Furry friend welcomed as family by SOMC staff

Little Bear the Therapy DogPets are a part of the family, but there are many places a family might travel where their furry companions may not be welcome. When Staci Sammons’ children were involved in a car wreck, she was relieved to discover Southern Ohio Medical Center wasn’t one of those places.

Staci has a four-year old, 180-pound English Mastiff named Little Bear, a therapy dog who participates in Tail-Wagging Tutors and is a regular at three nursing homes and two local schools. He was on his way to Heartland Nursing Home on August 13 when Staci got the news: her son and daughter were in a wreck, and her daughter was on her way to SOMC.

In that moment, the last thing she wanted to worry about was what to do with Little Bear… but it turned out no worry was necessary. They were both welcomed into the hospital’s family room, where they waited for more than six hours.

“I know a lot of the nurses took pictures that night and came in petted him,” Staci said. “I was really happy they let him stay. If I’d have gone back home to drop him off, I don’t know that I could have made it back to the hospital because they had to shut down all four lanes of traffic after the wreck.”

Staci’s daughter was treated and released. Her son, who had been sent to another hospital, also recovered. But she is still grateful for the warmth and understanding she received when she first walked through the hospital doors with a 180-pound dog in tow.

“It was really nice to be able to know they’d let him stay there and have a place,” Staci said. “If nothing else, I’d just like to thank SOMC for that.”

SOMC nurse takes healing touch to Guatemala

SOMC RN Kristen Pertuset completed her first mission trip earlier this year. She visited the Central American country of Guatemala.

For many, the summer months are a calling to take time off work and go somewhere special.

Somewhere far. Somewhere exotic. Somewhere you can enjoy the warmth of the sun… the fresh, morning breeze… and armed guards, barbed wire, and electrified fences…

At least, that’s the story of Kristen Pertuset’s last summer trip.

Kristen is a registered nurse at Southern Ohio Medical Center, but for a week in August she was (both literally and figuratively) about as far from SOMC as she could get. She was on a medical mission trip to the Central American country of Guatemala.

It was her first mission, and it exposed her to a standard of living radically different than that to which she was accustomed. In fact, while there she lived without luxuries so basic most Americans would not recognize them as being “luxuries” at all.

“There was no clean water and you weren’t allowed to flush your toilet paper,” Kristen explained. “There was a trash can in every bathroom that everybody threw their toilet paper into. You don’t realize how big of a deal that is until it’s taken away.”

The trip itself was inspired by the same desire that led to Kristen becoming a nurse – the desire to help others, especially those who need it the most. It began, though, with a word of warning.

A child plays near a sign promoting the “Partido Patriota,” or “Patriot Party.”

On her way there, a physician who was native to the country suggested she pretend to be Canadian. Being from the United States, he said, was not something that would win over the locals. But once she arrived, she found that her nationality didn’t really matter.

“They knew we were Americans and they traveled for miles to get to see American doctors,” Kristen said. “They loved us. They loved everything we could show them or do for them. They were kissing my cheeks, literally, and hugging me at the end of every single visit.”

While there, she saw patients in desperate need of quality medical care. She treated patients as young as three-months and as old as 100-years. She even treated a woman who complained of exhaustion and turned out to have been walking around with a hemoglobin level of 5 for the last six months.

Pertuset’s clinic saw, on average, 150 patients a day.

Her clinic averaged 150 patients a day and was equipped with limited supplies. She was forced to perform all of her procedures without so much as someone to hand her tools. It created a stark contrast with work upon her arrival to SOMC.

“(In Guatemala) we were almost trying to ‘MacGyver’ a setup to get what we needed,” she said. “It was kind of surreal to come back and have everything so readily available.”

But even with the clinic’s primitive conditions, lack of supplies and machine gun-wielding guards, Kristen is clear that the experience was a positive one. In fact, she is looking forward to doing it again – electrified fences and all.

Maternity donations try to ease pain of losing a child

There’s nothing like the pain of losing a child. Kristen Newsom knows this firsthand. Her own son, Cash Ryan, was stillborn last June.

Now, she’s doing what she can to help other parents dealing with grief after a fetal demise or stillbirth. She has provided SOMC Maternity with gift baskets full of items meant to help memorialize the memories of children who passed too soon.

“If we can reach out and at least offer some comfort, that’s what we’re going to do,” Kristen said.

Included in the baskets are books to help make sense of the tragedy, as well as SD cards for cameras and hand molds that can be used to immortalize their child’s memory. They are things that Kristen said would have been precious to her when she lost her own child.

The donations are part of a larger effort that Kristen has made to help other parents who have suffered a loss. There are several fundraisers that have been held in Cash’s memory, with the proceeds going to the Cash Ryan Memorial Fund. This allows her to help other families through their pain, while also keeping her son’s memory alive.

For more information about SOMC Maternity, visit www.somc.org/maternity.


SOMC honors sonographers for Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month

Southern Ohio Medical Center recognizes its sonographers for Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month.

The month of October is recognized as Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month, and Southern Ohio Medical Center took the opportunity to recognize the caring and talented sonographers they have on staff.

Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month is meant to increase the public’s knowledge about sonography, a diagnostic medical procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to create dynamic, visual images of organs, tissues or blood flow within the body. For more information, “like” SOMC on Facebook or follow SOMC on Twitter and Pinterest.

Stroke support group meetings announced

The RehabCare Unit at Southern Ohio Medical Center will be hosting monthly stroke support group meetings for the public.

