Imaging director shares thoughts on leadership, obtains educational milestone to better serve patients, colleagues

danfelix2When Dan Felix received his high school diploma, he couldn’t have been more pleased to be done with school.

The young man couldn’t have envisioned then that he’d be in school for a long time over the course of his career. Felix, who was promoted to director in 2014 over X-ray, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, mammography, CT-scan and MRI, started his master’s program in leadership in 2016, recently completing it.

We caught up with him for a few questions.

What inspired you to go back to school?

There are three reasons. TMC has given me this leadership opportunity so it was really important to me to perform at the level of my peers. My colleagues are a talented group and I respect them for their intelligence, attention to detail and preparation.

Secondly, my team deserves a leader who is committed enough to leadership to undergo formal training. And more so, patients deserve to be cared for by a team with well-prepared leaders.

The third reason was for my kids. I have two young daughters, one is going to be in seventh grade and the other in ninth, so setting that example is important to me.

You have a demanding job already. There must be a number of working professionals out there who are weighing going back to school and trying to figure out how to balance it all.

It was extremely difficult because not only was I balancing the pressures of work, I’m also a volunteer athletic coach for kids, and a husband and father. All of that takes a lot of time. I managed by 30-minute blocks every day: 30 minutes to eat, 30 minutes to read, 30 minutes for school. But I’ve always believed the body and mind are capable of more than we think and will meet any challenge.

Now that you’re finished, you have some of those 30-minute slots reopening. What are you going to do with that time?

The joke is I will get my golf game back. But what I believe and hope I will do with my time is to help others by passing along the skills and knowledge that I’ve learned, whether it’s here with people at work, with the team members I coach or with the parents of those students.

Did any of the content change your leadership approach?

As time went on as I developed my leadership skills at TMC and as I was presented with a variety of challenges and personalities, I often found myself tailoring my approach in order to achieve the best outcome.  That’s when I had my big “aha” moment in leadership training.

This tailoring of my approach is actually referred to as “situational leadership.”  Our jobs as leaders is to use different approaches based on the needs of the employees or situations – not necessarily what’s most comfortable for the leader.

And there lies the beauty of leadership. A good leader will recognize when there is time to carefully analyze certain situations and have thoughtful discussions such as process improvements vs. when it’s important to take control and act quickly.

Any practical tips leaders can try right away with their teams?

The biggest thing for me was reaffirming how important it is for leaders to be good listeners. I have a good relationship with my team so it was easy for me to say, “Here’s what I learned. Let’s give it a try and see if it helps us improve our work together.”

The one thing we really worked on was making sure we heard each other. If you’re already talking before I finished my sentence, that’s a good sign that you’re not listening. So we’ve been very conscious of waiting until we’re done speaking, taking the time to process what we’ve heard and then reply back. It’s led to more efficient conversations because there’s more confidence that we don’t have to repeat key points.

It also reinforced the importance of learning the management styles of members of my team, making sure we hold each other accountable with detailed action plans and making sure we all have clarity on our current and future states. The whiteboard in my office is heavily used.

You probably had learned a great deal through mistakes and successes in practice already – so why school?

It gave me a chance to think deeply about leadership and how my management style lines up with documented leadership theories. It was affirmation that I’m taking the right approach and it gave me confidence that I was connecting the dots.

TMC supported my goals through its tuition reimbursement program and I am grateful that TMC’s leadership has always encouraged continuing education. There are a lot of opportunities to advance if you put in the work and are accountable for that work.

 

San Diego Zoo Kids channel begins broadcasting at TMC and Ronald McDonald House Charities

San Diego Zoo Kids Debra EricksonYoung patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors—including a fennec fox, a ferret, a blue-tongued skink and a snake from Reid Park Zoo—at a gathering at Tucson Medical Center this morning.

The special event was held to announce the arrival of San Diego Zoo Kids, a closed-circuit television channel, at TMC and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

San Diego Zoo Kids is an innovative television channel with programs produced primarily for medical facilities that serve pediatric patients and their families.

The creation and development of the channel has been funded by businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.

In 2017, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded San Diego Zoo Global an outstanding Museums for America Grant to bring San Diego Zoo Kids to 75 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald House Charities across the nation over the next three years.

San Diego Zoo Kids FoxThe generous grant from IMLS has made the channel available on television monitors in every patient room at Tucson Medical Center and in the children’s play area at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational.

“TMC is thrilled to partner with the San Diego Zoo to bring to our patients a little more of what’s magical and wonderful in the world at a time when they’re not feeling their best,” said Judy Rich, TMC president and CEO.

From TMC’s long-standing support of Reid Park Zoo to its robust pet therapy program, Rich noted that the educational and entertaining channel builds on the work TMC is already doing. “This effort helps us in supporting families, offering a child-friendly environment and fostering an appreciation of the healing qualities of animals and nature.”

The channel also features animal stories from Reid Park Zoo. “We are excited to be collaborating with San Diego Zoo Global, TMC and Ronald McDonald House Charities to share our passion for animal conservation and education,” said Nancy Kluge, president, Reid Park Zoological Society. “We hope this glimpse into the lives of the animals at Reid Park Zoo will bring excitement and joy into the lives of those in our community who might not be able to visit the Zoo.”

The service is also making its debut at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

San Diego Zoo Frenetic Fox“We are so pleased to partner with the San Diego Zoo, Tucson Medical Center and Reid Park Zoo on this entertaining and educational program,” said Kate Jensen, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona.

