January, 2012


SOMC’s Dr. Aaron Adams selected to join governor’s Ohio Opiate Task Force

Dr. Aaron Adams, a physician at Southern Ohio Medical Center, has been selected to join Gov. John Kasich’s Ohio Opiate Task Force as a representative for the Ohio Association of Health Commissioners.

“Serving on this task force really is an honor and something that I look forward to being a part of,” Dr. Adams said.

The Ohio Opiate Task Force will address the issue of prescription drug abuse and misuse by educating medical professionals on the appropriate way to prescribe potentially addictive medications.

“There will be two work groups that come out of the task force, and I’ll work with both of them,” Dr. Adams said. “The first group will write a white paper regarding the best practices for opiate prescribing. The other will deal with Emergency Department prescribing of opiates. We will develop standards across the state on how to prescribe these addicting drugs.”

Dr. Adams also served on Ohio’s Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force in 2010. He said the state’s latest task force is much more physician and healthcare provider oriented than those Ohio has put together in the past.

“In the past, there were a lot of people representing law enforcement. Now, we’re seeing increased participation from physicians,” Dr. Adams said. “There’s a focus on getting medical professionals involved, now more than ever.”

SOMC makes donation to Waverly City Schools

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently presented Waverly City Schools with a $5,000 donation. The funds will help purchase minor exercise equipment for the school’s new fitness room, which will be used to host an elective Advanced P.E./Fitness class. The donation will not only help promote healthy living, but will also provide a fitness initiative that would otherwise be unavailable at Waverly High School. Shown at the presentation are Elvis Walters, nurse manager of the SOMC Waverly Urgent Care and Specialty Center, Waverly High School principal Bill Hoover, Waverly School Board President Josh Hobbs and Waverly High School Athletic Director Bo Arnett.

Dr. Summers becomes Senior Medical Director of Medical Oncology at SOMC

Thomas Summers, D.O., F.A.C.O.I., a physician specializing in medical oncology, has accepted the position of Senior Medical Director of Medical Oncology at Southern Ohio Medical Center. Dr. Summers received his medical degree from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-SOM. He also completed a fellowship in Medical Oncology/Hematology at UMDNJ. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. Dr. Summers can be reached at the SOMC Cancer Center, 1121 Kinneys Lane, Portsmouth, Ohio. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 740-356-7590.

SOMC’s Pettit, Bennington Heading to Philippines for Medical Mission

Dr. George Pettit and Dr. Nathan Bennington are used to providing patients with excellent care at Southern Ohio Medical Center. Later this month, however, they intend to offer that same care to patients halfway across the globe.

On Jan. 26, Dr. Pettit and Dr. Bennington will head to the Philippines on a medical mission trip. For the two physicians, who have each gone on medical missions in the past, the trip is simply a chance to provide care to those who need it most.

“I’ve always had a desire to help out others and go to countries where the need for medical care is so great,” Dr. Bennington said. “After I completed my first mission, I knew I would continue doing this long-term. It’s such a life-changing and fulfilling opportunity.”

Dr. Pettit said that the experience is especially satisfying because they know they’re helping people who are otherwise unlikely to receive any medical care.

“It is a life-changing experience. There is so much poverty in the Philippines and so many people are in need of assistance,” Dr. Pettit said. “Over there, if they don’t have the money for a surgery they don’t get it. Through this mission, we’ll complete all sorts of procedures, probably operating from 8 in the morning to 5 in the evening.”

In addition to assisting Dr. Pettit with medical care, Dr. Bennington said he plans to help the non-profit organization Across Borders. Across Borders attempts to provide long-term solutions to poverty by setting up micro-businesses in struggling countries in an effort to help people become self-sufficient.

The experience of volunteering in countries where there is so much need can be humbling, and Dr. Bennington said it never fails to return perspective to his own life.

“I think my priorities are already in the right place, but when you go over there and offer such a unique type of service, it really solidifies everything,” Dr. Bennington said. “You really appreciate what you have and what you take for granted. It’s a remarkable experience.”

SOMC’s Hyperbaric Therapy Chamber Amazes Both Patients and Staff

When Rosie Brown’s patients first see Southern Ohio Medical Center’s hyperbaric therapy chamber, it can sometimes catch them off guard.

“The patients are amazed when they walk in. It’s not like anything they’ve ever seen before,” Brown said.

She can relate to how her patients feel. Brown is a licensed practical nurse and hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) tech who has worked at SOMC formore than four years, but she said her work with hyperbaric therapy is unlike anything she’s done before.

Hyperbaric therapy uses oxygen to accelerate the healing of wounds and works by exposing patients within the chamber to 100 percent oxygen.

“The more oxygen they have to the wound, the quicker and better the tissue heals,” Brown said. “And antibiotic therapy paired with HBO tends to heal wounds even faster. It’s an amazing process.”

Brown’s typical day begins around 8 a.m. when she prepares the chambers for use. Once the patient enters the chamber, they stay inside for around two and a half hours. During this time, Brown performs two jobs: Shefills out reports and records information in her computer. She also monitors the patients and keeps them calm.

Paul Mowery, one of Brown’s patients, said that the experience of being inside the hyperbaric chamber is comfortable and relaxing.