The meetings, entitled “Moving Forward After Stroke,” will take place in the RehabCare Unit conference room, located on SOMC’s Main Campus. They will last from 4 to 5 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of every month. The meetings are open to the public and registration is not required.

Specific dates and topics for upcoming meetings are:

  • September 25, “Follow-Up Care Compliance.” Presented by Crystal Shepherd and Erin Fout.
  • October 23, “Spiritual Support & Sharing.” Presented by Chaplain Miller.
  • November 27, “Diabetes Overview.” Presented by Ashley Salyers and Tiffany Hadsell.
  • December 18, “Stroke Overview.” Presented by Gretchen Horner.
  • January 22 (2014), “Depression.” Presented by Scott Jolly.
  • February 26 (2014), “Tips for Controlling Blood Pressure.” Presented by Regina Keller.
  • March 26 (2014), “Community Resources.” Presented by Angela Clay.
  • April 23 (2014), “How Nutrition Affects Health.” Presented by SOMC Nutrition Services.
  • May 28 (2014), “Anticoagulation Medications.” Presented by the SOMC Pharmacy.
  • June 25 (2014), “Stroke Outcomes.” Presented by Jodi Pierron.
  • July 23 (2014), “Communication Issues After Stroke.” Presented by Jodi Cooper.
  • August 27 (2014), “Safety.” Presented by Shane Bond and Jason Bailey.

For more information, please call Regina Keller at 740-356-8556.

SOMC Pediatric Associates announces Sunday open house

Southern Ohio Medical Center will be hosting an open house for SOMC Pediatric Associates on Sunday, September 22. The event will last from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. on the first floor of the Fulton Building.

While SOMC Pediatric Associates is already accepting patients, this will be the community’s first opportunity to tour the entire facility. Attendees will also be able to meet providers and staff.

“There will be a lot of things to interest parents and children alike,” Dr. John Radford said. “There will be a fire truck and an ambulance for children to see, as well as coloring stations and an SOMC Pediatric Associates Photo Booth.”

Portsmouth police will also be on hand to talk about “stranger danger” and the D.A.R.E. program.

For more information about SOMC Pediatric Associates, call 740-356-7337.

SOMC, Nationwide Children’s hosting Pediatric Cardiology Clinics

Southern Ohio Medical Center is partnering with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to host Pediatric Cardiology Clinics on the first Tuesday of every month. As part of this service, they will be providing screenings for infants, children and adolescents.

Screenings will include:

  • EKGs, ECHOs
  • Evaluation of murmurs
  • Evaluation of chest pain and syncope, with possible cardiovascular causes
  • Cardiology clearance for school sports participation
  • Follow-up visits for cardiac patients

The clinic will be ran by Dr. Kerry Rhosen, the director of Outpatient Services at Nationwide Children’s Heart Center. The clinics will take place at SOMC Heart and Vascular Services, and appointments can be made through the Cardiac Testing Department at 740-356-8138.

Scioto Guild donates $10,000 to Cancer Compassion Fund

SOMC Scioto GuildThe Scioto Guild donated $10,000 to the Cancer Compassion Fund. The fund is supported by donations and is utilized for patient assistance needs such as utilities, medications, transportation and common necessities needed during cancer care. Wendi Waugh, director of the SOMC Cancer Center, is seen here accepting the donation. For more information, visit www.somc.org/cancer.

LIFE Center member shines in Senior Olympics

Nadine Carver of Minford, OhioFor more than 25 years, the SOMC LIFE Center has provided full service fitness and rehabilitation to southern Ohio. It is a natural stop for those wishing to get healthier, but there are some whose interest in fitness goes beyond shedding a couple of pounds. There are some, like Minford’s Nadine Carver, for whom LIFE Center visits could be considered training.

Since 2007, Nadine has been a regular participant in the national Senior Olympics. She describes her age as “not as old as the years say” – a claim bolstered by the contents of her trophy case. It is home to hundreds of medals, including two gold, two silver and three bronze earned at national competitions across the United States.

The Senior Olympics began in 1985, and now hosts a national competition every two years. As part of these competitions, Nadine has qualified for, and competed in, games in California, Texas and – most recently – Cleveland. She has also found success in numerous regional and state competitions throughout Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

She focuses on track and field, with both of her national gold medals coming by way of the high jump. She has also competed in the triple jump, long jump, 50-yard dash and 100-yard dash. But even with all of her success, Nadine admits that she doesn’t enter these competitions with any sort of formal preparation.

She did not compete in athletics while in high school – she says it wasn’t an option at the time – and she does not have a personal trainer.

“(The first time I competed) I didn’t know what I was doing, and I still don’t,” Nadine said. “I just run and jump. I exercise and I move, but I really don’t train.”

What she does have is a desire to stay active, which is something that SOMC hopes to encourage and facilitate for others as well. In that spirit, SOMC has a variety of annual events that focus on health and fitness, such as Run For Your LIFE and the Tri For Your LIFE Sprint Triathlon.

On November 16, SOMC will also be hosting an “Ash Dash” to coincide with the Great American Smokeout. The Ash Dash is a run/walk with obstacles that will raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use while incorporating fitness designed to test your limits and get the adrenaline pumping.

These events present opportunities to remain active and live a healthier life, and Nadine has seen first hand that it’s never too late to take advantage of them.

“In the Senior Olympics, I’ve watched a 100-year-old man who was still competing at tennis. I saw a 93-year-old do the pole vault in California,” Nadine said. “It’s inspirational.”

For more information about upcoming health-related events, or how you can improve your overall health, call contact SOMC Community Health and Wellness at 740-356-2720 or the SOMC LIFE Center at 740-356-7650.