“One of our goals is to create a sense of normalcy for children and families, even while they are going through very difficult times,” said Jensen. “The San Diego Zoo Kids channel has become a very popular diversion. It is so well produced, educational and entertaining. We are grateful for this wonderful contribution from the San Diego Zoo.”

The San Diego Zoo Kids channel offers up-close video encounters with animals, stories about caring for animals, quizzes about animals and habitats, and a wide variety of short video vignettes hosted by San Diego Zoo Global ambassador Rick Schwartz and San Diego Zoo Kids host Olivia Degn.

Viewers can see best-of videos from the San Diego Zoo’s famous Panda Cam and other online cameras, as well as content from other zoos across the world.

San Diego Zoo Kids Judy Rich“We continue to be humbled by the healing properties of San Diego Zoo Kids,” said Debra Erickson, director of communications, San Diego Zoo Global. “Parents and caregivers share that the channel, which has no commercials or inappropriate content, not only calms children but makes them happy.”

San Diego Zoo Kids debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 137 children’s hospitals, Ronald McDonald Houses, pediatric wards and children’s hospice centers across the U.S., in 33 states and the District of Columbia; and in facilities in Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan and Singapore.

For further information about San Diego Zoo Kids, visit their website. And don’t forget to have a peek at all the fun happening locally at the Reid Park Zoo.

For more information about the Ronald McDonald House visit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona website or call (520) 326-0060.

IT professionals teach high school computer science classes to fill need

Paul.jpgBy a happy stroke of destiny, there was a computer lab in Paul Lemmons’ high school. It allowed him to play in the environment enough to know he was drawn to that work.

“The food I have put on my table for the past 40 years has come from that high school experience,” said Lemmons, who is a lead systems engineer at Tucson Medical Center, helping to manage the computer programs that run TMC’s electronic medical records platform.

So when Lemmons heard about a program that taps IT professionals to volunteer to teach high school classes, while working in conjunction with a certified classroom teacher, he jumped at the chance. He and his TMC IT colleague, Michael Cecil, were assigned to Presidio School, a college preparatory high school in midtown, through Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, or TEALS.

“Computer professionals are compensated at much higher levels than teachers are, so there is a gap in how many schools can actually employ computer professionals,” Lemmons said, noting he and Cecil spend one hour each weekday teaching students two different programming languages.

TMC supports the program by paying for their employees’ classroom time. “Giving back to the community is something we take seriously as a nonprofit community hospital,” said Susan Snedaker, director of IS Infrastructure and Operations. “This program allows us to make a difference by preparing students for a professional life in computer programming. And it helps our employees as well, since teaching demands that you reflect deeply about your own career and skill sets, which often leads to new insights.”

The students spend the first semester writing video games and the second part learning Python, one of the fastest-growing computer languages.  The work, Lemmons explained, “teaches them how to logically think through a problem and how to communicate their mental solution into something a computer could represent.”

“It’s been a wonderful experience. Kids are like sponges. It’s fun watching their imaginations go once they pick up the concepts.”

For Cecil, who is now in his second year of teaching in the program, it was important to make a difference, knowing about the deficit in computer science offerings in public education. “It’s been really rewarding because you’re making a tangible impact with young adults and you can see the effects,” he said. “You start with a kid who is kind of interested in this stuff and now, they’re planning to major in computer science or they’ve gotten a scholarship for college. It’s an incredible opportunity to give back.”

Lemmons added there is value in helping students find out early whether they have an aptitude for computer science because it helps them in planning their college experience. And there is value for industry participants as well. “I’m eventually going to retire and someone has to come in and do this. We’re preparing a new workforce to come in and take care of TMC’s computing department.”

TEALS has expanded from one school in 2015 to 18 schools in the coming academic year, but it looking for more IT volunteers to help meet demand.

TEALS is hosting an Info Session at The Lodge on the Desert on Thursday, May 17, at 11:30 am.  Please find more information and the RSVP link here.

Children’s Miracle Network Champion – Emma Martin

Nine-year old Emma Martin is spunky! No two ways about it, this little girl has a big personality, an infectious laugh and the kindest heart. Emma is also TMC for Children’s 2018 Children’s Miracle Network Champion.

Each year Children’s Miracle Network recognizes one child in southern Arizona who embodies bravery, spirit and hope and is a champion for every child who spends time in our hospitals. We are thrilled to announce that Emma has been recognized as Southern Arizona’s champion for 2018.

While Emma was still in the womb, several of her internal organs developed and fused together, meaning she was without a crucial organ to remove waste from her body. In addition, Emma was born with only one kidney, making it even more difficult for her body to process fluids. A triplet, Emma spent an extended time in the NICU with her sisters, but faced with additional complications went home months after her sisters had left.

Over the past nine years Emma has spent months in the hospital, had over 20 surgeries to address the original congenital issues and the subsequent developments. A fungal infection caused her bladder to be removed, and she lost a majority of her colon in 2016 to a dangerous form of colitis. Emma must use a colostomy and urostomy bag for the rest of her life.

Despite years of complex surgeries and painful symptoms, Emma is joyful, kind and has a giving heart. “She will help others before herself, even her sisters,” said Emma’s mother, Shannan Martin. “She is a special and amazing person who is so positive – she lights up any room she walks into.”

Through Emma was born with rare and daunting health challenges, she keeps an enthusiastic positivity that is nothing short of inspiring – she is a true champion.

Southern Arizona communities can look forward to seeing Emma out-and-about in 2018, sharing her story and advocating for the courageous families and kids who are receiving care at TMC for Children.

