SOMC Winter Wonderland events begin November 24

Southern Ohio Medical Center is welcoming the holiday season with its fourth annual Winter Wonderland fundraiser at the SOMC Friends Community Center.

“Winter Wonderland is our way of starting off the holiday season,” Jennifer Schackart, manager of the SOMC Friends Center, said. “It also raises valuable funds for the SOMC Endowment Fund, which allows us to provide substantial healthcare contributions for future generations.”

The festivities will begin on November 24 with the Winter Wonderland Train Show, which will last from 10am to 6pm. The Train Show will continue on November 25 from noon to 4pm. Admission to the Winter Wonderland Train Show is $2 per person, but children under of the age of three get in free.

The Polar Express Pajama Party, which also costs $2 per person and includes free admission for children under the age of three, will be held on November 26 from 6pm to 8pm.

“The Polar Express Pajama Party is a chance for local children to meet Santa Claus, watch the Polar Express, make crafts and play games like ‘Dunk The Elf,’” Schackart said.

There are also limited tickets available for the November 30 Winter Wonderland Ball, a formal, black-tie affair that features dinner, mingling and live entertainment. Tickets for the ball are $125 each.

The event concludes on December 2 with the Winter Wonderland Tea. Admission to the Winter Wonderland Tea is $20 per person. The event is a luncheon includes entertainment as well as a ‘Split The Tea Pot’ and various door prizes.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact the SOMC Friends Center at 740-356-6160.

SOMC’s Dr. Khoury gaining national recognition

After years of research, Dr. Thomas Khoury’s findings on busting blood clots are being recognized by the Society of Clinical Vascular Surgery. He will give a presentation on the topic at the group’s national meeting, which is held annually.

Dr. Khoury believes the acknowledgment is more than a personal accomplishment; he believes it is also a testament to the hospital in which his work was conducted: Southern Ohio Medical Center.

“When you go to conferences, the majority of the research is usually generated by university hospitals and teaching centers,” Dr. Khoury said. “It is simply not a common thing to have a community hospital generate results of this magnitude and be able to present them at such a conference. It is quite an honor for us to be recognized in that respect.”

Dr. Khoury put together an abstract on busting blood clots with the help of medical students. The abstract details an approach that gained national application in 2008, but has been practiced at SOMC since 1993.

“Although our center’s experience goes back to 1993 with 325 patients, we are presenting our last ten year’s experience,” Dr. Khoury said. “This procedure gained national widespread application since 2008, yet our local population has benefited from it since 1993.

“We knew all along that this approach was the correct one. It has helped save many limbs from long term sequelae of clots and helped prevent disability from swelling and ulceration.”

Now that the abstract has been accepted, he has begun developing a larger article on the topic, which could be published in a peer review journal.

“We are demonstrating that SOMC is not only a community hospital, but also a regional center for research,” Dr. Khoury said. “This is very exciting, not only for our staff and our community but also for medical students. At SOMC, we are able to give them opportunities they wouldn’t have at other local hospitals.”

Dr. Khoury graduated in 1982 from The American University of Beirut.

He began his training in 1982 at the University of Miami then moved to Harvard University Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and completed his surgical training in 1993 after several fellowships, including a dedicated year in vascular surgery at Tufts University Baystate Medical Center.

He joined the staff at SOMC in 1993 and currently is Master Faculty and Professor of Surgery at OUCOM.

To arrange an appointment with Dr. Khoury, call 740-353-8661.

For more information, “like” SOMC on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthernOhioMedicalCenter.

New SOMC physicians generating excitement

In the past year alone, Southern Ohio Medical Center has added 23 new physicians. This growth of the medical staff is generating excitement among local physicians and community leaders, many of who were on hand for the 2012 New Physician Family Welcome at Dick’s Pizza in Sciotoville.

“This is an exciting time at SOMC,” Dr. Tom Carter, program director for the emergency medicine residency, said. “We’re all excited about the growth of the medical staff. It’s nice to have so many enthusiastic physicians on board, and it’s great to be able to serve the area with a wider array of medical specialties.”

After meeting with new staff members, SOMC Board Member Gary Duzan also expressed excitement about the future of the hospital.

“Our goal is to provide local patients with the very best care possible, and having spoken with many of our physicians personally I know that we are building the right team to do just that,” Duzan said.

Incoming physicians, such as Dr. Johnny Ray Bernard and Dr. Jesse Houghton, echoed those sentiments.

“SOMC is a very special place,” Dr. Houghton said. “I’ve had the opportunity to train and work in several different hospital systems, and I would place SOMC at the top of the list in terms of their commitment to excellence and their pursuit of perfection in patient care.”

“SOMC is really unique in that it gives us the resources you’d expect to find in a much larger city without asking you to sacrifice the comfort and sense of community that can only be found in smaller towns,” Dr. Bernard added. “It really is the best of both worlds.”

For more information about Southern Ohio Medical Center, like SOMC on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthernOhioMedicalCenter.

Glocker GM donates to SOMC Breast Cancer Compassion Fund


Mike Glockner of the Glockner GM Superstore recently presented SOMC Cancer Center Director Wendi Waugh and Dr. Vincent Scarpinato with a check for $4,540. The money will benefit the SOMC Breast Cancer Compassion Fund, which helps provide basic necessities for cancer patients. In all, SOMC’s “Paint It Pink” events – combined with the October showing of “The World Goes Round” – have raised more than $50,000 for the fund.


West Middle School donates $1,500 to SOMC Cancer Center


After holding a ‘Dance-a-Thon’ to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness, students from Portsmouth West Middle School recently donated $1,500 to the SOMC Cancer Center. An additional $1,500 was donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The students raised the money by selling water and refreshments during the two-day ‘Dance-a-Thon.’ Each student participating in the event also donated $2 for each period in which they took part in the Dance-a-Thon. Health and Physical Education teacher, Amy Kayser, helped organize the activities.

