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Letters to the Editor

Skiff Foundation launching year-end fundraising campaign for equipment

To the editor:

As I’m sure you know, we are not in the health-care field because of technology. Machines and electronics, hardware and software – these did not compel our caregivers to dedicate their lives to medicine.

No, we are here because of people. Our calling is to heal the sick, offer relief to those who suffer, and promote wellness to each and every individual who calls Jasper County home.

That being said, innovative technology is a powerful tool that we require daily as we care for our patients and their loved ones. At Skiff, it is our duty to offer not only extraordinary care provided by exceptional people and a wonderful physical environment in which to do so, but also to feature leading-edge technology and the many benefits that accompany it.

That is why we have initiated an end-of-year fundraising campaign. This is the season of giving, and it is our hope that our supporters will see fit to help us achieve the next level of medical advances needed by our patients.

Earlier this year, our highly trafficked Emergency Department received a much-need updating. Even as this is being written, a large section of inpatient areas is being renovated to make it the comforting, beautiful setting our patients deserve in which to get well.

Both projects received these stunning upgrades thanks to last year’s fundraising campaign. It is a credit to the continuing generosity of many people that the hospital is able to invest in both the facility improvements and equipment necessary to adapt to the rapidly changing world of health care.

Now we are looking to upgrade another area where advanced technology is vital: our endoscopy suite, a surgical area which provides care to nearly 1,000 patients annually. This suite utilizes a system of fiber optic scopes, lights and monitors to diagnose and treat ailments of the digestive system, including cancer and precancerous conditions. Endoscopy is the primary means of not only diagnosing colon cancer — the third leading cause of death in the U.S. — but of preventing it before it develops. With regular screening, colon cancer is often preventable; with early detection, it is largely curable.

While our current equipment works well, it is time to take the next step in this area and provide the best technology to our physicians and, as a result, the best experience for our patients.

As we all know from home, the difference in picture quality between the old CRT screens and flat screens was tremendous; the jump between flat screens and high-definition screens was even bigger. As you might expect, high-definition endoscopy requires not only HD monitors but also the highest-tech cameras, light sources, and image management systems, as well. The better our physicians can see what’s happening within the human body, the better care they can provide. They cannot remove a potentially dangerous polyp that they cannot see.

This year’s fundraising campaign will go toward the cost of updating the endoscopy suite and equipment, which is estimated at about $250,000. This message I’m writing to our community represents the first step to reaching this objective.

The primary goal for the Skiff Medical Center Foundation in 2013 is upgrading our endoscopy capabilities and, in doing so, saving lives. We ask you to please consider a tax-deductible contribution to help us with this vital acquisition. To learn more, you can contact me at (641) 791-4887 or

This holiday season, we are reminded of how fortunate Skiff Medical Center is to be treasured by the people of Newton and Jasper County. Thank you for anything you can do to help us with our mission to provide the very best care — and technology — close to home.

Bruce Hoffmeier


Skiff Medical Center Foundation

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