Critical Care, Open-Heart Nurses Invited to Open House

As the region’s only Magnet hospital, Southern Ohio Medical Center is saving (and warming) hearts using technology and evidence-based procedures scarcely found anywhere else in the country.

Experienced open-heart and critical care nurses are invited to learn more about the very good things happening within our complete line of Heart and Vascular Services during a Heart-Warming Open House from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 in the SOMC Heart Care Unit, 1805 27th St., Portsmouth.

Participants will have the opportunity to tour the department, meet members of the staff and explore all available nursing options.

For more information, please call the SOMC Human Resources Employment Office at 356-6440.

SOMC Home Care Offers New Technology

Southern Ohio Medical Center is helping to provide more tailored, accurate care for home care patients through the new portable Telehealth monitoring system. Pictured using the equipment is 87-year-old patient George Hussey.

Southern Ohio Medical Center is now offering a new, state-of-the-art monitoring system for home care patients that may prevent emergency visits or prolonged hospitalization.

Called Telehealth, the portable machine allows blood pressure, heart rate, weight, pulse oxygen and other trending information to be quickly transmitted each morning directly from the patient’s phone line to the SOMC Home Health nursing facility.

“Prior to this new technology, a home care nurse would have to travel to a patient’s home once a week to check their vital signs,” Karen Thompson, director of SOMC Home Health Services, said. “Now we can easily monitor these statistics on a daily basis, helping us to provide a more tailored and accurate plan of care for our patients and their families.”

Thompson explained that each system can be programmed and tailored to match specific patient needs, tracking and trending information based on the plan of care as requested by their physician.

“The monitors can ask the patient yes or no questions like, ‘Are you having chest pain?’ or ‘Are you feeling dizzy?’ There are over 150 pre-programmed questions that can be used,” she said. “It’s really helpful because it alerts our medical staff of abnormal findings much earlier, often resulting in an intervention of the patient’s treatment and better quality of care.”

Any home care patient can use the Telehealth system, as long as there are no safety or compliance issues. Typical patients who are candidates include: those who have undergone open-heart surgery; those who suffer from congestive heart failure; those with respiratory problems; or those who are medically unstable.

“The monitor has been great and has saved me many trips to the hospital,” said 87-year-old patient George Hussey. “You don’t need much training to use the program and it’s self-sufficient. I can do it by myself.”

“Anyone can do it, young or old. The monitor tells you step by step what to do,” Brent Conley, recent heart care patient and user of the Telehealth program, said. “It only takes a few minutes and if your vital signs are abnormal, a nurse will call to check on you.”

Conley added that the monitors don’t replace the home care nurse, but do help in providing excellent, timelier service.

“I had never been sick, had surgery or been in the hospital until I had a heart attack and found myself on the operating table,” he said. “When you are sick, you can never have too many people caring for you. This new monitoring system reassures me that someone is watching out for me and it’s a wonderful feeling.”

For more information about the Telehealth monitoring system, please call SOMC Home Health Services at 356-5600.

SOMC and SSU Host Annual Nursing Research Day

Nurses, partnered nursing faculty members, and local nursing students are invited to learn about the research being conducted at Southern Ohio Medical Center and Shawnee State University, as well as its universal implications in the field of health care, during this year’s Nursing Research Day event.

The program will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19 at the Friends Community Center and will feature presentations by SOMC nurses and SSU nursing faculty. Breakfast and lunch will be provided and CE’s will be awarded.

Admission is free to SOMC employees and SSU faculty/students. Cost is $25 for regular students and $50 for all others. Group discounts are available.

Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP no later than Oct. 12 by contacting Mary Kate Dilts-Skaggs at ext. 8430 or

SOMC LIFE Center To Host Halloween Zumbafest

The SOMC LIFE Center will host a Halloween Zumbafest at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 29 at the Friends Community Center, 1202 18th Street, Portsmouth.

The event is open to the public at a cost of $5 per person for those without a LIFE Center membership. Members will be admitted free of charge and may bring one guest free of charge. Additional guests are $5 per person. Costumes are optional.

“We hope this event will be as successful as our St. Patrick’s day celebration. All of the Zumba instructors have been working on some ghoulish routines just for this evening. The purpose is to have fun and get a great work out all at the same time,” said Debbie Kielmar, lead group fitness instructor at the SOMC LIFE Center.

Prizes, refreshments and Zumba fitness will provide an evening of fun. For more information, please call the SOMC LIFE Center at 356-7650.

SOMC Hosts Free Breast Cancer Screening

Southern Ohio Medical Center will host a free breast cancer screening from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8 at the SOMC Cancer Center, 1121 Kinney’s Lane, Portsmouth.

