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Hospital to Upgrade Pulmonary Lab With $50K Grant

$50K grant awarded by Hilliard Family Foundation

A major upgrade to Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s ability to diagnose and treat lung diseases is on the horizon with the help of a $50,000 grant from The Hilliard Family Foundation.

The grant will fund improvements to Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s Pulmonary Function Lab, bringing it to full capacity with equipment that will allow for key pulmonary tests to rapidly diagnose, treat and monitor lung diseases in our island patients.

The $50,000 will be used to acquire a new spirometry system that will replace a unit that is 15-years-old, and has limited testing capabilities. The new system will mean Nantucket Cottage Hospital can offer a full-range of pulmonary tests, including lung volume and diffusion capacity, allowing patients to remain on-island rather than having to travel to the mainland. The upgrade will expand the hospital’s ability to determine the best diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care.

"It's a wonderful advance and aid in the diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases," said Nantucket Cottage Hospital's Dr. Jock Lawrason, a primary care physician and Chief Medical Officer, who specializes in pulmonary medicine. "Patients will no longer have to leave the island to get this testing."

The new equipment will assist in the diagnosis of emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and will be capable of determining the cause of shortness of breath or excessive coughing in patients. It will also give current and former smokers an assessment of their lung function.

The Hilliard Family Foundation has been active in philanthropy around Maryland, bestowing grants to libraries as well as the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. Members of the Hilliard family have had a presence on Nantucket over four generations. Mrs. Elizabeth Morrison, who is co-trustee of the Foundation with her son Jeff Morrison, has spent summers on the island throughout her life, and worked as a waitress at Jetties Beach in her teenage years. She is the great-granddaughter of Robert Cochran Hilliard, a prominent stage actor who owned a compound in Sconset. Morrison’s aunt, Grace Powell Hilliard, owned a home on Judith Chase Lane on Nantucket. She was an artist who attended the Maryland Institute of Art and an accomplished pilot who flew with the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) during World War II. Grace Powell Hilliard grew fond of Nantucket Cottage Hospital after being treated for a heart attack at the old hospital building on West Chester Street.

“She had been sympathetic to the cottage hospital on Nantucket and the care she received there,” Elizabeth Morrison said of her aunt. “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to award this grant.”