Does your cell phone go everywhere you do? That’s great, but is it picking up germs along the way? WBOC investigated with the help of the Peninsula Regional Medical Center’s lab. Watch and learn – and remember, hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of infections!
Category Archives: Health News & Studies
Close to 400 people came out and enjoyed a mile walk around the Riverwalk in downtown Salisbury to celebrate National Employee Health and Fitness Day on May 15, 2013. This was the 13th annual Walk at Lunch event sponsored by PRMC, Wicomico County Board of Education, Wicomico County Health Department, Wicomico County Parks and Recreation, WBOC, the YMCA and members of the WEFC (Wicomico Executive Fitness Council).
All walkers received an insulated lunch bag donated by the PRMC Foundation and the Guerrieri Heart & Vascular Institute.
Thank you to all those who participated!
Mark Edney, MD, a Salisbury urologist, Chief of Surgery and one of the surgical founders of the Peninsula Institute of Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery at Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC), will testify in Washington, DC on Tuesday, May 21 before the United States House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Subcommittee on Health.
Dr. Edney is leading the American Urological Association’s (AUA) effort to obtain passage of House Bill 984, the “Urotrauma Bill.” The bill requests the establishment of an inter-agency task force of the Department of Defense, the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services to study the issue of urotrauma, particularly its prevention, initial management, chronic care coordination and research components.
Urotrauma injuries are battlefield blast injuries that cause catastrophic genitourinary injury to the penile, testicular, scrotal, urethral, vaginal, uterine and fallopian tube/ovary regions of the male and female body.
“The incidence of these catastrophic genitourinary injuries is up 350 percent in Afghanistan compared to the conflict in Iraq because of the increased need there to conduct dismounted or foot patrols,” said Dr. Edney, who is a member of the US Army Reserve and was asked to testify because of his knowledge and for his expertise as a surgeon who has treated these types of injuries in soldiers on the front line. “Because the weapons of choice remain improvised explosive devices (IEDs), our troops are more susceptible and are experiencing these types of injuries far more frequently when outside of their fortified vehicles.”
Dr. Edney added that the AUA is very encouraged that the Committee has agreed to hold a hearing on the bill, calling it a huge milestone in the effort to prevent and address these injuries and long-term medical concerns.
Dr. Edney, the 2012 American Urological Association’s Gallagher Health Policy Scholar, is a partner at Peninsula Urology Associates, PA in Salisbury, and has held privileges at PRMC since 2004. To learn more about Dr. Edney or the Peninsula Institute of Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery at PRMC, please call 1-877-456-6350 or 410-912-6350 or visitwww.peninsula.org/PILARS.
“It’s not magic,” Diane Davis-Hayes says. “But it might appear that way to some.”
Davis-Hayes, Director of the Medical Laboratory Science program at Salisbury University, is talking about the laboratory results that appear on the screen for health care staff at Peninsula Regional Medical Center. The results are critical to the diagnosis and treatment of patients at the Medical Center, and with their reliable appearance when needed, it can be easy to forget that there was a person behind the numbers. “Someone worked really hard to make sure it was the right number, at the right time, for the right patient,” Davis-Hayes says.
The laboratory, a sprawling labyrinth in the basement of the Medical Center, is home to 140 employees who diligently work to find medical results in 5,500 specimens a day from not only PRMC patients, but also for smaller regional hospitals and doctors’ offices. It’s also the occasional home to Davis-Hayes, who started working as a student at Peninsula Regional’s lab in 1979, and continued on in a standby capacity even after she took on a faculty role at Salisbury University. She has a doctorate in medical laboratory science.
“I never stopped loving the work,” she says. “I was always interested in the science, and continuing to work at the lab keeps me from getting isolated in the academic world of textbooks and professional journals. When you’re doing the work firsthand, you see the nuances.”
That’s what the Medical Laboratory Program at Salisbury University hopes its students will see during their rotations of work in Peninsula Regional’s lab. The students also work in medical settings across the state of Maryland. But she says Peninsula Regional is a good spot in which students can learn. “As an educator, Peninsula Regional is a ‘sweet spot’ — if a hospital is too small, students don’t see a variety of diseases, tests and equipment. If it’s too big, students don’t get the individual attention they might need, and it can be overwhelming.”
And there’s another bonus for SU students who work in the PRMC lab — lots of people have been where they are. Like Davis, many employees of the lab are also Salisbury University graduates. Students get hands-on experience in the lab and perform many hours of important tasks, with guidance from the seasoned professionals surrounding them.
Davis says she wants students to learn the standard to which she holds any medical laboratorian — “I need to know that you would you be safe to perform lab work on my grandson,” she says. “People at PRMC do very, very well by this standard — I’d let any one of them work on my grandson. The patient always comes first there.”
She says she knows the hospital appreciates the work the students do, and appreciates the support PRMC gives students in return. “It’s a nice resource on both sides,” she says.
As a laboratory worker herself, Davis says she thinks lab professionals deserve some recognition. “Labs are hidden away because some of what we do is hazardous — it needs to be isolated as a safety feature. That makes it less visible, but not any less important.”
April 22-26 is Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, an annual celebration of the laboratory professionals and pathologists who play a vital role in health care. Peninsula Regional is celebrating its employees during this week, and Davis says she hopes people will remember that highly skilled, trained professionals are behind those numbers that appear in their medical records.
- National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week will take place April 22-26, 2013. Interested in joining the ranks? Find out more about the profession on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.
