Kathy megan franklin web

Saving Lives Close to Home

June 11, 2019

Sometimes things happen for a reason, and for Kathy Atkinson, the timing of her start on the board of trustees of Franklin General Hospital in Hampton, Iowa may have saved her life.

“I think it’s really kind of a God thing for me. Being a religious person, I think what are the chances I am just new on the board and they need test people,” said Kathy.

With a history of breast cancer in her family, she decided to volunteer. The hospital’s new 3D mammography technology showed early stages of breast cancer, and a few weeks later, Kathy had a lumpectomy and radiation treatments. She credits a combination of the new technology and a persistent radiologist and medical team for identifying the disease before it spread and ultimately for the positive outcome for her and her family.

Since August 2018, Franklin General Hospital has conducted over 635 mammograms using the new 3D mammography machine.

“The three-dimensional mammography is catching cancer earlier because it is detecting those smaller cancers that are hiding under the dense tissue,” said Meggan Cearley, Radiology Manager at Franklin General Hospital.

The Franklin County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, understands the importance of having this technology for its local rural communities and granted $10,000 to the purchase of this expensive piece of equipment. It is an example of how rural communities are making sure their residents can receive high-quality healthcare in a setting near them with people they know and trust.

"I love being able to take the time to sit and talk to our patients and find out more about them and their families, and I think it's important that we can provide these services to keep our patients here," said Meggan. “They do feel comfortable coming to see us and know that we can provide top quality service to them, but yet still feel like we’re family and we’ll take the best care of them.”

“For me, and I think for many people, to have healthcare so readily accessible is just a huge benefit,” said Kathy. “It’s a peace of mind. The access for me, it’s just great, and I wouldn’t want it to not be there, that’s for sure.”

"Receiving grants helps keep us in the loop with what the bigger hospitals are doing and builds trust with the patients. Knowing we can provide the service to a rural community and that we have the best quality here for them is absolutely fantastic."

Meggan Cearley