January, 2007


SOMC Maternity To Play Lullaby With Each Birth

The Maternity Department at Southern Ohio Medical Center welcomed a new addition Jan. 29.

“In honor of the birth and new family, we will play the Brahms’ Lullaby, which will be heard throughout the hospital,” Jone Stone, nurse manager of Maternity Services at SOMC, said. “It will only last 10 seconds, but it will be a nice way to let everyone know that such a wonderful event has happened.”

Ideas for the addition of the lullaby started last May during a patient-care-centered workshop and focus group.

“We had a variety of employees from all departments suggest we add a song,” Stone said. “Other hospitals do similar things, so we decided to start working on it.”

After researching other hospitals to find the most common song and time-lengths, the final decision of using Brahms’ Lullaby was made because of its comforting sound and correlation to newborns.

“We wanted music that was recognizable and had a soft, warm feel to it,” Stone said. “Brahms’ Lullaby seemed like the obvious choice.”

The version of the song that will be heard throughout all departments was performed and recorded by Tyler Thompson, music major at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. The lullaby will be activated through a remote button located within the Maternity Unit.

“We appreciate our families and the privilege of providing care for them during their birth,” Stone said. “The lullaby will be a great way to celebrate this great event and we’re all looking forward to the addition.”

Lawson Appointed To SOMC Board

George Lawson

George Lawson has been appointed to the SOMC Board of Directors, Chairman Robert E. Dever has announced. His term on the SOMC Board is effective through July 2009. Lawson is also a member of the SOMC Foundation Board, serving as chairman since 2005.

An area native, Lawson served in public education for more than 35 years. He retired as superintendent of the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center in 2001. For the past four years Lawson has been the director of the College Tech Prep at Shawnee State University.

He and his wife, Pat, live in the Portsmouth area. They have three grown children and five grandchildren.

SOMC Wheelersburg Rehab Services To Celebrate Tenth Anniversary Feb. 8

Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Wheelersburg Rehab Services will celebrate 10 years of operation with an open house Thursday, Feb. 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the facility, 613 Center St., Suite D. Light food and refreshments will be available and clients, employees, friends, and guests are all invited to attend.

“The open house will be a reunion to thank the community and our clients for the business they have provided over the past 10 years,” Dayna Lawhorn, physical therapy assistant at SOMC Wheelersburg Rehab Services, said. “They have done a lot for us and we wanted to do something nice to show how much we appreciate them.”

SOMC Wheelersburg Rehab Services provides a wide range of occupational and physical therapy to patients suffering from various injuries, including back and shoulder problems, neck injuries, arthritis, and neurological problems occurring after a stroke. They also provide rehab for patients following major surgeries, strains, and sprains.

The facility first opened in 1997, with four tiny rooms and a staff of two therapists. The staff has now grown to include six, and their services have increased in capabilities and quality thanks to the addition of space and equipment.

“Our growth over the years has allowed us to offer more programs for our patients instead of sending them elsewhere for help,” Lawhorn said. “We’re able to reach a wider audience and provide more in-depth services, which is great for the community.”

The rehab center also was honored earlier this year when Pam Higgins, rehab technician, was recognized for her work at the facility with the most distinguished award given by the RehabCare Group, the Trusheim Spirit Award.

Lawhorn says the staff looks forward to growing and advancing even more in the future, and thanks everyone for all the help and support that has been given to the facility thus far.

For more information, contact the SOMC Wheelersburg Rehab Services office at 740-574-8189.

SOMC Using State-of-the-art IV Pumps

SOMC Pharmacist Brian Missler and Nurse Educator Melissa Groh

Southern Ohio Medical Center has taken another step in 21st-century medical care with the deployment of more than 450 intravenous (IV) pumps that include new safety features for patient protection.

LifeCare Plumb A+ devices developed by leading global hospital products manufacturer, Hospira, Inc., utilize a drug list containing safe dosage parameters. The pump prevents under-dosing and over-dosing of drugs by warning caregivers that a dose entered is outside of acceptable limits.

The new LifeCare Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) device, developed by Hospira, Inc., helps reduce the potential for human error in administering pain medications by using a built-in bar code reader, compatible with pre-filled, bar-coded medication vials, to allow patients to control the flow of their medication.

Both the Plumb A+ and the LifeCare PCA infusion systems offer these enhanced safety features through its compatibility with Hospira MedNet, a customizable software system that closely defines medication dose limits and tracks the IV drug delivery through the bar codes to help prevent medication errors.

Rory Phillips, director of Pharmacy, says the investment in this new equipment is central to patient care and safety.

“SOMC’s commitment to both safety and service is reflected in this investment. We strive to be among the top hospitals in the nation in safety and service indicators, among others, and the LifeCare PCA devices help us bring a higher level of comfort with additional safety measures.”

The software has the flexibility to develop and program dose guidelines for up to 150 medication entries, and also allows SOMC to create customized clinical decision rules for up to 18 different clinical-care areas of the hospital, such as the post-anesthesia care unit, oncology and pediatrics.

