Sunday, April 5, 2009
Saturday was the First Annual Mena Regional Health System Health Fair. The Fair was a resounding success. Before the Fair officially opened at 8:00 A.M. there were lots of people already there. Many people took advantage of the hospital's community service health screening.
THE BLOOD PRESSURE STATION
At no charge people were able to have their blood sugar and total cholesterol tested. The lab also provided TSA, thyroid screening, PSA, prostate cancer screening, and Lipid Profiles for a small fee. Also available for free were pulmonary function testing and carotid echo testing. The carotid test was very interesting. I was able to actually see the blood flowing through my artery as well as hear it.
LEARNING ABOUT THE ARKANSAS SAVES PROGRAM
While we were at the Fair, Gina and I learned of a new program that we have here in Mena. It is called Arkansas SAVES (Stroke Assistance Through Virtual Emergency Support). As part of the program, first responders in Mena have been trained to perform a stroke assessment so that they can alert emergency room doctors before they arrive. If a CT scan indicates a stroke, the attending physician will call a special hotline that activates the Arkansas SAVES Telestroke System. The call goes to a nurse staffing the UAMS Call Center who then links – via the video connection – the on-call neurologist with the patient’s attending physician.
The neurologist will have immediate access to lab results, the CT brain image and a real-time, high-definition video/audio connection with the attending physician and patient. Together they can determine the appropriate treatment, such as whether to administer the TPA agent and the correct dosage.
This gives stroke victims here in Mena access to the best medical professionals in the state through teleconferencing. This is an important step forward for our community, because stroke victims have a 3 hour window in which effective treatment can be given. The SAVES program can significantly reduce disability or death resulting from stroke by providing access to specialized care when it is most urgent.
THE RELAY FOR LIFE BOOTH
We were at the Fair to help man the Relay For Life Booth. Our table was next to the registration table right at the entrance. We talked to lots of people as they came by the booth. The timing was great, because the Relay is less than two weeks away.
GINA DONATING BLOOD
While we were manning the booth, Gina met Jeremiah from the United Blood Services. They had a donation bus set up at the Fair. Gina hadn't donated blood in a long time, because in the past she had to stay off of her medications for a certain amount of time before she could donate. She was able to donate after going through a lengthy, 20 minute, interview. She was almost not able to donate because she had spent a day in Jamaica last Christmas. If she had visited Kingston, Jamaica they would not been able to accept her blood.
While I was talking to Jeremiah of United Blood Services, I was pleased to hear that Mena is one of his favorite places to come. He said that he was always able to get the blood that he needs when he comes to Mena. The people are happy to help others. He told me that if he has a scheduled event cancel, he will often come to Mena unannounced and set up in the Wal-Mart parking lot and still get the blood he needs without any advertising. Hearing that made me proud of my community.
This was the first Health Fair that has been put on in Mena, but plans are already underway for a bigger and better Health Fair next year.