Butch Crouch (right) has always been an industrial person. In fact, if you look around, you may just see his name on a manhole cover.
“I’ve done foundry work, welding and auto body painting all my life,” said Crouch, now 55. His family owned Crouch’s Foundry in Duenweg, Missouri; it was closed in the late 1990s. “Because of the nature of what I do, I’ve always breathed in toxic air. Over the last 15 years, I’ve begun had a lot more trouble breathing.”
Earlier this year, Crouch decided it was time to see a pulmonary specialist at Mercy. “He told me that I likely had stage four chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and I needed to get a special test done right away.”
More than 15 million adults in the United States suffer from COPD, and many undergo a pulmonary function test (PFT) before being diagnosed. Days after Crouch was ordered the test, it became available at Mercy Hospital Berryville, just 18 miles from his home.
“Butch was the very first person to use our new plethysmography box,” said Lisa Sparrow, Manager of Respiratory Therapy at Mercy Hospital Berryville. “The patient breathes in special gases, which allows us to get lung measurements as well as other diagnostic measurements which will tell whether the patient is having obstructive component as seen in COPD.”
The tests done inside the glass box can pinpoint lung problems, measure how serious they are and check to see how well treatment for a lung disease is working. Tests analyze the following:
Types of lung function tests include spirometry, gas diffusion, body plethysmography, inhalation challenge and an exercise stress test.
“No single test can determine all of the lung function values, so more than one type of test may be need to be done,” Sparrow added. “Some of the tests may be repeated after you inhale medicine that enlarges your airways, which is what Butch did.”
“It was a really neat experience,” Crouch said. “They confirmed what the specialist expected, and even showed me the difference between a regular lung and one like mine. Looks like I may need the more advanced medication going forward.”
Mercy Hospital Berryville has seven highly-trained respiratory therapists who are licensed through the National Board of Respiratory Care. They often treat people who have asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, sleep apnea – or those experiencing a heart attack or stroke.
“They were so helpful and the trip was so convenient,” Crouch added. “Before, it would’ve taken 70 miles to drive to Springfield, one way. This way, I was still able to see this great team, but with less of the hassle. They really are the best of the best.”
“We’re just as excited to be bringing these expanded capabilities to this community,” said Doug Stroemel, administrator of Mercy Hospital Berryville. “We have a strong commitment to caring for our neighbors and to bring new services to them. It fits right into our mission of bringing quality care close to home.”
Meanwhile, Crouch and many others in the Berryville region are breathing a whole lot easier.