Humboldt Hospital Auxiliary Volunteers Donate New Portable X-Ray to Hospital

The Humboldt Hospital Auxiliary has donated well over $2 million to Humboldt General Hospital over the past four decades.

Now the all-volunteer organization has raised that tally another $60,000-plus with the purchase of a portable x-ray machine.

The new portable x-ray unit has been on the hospital's wish list for some time. At a cost of $63,000, it was pushed to the back of a long line of needs until the Auxiliary offered to purchase the unit earlier this year.

The machine will provide imaging services on the Black Rock Desert during this year's Burning Man event, as part of HGH EMS Rescue's medical operation there.

HGH Administrative Director Pam Wickkiser said the unit will also be used in-home for patients who cannot make the trip to the hospital, or at community sporting and other events.

"This is a very versatile unit," said Wickkiser. "It's small, it's fast and the images are hospital quality."

HGH EMS Rescue Chief Pat Songer said the new portable x-ray will be an additional tool in his crews' pre-hospital care arsenal.

"We already use portable ultrasound in the field and portable blood analyzers," he said. "This is just one more way we can either confirm a patient's need to go to the hospital or rule out that need."

Since 1967, the Humboldt Hospital Auxiliary, or "pink ladies," have donated everything from small medical supplies to large capital items. In one instance, the group donated $100,000 toward the purchase of one of the ambulance department's long-hauler transporters.

"Our purpose as an Auxiliary is to help support health services for the people who live in this area," said Susan Rorex, the organization's president.

Rorex said the Auxiliary's sole monetary source is the Poke and Peek Thrift Store, which is able to profit through community members' donations.

Volunteers also donate their time at Harmony Manor, the hospital's long-term care facility, and in other areas of the hospital.

The Auxiliary sponsors three blood drives a year, and the organization has also had a significant role in the hospital's AED program donating the first $25,000 to the program. Currently, there are more 200 AED units county-wide.

The group has also given more than 50 scholarships to nursing students—60 percent of whom have returned to Humboldt County to work.

"We are so pleased to have contributed to these and many other projects over the years," said Rorex.

She added, "We have no paid staff, so everything is run by volunteers. This is the reason we have been able to help out the community we love over the last 46 years."

Rorex said the group was thrilled to donate the portable x-ray machine to the hospital. She noted the machine's many versatile uses and said the Auxiliary sees it as one more way to meet the health needs of Humboldt County's residents.

"We hope this unit proves valuable to the community and rural areas," she said.