Yearly Archives: 2007

Notre Dame Students Decorate Quilt For Hospice PatientPosted on June 11, 2007

Students in Wanda Dengel’s class at Notre Dame Elementary School recently presented Hospice patient Gary Hall (seated at left) with a quilt and greeting cards during a visit to the SOMC Hospice Center. Mrs. Dengel’s classes have presented a Hospice patient with greetings and a quilt for four consecutive years. Pictured are Hall, Dengel and the students with the quilt, along with Hospice staff members Patty Hayward and Susan Goins.

SOMC’s Virtual Technology Used In Knee ReplacementsPosted on June 11, 2007

Southern Ohio Medical Center is the first hospital in the area to bring greater precision to knee replacements through new virtual technology.

“By creating reference points on the bone and tracking natural movement prior to replacing the knee, we can create a virtual replica of the patient’s range of motion,” orthopaedic surgeon Gerardo Trinidad, MD, explains.

“With the model on screen in front us while we position the new joint, we can more accurately recreate the natural position and movement of the original knee.”

Using orthopaedic navigation technology created by Stryker, the surgeon moves an instrument within a patient’s joint, the infrared sensors calculate its position and smart wireless instruments instantaneously transfer the data to a computer in the operating room.

This information is then displayed as an interactive model of the anatomy or “blueprint” that supplies the surgeon with the optimum angles, lines and measurements needed to align the implant within the patient.

“This is like a global positioning system (GPS) to provide greater precision for the surgeon,” Dr. Trinidad explains. “Precise alignment is an important factor that may reduce joint wear and extend the life of the implant. Use of the system has many potential benefits including improved joint stability and range of motion.”

Dr. Trinidad has been on staff at SOMC since 1999, has performed thousands of knee replacements and is referenced in a new medical textbook on knee procedures, “Minimally Invasive Total Joint Arthroplasty.” He finds the technology an exciting new development in orthopaedics.

“The future of orthopaedic surgery will definitely include more of this approach,” he says. “Using technology like this to provide a precise virtual map of a patient’s orthopaedic anatomy will lead to procedures with smaller incisions, less trauma to tissue and greater precision in joint repair and replacement.”

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) about 500,000 hip and knee replacement procedures are performed annually in the United States. This figure is expected to increase as the population ages and arthritis affects more people. Currently, more than 70 million Americans suffer from some form of this degenerative disease.

SOMC’s Occupational Therapists Helping Patients Overcome ChallengesPosted on June 7, 2007

For many, therapy after an injury or illness has become a commonly known step in healing. The Occupational Therapy staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Rehabilitation Services helps patients overcome this great challenge to lead more rewarding lives.

“When my therapy came to an end, it’s odd, but I was honestly sad to be finished,” recent patient David Malone says.“The team became like a family to me and I’m so thankful for all the encouragement and support they provided to get me where I am today.”

The SOMC Occupational Therapy program helps patients regain movement throughout their bodies and also helps return them to the normalcy of everyday life.

“Occupational therapy doesn’t mean helping you in ways that only affect your ability to work,” Mandy Meeker, occupational therapist at SOMC, said. “It really means helping you be able to do things that occupy your life, like getting dressed, writing a letter, socializing or even golfing.”

When Malone started experiencing severe discomfort in his left shoulder in early 2005, he thought it was nothing serious and that the pain would soon go away. “The pain definitely didn’t go away,” he says. “It got to the point where it hurt to even lift my arm, so I went to the doctor to find out what was wrong.”

After an examination, it was determined that Malone was suffering from a severe rotator cuff tear – an injury that often leaves patients unable to complete even the easiest of daily activities. Because of the severity of Malone’s injury, he underwent a total of four surgeries in both his arms over a period of two years.

To increase his ability to use his arms and shoulders after surgery, Malone was ordered to complete six-week sessions of occupational therapy. Malone’s sessions took place three times a week in increasing increments as his ability to use his arms improved.

“We had Dave use a variety of activities including stretching, medicine ball activities and various levels of strengthening exercises to assist him in returning to his prior functional status,” Meeker said. “It was a lot of work, but he stayed with it, and now he’s able to do all the things he loved to do before his surgery.”

The SOMC Rehabilitation Services staff provides assistance to a variety of inpatients and outpatients, including those suffering from back and shoulder problems, neck injuries, arthritis, sprains, stroke and work-related injuries.

“We see various types of orthopedic injuries such as rotator cuff injuries, upper body nerve impingements, fractures and repetitive movement syndromes,” Meeker said. “We also treat patients with lymphedema, urinary incontinence, neurological disorders and in pediatrics.”

