Yearly Archives: 2009

SOMC Cancer Center Brings Disease Awareness to Local StudentsPosted on June 9, 2009

The Cancer Center at Southern Ohio Medical Center recently opened its doors to local students to bring a greater understanding and awareness of the disease, its treatments and its preventive measures to the youth of the community.

“Earlier this year, we sent letters to all area guidance counselors, inviting students to visit the center for a special one-on-one tour and day of learning,” Kelly Lawson, clinical manager of SOMC Oncology Services, said. “Multiple schools responded to the offer and so far we’ve probably conducted six tours to around 200 students.”

Alice Spriggs, third grade teacher at Northwest Elementary School, said she eagerly jumped on the invitation, noting that the tour was the perfect opportunity to give her students a better grasp of the disease.

“Last year we had a student who was diagnosed with cancer, and now-a-days there are so many with family members who are suffering from it,” she said. “My students wanted to know what they could do to help, which is why we wanted to visit the center and hear first-hand from the employees who work there everyday.” 

Lawson explained that during the tour, students are able to learn specifics about many different types of cancer and the therapies and treatments that may be associated which each.

“We try to gear the visit toward the group’s specific age so they can gain the most from the experience,” she said.

“For one eighth grade group, we talked a lot about lung cancer prevention and showed them X-rays of the disease in hopes of keeping them from smoking. With the younger kids, we focus on lighter, but relevant topics, like wearing sunscreen to prevent skin cancer and eating balanced diets and exercising to stay healthy.”

Students also have the chance to ask questions and learn answers to topics that may previously have seemed frightening, such as hair loss, length of hospitalization and painfulness of treatment.

“The visit really put things in a different perspective and was very worthwhile,” Spriggs said. “It also helped my students learn that, while cancer is a terrible disease, it does not always mean death and there are things that can be done to prevent it. We thank the Cancer Center for their kindness and enthusiasm and look forward to bringing students back next year.”

Adams receives board certificationPosted on June 1, 2009

Darren Adams, DO, recently received board certification from the American Osteopathic Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology is an independent, non-profit organization that certifies obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States and is one of 24 specialty boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Dr. Adams received his medical degree from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUCOM) and completed his training at O’Bleness Hospital. He specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Adams is located on the Main Campus of Southern Ohio Medical Center, Fulton Building, Suite 302. To schedule an appointment, call 353-2023.

Anesthesiologist Subbanna Welcomed At SOMCPosted on May 20, 2009

Shashidhar Subbanna, MD, a physician specializing in anesthesiology, has been welcomed to the medical staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center. Dr. Subbanna received his medical degree from Kastuba Medical College, India. He completed residency training in anesthesiology and pain management at the University of Cincinnati. He also completed fellowships in pain management and anesthesiology critical care from the University of Cincinnati and Johns Hopkins Hospital, respectively. He is board certified in anesthesiology. Dr. Subbanna can be reached at 1805 27th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio 45662 or by calling 356-8231.

Seminar to Focus on Hyperbaric TherapyPosted on May 19, 2009

More than five million Americans suffer from chronic wounds that will not heal. Understanding the overall care of wound healing techniques opens doors to options that may speed the healing process for many patients. Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Wound Healing Center will offer clinical personnel the opportunity to learn more about these techniques during a free educational seminar. The Management of Problem Wounds and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy will be held June 3 at the Friends Community Center at 6 p.m. Dinner will be provided by The Wharf Restaurant. A RSVP is required. “We receive referrals from physicians all across the region who often ask us about various techniques and processes we have in place to aid in their patient’s specific needs,” said Neva Moore, program director at the SOMC Wound Healing Center. “One such treatment, our hyperbaric oxygen therapy system, has both clinical and economic advantages for use. We wanted to give clinicians the opportunity to learn more about this system, so we are offering this free seminar.” Robert Bartlett, MD, FPWCA, UHM, FACEP, senior medical advisor for the National Healing Corporation will serve as the guest speaker for the event. “Dr. Bartlett is very well known in the physician community and brings a wealth of knowledge about the hyperbaric process,” said Moore, “he has several years of experience dealing with wound healing.” Moore said Bartlett will focus on the hyperbaric oxygen therapy, but will also touch on the various types of wound healing techniques. “Those in attendance will get a well-rounded feel for the various treatments that are offered for the various wounds we take care of,” she said. The SOMC Wound Healing Center offers treatments for several forms of ulcers, bone infections, tears and lacerations, radiation burns, post-operation wounds and infections and failed or compromised skin grafts. For more information on this program or to RSVP, call the SOMC Wound Healing Center at 356-8775.

Anesthesiologist Wang Welcomed At SOMCPosted on May 12, 2009

Jun Wang, MD, PhD, a physician specializing in anesthesiology, has been welcomed to the medical staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center. Dr. Wang received his medical degree from Nantong Medical College. He completed his residency training in anesthesiology at the Cleveland Clinic. He is board certified in anesthesiology. Dr. Wang can be reached at 1805 27th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio 45662 or by calling 356-8231.

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

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