Oct. 10, 2019 – Hospitals like ours are filled with a wide variety of complex equipment that is critical to patient care. Today I met with the small but mighty team that keeps our patients safe by ensuring this equipment is up and running and available 24/7.
The biomedical engineering department team comprises seven technicians, two coordinators and Patrick Rogers, who manages the team. They stay busy efficiently repairing and updating equipment, handling equipment recalls, and keeping tabs on databases and expenditures.
One of the first stops on my tour was the Bio-Med parts room, which was filled with equipment in various stages of assembly — kind of like an auto repair shop, but instead of mufflers and brake pads everywhere, there are oscillators and computers on wheels. Here, Louis Washington, Alvin Yabut, Jay Damasco and Ed Saavedra were swapping out the battery on a ventilator and repairing IV pumps. Specialized equipment requires specialized training, and this crew goes to school to learn the ins and outs of the equipment they work on. They also make sure to have loaners available so that units never have to go without.
We then walked over to the main shop, where Mike Heim was preparing to run a diagnostic test on an electrocardiogram machine (which is used to detect heart problems and monitor a patient’s heart status). When machines like this one come to the shop, with only a “not working” note taped to it, technicians have to do some sleuthing to get to the root of the problem. Mike specializes in working with dialysis equipment, the repairs of which Rady Children’s brought in-house in 2006 (rather than sending it out). Vice President and Chief Information Officer Albert Oriol, who was also on our tour, commented that this team “does an amazing job of taking things on in-house and repairing them, which helps to reduce costs.” I couldn’t agree more!
Next, we checked out a storage room, where a variety of items are housed, including brand new equipment (like the pristine Giraffe Omnibed that was waiting to be deployed to one of our NICUs) and specialized equipment that is used less frequently.
This team’s stamp says they are “saving lives behind the scenes,” and they really are. Simply put, we need technology to work in order to take care of kids. If a pump or monitoring device breaks down, there can be serious consequences that can make or break it for one of our patients. That’s why it’s comforting to know that this team is made up of true professionals, with updated certifications and ongoing trainings to ensure they stay at the top of their game. Keep up the great work! Our patients are depending on you.