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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
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Mason County Journal
May 22, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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May 22, 2014

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Thursday, May 22, 2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-13 EMERGEN With a close-knit group of doctors, nurses, technicians and staff, Mason General's Emergency Department treats 22,000 patients each year for everything from minor cuts to major trauma STORY BY NATALIE JOHNSON I PHOTOS BY TOM HYDE t's 3:30 p.m. on a rainy Saturday, and the Emergency Department at Mason General Hospital is unnervingly quiet. The theme from "Mission Impossible" suddenly blasts out over beeping heart monitors. The ringtone for the ED's direct- line phone from ambulances lightens the mood in an often stressful and sometimes traumatic job. "Every time that goes off and I hear 93-year-old-female... (I'm re- lieved) it's not my mother-in-law," said Mike Olels, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and monitor tech in the ED. Sitting just feet from the central doctor's station, he spends his shifts juggling phones, monitor- ing patient information on several screens, and acting as a central hub of communication. At the small-town hospital, staff often see people they know, said Olels, who has worked at the hospital for 11 years. "A lot of people feel more comfort- able ... when they see a familiar face," he said. It's been just over a year since Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics' remodeled Emergency Department opened to patients. The remodelinging was part of a $33 million, three-year Campus Re- newal project. Phase 1 of the project added a new main entrance and a 20,000-foot surgical wing. It was completed in 2012. The following year, Phase 2 ex- panded the hospital's diagnostic imaging department, added an open MRI unit and upgraded the Emer- gency Department. The hospital spent about $2.1 mil- lion to add 3,500 square feet to the Emergency Department, doubling its size, said Eric Moll, CEO of Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics. The entire project was paid for with hospital operation dollars, he said ........ -T Ill I I "It's very important to note that Level IV and V facilities play a huge and crucial role in the trauma system" As a Level IV Trauma hospital, Mason General is the first stop for the most serious cases before an airlift to Harborview Medical Center, the only Level 1 trauma center in the state. The state Department of Health (DOH) designates five levels of acute care trauma services. Every three years, hospitals can apply and com- pete for trauma service designation. "It's very important to note that Level IV and V facilities play a huge and crucial role inthe.trauma sys- Dr. Dean Gushee reviews a CT scan in Mason General Hospital's Emergency Department. "You always want to target a test for a particular question," he said. "It's a lot of radiation." CT scans use radiation to develop images of a body that can be viewed on multiple planes. Essentially, it's a 3-D X-ray. "It's as good as having a surgeon open you up and look inside." They are useful, but also dangerous, especially to children, Gushee noted. A child has a 1 in 4,000 chance of developing cancer later in life if they receive a belly CT scan. t6m," said Anthony Bledsoe, trauma designation administrator at DOH. Level IV trauma centers are tasked with stabilizing patients and transferring them to hospitals with more specialized trauma units. "The idea with these facilities is they stabilize patients and save lives," Bledsoe said. "They have specific roles based on their scope of service." Mason General's Emergency De- partment sees 22,000 patients a year. "That's pretty big for a Critical Access Hospital," said Dr. Dean Gushee, ED medical director and chief medical officer for Mason Gen- eral Hospital & Family of Clinics. continued on next page