By Twilla McElmurry, CMH Lab Manager
April 21-27 is Medical Laboratory Professionals Week. According to the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, there are approximately 300,000 of these professionals in the United States. At CMH, there are more than 25 of them, and they play an important role in helping diagnose and prevent disease. Thank you to all of our Lab caregivers who help us stay healthy every day!
We have a few caregivers in the CMH Lab who have been with us for many years. When Bob Hauer and Jan Ambiel started, they made about $6.50/hour, and when they got called in, their wage was doubled to $13/hour. They worked in the lab at the St. Mary’s Hospital site on the fourth floor and had to run up and down four flights of stairs for every Emergency Department draw. At the
time, the Med/Surg patients were at the Columbia Hospital (where Clatsop Care Center is currently), so Bob and Jan had to walk several blocks to do those blood draws.
Bob started working for CMH in October of 1974, so he’s been a caregiver here for 45 years. When he started, the U.S. President was Gerald Ford. The price of gas was 53 cents/gallon, stamps were eight cents, the cost of a new home was $39,000, and the minimum wage was $2/hour. Bob was the third lab employee and started the evening shift. Today, Bob is an avid motorcycle rider who has ridden all over the country.
Jan started working at CMH 44 years ago in 1975. The President was still Gerald Ford, the price of gas was 57 cents/gallon, stamps were 10 cents, the cost of a new home was $42,600, and the minimum wage was $2.10/hour. Jan met her husband, Pat, a physician’s assistant, at work, when she broke her foot.
Carol began working at CMH in August of 1986, 33 years ago. The U.S. President at the time was Ronald Reagan.
The price of gas was 93 cents/gallon, stamps were 22 cents, the cost of a new home was $76,400, and the minimum wage was $3.35/hour. Carol started working in the clinic and was grandfathered into the hospital staff when it closed. She is a wonderful grandmother and spends as much time with her grandkids as possible.
Sharon started working for CMH in June of 1997, so she’s been with the hospital for 22 years. When she started, the U.S. President was Bill Clinton. The price of gas was $1.22/gallon, stamps were 32 cents, the cost of a new home was $176,200, and the minimum wage was $5.15/hour. Sharon loves to travel the world, and her last trip was to Australia and New Zealand.
How old were you when these four caregivers started working for CMH? Were you even born yet? For reference, today, the price of gas is $3.34, stamps are 55 cents, the cost of a new home is $377,000, and the minimum wage is $11.25/hour.
Talk to a nurse on the CMH COVID-19 Community Hotline at 503-338-4699. This hotline is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For general information about coronavirus COVID-19:
Media Contact: Nancee Long, 503-338-4504
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