You can support Emma’s efforts by contributing to TMC for Children/Children’s Miracle Network. Every dollar donated stays right here in Southern Arizona to support wellness programs, purchase life-saving equipment and provide vital health services to help children like Emma be as healthy as possible.

“TMC for Children has made an incredible difference for our amazing Emma,” said Martin. “We are grateful for the staff, technology and the continued services that have kept Emma alive and brought us all hope.”

Congratulations Emma and thank you for serving as the 2018 TMC for Children Champion!

Learn more about how TMC for Children/Children’s Miracle Network are making a difference, and how you can join the effort to provide life-saving equipment and health services for Southern Arizona children.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Jenna Carbone

Jenna CarboneTMC Intensive Care Unit nurse Jenna Carbone approaches her work with intense focus and singular caring for many of the most critically ill patients on her unit.

A nurse for six years, Carbone always knew she was meant to be a nurse.

“Even as a little girl, when my dad would come home from biking with cactus in his legs, I would get out my light and tweezers and pick each one out,” she recalled.

Since then, she not only graduated with honors, but also holds Critical Care and NIH stroke certifications to enable her to provide care to the highest acuity patients, including those with neurologic injuries. She’s also dedicated thousands of hours over the years to new graduate and student nurses.

Carbone, who is close to her parents and her family, credits her great grandfather, who was a stubborn, hard-headed kind of guy, with teaching her patience. And she has a deep commitment to getting to know the people she is serving in the Intensive Care Unit.

“It’s really great to get to know the families,” she said. “You know what you are fighting for. They are able to tell you about the patient and their personality.”

As much as she fights for her patients, she has had to learn that not every patient can be saved. She has been with patients at their deaths and participated in ceremonies at the end of their lives. “Because of my faith, I am comfortable with death and it is an honor to serve someone who is at the end of their life. My mom is a deeply faithful woman and when she gets bad news, she always says she knows that God has a plan for her.”

Carbone may cry at commercials for the Olympics, but she’s strong when it comes to patient care. “I don’t get emotional in the moment or at work. You have to know how to help and be a shoulder for others to cry on.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Jenna on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50. nurses 

 

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Sherilyn Wollman

Sherilyn Wollman.jpgIt never occurred to Sherilyn Wollman that she’d be a nurse.

She wasn’t one of those kids who played with stethoscopes or brandished bandages with authority. In fact, a hospital seemed like a scary place when she was growing up.

She went into the military as an IS specialist and a young mother. When her tour of duty was up, she made plans to become an elementary teacher, which was a job she had always yearned to do.

But her sister at the time encouraged her to enroll in a class to become a certified nursing assistant and asked her to just try it.

“On my first day, it was where I knew I belonged,” she recalled. “It was that whole experience of being able to make a difference in someone’s life, even if you’re just touching someone for that one day when they really need help.”

She remembers the moment she decided she wanted to continue her education and become a nurse. A patient had come in, alone and restless and in the final stages of dying. Wollman and the nurse talked with her and reassured her. “It was deeply moving to be there with her during that transition, because it was clear she knew we were there for her. It made me look differently at everything I do.”

Over the course of many years, she continued working on her skills and career, eventually obtaining her masters of nursing.

Ultimately, Wollman was able to marry her goal of teaching with her passion for nursing by becoming a clinical educator and helping other staff members with skills development and career advancement. “I’m no longer at the bedside, but I feel like I am still making a difference in a different way,” said Wollman, who has been at TMC for 13 years. “What I’m able to provide helps them provide great care at the bedside.”

Wollman’s compassion comes in part from her upbringing: she was adopted by her grandparents when she was 8. “I learned a lot about giving to others by watching them,” she said. “I think the kindness I learned from them helped foster in me a desire to help other people.”

Wollman, who said she was shocked and humbled when she was recognized as a Fab 50 nurse, invests a lot of energy in supporting new graduate nurses. Her tips for novice nurses?

  • Continue developing your skills
  • Always seek educational opportunities
  • Find a mentor to share different perspectives and broaden horizons
  • Care for yourself so you can are for others

Her final piece of advice? Treat others with respect and listen. “Everyone has something to teach.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Sherilyn on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Julie Seidl

Julie Seidl.jpgIn her 40-plus year career as a nurse in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, Julie Seidl has undoubtedly had an impact on the lives of hundreds of infants and parents. But in all that time, including 20 years spent at the bedside, one set of triplets and their parents made a lasting and indelible mark on her.

“The triplets will be 21 in April and I’ve been best friends with their mom since we met in the NICU,” said Seidl.

The youngest of the triplets, all born at just over two pounds, turned out to be her very last patient at the bedside before transitioning to a new role in the hospital. “They are my legacy. It’s a privilege that I have been able to share their whole life,” she said. “They are great examples of what the future can hold for premature babies.”

For 21 years they have shared many special moments … holidays, birthdays and even vacations together. “It’s funny because as a nurse, you always care about all of your patients, but you are a professional. It was different when I met them though – we just felt like family,” said Seidl.

“I’m so grateful because sometimes as a nurse you wonder, ‘Did I make a difference in someone’s life?’”

Another piece of her career legacy is the innovative Infant After Care Program she developed, along with TMC Pediatric Outpatient Therapies, to provide ongoing follow-up care for premature babies for their first two years. “To be ready to enter the world, the promise of Mother Nature is 40 weeks in the womb,” she explained. “When you come early, you’re not ready in body or in brain development. And the brain is the piece that often gets overlooked. With the After Care Program, we can spot those little hiccups and work to rewire the brain before it’s a bigger problem.”

