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Time for annual check-up

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Casey County Hospital Health Fair set for Oct. 14

By Donna Carman

Casey County Hospital

In the last 35 years, Tracy Bills has drawn a lot of blood from a lot of people in her career as a medical laboratory technician. And nothing has been any more satisfying than being able to make a life-saving discovery for a patient.

“We had one person who had extremely elevated kidney function tests and was directed to the ER by his physician, and later transferred to another facility,” Bills said, referring to someone who had blood drawn at last year’s Casey County Hospital Health Fair.

Bills is the lab manager at Casey County Hospital and is getting ready for her department’s busiest time of the year as the hospital’s annual Health Fair is coming up on Saturday, Oct. 14. However, before that day arrives, Bills and her staff will see around 1,000 people who will show up for the pre-Health Fair blood draws that will take place Oct. 9-12. Another 500 or so will roll up their sleeves for the blood draw on the day of the Health Fair itself.

“We’ve caught a lot of problems for people who don’t normally go to the doctor and may only have their blood drawn once a year,” Bills said.

This will mark the 22nd consecutive Health Fair sponsored by Casey County Hospital, an event that Administrator/CEO Rusty Tungate is proud that the local facility can offer to the community.

“The Health Fair— specifically the low-cost blood draw — is something that is very important to many people,” he said. “Oftentimes, it’s the only time of the year that many will give themselves that annual check-up to see how they’re doing.”

The blood draw is offered for $15 for $300 worth of tests, which include testing for diabetes, abnormal cholesterol, electrolytes, kidney and liver function, and a complete blood count (CBC) which will detect infections. Bills said people who are anemic, and even some with leukemia, have been detected through the blood draw at the Health Fair.

Also, men are offered PSA screening to detect the possibility of prostate cancer. This test is done from the same blood sample for an additional $10.

Last year, 1,520 people had their blood drawn at the Health Fair. Of those, Bills said 70 had perfect reports. Obviously, the majority had less than perfect reports.

“Glucose continues to be the test with the highest number of abnormalities,” she said, noting that 637 people had high glucose levels when tested last year with high elevations in cholesterol (528) running a close second.

The majority of men who participated in the blood draw last year had the PSA screening done, Bills said. Of the 484 who were tested, only 28 were elevated.

While no one likes to be stuck with a needle, Bills said the information gained from blood tests not only offer peace of mind, but can be life-saving.

“As in the case of the person last year who had the elevated kidney function, that could be indicative of kidney failure,” she said.

Most people will not have such serious issues, Bills said, but it does pay to keep a watch on your health.

The pre-Health Fair blood draws begin on Monday from 7-9 a.m. at Casey County Primary Care. Those whose last names begin with A-F are encouraged to come that day. Tuesday is for last names G-M; next Wednesday last names N-S; and Thursday, Oct. 12, last names T-Z. Blood will be drawn on Health Fair day from 8-11:30 a.m. with the Health Fair ending at 12 noon.

Besides the blood draw, those attending may visit the booths of an expected 30-plus health care vendors, enjoy concessions and a silent auction offered by the Casey County Hospital Auxiliary, and let the children visit an area staffed by the students from the Casey County High School Art Club, who will be doing face-painting.

“We appreciate it when people come and stand in line (for the blood draw) because we know it can be time consuming,” Bills said. “We just want to help, so we appreciate everyone’s patience.”

Tungate said the annual Health Fair is something he hopes the local hospital can continue to offer for many years to come.

“The Health Fair may have changed some over the years, but the one thing that people can count on is that we will continue to take care of our community’s health. There’s nothing more important,” he said.