Out and in for hospital up and down
BY ALLAN TINKER
For 49 years, the elevator in the center of Turtle Lake Community Memorial Hospital has transported patients, staff, equipment, supplies and a variety of items. The latter, included a small companion horse named Joshua that visited Swing Bed and other patients under the careful watch of his owner.
Up and down, the gate expanded and closed. The drum unit with clamps released and closed as the elevator moved from basement to first floor.
Over the years, the mechanism has worn and aged from use, and has stopped too soon and not even with the floor, a foot or more a few times.
Hospital Association President Rhonda Stradinger stated that so far, no patients have been in the elevator but staff has had to wait to be rescued by maintenance staff that could operate the unit manually.
The elevator, installed in 1969, was part of the addition that added enough beds to bring the hospital’s capacity to 44 beds. The hospital then included a laboratory, emergency room, operating room, remodeled kitchen and relocated x-ray department.
The elevator enabled more efficient use of time and saved much manual labor in the transfer of food, supplies, patients, and housekeeping equipment, as well as loads of laundry.