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Comfort is vital for people who have to sit for hours waiting as chemotherapy or other drugs flow into their bodies during infusion treatment, and the hospital in Carthage will soon open one of the most comfortable and unique infusion centers around. McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation board members and staff, Mercy Hospital Carthage leaders and staff were joined by residents on Thursday as they dedicated the new McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation Infusion Center, a $750,000 project made possible by a financial commitment from the local foundation. Tom Geisert, a member of the Carthage Hospital’s board of trustees until he retired recently, recalled what it was like to take his late wife, Ann, to Joplin for infusion therapy. “It was certainly no pleasure, it was just a long, drawn out affair once a week,” Geisert said. “She could get up and move around as long as she left the lines attached. By the time we drew blood and by the time we had our visit with the doctor and then the chemo, we were there three to four hours. She was fortunate enough not to have to stay in longer.“
Beth Simmons, McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation Director, said Father Steve Wilson, pastor at the Grace Episcopal Church and one of the Foundation board secretary, who suggested that Carthage needed an infusion center to ease the discomfort of having to drive to Joplin for these treatments. “Thirteen miles is not a long distance under normal circumstances, but can be grueling for patients who are undergoing treatments,” Simmons said. “Steve Wilson, several years ago, began to mention in our McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation meetings that there was a need for chemotherapy closer to home for Carthage patients as well as those who lived in nearby areas. A little over a year ago, we received word that Mercy felt an infusion clinic would be a wonderful addition to the services available in Carthage. Scott Watson then stepped in to help guide us through the process of accomplishing this renovation and expansion. He even made arrangements for the Healthcare board to have input in the look and feel of the clinic.“ The clinic features at least 10 state-of-the-art infusion chairs which can be reclined and allow the patient to sit in heated and massaged comfort while looking out through large windows over the lake on the west side of the hospital. “Every patient in here will have their own TV, their own headphones, on a portable stainless steel stand,” said Mercy Hospital Carthage Interim President Scott Watson. “Please don’t leave here without sitting in your state-of-the-art, heated massage chairs that can be placed anywhere in the room. That’s one of the things that will make this thing unique and by the way, I’ll just tell you, they’re about three times more expensive than a normal infusion chair, but we hope they are three times more comfortable. When we took this chair to the foundation, there were no questions. They wanted to go, as they always do, top of the line, no question, there was no turning back.“ Simmons thanked the Grace Episcopal Church’s Tai Chi and Tea group for hosting a “chair auction” early this year that sold off chairs decorated by local artists and raised thousands of dollars to help pay for the infusion chairs.
Art provided by Koral Martin, of the Koka Gallery just north of the Carthage Square, hangs on the walls of the infusion center, adding to the atmosphere of comfort for patients going through what can be a grueling procedure. Simmons said the Foundation continues to raise money and will hold other events to raise the additional money they need to meet the $750,000 commitment the group made to Mercy. The Foundation delivered its first $250,000 check to Mercy in May. “Recently we have been pleased to be the recipient of donations from the Walton Family Foundation, Richard and Rhonda Ralston and the Ruth I. Kolpin Foundation, as well as the generosity of our many golf tournament sponsors in June,” Simmons said. “Naming opportunities are still available and we will continue to fund raise and hold events over the next year to fulfill our pledge to Mercy.”
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