Donations pay for much-needed Enumclaw Regional Hospital equipment

James Paterson and Rich Rosser demonstrate how handy the nonmagnetic wheel chair is in the MRI unit. - To view or buy photos go to Photo by Brenda Sexton
James Paterson and Rich Rosser demonstrate how handy the nonmagnetic wheel chair is in the MRI unit.
— image credit: To view or buy photos go to Photo by Brenda Sexton

It may sound simple. A nonmagnetic wheelchair to take patients into the magnetic resonance imaging machine at Enumclaw Regional Hospital.

But it wasn’t until the Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation purchased the item for the radiology department that it became a reality.

“It’s huge for the patient and for us,” said MRI technician James Patterson. MRI magnets draw with great force. To place a regular wheel chair in the general vacinity would be dangerous, but the short walk from waiting area to MRI can be excrutiating for some patients.

“This increases our ability to get patients back and forth safely,” Manager of Radiology Rich Rosser said. “To put it on the list and get it is kind of nice.”

The list was devised by hospital staff for the Foundation’s fund-an-item cause at its annual Holiday Fantasy fundraiser in December. Fantasy chair Judi Putman said through the community’s generous donations, the Foundation was able to raise more than $33,000, which purchased the wheel chair along with a pediatric cart for the emergency room and critical care equipment.

The nonmagnetic wheel chair was the least expensive, but probably sees the most use. Patterson said it gets used daily. Rosser said of the 175 to 200 patients a month using the MRI, approximately 15 percent rely on the non-magnetic wheelchair.

The purchase of two remote critical care units brings the hospital’s total to four, but the latest additions are special – they’re mobile.

“It provides all the state of the art monitoring you’d find in any ICU in the world,” ERH Acute Care Manager Tom Hightower said.

The older units come on stands and roll alongside a patient bed, but because these units are mobile and wireless, a patient’s history goes with them anywhere in the hospital in any situation.

The units, along with an emergency department pediatric cart system, help hospital staff meet increasing patient loads.

The emergency room pediatric cart system is designed with children’s care in mind. The system supplies information and equipment doctors and nurses need for young patients’ emergency resuscitation requirements.

“It’s as simple as a tape measure,” said hospital Director of Patient Care Services Shelly Pricco.

Hospital emergency department doctors and nurses measure a child when they arrive and then, based on those calculations, can easily find the appropriate-sized equipment to handle the emergency based on a color-coded system.

“It takes the guess work out of that time,” said Pricco, who seen how well the system has worked in the hopsital’s Women and Infant Services department. A private donor introduced and purchased the system for that department a number of years ago.

Pricco said all the equipment was recommended as part of the hospital staff’s commitment to take care of the people in the community. She said there will always be times when community members will have to go out of time for certain services and procedures, but, the goal is to provide as much care close to home as possible.

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