By K. Richard Douglas
In 2015, Mount Carmel East Hospital, on the east side of Columbus, Ohio, entered into a modernization and expansion project. In 2018, the hospital announced the official “opening of the Mount Carmel East patient tower. The opening marks the end of phase one in a two-phase, $310 million transformation. This transformation phase includes a new patient tower, a more prominent main entrance, expanded parking, a larger lobby and park-like outdoor spaces,” according to their website.
The hospital originally opened in 1972. The Mount Carmel Health System today is comprised of over 10,000 employees and 2,000 physicians serving Central Ohio through four hospitals.
The biomed supervisor at Mt. Carmel East Hospital is Jerry Gatewood.
In Gatewood’s professional of the month nomination, it stated that he had “15 years of experience in diagnostics, troubleshooting, calibration, repair, maintenance and installation of biomedical, electronic and electrical equipment with 10 years of specific experience in imaging technology (radiology); possessing strong electro-mechanical ability, manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination.”
The nomination also said that Gatewood has “great customer service, management and communication skills to help companies and organizations succeed.”
Gatewood attempted to get his biomed start while serving in the U.S. Navy, but the timing wasn’t to be.
“I was a combat medic in the Navy. When I was nearing the end of my tour, I tried to crossover to become a biomed. I did not have enough time left, so I never got the opportunity. After my discharge from the Navy, I started working for a biomed third-party company as a delivery person. After the only biomed went to training, the boss asked me to help out with some bench repairs. After a few days, he said I was a natural and promoted me to biomed,” Gatewood remembers.
Gatewood learned his skills the old fashion way; by getting his hands dirty.
“Everything was on the-job-training. The first technical school I attended was for Midmark tables, chairs and sterilizers,” he says.
In the years to follow, he would be a field service technician, lead field service tech, senior biomed, imaging technician and supervisor. Today, his areas of specialization include cath lab equipment, ventilators, EEG, EMG and imaging equipment.
Stewardship and Family
During the past decade and a half, a few challenges have presented themselves. One is working within a budget for a not-for-profit that gives so much back to the community.
“We are constantly pushed to stewardship. Our resources are entrusted to us by our community and patients. We have to be ever vigilant to ensure that if we second source our repair parts, that they are not only cost-effective, but meet the original standard of the OEM. By doing this, we can ensure the best quality of care and outcome for our patients. We also have to maintain a balanced staff to ensure that no one technician has so much work versus having too many technicians that they do not have enough to do during their shift,” Gatewood says.
Another challenge revolved around facility modernization.
“Our hospital was built in the 1970s, so needless to say, we had to bring it up to standards to meet the guidelines of modern health care. Up until three years ago, most of our hospital was double occupancy rooms. We embarked on our modernization project to ensure every room is a private room,” Gatewood says.
“I have been involved with bringing in, checking, staging and the installation of new equipment as well as moving other areas to temporary locations while modernization of our older areas takes place. I have also been involved in planning our new shop area for our department to allow us not only a larger work area, but also a better overall workflow,” Gatewood adds.
He says that they also added a lead-lined work area for servicing imaging equipment right in their shop.
“This allows us an area that protects others from scatter radiation, but ensures a controlled environment for accurate calibrations,” Gatewood says.
Gatewood’s efforts in biomed have been noticed by his current employer. “I received a Gem Award six months after I started with my current employer. I was nominated by one of my departments for going above and beyond normal expected service as well as providing excellent customer service,” he says.
Away from work, Gatewood enjoys family and working on projects.
“I am a total family man. I enjoy being with my family during my downtime and enjoy any activity I can share with them,” he says.
“I am married to my gorgeous wife, Karen, and have two teenagers; Noah who is 19 and Kassi who is 14,” Gatewood adds.
The family also has two dogs and a cat. Gatewood says he is a huge animal lover and would own five more dogs, cats, pigs, birds, etcetera, if his wife would let him.
“I enjoy working on projects around the house and anything mechanical with my vehicles; kind of a gear head,” Gatewood says. He says that he also enjoys golf and is an artist; drawing, painting and tattooing. He also likes home electronics repair and building computers.
“Motorcycle rides clear my head,” he adds
Gatewood sums things up by saying that he is simply a lover of life.
“Every day is a blessing and I enjoy sharing those blessings with others. I enjoy assisting my co-workers when and where I can. I absolutely love my career and could not picture myself doing anything else,” he says.
With that attitude, HTM is blessed to have him.
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