Screening officials overwhelmed at response

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, July 2, 2008

King’s Daughters Medical Center’s public free renal screeninglast Saturday turned out to be such a success that hospitalofficials were a little overwhelmed, as so many Brookhaven andLincoln County residents attended the event that the supply oftesting materials ran out, 50 people had to be turned away and asecond screening planned.

KDMC Director of Business Johnny Rainer said the hospital hadanticipated 80 participants and was greeted instead byapproximately 150 people. Names and numbers were taken from the 50who were turned away, he said, so that they could be contacted fora return trip when the hospital hosts a second screening in earlyAugust.

“The screening was very well-attended,” Rainer said. “Because thisrequired blood work to be sent to a lab, we thought if 80 peoplecame that would be a good number and the high end of what we mighthave. As it turned out, the response was even greater than we feltlike we would see.”

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Rainer said the large number of people who attended the renalscreening was evident that such screenings are a much-neededservice in the community, and the hospital was payingattention.

“People are hungry for this kind of thing,” he said. “Next time, wewill do a better job in preparing for the numbers.”

Rainer said the second screening is tentatively planned for aSaturday in early August. Those who were turned away from the firstscreening last weekend will be admitted first, he said – probablyat 8 a.m. – and then the screening will once again open to thepublic at 9 a.m. He said the hospital would plan for more than 100participants at the next screening and may even bring in additionalstaff to assist with urinalysis and drawing blood.

“We will have a better baseline to shoot for next time,” Rainersaid. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to help even more people. These arethe kind of things the community needs and expects, and it’s up tous to make sure we provide everything and are as attentive to thecommunity’s needs as we can be.”

Even though people had to be turned away and a second screening puton the drawing board, hospital officials were most pleased with theevent.

“The screening was successful because we had almost 150 people whogot up on a Saturday morning to have their blood and urine taken,”she said. “This was not just a walk-through fair – this was reallyinvolved, and participants were willing to really have theirinformation looked at. We’re delighted that people are concernedenough with their health to go through that process and spend timewith a physician.”

Sproles said the hospital was looking at Saturday’s screening as amodel for the possible creation of more health-specific screeningsand fairs in the future. She said more in-depth screenings might beplanned with different groups of physicians to examine other healthissues.

“Doctors time and time again say that early intervention is thekey,” Sproles said. “A public screening is a very good tool toprovide early intervention so problems can be handled much sooner,before they cause any type of permanent damage. Our goal is topossibly provide more events like this to open those doors ofcommunication between doctors and potential patients.”

Sproles said such screenings were particularly important inSouthwest Mississippi, where the Southern diet is often to blamefor medical conditions. Those conditions were evident in theresults of the 80 people screened last week.

According to the hospital’s evaluation of the screening, more thanhalf of the participants – 56 percent – had an abnormal urinalysis.High blood pressure showed up in 45 percent of the 80 participants,high cholesterol was found in 40 percent and an abnormal completeblood count was found in 36 percent.

“We definitely live in an unhealthy part of the country – there’sno doubt about that,” Sproles said. “You can’t face something anddeal with it unless you know it exists. If you’re not going to adoctor once per year to have a physical, you won’t know a problemexists unless you attend one of these screenings.”