On an otherwise quiet day, a woman in her 60s walked into the emergency waiting room at Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa, complaining of chest pain.Moments later, she collapsed on the floor in cardiac arrest, a condition that could have killed her, had it occurred somewhere else.
At the hospital on Wichita's west side, the experienced ER staff knew just what to do. They quickly moved the woman into a critical care treatment room dedicated to just such emergencies. Using a defibrillator, they shocked her heart back into a normal beating rhythm, stabilizing her condition.
Upon later examination by specialists at Via Christi's hospital on St. Francis, her doctor discovered a clogged artery and implanted a stent to open up blood flow to her heart to help prevent future episodes like this one. When the procedure was done, he called the ER staff on St. Teresa to offer a well-deserved "atta boy."
"He told us our staff's prompt and decisive action saved that woman's life," said Misty Falco, clinical nurse manager for Emergency and Critical Care Services at the hospital.
But that comes as no surprise to Falco.
Experienced staff, 24 hours a day
"We're equipped to handle anything that comes through our doors, and our experienced staff is second to none."
An experienced emergency doctor is on hand 24 hours a day at Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa.
"They're the same physicians who treat patients in the ERs at the hospitals on St. Francis and East Harry, so they have the experience to stabilize patients of all sorts," Falco said. The ER nursing staff is just as experienced, some having worked more than 20 years in the ER.
Equipped for any emergency
Since Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa opened in August 2010, its emergency room has treated everything from heart attacks to kitchen accidents, respiratory distress to minor auto accidents, poisonings to broken bones, said Falco. On a typical day, about 40 people will seek out its services.
Best of all, the "door-to-doctor" wait is often as little as 10 minutes.
That's the time patients wait to see a doctor after being taken to one of 14 private patient treatment rooms for an initial assessment by the nurse.
While Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa is a small and comfortable "community hospital," its ER is as well equipped as those at most larger hospitals.
One critical care treatment room is for adults, while the other is designed just for children, with a state-of-the-art pediatric "crash cart" filled with all the equipment and medication commonly used in emergency resuscitation of infants and children.
There's another room set up to treat eye, nose and throat conditions, and a decontamination shower room for treating chemical contamination. CT and X-ray imaging equipment, plus a medical laboratory, are just steps away.
Convenient location, doorside parking
The newest Via Christi Hospital is tucked away on a quiet campus just three miles west of New Market Square. Its convenient location makes it the hospital of choice for many west Sedgwick County residents in need of emergency treatment.
"A lot of people tell us they'd rather come here than drive 10 or more miles downtown to one of the larger hospitals," said Falco. "It's convenient for westsiders, has plenty of parking outside, and it's less crowded than most other hospitals, with personal care and a comfortable small-hospital feel."
While Falco advises anyone with a serious emergency at home or at work to call 9-1-1 and Sedgwick County EMS will transport them to the appropriate hospital, Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa will treat any case that comes to the ER.