Teamwork at SOMC Leads to Patient Success

Pictured are employees of the Intensive Care Unit at SOMC and patient Walt Barrett during his celebration of recovery before going home.

Walt Barrett, a 34-year-old local restaurant manager, developed flu-like symptoms in September of last year. He prolonged a doctor’s visit and three months later ended up in the emergency department at Southern Ohio Medical Center. Before he knew it, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in life-threatening condition.

“I had not been to a doctor in probably eight years before all this,” Barrett said. “I just thought I would feel better but then my cough turned into pneumonia and then I went into respiratory failure.”

Although his memory is fuzzy throughout the first two months of his hospital stay at SOMC, he does remember spending Christmas and New Years Eve with the staff of the ICU.

“The nurses quietly decorated my room while I was asleep on Christmas Eve. I woke up on Christmas morning and was pleasantly surprised to see my room sparkling with lights and ornaments,” he said. “Then, for New Years Eve, we had a party! We watched the ball drop in Times Square, drank cider and celebrated with confetti.”

Barrett said he was grateful for the nurses, therapists, physicians and many other staff who made him feel at home, especially during the holidays. The large team it took to provide Walt’s care became like a second family to him.

“Walt developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with multi-system organ failure,” Dr. Samer Kseibi, pulmonologist at SOMC, said. “He had a very high mortality rate, almost 100 percent. We didn’t think his complicated condition and lungs would ever recover but we all worked together diligently to keep him alive; the team worked like one pair of hands.”

“Walt came close to death several times but he pulled through,” Michael Hammer, registered nurse in the ICU, said. “He fought just as hard as we did.”

Cindy McQuay, a respiratory therapist at SOMC explained that Walt was put on a ventilator in the beginning and then eventually was weaned off of the machine. He then worked hard with physical, speech, respiratory and rehabilitation therapists to regain his speech and mobility.

After Walt was off the ventilator, he was able to eat for the first time. One nurse was so excited she made homemade mashed potatoes for him.

“We all became emotionally attached to Walt and we didn’t want to give up on him,” McQuay said. “Now he has recovered and my heart melted when I heard him talk for the first time, it’s so rewarding.”

“Walt had been in the ICU for two months. When he left our unit to move to Rehab, we asked him what his goal was,” Christy Aeh, nurse manager of the ICU, said. “He said he wanted to physically walk back into the ICU and give everyone hugs.”

Three months later, the day before Walt went home, he proudly walked into the ICU. Walt said he had a promise to fulfill as he walked into a room full of teary-eyed caregivers and greeted them with hugs of appreciation.

After a five month stay at SOMC, Walt is now home and in full recovery. He is thankful for his second family and for the excellent care he received at SOMC.

“Walt is one of our success stories at SOMC,” Dr. Sadiq Al-Nakeeb, critical care intensivist at SOMC, said. “And we are very proud of that.”

Quilt Made By Cancer Survivor to be Raffled

Displaying the hand-made quilt (from l to r) is Kelly Lawson, clinical manager of Oncology Services at SOMC; Linda Copas, breast cancer survivor; Betty Morgan and Joyce Payton, volunteers for the American Cancer Society-Cancer Resource Center.

Nearly four years ago, Betty Morgan, a volunteer for the American Cancer Society-Cancer Resource Center and Southern Ohio Medical Center, began giving clothing and fabric to a patient who enjoyed quilting. Little did she know that her kindness would build a lasting friendship with a woman fighting breast cancer.

“Now, four years later, the fabric filled with so many family memories, has been transformed into a beautiful quilt,” Morgan said. “I’m donating it to raise money for the American Cancer Society.”

Morgan first met Linda Copas, an X-ray tech at Adams County Regional Medical Center, at the SOMC Cancer Center. Copas quickly began treatments at SOMC after her diagnosis of breast cancer in February 2006.

“Linda was always crocheting or sewing something while she was waiting,” Morgan added. “We shared this hobby and it became a bridge to form my friendship with her.”

Copas belonged to a quilting group called the Homemakers of West Union, consisting of 32 women, three of which were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. Morgan decided it was time to clean out a few things in her home, such as her daughter’s prom dress and other sentimental items that encompassed many family memories. Instead of donating the clothing and beautiful silk fabrics, she decided to pass them on to Copas, in hopes of putting the material to good use.

“This story is unique and so dear to my heart,” Morgan said. “I never knew that as a volunteer I would meet so many wonderful people and be blessed with their stories. One of my children had cancer and I myself beat cancer, I know that relationships and attitude are important when trying to overcome the odds.”

Over the past several years, the Homemakers Group have hand-made five quilts and raised money by selling the quilts and then donated the funds to local patients battling cancer. Copas and the group worked diligently to transform Morgan’s fabrics into an eclectic quilt.

“When I look at this beautiful quilt, I see many memories,” she said. “To see it made by Linda represents a circle of love and friendship.”

The quilt will be raffled off to raise awareness and donations for the American Cancer Society. Raffle tickets may be purchased through any Relay For Life team member or by calling Anna Cardenas, (740) 353-7326 or Rosie Williams, (740) 456-4363. The tickets cost $1 each or a book for $10. The raffle will be drawn during the Relay for Life event, June 25, 2010.

