PHOENIX, Ariz. — When Randy Bernstein went up the elevator at Maricopa Medical Center soon after joining the Phoenix, Arizona hospital, he was surprised to find himself standing next to a heaping mound of soiled linen bags.
They were piled high over the rim of a five-foot long canvas cart headed to the on-site laundry. Next to him, guests in the elevator, who were heading to visit sick family members cringed at the sight and the scent. As they stepped as far into the corner as possible they gazed at the lighted elevator panel. Bernstein imagined they were hoping their stop would arrive sooner rather than later.
“It really was a disgusting sight,” said Bernstein. “Sharing that ride with soiled sheets, towels, gowns and other hospital linens—even though in clear bags—clearly disturbed everyone on board the elevator.” Bernstein didn’t just let that thought go. He realized that rolling dirty laundry in front of guests three or four times a day, every day, not only looks bad but it also makes people question the cleanliness of the entire facility. So he decided he would do something about it. After all Maricopa Medical Center had a reputation to uphold.
A full-service facility, Maricopa Medical Center was recognized by U.S. News and World Report in its report on “America’s Best Hospitals” for excellence in respiratory disorders, urology, medical care, education and research. The facility has 449 beds and sees nearly 20,000 inpatient admissions per year. The hospital features advanced medical services including burn care, pediatric and adult emergency care. As Manager of Laundry Services, Bernstein quickly set out to change how soiled linens are transported through the hospital. That was a tall order, considering the on-site facility processes 7,500 pounds of linens per day. With 10 years of experience as a commercial laundry manager prior to joining Maricopa, he reviewed a host of available laundry handling options before turning to Meese Orbitron Dunne Co. (MOD), Ashtabula, Ohio.
Bernstein ordered MOD 72S bulk laundry carts to do the job. Now, hospital staffers collect the soiled linens from each room and drop the soil bags at holding locations on each floor where the carts are used to pick up the soil. The carts are closed and brought down the elevator to the on-site laundry, where they are emptied and wiped down. No more guests need see the hospital’s dirty laundry.
When the carts get to the on-site laundry, employees move the goods through two 400-pound Milnor extractors, one 250-pound Edro Open-Pocket DynaWash washer-extractor, a 225-pound Jenson L-Tron a 165-pound Milnor washer and a 55-pound Milnor washer. There’s a 400-pound Consolidated dryer, a Norman 400- pound dryer and two 122-pound Milnor dryers. Finishing things off are a Jensen Logic Sheet Feeder, a Hi Pro six-roll ironer, a Chicago Skyline folder, a Chicago Mini folder used for folding blankets and an Air Chicago small piece folder.
“We’re actually the talk of the hospital now,” says Bernstein. “We got the purple 72S carts and converted all our cart covers to purple canvas. Our uniforms are even purple. We’re known for being the purple department. Now when the elevator door opens and people see us with the cart, they don’t know what’s inside the cart. They only see that it’s clean and nice-looking.
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Fire in Jail Laundry
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