The event is open to all local uninsured and underinsured women and is sponsored in part by SOMC, the Fight Cancer…Save Lives Cancer Coalition and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

Registration by appointment is necessary and can be made by calling the SOMC Volunteer Office at 356-8234.

290+ In Annual Run For Your LIFE

More than 290 runners participated in the 32nd annual Run For Your LIFE community races Saturday, Sept. 5, starting at the SOMC LIFE Center.

Overall winners in the 5-K race were Zach Holbert and Maddie McAllister, while overall winners in the 10-K event were Blake Jones and Amy Kline.

5-K winners in each age and gender group included: Male: 1-15, Levi Cook, Daniel Evory, Kyle Johnson; Female: 1-15, Courtney Blanton, Sheridan McLean, Elysia Montgomery; Male: 16-19, Jordan Selby, Dylan Pack, Brady Evans; Female: 16-19, Karissa Adkins, Jasmine Davis, Andrea Benjamin; Male: 20-24, Anthony Webb, Zach Phillips; Female: 20-24, Jodi Smith, Kristy King, Danielle Marion; Male: 25-29, Jason Smith, Aaron Prose, Daniel Waters; Female: 25-29, Cathy Maddox, Caitlin Throckmorton, Amy Conn; Male: 30-34, Greg Young, Brad Vanover, Mike Ashley; Female: 30-34, Lindsey Hamilton, Kat Colley, Angela Greenslate; Male: 35-39, Ken Mantle, Tim Buckle, Jay Risheh; Female: 35-39, Aimee Miller, Stacy Hornikel, Victoria Book; Male: 40-44; Ed Edwards, Brian Shope, John Hall; Female: 40-44, Julie Panzera, Leigh Phillips, Christie Blair; Male: 45-49, Troy Joyce, Roy Smith, Kevin Kammler; Female: 45-49, Sandy Smith, Kim Toland, Pam Shonkwiler; Male: 50-54, Greg Bridgewater, Keith Maddox, Tom Walker; Female: 50-54, Barbara Duncan, Jill Adkins, Peggy Kindinger; Male: 55-59, Frank James, Dean Wray, David Fitch; Female: 55-59, Jackie Journey, Carole Perkins; Male: 60-64, Daniel Ruggiero, Larry Neff, Larry Fitch; Female: 60-64, Betty Neff, Peggy Ruggiero, Kendra Hughes; Male: 65-99, Sonny Mullins, Richard Cielec, John Euton; Female: 65-99, Lois Rase.

10-K winners in each age and gender group included: Male: 16-19, Chase Wittington, Ralph Craft, Casey Whittington; Female: 16-19, Breanna Butler; Male: 20-24, Colton Halverson, Joshua Kelley; Male: 25-29, Kevin Locker, James Spaulding, Derrick Carver; Female: 25-29, Regina Tipton; Male: 30-34, Tom Deck, Jeremy Burnside, Daniel McDonie; Female: 30-34, Angie Welch, Dana Fetters; Male: 35-39, Christopher Delotel, Chris Lowery; Female: 35-39, Andrea Will, Amy Lowery, Jennifer Mault; Male: 40-44, John Austin, John Walsh, Ryan Ramsey; Female: 40-44, Angie Walsh, Melody Messer, Tempest Allen; Male: 45-49, Patrick Whitt, Marty Redden, Gregory Mays; Female: 45-49, Sharon Welsh; Male: 50-54, Greg Malone, Russ Sommers, Mike Marion; Female: 50-54, Regina Clay, Theresa Kline, Sharon Malone; Male: 55-59, Dale Mueller, Mike Thompson, Larry Tieman; Female: 55-59, Becky Thompson; Male: 60-64, Delmar Scowden; Male: 65-99, Kou Liu.

SOMC Relocates Pediatric Services to Emergency Department

Southern Ohio Medical Center takes seriously an obligation to our patients to provide the highest quality of care. For the past 10 years, SOMC has cross-trained nursing staff to care for both adults and pediatrics. This is standard of care for a community our size.

“We want to provide our patients with excellent care at the highest safety standards. We have consulted our pediatricians and have determined that consolidating all pediatric care on the main campus to the Emergency Department, where the majority of our children are seen, makes sense,” said Claudia Burchett, Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer.

SOMC has and will also continue to care for children at the Urgent Care Center and the SOMC Healthcare Center.

SOMC treats approximately 25,000 children in the Emergency Department and Healthcare Center and at the Wheelersburg Urgent Care Center. Malissa Warrick, Nurse Manager of SOMC’s Orthopedic and Family Care Unit said an overwhelming majority of admitted patients were discharged within 24-hours. SOMC’s history and collaboration with Children’s Hospitals has significantly helped SOMC deliver the most appropriate care when needed.

