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Safety fair

Staff at Auburn Community Hospital attend a patient safety fair held Wednesday as part of National Patient Safety Awareness Week.

AUBURN — Mary Casselman knows the Sim man, Joe, well. 

He's had a rough life, surviving multiple strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure and numerous other ailments. He's a man of few words, but Casselman said he's predisposed with these conditions since his mother suffered from strokes and his father had a heart attack. 

Joe is a mannequin.

"You can put him in any critical situation without endangering anyone," Casselman, a staff development coordinator and registered nurse at Auburn Community Hospital, said as she worked a computer next to her patient. 

He moaned and blinked. Poor, Joe.

Despite his poor, manipulated health, Casselman showed the extensive monitoring system the hospital uses to keep patients safe.


Auburn Community Hospital's stroke dummy named Joe is on display at the annual patient safety fair held Wednesday.

The setup was one of the many main attractions during the hospital's annual patient safety fair held Wednesday. Christine DeProspero, a risk management specialist at ACH, said the fair takes place during National Patient Safety Awareness Week, which ran March 11-17. Wednesday was the fourth annual fair open to staff throughout the hospital. The event ran nearly all day so that everyone from janitors to administrators during all shifts could see the various exhibits. 

"It's a wonderful educational and fun opportunity that we use to highlight any current initiatives, any new initiatives within the organization, at the same time highlighting important safety topics," she said. 

Joe wasn't the only mannequin on display Wednesday. Across the hall on the hospital's second floor, a skeleton doctor dressed in scrubs attended to a mannequin on an operating table. Megan Rinaldi, a registered nurse in the OR, explained the illustrated procedure, an exploratory laparotomy. It's a kind of belly surgery, she added. 

Rinaldi pointed to the various safety precautions staff take such as dressing both doctors and the patient in hospital gowns, using a mask to protect the nose and mouth, and strapping the patient to the table with a safety belt. There's also a computer monitor keeping track of the patient's vitals.

A few exhibits down from the fake OR was a much smaller, but still important, safety feature on display — a sleep sack for newborns. Jennifer Ambrose, a registered nurse and international board certified lactation consultant, showed her colleagues the new swaddler. It wraps around the child so it can't unravel, keeping the baby safe and warm.

ACH now gives all new moms with babies born at the hospital one of these, Ambrose said, as part of her department's initiative to encourage safe sleeping habits.

"Blankets are a suffocation hazard for the baby, so you want the baby to sleep in its own crib, just the baby wearing layers of clothing or a blanket-type sleeper," she said. 

The baby should be kept on its back, too, and there should be no stuffed animals, bumper pads or blankets in the crib. The baby should remain in the crib and not sleep between its parents in bed, Ambrose added. All of these are potential hazards that could cause the child to suffocate. 

It's a lot of different ground to cover, but DeProspero said it's a great way for colleagues to learn more about what's happening outside their own departments and to highlight how both staff and patients stay safe. 

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Staff writer Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (315) 282-2237 or Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.


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