Atkins Earns SOMC IDEAS Award

Greg Atkins (second from right), a staff member of the Nutrition Services Dept. of Southern Ohio Medical Center, recently received an IDEAS award for suggesting a new window be placed in a stairwell exit door to prevent accidents. SOMC Maintenance members Michael Coriell and Brent Conley (far left and right) arranged installation of the window. Presenting the award to Atkins was SOMC Safety Services member Sheri Anderson. SOMC’s IDEAS (Ideas Designed by Employees at SOMC) program rewards employees for presenting viable ideas that support the organization’s values of safety, service, quality, relationships and performance.

Wound, Sleep Centers Welcome Staff

The SOMC Wound Healing Center, Sleep Diagnostic Center and Diabetes Education Department welcomed 140 employees and physicians to an internal open house Tuesday, Jan. 16 at the new facility in the former cancer services building on the main campus of Southern Ohio Medical Center. A public open house is planned for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21 and everyone is welcome to stop in, take a tour and enjoy refreshments while learning about the state-of-the-art wound healing technology and sleep diagnostic approaches now in use. Above, Wound Healing Center Director Michael Bradford and Hyperbaric Oxygen Technician Deanna Potter, RT, (left) discuss the new oxygen chambers (in background) with visitors.

Khoury Chief of Staff at SOMC

Thomas L. Khoury, MD

Thomas L. Khoury, MD, a surgeon on staff at Southern Ohio Medical Center, has accepted the position of Chief of the Medical Staff for 2007.

“This is a phenomenal time to be an active part of the medical staff at SOMC,” Dr. Khoury said. “Our commitment to bringing the best medical care available is more evident than ever as we embark on our expansion of services and facilities here at the hospital. In the next three years our community will see tremendous advancements in the kinds of care available here and I’m proud to be part of that process.”

Other 2007 medical staff officers elected at the December meeting include Jitendra Patel, MD, as chief-of-staff-elect; Jody Brahney, MD, as secretary/treasurer, and William Esham, MD, Gerardo Trinidad, MD, and Charles Wong, MD, as at-large members of the Medical Executive Committee.

SOMC Rehab Tech Receives National Honor

Pam Higgins

When Pam Higgins fell and broke her arm on Nov. 2, 2002, it was a day and an accident that would change her life.

“I had to have two surgeries, and bone down to the elbow was replaced,” she said. “I have some limited mobility but (with such severe injury) that’s still pretty awesome.”

During 16 months of rehabilitation, Higgins got to know the staff of SOMC Outpatient Rehab very well.

“I would finish on a machine and just go ahead and set it up for the next patient, I became so familiar with the process,” she said.

After so much time spent as a patient in rehab, Higgins decided to pursue it as a career. She started as a secretary for SOMC Rehab Services. Ultimately she became a rehab technician and now works at SOMC’s rehab facility in Wheelersburg, as well as helping out in Lucasville.

Taking care of the patients, she uses some unique methods of encouragement during a process that can be painful and challenging for those overcoming their obstacles.

“I don’t like tears,” she said. “We had a lady here right before Christmas and I gave her a ‘Marvin the Martian’ doll and told her to hit him and choke him if she got frustrated. Sometimes I put a cone on my head and run around like a unicorn. I have been know to jump out of the hot pack room.”

Nominated by SOMC Outpatient Rehab Clinical Coordinator Emily Carson, Higgins has received the RehabCare Group, Inc.’s most distinguished award, the Trusheim Spirit Award.

“Higgins is openly committed to our values of excellence, integrity, teamwork and fun and stands out among her peers in the areas of leadership, customer service and communication,” John H. Short, Ph.D., RehabCare President and Chief Executive Officer, says.

Dr. Short said Higgins was selected for her “passion for personal and program development and her special brand of patient care.”

Higgins was honored during a dinner Dec. 11 in St. Louis, Missouri, a formal event to which she almost did not go. “I called my co-workers back home, panicking, and told them I was ready to slip back up to the hotel room and put on some jeans, but they talked me out of it,” she jokes.

Higgins says all of the credit goes to her co-workers, and that they really deserve the honor. She has pursued further education in her field and praises her co-workers for their support in her endeavors.

“I lost my husband in April and this group has really been my new family. These people teach me every day. My heart just glows when I leave here. You don’t get tired of it, the way the staff cares. Without them my job is nothing. They are truly awesome.”

Wheelersburg LIFE Center Celebrates Anniversary

The SOMC LIFE Center in Wheelersburg will celebrate its fifth anniversary Tuesday, Jan. 16 with an open house from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. offering tours and information about LIFE Center programs. To celebrate the anniversary all three LIFE Center locations will hold “$5 days,” offering $5 t-shirts, $5 dollar one-day passes, a $5 joining fee, and $5 or 5 percent off all memberships paid in full.

For more information about the LIFE Center call the Portsmouth facility at 356-7650, Wheelersburg at 574-4022 or Lucasville at 259-5433.