“The staff here is excellent and the therapy is very relaxing,” Mowery said. “SOMC’s hyperbaric therapy techs do a great job of putting you to ease, so much so that I’ve actually fallen asleep during my therapy.”

Because of how long her patients remain inside the chambers, Brown can only treat six people a day. However, she enjoys the opportunity to help them and the experience of learning about new technologies.

“I really do love my job and I’m blessed to be able to help people in such a unique way,” she said. “It’s a wonderful experience and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

For more information on hyperbaric oxygen therapy at SOMC, or to learn more about the programs available at the SOMC Wound Healing Center, please call 740-356-8775.

SOMC Honors Diversity through Week-Long Celebration

Employees and community members are invited to join Southern Ohio Medical Center as they honor multiculturalism and the many achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during a week-long Diversity Celebration Jan. 16 – 20. The activities will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day in the cafeteria on the SOMC Main Campus, 1805 27th Street, Portsmouth.

“We always work to create a program that celebrates and strengthens the ideals set forth by Dr. King,” Deanne Malone, member of the SOMC MLK Committee, said. “Last year’s event was very well received, so this year we’ve planned to once again spotlight the history of the cultures that make up our very own community and SOMC family.”

Malone explained that as part of the celebration, attendees who dine in the cafeteria during the week will have the opportunity to sample and purchase food from a variety of cultures found in our local area, including Greece, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and the Middle East. Diners also will be invited to showcase their heritage through a hands-on activity featuring maps of the local region, country and world.

“Our goal is to create a visual of the diversity that makes up our workforce and community, giving us a tangible representation of how global we truly are,” Malone said.

Other opportunities to gain education about the customs, traditions and history of local cultures also will be available throughout the week and a prize drawing will take place Jan. 16.

“Our committee is honored to once again provide this type of educational service to our employees, patients and visitors and we hope our efforts will help improve the cultural understanding of our community,” she added. “The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. grow in meaning every year and we hope our celebration will do his message justice.”

For more information about the celebration, or for volunteer opportunities, please contact Deanne Malone at 740-356-8597.

Porter Township Fire Department donates to Cancer Center

The Porter Township Fire Department presented a donation to the Southern Ohio Medical Center Cancer Center after collecting funds through a two-year T-shirt selling campaign. Fire Department officials said that the check represented the commitment of the entire Porter Township community, not just the firefighters themselves. Shown wearing the “Firefighters for a Cure” T-shirts are members of the fire department with SOMC Cancer Center employees (front, l to r) Rachelle Collins, Norma White and Sara Pascal.

Stag Bar Donates to Hospice

The Portsmouth Stag Bar recently made a donation to Hospice of Southern Ohio Medical Center, funded by proceeds from the 27th Annual Butch Neal Memorial Shuffleboard Tournament. In addition to the shuffleboard tournament, the Stag Bar is also raising funds for SOMC Hospice through the purchase of their annual Memorial Shuffleboard T-shirts. T-shirts can be purchased at the bar and will remain on sale until Jan. 8. Pictured at the donation from left to right, Cliff Ward of the Portsmouth Stag Bar, Shiela Riggs of SOMC Hospice, and tournament winners Charles “Spud” Newman and Bob Kielmar.

SOMC LIFE Center helps woman get her life back

Three and a half years ago, Elaine Wilson had lap band surgery in hopes that it would help her lose weight. However, she didn’t end up with the results she had been hoping for.

“The first two weeks, I lost like 25 pounds. After that it was really slow and for a whole year, I didn’t lose anything,” Wilson said.

Wilson, who is 63-years-old, even took up swimming at Shawnee State University but still couldn’t shed her unwanted pounds. Then, when the university closed their pool for the summer, she decided to try a different approach.

“They closed the pool for the whole summer and I thought, ‘well I got to do something so I’m going to go to the SOMC LIFE Center,’” Wilson said.

She sums up what happened next in a single word: Amazing. Through diet and exercise, Wilson has lost more than 100 pounds. In addition to shedding weight, she has also shed a number of health problems. She breathes better, is on fewer medications and enjoys greater stamina.

“I had two bad knees and I couldn’t walk very far. In fact, when I started all this, I couldn’t walk more than a half of a block without sitting down,” Wilson said. “And now, I do probably nine or ten miles a day in the LIFE Center… It’s amazing what your body will do.”

Wilson credits the staff at the LIFE Center with making her transformation possible, and encouraged anyone else who wants to lose weight to follow her example.

“Set a goal and just go for it,” Wilson said. “If you need help, the trainers are there to help you and they will help you if you ask them. They’ve got great trainers there.”

Gary Coovert, administrative director of the SOMC LIFE Center, said they take pride in helping people like Wilson.

“All of us at the LIFE Center are motivated by our desire to help people like Elaine reach their personal goals,” Coovert said. “The relationships we build and the services we provide are very important to us. I hope we get the opportunity to help many more people over the course of this next year.”

Wilson has no doubt that the SOMC Life Center and its staff had a tremendous impact on her life. She said even her doctor has noticed and urged her not to stop her new routine. Not that Wilson intends on doing that anytime soon, anyway, of course.

“I really love it. I’ve met so many good friends there, I mean really good friends,” Wilson said. “It’s just great, I love it.”