Author Archives: Eric Kephas

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SOMC Introduces Aquablation Therapy for Enlarged Prostates

Southern Ohio Medical Center announced that Aquablation therapy for the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – also known as an enlarged prostate – is now available.


BPH is a non-cancerous condition where the prostate has grown to be larger than normal. 1 in 2 men ages 51 to 60 have BPH, and the incidence increases every decade of life. If left untreated, BPH can cause significant health problems, including irreversible bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones, and incontinence.


Aquablation therapy is a different type of treatment for BPH. It’s an advanced, minimally invasive treatment that uses the power of water delivered with robotic precision to provide best-in-class and long-lasting symptom relief with low rates of irreversible complications, regardless of prostate size or shape.2,3


“We are proud to offer men with BPH a solution that provides relief without compromise,” said Stephen Woolums, MD, SOMC Urologist. “Aquablation therapy is the next step to furthering our commitment to enhancing men’s health services at SOMC.”


Aquablation therapy is performed by the AquaBeam Robotic System, the first FDA-cleared, surgical robot utilizing automated tissue resection or the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms due to BPH. It combines real-time, multi-dimensional imaging, automated robotic technology, and heat-free waterjet ablation technology for targeted, controlled, and immediate removal of prostate tissue. Aquablation therapy offers predictable and reproducible outcomes,     independent of prostate anatomy, prostate size, or surgeon experience.


Aquablation therapy has proven results. In clinical studies, Aquablation therapy has shown to provide both best-in- class and durable symptom relief with low rates of irreversible complications.


A study within the Journal of Sexual Medicine, which surveyed 300 men living with BPH, revealed 92% of respondents expressed an interest in learning more about Aquablation therapy. This data demonstrates the need within the patient population to find relief without the trade off between symptoms and relief side effects.


For more information or to schedule an appointment, call SOMC Urology Associates at 740-356-4URO.

Early detection and decisive action keep Glockner in life’s driver’s seat

There was no reason for Andy Glockner to know there was any issue with his lungs. No pain. No trouble breathing. No symptoms at all. But after having a CT Scan as part of a physical, his doctor saw something that shouldn’t have been there.

“He noticed a nodule on the lower left lobe of my left lung,” Glockner said. At first, neither party thought much of it, but it was later recommended that Glockner have a needle biopsy just to be sure.

“They said, ‘Your lungs are in great shape. Your in great shape. All your bloodwork and everything looks great. We’re 98% it’ll be benign but would you care if we did a needle biopsy?’”

It turned out the nodule was malignant, meaning it was cancerous.

“That’s when I was sent over to Dr. Jeremiah Martin,” Glockner said.

Glockner was lucky. He found the issue early enough that it was still small, and that afforded him options for the treatment. He says Dr. Martin told him they could try to burn the place off his lung, or they could be more aggressive and remove the whole lower left lobe. If they did that, his right lung would be able to compensate for whatever he lost in the left lung. He was also told that, because they caught it so early, radiation and chemotherapy probably wouldn’t be necessary.

“That was a godsend,” Glockner said. “I was one of the lucky ones.”

Glockner opted to handle the problem aggressively and had the lower left lobe of his left lung removed. The results have been great. “I just went last week for a checkup,” Glockner said. “Everything’s clean. He said if it hadn’t come back by now, it probably never will.”

Glockner, who turned 70 earlier this year, said he couldn’t feel better. He also couldn’t be happier with his experience at SOMC.

“Jeremiah’s salt-of-the-Earth. True professional. Dr. Saab, Jeff Ramey, the whole staff… they’re just first-class people. You couldn’t ask for a more professional, down-to-Earth, friendly team. I highly recommend them.”

While Glockner is thrilled with the care he received, he also knows that he benefited greatly from just doing routine checkups so that issues like his could be caught early. Without that, his story might have gone differently, which is something he hopes others can take away from his experience.

“Especially as we age, as we get older, our body starts wearing down,” he said. “I would recommend to everybody that they not put off basic physicals. Do your checkups and listen to your professionals.”

SOMC proves to be a breath of fresh air for patient with emphysema

A year ago, Tammy Craft was on oxygen 24/7 and used a bipap at night. She ran the risk of running out of air just by getting dressed. Now, she works outside with her garden and her flowers. She even has goats who are getting ready to have kids, which should keep her busy into the winter.

So, what changed?

“Dr. Elie Saab recommended I get a zephyr valve,” Tammy said. “I had surgery in March. I came out of surgery, and it was the first time I could take a deep breath. I was so excited I couldn’t sleep for two days.”