SOMC has Rehabilitation offices located in Portsmouth, Lucasville and Wheelersburg. To learn more about the program’s services call 740-356-7554.

SOMC Receives Patriot AwardPosted on June 7, 2007

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently received the Patriotic Employer Award, issued by the National Committee for Employer support of the Guard and Reserves. SOMC received the award for supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force. Brian Bradley, husband of Kim Bradley, Health Care Center staff member, nominated SOMC for the prestigious award after Kim’s work hours were adjusted to allow her to care of her family while Brian was serving in the armed forces. Displaying the award are, from left, Mary Kate Skaggs, Director of Emergency Services; Kim Bradley, HCC; Kathy Lute, Nurse Manager, HCC; Randy Arnett, President and CEO of SOMC; Alberta Penn, HCC; Mary Lou Castle, HCC, and Dawn Wisner, Registration.

SOMC Rehab: Learn About Stroke Before It StrikesPosted on June 7, 2007

The staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center encourages community members to learn about the risk of stroke before it strikes.

“The longer it takes to receive medical treatment during a stroke, the more brain damage a person tends to have,” Regina Keller, nurse manager of Inpatient Rehab at SOMC, said. “That’s why it’s so important to act immediately and call 911 if you think you may be dealing with any symptom associated with stroke.”

A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain, caused by blocked arteries or broken blood vessels. This causes brains cells to die, leading to brain damage and the loss of speech, movement and/or memory.

Warning symptoms include a numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; trouble speaking or confusion and lack of understanding; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance and coordination; and severe headache with no known cause.

“Fewer than one in five people can recognize the warning signs that suggest a stroke is about to occur,” Keller said. “Most of the patients we treat have no idea that what was happening to them was out of the ordinary until it was too late.”

Stroke can occur due to any number of factors including age, gender and a previous family history of the disease. High blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate and diabetes also increase the likelihood of experiencing a stroke.

In the case of 58-year-old Glenda Powell, even months after her Jan. 10 battle with the disease, she’s still not aware of the symptoms she suffered prior to her attack.

“She was working at the VA Clinic in Chillicothe when it happened,” Amy Powell, Glenda’s daughter and Inpatient Rehab nurse at SOMC, said. “Some of the staff found her lying on the floor by the stairs and immediately called to get help.”

After rushing Glenda to the hospital, it was determined that she had suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel bursts inside the brain. This releases blood, damaging nearby tissue and causing a severe amount of damage.

Powell says she was told her mother may never wake up, let alone walk or talk again. But after months of inpatient rehab and strength training exercises at SOMC, Glenda has regained her ability to speak and move and will be going home at the end of this month.

“She can’t walk on her own, but she’s definitely capable of talking, eating and all the things they thought she’d never do again,” Powell said. “Things may never be as perfect as they were before the stroke, but we’re hopeful that with patience and practice, it’ll continue to get there.”

Belinda Diles, unit program director of Inpatient Rehab at SOMC, says the inpatient rehab staff also has set personal goals to continue the stroke education and training they have been receiving over the past year.

“We want to provide our patients with the resources they need after suffering a stroke,” Diles said. “In learning more about stroke awareness, we hope to further the quality care we provide to our patients, as well as our path to becoming the leading provider of stroke rehabilitation services in our area.” For more information on stroke awareness, visit

Schoettle Receives Notre Dame Student’s Artwork For New OfficePosted on June 7, 2007

Pediatrician Dr. Rebecca Schoettle (left) recently accepted a donated piece of artwork from Notre Dame High School Junior Kyla Curnutte (right) and Notre Dame Art Instructor Anissa Harr, to help decorate her office. Dr. Schoettle relocated to Suite 201, Medical Office Building C on the SOMC Main Campus, and had to leave behind several wall murals in her former office that were created by other students in Harr’s earlier Notre Dame classes. Harr plans to have students work on additional artwork for Dr. Schoettle’s office in the coming school year.

Local Runners Support Steven’s Hope FundPosted on June 7, 2007

Ten of the local runners who participated in the Flying Pig Marathon May 6 in Cincinnati comprised a “Team Steven” group, raising funds for the Steven’s Hope Fund. The fund was established in honor of the late Steven Hunter, a Portsmouth native committed to community service, civic duty and a strong faith. The runners collectively raised more than $11,000 for the fund established by his parents, Mark and Virgie Hunter. The fund will be used to establish a perpetual fund for the benefit of students who attend Portsmouth High School and have financial needs. For more information including a donation form, visit Shown at the marathon are runners (from left) Tim Cyrus, Mark Hunter, Mike Gampp, Greg Malone, Rick Clark, Jon Clark, Samantha Austin and Mark Austin (not pictured, runners Rue Sanders and Jennifer Hatcher).