A baby floating in the womb is surrounded by quiet, hearing their mother’s voice and heartbeat. If that time is cut short, they are tasked with breathing, seeing and fighting gravity before they are ready, she said. Seidl’s work as an Infant Development Specialist includes educating staff and parents how to best mimic the womb by creating a calm, quiet environment without bright lights and wrapping the baby as they would be in-utero – flexed and tucked.

The TMC Infant After Care Program is free to any infant born before 36 weeks of gestation at TMC thanks to a grant from the TMC Foundation.

“This program is the best thing that I could do at the end of my career,” says Seidl. Not that she’s going anywhere any time soon. “I truly love what I do.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Julie on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Damiana Cohen

Damiana CohenDamiana Cohen, manager of the Mother Baby and Women’s Care Units at Tucson Medical Center took an interest in birth when she was 12 and happened upon a book about midwifery.

The road to nursing didn’t come right after high school though; she took a non-traditional path and along the way collected a number of experiences, from three years of college, to travel in South America, to driving a school bus and waiting tables.

But she never lost that fascination with the stories of birth, and she went to school to become a licensed midwife, ultimately spending more than 12 years with families who wanted to have birth experiences at home.

When it was time for a new chapter, Cohen went to nursing school – a decision she’s never regretted because of the experiences that unfolded from there, from working with marginalized populations to teenagers finding their way in the world.

Cohen spent 12 years working as a forensic nurse performing post-sexual assault exams and on that time she reflects, “That really and truly was my passion. Not always, but a lot of times, it’s the marginalized people in a society who are victimized. And in some ways, it was a bit like being a midwife, because you’re there with somebody, one-on-one, helping them through this very intense situation. It’s smart, autonomous nursing, it’s scientific, it’s about human rights and a person’s dignity – and I would go home and feel like I really impacted someone’s life.”

Cohen spent three years working as a school nurse with pregnant and parenting teenagers. “Hardly any of them had a parent figure in their lives, so I could be that presence to tell them what so few had a chance to hear: That they mattered and I cared. I wanted them to be empowered to be parents while still having their lives and finishing their education.” She still connects from time to time with some of those students; many of whom were inspired to become nurses.

“I think I’ve enjoyed my nursing career because I’ve done so many different things,” Cohen said. “Life has offered me opportunities that I haven’t foreseen. And I’ve always believed that when something comes your way, it’s good to reflect on what the universe is offering you and take a moment to listen.”

Just as she’s had many careers, she has many facets outside of work – a mom to her sons, now 25 and 29, a runner, a hiker, an organic gardener, a film fanatic, a reader, a cat lover, a supporter of women and equality, a birdwatcher and nature lover, a lifelong learner, a traveler, a thinker, a seeker, and a sister and a friend.

And through all that, her underlying motto is, “Be a good human.”

“I find that when I do that, everything else seems to fall into place.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Damiana on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

 

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Veronica Riesgo

Veronica RiesgoFor TMC Nurse Manager Veronica Riesgo, her dedication to patients and her coworkers goes beyond the profession and is part of her passion to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Riesgo’s first priority and first career was her family. “I was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years,” she said.  “But I always had a desire to help others and I always thought about pursuing work in nursing.”

When her children reached ages in double-digits, Riesgo volunteered at a local hospital to see if the desire was still there. “The passion was stronger than ever,” she said. “Soon I was enrolled in nursing school and working full-time as a patient care technician (PCT).”

As a full-time PCT, a full-time student and a full-time mom, there wasn’t much room on Riesgo’s plate. “I wouldn’t change anything – it was so beneficial and rewarding.”

After graduating and becoming an RN, Riesgo never slowed down – working in cardo-thoracic, transplant, ICU and other high-acuity units. “It is challenging, but when you have that opportunity to help someone on what might be their worst day – it is very meaningful,” explained Riesgo.

With remarkable stress and a dizzying pace, high-acuity units have a reputation for burn-out. For Riesgo, a unique outlook has helped her thrive in the demanding environment and kept her coming back, day-after-day.

“It’s a dedication to people, not just the profession,” she said. “A dedication to the patients and the incredible nurses I work with. We know that no matter what happens or how hard the day is, we’re going to make it happen, together.”

This incredible attitude, combined with her knowledge of critical care and strong organizational skills paved the way to management positions where she has achieved notable successes, such as helping reduce the patient injury rate by 45 percent in just one year.

Now managing a 36-bed, combined critical care unit with more than 100 staff reporting to her, Riesgo was named one of the 2018 Fabulous 50 nurses. “I’m so honored,” she said. “I’m grateful for my experiences and the nurses I work with every day.”

Advice from a Fab 50 nurse? “When you put others first, it changes your perspective and you recognize that you are involved in something bigger than yourself.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Veronica on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Charles Bascom

Charles BascomA physician yells “stat,” labs and med orders fly, nurses and techs scurry at a fevered pace. For staff, the Emergency Department can be an extraordinarily stressful environment, but that’s not what first comes to the mind of ED Lead Nurse Charles ‘Will’ Bascom.

“Our responsibility is to give 150 percent and treat each patient like they are family,” said Bascom. The longtime ED nurse began his career as an EMT/firefighter and moved into nursing after experiencing a serious injury. He completed his training in the ED and garnered experiences in psychiatric, float and critical care venues.

“At first, I worked in several nursing care settings – but I always ended up coming back to the ED.” So, what is it that kept Bascom returning to one of healthcare’s most challenging environments?

