Winona Health Lead Radiology Technician Tim Metz recently designed and built a holder to protect hospital equipment.
by LAURA HAYES
Tim Metz considers himself a jack-of-all-trades. No stranger to working with his hands, Metz has remodeled bathrooms, built a vanity by hand, and tinkered with cars. Recently, he has incorporated his hobbies into his professional career as Winona Health’s lead radiology technologist by building a stand to help protect expensive hospital equipment.
Metz was born and raised in Winona. After working at a factory for 14 years, Metz decided that he wanted to change careers. He went back to school to study radiography. Throughout his 14 years at Winona Health, Metz has seen the development of X-ray technology. In the last year, the hospital shifted to a Digital Radiography (DR) Detector, which Metz described as a wireless, flat panel that can immediately take a radiograph. “We’ve had to modify and almost reinvent the wheel on how we do some projections,” he said.
However, Metz soon realized that there might be a potential problem. A detector, he said, can range in costs from $70,000 to $100,000. Before switching to the DR Detectors, patients who needed a radiograph of his or her top of the knee would often hold the equipment themselves. But with such expensive equipment, hospital staff were concerned it could be damaged.
Metz took dimensions of the table used by patients to support their knees, went to Menard’s and bought PVC pipe, and created a case to hold the detector. It was to prevent the detectors from breaking, help the hospital to save money, and it’s safe and comfortable for the patients and ensures a clear image, he explained. “If I can make something like this that’s going to protect our equipment and get the right images for the patients where we don’t have to do repeats and over-expose them, why not utilize our other skills and do that?” Metz said.
This isn’t the first time that Metz has used his creative carpentry skills to help out Winona Health. In the past, he and his wife have built senior-friendly step stools with shorter steps and wider bases, a stand for the orthopedic department to take X-rays of the back of patients’ feet, and sturdy knee pads for CT machines. Although Metz doesn’t do the work for free, he said that it’s less expensive than an item purchased through a medical supply company.
Winona Health Media Relations Coordinator Karen Sibenaller said that this is one of the benefits of being a small organization. “It encourages creative thinking to solve problems,” she said.