One of the completed hospital beds.

One of the completed hospital beds.

Island woodworkers build prototype of hospital bed

Dimitri Stankevich, executive director at Orcas Center and an emergency medical technician and lieutenant with Orcas Fire and Rescue, was brought on by San Juan County to help with its Emergency Operations Center’s COVID-19 response. One of his primary tasks was setting up a plan for local patient care if off-island hospitals became full.

He arranged for Orcas Center’s Madrona Room to accept 20 patients for basic medical response. Volunteers on Lopez and San Juan created similar outlines.

“We needed to plan for this but thank god we didn’t have to implement it,” he said. “The mainland hospitals didn’t become overwhelmed. We finished the plans in hope of never needing but they are ready to pull out and be used in the future.”

Stankevich thanked the Orcas Center board, which allowed him to use his work time on this project. It took around 70 hours over the course of three weeks.

One of the primary items needed for setting up a recovery space is hospital beds. Stankevich knew they’d be hard to come by so he asked Camp Orkila and Four Winds about available cots. Between the two camps, around 75 are available.

“But then I was told that patients with respiratory illnesses don’t want to be lying flat,” Stankevich said. “So I contacted two local contractors – Justin Paulsen and Jonathan Loop – to create prototypes that could be easily replicated if the need arises.”

Loop and Paulsen, with the help of his 11-year-old son Jaxon, made two beds based on a chaise lounge design that can be adjusted up and down. The prototypes are in the lobby of Orcas Center.

“Rosario Resort has 60 chaise-style chairs that they are willing to donate to become hospital beds if we need to,” Stankevich said.