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After a significant uptick in local COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks, Mercy Health/Love County Hospital administrator Richard Barker pleaded with the public on Monday, Nov. 16, to take seriously the basic health measures known to slow the rate of infection.
“Wear a mask, be careful to keep your distance in any gathering, and wash your hands frequently,” Barker said. “The coronavirus situation in Love County is getting very dangerous.”
After the pandemic started in March, it took until September for Love County to record its 100th case. Then the infection rate grew by 100 new cases a month in September and October, reaching a total of 301 cases by November 3. Since then, the increase has been to 100 new cases every two weeks, reaching a total of 431 cases on November 16.
The county’s experience mirrors the State of Oklahoma as a whole, where COVID-19 hospitalizations are up and intensive care beds are in short supply. On the verge of the flu season, Barker anticipates a strain on hospital resources. “We are doing everything humanly possible to meet the needs of our residents, but we need the community’s support more than ever. COVID-19 is real and it’s here. Please wear a mask and socially distance.”
This Thanksgiving, Remember the 4W’s
W ashington, George, U.S. general and first president, established Thanksgiving.
W ash your hands.
W atch your distance.
W ear a mask.
Please give thanks and follow health measures that can reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Mercy Health/Love County Hospital, Clinic and EMS, Marietta, OK
Advanced Sanitation: Operations Chief William “Obie” Heath
applies a coronavirus disinfectant spray in the back of a
Love County ambulance.
Love County EMS/Fire Brigade has a new cleaning spray to help combat the spread of COVID-19. Medics and firefighters are regularly spraying the solution inside the ambulances. It is supplementing normal cleaning procedures.
The active ingredient is hypochlorous acid. The Tulsa Fire Department came up with the solution six months ago and other emergency services agencies around the state and nation have been securing large quantities of the acid donated by TFD.
Hypochlorous acid is on the list of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved disinfectants for use against the coronavirus. “It has been used in the food processing and medical industries for years,” said Tad Hall, PA-C, the Love County EMS Manager.
Hall mixes the ingredients for local use in a compressed-air sprayer system. “It smells like chlorine,” said Operations Chief Obie Heath, while spraying down the back of an ambulance. “It’s safe to apply around people.”
The acid is not preventive, meaning it will not linger after it is sprayed on. “It’s wet long enough to kill pathogens on contact,” Heath said.
Light Up: Megan Stephens, RN, illuminates
blood veins in her hand with the hospital’s new vein-finding tool.
Do you have trouble having blood drawn for a lab test? Have you had to undergo multiple needle sticks in a vein? Your discomfort may be over.
Mercy Health/Love County Hospital has a new device, “AccuVein,” for casting light on blood veins, even those deep below the skin. That helps the nurse or “phleblotomist” quickly locate the target vein and evaluate its condition before making a first attempt at penetrating the vein wall with a needle for collection.
Departments throughout the hospital have started using AccuVein. The handheld wand can be mounted on a floor stand and rolled from laboratory to clinic, to ER, to hospital bedside as needed.
AccuVein casts near-infrared light about 5mm deep. Hemoglobin in the veins absorbs the light and forms a dark contrast to skin tissue. The machine’s sensor detects the reflected light and captures an image that is projected onto the surface of the skin. The visual gives the phlebotomist more information about veins than touch alone could provide.
Registered Nurses Marie Ross and Megan Stephens alternately placed their hands or arms beneath the AccuVein for a recent demonstration. Instantly a “map” of underlying veins came into view The detail was exceptional.
“The phebotomist has help finding the straightest, largest, most accessible vein to stick first,” Stephens said. “They are not having to work strictly by feel.”
Reducing the first needle-stick failure rate makes everyone happier. “We are lessening discomfort for the patient and the staff member,” Stephens said.
According to academic research, collecting a blood sample by penetrating a vein’s wall with a needle happens more than one billion times a year in laboratory testing around the world. Imagine that: A billion needle sticks.
A lab phlebotomist typically applies a tourniquet to the arm and slightly taps the site at the front of the elbow to stimulate the target vein and be able to locate it. The aim is to enter the vein and avoid the arteries and nerves.
Ross said the most likely candidates for AccuVein application at Mercy Health/Love County Hospital are patients who express discomfort with needles or prior difficulties with vein puncture. The device is also likely to be deployed for children and infants and patients with dark skin or thick skin or with dehydration. All of those cases make veins harder to analyze without the illumination AccuVein now provides.
Richard Barker, FACHE
Mercy Health/Love County Hospital is adapting
several of its buildings to be able to add surge
beds temporarily in case COVID-19 brings
a sudden influx of patients.
Contractors will be working on weekends
during August and September to make the
changes to portal entries without interfering
with normal operations. Affected are the main
entrance, clinic, and physical therapy buildings.
ER Equipped for Breathing Assistance
Deep Breath In and Out: Respiratory Therapist Robert Umphrey
and Department Head Michelle Lively demonstrate the setup of
the Emergency Room’s Philips Respironics V60 machine. This is for
seriously ill patients who can breathe on their own but need extra
support. It is the hospital’s first stand-alone breathing device with
dual (bipap) settings: one for helping air move into the lungs, and
the second for helping air move out of the lungs.
Welcome Back, Patients: Clinic Director Connie Barker, back
left, stresses the medical environment is safe for patients
to resume regular health care visits at this stage of the
coronavirus pandemic. She is joined by Business Office
Manager Misti Kirk, back right, and Customer Service
Representatives Dawn Monetathchi, Manuela Barrientos,
and Jana Brown.
