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Lewes, Delaware
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May 23, 1997     Cape Gazette
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May 23, 1997

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CAPE GAZETUE, Fr1ay,'M 2-'T/rdy'9,'97"- 3b Millville emergency room opening lrbzr slimmer Everyone has caught at least one episode of the popular 70s sit- corn M*A*S*H. Each show, the medical staff of that Mobile Army Surgical Hospital faced a deluge of wounded soldiers to be patched up and moved on to a bigger, bet- ter equipped facility. It's that same mad rush 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all sum- mer long, for the doctors and nurs- es of the emergency department (ER) at Millville Health Center. Patients may not face armed com- bat, but they still suffer a wide- range of injuries as they battle pounding surf, stubborn shop tools, stabbing boardwalk splin- ters and runaway bicycles. Like those M*A*S*H units, the Millville Emergency Department is there to provide quality care in an emergency. It stitched up a nasty cut when a local man tan- gled with a stubborn lawnmower on a Saturday afternoon, and his physician's office was closed. It wrapped the sprained ankle of a fearless youngster who "para- chuted" from a garage roof on a Wednesday evening, - after-hours for her pediatrician. It cleaned the lacerated knees and elbows of a daredevil bicyclist whose doctor was on vacation. It doesn't matter what time or day of the week it is for day-trip- pers and vacationers - they are all out of reach of their primary care physician. So when the only thing hooked on the family fishing trip was Dad's finger, the "catch" was weighed in at the ER. When visiting grandchildren contracted pink eye from a neigh- bor's vacationing nephew, they were taken to the emergency department. When day-trippers lost the wrestling match with an angry school of jellyfish, they checked into the emergency department. "We see all the summer com- plaints," said Ann B. Caputo, RN, "from swimmer's ear and sun- burn, to poison ivy and dislocated shoulders from surfing accidents." Caputo is Emergency Services Director for Beebe Medical Cen- ter, under whose umbrella the Millville Health Center and its emergency department operate. In service from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend each year, the Millville Emergency Depart- ment treats an average of 4,000 patients over a three-month peri- od. The downstate emergency facility is staffed by the same highly specialized staff as its par- ent organization. Although addi- tional nurses are hired, the doctors and nurses rotate shifts between the two facilities. The Millville emergency facili- ty includes a lab and x-ray ser- vices, but does not have the resources to handle very acute cases. Patients with serious or life- threatening conditions, or who must be admitted for in-patient care, are stabilized and then trans- ferred to Beebe Medical Center in Lewes. Michelle Munch, nurse manag- er for the Millville unit, explained that ambulances and paramedics do not deliver acute cases to the SAVE :O% MEN'S, LADIES' & CHILDREN'S SHOES FIRSY QUAL/TY F(MYfWAR AT A DIS(X)UNT Featuring: Sebago Docksides Keds Trotters Sperry Top-Sider * Tretorn Etonie New Balance * MIA Clarks of England Wigwam Reebok Rockport * Grasshoppers seleetfrom over IS,000/mlrs in stock. Men's s/zes: N 9-14, M 6 I/2-14, W 6 1/2-14, WW 8-13. Women's sizes: N 6-10, M 5-1 I. W 6.10 Cldldrn's 10-3 and Boy's adzes 3 1/2-6 -- LOCATIONS Route 1, Ames Plaza, Rehoboth Beach, DE 302-227-5828 Route 1 at West Virginia Ave. (4 streets north of MD line on ocean side) Penwick Island, DE 302-539-4599 smaller emergency department, but transport directly to Lewes. But it's not unusual, she contin- ued, for a patient to arrive by pri- vate car despite symptoms which a paramedic would have directed to the Lewes emergency depart- ment. "When someone walks in with a heart attack, we can treat him or her," she shid, "then we'll transfer the patient to Lewes because we have no bed and can't admit. "If people think it's serious, we'd: like them to call the para- medics at 911; that's the best thing to do," Caputo said. 'The para- medic is really an emergency room on wheels, so treatment can begin immediately and they'll be taken directly to Beebe." Although not life-sustaining, the care provided by Millville Emergency Department is still critical for those experiencing an emergency. Treating a dislocated shouter may be a non-emergency case for the emergency room staff, but is a definite crisis to that immobilized surfer. The same is true for someone who has stepped on a nail, contracted food poison- ing or caught a nasty virus. Just like those frantic television scenes on M*A*S*H, a triage nurse assesses the condition of each patient and determines which case should be given priority. Although treatment is generally "provided on a first-come, first- serve basis, some illnesses and injuries are serious enough to be 'bumped' to the head of the line. Like any emergency service, Millville often has a number of people in the waiting room. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate time spent waiting. The emergency depart- ment staff makes that wait easier with frequent updates on progress in the treatment area and reassur- ances that each patient will be Continued on page 31 .z-o, world of business is ruthless, cruel and cut-throat. Do you have the heart for it? d ou've got to have what it takes to suc- ceed. And part of that is good, solid j health. That's what we're all about. We provide you with a highly personalized program that will help improve your fitness and nutrition. In fact, we'll even IE give you two free ses.ions with a qualified lrJonal trai .... Now ] Monthly/ that ought to make your heart race. 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