Robert Frankovitch was watching TV at home when he knew something was wrong. “Call an ambulance. I’ve got to get to the hospital,” he said to his wife, Jo-Ann.
Four days earlier, Robert was discharged from Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) following a successful quadruple bypass surgery. His recovery was seemingly going well. “I felt pretty good,” says Robert. “I didn’t experience any pain but all of a sudden my eyes had a horrible sinking feeling and I started feeling light-headed.”
An ambulance arrived within five minutes and Robert was taken straight to KHSC’s Emergency Department (ED). It was determined that he had very low blood pressure but it wasn’t clear why.
The emergency physicians, Dr. Tim Chaplin and Dr. Casey Petrie, quickly utilized KHSC’s Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) machine. This important equipment offers staff access to ultrasound imaging in real time, providing swift diagnoses for patients showing common or life-threatening symptoms.
“Using POCUS, we were able to identify blood leaking from Robert’s heart,” says Dr. Chaplin. “It was crushing his heart and he needed surgery immediately. We alerted the cardiac surgery team who mobilized and operated immediately. There’s no doubt that POCUS saved Robert’s life.”
“I thought I was finished, to tell you the truth,” says Robert. “When I woke up, I felt really grateful for the doctors and nurses that we have here in Kingston. I don’t think you’ll find any better. I’m standing here in front of you today because of them.”
POCUS can help expedite diagnoses in a wide variety of emergency scenarios, including checking the health of fetuses, ruling out ruptured abdominal aneurysms, identifying collapsed lungs and so much more. Recently, a few local donors enabled KHSC’s ED to purchase two new POCUS machines. This is just one of the many ways our donors make a difference.
“It gives me tremendous satisfaction to make this sort of contribution to a very worthy cause,” says Dr. Gary Burggraf, a POCUS donor and former KHSC Cardiologist. “It feels great to give back to KHSC after what it did for my career and what it’s doing for the physicians and patients of today and tomorrow.”
“POCUS saves time, money and lives. It adds enormously to patient safety,” says Dr. Joey Newbigging, Emergency Medicine POCUS Director, KHSC. “We are extremely grateful to Gary and everyone who has contributed to the POCUS program so far. These generous donors are helping physicians save the lives of people like Robert and giving better care experiences to many other patients in the Emergency Department for years to come.”
Pictured: Dr. Newbigging demonstrating the POCUS machine.