• Special to the Daily Leader
Southwest Medical Center Auxiliary has been a vital part of the Seward County community for more than half a century – beginning their dedication to service in the days of Epworth Hospital.
“We have seen a lot of changes over the years,” said Auxiliary President Leigh Ann Curtis, adding that, “some of our current members were members when Epworth was the hospital here.”
The group’s dedication and hard work have paid off for medical professionals and patients alike.
“Through the money the Auxiliary raises in their gift shop and Pepsi sales, they purchase needed equipment for the hospital, comfort items such as recliners for our patients and their families and provide scholarships for students pursuing a career in the medical field,” said Southwest Medical Center Public Relations Director Nancy Kletecka. “They have really invested a lot in the healthcare for Seward County as well as patients from area Kansas counties and surrounding states who travel to SWMC for their care.”
Because of this investment, Curtis said, the organization has a keen interest in Southwest Medical Center’s upcoming bond proposal.
“We see every day the importance of this issue,” Curtis said. “The hospital is in dire need of not only upgrading their infrastructure, much of which is 45-years old, but also the comfort and care of the patients they serve.”
The admissions department is one area of the hospital that the members know well.
“Our gift shop is located in the front of the hospital near the admissions area,” Curtis said. “We see the congestion that occurs in that area when patients are being admitted for treatment – they have no privacy.”
Members also take care of the surgical waiting room on the second floor – a location that is a problem in itself.
“We have had people come in to the gift shop, who were going to the second floor for surgery or to be with a family member who was having surgery. They come in the gift shop to ask us how to get to the second floor,” Curtis said, “Because when they get on the elevator in the main hallway, they soon learn they have to go back down – that particular elevator does not stop on the second floor.”
Auxiliary members have also seen the need for change on the surgery floor itself.
“There simply is not enough space,” Auxiliary Member Ola Howie said. “The patients and their family members have to come to the waiting room when the cubicle areas fill up. Some people have gotten up out of their chairs to offer them to others coming in. We just don’t have enough space up there to take care of our patients comfortably.”
All of these issues would be addressed if the bond proposal for Southwest Medical Center’s building project passes.
“That is why it is so important that people get out there and vote,” Curtis said. “We need to invest in our hospital and the Auxiliary supports the hospital’s efforts in this issue.”