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SD hospital makes do with 'antiquated' equipment

Rapid City Journal, July 8, 2011

You won't find an MRI machine or even a CT scanner in its emergency room. The patient rooms don't have suction tubes in the walls or fire-suppression sprinkler systems in the ceilings. Its hospital beds, circa 1950, look narrow and uncomfortable. Oxygen, when it's needed, is delivered from big, green portable tanks that stand sentry in each room. Welcome to the Bennett County Hospital, which looks much the same today as it did when it was built in 1954 as St. Anthony's Hospital by an order of Catholic nuns. "You're looking at what I like to call frontier medicine. It's antiquated," said George Minder, chief executive officer of the Bennett County Hospital and Nursing Home, which has struggled to stay solvent for decades and is now managed by a five-member community board. But while the hospital in Martin has seen few cosmetic updates in its 57 years, it continues to provide essential health care services – including an emergency room that is staffed 24 hours a day – as well as three ambulances and a medical laboratory that can do basic cultures, chemistry panels and blood counts.