February, 2010


Teamwork Displayed in SOMC’s ICU

The underlying theme in most service stories told by patients of Southern Ohio Medical Center is teamwork. When employees are asked every year on surveys about the teamwork within their department, most will tell you it’s excellent. In the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), a collaborative effort is not only desired but it’s essential and often complimented.

“I’ve worked for other units at SOMC and I thought the teamwork was incredible but then when I came to the ICU, I was blown away by the way everyone works together,” Eric Bennett, assistant nurse manager of the ICU, said. “I’m a big advocate of teamwork, it can make your shift really great or really bad. You don’t have to tell the staff what to do in the ICU because they are already doing it.”

Bennett and a team of physicians, nurses, EEG technicians, medical techs, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, lab techs and Critical Care physicians called Intensivists recently pulled together when an ICU patient coded. Dr. Jay Turkewitz, a new neurologist at SOMC, was called to the bedside during this particular instance.

This was Bennett’s first interaction with Dr. Turkewitz and he was amazed at the way the physician interacted with the family, explaining everything and genuinely caring for the patient. After his shift, Bennett decided to write Dr. Turkewitz a thank you email and was surprised when he replied.

“I don’t deserve the recognition, the team does,” Dr. Turkewitz said. “From the nurses in the room to the housekeeper who kept the floors from becoming slippery, the collaborative effort was evident.”

Mardi Carter, EEG tech wasn’t surprised when she heard about the email, “I’ve worked at SOMC for 23 years and I see this type of teamwork happen all the time in the ICU,” she said. “The cooperation of the team has aided in saving many lives over the years.”

In November of 2007, the Intensive Care Unit opened its doors to patients’ loved ones 24 hours a day—the only ICU in the region that offers this. “If the family chooses to be present during a code, it greatly decreases anxiety both for the patient and the family,” Christy Aeh, nurse manager of the ICU, said. “Family presence allows loved ones to see the teamwork and effort it takes to provide excellent care for the patient.”

“Many people think they have to travel outside of Portsmouth to receive the best critical care but we have the best technology, a specialized physician for every aspect of the body and we micromanage our patients,” Bennett said. “We have all the things and more that the bigger city hospitals have.”

Bennett explained how several ICU staff members have worked at other hospitals and positively compliment the teamwork shown at SOMC. Unlike most other ICU’s, SOMC has Critical Care Intensivists seven days a week dedicated to the ICU all hours of the day and with on-call coverage during the night hours.

A web camera is used by the Intensivists to check on patients during the night. The critical care physicians also have access to the bedside monitoring devices through their home computers. Nurses in the ICU collaborate with the Intensivists using these tools to enhance the quality of care for their patients.

“I’m excited to be here, SOMC has made excellence a part of its culture,” Dr. Turkewitz said. “The administration chooses to hire physicians and employees who have the ability to strive for excellence in all aspects of service and quality patient care.”

SOMC to Sponsor Jack Sprat

The Cancer Center of Southern Ohio Medical Center has partnered with the Portsmouth Area Arts Council (PAAC) to promote healthy eating habits and provide education about cancer risks to thousands of local children through the Jack Sprat Low-Fat World Tour, an interactive and fun-filled musical production commissioned and endorsed by the American Cancer Society.

“We recognize the childhood obesity crisis and the growing need for more education regarding healthy lifestyles and ways to reduce cancer risks,” Wendi Waugh, director of the SOMC Cancer Center, said. “As a health education initiative, we are sponsoring the Jack Sprat show and taking it to several local schools.”

The program will be performed at Wheelersburg, Green and Portsmouth elementary schools March 8, 9 and 10. A special performance for preschool and home school students will be held at 1 p.m., March 9 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th Street with an additional community performance at 6 p.m. that evening. Admission is $1 per person with limited seating available.

According to the American Cancer Society, “Experts recommend that people establish habits of healthy eating and physical activity early in life to prevent overweight and obesity.”

The ACS also states that, “Obesity and physical inactivity may account for 25 to 30 percent of several major cancers—colon, breast, endometrial, kidney, and cancer of the esophagus. Preventing weight gain can reduce the risk of many cancers.”

“SOMC sponsors many community health initiatives, including free screenings, diabetes education and physical activity programs for children,” Waugh said. “At the Cancer Center we want to focus specifically on teaching young students the importance of starting healthy habits now to help prevent cancer and other health issues later in life.”

For more information about Southern Ohio Medical Center’s community health education and initiatives, please call Ashley Salyers at (740) 356-2720.

SOMC Portsmouth Urgent Care Center Will Accommodate Community Need

Southern Ohio Medical Center has announced that the Health Care Center located at 1248 Kinney’s Lane (SOMC’s south campus) in Portsmouth will convert to an Urgent Care Center beginning June 20, 2010.

“We recognize the community’s need for a more centralized Urgent Care Center,” SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett, said. “By evolving the Health Care Center into an urgent care facility, this will provide a new option for non-emergent care for the people in our area as well as a greater choice for local business leaders.”

“The Health Care Center has functioned as a very successful freestanding emergency department since 1998, though many people thought it was already an Urgent Care Center,” Claudia Burchett, chief nursing officer at SOMC, said. “With the recent expansion of our Main Campus Emergency Department, there no longer is a need for two emergency facilities in Portsmouth and the growing need for urgent care is more prevalent.”

Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, director of nursing for SOMC Emergency and Outpatient Services, explained that like the Urgent Care Center in Wheelersburg, the new center will provide non-emergency treatment for minor medical complaints, including minor lacerations, urinary tract infections, earaches, migraine headaches, sprains, and fever. The center also will offer care to patients whose primary care physician is not available.

“Many local organizations are adopting insurance plans with much higher deductibles and co-pays for Emergency Department visits, whereas the cost of a visit to the Urgent Care Center is comparably less,” Dilts Skaggs said. “The decision to provide a second, more centralized urgent care center will be a cost savings opportunity for our local patients.”

The hours of operation will remain the same (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Saturday). Outpatient services, testing, (including lab and x-ray) as well as the Ambulatory Infusion Clinic will continue to be available at the Portsmouth Urgent Care Center location.

“We truly feel that this decision is in the best interest of our organization and our community,” Arnett added. “We hope the community will work with us as we grow and continue to provide the excellent quality care for our patients and their families.”

SOMC to Host Knit for Hope

Knitters and crocheters of all skill-levels are invited to an evening of fun, food and to support a good cause as part of the Knit for Hope group at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

The group will meet from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio.

Patterns for lap quilts, throws, shawls, hats and caps will be available, though attendees are asked to bring their own needles and yarn (of any color). Finished products will be donated to breast cancer patients of the SOMC Cancer Center.

For more information, please call the Friends Center at (740) 356-7101.

Scioto Guild Taking Orders for Annual Flower Sale

Members of the Scioto Guild, part of the Friends of Southern Ohio Medical Center, are now taking orders for their annual Flower Sale.

Flowers for sale include hanging baskets of Ivy Geranium (red, lavender, pink), New Guinea Impatiens (red, orange, purple, blackberry cream), Purple Wave Petunias or Blue Angel at a cost of $15 each. Baskets of eight Geranium plants (in pots; red, salmon, pink) will be sold for $20 and hanging ferns for $12.

All orders must be placed by March 30 and proceeds will benefit the SOMC Breast Center and other hospital projects. To place an order, please call Gerri Nourse at (740) 259-5868, Rosalee Greene at (740) 353-2075 or Bonnie Johnson at (740) 354-6536.

Orders will be available for pickup May 2 and 3 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio.

SOMC Provides Screenings at Garden With Heart

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently provided more than 150 free screenings during Garden With Heart, held Feb. 16. The event raised awareness of heart health, provided education and hosted local health vendors. Special guest, John Marra, WSAZ’s garden expert (center) offered gardening advice to audience members and promoted healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Shown with Marra are staff members of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Services.

Turjoman appointed to SOMC Board of Directors

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently announced the appointment of John Turjoman, M.D., to the SOMC Board of Directors.

Dr. Turjoman received his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass. and completed a residency at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford, Conn. He is board certified in pediatrics and served as the SOMC Chief of Pediatrics in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Dr. Turjoman has practiced in Wheelersburg for seven years and currently resides in Portsmouth. His office is located at the Wheelersburg Pediatric and Family Care Center, 8930 Ohio River Rd., Wheelersburg, Ohio.

SOMC Employee Wins WSAZ’s Celebrity Look Alike Contest

Willy, did anyone ever tell you that you look a lot like Dr. House?” Karen Llewellyn, nurse manager of SOMC Home Care Services, said.

Willy Baldridge, courier at Southern Ohio Medical Center, has been told numerous times by patients, co-workers and even complete strangers that he resembles Dr. House from the hit television show, “HOUSE.” When Baldridge learned of a celebrity look alike contest hosted by WSAZ, he decided to enter.

“One day, a woman stopped me in Wal-Mart and asked if she could take my picture. She told her daughter that she had seen a man around town who looked like Dr. House but her daughter didn’t believe her,” Baldridge said. “Six months later, I bumped into her daughter at the Dollar Tree; she finally believed her mom.”

Baldridge decided to enter the contest for a chance to win the $500 prize. He submitted his picture along side a picture of Dr. Gregory House, played by actor Hugh Laurie. He landed a spot in the top five as a result of public voting. After nearly 3,000 public votes and official judging, Baldridge was named the WSAZ Celebrity Look Alike winner for the Tri-State area.

“Many of my votes came from SOMC employees and physicians,” he said. “I had a lot of fun competing and I’m thankful to those who participated and helped me win.”

Night of Broadway Raffle

Kelly Lawson (left) clinical manager for SOMC Oncology Services presented Kris Lewis (right) with a gift basket from a raffle in conjunction with “A Night of Broadway,” a fundraising event hosted by Dr. Vincent Scarpinato, Southern Ohio Medical Center, Portsmouth West Vocal Department, Shawnee State University and the Portsmouth Area Art Council held Jan. 30 at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. The event raised more than $19,000 for the SOMC Breast Cancer Patient Compassion Fund, designed to help local breast cancer patients with transportation and medications.

Local realtor Debbie Gambill and Century 21 Realty provided Lewis’ gift basket. Terri Holler was named the winner of the “Best of Scioto County” gift basket put together by Becky Lovins and the Portsmouth Area Arts Council and Jane Gee accepted the giveaways from LIFE Ambulance and The Wharf.

Other local businesses that supported the effort included Southern Ohio Performing Arts Association; Portsmouth Little Theatre; Port City Café; Hatti Beasley; Market Street Café; Z Collections; Morgan Brothers Jewelers; B Sweete Chocolaterie; The Party Connection; WNXT; and The Portsmouth Daily Times.