‘Heart & Vascular’ Category


Portsmouth West track team helps coach through surgery

As a teacher and track coach at Portsmouth West High School, Debra Moore is always there to give her students support when they need it the most. When Moore underwent open-heart surgery at Southern Ohio Medical Center, they were there to return the favor.

 In fact, Moore says her students were part of the reason she was so sure everything was going to be okay. Prior to her surgery, and just after a track meet that she was forced to miss, Moore’s team gathered in front of their bus to take a special group photo for their absent coach.

 “They all stood together and made little hearts, and they sent me a message: ‘Good luck tomorrow. We’re with you, we love you,’ that kind of thing,” Moore said. “When I saw that, I knew I was going to be okay.”

 Moore was touched by her track team’s support, but not surprised. She has a close relationship with them that goes back further than her surgery. They were there to offer support during her mother’s hospitalization, and stood by her as she mourned the loss of the woman she describes as not only a parent, but also her best friend.

 When she first went to SOMC, complaining that it felt like someone was “blowing a balloon up” in her chest, she assumed it was just anxiety from her mother’s passing. She soon found out it was more serious than that, but whatever worry she may have felt was lessened by that simple, thoughtful gesture from her track team.

 “God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle,” Moore said. “When I saw that picture, I knew that he was sending me a message: Yes, I was going to go through surgery, but I was going to be okay and I would be back to coach my team.”

 It wasn’t just the support of her team that put Moore at ease, however. She had also researched her doctors at SOMC and was very pleased with what she heard.

 “I made phone calls to check on Dr. Alain Asher, and I had nothing but good reports about him,” Moore said. “I just can’t say enough about Dr. Asher and Dr. Harry Driedger. They’re wonderful, they couldn’t have treated me better.”

 Since her surgery, Moore has visited her team and celebrated her recovery.  She has also taken note of just how fortunate she was to have the right team around her in her moment of need, both on the track and in the hospital.

 “Immediately after I started having chest pains, I went to SOMC. I trusted them to take care of me, and they delivered,” Moore said. “I received excellent care from the entire staff at SOMC. The nurses, lab techs, house keepers – everyone was just wonderful.

 “I’m also grateful for the support from my students and co-workers. People like our boys track coach, Gary Marion, and my assistant, Leah Blevins, helped make a difficult situation a little more manageable.”

Khoury, Barber and Wakefield continue perfecting their craft

When it comes to peripheral stenting at Southern Ohio Medical Center, as is the case with most things, there have been plenty of changes over the years. Technology has changed and the list of offered procedures has grown.  The size of the staff has expanded as well.

Peripheral stenting is a minimally invasive procedure where a catheter with a balloon tip is inserted into a peripheral artery (arteries in the lower abdomen, kidneys, neck, arms, legs or feet) and inflated to compress plaque buildup.  A stent is then placed in the vessel to keep the vessel open to maintain necessary blood flow. This procedure is performed in a state-of-the-art cardiovascular catheterization laboratory.

In its infancy, back in the 1980’s, the SOMC Cath Lab operated with a three person staff.  Radiologic Technologist, Andy Barber and nurse Mary Ann Wakefield were two of the lab’s original members, but Barber credits the arrival of its third member with truly advancing the art of stenting.

“Things really started progressing in 1993 when Dr. Thomas Khoury came,” Barber said. “He pushed the envelope and we started doing a lot more than what we were doing at that time. As the procedures have evolved, he’s stayed current and up to date on everything.”

Together, the trio of Khoury, Barber and Wakefield became peripheral endovascular pioneers. They were among the area’s first to offer these services by a dedicated team and Wakefield became the county’s first nurse certified in radiology.

“For our patients, our experience is very important,” Dr. Khoury said. “We’ve done over 4,000 procedures.  That experience, our state of the art technology, and the harmonious work of the staff lowers the risk of complications and ensures excellent outcomes for our patients.”

SOMC Cardiovascular Testing Receives ICAEL Accreditation

The Cardiovascular Testing Department at Southern Ohio Medical Center has been granted a three-year term of accreditation in adult transthoracic echocardiography by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL).

Approval by the ICAEL demonstrates SOMC’s commitment to quality patient care and assures that the hospital is meeting and exceeding national standards in the field of echocardiography.

“Receiving ICAEL accreditation is a seal of approval that our department has been working to obtain since its inception,” Mary McDaniel, nurse manager of SOMC Cardiovascular Testing, said. “This distinction certifies that we are going above and beyond to provide the best possible heart care to our patients and also recognizes that we are one of the highest quality cardiovascular testing labs in the nation.”

To receive accreditation, laboratories must complete two crucial steps including a detailed self-evaluation and an in-depth case study review by the ICAEL Board of Directors. Many factors are evaluated during the process including physician education and experience, employee certification, quality of patient reporting, quality of equipment, patient volumes, and overall customer service.

“ICAEL accreditation is widely respected and is a major accomplishment for our department and hospital,” Angie Veach, assistant nurse manager of SOMC Cardiovascular Testing, said. “So many elements had to be perfect to make this possible and it’s truly a reflection of our staff members’ and physicians’ dedication to achieving excellence. It was a real team effort and we couldn’t be more proud.”

“The whole process has been an educational journey for SOMC and has not only allowed us to raise the bar for our standard of care, but has given us a chance to make process improvements along the way,” McDaniel added. “Everyone played a key role in making this possible and we are so thankful for their contributions.”

SOMC to Offer Heart Support Program, Sept. 20

The Heart and Vascular Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center have formed a local chapter of the Mended Hearts program and will meet from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St. in Portsmouth.

