Having fun at hospital: UP Health Systems holds Health and Safety Fair

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Alecyn Sintkowski, emergency department coordinator for UP Health System — Portage, seated, demonstrates the proper application method for a tourniquet to Maddie Manderfield of Atlantic Mine during Portage’s Health and Safety Fair Saturday

HANCOCK — Most visitors to the operating room come under stress or under sedation.

UP Helath Systems — Portage hospital swung the doors open for that and dozens of other services at Saturday’s 10th annual Health and Safety Fair.

They were on track Saturday to be a little over the usual turnout of 500 people, said Angela Luskin, health and fitness manager for Portage.

It included a variety of free health screenings, such as blood glucose, hemoglobin and body fat percentage. People could also consult with physical and occupational therapists.

“I think a lot of times people are unsure or maybe they have some fear or anxiety about visiting a hospital,” Luskin said. “This gives them an opportunity to do so in a relaxed, fun environment.”

The draws for children included emergency vehicles and the strider course from B-H-K Child Development. To reduce their fear of bandages, they could have a Portage staff tend to their teddy bear at the Boo Boo casting clinic.

Residents at PortagePointe were also there to help children decorate planters.

Organizations from Portage Health and the broader community were on hand to explain their services.

Valley Med Flight makes about 25 to 30 flights a month out of the Houghton County Memorial Airport, said Greg Kublin, a flight nurse. The most typical destination is Marquette, followed by Madison, Ann Arbor and Wausau.

“A lot of people don’t realize we’re here in the area,” he said. “We’re established at the local airport, and our response time with the two hospitals is roughly 20 minutes. We can get to people really quick and get them out of here really quick if we need to. That’s definitely a huge benefit for the local community.”

Since they’re not a trauma flight, where they fly to isn’t dependent on which facility is the closest. In many cases, they will fly to a hospital further away if the patient has an existing relationship with another hospital.

Maddie Manderfield of Atlantic Mine was invited by her daughter. She was learning how to apply a tourniquet from Alecyn Sintkowski, head of Portage’s emergency room. Before that, she’d had a healthy granola bar snack. She’d also gone to the children’s puppet show and picked up one of the about 80 free children’s helmets at Downwind Sports’ free fitting.

“It’s very wonderful, very educational,” she said. “Good community outreach.”

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