“Being there for patients and their families during one of their toughest times,” Bascom said confidently. “For any nurse, in any setting, it’s challenging and you never know what situation is going to walk through that door, but at the end of the day it is so rewarding to know you made a difference in a patient’s life.”

For Bascom, providing exceptional care with compassion goes hand-in-hand. “If you make the effort to show that you really care, patients will pick-up on your sincere intent,” he said. “They will feel more comfortable sharing important things about their health that will help you provide even better care.”

Respected for observing best practices, Bascom is also known for adhering to strict safety standards. “You have to keep your head in the game, be mindful, and ask questions to ensure the best for patients and ED coworkers.”

Yet, some still ask how Bascom consistently provides such outstanding care, shift-after-shift and year-after-year. “It’s about your motivation,” he said. “It has to be more than a title or a paycheck. If you’re in this because you have a passion for helping people – the reward is ten-fold.”

In addition to his busy schedule, Bascom is attending graduate school to become a family nurse practitioner. “This next step is very important to me because I will be able to do even more for the community and patient population.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Will on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

TMC, Pima Council on Aging salute those who have witnessed a century

IMG_0432If you were 100 years old, what would you do to celebrate life?

Tucson Medical Center and Pima Council on Aging had a chance to ask just that of 48 centenarians, who gathered at TMC for the 31st annual Salute to Centenarians – the largest known gathering in the country of those who have reached 99 years or older.

Geneva Borrowman, who reached 100 in January, starts every day with a prayer of gratitude for all she has in her life. In Geneva’s case, that’s a lot, with 55 great-grandchildren!

Don Davis, who was a star even as a kid as a child actor in silent films, celebrates by riding a bicycle – and enjoys the occasional martini (gin, straight up, one olive) on the patio in the evening.

IMG_0437For Aniceto Gonda, who was born in the Philippines 101 years ago in April and served in the Army, it’s about looking forward to each day with optimism. “And most of all, try not to worry and just live life as it comes.”

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said he was inspired by the myriad ways the collective gathering had impacted the world, from serving in the military, volunteering, staffing elections, supporting churches and caring for their families and others. “Each one of you has enriched the world and taught us about the art of living – and for that, we are all thankful,” he said.

Maya Luria, director of TMC for Seniors, applauded the group for reaching such a significant milestone. “You have certainly lived a life that has laughter and love, but at times tested your strength, your courage, your values. The wisdom you have gained and shared along the way is priceless.”

A big thanks to the elected officials who helped honor the group and for A Touch of Grey barbershop quartet, which provided the entertainment, as well as to Brookdale Senior Living Solutions for the lunch and Sierra del Sol for the cupcakes.

Mission Moment: Nurse helped organize drive to help family in darkest time

Jenna CarboneIt was hard for Jenna Carbone to imagine that a family would have to weather so many blows at a single time.

A young mother was making the wrenching decision to stop intervention for her husband, who had suffered cardiac arrest.

Their baby had come just two weeks before – she had been so pregnant that her elementary-school-aged son had to perform CPR when his dad collapsed, guided by a 911 dispatcher. The family had recently moved from California, so there were no friends or family to turn to for support. And money would be tight: the husband had been the traditional breadwinner while his wife took care of the kids.

A TMC Intensive Care Unit nurse, Carbone held the newborn for an entire shift to allow the mom and son some time to say goodbye. The Mom-Baby Unit supplied formula and diapers, and Child Life specialists helped the boy work through his grief and the long hours at the hospital.

While the staff was helping with the baby, they got to thinking about the upcoming school year. “Mom was making funeral plans and trying to adjust to a brand new baby in a brand new city. It just didn’t seem right she was having to do all of this by herself – who could put it all together on a good day? We couldn’t imagine she’d have the time or ability to go shop for school supplies,” Carbone explained.

And the boy was such an inspiration, she said. “You could tell he had faith. He would try to comfort others to tell them he would see his dad in Heaven someday and that it was better than having him suffer,” she recalled. Even as young as he was, he was trying to help hold the family together.

The power of teamwork was immediately clear to Carbone, who has been a nurse for six years.

Case Management called the school to get the list of items the boy would need. Within hours, staff from the Lab and Finance and clinical areas started bringing supplies – everything from a tablet for the boy, to diapers, baby bouncers and professional clothes for the mom for future job interviews.

Carbone filled up her hatchback and even though she couldn’t see out of the rear view mirror, set off to deliver the supplies to the family’s rural home.

Carbone said it was her honor to help – and thanked her colleagues across the hospital for their contributions. “We see some fragile situations sometimes and it’s really nice when you know there are things we can do to help and to try to bring comfort when people are going through difficult times. It’s an honor and a privilege to serve them and to help another person in need.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we doHundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

TMC wins gold in national healthcare advertising awards

Tucson Medical Center’s pediatric and maternity campaigns won three acknowledgements in the national Healthcare Advertising Awards.

Of more than 4,000 entries, TMC was one of 360 winning the gold for its television ads, based on the findings of a national panel of judges who were looking for creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact.

The television campaign, created in conjunction with Hilton and Myers Advertising to highlight TMC’s maternity and pediatric services, won the gold. The overall campaign, which included digital spots and billboards, took a silver.

The campaign separately also won a merit award in what is the largest healthcare advertising awards competition and among the top 10 of all advertising awards.

“It was a lot of fun creating these spots and celebrating the joy of movement and recovery, but what makes these awards particularly meaningful is that the children in our

commercials aren’t actors but children from our own community and the moms and babies who danced together were our own patients,” said Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit, noting TMC physicians and staff also participated.