At any point that a treating physician believes that a patient should be admitted as an inpatient, SOMC will arrange for admission to the appropriate unit or upon physician order, transfer to a specialized children’s hospital.

“SOMC physicians can admit patients under the age of 18 to one of our existing inpatient units when appropriate,” Burchett said. “Children that require procedures such as an appendectomy or tonsillectomy, will, as they always have, be cared for by our skilled nursing staff.”

“We have a staff of skilled clinicians who have been treating children for many years. The addition of the observation area will only heighten our focus on our pediatric patients,” said Jason Cheatham, DO, FACEP, Director of Emergency Department Operations at SOMC.

He said the majority of pediatric patients that present to the emergency room are treated and released.

“We truly have an amazing staff who have always been able to determine whether a child needs to be admitted or treated and released,” said George Pettit, MD, FACOG, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at SOMC.

Queen Receives Prestigious Navy Ranking

Mary Queen, medical technologist of the SOMC Microbiology Lab, was recently named one of eight individuals nationwide to receive a promotion as Master Chief Petty Officer, Hospital Corpsman, E9 for the United States Navy Reserve.

In her new role, Queen will gain national responsibility and oversee administration of all personnel assigned to one of the four Operational Health Support Units within the U.S. She also is eligible to become a member of the selection boards responsible for choosing future recipients.

Queen received the prestigious position based on a two-week review of eligible candidates. Only one percent of Navy Reserve members hold the rank of Master Chief Hospital Corpsman and very few are female.

A native of Jackson, Ohio, Queen obtained a Master¹s degree in Health Service Administration from St. Joseph¹s College of Maine. She currently serves as the senior enlisted leader of the Operational Health Support Unit Great Lakes, Detachment C, based in Columbus, Ohio, and the coordinator of the Hospital Corpsman Basic A-School for the Great Lakes, Illinois 22 detachments, which encompass five states.

Queen has served as a member of the Navy Reserves for 20 years and has been an employee of Southern Ohio Medical Center for more than 30 years.

SOMC Brings Wound-Healing Technology Close to Home

The SOMC Wound Healing Center is bringing new technology and therapies to the patients of the tri-state area, helping to reverse the injuries caused by radiation treatment and aid in the prevention of chronic wounds. Pictured with the hyperbaric oxygen chamber are (l to r) Dr. Sonja Lichtenstein, recent patient Charles Canter, and Respiratory Therapist Deanna Potter.

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 64 percent of adults who are newly diagnosed with cancer will still be living in five years. Yet many patients who undergo radiation treatment may discover hidden complications years after beating the disease.

The Wound Healing Center at Southern Ohio Medical Center is offering advancements in cancer-related therapies to help patients reverse these effects.

“Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a relatively new form of treatment that significantly increases the speed at which wounds and injuries heal,” Dr. Sonja Lichtenstein, medical director of the SOMC Wound Healing Center, said. “It is also the only known treatment that can retract delayed radiation damage, often showing improvement or complete resolution in 60 to 80 percent of patients.”

The process works through a pure oxygen chamber that has been pressurized at higher-than-normal atmospheric levels. Patients lie in the chamber for two hours at a time and are able to watch television and relax while the healing process occurs.

“The air pressure inside the chamber is two and a half times greater than normal air pressure, helping the blood carry oxygen to injured organs and tissues more quickly and efficiently,” she explained.

“This type of non-invasive therapy is extremely beneficial for most wounds, and has been particularly helpful to patients suffering from damage of the brain, chest wall, abdomen, pelvis, bladder, intestines or the muscle and soft tissues of the face and throat due to radiation treatment.”

Hyperbaric oxygen also has had some of its most dramatic successes in treating damage to the jaw bone, as was the case with recent Wound Healing Center patient, Charles Canter.

“The pain was awful and I thought it would never heal,” Canter said of his injury. “I had tried every known treatment and nothing had worked. Finally my physician suggested hyperbaric oxygen therapy and told me it could be done within 45-minutes of my home. I immediately jumped at the opportunity.”

Within four two-hour treatments at the center, Canter felt remarkably different, noticing an increase in energy and improvement in pain. By the time his four-weeks of therapy had concluded, Canter’s injury had completely healed.

“The hyperbaric oxygen chamber is close to home while offering superior technology and results,” he said. “Better yet, the staff always made me feel comfortable and did everything they could to help me along my path of recovery. I would recommend SOMC services to anyone in a heartbeat and I thank the staff members of the Wound Healing Center for repairing my life.”

To learn more about the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy or other treatments offered at the SOMC Wound Healing Center, please call 356-8775.