SOMC Using New Technology For Clot-busting

SOMC surgeon Thomas L. Khoury, MD, (left) discusses a procedure to open restricted arteries using ultrasound frequencies to deliver clot-busting medication.

At Southern Ohio Medical Center a new combination of ultrasound and clot-busting medication delivery is helping save lives.

Vascular surgeon Thomas L. Khoury, MD, is using a special catheter to reach dangerous clots, delivering both medication and ultrasound to loosen and dissolve clots that block the flow of blood throughout the body.

The EKOS system is a catheter-based delivery system. A hollow tube inserted into an artery or vein allows a special tube to be directed to the clot. While medicine used to break up and dissolve clots is delivered through ports along the tube’s sides into the clot area, tiny transducers also located along the tube deliver high-frequency low-power ultrasound into the clot.

“The fabric of blood clots, which is called fibrin, is tightly bound,” Dr. Khoury explains. “The ultrasound loosens and separates fibrin so more clot-busting medication can reach more tissue, and the ultrasound helps drive the medication deeper into the clot.”

During a recent case, Dr. Khoury described the process.

“The patient had multiple blockages along both sides of the lungs,” he said. “The blood was blocked from flowing over much of the lung tissue, preventing the patient from getting enough oxygen. Using the EKOS technology we directed a catheter through an artery down the patient’s neck, through the heart and to the sites on the lungs. We then were able to use the ultrasound and infuse the clots, breaking them up safely. The results of improved blood flow and oxygen delivery were evident almost immediately. The patient gained better color, was able to breathe easier, and was clearly in much better shape.”

Dr. Khoury performs numerous procedures at SOMC with a variety of catheter-based technology to address issues of the vascular system such as blockages caused by blood clots.

“The care we can provide with the use of technology like this infusion system shows how far we’ve come in such a short time, in terms of medical advances that save lives here at SOMC,” Dr. Khoury said.

Vascular procedures are a focal point of expanding services at the hospital, with new facilities under construction in the Surgical Services Department that will be dedicated specifically to such operations. The expanded surgical suites are expected to open in 2008.

SOMC’s Expansion Will Include Many Changes In Coming Months

Southern Ohio Medical Center will continue to expand in 2007, with facilities being prepared on both the south and north sides of the hospital to accommodate new services in health care.

When complete in mid-2009, 170,000 square feet of additional space will be added. Another 50,000 square feet of existing hospital space will be remodeled. The project includes more than $100 million in construction and internal work. The project is employing hundreds of local workers from various construction trades.

“During all of this construction, we want everyone to know that all visitors can take advantage of our free parking service and greeting services,” Facilities Management Director Craig Gilliland says.

“When you come to the hospital, just pull up to the front entrance. A parking attendant can park your car in a secure location and a greeter can help you to your destination,” Gilliland explains.

For those who would rather park their own cars, multi-story parking garages with wide parking areas are available on both ends of the campus. Greeters will be at the doors to answer questions and escort visitors.

The physical changes coincide with the expansion of SOMC’s Heart and Vascular Services, including open heart surgery, that will affect many of the processes and facilities at the hospital. Construction has been under way for more than five months on the south side of the hospital, where a two-story addition will expand Emergency Services and Surgical Services. The south side project will be completed in 2008.

The south side addition will increase surgical suites from 12 to 17, with five suites dedicated to gastrointestinal procedures and three solely for heart and vascular procedures. The SOMC Emergency Department, which now includes Chest Pain Center Accreditation, will be substantially expanded. The south side project includes approximately 50,000 square feet of additional space. Parking for the Emergency Department will be conveniently close to the department’s entrance.

In addition to the patient care addition featuring four stories of patient rooms with 102 private beds in more than 110,00 square feet, a new entrance and lobby are being constructed. The lobby will feature 8,000 square feet of space dedicated to registration, a gift shop, cafe, children’s waiting area and other waiting areas. From March 2007 until mid-2008, the hospital’s temporary main entrance will be at the east end of the building near the two-story parking garage. Parking attendants and greeters will be located at the canopy curbside.

On the SOMC Main Campus, adjustments will be made to various parking areas and traffic routes. In mid-2007 the building designations on campus will change from letters to names, while traffic routes will receive lane names. Medical Office Building H will be razed and additional parking will be added. Physicians with offices in Building H are preparing to move to other offices on the Main Campus.

