2/02/18

Expanded services save minutes, miles and lives in Mattoon

Carol Speakman of Mattoon said it takes her just nine minutes from her front door to Carle Mattoon on Hurst clinic. A pancreatic cancer survivor, she previously had to travel nearly an hour to Urbana for her routine CT scans.

“When you’re vomiting, have diarrhea, and everything hurts – even your toenails – you don’t want to travel that kind of distance for your care,” she said.

Today, a patient arrives, checks-in, follows an escort onto Mattoon’s new fixed mobile unit resembling a semi-trailer. The process can take as little as 30 minutes from start to finish.

Rebekah Winkler, radiology technician, looks forward to work and seeing patients like Speakman but no more so than on October 9.

That Monday radiology staff powered on and performed their first CT scan in their department, located at Mattoon on Hurst. The pace is steady, serving more than 300 patients already.

This exam is one of many services now offered in Mattoon, offering convenient access to patients closer to where they live.

CT images help physicians, too.

“Just to name a few positive effects, it can help rule out kidney stones, monitor response to chemotherapy, provide more information to our providers on broken bones, and look for causes of back pain,” said Winkler.

Focusing on all parts of the body, the CT takes a closer look at organs and bones to help primary care providers and specialists monitor or diagnose conditions.

“As the need for an advanced level of care continues to grow in Mattoon-Charleston and the surrounding community, this is a great addition and that allows us to meet patient and community needs for years to come,” said Harry Brockus, vice president of Rural Health and CEO, Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center.

Years that Speakman is grateful she can spend with her husband, Lee, thanks to her care at Carle.

Married for 51 years, her advice for a successful marriage is separate TVs and a supportive family.

“I was given a death sentence. But here I am, six years cancer-free this month,” she said.

Grateful for techs like Winkler, Speakman said the staff ensures there’s no pain or embarrassment. Little enhancements put her at ease.

“A pillow under my knees and a warm blanket mean a lot because I’m always cold,” she said.

A few cues from the team, a couple of deep breaths and she’s on with her day.

Services in Mattoon are continually expanding. Up next, Carle Medical Supply is relocating February 13 to the nearby Mattoon on Lerna facility for patient convenience. 

“Consolidating services in a centralized location allows people to get the additional supplies they need at their doctor’s office. Now they won’t have to make another stop on the way home,” Brockus said.