LIFE Center to Host Open House

Already making resolutions to start the year off healthy and fit? The Southern Ohio Medical Center LIFE Center is making resolutions to help. The LIFE Center is planning a preview of what you can expect in group fitness, personal training and equipment available to help you meet your goals.

“January is the start of a brand new year that gets a lot of people motivated to set healthy goals. We want to give people the opportunity to see all we provide in helping meet those goals,” said Gary Coovert, Director of the SOMC LIFE Center.

The LIFE Center will host an open house on Jan. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. WNXT Disc Jockey Steve Hayes will host the evening with a live remote. Group fitness instructors will be conducting demonstrations of the various classes offered and will feature the latest addition to the line-up, Zumba™.

“Zumba™ is a fun, energetic, easy and effective workout that is perfect for all ages,” said Debbie Kielmar, lead group fitness instructor at the SOMC LIFE Center. “There is just something in the beat of Latin music that is energizing and gets you moving.”

The SOMC LIFE Center will be open to the public during this time. Guests can take advantage of tours, demonstrations, equipment usage and enjoy refreshments and prizes.

“Our staff will be available to answer questions, give demonstrations and give information on the various programs that take place throughout the year. This is a great opportunity to learn everything you need to know about starting the year off right with a health and wellness resolution,” Coovert explained. “And if you are planning to join the LIFE Center, we will waive the enrollment fee during this time. This is a savings of $50.”

For more information on the SOMC LIFE Center Open House, contact the LIFE Center at 356-7650.

New HDR Technology at SOMC

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently acquired new technology to speed the breast cancer treatment process. This new procedure is called MammoSite HDR (high dose rate) partial breast irradiation, it will reduce radiation therapy from six-seven weeks to five days.

Dr. Vincent Scarpinato, Senior Medical Director for the Department of Surgery was instrumental in bringing this new technique to SOMC.  The procedure begins with removal of the tumor from the patient, followed by the placement of a catheter (small tube) leading to where the cancer was removed. This device, the MammoSite balloon catheter, is used by the radiation oncologist a few days later for partial breast irradiation known as brachytherapy.

“With this procedure, the patient receives treatment from inside the cavity where the tumor was removed rather than with an external beam pointed from the outside,” Dr. Scarpinato explained. “This dramatically reduces the time and number of treatments necessary and most patients have their therapy completed in five days.”

MammoSite partial-breast irradiation is a technique that delivers more focused radiation to a smaller area of breast tissue. The MammoSite device is a double channel balloon catheter consists of a silicon balloon and a 15 cm catheter.

The catheter on the MammoSite device attaches to a special machine called a High Dose Rate (HDR) machine. This machine inserts a tiny radioactive seed into the middle of the balloon, which delivers radiation only to the area around the balloon. After several minutes the seed is withdrawn. After the treatments are complete, the balloon is deflated and the MammoSite device is removed.

“This approach allows for a much higher, very localized dose of exposure that kills the remaining cancer cells at the site. Whereas previously the patient may chose mastectomy, complete removal of the breast, HDR brachytherapy offers an opportunity to have a lumpectomy and radiation therapy that preserves the breast,” said Dr. Li-Fen Lien Chang, Senior Medical Director of Radiation Oncology Services. “This procedure also lessons the time needed to receive radiation therapy. Patients can receive this treatment in five days rather than six to seven and half weeks.”

After the treatment, the oncologist can remove the catheter and the cavity will fill up naturally with body fluid. Not all breast cancer patients are good candidates for MammoSite partial breast irradiation. Approximately 64 percent of breast cancer patients are potential candidates for the HDR approach. Five-year data is now available showing the procedure has comparable low recurrent rate compare to traditional external beam irradiation.

“Currently there are nationwide clinical trials to further define the best candidate for this technology. We exclude very young patients (<45 years old), very large tumors (>3 cm), positive lymph node metastasis, positive resection margin or when the balloon surface is too close to the skin (<7mm). If you are a breast cancer patient and are interested in MammoSite HDR brachytherapy, please contact SOMC Cancer Center for an appointment. We are so proud to bring this technology to the Greater Portsmouth area,” said Chang.

Hospice Ornaments Available

SOMC Hospice, part of Southern Ohio Medical Center, is once again offering a unique way to remember loved ones during the holidays and to support patient care to those currently using Hospice services. This year’s ornament is a beautiful pewter ornament (pictured) with a Million Miles Apart poem engraved on it. As in the past, the ornament will include an engraved tag which can display the name of the person you are honoring.  Orders will be taken until December 31.  The cost is $25.  For more information and to place an order call 353-2567.

SOMC to Ring in the Season Through Annual Hollydays Event

The annual week-long Hollydays celebration at Southern Ohio Medical Center is one of the hospital’s biggest fundraisers, raising an average of more than $30,000 per year. Pictured above are Hollydays sponsors Mike Dunlap of the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company (left) and Scott Davis of the Roger W Davis Funeral Home (right), along with Holldays Committee Members (from left) Tami Davis, Penny Chamberlin, Jenny Lavender and Janet Williams.

The annual Hollydays celebration at Southern Ohio Medical Center has reached its 25th milestone and community members have cordially been invited to celebrate during the fundraiser’s week of events, which all take place at the Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St., Portsmouth.

“Hollydays is one of our organization’s biggest fundraisers and we spend months planning it out and seeing that it runs smoothly,” Tami Davis, chairman of the Hollydays committee at SOMC, said. “The celebration is split into multiple days and activities in hopes of providing fun and holiday cheer for all types and ages of people.”

