SOMC Offers Breast Cancer Support Group

Breast Cancer

A breast cancer support group is offered by the SOMC Cancer Center and volunteers to provide ongoing support and fellowship to women diagnosed with breast cancer. The group will meet at 1 p.m. April 20 at the SOMC Cancer Center, located at 1121 Kinneys Lane in Portsmouth. The support group meets on the third Wednesday of each month and guest speakers provide education and encouragement. For more information, please call 740-356-7496.

Hike For Hospice

SOMC Offers New Apheresis Treatment


Southern Ohio Medical Center recently added a new service called therapeutic apheresis. Therapeutic apheresis is a procedure where a patient’s blood is taken from their body and centrifuged in a sterile machine. The machine separates the blood and cleans out the unwanted parts such as “bad plasma” or too many white blood cells. Then the “clean” blood is put back into the body, similar to dialysis.

Dr. Rosenberg, a neurologist at SOMC, requested that this service be provided to his patients so they wouldn’t have to travel out of town for so many treatments. Before SOMC provided this service, therapeutic apheresis patients would have to travel as many as two times a week to larger cities for their treatments, often putting a strain on their health and family members.

“We saw that there was a need for this service and we spent a year trying to implement it,” Bridget Scott, director of Laboratory Services, said. “I was there to see our first patient get his treatment. It was very touching to actually see the difference it made for him and his family. Even if it’s just for a few patients, all the hard work was worth it.”

The purpose of therapeutic apheresis is to remove a component of the blood that contributes to a disease state.  If a patient has a disease where the antibodies in their blood are attacking their body, the treatment will remove the plasma that contains the harmful antibodies and replaces it with a saline solution or donor plasma. The red blood cell exchange can treat sickle cell disease.

Therapeutic apheresis can treat many diseases and is often used as a secondary form of treatment. SOMC has partnered with a contract company called Fresenius to provide this service. The most common neuromuscular disorder treated with therapeutic apheresis is myasthenia gravis.

Lee Hammond, 69, of Rardin is currently being treated for myasthenia gravis at SOMC. He has had plasmapheresis treatments once a week for three to four hours for a year and a half.

“I have always had a good experiences at SOMC and I’m very thankful that I don’t have to travel out of town now, it’s a lot easier on my family, friends and neighbors,” Hammond said. “Lu, my nurse, takes great care of me and I feel much better the day after my treatment.”

“Our patients are referred through their neurologist or hematologist and then they work with central scheduling to schedule the patient’s treatments,” Beverley Meadows, transfusion services manager at SOMC, said.

Meadows explained that the SOMC contract nurses are currently undergoing more in-depth training to offer therapeutic apheresis to a variety of patients with a vast array of autoimmune diseases such as sickle cell disease and oncology patients.


Breast Cancer Chair Donated to SOMC Cancer Center


Chair Donation

Elise Conn, a senior at Notre Dame High School, painted a chair to raise awareness for breast cancer. She spent four weeks preparing the chair during school hours and then it was auctioned off at Notre Dame’s Bid Your Heart Out annual fundraiser. The winning bid went to Barbara Burke of McDermott. Burke bid on the chair because her family has been touched by cancer and she felt the chair was charming. Burke chose to donate the chair to the SOMC Cancer Center to inspire patients. The money raised from the purchase of the chair has been donated to the Relay For Life team at Notre Dame to further cancer research. Shown above with the chair at the SOMC Cancer Center is (from l to r) Kelly Lawson, clinical manager of Oncology Services at SOMC, Barbara Burke, Elise Conn and her mother, Barbara Conn.

Cochenour Benefit Raised $3,100 for SOMC Hospice


Hospice Donation

Marty Cochenour recently hosted the 1st Annual Hoops for Hope Benefit, in memory of his father, Richard Cochenour. The event was held in Beaver, Ohio and featured dinner, a Chinese auction, games and raffles. The benefit raised $3,100 for the SOMC Hospice Center, where Cochenour’s father was cared for before his passing. Shown above is Marty Cochenour (right) presenting a check to Sheila Riggs, claims coordinator for SOMC Hospice Services. The funds will be used for the Hospice Caritas Fund, a fund that helps local patients and their families with uninsured medical expenses, special wishes and other assistance.

