MCU staff members, including manager Amy Toenyes, second from right, send donor Dorothy Sullivan a thumbs up in appreciation of their new blanket warmer.Patients in Alton Memorial Hospital’s Medical Care Unit are getting a warm, fuzzy feeling thanks to the generosity of AMH nursing school alum Dorothy Huebner Sullivan.

A graduate of the class of 1959, Sullivan worked in the OR at AMH for two years before moving to Bloomington, Ind., and later to Peoria, Ill. While living in Peoria she met her future husband, Tom Sullivan, and was surprised to learn that he also graduated from the AMH School of Nursing, class of 1963.

“Even though our careers took us away from Alton Memorial Hospital, we never forgot the friends we made and the experiences we had,” Sullivan said. “I’ve stayed in touch with some classmates and enjoy hearing what’s new at AMH. I’d been thinking about doing something for the hospital and wanted to direct the donation so I would know how the funds would be used. As a nurse, the idea of a blanket warmer appealed to me because of the comfort it brings to the patient.”

The new blanket warmer has been placed on the MCU, located on the third floor of the AMH Duncan Wing.

There are many cool places in a hospital. Chilled patients feel better immediately after being covered with a warmed blanket. While the warmth may only last for minutes, the psychological effects can last much longer. The feeling of well being can help to ease physical pain. In addition to the therapeutic benefits, there are clinical benefits as well.

“Sometimes when we’re having difficulty inserting an IV, placing a warm blanket on the patient can help with the IV insertion,” said Amy Toenyes, manager of the MCU. “Patients who have had a blood transfusion lose body temperature. Warm blankets can ease the discomfort of feeling cold and help speed up the recovery process.

“My aunt, Ione Keiser, was an AMH nursing school alum, class of 1945, and coincidentally was a classmate of Mrs. Sullivan’s aunt, Margaret Knipping Poag. Both Mrs. Sullivan and I were influenced by our aunts, whom we admired and respected. Even though the nursing school closed 40 years ago, the impact of the school endures. Mrs. Sullivan’s thoughtful gift of a blanket warmer will benefit patients at AMH for years to come.”

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