“They are the face of TMC and they really are the winners of this recognition.”

Strange also thanked the Tucson Twist-Its jump rope team for coming out – this time without the cameras – to help TMC open its new Pediatric Emergency Department within TMC for Children.

Ready for another round? You can check out our pediatric videos here and here, and our maternity video here. And stay posted….We’ve got new spots coming out next week that build on the existing campaign!

TMC for Seniors director honored with Remarkable Mom recognition

IMG_0021Maya Luria’s heart shred watching her 17-year-old daughter, Kelsey, struggle in her battle with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia.

One painful memory was watching her daughter see herself for the first time during chemotherapy treatment without the long blonde locks that were such a hallmark for the high school senior.

But that was before she watched the surprisingly transformative power of a professional photo shoot, when she watched Kelsey ditch her wig and then light up, laugh and pose. It was an unplanned event – just a kind gesture from an acquaintance. But Kelsey had realized – hair or no – those resulting images reflected her own strength, confidence and determination.

She wanted other children and families to feel that same sense of empowerment in the face of what can be an unrelenting disease. In the hospital, Kelsey said she wanted the service to be called the Bald Beauties Project and it would offer free professional photographs to children and teens fighting cancer.

Drawn to journalism, writing and sports, the Catalina Foothills High student had planned to beat the disease and attend the University of Arizona. She passed away a few days after her 18th birthday.

Luria has kept Kelsey’s spirit alive by leading the Bald Beauties Project her daughter envisioned – an accomplishment that is being recognized at the annual Remarkable Celebration by Tu Nidito that this year is honoring five local mothers.

“Kelsey once wrote that she would change the world and this is our way of honoring that,” Luria said. “This was her vision and something I want to continue to offer to others as a way to help families who are going through unthinkable strain.”

Luria, also mom to 17-year-old Max – the light of her life and now a high school senior – has treasured those photos of her daughter.

Since its inception, the Bald Beauties Project has provided more than 85 photo shoots for children throughout the community – and the demand continues to grow. There have already been 15 photo shoots this year, with another 10 in process.

“I feel every mom is a remarkable mom, so I was really honored to be considered for this recognition,” Luria said, and especially since Kelsey gave her back so much. “Kelsey lived her life with strength and courage and love – and that’s something I hold with me every day.”

To read more about Bald Beauties, please visit the Bald Beauties Project website.  

To learn more about the Remarkable Moms being honored May 12, please visit Tu Nidito’s website 

Pediatric Emergency now within TMC for Children

The Tucson Medical Center Pediatric Emergency Department has relocated within TMC for Children.

Patients and loved ones will gain entry to the Pediatric ED by going through the main TMC for Children entrance on the hospital’s south side.

The layout and design of the 14-bed Pediatric ED is structured in a horseshoe shape to enable staff to monitor patients more easily, spend more time with patients and promote better teamwork.

In addition, the new location is in close proximity to other TMC for Children services, which allows TMC to better integrate comprehensive children’s services.

“With all services in the same area, it will allow for more timely collaboration with pediatric specialists and better coordination of care for our youngest community members,” said Dr. Moira Richards, the medical director of TMC for Children.

The Pediatric ED also offers online appointment scheduling. Visit our home page to find out more.

TMC chaplain shares blessing for relocated Pediatric Emergency Department opening Monday

BDP47481.jpgOn Monday Tucson Medical Center opens its newly relocated Pediatric Emergency Department.

The 14-bed department relocates to TMC for Children, which includes the pediatric inpatient and intensive care units, allowing TMC to better integrate comprehensive children’s services. The new department is accessed by going through the main TMC for Children entrance on the hospital’s south side.

“With all services in the same area, it will allow for more timely collaboration with pediatric specialists and better coordination of care for our youngest community members,” said Dr. Moira Richards, the medical director of TMC for Children.

Staff were recently invited to celebrate the $2.7 million renovation of the new space and share a blessing BDP47475with TMC Chaplain Mary Klaehn as they prepared to transition from the old space:

May this place be a place of blessing and health.
May these doors be wide enough to receive all those who are in need of healing.
May this be a place of welcome and hope to all those who are hurting…in body, mind, or spirit.
May this be a place of safety for all who enter.
May this be a place where the door is too high to admit complacency, selfishness, or harshness.
May this threshold be no stumbling block to young feet.
May this floor lighten the steps of all who tread upon its surface and be a stable place to stand.
May the foundation upon which we stand sink its roots deep into the earth from which we
sprang and to which we will return.
May these walls soak in the rich sounds of laughter and loving,
            drain away the pain of those who are hurting,
            and be protection from the fiercest winds of adversity.
May this roof hold strong and provide shelter for all who seek it.
May this place be a home to creativity and kindness.
May those who visit here and work here know only blessing and peace.
May it be so.  Amen.

TMC director, Beth Dorsey, honored as a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Beth Dorsey, Dietitian, President Elect of Academy of Nutrition and DietitiansBeth Dorsey couldn’t believe it when a recent Saturday Night Live skit used a relatively rare word that just happens to also be one of her favorites: dietitian.

In the skit, the protagonist’s sandwich fell on the ground, much to his consternation. He went on to complain that he has GI issues and that meal had been specifically planned for him by a dietitian.

“He said he was working with a dietitian! I couldn’t believe it – it was like we had arrived,” joked Dorsey, the director of Food and Nutrition Services at Tucson Medical Center, who was recently recognized as a Fellow by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.