“Also as part of the name changes over the next two years, the hospital rooms will be identified in one of five wings, A through E, and all patient rooms will be numbered accordingly in such a way that identifies the wing and floor number,” Gilliland says. “This will help visitors more easily know the approximate location of any particular room.”

The project is being managed by Turner Construction, one of the largest healthcare construction management firms in the world. The architect and engineering firm is URS of Columbus.

New Lobby Reflects Comfort, Home

A rendering of the new two-story lobby

When entering the main campus of Southern Ohio Medical Center, visitors will get a much more comfortable experience than they’re used to receiving from a typical hospital. When completed in 2008, the two-story lobby will offer 8,000 square feet of warmth and bright welcome space.

“We wanted to create an entrance that will make people feel as comfortable as possible while acting as a central hub for the hospital,” Mark Dye, senior architect for URS Corporation, the company in charge of designing the addition, said. “When people come in, we want them to be impressed but not feel too overwhelmed.”

To make this possible, the design team used an array of natural concepts to mimic the feel of Southern Ohio, eliminating the rigid feel of most hospitals and opting for a more comforting environment.

“We chose to use lots of natural colors and more earthy materials like stone, slate, and wood to provide a very relaxed feel,” Dye said. “We also used a curvilinear shape to the halls and lots of angles to duplicate the Ohio River and its surrounding hills.”

A rendering of the cafe and gift shop

The finished atrium will feature high ceilings to allow for larger windows and multi-storage space, and a fireplace to create a warmer atmosphere. The main reception desk, as well as new café and gift shop, also will be located in the new lobby to provide an easier flow of department traffic in and out of the center of the hospital.

“We really wanted to stay away from a high-tech design because that tends to feel less inviting and makes people more frightened,” Dye said. “Our main objective was to create a space that downplays the fact that you’re in a hospital while providing the best access to all destinations, and I think we’ve successfully managed to do that.”

SOMC Unveils Plans For Four-story Addition

Southern Ohio Medical Center welcomed the public Feb. 14 to the SOMC Expansion Expo as part of unveiling activities for the next phase of the hospital’s $100 million expansion project.

The project is the next phase in a four-year expansion of services and facilities that began with planning mid-2005, first construction in August 2006 and will continue through 2009. The changes coincide with the expansion of SOMC’s Heart and Vascular Services, including open heart surgery, that will affect many of the processes and facilities at the hospital.

“The four-story patient care addition will include 102 private rooms,” Craig Gilliland, director of Facilities Management, said. “The area currently known as One West will be refurbished to accommodate new Same Day Surgery. The east side of the new addition will include the main entrance to the hospital, which will be a two-story lobby including a café, children’s waiting area, gift shop, registration and help desk.”

Construction has been under way for more than five months on the south side of the hospital, where a two-story addition will expand Emergency Services and Surgical Services, Gilliland said. The south side project will be completed in 2008.

An open house was held on the fourth floor of Medical Office Building K on the SOMC Main Campus. Staff members from five key areas of the hospital presented individual displays. An outline of the planned construction was presented on the former parking areas in front of the hospital.

SOMC staff members presented architectural drawings and discussed upcoming expansions in Emergency, Surgery, Heart and Vascular Services, Nursing and the new front entrance and lobby. A virtual tour using computer-rendered graphics courtesy of the project’s architect, URS, was presented.

Guests were invited to tour the five service area displays and ask questions. Architect and Engineering Firm URS and the project’s construction management firm, Turner Construction, were on-hand along with SOMC leaders to provide information about the project.

SOMC Kicks Off Heart Month With SSU’s ‘Aida’

Members of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Services shared information on heart month, healthy eating habits and upcoming events at the SOMC-sponsored production of “Aida” Feb. 5 at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. This was the first of several events planned this month including the unveiling of the new patient care addition construction featuring heart and vascular services on Feb. 14. From left, Danielle Poarch, Keri Imm and Ginny Pinson, Heart and Vascular Services, work with a community member at the event.

SOMC Has New Process For File Pickup

The departments of Health Information and Medical Imaging at Southern Ohio Medical Center have teamed together to create a new medical record release area to better serve their customers.

“Radiology had received feedback that there was an opportunity for improvement in providing files to our patients,” Chris Sanders, supervisor of the MRI Department at SOMC, said. “We wanted to do something for them to make the process easier, and I think we’ve created the perfect solution.”