Getting to that point was a long process. Tammy says it took around eight months, during which her providers worked to pinpoint her issues. “It’s a long process but I tell everybody, don’t get discouraged,” she said. “They’ve got to check to make sure you’re a good match for it.”

Meanwhile, if Tammy went anywhere, she had to take a portable oxygen tank. Bringing the tank was a hassle by itself, and even then she couldn’t be out for long because the tank would run out. She struggled to do laundry or cook. She often relied on her sister-in-law, who lived with her, to help.

“I couldn’t do anything,” she said. “I was depressed.”

It’s being able to do those little things again that have made the biggest impact on Tammy’s life – which is something that hasn’t gone unnoticed. In fact, she’s become something of a resource for others who are dealing with similar issues.

“I had a guy come here to the house and they had recommended a valve for him,” she said. “He knew I had one and came to talk to me about it. I told him, I would recommend it 100%.”

Not only does she recommend the procedure, she has nothing but praise for the team that performed it.

“Oh my god, they’re awesome,” she said. “I would recommend anybody go to SOMC if they have something pertaining to their lungs or anything.”

Tammy’s experience with Dr. Saab changed her life, to the point that now she says he’s more worried about her arthritis than her emphysema.

“And he’s even treating me for that!” she said.

For more information about lung health services at SOMC, visit

SOMC Opens New Family Practice in Ironton

Southern Ohio Medical Center is opening a new facility in Ironton, SOMC Ironton Family Practice & Specialty Associates.

Featuring providers Amy Huff, FNP-BC and Dawn Watson, CNP, this new facility will provide:

  • Family practice services;
  • Same-day appointments, and;
  • Outpatient lab

It will also offer services such as diabetes management, women’s health screenings and joint injections. Specialty services of cardiology, general surgery and OB/GYN will be offered.

SOMC Ironton Family Practice & Specialty Associates will be open Sunday through Friday, from 8am until 8pm. It is located at 1041 Ironton Hills Drive, Unit B-1 in Ironton, Ohio. This new facility will operate in addition to the existing SOMC Ironton Family Health Center.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 740-442-7300.

SOMC ENT Associates Moving on October 3

SOMC Ent Associates is moving to a new location in the Fulton Building on October 3.

SOMC ENT Associates features Dr. George Shahade, as well as Nurse Practitioner Amy Kilburn and Audiologist Kristie Thacker. The practice focuses on a variety of services, including: both adult and pediatric ENT (ear, nose and throat) issues, tonsillitis, ear infections, chronic sinus problems, throat and voice abnormalities, thyroid disorders, neck masses, as well as dizziness and balance disorders.

SOMC ENT Associates also performs procedure such as tonsillectomy and adernoidectomy, ear surgery (ear tubes and reconstructive), nose and sinus surgery, thyroid, salivary gland, head and neck surgery and laryngeal surgery.

The office is open Mondays through Thursdays from 8am until 4:30pm, and Fridays from 8am until 11:30am. The new location is in Fulton Building, Suite 202 at 1611 27th Street in Portsmouth, Ohio.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 740-356-6836.

SOMC Urology Associates now open and accepting patients

SOMC Urology Associates is now open and accepting patients, with a trio of talented providers: Dr. Stephen Woolums, Certified Nurse Practitioner April Pemberton and Certified Surgical First Assist Haylie Holomb. The office is open Monday through Thursday from 8am until 4:30pm and on Fridays from 8am until 11:30am.

The office offers services for a variety of men’s and women’s health procedures, including:

  • Chronic Prostatitis
  • Interstitial Cytitis
  • Kidney Stone Disease
  • Neurogenic Bladder
  • Overactive Bladder
  • Prostate, Kidney, Bladder and Urological Cancer
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Vaginal and Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Men can also be seen for conditions such as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), erectile dysfunction (ED), Peyronie’s Disease (curvature of the penis) as well as for Testosterone Replacement Therapy.

Some procedures can also be completed in-office, including vasectomy and urolift, bladder and prostate biopsies, cystoscopy/stent removals, as well as intravesical botox for overactive bladders and minimally invasive treatments for benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 740-356-4URO (4876). SOMC Urology Associates is located on SOMC’s Main Campus at 1735 27th Street in Waller Building Suite 308.

SOMC Hospice Memorial Ride Set for July 30

The 2022 SOMC Hospice Memorial Ride is scheduled to take place on July 30. Registration for the ride begins at 11am in the parking lot of the SOMC Friends/LIFE Center, and riders will depart at noon.

