Carroll County General Hospital Report

October 27, 1991


In Fiscal Year 1991 (July 1990 to June 1991), Carroll County General Hospital has made tremendousadvances which have had an impact on both the number of services available to patients and the way those services are delivered. Some of the more important changes are:


The trend toward more outpatient procedures and a shorter stay in the hospital continues, thanks to new equipmentand new procedures. Patients are back in their home environment sooner and often heal more quickly. The hospital is now also able to offer a wider range of complicated surgical procedures, like vascular surgery.

Specific advances include: Lithotripsy services were initiated. Lithotripsy involves bombardment of kidney stones with shock waves to dissolve stones without surgical intervention. It is usually an outpatient procedure.

Surgeons began removing gallstones through laparascopy (biliary cholecystectomy) for the first time. Surgeons make several small incisions and remove gallstones through one of those incisions, as opposed to through a very large incision. Patients stayonly a few days now instead of over a week, and go back to work morequickly.

The hospital has expanded its vascular surgery capabilities. These surgeons can perform complex procedures to remove aneurysms (weak spots in the artery), remove blockages in peripheral arteriesto prevent strokes, perform lung and esophagus resections to remove cancer, and bypass blocked arteries in the legs.

Patient-controlled pain management is now available upon request. Patients get a smallmachine that lets them inject pain medication prescribed by their physician. This enables them to get medication when they wish, rather than being dependent on a nurse to get their medication. There are built-in limitations to the system, so they can't overmedicate themselves.

New monitoring equipment for the anesthesiologists was purchased this year, providing patients with the latest in monitoring capabilities.

New lasers purchased in the operating room enable surgeons to do more procedures without a scalpel, often leading to faster recovery for patients because bleeding, pain, and the risk of infection are minimized.

A Phaco-emulsification unit was purchased, which lets eye surgeons remove cataracts using smaller incisions, and which leads to faster recovery time and often to patients regaining their vision more quickly.

A new Fluoroscopy C-arm unit was purchased for the operating room which provides "real-time" images. These are imageswhich enable surgeons to view the area being operated upon and guideplacement of catheters or implants.

A new minor procedures room has been completed for patients who need local anesthesia, which will frees up the existing operating rooms to do more major surgery. Both major and minor surgery will therefore be performed more quickly and efficiently.


The hospital has expanded the existing scope of cardiac (heart) diagnostic procedures, and soon will be able to provide all cardiac care except open heart surgery. Someof these changes include:

Renovation of the nuclear medicine and CT scan area. Nuclear medicine studies measure the function of the heart and blood vessels, by injecting isotopes and taking pictures thatpick up the isotopes.

Purchase of a SPECT camera. SPECT provides 3-D images of the heart and other organs, and helps to determine whether structures are functioning normally or not.

Construction of a suite to house cardiac catheterization and angiography services, brand new services which will be available in the fall of 1991. Cardiac catheterization involves inserting a catheter into a blood vessel and threading it to the coronary arteries, where dye is injected and pictures are taken to provide more information about blockages. Angiography involves using a catheter to provide information about flow in theperipheral blood vessels. These advanced "invasive" diagnostic cardiac procedures will permit many patients to have all their tests done locally.


The hospital started a new Pediatric House Physician Program in July, 1990 which provides a pediatrician at the hospital round-the- clock. In July, 1991, this program was complemented by adding an Obstetrics House Physician Program, where an obstetrician is also available around the clock. These programs mean that a pediatrician or obstetrician can be called in tosee a patient in the emergency department, or admit a patient, or respond to an emergency C section, or take care of a patient on our pediatric or obstetric unit in the middle of the night. It results in faster, safer care for mothers and children and a greater level of reassurance for parents.


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