if these communities also had a tele-PICU cart, Mills Memorial staff “could connect anywhere”, saving not only the patient’s family the cost of a medical evacuation but the healthcare system as a whole, according to Dr. Lim.

“I think it’s the future of medicine in rural communities,” she said.

“We’re always caught thinking, is this patient going to need a transfer? Is this a patient that I’m managing properly? Is there a step that I’m missing? This is what’s going to help us feel more confident when we have those really tough cases.”

The hospital in Terrace is currently working on getting a stethoscope for the mobile cart so the physicians in Vancouver can hear the lungs, heart, and stomach of the patient.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Police patrol for looters in evacuated areas south of Burns Lake

RCMP have brought in extra officers for the task

Pool opening further delayed

A deficiency in the tile works has setback its completion, city says

Terrace fire ban now includes Ferry Island

The ban will be in place until further notice

Four Rivers Co-op collecting donations for wildfire relief

The co-op is matching all donations they receive for the Red Cross

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Northern B.C. residents face more evacuation orders as some smoke clears up

Regional District of BulkleyNechako issued new, expanded evacuation orders for remote areas Saturday

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Most Read