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Sleepless in Sunnyside

People in the Lower Valley who need help with sleeping issues can find relief thanks to a new specialist and sleep lab at Sunnyside Community Hospital.

Dr. Bryan Santiago, a specialist in sleep medicine, is currently working at the Grandview Medical Center. He is able to conduct home sleep tests now, and will be able to do more once the new lab is completed on the Sunnyside Community Hospital campus.

The new facility, which will cost more than $600,000, including recruitment, construction, equipment and training, is slated to be completed in early February 2014. It’s located on hospital property at the corner of Edison Avenue and 11th Street.

The building will feature two sleep center suites with private baths. Each suite will be able to serve two patients each night, monitored by the polysomnographic technologists who conduct overnight studies on those with suspected sleeping disorders.

Spokesperson for the hospital, Sandra Linde, said there is a high demand in this area for sleep studies. There are waiting lists for the sleep centers in both Yakima and the Tri-Cities, and now there is an increasing demand for “clearance” studies for commercial truck drivers, airplane pilots, train conductors and boat captains due to sleep deprivation standards.

“The addition of this facility to our area should greatly increase the turnaround time for diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders for patients in the entire region,” said Linde.

Santiago’s sleep expertise is already helping area residents. He has been interpreting home sleep studies, which allow patients to remain in the comfort of their own homes while being tested for sleep apnea. When the new sleep center is completed, Santiago will have a complete set of tools to diagnose a wide variety of sleep issues in patients.

Sleeping issues can cause serious health problems, affecting a person’s quality of life. With the new center, more people in the Lower Valley will be able to have sleep issues diagnosed and treatment prescribed.

“The Sunnyside Community Hospital & Clinics has made expanding services to the region a goal,” said Linde. “Our patient population should not have to wait for and travel great distances to receive service. We are striving to increase access to care for the entire region.”

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