Monthly Archives: April 2009

Pick Up for Scioto Guild Flower Sale May 3rd and 4thPosted on April 30, 2009

Community members who placed orders through the SOMC Scioto Guild Flower Sale may pick up their purchases from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 3 and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, May 4 at the Friends Community Center, 18th St., Portsmouth.

Through the flower sale and other annual fundraisers, members of the Scioto Guild (part of the Friends of Southern Ohio Medical Center) raise money to benefit the SOMC Breast Center and other organizational projects. Most recently, the guild helped to purchase communication boards for every patient room of the hospital (shown above).

For more information about the pick up, please call SOMC Volunteer Services at 356-8234.

Free Skin Cancer Screening May 7 At SOMC’s Cancer CenterPosted on April 30, 2009

Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Cancer Center will host a free skin cancer screening on May 7, at 4 p.m.

Volunteers from the Fight Cancer…Save Lives Cancer Coalition will assist physicians and nurses at the Cancer Center during the screening.

“Some cancers never cause symptoms or become life threatening. A screening is a proactive way to remain in touch with your health.  A screening test may find something that may be able to be treated early with much better outcomes,” said Sharon Carver, RN, Community and Health and Wellness Nurse.

Carver explained that some skin cancers may be related to over exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

“Most skin cancers appear after age 50, but the sun’s damaging effects begin at an early age,” Carver continued. “Exposure to UV rays from sunlight or tanning beds is the most common and easily preventable cause of skin cancer. Therefore, protection should start in early childhood to prevent skin cancer later in life.”

The risk of skin cancer is greatest for people who have fair skin that freckles easily. Frequently these are people with red or blond hair and blue eyes, Carver added.

Anyone who spends a majority of their time, either at work or at home, outdoors, exposed to the sun, should consider a skin cancer screening.

“Where you live can also be a risk,” Carver said. “People who live in areas where there are high levels of UV radiation from the sun are at greater risk of getting skin cancer.”

Appointments may be made by calling the SOMC Volunteer Office at (740) 356-8234. There are a limited number of appointments available. This event is free and open to the public on a first-come basis.

SOMC, SSU Nursing Students Provide Blood Pressure Checks For TeensPosted on April 29, 2009

Nurses from Southern Ohio Medical Center and students from the Shawnee State University Bachelor of Science in Nursing program recently visited seven area high schools to provide a Teen Heart Check of blood pressures.

“The screenings help identify high blood pressure in teens.  We then notify the school of those students who were at high risk so that the school nurses may provide follow-up readings after the initial screening,” said Judy Hamer, R.N., a nurse at SOMC who coordinated the event. Parents or guardians of the teens are also notified per letter if their child was screened as high-risk.

Any student with a reading above 139 systolic or 89 diastolic was asked to repeat the screening at the school. These standards are based on national goals set by National Institutes of Health. Local screening has revealed that a significant number of high school students have an initial blood pressure reading of 140/90 or higher.

Teens are educated on products that may cause high blood pressure such as caffeine, high-energy drinks, sodas, tobacco use, etc.  The teens are asked to eliminate such products from their diet prior to their next screening with the school nurse to determine if their high blood pressures are a result from using these products or if a more serious condition exists.

Schools participating in the program are Wheelersburg, Washington Nile, Glenwood, Green, Minford and South Webster.

New Cancer Treatment Room at SOMC Shines With Images of NaturePosted on April 29, 2009

  • When you open the door to the high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy treatment room at Southern Ohio Medical Center, you might think you have stepped into a garden. The walls shine with the images of birds and butterflies, flowers and trees, blue sky with white clouds. There’s even a small structure that looks like a child’s playhouse.

    The structure is actually a lead booth where patients receive one of the newest radiation treatments for cancer. The room itself is one of the most unique in the United States.

    SOMC’s Cancer Center was the first facility in the country to utilize an HDR Tx Booth, a lead-lined unit which is placed inside a normal room and used for HDR radiation treatments. The concept is unique because the entire room does not have to be lead-lined, according to Wendi Waugh, R.T. (R)(T) CMD CTR, administrative director of the Cancer Center.

