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 CNS Story:

YONKERS-MEDICAL Apr-20-2008 (300 words) xxxn

Catholic hospital personnel tend to needs of rally participants

By Beth Griffin
Catholic News Service

YONKERS, N.Y. (CNS) -- More than 100 people at the April 19 papal youth rally sought treatment from two teams of volunteer medical personnel provided by St. Joseph's Medical Center in Yonkers.

Egbert Smith, nursing coordinator at the medical center, said the facility "is one of the few Catholic hospitals in the neighborhood" of St. Joseph's Seminary in the Dunwoodie section of Yonkers, the site for the rally.

A crowd of 25,000 young Catholics from throughout the country, including 5,000 seminarians, gathered on the seminary grounds to see Pope Benedict XVI and listen to his address.

"When the news came that the pope would be here, we were happy to offer our services," Smith told Catholic News Service.

The medical center supplied 15 people, who staffed two medical tents with doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and registered nurses.

The St. Joseph's staff said that most of the requests were heat-related. With the wait for food approaching one and one-half hours in some lines at the 20 booths set up for food service, several people passed out from heat exhaustion, according to the medical personnel.

The temperature reached a high of 72 degrees, warmer than usual for the area at this time of year, according to weather reports.

Other complaints included panic attacks, high blood pressure, breathing difficulty, a lacerated finger and an apparent allergic reaction that caused one man to be hospitalized because he was "itching all over." Some dozen people were transported to St. Joseph's Medical Center by Empress Ambulance Service.

As St. Joseph's staff packed up its equipment at the end of the day, Smith said the operation was a success. "It was just an effort by everyone to make this day a success," he added.

END


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