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CFVH Offers Health Fair

Thursday, May 21, 2009

by Mathew Unrau, Valley Press

Clark Fork Valley Hospital (CFVH) opened its doors this past weekend with free massages, helicopter tours and a chance to perform dummy surgery minus the eight-year medical education.

The hospital which was built in 1971 and redone three years ago, held its annual Health Fair with the main purpose being to "promote health and wellness," according to Coordinator Tonya Revier. The event spanned two days from 8 a.m. to noon, Friday and Saturday.

Revier explains that the fair is the hospital's chance to show their community the services offered and the differing medical care that is available.

"People see us as a small hospital, but we've grown in the past three years," says Revier.

One of these growth spurts by the hospital is the addition of a new C-Arm. In layman's terms the C-Arm takes a living x-ray of a patient without the use of photos.

Other additions include an aquatic therapy pool, CPAP services and a cardiologist. "It is very rare that a hospital our size has its own cardiologist," says Revier.

CFVH showed off its new services through a series of family fun activities and display booths.

In the operating room both kids and adults had a chance practice laparoscopic surgery by fishing for gummy worms in the abdominal cavity of a dummy. With one hand they held out to a camera that snakes its way around the inside of the cavity and with the other they held a grasper to retrieve the worms.

Tony Pierini, a registered nurse at CFVH, explains that this surgical exercise, which is common technique for taking out appendixes gives people a chance to be in a health care center or show kids possible career paths. "It takes a little bit of the mystery out of the operating room," says Pierini.

Outside the doors a helicopter from Missoula showed residents what a flying ambulance was like. On Friday, CareFlight supplied the helicopter from Community Medical Center in Missoula. Kathy Hudak, a paramedic for Community Hospital, explains that its important for people to know that there are helicopters available for people to utilize. "We're there when people need us," says Hudak.

She goes on to explain that having access to CareFlight or Life Flight, out of St. Patrick's Hospital in Missoula, is especially important for rural communities that need to transfer patients to larger hospital. "When you have a sick patient, driving for an hour is the last thing that you want to be doing," says Hudak.

Driving to Missoula in an ambulance takes close to one and a half hours, while only takes 25 minutes by helicopter.

Another activity found in the hospital for anyone lucky enough to find them were free massages by Daphne Boles, certified massage therapist, and Belinda Hamm, of Healing Touch Massage in Plains.

Although, massages are used primarily for relaxation Hamm explains that they go hand in hand with the healing practices of the hospital. Several healing uses of massages include relaxation before surgery, post-operative work, releasing scar tissue and pulling toxins out of the body.

Other activities included face painting, reduced rate screening and free blood pressure checks. Information booths littered the hallways, which included booths about the new skate park sponsored by CADAA, vaccine information, dog bite prevention, car seat safety and countless others.

Each year the Health Fair is held in synchronization with National Hospital Week.

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