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Hospital opens two new units

September 19, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

When Otto Roza came to Washington County Hospital in 1972, dialysis was not one of the services provided.

"It was not on the menu," the doctor said Sunday. A few moments later, he snipped scissors across a ceremonial ribbon and officially opened the hospital's remodeled, expanded hemodialysis suite.

The hospital also dedicated its new pediatric and medical/surgical unit, a 32-bed area that will serve a variety of people, including children and gynecological patients. The unit and suite are part of an estimated $2 million renovation on floor 4E.

For 20 years, the hospital has provided inpatient, or "acute," dialysis for patients with kidney disease severe enough to require admittance. But the need for the service grew with technology that has made its treatment faster.

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The machines circulate 30 liters of blood in an hour, according to Roza. The hospital's new suite added two dialysis machines, bringing its treatment capacity to six.

It has two separate treatment rooms and the expansion tripled its space, according to Lynette Matlick, hemodialysis nursing director. "The patients are much more comfortable here," said Kristie Baker, charging nurse.

During the dedication ceremony, Dr. Eli Roza said it is the nicest hospital dialysis room he's ever seen. "It is truly a high-tech, high capacity room," he said. Otto Roza called it a shrine to prolonging and saving life.s

The newly decorated medical/surgical unit features music and a saltwater aquarium in the waiting area. Those amenities are intended to reduce stress for employees and soothe visitors and patients, according to Nurse Manager Arleta Martin.

The unit features a display case filled with Martin's own collection of Byers carolers, more than 42 figurines. The green-and-mauve hall has several framed works by Edna Hibel, most of the paintings showing family scenes.

"We tend to be, and need to be, very family-oriented," said Martin. A playroom at the end of the hall holds teddy bears and framed pictures of Disney characters such as Goofy. The children's rooms each have stuffed frogs sitting in wagons in wreaths on the walls.

It was a challenge to design an area that will serve a diverse population, from extended-recovery to plastic surgery patients, Martin said. "The whole idea was to make it a more relaxed and pleasant experience," said a hospital spokeswoman.

"Every few years we do some renovation of this old house," said H.W. Murphy, president and chief executive officer of Washington County Health System. "Each time we do it, we do it bigger and we do it better."

Before ending the ceremony to give tours, Murphy likened the building's improvement to an improvement in the community's health. The renovation helps restore and maintain the quality of the health care system just as medicine does for life, he said.

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