Free health screenings available to miners this week in Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Free health screenings available to miners this week in Craig

Screenings will take place on Thursday and Friday

Michael Neary

The Memorial Hospital is hosting a clinic for miners. The Miners Clinic is working with The Memorial Hospital in Craig and providing the exams at the THM Medical Clinic on 785 Russell St. on Thursday and Friday. Pictured is a coal train that transports coal from Colowyo Coal Mine to Craig Station.

— Continuing a practice that's been going on for more than a decade, the Miners Clinic of Colorado at National Jewish Health will be coming to Craig this Thursday and Friday to offer a "free and confidential health screening exam." The Miners Clinic is working with The Memorial Hospital in Craig and providing the exams at the THM Medical Clinic on 785 Russell St.

"It's mainly focused on cardiopulmonary health in miners," said Cecile Rose, medical director of the Miners Clinic of Colorado, who added that the clinic has been coming to Craig for more than 10 years.

According to an announcement from the two organizations, the free screenings "are available for current and retired miners; uranium miners, millers and ore transporters; and people who worked at or lived downwind of the Nevada Test site during nuclear weapons testing."

Rose said appointments are strongly encouraged.

"What we don't want to do is have people show up and have to wait," she said. "We do take walk-ins, but we prefer to have people call."

Rose said people will receive a packet of information before the appointment, including a "comprehensive medical questionnaire."

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The screening, Rose explained, includes a physical examination focusing on the heart and lungs, a measurement of oxygen saturation in the blood, an examination of the heart and lungs by a pulmonologist, a spirometry to measure lung capacity, a chest x-ray and, in some cases, a blood test.

Rose noted some of the health risks miners face.

"Miners are exposed to mine dust and diesel exhaust," she said, and she added that they may be working long shifts. She mentioned high blood pressure, a decrease in lung capacity and several other conditions that may be uncovered during the screening.

"We probably find significant abnormalities in about a third of the people we screen," she said.

Rose said the screenings generally attract more retirees than active miners. And while the screenings can benefit both groups, Rose stressed the importance of finding conditions early.

"We're really eager to reach out and include active miners," she said. "Early detection is important."

People interested in making an appointment of learning more about the screenings can call 877-255-5864.

Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or mneary@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.