Craig community and The Memorial Hospital staff celebrate 5 years | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig community and The Memorial Hospital staff celebrate 5 years

Lauren Blair

Certified Nurse Anesthetist Keith Prescott at The Memorial Hospital in Craig demonstrates to Kadin Hume, 10, how a ventilation tube works in one of the hospital's operating rooms. Hume was among those present Wednesday night for TMH's five-year anniversary celebration who got a rare glimpse into the OR, usually closed to visitors for sanitary purposes.

Community members, hospital staff and board members flocked to the hospital Wednesday evening for cake, tours and a celebration of The Memorial Hospital's five-year anniversary.

Groups of individuals were guided through the facility, learning about each "pod," or area dedicated to specific kinds of services or treatments. Visitors even got an interactive experience of the hospital's rarely seen, state-of-the-art operating rooms.

Opening up the doors to the operating rooms, Certified Nurse Anesthetist Keith Prescott first acknowledged the cool temperatures, which he said helps to keep bacteria to a minimum. He also boasted how nice it is to have spacious operating rooms.

"I can't begin to tell you what a commodity that is," Prescott said. "We have enough space to bring in the equipment we need, and we often have five people in the room for surgery."

One person in attendance, TMH Board of Trustees member Alman Nicodemus, has a special connection to the hospital's history.

"I was the seventh kid born in the original hospital," which opened in 1950, Nicodemus said.

Recommended Stories For You

Nicodemus' grandfather was one of the hospital's earliest advocates.

"I've always kind of had a soft spot for the hospital," he said, which is part of what led him to join the board nearly two years ago. "I think a hospital to a town is important."

On the tour, visitors learned about the improvements made to hospital services in the new building, which took 18 months to build, according to executive assistant Julie Hanna.

"The ED (emergency department) and surgical areas were two huge improvements" over the old location, Hanna said.

With nine triage rooms and two trauma bays, as well as a 24/7 ED physician, Craig's residents have high quality care available to them at any hour of the day. The hospital also staffs a hospitalist 24/7, or internal medicine physician, who actually lives on site for a week at a time.

Other pods include diagnostic imaging, medical-surgical, the special care unit and birthing center.

The most highly-secured portion of the hospital, the birthing center offers rooms outfitted with large Jacuzzi tub for laboring mothers, as well as a nearby, comfortable visitor room which provides space for family members to wait.

Most of the walls and rooms of the hospital are painted with warm browns and tans.

"It's built to be more like a hotel room," Hanna said, pointing out the earth tones as well as the wood-like panel flooring and slightly dimmed lighting. "The patient can be very, very comfortable here."

Those in attendance were happy to celebrate how far the organization has come, having emerged from a difficult period in 2012 and 2013.

"That was a period of some real turmoil, but it really has changed," Nicodemus said. "I credit it to everybody here. We've got employees that like it here and are excited about what they do. I've seen the enthusiasm."

Nicodemus joined the board during the challenging time and reflected the optimism of other hospital staff and board members Wednesday evening.

"When an entity in the community is having struggles, that's the time to step forward and make yourself available," Nicodemus said. "You need to participate in a community… From top to bottom, we've got a hospital full of good people. I'm excited to be a part of it."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.