The designation recognizes Dorsey’s commitment to the field of dietetics and celebrates her professional accomplishments and pursuit of life-long learning.

We caught up with Dorsey for a few questions:

  • What is the reaction from people when you explain what you do?

I get one of two reactions: They ask what they should eat, or they share a confessional that they need to eat better.

  • So what do you tell them when they ask what they should eat?

I let them know that there isn’t a magic pill. For dietitians looking to help their clients create change, it’s all about relationship building, communications and goal setting. The fact is, it’s a lifestyle change, not a diet, and that’s why this is usually not easy. We start with what they currently eat and what their goals are. Then we go from there.

  • It has to be difficult to keep track of all the nutritional information out there. It seems we’re inundated with it.

There is incredible complexity in what we do because of the breadth of patients we see, who have everything from easy issues to address to very difficult, chronic issues to manage. On top of that, we see all ages, from beginning to end of life. And the reality is, that something innocuous like eating a banana is really not advisable for some people. If you have kidney malfunction, that may not be a food of choice for you. If you are taking an iron supplement, you have to take it with other vitamins, such as C, to increase absorption of iron in the stomach. There is a lot of nuance involved in what we do.

  • What are some of the challenges that face the field?

Dietitians are experts in food and nutrition and are incredibly skilled people. They must have a bachelor’s degree and 1,200 hours of supervised, post-graduate practice, and they also must pass a national exam and maintain credentials with 75 hours of continuing education every five years

Even with all of that, we still have a hard time being reimbursed by insurance for the work we do. Medicare only reimburses for some very specific disease states. Other insurances may cover up to four visits a year.

We’d also like to increase the diversity of our workforce. America’s first dietitian is considered to be Sarah Rorer, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1849 and educated herself in chemistry, anatomy and medicine and eventually, was consulted to prepare special meal plans for patients. The field continues to be dominated by women and we would like it to evolve to see more gender and ethnic diversity.

  • What would your recommendations be for people who want to improve their nutritional intake?

First, check your insurance to see if dietetic visits are covered. Dietitians can tailor and assess the total picture of your health using your individual lifestyle along with your lab results and any medications you might be taking to formulate a nutrition plan.

Secondly, some of the standbys still haven’t changed. If you do not have any medical issues that restrict your intake, drink plenty of fluids, eat moderate portions and enjoy lots of healthy fruits and vegetables. And keep in mind, too, that less isn’t always more. Don’t skip meals and starve yourself or you will undermine your efforts by either slowing down your metabolism or binge eating later.

Dorsey, who serves as president-elect of the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and directs a dietetic internship at Tucson Medical Center, was also named as Outstanding Dietitian of the Year in 2016 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Mission Moments: TMC nurse donates plants for new garden honoring organ donors

JobyJoby Jacob has been groomed in intensive care units the entire span of her 19-year career as a nurse, witnessing countless moments when patients and families experience their most vulnerable times.

“Over the years, I’ve seen the hard decisions family members have had to make,” said Joby, who came to Tucson Medical Center 18 months ago.

Organ donation is not right for every family, but when there is no hope of recovery for the patient, Jacobs said she has observed that organ donation can bring some degree of comfort to both the health care provider and the family. “In a situation where families and loved ones are in unimaginable sorrow, it seems to bring some degree of peace in their heart to have an opportunity to give and make a difference in the life of someone else.”

She recalls one family in Baltimore, in deep mourning when their healthy son was brought into the hospital in a coma after being mugged by a street gang.  She witnessed how hard it was for a mom to lose her son – and yet bravely decide to use his life to help others awaiting life-saving transplants. The family came back every year to the unit – not only to thank the healthcare team, but to share how organ donation had helped lessen the heartache of losing their loved one.

When Joby came to TMC, she became the chair of the Donor Network Committee, which has a focus on ensuring that both the staff and the family are supported and honored in such situations. The idea of the Garden of Life came to materialize, which was dedicated at a ceremony in mid-April. “I wanted a space where family or staff can sit and respect the choices that are being made, and have that time to reflect in a dedicated area,” she said.

Joby spent her own time and donated some of the plants and flowers to make the garden as inviting as possible. She herself doesn’t have a green thumb, but picked out what the nursery told her would be beautiful – yet hardy – stock for the garden.

Flowers hold a special place for Joby because her 7-year-old son has a routine in which he picks a flower along the way for her on their family walks together. “For me, just a simple flower says so much and has so much meaning, especially because it represents love and appreciation. I want that feeling and ambiance for the patio.”

As a professional development specialist, Jacob said she knew that nursing was the right profession for her.  “No matter how mentally, physically and emotionally demanding our job is, every day as a nurse we are given the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. And for that reason, we are blessed.”

TMC dedicates Garden of Life patio honoring generosity of organ donors

GardenDedicationDid you know one organ donor can save up to eight lives?

In honor of those who made the choice to share the gift-of-life, Tucson Medical Center Tuesday dedicated a new Garden of Life Memorial patio on the TMC campus.

The soothing patio area features a garden of flowers and a tree hand-painted by TMC facilities as a symbol of strength and life.

Over the last decade, 33 organ donors at TMC have saved the lives of 83 others. The first plaque to be placed on the tree honors Jared Koltnow, whose gift saved three other people after he passed in 2016. His family and friends helped place the plaque and raise the Donate Life flag at the campus entrance that flies as a beacon of hope for those awaiting transplants.

