A team of Minot middle-school students hope their ideas will help ease congestion at Trinity Health’s emergency hospital entrance. Short of that, they’ve strengthened the case for Trinity’s new healthcare campus currently under construction.
The team, called Magic Thunder, chose a redesign of Trinity Hospital’s ER entrance as its entry in the third annual FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competition held January 11 at Minot State University.
The team, comprised of Tristen Farmer, Jonathan Jacob, Joel Jacob, Nick Debowey, and Joshua Harris, did well. It was one nine teams selected to advance to the next level, which is the FLL State competition in Grand Forks February 8 at the University of North Dakota.
FIRST LEGO League challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. During the recent CITY SHAPER season, teams had to choose and solve a real-world problem in the Innovation Project.
“We looked around the community and picked the ambulance bay,” said team member Tristen Farmer. He explained that another team member noticed after a family emergency that the ER parking garage doesn’t have a lot of room for ambulance vehicles.
Officials from Trinity Health and Community Ambulance Service gathered around a table at Community Ambulance headquarters to hear the students present their plan. They were impressed with the seriousness of their approach and agreed that their premise had merit.
“Our hypothesis is that the ER entrance is too small,” Tristen explained. “It can accommodate traffic for the most part. But if there was a mass casualty situation it would be a big problem, so we came up with a solution.”
The students said they spent about six weeks researching and brainstorming the issue – a daunting task, given that the hospital’s emergency entrance and parking bay is flanked by two major thoroughfares – Burdick Expressway and Main Street.
After considering various solutions, they landed on a design that calls for a gate to be built across the parking entrance so only ambulances would have access. In addition, a loading dock would be added to facilitate the loading and unloading of patients.
Susann Krueger, nurse manager of the Emergency/Trauma Center, congratulated the students and noted that Trinity Health’s new healthcare campus will incorporate many of the team’s solutions, including the need to shield emergency vehicles from regular hospital traffic.
“I like that loading dock idea,” said Community Ambulance Director Greg Anderson, who added with a smile, “I trust that you’re going to be an engineer one day.”