COLUMBIS, Ohio — The local Interim HealthCare office of Columbus, OH, frequently holds Wellness Clinics for the community. However, it is not everyday when a wellness screening can save a person’s life. That is what happened to two lucky citizens this past Fall at Free Diabetes Clinics offered at two different Kroger stores in the Columbus area.

On September 12th two Interim HealthCare nurses, Kathy Arnett and Dorothy Knotts were performing free Diabetes screenings at the Kroger store on Cleveland Avenue. A woman came in for the free diabetes screening and left with information to try to convince her boy friend to go to the store for a screening. It took some convincing (he had not seen a doctor in 15 years) but he did come to the store for the screening. The Interim HealthCare nurses screened him and saw his blood sugar was 550 mg/dL and repeated it and he was 551. A normal non-fasting blood sugar level should be less than 139 mg/dL the nurses convinced him that he needed to go to the ER, immediately. Upon reaching Riverside Hospital his Blood Sugar was 650, his Cholesterol was 800 and he was told he was having a heart attack at that time. He was admitted to the hospital and had open heart surgery two days later; he was started on insulin and discharged three days later. His girlfriend spoke with the Wellness Director and all she kept saying was “They saved his life!” Interim HealthCare nurses were able to draw on their expertise and educational skills to stress the severity of the situation to this man and convince him to go to the hospital. His girl friend has now decided to pursue an additional college degree in nursing.

The second incident occurred on Sept. 13, 2007 at another Kroger store in Columbus. Interim HealthCare’s nurse, Jerrie Schwendeman screened a patient for diabetes and recorded a blood sugar of over 600. Marie Jones, another Interim Nurse, repeated the test and had the same results. The man refused to go to the hospital and was given instructions to check his blood sugar on a free meter that was provided by Bayer Healthcare (sponsor of the free diabetes clinics) and to call a physician as soon as possible. This young man was more concerned that his girl friend was due in the matter of days with the birth of their baby, he had recently started a new job and was concerned about insurance coverage and loosing time from a new job in order to take care of himself. He admitted to having blurred vision (a symptom of an elevated blood sugar) and was working as a construction worker at the top of a building. Interim HealthCare’s Debbie Panepinto (another nurse in the Columbus office) followed-up with him through several phone calls. On Sept. 27 she spoke with him and once again stressed the dangers of high blood sugars and provided him with other sources for financial help. He wanted to wait for his insurance to begin before going to the hospital. Debbie was very concerned and called him again on Sunday Sept. 30, 2007 and convinced him of the necessity to go to the hospital. He was admitted on Oct. 1. His girlfriend called the Columbus Wellness Director and kept saying “You saved his life!”. He was hospitalized for three days prior to the birth of their baby. He is currently taking insulin and doing very well.

This year the Columbus Interim HealthCare Wellness nurses screened more than 1700 people at 57 Kroger stores during the month of September. Fran Vancalbergh , Wellness Director, said each year, our nurses identify about 11% of those screened as people needing additional treatment for their elevated blood sugars. Almost one hundred people received a courtesy phone call after the clinics to encourage them to see a physician based on their results at the various clinics. Many people were seen and diagnosed with Diabetes and started on medication. Their stories may not have been as dramatic as the two mentioned but are equally life saving events.

Founded in 1966, Interim HealthCare is the nation’s oldest proprietary national organization providing health care personnel at all skill levels in all settings. Through one of the country’s most comprehensive network of 300 offices (franchise and affiliates) Interim HealthCare provides diverse services including hospice, home care, medical staffing, occupational health and pharmaceutical support services. Interim employs more than 75,000 health care workers and provides services to approximately 50,000 people each day.

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Valerie G, editor at CANW
Valerie G has been an editor with California Newswire for several years, is a gifted theremin player, can quote copious lines from 'Red Dwarf' and also knows where her towel is. Oddly, she does not drive, nor does she take the bus. She identifies as both human and democrat.