Peace Island hospital readies for 24/7 emergency care

By Amy Cloud, PIMC spokeswoman

Special to the Journal

Beginning the Monday after Thanksgiving — when Peace Island Medical Center opens — there will be full-time access to on-island urgent care with a dedicated Emergency Department available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The ED will be captained by Dr. Michael Sullivan, a board-certified emergency medicine physician who has worked with local emergency medical services for more than a decade, as well as a team of nurses and emergency practitioners.

In addition to a round-the-clock, highly trained trauma team, patients requiring emergency care will have access to specialists at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, in Bellingham, who have ability to view a patient’s medical images or lab results electronically, or by using video conferencing.

In many cases, the need to leave San Juan Island for emergency diagnosis and treatment recommendations will be eliminated.

And with five beds in the new emergency room, there will be appropriate and comfortable space for emergency care and observation for those who have been injured in an accident or in labor.

The ED staff will be able to provide preparatory care for those who do need to be transferred off-island, including medical diagnostics, stabilization, intubation and general assessments and interventions. The ED is also available for “walk-in” minor illnesses, injuries, and emergency obstetrics.

While a 24/7 emergency room is new to San Juan Island, top-quality emergency response is not. The new ED builds on strong foundations of EMS response and care, as well as relationships with trauma-care providers, including at St. Joseph Medical Center.

In fact, only two weeks ago PeaceHealth and San Juan Island EMS participated in a PIMC Emergency Communication Plan meeting with the Sheriff’s Department, San Juan Island Fire Department, the Department of Emergency Management, Island Air Ambulance and community volunteers. And on Thursday, Oct. 18, Peace Island caregivers participated in a “table-top drill” to exercise emergency response tactics for severe weather.

When Peace Island opens after Thanksgiving weekend, it is with a nod of gratitude to the dedicated volunteers and professionals who have long been — and will continue to be — the first to respond when a fellow islander has been injured or fallen ill.

And while the ED reduces the need for off-island medical transport, there will continue to be a strong. Reliable partnership with San Juan Island EMS Island Air Ambulance and Airlift Northwest for that transportation, if needed.


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