The event was created in memory of motorcycle enthusiast and hospice patient Ricky Bryan.

Proceeds support the SOMC Hospice Caritas Fund, which supports both hospice patients and their families in their time of need. It has been used to provide everything from day-to-day necessities, such as groceries, to fulfilling end-of-life wishes.

The cost to participate is $20, plus $5 for any additional passengers. Hospice Memorial Ride T-shirts will be available for purchase on Monday, July 25, and Tuesday, July 26, from 7 am to 2 pm in the SOMC Main Campus Lobby. T-shirts will be $20 each and available in adult sizes small to 4XL.

For more information about the Memorial Ride or the Caritas Fund, please visit

SOMC opens new office focusing on podiatric care

Southern Ohio Medical Center is now accepting patients at the new SOMC Podiatry Associates, located at 1611 27th Street, Portsmouth in Suite 303 of the Fulton Building. Podiatry is a specialty that focuses on problems that affect a patient’s feet or lower legs.

SOMC Podiatry Associates features Dr. Darby Wehrley, a physician specializing in foot surgery and podiatric medicine. Dr. Wehrley received a Doctorate of Podiatric Medicine from Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland. He also completed a Residency in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at the Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Dayton. He is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Wound Management.

To schedule an appointment at SOMC Podiatric Associates, please call 740-356-FOOT (3668). Dr. Wehrley is also seeing patients at the SOMC Wound Healing Center. For more information about these services, please contact the Wound Center at 740-356-8775.

SOMC Earns an ‘A’ Safety Grade From Leapfrog

Southern Ohio Medical Center received an “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for fall 2021. This national distinction recognizes SOMC’s achievements in protecting patients from harm and error in the hospital.

“This recognition is a testament to the work of high-performing teams throughout the organization who put the patient at the center of all they do,” SOMC President and CEO Ben Gill said. “To achieve this distinction is a great honor, and I am incredibly proud of those who made it possible.”

The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization, assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” grade to general hospitals across the country based on over thirty national performance measures reflecting errors, injuries, accidents and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harms to patients. The grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Grades are updated twice annually, in the fall and spring.

“An ‘A’ Safety Grade is a tremendous achievement, of which this community should be extremely proud,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “I thank the leadership and workforce of SOMC for its commitment to prioritizing patients and their safety, especially during these trying times.”

To see SOMC’s full grade details and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit and follow The Leapfrog Group on Twitter and Facebook.


About The Leapfrog Group
Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey and new Leapfrog Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Survey collect and transparently report hospital and ASC performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

12-Year-Old Asks To Be Vaccinated for Her Birthday

On Lucy Roy’s 12th birthday, she found herself asking for something she never would have imagined a few years ago: She asked to get a shot.

Specifically, she wanted to get the COVID vaccine.

“I was ready to turn 12 so I could get mine,” she said. “I just want life to get back to normal and the only way to do that is for people to be vaccinated.”

In the early stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 was a virus that’s impact seemed reserved for those who were older or had complicating health factors. With the spread of new variants, such as the Delta variant, that is no longer the case. It’s becoming more common for children to be infected – and sadly more are even ending up in the hospital.

According to the American Association of Pediatrics, children now comprise 15% of all COVID infections in the United States. Last month, the country hit a record high as 1,900 children were hospitalized with COVID.

Meanwhile, although breakthrough cases are possible the data suggests that being vaccinated does decrease your odds of infection. It also offers significant protection from being hospitalized or dying. That isn’t why Lucy wanted to be vaccinated on her birthday, though. She did it because she was worried about others.

“I want to protect my family and friends from COVID. I want to visit my grandparents and hug them,” she said. “I’m ready for COVID to end.”

At just 12-years-old, Lucy feels like she’s watched her world stop as a result of the pandemic. Her fifth grade graduation, a milestone celebrating her last year in elementary school, was canceled and her first year as a middle schooler was mostly virtual. She’s glad to be back in an actual classroom this year, especially after receiving her first dose of the vaccine.

COVID still looms over a lot of things in her life – for example, a recent volleyball game was canceled because her opponent was quarantined – but being vaccinated lets her breathe a little easier and offers a sense of normalcy.

Vaccinations probably weren’t at the top of many 12-year-old’s birthday lists a few years ago, but good health and peace of mind are worthy gifts at any age.

COVID vaccines are currently available for everyone 12 and older. SOMC offers vaccinations without an appointment at its community pharmacies in Portsmouth, Wheelersburg and West Union. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit

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