A Marathon, Not a Sprint

July 8, 2021

HSC’s ER is the first teaching hospital across Canada to have Sonosite PX Ultrasound Machines

Dr. Chau Pham operating a Sonosite PX ultrasound machine in HSC Winnipeg’s Emergency Department.

Every morning Dr. Chau Pham gets up and hits the ground running. “It is very important for me to start the day with a 5km run to boost my morale,” she smiles. With an impressive array of jobs under her belt, including Emergency Physician at Health Sciences Centre, Associate Professor with the University of Manitoba, and Ultrasound Director for the Department of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Pham’s days would leave most people tired just hearing about them.

After her run, she helps get her sons to school and tackles her academic and administrative tasks at home before heading to the hospital. As part of her position with the U of M, Dr. Pham trains residents on ultrasounds and conducts 16-hour-long ultrasound boot camps—all of which are scheduled between her Emergency Department shifts. And COVID-19 has only added to her schedule.

“The understanding that we are wearing multiple hats at work and home and that the pandemic changes things for us as caregivers, not just for our patients but also our families and dependents, is crucial. If our children get sick or have to go in quarantine, it means it takes you out of the workforce and puts your colleagues in a difficult situation,” Dr. Pham explains.

Thanks to donor generosity, through the HSC Foundation COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund and events such as Savour Virtual: Wine & Food Experience, staff like Dr. Pham have access to equipment that is helping them provide the best possible patient care.

Before the pandemic started, the HSC Emergency Department knew that they needed new ultrasound machines. HSC is the first teaching hospital in Canada to have Sonosite PX ultrasound machines, and with better image generation, transportability, and durability, these machines are used daily by staff.

Sonosite PX ultrasound machines are cart-based devices used at the patient’s bedside as a point-of-care diagnostic and therapeutic tool that allows staff to diagnose patients without having to move them elsewhere in the hospital. This is a significant relief for staff and patients alike.

“Even though it’s a great pause globally, it’s a moving target for physicians,” Dr. Pham reflects. “The days are long and hard, and shift work in the Emergency Department is very intense. When we have lots of high acuity, high volume, and high stakes patients who crash quite quickly, the value of teamwork, understanding, and collegiality has never been more important than now.”

If a patient is rushed in after a car accident, staff can use the Sonosite PX ultrasound machines to immediately check for internal hemorrhage to quickly inform the surgical trauma team. If a cancer patient comes in with chest pain or shortness of breath, the machine can be used to look to see if fluid has accumulated and, if so, physicians can act quickly. The Sonosite PX ultrasound machine can be a life-saving intervention.

“We are making a difference in workflow in our Emergency Department, in patient care, and in patient safety. We are very grateful,” says Dr. Chau Pham.

While her schedule keeps Dr. Pham running, she took a short breather to thank the HSC Foundation’s donors.

“Please know that we use these machines every shift; we are making a difference in workflow in our Emergency Department, in patient care, and in patient safety. We are very grateful.”

Please consider showing your support by making a gift to the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund or any of the HSC Foundation’s other initiatives. Donations can be made by clicking here or calling 204-515-5612.

By Heather Milne