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Some might say it was a case of divine intervention, with the Block Island Medical Center as the beneficiary. 

The result of that intervention came in the form of a brand new state-of-the-art ultrasound machine for the Center.

“The new ultrasound machine provides a dramatic increase in the standard of care we can deliver at BIHS for both common and emergent conditions,” Dr. Mark Clark told The Block Island Times. “Our goal at BIHS is to continually improve patient care and to assure that we are meeting or exceeding the standard of care delivered anywhere, even though we are 12 miles off the coast.”

In the fall of 2015, during a meet- and-greet held by the Block Island Residents Association to introduce the doctor to the community, Clark spoke and noted that the Medical Center “needed an ultrasound machine to raise the standard of care.”

Clark said that five minutes after speaking, David Roosa of the Roosa Fund informed him that he would be happy if the fund chose to make the donation for the machine.

A short time later, the doctor said that the Medical Center was the recipient of a Minimal brand L14000 SonoSite EDGE ultrasound machine. The purchase was made possible by a shared donation between The Florence E. and Vernon D. Roosa Fund of Block Island Ecumenical Ministries and the Champlin Foundations.

The new equipment was delivered in January. “We are currently in the process of integrating it into our IT system for wireless transmission and archiving of images necessary for medical records and insurance purposes,” said Clark. “This process requires upgrading our radiology imaging software, and we expect it to be complete by late spring. We are able to perform ultrasounds now even while the image archiving is still underway.”

According to Minimal’s website, the “L14000 SonoSite EDGE is a high-resolution, all-digital, 8.5-pound ultrasound system with a 12.1-inch LED display designed with SonoSite’s proprietary Chip Fusion Technology that integrates digital signal processing and multiple system functions into a custom application-specific integrated circuit microchip. As a result complex system functions that typically require several large circuit boards can be accomplished using a small chip in a compact space.”

Clark said the staff is “thrilled and grateful” to have the ultrasound machine, which will help the medical staff diagnose patient conditions.

“The simple fact is the ultrasound will allow us to use noninvasive state-of-the-art technology at the bedside for assistance in diagnosis and care of many conditions,” noted Clark. “The ultrasound is used for many common problems, like locating and draining skin abscesses or locating and removing foreign bodies lodged in the skin. These are often difficult to locate with X-rays, but ultrasound can pick up.”

Clark said that his team “uses the ultrasound machine to diagnose causes of abdominal pain, like kidney or gallstones. We use it to diagnose pregnancy, and to assure normal pregnancy, in the correct location, in women who are pregnant and having pain. It is useful in acute conditions such as trauma where we use it to identify internal bleeding or injury to organs that will require quick diagnosis for transport to a trauma center. We use it to diagnose venous thrombosis (blood clots). The ultrasound is also used for aiding the diagnosis of acute cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks, congestive heart failure and pleural (lung) effusions (abnormal fluid).”

“Ultrasound is painless, noninvasive (it uses sound waves instead of radiation), can be done at the bedside and gives immediate results,” noted Clark. “At the Medical Center we will not be performing exhaustive exams but rather something called focused or limited exams designed to answer a specific clinical question at the bedside. The community will gradually notice an increase in its use, but may not be aware of the many times it will also be always striving to improve quality. We remain very grateful for this contribution and the countless other contributions of time and money to the Medical Center, and we are especially grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve the community.”

Article by Cassius Shuman. Reprinted from The Block Island Times, April 9 2016.