Cutting wait times, saving lives: Trauma care in the FAST lane

North Dakota hospital’s new ultrasound technology will help detect life-threatening injuries

While Cavalier, North Dakota’s motto is four seasons, many reasons, the city’s hospital is a 365-day-a-year lifeline.

As one of the only hospitals for patients to visit in the rural region of northeastern North Dakota without driving hours on end, Pembina County Memorial Hospital serves thousands of people across counties and borders—and does its best to ensure it has the best tools, services and care available.

“Even though we are a small facility, we really strive to have that up-to-date technology,” says Brenda Anderson, foundation director and social work consultant with the Pembina County Memorial Hospital Foundation. The foundation works to advocate for and promote the development of the hospital and its affiliated services such as Wedgewood Manor, CliniCare and Country Estates.

“We’re always looking at what is in the best interest of patients coming in our doors.”

In recent months, the foundation has been raising funds to acquire FAST ultrasound for the hospital. The equipment, whose acronym stands for Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma, assists trauma patients by allowing for immediate scans.

Even better, it’s easily portable and can be operated by most hospital care providers.

Without the FAST ultrasound equipment, Pembina County Memorial Hospital would have to utilize a radiology staff member to operate it, which is costly in both funds and time.

“Anything in the abdominal area, solid organ injuries and irregular fluid—this machine can detect it,” says Anderson.

Enbridge is committed to improving the quality of life in communities near our operations and projects, including the Line 3 Replacement Project in North Dakota. Our recent $5,000 donation to the Pembina County Memorial Hospital Foundation will support the purchase of FAST ultrasound equipment, which is expected to be functional by the end of this summer.

As with most cutting-edge emergency response equipment, the ultrasound comes with a steep price tag.

“Our community is very proud of our hospital. We are financially stable where many rural hospitals in the states have had to close their doors due to lack of funds,” says Anderson. “We are really proud of what we do and grateful to our donors who support our community.”

While the hospital boasts 20 beds for patients to spend their short-term stays in, Pembina County Memorial Hospital Foundation provides high quality care in a variety of other ways through its other facilities, which include:

  • Wedgewood Manor, which provides long-term, 24-hour care for seniors who need skilled nursing, medical care, physical, occupational and speech therapy, rehabilitative and restorative programs, respite care, and therapeutic recreation
  • Country Estates, offering independent living apartments for seniors in a 20-unit complex adjacent to Wedgewood Manor
  • Clinicare, the onsite clinic, with a team of seven providers who offer lifetime care for families and individuals across the region

The work never seems to be done at the medical facilities in Cavalier, but Anderson says it’s a community-driven mandate to ensure the hospital remains in operation.

“Our community just completed fundraising of over $400,000 to complete a major bike path between our city and the Icelandic State Park,” says Anderson. “When we invest in our community, we feel ownership to it . . . it’s a feel-good thing.”