>Pioneer Memorial Hospital recently purchased a number of pieces of new equipment which is helping them to better meet the needs of their patients
New equipment has be brought to Pioneer Memorial Hospital through generous donations from Pauline Shelk and the Prineville Hospital Foundation (PHF).
   The PHF donation which is made possible through funds from pledges and donations from the community, went toward the purchase of an ICU telemetry equipment costing about $200,000.
   Carolyn Kessel, ICU Nurse Mgr indicated that the equipment is much needed for improving patient care. "It's wonderful," she said. "This represents a big step up for Prineville and allows us to monitor more patients."
   This four-patient telemetry system is hooked up to the patient and allows the nurses to monitor the patient from another room on a central monitor.
   The Shelk donations made possible the purchase of a Tuffy Wheelchair which is a wider and sturdier than the average wheel chair which the nurses have aptly dubbed the `Cadillac' of wheel chairs. "This wheel chair is very much needed for the comfort of patients," Polly Polson, Med/Surg Nurse Mgr said. "We appreciate this gift so much because it increases our ability to provide better patient care to all patients."
   Also purchased with Shelk funds was some much need lab equipment.
   Approximately one year ago, Mrs. Shelk gave PMH lab a $500 gift which enabled the purchase of a heat block for the blood bank department. This piece of equipment is used to transfuse blood to a patient. The patient's blood is tested with the donor blood in an environment that is as close to the human body temperature as possible.
   "Having a new heat block with a digital display allows us visual ability to monitor the temperature continuously during the testing phase," Vicki Birkby Lab Mgr said. "We also purchased an Infra Red temperature GUN that allows us to check the temperature of the donor blood bags when they are received from the Red Cross."
   Last summer the hospital was awarded through the Shelk Fund a grant in the amount of $5,495. The funds, distributed through the Oregon Community Foundation went toward the purchase of an instrument called a hand held blood gas analyzer. "This instrument allows us to check the patient's oxygen status at the bedside and give results to physicians in the most timely manner," explained Birkby. To compliment this purchase a vortex mixer was also purchased. A vortex mixer spins liquids at a high speed to ensure complete and thorough mixing.
   "The most recent $500 donation allowed us to purchase a tube rocker which keeps blood samples well mixed until the sample is put through an analyzer which counts the red and white blood cells," she said. "Without proper equipment, test results can be skewed and this could potentially compromise the care of a patient. We commend Mrs. Shelk for her interest in the delivery of quality care to the people in our community."
   Additionally, Shelk's interest in another type of testing has sparked an investigation for a new analyzer which is being installed at PMH.
   This instrument will allow staff to test for Highly Sensitive CRP, which is a protein that can help to predict the risk of a cardiac problems for patients. The significance of this test has recently become accepted in the medical community and provides more value than the familiar cholesterol check. Paul Ridker, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston is the lead author of studies on the test.
   He believes that the test holds enormous lifesaving potential, especially if it's combined with cholesterol testing. "It should be front and center in every physician's office," he says. "We are excited to be on the leading edge as we prepare to introduce this testing to our local physicians in the fall of this year," Birkby concluded.
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