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COLUMN: Saratoga Hospital gets donations for smart IV pumps
For Your Health

COLUMN: Saratoga Hospital gets donations for smart IV pumps

IV pump

This smart IV pump from B Braun is the type Saratoga Hospital bought.

The Saratoga Hospital Volunteer Guild has given the hospital $210,000, nearly half of which is helping to pay off the costs of new “smart” intravenous pumps.

All hospital facilities upgraded to the new pumps last year, with the promise of $500,000 from the Guild over five years to help pay for them.

The pumps are used to deliver lifesaving fluids, including advanced antibiotics, insulin and chemotherapy. The new pumps are designed to ensure that patients receive the right medication at the right dose at the right time.

Adverse drug events are single leading cause of medical injuries, and IV pumps cause the majority of those adverse drug events.

The new pumps reduce the chance of error.

The problem is that pumps are so flexible. They can deliver one drop an hour, a liter an hour or anything in between. Likewise, they can deliver 0.1 to 9999 mL.

If a medical professional simply hits an extra zero, the pump will accept it, and the patient could end up getting 100 times more medication than prescribed.

A smart pump asks the user to identify where the patient is, such as at the neonatal intensive care unit. If the provider says the pump is being used in the NICU, amounts that would be too high for a newborn are rejected.

The hospital pharmacy also establishes limits for each drug, so that morphine, for example, could not be entered as 90 mg/hr when the limit is 9.0 mg/hr.

Other safeguards include not allowing a patient’s weight to be used if the drug is not dosed according to weight and identifying if the drug is already being given to the patient from another pump.

The Guild’s $500,000 pledge for the project is the Guild’s largest donation ever. This year, the Guild gave the hospital its second $100,000 donation for the pumps.

The Guild is made up of more than 250 volunteers who work at the Treasures Consignment Boutique and Thrift Shop as well as the Saratoga Hospital Gift Shoppe to raise money for the hospital.

This year, the Guild also gave the hospital $40,000 toward a renovated lab at the Whitney-Hendrickson Cardiovascular and Interventional Suite, $40,000 toward the renovations at the Saratoga Community Health Center, and $30,000 to support cancer patients who need financial assistance for deductibles, transportation and other costs.

Ultrasound units for Elizabethtown Community Hospital primary care

‘Tis the season for donations. Elizabethtown Community Hospital’s six health centers received new handheld ultrasound units, thanks to a grant from International Paper’s Ticonderoga Mill, the International Paper Foundation and fundraising done by the Elizabethtown Community Hospital Auxiliary.

The paper mill gave $8,000, and the auxiliary raised another $8,000.

“The ultrasounds will allow us to check for gallbladder disease, blood clots and aortic aneurysms. Early detection of these illnesses can allow for more rapid treatment and reduce the risk of hospitalization and surgery,” said Dr. Rob Demuro, the UVM Health Network—Elizabethtown Community Hospital’s medical director for primary care. “We are grateful for the support from International Paper and our auxiliary.”

The hospital’s health centers are in Elizabethtown, Au Sable Forks, Crown Point, Westport, Willsboro, and Wilmington.

International Paper said the ultrasound units are a valuable addition to the health of the community.

“At International Paper, we believe our company cannot succeed if our communities do not succeed,” said Donna Wadsworth, communications manager at International Paper. “We are proud to support the UVM Health Network—Elizabethtown Community Hospital’s health centers as they deliver critical services in our communities.”

More RNs are graduating

The number of new registered nurse graduates has nearly doubled from 2002 to 2018, according to a recent report from the University of Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Study.

The university surveys all of the RN educational programs in New York state each year to determine how many nurses graduate and how many find nursing jobs.

In 2002, about 4,000 RNs graduated. In 2018, there were about 9,500 graduates.

The study found that the job market is stronger for RNs who graduate with a bachelor’s degree than with an associate degree. Overall, 85% of new RNs with a four-year degree found a job, while 80% of those with an associate degree found a job. Those with an associate degree also found more jobs in nursing homes than anywhere else.

“Monitoring the production of RNs is part of a larger effort to understand New York’s health care workforce,” said study director Jean Moore. “It is important to routinely assess both the production of RNs and the new RN job market to help us understand potential gaps between the supply of and demand for RNs in New York and inform policies aimed to address these gaps.”

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on


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