SOMC Hill Named Fellow of ACOEM

Chalonda K. Hill, MD, MPH, FACEOM of Southern Ohio Medical Center was elevated to Fellowship in the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM). She was named during the college’s annual membership meeting in Washington, D.C. in March 2011. Occupational and environmental medicine is the medical specialty devoted to prevention and management of occupational and environmental injury, illness and disability and promotion of health and productivity of workers, their families and communities. Fellow is the highest class of membership within ACOEM. It recognizes physicians who have been engaged in the full-time practice of occupational and environmental medicine and who have exhibited significant leadership in ACOEM-at both the component society and national level. Fellows have also demonstrated their expertise within the specialty by achieving certification in occupational medicine or in another medical specialty by a Board acceptable to the ACOEM Board of Directors. Fellows are eligible to serve as officers and directors of the ACOEM. Dr. Hill received her medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. She completed a residency in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Internal Medicine at Stroger Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, Ill. Dr. Hill’s office is located at the SOMC Center for Occupational Medicine, 1835 Oakland Ave. in Portsmouth. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 740-356-7685.

SOMC To Offer Grief Support Group

Southern Ohio Medical Center Hospice Services will offer a spring “Picking Up The Pieces” support group to help those grieving the loss of a loved one. The group will meet for six weeks, beginning April 5 and will meet every Tuesday for the duration of the program. Meetings will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Gibson building located on SOMC’s East Campus, 2201 25th Street in Portsmouth. The support group is free and open to the community. “We hope to help those grieving better understand the emotions and process of grieving and to be an encouragement for them,” said Susan Goins, bereavement coordinator for SOMC Hospice Services. Space is limited and registration is necessary. For more information and to register, please call Susan at 740-356-2676.

SOMC Coterie Guild to Host Easter Egg Hunt

The Coterie Guild, a guild of the Friends of Southern Ohio Medical Center, will host its annual Easter egg hunt April 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the SOMC Friends Community Center. Proceeds will benefit children’s health services at SOMC.

Admission is $2 per person. There is no charge for children age one year and younger. Planned activities include games, crafts, a bake sale, an Easter egg hunt and drawings for gift baskets. The Easter Bunny will be available for photos.

Tickets for the activities are 25 cents each or five for $1. Pictures with the Easter Bunny are 4 tickets each and include a frame. Chances on the gift baskets are $1 per chance or six for $5. Gift basket winners do not need to be present to win.

For additional information, please call 740-356-6160. The SOMC Friends Center is located at 1202 18th Street in Portsmouth.

Cancer Center

Variath named Clinical Professor at OUCOM


Dr. Variath

The Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUCOM) recently announced the re-appointment of Reena Samuel-Variath, MD, FACP, FACGS, FABHP, MABHP, to the position of clinical professor. She has been a clinical professor for OUCOM since 2005. This appointment is for the triennium 2011 through the end of 2014 and is Dr. Variath’s third appointment. Dr. Variath received her medical degree from T.D. Medical College in Kerala, India and completed an internship and residency at Wyckoff Heights Medical Centre in Brooklyn, N.Y. She also completed a fellowship in Nephrology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. Dr. Variath specializes in Nephrology and Hypertension and is the Director of the Dialysis Clinic, Inc. in Portsmouth. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Nephrology. Dr. Variath is a specialist in Clinical Hypertension and is certified by the American Society of Hypertension. Her office is located at 1711 27th Street in the Braunlin Building, Suite 301 in Portsmouth. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 740-354-5393.


SOMC to Host Free Breast Cancer Screenings

Cancer Center

Southern Ohio Medical Center will host free breast cancer screenings from 4 to 6 p.m. April 14 at the SOMC Cancer Center, 1121 Kinney’s Lane in Portsmouth. The event is open to local uninsured and underinsured women and free clinical breast exams will be provided. Free mammograms will also be provided through the Hands of Hope program funded by the Columbus Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and The Scioto Foundation, in cooperation with Southern Ohio Medical Center. The mammograms will be scheduled at the SOMC Breast Center. Women age 40 and older or younger women with a family history of breast cancer are encouraged to attend. Registration is necessary and can be made by calling the SOMC Volunteer Office at 740-356-8234.

Dr. Variath