Coterie Officers ElectedPosted on June 7, 2007

The Coterie Guild has announced officers for the coming year. The voluntary group works to support the Pediatrics Department of Southern Ohio Medical Center through fund-raising activities. Shown are (back row, l-r): Bobbi Sammons, publicist; Lanita Warner, corresponding secretary; Brande Charles, treasurer; Jackie Weber-Johnson, recording secretary; Danielle Brooks, Coterie Cooks chair; Julie Sanders-Johnson, co-president; front (l-r): Kelly Carter, vice-president; Jaime Madden, second vice-president; Jill Preston, co-president.

Genetic Testing For Skin Cancer Available at SOMCPosted on May 16, 2007

Like some cancers, family history plays a part in risk for skin cancer. Li-Fen Chang L. Chang, MD, PhD, FACRO, Senior Medical Director for Radiation Oncology at Southern Ohio Medical Center, says everyone should be aware that family history is very important in determining risk for developing certain skin cancers.

“By accurately identifying a genetic predisposition for skin cancer it is possible to take steps to reduce the risk, detect it at an early stage and possibly prevent it,” Dr. Chang says. The number of melanoma cases diagnosed in the United States has risen annually, with more than 54,000 new cases diagnosed each year, and according to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, comprising nearly half of all cancers diagnosed.

Genetic testing for skin cancer is available at the SOMC Cancer Center. For more information on the process call Heather Ashley, 356-7490.

“Like all cancers, early detection is critical,” Dr. Chang explains. “When diagnosed at a localized stage, most cutaneous melanomas can be cured through surgical excision. However, once the tumor has metastasized the prognosis is poor.”

Approximately 10 percent of all melanoma cases are hereditary, approximately the same percentage of breast cancer that is hereditary. A gene known as p16 accounts for the majority of known genetic causes of inherited melanoma cases.

Some important facts from recent studies: individuals who carry inherited p16 mutations are at a 50 percent risk to develop melanoma by age 50 and a 76 percent risk to develop melanoma by age 80. In addition, some p16 mutation carriers have up to a 17 percent risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Melanoma associated with inherited p16 mutations develops at a significantly early age compared to the general population. The average age of diagnosis for mutation carriers in the United States is approximately 35 years compared to 57 years for sporadic melanoma patients.

Anyone to whom one of the following applies should consider a genetic evaluation by their doctor or specialist: two or more diagnoses of primary melanoma in an individual or family; melanoma and pancreatic cancer in an individual or family; or relatives of a patient with a confirmed p16 inherited mutation.

Also, anyone at greater risk should have a clinical examination each year, beginning at age 10; limit exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation (such as in some tanning beds); wear protective clothing outside and use a sun screen of at least SPF 15.

SOMC Helps Area Native On Lance Armstrong Running TeamPosted on May 15, 2007

Chad Thompson with SOMC Cancer Center staff

Staff of the SOMC Cancer Center recently presented Chad Thompson with a donation of $2,000 toward his charity run in the ING New York City Marathon. The event will take place Nov. 4, 2007.

Thompson, a Wheelersburg native, was chosen by the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) in March as one of eight participants worldwide to run as a representative of the organization.

“I originally visited the LAF web site to learn more about purchasing the yellow wristbands for cancer awareness,” Thompson said. “But then I saw the page encouraging people to sign-up to be charity runners, so I did.”

The LAF was founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist, Lance Armstrong, and inspires and empowers people living with cancer. This year, the LAF has teamed with the World Marathon Majors to grant limited charity spots to athletes who would like to participate in the elite races to raise money to fight cancer.

Thompson says he never expected to actually be chosen as a runner for the organization, but is honored to be picked from so many entries. He is dedicating his run to his father, as well as other close family and friends who have recently been diagnosed with cancer.

“My goal in completing this marathon is to make all of those currently battling cancer, who have lost a loved one to cancer and who have donated on my behalf, proud,” Thompson said. “It is a tremendous honor to be chosen to represent such a large organization and to run on behalf of so many people.”

As a runner in the LAF Livestrong Army, Thompson must raise a minimum of $3,500 to be eligible to compete in the race, but says he has upped his goal to $10,000 to challenge himself even further.

“Knowing that I’m running in memory of so many people is already motivational, but to raise that much money would be even better,” Thompson said. “The race might be 26-miles long, and I know I’ll be hurting and struggling through it, but when I think of what all those battling cancer have gone through, it makes it even more encouraging to finish.”

For more information on LAF, or to donate toward Thompson’s fund, visit Credit cards are acceptable and all donations are tax deductible. To make a donation by check, please send an e-mail to

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