Tree of Lights fundraiser to benefit patient needs

Tree of Lights fundraiser to benefit patient needs
Dakota Hospital Foundation is kicking off a Tree of Lights Fundraiser this week. The Tree of Lights will provide community members with the opportunity to purchase a light on the tree in memory of someone, in honor of someone or as a holiday greeting to a special friend or relative. A large evergreen that will be lit through the Christmas season at Sanford Vermillion has been designated for the touching display. Proceeds from the Tree of Lights project will assist in the cost of adding a pulmonary function testing lab at Sanford Vermillion Medical Center.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Despite its high social and economic burden, COPD is a disease that is often under diagnosed or misclassified. Measuring spirometry (lung capacity), flow and gas exchange (spirometry) is the standard for confirming the presence of COPD. Patients with other lung diseases such as asthma and pulmonary fibrosis and cardiac patients on the drug, Amiodarone, will also require these breathing tests.

Spirometry is the standard method for measuring most relative lung volumes; however, it is incapable of providing information about absolute volumes of air in the lung. Thus a different approach is required to measure residual volume, functional residual capacity, and total lung capacity. One common method of obtaining information about these lung volumes is body plethysmography in a pulmonary function testing (PFT) lab. The addition of a pulmonary function testing (PFT) lab equipment at Sanford Vermillion will provide easy spirometry testing for all patients, from pediatrics through adults. This diagnostic testing will provide more accurate results which will assist the physician in a better plan of treatment for their patients. That's what Dakota Hospital Foundation had in mind when considering a beneficiary for the Tree of Lights holiday fundraiser planned for this Christmas season.


Susan Rohr, DO, Sanford Clinic Pulmonary Medicine, provides specialty outreach services at Sanford Hospital Vermillion. Rohr sees about 4-5 new patients each month. Over the last year Dr. Rohr has seen approximately 50 new patients who required this testing. Many of these patients had to travel out of town to receive this service. "The PFT lab helps evaluate patients with a multitude of problems to help determine the reason for their shortness of breath. We can monitor lung function in patients with chronic lung disease and patients on a variety of medications for other disorders that may affect lung function. A complete PFT lab in Vermillion would be extremely beneficial to assist in the care of patients in the local community and surrounding areas," comments Dr. Susan Rohr.

"Respiratory diseases continue to be a major cause of illness in our communities. It would be most beneficial for our medical center to expand the Respiratory Therapy Department. It would be ideal to be able to expand our pulmonary function lab to thus expand our diagnostic capabilities here in Vermillion," added Dr. William Dendinger, Medical Director for the Respiratory Therapy Program at Sanford Vermillion.

Dakota Hospital Foundation and Sanford Vermillion will host be hosting a tree lighting social event which is planned for Monday, Dec. 10 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the main lobby of Sanford Hospital Vermillion. For more information or to purchase lights on the tree, citizens may contact a DHF board member, or complete and mail in a coupon that appears in the Plain Talk or Broadcaster or

Lights may also be purchased by contacting the Dakota Hospital Foundation at (605) 638-8465.

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