- Read about Salisbury University’s Medical Laboratory Science program.
National Public Radio today had a piece about how Maryland residents can get free telemedicine consults for Parkinson’s disease from Johns Hopkins. Did you know this is available on the Eastern Shore? MAC Inc. and the Lower Shore Parkinson’s Support Group are helping to make it happen. For a “virtual house call” at MAC Inc. in Salisbury, call the Caregiver Resource Center at 410-742-0505 x115.
The director for the Johns Hopkins Movement Disorders Center, Ray Dorsey, will also be speaking at a Parkinson’s Disease seminar (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, April 29 at Peninsula Regional Medical Center; community resources, physical therapy and more are also on the agenda). Call the number above to register for the event or find out more from the Caregiver Resource Center.
By Dr. Halim Charbel
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. While the observance is a national one, it’s especially important to take note of it here on Delmarva. Wicomico County has one of the highest colon cancer mortality rates in the state. Prevention estimates that if all adults aged 50 or older had regular screening tests for colon cancer, as many as 60 percent of the deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented.
The American Cancer Society says that nationwide, 50,000 people die each year from colorectal cancer. While the five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is 90 percent if it is diagnosed and treated at an early stage, only 39 percent of cases are caught at this early stage.
That’s why screening for colorectal cancer is so important. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all men and women should be screened for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, and then continue getting screened at regular intervals.
You may need to be tested earlier than age 50, or more often than other people, if you or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer; or if you have inflammatory bowel disease or certain genetic syndromes that may make it more likely for you to develop colorectal cancer.
Speak with your doctor about when you should begin screening and how often you should be tested. As many as 30,000 lives could be saved each year if more people were screened.
You don’t have to wait until you’re 50 to start reducing your risk. According to the American Cancer Society, some ways to reduce your risk of colon cancer include increasing physical activity, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables (and limiting intake of red and processed meats), limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding obesity.
Colorectal cancer usually develops slowly over many years. Most colorectal cancer begins as a noncancerous (benign) adenoma or polyp (abnormal growth) that develops on the lining of the colon or rectum. Polyps can be removed to significantly reduce cancer risk. Colonoscopy plays an important role in colorectal cancer prevention because precancerous polyps can be detected and removed during the same exam when they are discovered.
Colorectal polyps are diagnosed by evaluation of the inside of the colon and rectum. A colonoscopy is a test that allows examination of the large intestine using a flexible tube (colonoscope) that is equipped with a camera that visualizes the intestinal wall. The endoscopist has the ability to take tissue samples and remove colorectal polyps.
Certain symptoms might indicate colorectal cancer: blood in the stool, narrower than normal stools, unexplained abdominal pain, unexplained change in bowel habits and unexplained anemia. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor so you get evaluated.
Right now, 1 in 20 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer. That doesn’t have to be the case.
Halim Charbel, MD, is a gastroenterologist with Peninsula Regional Gastroenterology Medicine in Salisbury.
Check out this article in today’s Washington Post health section about how chronic sleep deprivation (less than 6 hours a night for a week) actually changes genetic activity. Could this be why poor sleep is associated with higher risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity? Warning – just reading the article could make you sleepy!
Peninsula Regional has a sleep disorder clinic, Peninsula Sleep Waves – it provides overnight sleep studies for adults and children. Visit www.sleepwaves.net to learn more.
Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury is to conduct a community health needs assessment to determine what services and health issues are most important to Delmarva residents. As part of the assessment, PRMC is inviting the community’s participation in the project via a quick, confidential online survey, accessible at www.surveymonkey.com/s/g7v5ymj or at http://bit.ly/delmarvaneeds.
The survey poses nine simple questions relating to healthcare on Delmarva. Residents of Accomack, Dorchester, Somerset, Sussex, Wicomico and Worcester counties are all welcome to participate. The deadline is March 15. Peninsula Regional urges community members to make their voices heard and help shape the future of healthcare on the Eastern Shore via this questionnaire.
A National Public Radio story on rehabilitation for people who have been through cancer talks about how some organizations help patients deal with the effects of cancer treatments. A doctor who developed breast cancer discusses the toll her treatment took in this insightful look at how cancer treatments can affect people in various, sometimes unexpected ways.
Peninsula Regional Medical Center has established lymphedema treatment services that address the swelling that can occur after cancer surgery or radiation; there is also a Cancer Exercise program to help people regain strength and combat post-treatment fatigue, as well as many other support services. See more here.
Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s a perfect time to think of your heart – and to stay healthy for those you love. Check out the Women’s Heart Program at Peninsula Regional Medical Center’s Guerrieri Heart & Vascular Institute. It’s a complete heart disease risk assessment including:
• Cholesterol & HDL
• Ankle/brachial index
• Resting 12 lead EKG
• Body fat
• Body mass index
• Waist to hip ratio
• Blood pressure testing
• Pulse oximetry testing
• Coronary Risk Profile
• Risk factor analysis
• Review of current medications
• Follow-up care plan
• Exercise/nutrition recommendations
Women choosing to participate must not currently be under the care of a cardiologist or have a known history of heart disease. Appointments are available every hour. Call 410-543-7026 to schedule your FREE Women’s Heart Screening appointment. Free screenings provided courtesy of the Guerrieri Heart & Vascular Institute at Peninsula Regional Medical Center and the Peninsula Regional Medical Center Foundation.