Imagine a typical day at the park. Kids are playing on the jungle gym, skateboarders zip past your picnic, ducks make lazy circles on the lake. The peace and quiet is interrupted by a child’s frantic crying, and everyone rushes to her side. There’s blood and more tears. Who thought this sunny day could turn into an emergency? No one knows exactly what to do, but they do know it’s serious. Someone calls 911, and the little girl’s family soon finds itself at Iredell Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department, very concerned and understandably, a bit frightened.
“Even when you first enter our Emergency Department, we immediately begin to assess what’s going on and what you need first,” Dr. Bryan Beaver explained. “Our emergency team’s top priority is to rule out any life-threatening conditions.”
Dr. Beaver is the medical director of Iredell Memorial’s Emergency Department. He leads a team of board-certified emergency medicine physicians and providers alongside Rhonda Ruppe, Iredell’s Emergency Department director, who oversees a highly trained, professional staff of registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, and support staff. Together, hospital staff and emergency specialists collaborate to provide anyone entering the emergency department with compassionate, expert healthcare.
In the case of our injured child, a thorough examination is done, treatment is given, and the parents are told all they need to know for continued care at home. Perhaps they’ll get a prescription. At-home care, referrals to specialists, and follow-up instructions will be thoroughly explained. This scenario is typical, and each year, thousands of patients with minor or serious conditions are cared for at Iredell’s Emergency Department.
“Our goal in the Emergency Department for a minor situation is to have a patient in and out in about an hour, from the time they enter our doors for treatment until the time they are discharged,” said Rhonda. While patients are treated based on severity, and patients brought in by EMS are typically seen first, those waiting are still undergoing some form of evaluation and/or treatment. “Even if you are waiting, you are being cared for by our medical staff. Our teams of RNs, physicians, and support staff are dedicated to achieving a positive outcome for everyone as quickly as possible. Prompt, attentive, and compassionate care is given to each and every person who arrives, on their own or by ambulance.”
Have a question about what to expect next, or want to know when you can expect to be seen? Just ask. “Staff is always available to answer your questions,” Rhonda said.
AT THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME
Emergency room visits can be life-saving. “If it hadn’t been for the keen attention I got in the ER at Iredell—if I’d just been treated for the nosebleed—I might not be here today,” Ken Powers shared. Ken’s wife insisted he go to the emergency room after a fall. “I passed out and broke my nose. In the ER, I passed out again, and immediately that triggered tests and a search for the cause. Turned out, I had an aortic aneurysm that the doctor said, ‘could go anytime.’ An ambulance ride to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital for open-heart surgery and several months of follow-up with Iredell’s excellent rehab therapy team, and I’m good to go,” he said. “Every day I’m grateful that the emergency room staff were on their toes. They do an excellent job under stressful circumstances, and, you can tell they’re trained to take care of anything that presents itself, no matter what.”
As in most hospital emergency departments, Iredell’s providers are contracted by an outside group. Iredell Memorial partners with Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Department of Emergency Medicine. “Our partnership with Wake Forest Baptist adds a level of excellence and quality of care that benefits everyone. We’re able to incorporate new innovations, team training, and critical information faster and more effectively through this relationship with Wake Forest Baptist,” said Dr. Beaver, adding that while the providers play a crucial role in the care of every patient, the staff of the Emergency Department are exceptionally skilled and extremely capable. “Iredell is one of the strongest emergency teams I’ve ever seen.”
COMMUNITY HEALTH AND WELLBEING
The Emergency Department employs just over 100 employees, and there are about 1,600 people working throughout the entire Health System. The department aims to treat the whole person. They strive to make sure all their patients’ needs are met, even outside the healthcare arena. Providers, hospital and emergency room employees partner extensively with each other and with agencies throughout the communities they serve in Iredell, Davie, and Alexander counties.
One example of community-wide collaboration is seen with efforts made to combat the opioid epidemic. “Communities everywhere are impacted by the opioid crisis and other public health concerns, and we take those issues very seriously,” Dr. Beaver shared. “We work with the Drug & Alcohol Coalition, the Sheriff’s Department, our school systems, and other agencies to help find solutions to these health issues,” Rhonda said. “It’s just one of the many important ways we work to improve the health of the people we serve. Together, we’re saving lives.”
IN OUR COMMUNITY
“This is our community’s hospital,” Rhonda told me as she shared Iredell Health System’s story and the critical care that’s provided every day in the hospital’s Emergency Department. “People might not realize this is truly their hospital, the only nonprofit hospital in Iredell County. We’re locally owned and managed—no corporation is calling the shots. The hospital’s profits remain here in our community and are used to further improve and update medical technology and our highly trained staff. Our buildings and facilities are owned by the citizens of Iredell County. Decisions are made locally by people you know. Our trustees—more than 100 dedicated community leaders—our board of directors, and our staff are your neighbors…they’re intimately invested in your health and wellbeing. This is what drives our commitment to you and your family.”
WHAT IS IREDELL HEALTH SYSTEM?
What started in 1954 as a small, 100-bed hospital has become a comprehensive health system spanning multiple cities and counties. The hospital now has 247 beds, but the services provided in the care of so many people every day extends far beyond the walls of Iredell Memorial. The number of people and families reached by all of IHS’s programs and service lines is vastly more, including through Corporate Wellness, Home Health, a Wound Care Center, Women’s and Children’s Services, and Skilled Nursing, among others, as well as extensive medical departments. There are Iredell Physician Network offices and clinics in Harmony, Hickory, Mocksville, Mooresville, Taylorsville, and Troutman.
In any situation, emergency or not, the community can rest assured that anyone using services provided by Iredell Health System will receive compassionate, expert care.
It’s a difference that Ken Powers says will keep him coming back to Iredell any time he has a healthcare need. “The people there are exceptional.”
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