Friday, December 16, 2011

Part 2 of 2: Band Aids, Babies and History

(Read the first post if you haven't at Part 1)

Government changes, technological additions, the coming home of physicians like Dr. Burke and the passing or moving away of other long time physicians, have defined the last 20 years at CH-F. In 2010, a new facility was built and the hospital moved away from the building that had been home to 60 years of healthcare in Atchison County.

The supporters of CH-F are a dedicated and loyal group. Just in the last five years, a capital campaign was established to support the new building. The goal was 1.5 million and donations were last reported to be nearing $2.2 million.

Despite a history of devout support, small town hospitals face many challenges. There is often the feeling that everything is better an Interstate’s drive away. Somehow, the nurses, techs and family practice physicians know more if they work in a 3 story building. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard this beloved hospital called a band aid station or an ambulance stop on the way to the place where you can get “real” care.

Having spent five days a week in this building for the last 3.5 years, I can testify to the heroes that make up the team of rural healthcare providers that take care of me, my family and my community. Rural healthcare is a specialty. Not one of the techs, nurses or physicians I work with show up to work and take care of one kind of patient each day. On any given day, an RN in this building can help deliver a baby, respond to a code on a heart attack or take care of a port for a cancer patient.  Our physicians do not send our patients to the next building over for c-sections or scopes. They do not call the ER doc when an emergency arises. They respond and save lives.

Just like your local grocery store, we can’t do everything in a cost effective manner. Our goal is not to be the Mayo clinic, but instead to provide the most services we can in a safe manner. Just this month, we added a digital mammogram, scoped our first knee and added a radiological group that will bring many new procedures to Fairfax.

Beyond the services, I am often struck by the enormity of the responsibility on the shoulders of the healthcare providers in this building. I can say with certainty that I can’t imagine being the person responsible for so many lives in a completely healthcare isolated area. Thankfully, the team of healthcare providers in this hospital knows when to take care of someone and they also know when they can’t. That knowledge gives me the confidence to put my life, that of my children and family in their very capable hands knowing that they’ll do the best for me.
The best endorsement a hospital can get is from the community it serves.  I’d say that 60 years of support from a community that knows a good thing when they see it is…well that is pretty much ringing isn’t it?

So there you go. If you didn’t get enough bragging in your mailbox today, read this. 

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