Pictured here, from left to right, is Breast Health Navigator Kim Richendollar, Cancer Center Director Wendi Waugh, Gracie Evans, Caitlin Russell, Lindsey Howard and West Health and PE Teacher Amy Kayser.

SOMC Veterans express pride, gratitude for military service

Growing up, Doris Robinette always admired her big brother. She admired him so much that when he was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War, she decided to sign up as well.

“I was just a kid sister that looked up to her brother,” Robinette said. “I thought whatever he did, I had to do.”

Like most military women at that time, she did not serve in direct combat, but her service was instrumental to the war effort nonetheless. She was a jet engine mechanic, tasked with caring for the vehicles that would carry other soldiers into the fray.

Today, she continues to serve her community, but in a very different venue. She is a claims processor at Southern Ohio Medical Center, and she is not the only military veteran that now sets up camp at SOMC.

Over the years, SOMC has provided employment to many Americans transitioning out of the armed forces. Their positions range from housekeepers to physicians, and their military service ranges from the Vietnam era to modern wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are common threads that bind them, however. All chose to serve, in part, because they believed in serving a cause larger than themselves. They also believe it is important to show gratitude to others who have risked their lives to serve their country.

Gary Curtis, SOMC’s financial accounting manager, served in the military during the Vietnam era. For him, the decision to enlist was an easy one to make.

“I was brought up to believe that everyone should step up and take their turn serving this country,” Curtis said. “Back then, politicians actually said things like ‘Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.’”

For both Curtis and Robinette, their military service is a source of great pride. Veterans Day is an outlet for that pride, but it also gives them an opportunity to reflect on others who placed the country’s needs above their own.

“Veterans Day makes me think about those that came back wounded, or didn’t come back at all,” Curtis said.

“I don’t think about myself. I think about the ones before me,” Robinette added. “My dad was in the Navy, my brother was in the Army, I had a nephew in the Marines and I went in the Air Force. I’ve always had a sense of pride for our flag, and whenever I hear the National Anthem it has always made me cry.”

For SOMC Managed Care Reimbursement Manager James Bussa, Veterans Day isn’t just emotional – it’s arguably the important holiday of the year.

“Having been a veteran myself, and considering that 90 percent of my friends are active duty vets or retired vets, it’s definitely my favorite holiday,” Bussa said. “It almost trumps Christmas.”

Bussa’s service began in 1989 and continued through two wars in Iraq. It included stints in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan and Qatar. In 2005, he served as an instructor for the Iraqi military.

“The Iraqis that were in the program treated us very well,” Bussa said. “They all took great risks being in the program, from death threats to their families to actually threats to themselves.”

As the son of a Vietnam veteran, however, he understands that military appreciation is not something to be taken for granted. Although he only has the tales of his father to go by, he’s heard stories of soldiers returning from Indochina to meet protestors who offered less than warm welcomes.

Veterans Day is important because it’s an opportunity to make sure today’s heroes receive a warmer reception. That support from home is very important to those serving overseas.

“The amount of support we received during every trip I made to that part of the world, whether it was care packages or letters from kids at schools that had never met us, all made a difference,” Bussa said. “It made it bearable.”

Andrew DeCamp, a unit clerk in the SOMC Heart Care Unit, can attest to that. As a United States Navy Corpsman who is currently in Afghanistan, he knows the power of a kind word from home.

“I’m currently serving and deployed in Afghanistan with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133,” Andrew DeCamp said. “When members here get to call home or get a letter or package, our morale shoots through the roof.”

His mother, SOMC Director of Nursing Valerie DeCamp, does her part to keep his morale up by mailing him a care package every week.

On Veterans Day, Valerie will be far from alone in expressing gratitude for those who currently serve, just as Andrew will not be the only one thankful for those who served before.

“Veterans Day is a day to remember and honor veterans all over the United States, from all branches of the military,” Andrew DeCamp said. “Almost every family in the United States has a member who is a Veteran or in the Armed Forces. I have the honor of having uncles, cousins, and a grandfather who all served and I have the honor and privilege to follow in their footsteps.

“I would like to say ‘thank you’ to every one of them.”

SOMC, Hoxworth hosting blood drive on November 6

Southern Ohio Medical Center and the Hoxworth Blood Center will partner to host a blood drive open to hospital employees and the community from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on November 6 in Suite 207 of the Waller Building on SOMC’s Main Campus.

Supplies are critically low due to the recent storm activity on the East coast, so all participants and blood types are welcome and encouraged to donate. Donors will receive a long-sleeved Cincinnati Bengals T-shirt while supplies last. (Sizes may vary.)

Those wishing to donate must have a photo ID, be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health. Participants with tattoos or sterile piercings will be accepted, so long as they were administered in a licensed facility in Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana.

Appointments are preferred and can be made online at www.Hoxworth.org/plus or by calling 740-356-8045, 740-356-8670 or 740-356-8118.

SOMC Hospice ornaments now available

The Hospice program of Southern Ohio Medical Center is once again offering a unique way to support patient care and remember loved ones during the holiday season.

This year’s annual Hospice keepsake ornament is on sale now and will be available until Dec. 31. The silver ornament is heart-shaped and features a beautiful white dove in the center. As in the past, the ornament also includes a tag that can be engraved to display the date, your name, or the name of the individual receiving the gift, as well as the name of the person you wish to honor.

Cost is $25 per ornament and limited quantities are available. Proceeds collected will benefit SOMC Hospice. For more information or to place an order, please contact Scott Hilbert at 356- 2653.