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MGH readies for annual expo

by Tim Tedeschi - ttedeschi@chronicle-tribune.com

If given the choice, most people wouldn’t elect to spend their Saturday morning at a hospital. This weekend, however, Marion General Hospital (MGH) is offering a variety of reasons to gather.

MGH will hold its third annual health expo from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday.

Sarah Evans, MGH administrative director of patient experience, said the event is mainly located in the hospital parking lot, a less threatening environment than being inside the hospital for those uncomfortable with hospital settings. The expo is entirely run by MGH staff.

“All of the info shared during the event is related to MGH,” Evans said. “We do not have any outside vendors or entities that take part in this. It is strictly about what we can provide to you as a patient in this community.”

Evans said attendees will be able to meet MGH doctors, donate blood and participate in the annual heart walk, which begins at 9 a.m.

Health screenings including skin cancer checks, flow loop tests which assess breathing, osteo screenings, blood pressure and more will be available for visitors for free or for a reduced fee.

Those who have fasted prior to coming can take advantage of reduced-cost typical bloodwork or receive a voucher to come back at a later time for the reduced-price service, Evans said.

“Our goal of this event really is to connect with the community and discuss wellness. So many times people think of the hospital and healthcare services when they’re ill, but there are a lot of services we can provide when they’re well,” she said. “This is to help people understand how they can stay at a current health status and maybe even improve their health.”

MGH also expanded kids activities for this year’s event, including inflatables that kids can begin bouncing in at 9 a.m. and a visit from TV’s Doc McStuffins. Cooking demos, a car show and health education programming will also be offered, and attendees can enter drawings to win prizes.

Visitors will be able to walk through exhibits and join tours that spotlight some of the services MGH has to offer, Evans said, including the hospital’s newly remodeled wound clinic. The expo gives community members a chance to preview the clinic’s new hyperbaric chambers before an open house event scheduled for Monday.

Evans said her favorite part of the expo is interacting with community members, especially those that have not connected with MGH staff outside of times of emergency.

“We are a family here, and we genuinely care for the people we serve in our community,” Evans said.