ELLSWORTH — Maine Coast Memorial Hospital is progressing in its campaign to raise $5 million for a new emergency department.
“We’re past the halfway mark,” said Kristen Tardif, director of development for Maine Coast Memorial Hospital. “We’re in the process right now of applying for several foundation grants.”
Tardif said the hospital continues to receive “leadership” gifts. Most recently those are $100,000 from R. F. Jordan & Sons Construction and a $100,000 bequest from the late Charles K. Foster Jr.
Construction on the new emergency department is ahead of schedule, she said. The new addition should be completed by March 2010.
Tardif said she hopes to give tours during the hospital’s annual meeting in September.
The hospital has an enthusiastic local supporter for its campaign to build a new emergency department.
Joe Jenkins, a retired educator who owns and operates Jenkins Beach on Green Lake, credits the emergency room personnel with saving his life three years ago.
“They know what they’re doing,” Jenkins said. “They did do everything right because I’m here.”
“They need the space to do a more effective job,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins suffered an episode that left him delusional, from high blood sugar, a condition he didn’t know he had.
When Jenkins’ significant other, Malen Hsu, and friend, Bob Maddocks, rushed him to the ER three years ago, his blood sugar level was 1,200.
Jenkins explained that a blood sugar level of 100 is an OK number. Once someone hits the 700s, he or she is likely in a coma, he said.
Jenkins had been staying that day at Malen Hsu’s house.
The last thing he remembers of that day, April 20, 2006, is standing in front of a faucet at Hsu’s house and not knowing how to turn it off.
While his last memory was being unable to turn the faucet off, Jenkins later learned he carried on a lucid conversation with one of the ER nurses who had been a student of his at Holbrook.
“At first the doctors didn’t have a clue what was wrong with me,” Jenkins said. “The ED people really came around. Dr. [Kenneth] Christian and Dr. [Susan] Ostertag were the ones who figured it out.”
After six days at Maine Coast in the intensive care unit, Jenkins was transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center, where Jenkins eventually began a sobering recovery.
A Bangor neurologist told Jenkins that he had lost half his vision and said he didn’t think he would ever drive or ski again.
He had to use a walker to get around when he first left the hospital and progressed to a cane shortly thereafter. His sight returned after three months. The following January, he was able to drive again.
And today Jenkins has his life back, skiing all winter, operating his beach all summer.
“I can do anything and everything,” Jenkins said.