Hollydays will kick off with a semi-formal Opening Night Gala at 6 p.m. Nov. 21. The evening will feature food, silent and live auctions, craft vendors, live entertainment and a wine tasting conducted by local experts, Dr. George and Sandy White. Tickets are $40 per person with a cash bar available. “The gala is the biggest night of the fundraiser and is always our most heavily attended event,” Davis said. “This year we’ve changed it up by doing away with the typical sit-down dinner and offering more of a mix and mingle atmosphere. We’re hoping this will encourage attendees to talk more, get up and dance and take a better look at all the decorations that are available for auction.”

The specially decorated wreaths, trees and centerpieces also may be viewed during the weekend’s public exhibition from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 22 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 23. The exhibition will feature entertainment from local performers, craft vendors, children games and a snack bar. Tickets are $2 per person.

Children also are invited to enjoy a meal with the jolly man himself during Breakfast with Santa from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 22. Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased at the Gift Gallery on the Main Campus or the Volunteer Office at the Friends Center.

Other events planned for the week include the Hollydays Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 25 and the Train Show from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 29 and noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 30.

“There are many people who help make this event what it is and we thank them all for their continued support,” Davis said. “This fundraiser is a great opportunity for our hospital and a wonderful way for family and friends to get together, get in the holiday spirit and gear up for the coming season. We hope to see everyone there!”

Hollydays is sponsored in part by the Friends of SOMC, AAA, American Savings Bank, BB & E, Inc., BesTitle Agency, Inc., Century 21 Empire Realty, Dr. and Mrs. David Mays, Dr. and Mrs. Robert Schrimpf, Dr. and Mrs. Kendall Stewart, Edward Jones Investments, Hillview Retirement Community, LIFE Ambulance, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Sammons, Mr. and Mrs. Tom and Vicki Noel, Party Connection, Pepsi Cola Bottling Co., Portsmouth Area Ladies, Inc. and USEC. All proceeds collected will benefit projects at SOMC.

For tickets or additional information, please call the Friends Community Center at 356-7101.

SOMC Earns OSHA’s Highest Workplace Safety Leadership Status

eceiving the national gold standard for safety and health, Southern Ohio Medical Center has been awarded the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Designation. VPP is a cooperative program of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

A ceremony with presentations by OSHA officials was held Thursday, Nov. 6 in the SOMC Cafeteria.

By earning VPP Star status, SOMC is in the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide in safety excellence leadership.

“We maintain a focus on continual process improvement for patient and worksite safety,” Leeann L. Sammons, vice president of Health and Safety, said. “This honor means SOMC demonstrates some of the safest practices in the nation for both patients and our workforce.”

To meet VPP criteria, SOMC has to exceed and then sustain specific requirements in leadership and employee involvement, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and safety and health training, Sammons explained.

“SOMC has been recognized at the Star level, which indicates that we not only meet the intent of the OSHA standards but we go above and beyond to make our hospital one of the safest in the country,” Penny Cooper, director of Worksite Safety at SOMC, said.

“VPP sites have been shown to have more than 50 percent fewer injuries and lost worker days than the national average,” she said. “Our journey began more than five years ago. After years of preparation, we submitted our application in the fall 2007 and received our site visit earlier this year.”

“With our recognition as a Magnet hospital in nursing, and being named to Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Places To Work For in America, this honor represents yet another step in our commitment to bringing the safest, highest quality, best health care available,” SOMC President Randy Arnett said.

“This national honor not only validates our commitment to the safety of everyone who steps through our doors, but helps attract the best and brightest professionals to our hospital and the community.”

Holiday Grief Support Group

A five-week free educational support group meeting to help heal the sadness of loss and enjoy the blessings of the holiday season will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 25, at the Gibson Building East Campus conference room. Anyone struggling with the anxiety of holiday grief is welcome to attend this course, sponsored by SOMC Hospice, part of Southern Ohio Medical Center.

This five-week series of group meetings will give participants an opportunity to discuss holiday memories, make a keep sake ornament, holiday journaling and a chance to share questions and comments with others who have experienced the same loss and who understand the stress and anxiety that comes with the holiday grief.

Space is limited so registration is necessary by calling Susan Goins, 356-2676.

SOMC Nurses Celebrate National Med-Surg Week

Staff members of both the 3 North A and B nursing units at Southern Ohio Medical Center honored those employees who have received medical-surgical certification during Med-Surg Nursing Week Nov. 1–7. Medical-surgical nurses are one of the largest groups of practicing professionals in the health care industry, receiving specialized skills and knowledge for the entire spectrum of patient care. Med-surg nurses practice in a variety of settings and administer care particularly to adult patients and their families. Pictured above are members of the 3 North B Nursing Unit.

Flu Shots At Friends Center Nov. 4

Southern Ohio Medical Center will be offering flu vaccine from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, November 4 at the Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St. The cost of the flu vaccine is $15 and the cost of the pneumonia vaccine is $30. Both can be billed through Medicare. No other form of insurance or Medicaid can be accepted.

For more information call SOMC Community Health and Wellness, 356-2692.

Anesthesiologist Almeida Welcomed To SOMC

Ryan Almeida, MD, a physician specializing in Anesthesiology, has been welcomed to the staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center.

Dr. Almeida came to SOMC from Grady Memorial Hospital in Delaware, Ohio. He received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, completed an internship in Preliminary Surgery at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, and his residency in Anesthesiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL). He is a member of the American Society of Anesthesiology, the American Medical Association and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.

Dr. Almeida and his wife, Anne, reside with their children in the Portsmouth area. He can be reached in the Anesthesiology Department at SOMC, (740) 356-8231.