Swedish/Issaquah offers ambulatory infusion center, services to Eastside residents

October 11, 2011

By David Hayes

Nurse Laurie Kirkham (left) checks Brelin Rismiller’s pulse as she receives her IV fluids in the Swedish/Issaquah Ambulatory Infusion Center. By Greg Farrar

Ken Morgan, 76, has kept active since bilateral knee replacement surgery in both legs in 2007.

In fact, he had just planned his latest fishing excursion on July 22. However, the week before, on the 13th, he caught a fever, checked into the hospital on the 15th with a mysterious infection in his knee and was in for surgery on the 16th.

Afterward, his physician placed Morgan on a six-week course of daily antibiotics, which needed to be given intravenously, or through infusion.

Morgan, a 1953 graduate of Issaquah High School, has lived just south of Issaquah since 1993. He was starting daily, lengthy trips to Seattle for his infusions.

Luckily, the new Swedish/Issaquah hospital had just launched its Ambulatory Infusion Center.

“I felt fortunate that it just opened,” Morgan said. “I was dreading have to drive every day for seven weeks to Seattle.”

Nurse Laurie Kirkham said the center itself isn’t unique to Issaquah. All of Swedish’s other facilities, from First Hill to Ballard, have the ability to administer the type of infusions and therapy Morgan received.

“What’s unique to Issaquah is it’s for the Eastside population,” she said. “Now they don’t have to go across the bridge to get their therapy.”

The Ambulatory Infusion Center provides a comfortable setting for patients, reminiscent of a day spa, Kirkham said, to receive treatments, including:

  • Infusion therapy
  • Blood transfusions
  • Administration of antibiotics and other medications
  • Hydration therapy, also available to pregnant patients
  • Anemia management
  • Drug therapies for multiple sclerosis, lupus, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and autoimmune diseases
  • Comprehensive care for organ transplant patients
  • Diagnostic testing

While Morgan may have been Swedish/Issaquah’s first patient to be treated by the staff of the Ambulatory Infusion Center’s staff, the facility itself was not open for his treatments. He had to receive those in the OB/GYN clinic. Brelin Rismiller, 32, was first patient to be treated in the center’s dedicated wing, which can treat up to six patients at a time.

Rismiller, a former Sammamish resident now living in Enumclaw, has been receiving intravenous fluids in two- to two-and-a-half-hour sessions twice a week since the center opened.

“I have g.i. issues — gastro paresis — that prevents me from keeping anything down,” she said.

Rismiller is also appreciative of having a facility closer to Enumclaw than Seattle.

“It’s way faster to come here,” she said. “So we turn it into a party when I come.”

From the comfort of her recliner, Rismiller is also fitted with a Bair Hugger — an air mattress with warm air constantly blown through it to keep away chills.

“Best invention ever,” Rismiller said.

She added the experience is made all the more tolerable by the professional staff of dedicated nurses.

“We’re able to offer extra TLC other than just hooking the patients up,” Kirkham said. “Also, we’re there as an extra set of eyes and ears for the physicians.”

Morgan said he was grateful to have such a professional staff to look after his needs. Thanks to their care, he said, he came in with the aid of a walker, transitioned to two then one cane, and by the end, he walked out under his own power.

Now, he’s back to doing his favorite outdoor activities, including an upcoming trip to South Dakota with some buddies to go pheasant hunting.

“In a way, I’m happy this happened when it did,” Morgan said. “I don’t know what I would have done if I got this infection when I was on an outdoors trip and didn’t have access to a facility like Swedish’s.”

David Hayes: dhayes@isspress.com, 392-6434, ext. 237. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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