The Mended Hearts, Inc. is a national nonprofit support organization that includes heart patients, spouses, healthcare professionals and others interested in helping patients with the emotional recovery from heart disease. With 280 community-based chapters nationwide, Mended Hearts has 24,000 members, making it the largest heart-related patient support group.

“Members assist cardiac patients with an extensive accredited visitors program, support groups, health information workshops, social and special events and other volunteer activities,” Keri Imm, nurse manager of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at SOMC, said. “Mended Hearts has been offering hope and encouragement to heart patients, families and caregivers for 50 years and the outreach and support is a proven benefit to the community.”

Imm adds that while heart patient-to-patient visits are the core of the Mended Hearts’ program, volunteers do not have to be a patient. Caregivers, family members of patients, physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals and anyone else interested are invited to participate.

For more information or to reserve your seat, please call 740-356-7663.

SOMC Names New Senior Medical Director of Vascular Surgery

Marion Hochstetler, M.D., a physician specializing in vascular surgery at Southern Ohio Medical Center has been named Senior Medical Director of Vascular Surgery at SOMC.

Dr. Hochstetler joined the SOMC team in July 2009 as a vascular surgeon. He will now join the practice of the SOMC Heart and Vascular Associates.

Dr. Hochstetler received his medical degree from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine in Rootstown, Ohio. He completed a residency in general surgery at Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio. Dr. Hochstetler completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at Greenville Hospital Systems in Greenville, SC. He is board certified in vascular and general surgery.

“I’m so excited to begin my new role and continue serving our community,” Hochstetler, said, “I’d like to thank the community, my patients, co-workers and SOMC for their continued support.”

Dr. Hochstetler can be reached at the SOMC Heart and Vascular Associates, 1711 27th Street, Braunlin Building, Suite 206 in Portsmouth, Ohio. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 740-356-8772.

SOMC to Offer Heart Support Program, August 23

The Heart and Vascular Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center have formed a local chapter of the Mended Hearts program and will meet from 5 to 7 p.m., Aug. 23 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St. in Portsmouth.

The Mended Hearts, Inc. is a national nonprofit support organization that includes heart patients, spouses, healthcare professionals and others interested in helping patients with the emotional recovery from heart disease. With 280 community-based chapters nationwide, Mended Hearts has 24,000 members, making it the largest heart-related patient support group.

“Members assist cardiac patients with an extensive accredited visitors program, support groups, health information workshops, social and special events and other volunteer activities,” Keri Imm, nurse manager of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at SOMC, said. “Mended Hearts has been offering hope and encouragement to heart patients, families and caregivers for 50 years and the outreach and support is a proven benefit to the community.”

Imm adds that while heart patient-to-patient visits are the core of the Mended Hearts’ program, volunteers do not have to be a patient. Caregivers, family members of patients, physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals and anyone else interested are invited to participate.

For more information or to reserve your seat, please call 740-356-7663.

SOMC to Offer Heart Support Program, June 21

The Heart and Vascular Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center have formed a local chapter of the Mended Hearts program and will meet from 5 to 7 p.m., June 21 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St. in Portsmouth.

The Mended Hearts, Inc. is a national nonprofit support organization that includes heart patients, spouses, healthcare professionals and others interested in helping patients with the emotional recovery from heart disease. With 280 community-based chapters nationwide, Mended Hearts has 24,000 members, making it the largest heart-related patient support group.

“Members assist cardiac patients with an extensive accredited visitors program, support groups, health information workshops, social and special events and other volunteer activities,” Keri Imm, nurse manager of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at SOMC, said. “Mended Hearts has been offering hope and encouragement to heart patients, families and caregivers for 50 years and the outreach and support is a proven benefit to the community.”

Imm adds that while heart patient-to-patient visits are the core of the Mended Hearts’ program, volunteers do not have to be a patient. Caregivers, family members of patients, physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals and anyone else interested are invited to participate.

For more information or to reserve your seat, please call 740-356-7663.

SOMC to Offer Heart Support Program, May 24

The Heart and Vascular Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center have formed a local chapter of the Mended Hearts program and will meet from 5 to 7 p.m., May 24 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St. in Portsmouth.

The Mended Hearts, Inc. is a national nonprofit support organization that includes heart patients, spouses, healthcare professionals and others interested in helping patients with the emotional recovery from heart disease. With 280 community-based chapters nationwide, Mended Hearts has 24,000 members, making it the largest heart-related patient support group.

“Members assist cardiac patients with an extensive accredited visitors program, support groups, health information workshops, social and special events and other volunteer activities,” Keri Imm, nurse manager of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at SOMC, said. “Mended Hearts has been offering hope and encouragement to heart patients, families and caregivers for 50 years and the outreach and support is a proven benefit to the community.”

Imm adds that while heart patient-to-patient visits are the core of the Mended Hearts’ program, volunteers do not have to be a patient. Caregivers, family members of patients, physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals and anyone else interested are invited to participate.

For more information or to reserve your seat, please call 740-356-7663.

SOMC Names New Manager of Employee Health and Wellness

Julie Thornsberry, RN, BSN, has been named Manager of Employee Health and Wellness at Southern Ohio Medical Center. Thornsberry has worked at SOMC since 2000. She earned an associate degree and bachelor’s degree in nursing from Shawnee State University. She was a nurse in the SOMC Maternity unit for eight years and for the last three years she was the Clinical Educator and Team Leader for the Cardio Vascular Operating Room. In her new role, she will bring a clinical aspect to the Employee Health Department and lead the efforts for employee wellness and the Healthy Partners program. She currently resides in Beaver, Ohio with her husband, David and daughter, Drew.