  • In HDR brachytherapy, a highly radioactive source is placed at the site of a patient’s cancer. This treatment is primarily used with breast, lung, skin and gynecological cancer patients. The source, which is no larger than a grain of rice, is left in the body five to 10 minutes. Because the treatment involves use of radioactive materials, the procedure must take place in a lead-lined location.

    The room grew out of what Waugh termed a long-time need for HDR brachytherapy in the community. “We had one normal-sized lead-lined room but needed another one for the HDR brachytherapy treatments. We looked at building a second room but that was not making sense economically.”

    At the same time Waugh was looking for a solution to her problem, Tom Rhea, a physicist with Advanced Physics Solutions in Franklin, Tn., was looking for a customer for a small lead booth he’d designed for HDR brachytherapy treatments.

  • The mural on the room’s wall and the painted booth add to the facility’s uniqueness, Waugh said.

    “I’m being nice when I say it (the booth) looked like a building you’d put a lawnmower in,” Waugh added with a laugh. When the unit arrived at the Cancer Center, “It was a functional lead box. We have a beautiful center here and this did not meet our standards. We wanted a warm, comfortable, inviting area for our patients.”

    Franklin Furnace Artist Keiva Jenkins worked on the room and booth in stages over a 10-day period.

  • The booth, which weighs approximately 23,000 pounds, arrived in pieces in November 2008, and was assembled inside the treatment room. It’s about the size of a child’s playhouse with interior measurements of 7’4” long by 4’6” wide by 5’ high. The unit has interior lighting, piped-in music, a camera and intercom monitoring system and forced air ventilation.

    “It’s inviting and it gives patients a calm, serene and open atmosphere during treatment,” said Waugh.

    For more information on HDR Brachytherapy, visit Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Cancer Center on the web at

    SOMC Nurses celebrate through givingPosted on April 27, 2009

    Southern Ohio Medical Center will take part in the nation’s celebration of highlighting nurses with a little different angle this year. Rather than celebrating for themselves, nurses at SOMC have challenged one another to give back to the community in which they serve.

    “We have always shown our appreciation for our nurses at SOMC through small gifts or celebrations throughout the organization. This year, because of the economic state of our nation, our nurses wanted to take their caring a step further by giving back to our community,” said Claudia Burchett, RN BSN MBA FACHE NEA-BC VP Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer.

    This year, SOMC nurses have developed “SOMC Nurses Giving Back”, a system-wide campaign to donate to an organization of their choice during National Nurses Week.

    “Our areas chose the Domestic Violence Shelter,” said Jason Ross, RN, Nurse Manager of Emergency Services at SOMC. “We came to this decision as a team (including the Wheelersburg Urgent Care Center and the SOMC Health Care Center) and really felt like we could make a difference in community by doing so. It is a good feeling to know that not only can we touch the lives of those who come through our doors, but also those who we may never see.”

    Nurses from all areas of the hospital have chosen various organizations in which to give and will be collecting items through the end of this month. Donations will be distributed during National Nurses Week, May 6-12.

    May 3 Poker Run to Benefit SOMC HospicePosted on April 23, 2009

    The First SOMC Hospice Poker Run, a motorcycle ride to benefit the Southern Ohio Medical Center Hospice, will be held May 3 at the hospital’s East Campus.

    The ride is in memory of Ricky Bryan, an SOMC Hospice patient and avid motorcycling enthusiast who passed away in March. It also will honor all bike riders who have been hospice patients.

    Bryan began planning the ride before his death because he wanted to give back to hospice, according to Loren Hardin, a social worker with hospice. Hospice often helps families of patients and had purchased Christmas gifts for Bryan’s grandchildren.

    “It touched Ricky so much,” Hardin added. “He said, ‘I want to pay you back for what you’ve done for us.’ That’s how it all started.”

    Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the ride will leave from the parking lot on SOMC’s East Campus at 11 a.m. Riders will be led by Bryan’s 1995 Harley-Davidson Sportster. The bike will be put on a trailer and Bryan’s riding boots will be placed backwards on the motorcycle’s foot pegs in memory of him. May 3 would have been Bryan’s 53rd birthday.

    Cost to participate is $15 for a single rider or $20 for two people on one bike. The route is approximately 90 miles with two stops along the way.

