Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

COOK HOSPITAL

Benevolence in their blood

Cook Lions spearhead fundraising for new blood analyzer

Crystal Dey
Posted 8/21/19

COOK – In a time when small town, independent hospitals seem a dying enterprise, administrators at the Cook Hospital and Care Center continue to revitalize their services, thanks to support from …

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COOK HOSPITAL

Benevolence in their blood

Cook Lions spearhead fundraising for new blood analyzer

Posted

COOK – In a time when small town, independent hospitals seem a dying enterprise, administrators at the Cook Hospital and Care Center continue to revitalize their services, thanks to support from local organizations. They recently added a new chemistry analyzer, costing $133,110, with no cost to patients.

The hospital was able to purchase the Abbott Architect analyzer with grant funds from area Lions Clubs, the Cook Timberwolves Snowmobile Club, the Cook Fire Department Relief Association, and the Cook Area Health Care and W.C. Heiam Medical Foundation. The new machine replaces an older model that cannot keep up with today’s testing needs.

“Our current chemistry analyzer was over eight years old, and we couldn’t do advanced testing,” explained Teresa Debevec, Cook Hospital and Care Center CEO. “The new instrument allows us to do that.” Debevec noted that analyzers are generally replaced every five years.

The new analyzer will save the hospital money by decreasing the time required to process samples and reducing maintenance costs. Until receiving the new analyzer, the hospital would outsource its testing to Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing when the older machine was under maintenance.

Debevec said the 14-bed acute care hospital prides itself on being an independent facility and the one-hour distance was especially restricting in emergency situations.

Medical Lab Technician Kurt Gauthier explained that while patients won’t see the analyzer, it will be an integral part of their care at Cook Hospital.

“It analyzes basic panels, checks liver enzymes and kidney function, glucose and electrolyte levels,” Gauthier said. “Basically, all body chemistries.”

Presently the new analyzer is being calibrated against the previous machine. Debevec said each test the unit processes will be run at least 10 times to assure accuracy before the new analyzer is ready to be used on its own.

The hospital performs approximately 65,000 chemistry tests each year. The new model, an Abbott Architect Ci4100, has a maximum throughput of 900 tests per hour, including 800 clinical chemistry and 100 immunoassay tests. Immunoassay tests measure antigen and antibody properties, which help in diagnosis.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this and survive as an independent rural hospital if it weren’t for these types of donations,” Debevec said of the Lions and the other organizations’ efforts.

Expanding the hospital’s rural care area, the Cook Hospital partners with Scenic Rivers Clinic in Tower where a small lab is stationed.

Lions learned of the hospital’s need in February when Debevec, also a Lion, and Cook Hospital Laboratory Director Rich Ziegler contacted the group with a request for help. The Cook and Orr Lions Clubs secured a $66,555 standard matching grant to purchase the equipment. Lions Club International Foundation, which approved the grant, includes clubs in Canada, elevating the endeavor to an international level.

Locally, Lions sought funds from the community to secure the grant. Combined, the Cook Timberwolves Snowmobile Club, Cook Fire Department Relief Association, Cook Area Health Care and W.C. Heiam Medical Foundation raised $73,650. Lion Mark Eyre said the four organizations requested the excess $7,095 be donated directly to the Cook Hospital.

“We Lions like service, that’s our motto. This was a way to serve a hospital, that I just learned is independent,” said Lion Wayne Tieman. “That’s pretty unusual in this day and age.”

During a formal check presentation at the hospital on Friday, Aug. 9, Tieman commended Eyre for spearheading the project that culminated in the community-wide matching grant exceeding the amount needed to purchase the analyzer. “He was the sparkplug that got this thing going,” Tieman said.

“A special thanks to Mark. Mark’s really done a lot of work himself to get this grant going,” Debevec added.

Eyre shied away from accepting credit. “It wasn’t just me,” he said.

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