Rural hospital is saving lives with updated technology


Jacobson Memorial Hospital might be in a small town in Elgin, but a lot people depend on it for health care.

“Our service area is right around 2,500 people. In the ER we see around 625 people a year. In our Elgin Clinic we see around 5,000 patients a year,” said Theo Stoller, CEO of Jacobson Memorial Hospital Care Center.

The nearest hospital outside of the small rural town is more than an hour away.

“Hettinger which is 67 miles away to the Southwest, and Bismarck is 80 miles away to the Northeast, and then Dickinson,” said Stoller.

The hospital operates with a limited staff with only five medical doctors, and time is critical in medicine, so the hospital purchased a new CT Scanner with the help of a generous donor.

“We received $380,000  grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust,” said Stoller.

The old CT Scanner was outside in the hospital parking lot in a trailer, and patients had to be wheeled outside on a stretcher to be assessed, but the new CT Scanner has it’s own suite in the hospital, and it is faster and more efficient.

“We have actually doubled our CT Scans from 250 to . . .500,” said Stoller.

Allan Lindeman M.D., who is a medical doctor at the hospital, said the new 32 slice scanner allows them to do a better job of diagnosing strokes.

Stoller said the new machine is already paying off. Recently, it helped them diagnosis a child a with a ruptured appendix.

“It usually takes scan time . . . around 30 seconds. We are able to have a faster scan time and more clarity . . .  A better picture for the radiologist to look at”.

For the hospital, being able to diagnosis and assess patients quicker is huge, especially if they have to be dispatched to a bigger hospital with more resources.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust helped a total of 78 rural hospitals receive new CT Scanners.

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