Diagnosis: Getting better

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Hospital guild gives to fire district’s new medical machines

Sequim Gazette staff

In a crunch, the length time of it takes paramedics to make a diagnosis might be lessened thanks to a large donation from the Sequim Dungeness Hospital Guild.

The guild presented a $25,000 check to Clallam County Fire District 3 at its annual Christmas luncheon on Friday Dec. 16, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Bryan Swanberg, medical safety officer, said the district plans to buy four i-STAT systems, portable machines that instantly analyze blood in an emergency setting and give results in minutes. Four machines will be purchased, with two stationed in Sequim, one in Blyn and one in Carlsborg.

Swanberg said they have a large number of patients for whom traditional paramedic medical evaluation can’t pinpoint the exact problems.

“This would allow us on the patient with chest pain, without the ordinary signs and symptoms present, to have instant blood work done and make a determination if transport to a medical facility is necessary,” he said.

Paramedics can test for a recent heart attack through the blood and test patients with shortness of breath for congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other ailments.  

The fire district becomes of the first in its kind in Washington with these devices. Swanberg said they don’t plan to use them on every patient.

Funds came from the Sequim-Dungeness Hospital Guild Thrift Shop, 204 W. Bell St. The guild has donated more than $600,000 since 1982 to the fire district. Fire Chief Steve Vogel presented the guild with a plaque for its support.

Each December, the guild gives to the district and in May to Olympic Medical Center and Dungeness Valley Health and Wellness Clinic.

The thrift store is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. the first and third Saturday of each month. For more information, call 683-7044.

Reach Clallam County Fire District 3, 323 N. Fifth Ave., Sequim, at 683-4242.

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