    Included in the registration fee is a late lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs donated by Life Ambulance. The Don’s of Portsmouth will perform from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The community is invited to stop by and enjoy the music. Those not riding may purchase lunch for a $5 donation to hospice. There also will be a 50/50 drawing with all proceeds to hospice.

    All cards will be drawn prior to the ride. When the ride returns, participants will have the option of purchasing three additional cards for $1 each. Winner of the best hand will receive a one-night stay at the lodge at Shawnee State Park. There also will be other prizes awarded. Ride t-shirts will be available for sale.

    Anyone wishing to pre-register for the ride may stop by the SOMC Hospice office, 2201 25th St., Portsmouth, and pick up a registration form or click here to download one. More information is available by calling hospice at (740) 356-2567 or (800) 779-7902. The ride will proceed rain or shine.

    SOMC Recognized As A Fit-Friendly Company by the American Heart AssociationPosted on April 23, 2009

    Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) has been named a Gold Level Start! Fit Friendly Company by the American Heart Association. This is the second year SOMC had earned the recognition.

    The award is given to companies that demonstrate a commitment to promoting exercise and good nutrition in the workplace. To reach the gold level, a company must meet certain criteria including offering employees physical activity support, increasing healthy eating options at work and promoting a wellness culture.

    According to the American Heart Association website, the Start! Fit Friendly program is designed promote positive change in businesses by recognizing companies that create a culture of physical activity in the workplace.

    This year 962 business have been named Start! Fit Friendly Companies.

    Easter Egg Hunt Raises Funds for PediatricsPosted on April 21, 2009

    The Coterie Guild, a guild of the Friends of Southern Ohio Medical Center, held its annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 6. Nearly 400 children and adults attended the event, which is part of fundraising activities by the guild for the pediatric unit of SOMC.

    “The event was a huge success,” said Amanda Nickel, who serves as vice president of Coterie. “It’s wonderful to be able to offer an egg hunt and party for the community as well as help children who have been hospitalized.”

    In addition to the women of Coterie, volunteers for the event included students from Portsmouth High School National Honor Society, Minford High School and The Portsmouth River Days Pageant contestants.

    Sponsors included Carbon Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), Asa Jewett (Edward Jones), Penn Station, Resort Rental International, Trinadad Orthopedics, Dean Knittel, Memorial Burial Park, Gabby’s, Hattie Beasleys, Star Inc., Jeff Book for Mayor, Bob & Floyds, The Scioto Voice, Brant Funeral Home and Studio 1 Photography.

    The Coterie Guild, in its 62nd year, has purchased special beds for the neonatal unit, fold-out chairs for Dads and others in the maternity rooms, gowns for newborns, sibling gifts, DVD and VCR players for the pediatric unit, toys, crayons, games and coloring books.

    Pleasure Guild donates to SOMC Women and Children’s Care UnitPosted on April 17, 2009

    The Pleasure Guild, a guild of the Friends of Southern Ohio Medical Center, presented a check for $5,000 to President and CEO Randy Arnett during the annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon April 14. The funds were raised through the guilds sales and activities throughout the community and will be used toward the purchase of pediatric security monitors. Presenting the check to Mr. Arnett were guild members Georgeann Bussey and Alice Noel.

    SOMC Surgeon Named to Wound Care PanelPosted on April 16, 2009

    Dr. Sonja Lichtenstein, M.D., director of the Southern Ohio Medical Center Wound Healing Center, has been named a regional delegate for the American Professional Wound Care Association (APWCA).

    As a member of APWCA’s House of Delegates, Lichtenstein will provide assistance to others in the organization. She also will be involved in educating APWCA members about new developments in wound care and updated health insurance procedures.

    Lichtenstein received her medical degree from the State University of New York at Syracuse and completed her training at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. She is board-certified in general surgery.

    APWCA, a national non-profit organization, established the House of Delegates to make the organization more available to its members at the grassroots level. APWCA is dedicated to decreasing the rate of complications from all wounds including acute, chronic, post-surgical, post-radiation and reconstructive. Its headquarters are in Richboro, Pa.

    • More information
    • (740) 356-5000