SOMC to Offer Free Breast Exams April 22

Free clinical breast exams will be offered at the SOMC Cancer Center April 22 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The exams are available to uninsured or underinsured women. Participants 40 years old or older, those who are younger with a strong family history of breast cancer or a woman with an abnormal finding on a self-breast exam are welcome. Appointments are necessary and can be made by calling the SOMC Volunteer Office at (740) 356-8234.

“Any woman who needs a mammogram and has not had one in the last year will be scheduled for a free exam at the SOMC Breast Center, provided by the Hands of Hope program,” Kelly Lawson, clinical manager of the Cancer Center, said.

This is the fourth year SOMC has been awarded a grant through the Columbus Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This grant allows women, who meet certain guidelines, access to screenings for early detection of breast cancer.

“In 2009 the Cancer Center held three breast screenings, conducting approximately 88 exams,” Lawson said. “Two women were diagnosed with cancer and received treatment as a result of these free screenings.”

Educational materials will be available during the screenings. Breast Health Navigator at SOMC, Kimberlee Richendollar, RN, BSN will provide information to participants about breath health, self-breast exams and breast cancer awareness.

Richendollar has the latest information about breast health and early detection, which is key to increased survival rates of those with breast cancer.

As a result of the volunteer hours provided by SOMC physicians, nurses, and members of the Fight Cancer, Save Lives Cancer Coalition, these screenings are possible and offered bi-annually.

The SOMC Cancer Center is located at 1121 Kinneys Lane, Portsmouth.

SOMC Hosts Graduation for Local Medical Students, Residents

Southern Ohio Medical Center and the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine recently honored the hospital’s 2010 class of graduating medical students and residents during an annual celebration held March 30 at the Friends Community Center. The new class of Emergency Medicine residents, Family Practice residents, and Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine students also were introduced.

Those residents graduating from this year’s program include Matthew Phillips, DO (Family Practice) and Zachary Underwood, DO (Family Practice). Those medical students graduating from the OUCOM program included Rocky Adkins (who will pursue a residency in Radiology at Grandview Hospital in Dayton, Ohio), Seth DeAtley (who will pursue a residency in Emergency Medicine at SOMC), Kristen Broadhead (who will pursue a residency in Pediatrics at Erlanger in Chattanooga, Tenn.), and Joe Herrmann (who will pursue a residency in Surgery at Doctors Hospital in Columbus, Ohio).

Pictured are the 2010 graduates, future residents and medical students.

SOMC Patient Beats the Odds

Noah Riggs (center) recently went through a complicated open-heart surgery at Southern Ohio Medical Center. Riggs is pictured above with his cardiothoracic surgeons, Dr. Alain Asher (left) and Dr. Henry Childers, senior medical director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at SOMC.

After completing a routine physical required for admission to truck driving school, Noah Riggs, 28, thought he would easily pass and begin the next chapter of his life. Much to his surprise, he failed the physical and was referred to his family physician. Dr. McGinnis examined him only to find a heart murmur and a 102-degree fever, although Noah said he felt fine.

As a result, several tests were ordered and an echocardiogram discovered two leaks in the valves in his heart (endocarditis), a congenital deformity and a severe infection. Due to deterioration in his heart, Noah needed two valves replaced. He was immediately admitted in to the Heart Care Unit at Southern Ohio Medical Center. After three weeks of intense antibiotics, an emergency surgery was needed to save Noah’s life. A five-hour heart surgery turned into a complicated 12 hour, life-threatening ordeal.

“My heart wouldn’t beat on its own,” Noah Riggs, said. “They let my mom come back to the operating room and she whispered in my ear. I remember hearing everything; she told me she loved me. I squeezed her hand to let her know I was listening.”

“The entire team and I knew that Noah was in critical condition,” Amy Fraulini, director of Heart and Vascular Services at SOMC, said. “We told the family to prepare for the worst.”

During the surgery, Dr. Childers, senior medical director of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Dr. Asher, cardiothoracic surgeon, inserted a ventricular assist device to help Noah’s heart continue to function. As a result of the machine, he needed to be transferred for specialized care. After realizing there was too much equipment to transport by helicopter, LIFE Ambulance arranged two ambulances to transport Noah, the equipment, Dr. Asher, Becky Kalb, RN, Janet Nichols, RN and his family to Columbus.

“I can’t express enough praise to the team of doctors and nurses who cared for me,” Riggs, said. “The surgeons could have given up on me but they didn’t. They wanted to see me live the rest of my life.”

“As we worked our best to help Noah, I couldn’t help but picture my daughter lying on the table,” Julie Thornsberry, staff nurse in the CVOR, said9. “I kept thinking, I want to work as hard for him as I would for my own child.”

When Dr. Asher was asked why he rode in the ambulance for two hours with equipment on his lap, he said, “it was the right thing to do.” The family, as described by Dr. Childers, was very supportive and grateful of all the staff and the dedication and effort it took to save Noah’s life.

