January 4, 2013
St. Elizabeth Hospital Clinic Serves Patients On Blood-Thinner Medications
St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw has opened the first anticoagulation clinic on the Plateau to serve patients who must take prescription blood-thinner medications warfarin (Coumadin) or heparin to prevent life-threatening blood clots.
Pharmacists at the outpatient clinic, which opened Dec. 18, review patients’ prescription and over-the-counter medications for potentially harmful drug interactions; perform blood tests and provide lab results; communicate lab results to patients and their primary-care physicians; adjust medication dosages as needed; and provide patient education about blood thinners.
A key service feature of the St. Elizabeth Hospital Anticoagulation Clinic is that patients immediately receive results from their blood tests. Gone are the anxious hours of waiting for the doctor’s office to call with lab results and medication guidance.
Enumclaw resident Mike Binetti, 86, is among the individuals who are benefitting from the new clinic’s services. His need for blood-thinner medication monitoring "has been a constant chore for the past 20 or so years for me," explained the retired educator. "I didn’t mind it very much when I required blood testing only every three months. But, with aging came the more frequent blood draws — often, bi-weekly.
"So, this new anticoagulation clinic is a godsend," he added. "It’s quick, easy and less invasive."
Blood thinners prevent clots that can cause stroke or deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which a clot travels through the bloodstream, damaging the lungs and other organs, or causing death.
Patients are referred to the St. Elizabeth Anticoagulation Clinic by their physician. Binetti’s wife of 61 years, Lena, accompanied him to his first appointment at the hospital’s new clinic and described the experience as "absolutely wonderful."
"There was no waiting," she said. "It was just zip, zip, zip, and then we went home with everything we needed. I cannot say enough about how much we appreciated all that."
In addition to St. Elizabeth Hospital, Franciscan Health System anticoagulation clinics are located at St. Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma; St. Francis Hospital, Federal Way; St. Clare Hospital, Lakewood; and in Gig Harbor.