Virtual Visits: Customer Service Representative Dawn
Monetathchi, left, and Clinic Director Connie Barker look
over new software for setting up teleconference visits between
established patients and participating primary care providers
at Mercy Health/Love County. The 'virtual visits' have been
introduced as one way to cope with the coronavirus COVID-19
pandemic. Barker said precautions are in place and medical
environments are safe for in-person appointments.
Housekeepers Patricia Salazar and Gabina Bustos program
an ultraviolet light for final sanitizing of the emergency room.
Below a smaller ultraviolet light for killing bacteria and viruses in
clinic pods, back of ambulance and other small rooms. See
press release for more information.
Love County Health Department is now a site for COVID-19
drive-thru testing. Testing is open to everyone. People no longer
need to be exhibiting symptoms in order to be tested for
COVID-19. Testing is by appointment only. Testing is free.
LOVE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
What: COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing
How: By Appointment Only
Where: 200 C.E. Colston Dr., Marietta, OK
Contact: (580) 276-2531
Chris Ramsey, ambulance paramedic (l) and
David Manning, registered nurse, model the
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for their
respective departments. Healthcare workers
wear PPE when treating patients
infected or exposed to the coronavirus COVID-19.
See More in Press Release
Legacy Park Open for Exercise During Pandemic
Love County Quilt Guild Sews Colorful Worker Gowns, as
demonstrated by Megan Stephens, RN, and Connie Barker,
Clinic Director on April 8, 2020. See More in Press Release
Virus Precautions: On March 17, 2020,
Mercy Health/Love County Hospital and Clinic began
screening all arriving patients and visitors for
symptoms or exposure to the coronavirus, COVID -19.
(Above) Carolyn Gordon answered questions from Laura
Beck, CNA and Curtis Hembree, CNA. She accepted a
mask and applied hand sanitizer that was offered.
Volunteer Gift, Professionally Done:
Marion Flaherty displays one of many Easter decorations
prepared in April. A member of the Hospital Auxiliary
since 2011, the retired florist volunteers monthly to
decorate tables in the community room of the
Therapy Building of Mercy Health/Love County Hospital.
That One's Mine: In this 2009 photo at the newly-
opened Station 2 at WinStar Casino, Scott Neu,
paramedic, (left), pointed to the ambulance he served
on and Adam Zimmerer, firefighter/EMT, pointed to the
fire engine he rode. Love County became the nation's
first hospital-managed EMS to form a fire service.
Leading Volunteer: Lula Finch, retired medical
assistant, has been volunteering at the Mercy
Health/Love County food pantry since opening
day in May 2002. She arrives at 7 a.m. each
Tuesday to prepare for the 8 a.m. opening and
remains until 2 p.m., assembling and distributing
food packages to people who are hungry or food insecure.
The “First” First Responders: Love County 911 Center
dispatchers gathered for a photograph and recognition
from the Love County E911 Board during National Public
Safety Telecommunicators Week. Pictured are (front row)
Anna Diaz and Coordinator Becky Watkins-Norman;
(second row) Kerri Manning, Wendy Laughlin, and Shelli
Bengfort; (third row) Seth Crockett, Brandy Brawley,
and Zach Aston.
Carla Bolton and Kari VanBeber of Mercy Health/Love County Hospital’s
business office, completed certification training as Medicare Assistance
Program counselors. They are currently available to assist people review
their current medication lists to make sure the Part D Prescription Drug Plan
in which they are enrolled is still the best option for them or if a lower cost
plan is available for 2019. Assisting with the new counselors’ training were
Anna Farha (right), from the Oklahoma Insurance Department, and Medicare
counselors Jim Thompson (back left) and Don Sessions
Radiology technologist Rick Stephens shows the hospital's new GE
BrightSpeed 16 slice CT scanner.
Teamwork Saving Seniors Money on Medicare: Don Sessions
(right) of Falconhead Resort, Burneyville, has been recognized by the Oklahoma
Insurance Department as the state's top Medicare volunteer for 2017. He
meets with seniors to tell them about Medicare choices that can save them
money, especially on prescriptions. As a public service, the Marietta
Pharmacy, represented by pharmacist Jenny Hambrick, provides a
consultation room for Sessions, and Mercy Health/Love County Hospital,
represented by administrator Richard Barker, furnishes a laptop
computer for the room. Since 2008, Sessions has counseled 2,165
people and they saved $1.2 million.
Health Needs Assessment: Citizens and members of the
Love County Community Coalition review local health needs
with Lara Brooks, Rural Health Analyst with the Oklahoma Office
of Rural Health. The hospital and clinic received high ratings on a
public survey conducted during the assessment.
Love County Health Center, dba Mercy Health/Love County Hospital and Clinic, is located one block east and one block north of Interstate 35, Exit 15, Marietta, OK, 15 miles north of the Red River Bridge connecting Oklahoma and Texas.
On-site are eight primary care providers and a staff of 135 coworkers. Our diagnosticians make referrals to specialists throughout the area.
Are you looking for a doctor, laboratory tests or radiology tests (including CT)? Visit our clinic, Monday through Friday.
Need physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, or pulmonary rehabilitation? We have a building devoted to these health services.
For medical emergencies, our emergency room is open 24 hours a day. Our EMS has more paramedics than any other rural county in Oklahoma, and air ambulances are on-call to accident scenes.
Our public hospital has 25 beds and serves acutely ill or injured patients, plus those needing skilled nursing, who qualify for care under our licensure as a critical access hospital.
For adults with dementia or physical limitations needing a day out, there is our adult day center one block south, staffted by our nurses, CNAs, and activities director.
Exercise daily at our recreational trail. Eat healthy through our public growers market, selling fresh fruits and vegetables in season.
Choose from the menu of services of Mercy Health/Love County Hospital, Clinic, and EMS to learn more about what we can do for you!