“It’s like a football team, it’s not just up to the quarterback to win the game,” Dr. Henry Childers said. “This can’t be a one man show; Noah is the perfect example that a positive attitude, strong family support and a team effort from all the care givers can save a person’s life.”

Noah’s family members offer their sincerest gratitude to the physicians, nurses and staff at SOMC. Noah’s mother, Sheila Riggs is an employee at SOMC and she never once felt like the quality of care and treatment she and her family received was a reflection of her employment with SOMC but the excellent care that anyone would receive at SOMC.

“Noah is alive and well today,” Pam Partlow, Noah’s aunt, said. “At SOMC we were treated with respect, as though the entire family was a part of his care. The people of the Heart and Vascular Services are a well-oiled machine, they are the epitome of teamwork.”

“If you want value placed on your loved one, then you wouldn’t want to go anywhere else but SOMC,” Partlow added. “Noah is living proof.”

SOMC to Host Knit for Hope

Knitters and crocheters of all skill-levels are invited to an evening of fun, food and to support a good cause as part of the Knit for Hope group at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

The group will meet from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 30 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio.

Patterns for lap quilts, throws, shawls, hats and caps will be available, though attendees are asked to bring their own needles and yarn (of any color). Finished products will be donated to breast cancer patients of the SOMC Cancer Center.

For more information, please call the Friends Center at (740) 356-7101.

Scioto Guild Taking Orders for Annual Flower Sale

Members of the Scioto Guild, part of the Friends of Southern Ohio Medical Center, are now taking orders for their annual Flower Sale.

Flowers for sale include hanging baskets of Ivy Geranium (red, lavender, pink), New Guinea Impatiens (red, orange, purple, blackberry cream), Purple Wave Petunias or Blue Angel at a cost of $15 each. Baskets of eight Geranium plants (in pots; red, salmon, pink) will be sold for $20 and hanging ferns for $12.

All orders must be placed by March 30 and proceeds will benefit the SOMC Breast Center and other hospital projects. To place an order, please call Gerri Nourse at (740) 259-5868, Rosalee Greene at (740) 353-2075 or Bonnie Johnson at (740) 354-6536.

Orders will be available for pickup May 2 and 3 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio.

SOMC Offers Grief Support Group

outhern Ohio Medical Center’s Hospice Bereavement Program will offer a grief support group called “Picking Up the Pieces.” The group will meet at 5 p.m., April 6 at the Hospice conference room, located in the Gibson building, 2201 25th Street, Portsmouth.

“Adjusting after the death of a loved one is difficult,” Susan Goins, bereavement coordinator for SOMC Hospice, said. “If you are struggling with the grieving process, we invite you to join us for an educational support group.”

“Picking Up the Pieces” is a six weeklong course and will give participants an opportunity to share memories, ask questions and voice concerns with others who have suffered loss and understand the struggles of living alone.

Registration is necessary. For more information or to register, please call Susan Goins, (740) 356-2676 or 1-800-779-7902.

SOMC Offers New Option for Hip Surgery

Southern Ohio Medical Center is pleased to announce the recent attainment of a new piece of equipment called the HANA® Table. This modern surgery table allows the physician to use the direct anterior approach method for total hip replacements and other joint and fracture surgeries.

“The direct anterior approach simply means to enter from the front,” Dr. Gerardo Trinidad, orthopedic surgeon, said. “The table allows us to maneuver the patient’s legs and hips to gain better access to the area, resulting in a much smaller incision than a traditional hip replacement.”

Dr. Trinidad explained that while using the direct anterior approach, the surgeon does not have to detach or cut through any muscle, which significantly reduces pain, rehabilitation time and length of stay in the hospital. This procedure also drastically lowers the risks of post-op dislocation.

“After a traditional total hip replacement, a patient would typically be hospitalized for three to ten days, depending on their specific situation,” he added. “With the use of the HANA Table, our patients will be able to leave the hospital after two to four days, respectively.”

“The patients benefit the most from this new equipment that allows increased mobility and a quicker return to normal activity with fewer restrictions,” Tom Greene, administrative director of Surgery Services at SOMC, said.

Dr. Duane Marchyn, orthopedic surgeon, worked with Stryker’s development team to create a technique, procedure and invent the instruments needed for the anterior approach. After the method was developed, the HANA Table was then created for surgeons to begin offering this procedure in their local areas.

“The direct anterior approach is a great thing for patients,” Marchyn said. “It’s not for every single hip replacement but a lot of people will benefit from it.”

Dr. Trinidad and Dr. Marchyn have completed specific training courses to enhance their ability to perform this surgery. In addition to total hip replacements, the HANA Table can be used for broken hips and femurs, hip pinning, hip arthroscopy, total knee arthroplasty and total hip resurfacing.

Greene added, “Before we had this technology, many people would leave Portsmouth to have this type of procedure done, but now our patients can stay close to home and get back on their feet in no time.”

The HANA Table is now available for use at SOMC. If you are interested in learning if you qualify or if you are concerned about arthritis of the hip, please contact Dr. Trinidad’s office at (740) 351-0980 or Dr. Marchyn’s office (740) 353-1709 to schedule an evaluation.