Through the new area, patients may obtain personal medical records, films, or CDs by calling 740-356-8286. After a prompt, the patient will be directly connected to a personnel member who will place an order for their files to be compiled. If calling after hours or when the line is busy, the caller will be directed to leave a voice mail to fulfill their request. The patient’s records will then be ready for pickup within 24-hours.

“The center is a welcomed change,” Sanders said. “It really helps eliminate all the previous steps patients had to go through to get their records and simplifies it into a one-step, one-stop easy-access area.”

To obtain the records, patients must report to the medical release window, located at the main entrance on the SOMC Main Campus. A photo ID is necessary for pickup. Persons picking up records for someone else must also present a photo ID, as well as a signed note by the patient stating who will be receiving their records for them. Pickup is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

SOMC Maternity To Play Lullaby With Each Birth

The Maternity Department at Southern Ohio Medical Center welcomed a new addition Jan. 29.

“In honor of the birth and new family, we will play the Brahms’ Lullaby, which will be heard throughout the hospital,” Jone Stone, nurse manager of Maternity Services at SOMC, said. “It will only last 10 seconds, but it will be a nice way to let everyone know that such a wonderful event has happened.”

Ideas for the addition of the lullaby started last May during a patient-care-centered workshop and focus group.

“We had a variety of employees from all departments suggest we add a song,” Stone said. “Other hospitals do similar things, so we decided to start working on it.”

After researching other hospitals to find the most common song and time-lengths, the final decision of using Brahms’ Lullaby was made because of its comforting sound and correlation to newborns.

“We wanted music that was recognizable and had a soft, warm feel to it,” Stone said. “Brahms’ Lullaby seemed like the obvious choice.”

The version of the song that will be heard throughout all departments was performed and recorded by Tyler Thompson, music major at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. The lullaby will be activated through a remote button located within the Maternity Unit.

“We appreciate our families and the privilege of providing care for them during their birth,” Stone said. “The lullaby will be a great way to celebrate this great event and we’re all looking forward to the addition.”

Lawson Appointed To SOMC Board

George Lawson

George Lawson has been appointed to the SOMC Board of Directors, Chairman Robert E. Dever has announced. His term on the SOMC Board is effective through July 2009. Lawson is also a member of the SOMC Foundation Board, serving as chairman since 2005.

An area native, Lawson served in public education for more than 35 years. He retired as superintendent of the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center in 2001. For the past four years Lawson has been the director of the College Tech Prep at Shawnee State University.

He and his wife, Pat, live in the Portsmouth area. They have three grown children and five grandchildren.

SOMC Wheelersburg Rehab Services To Celebrate Tenth Anniversary Feb. 8

Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Wheelersburg Rehab Services will celebrate 10 years of operation with an open house Thursday, Feb. 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the facility, 613 Center St., Suite D. Light food and refreshments will be available and clients, employees, friends, and guests are all invited to attend.

“The open house will be a reunion to thank the community and our clients for the business they have provided over the past 10 years,” Dayna Lawhorn, physical therapy assistant at SOMC Wheelersburg Rehab Services, said. “They have done a lot for us and we wanted to do something nice to show how much we appreciate them.”

SOMC Wheelersburg Rehab Services provides a wide range of occupational and physical therapy to patients suffering from various injuries, including back and shoulder problems, neck injuries, arthritis, and neurological problems occurring after a stroke. They also provide rehab for patients following major surgeries, strains, and sprains.

The facility first opened in 1997, with four tiny rooms and a staff of two therapists. The staff has now grown to include six, and their services have increased in capabilities and quality thanks to the addition of space and equipment.

“Our growth over the years has allowed us to offer more programs for our patients instead of sending them elsewhere for help,” Lawhorn said. “We’re able to reach a wider audience and provide more in-depth services, which is great for the community.”

The rehab center also was honored earlier this year when Pam Higgins, rehab technician, was recognized for her work at the facility with the most distinguished award given by the RehabCare Group, the Trusheim Spirit Award.

Lawhorn says the staff looks forward to growing and advancing even more in the future, and thanks everyone for all the help and support that has been given to the facility thus far.

For more information, contact the SOMC Wheelersburg Rehab Services office at 740-574-8189.