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VCRs Bring Some Extra TLC Into Hospital Rooms

August 23, 1992|CHRISTINA V. GODBEY

Nearly all the patients at St. John's Hospital and Medical Center in Santa Monica can now take in a movie, thanks to Chris Newman, a former patient.

A few years ago, Newman made numerous trips to the Santa Monica hospital for treatment of cancer. These trips often stretched into lengthy visits, and she found it was difficult to pass the time.

"Television was OK," she said, "but if you are there all day, it's hard not to get depressed."

During one hospital stay, Newman met a woman who had been in the hospital for six months. Newman recalled that all the woman wanted to do was watch a funny movie. Newman thought how nice it would be to have a videocassette recorder in each hospital room.

Once recovered from her bout with cancer, the longtime Santa Monica resident got to work on making this idea a reality. She joined the Irene Dunne Guild, the fund-raising arm of the hospital, and raised money for the VCR project.

"It was an idea that I had, but everybody helped," she said. "People have been so willing to give their time, money and contacts."

The first department to receive VCRs was the oncology unit. Last year, 26 VCRs were installed, complete with an earthquake-proof shelf and anti-theft screws. Donors who had bestowed $375 (the cost per machine) have been recognized with dedication plaques.

Thus far, 87 machines have been installed in 174 rooms around the hospital. The remaining 126 rooms are scheduled to receive sets during the next year or so.

The hospital now has a video library as well, with a wide selection of free films available. Volunteers deliver movies to patients' rooms, and tapes are returned to a designated box on each floor. Patients can also view homemade tapes of weddings, christenings and other family events that they missed because of a hospital stay. And the medical staff has been known to use the equipment also, for instructional purposes.

"When we first got started, people said that hospitals are too bureaucratic," Newman said. "But St. John's has been so supportive, and the generosity of people has been incredible."

Larry Hornbaker has been named executive vice chancellor of Pepperdine University in Malibu.

Hornbaker will direct fund-raising efforts for the Malibu campus. During his 23 years on staff, he has served the university in several capacities, including development, administration and corporate relations.

He is also board member of the American Red Cross Los Angeles West District Chapter.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Ed Edelman has reappointed Norie Gold of Westwood to the Los Angeles County Task Force on Nutrition.

Gold will serve on the 14-member panel, which reports to the Board of Supervisors on the issue of proper nutrition as a factor in reducing criminal behavior.

She is also a member of the West Los Angeles Homeowners Assn. and a board member of the Jewish Federation's Community Relations Council.

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