DonateLifeFlagIn addition to the 16 lives saved in 2017 alone, 21 tissue donors and 14 ocular donors at TMC helped enhance and heal hundreds more. Each tissue donor can heal up to 75 lives, and one cornea donor can restore the sight of two individuals.

“It is our hope that the memorial reflects our deep respect and gratitude for organ donors,” said Joby Jacobs, a TMC professional development specialist and a champion for organ donation. “They – and their loved ones – have brought life, hope and compassion to others, and that is truly worthy of recognition and reverence.”

The need for organ and tissue donation is still great, said Chelsea Scheeler, the donor program development coordinator for Donor Network of Arizona. “Sadly, with more than 2,400 Arizona residents on a waiting list for organ donation, thousands of people die while waiting for this life-saving gift,” she said.

There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for organ and tissue donation. For more information, please visit https://www.donatelifeaz.org/

New technology allows minimally invasive fix for pancreatic cysts

AxiosStent.jpgPancreatic cysts, the fluid collections caused by pancreatic inflammation, can be painful and dangerous.

Some pancreatic cysts will resolve without treatment, but if they don’t, and if they grow larger or become infected they can cause abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.

Typically stubborn cysts were resolved using surgery, but there is a new minimally invasive treatment option available at Tucson Medical Center to people suffering from certain types of pancreatic cyst.

The new method involves draining the cyst using a non-surgical approach. Using an endoscope (a tube with a light and camera) the physician places a specialized stent, called an AXIOS stent, between the pancreas and the gastrointestinal tract where it will drain the cyst.

The endoscope camera allows a direct view of the GI tract.  The Doppler ultrasound capability ensures physicians can avoid blood vessels and find a safe site for drainage into the GI tract. These safety features, coupled with the shortened procedure time compared to the typical surgery make it a great option for those patients who qualify.

The procedure is not appropriate for all patients, based on the size and amount of fluid in a cyst, but it is a good option for those who qualify. “The pancreas, which produces the insulin that controls blood sugar levels, is a very fragile organ with a very important job, so any time we can have a less invasive approach, it is worth exploring that option,” said Mahala Castle, manager of the GI Lab.

The stent is removed within 60 days and requires some followup appointments to ensure the best outcomes.

For more information about AXIOS stent procedure at Tucson Medical Center, consult your primary care doctor.

My child is in hospital – what are family-centered rounds and how can I make the most of them?

family centered roundsRounds are the discussions that happen every day between the medical staff and parents of a child at TMC for Children, about the child’s progress and plan of care. The family-centered rounds take place in the patient’s room and include the family and patient as a critical part of the health team.

“Parents know their children and know how they’re going to react to new situations. The physicians and medical staff know what the evidence-based care is appropriate for the child. Working together in family-centered rounds, parents and medical staff can develop a plan of care that is best for the child.” said Jordan Richardson, child life specialist. “When parents take an active role in the family-centered rounds, they feel more involved. It improves communication and outcomes when everyone is on the same page.”

What can parents do to capitalize on family-centered rounds?

Be present on rounds

Try to be at the rounds. We know that it can be difficult to be there, and particularly if you don’t have flexibility in work schedules. At TMC, rounds on the pediatric unit occur from 9 a.m. – noon every day. The order and the time of rounds is dependent upon how sick patients are and varies from day to day as acuity often changes.

Participate!

Listen on rounds. Ask questions about things you don’t understand. Don’t hesitate to speak up on rounds.

Know that longer conversations may have to happen later

Our staff spends time with each patient, but needs to see everybody by the end of the morning. Once the hospitalist sees all of the patients and develop plans to move everyone’s care forward, he or she can return in the afternoon to have more in-depth discussions.

Write your questions down on a piece of paper

If you think of questions after the doctor leaves, or in the middle of the night, write down the question on a piece of paper or on the whiteboard in the room.   “We will be happy to answer them on rounds in the morning.” Richardson says.

medical students

Be part of shaping doctors of the future

The attending physician often is working with physicians in training and medical students. The attending physician will allow the trainees to present your child in a formal format and then may do some quick bedside teaching.   The teaching is for you as well! Please listen in and participate. This is how we all learn.   Don’t be surprised if you find that you have something to teach our trainees; our families often have valuable insight.

Just with every team, everybody brings different strengths. You, as a parent are a key team player on family-centered rounds.   Do not hesitate to ask questions and express your concerns.   Our goal is to provide high-quality, effective care for your child while in the hospital, and the best way we can do that is with your involvement.

 

 

Helping sexual assault victims take a first step toward healing and justice

 

Too often stigmatized and seldom talked about, sexual assault is a serious, community health issue. Someone becomes a sexual assault victim every two minutes.*

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an opportunity to lift stigma’s cloud, recognize the needs of sexual assault victims and acknowledge our community’s responsibility to provide care and support.

For victims, this is the first step toward healing and justice,” said Stephanie Green, RN, MSN, who oversees the Southern Arizona Center against Sexual Assault (SACASA) forensic exam program. “There is a relief for victims knowing the exam will support prosecution. Victims want as much evidence as possible to show this was wrong and not invited.”

For more than 10 years, Tucson Medical Center has partnered with (SACASA) to complete a comprehensive forensic exam for victims of sexual assault and provide immediate care and resources – the only program of its kind in Southern Arizona.

At the TMC Emergency Department, there is a dedicated private space for sexual assault evaluation and treatment. SACASA provides certified sexual assault nurse examiners who work with physicians to treat, document and provide additional support and resources.

The quiet room is a dedicated private space, with soft lighting, and a calming space in our emergency department

“A victim’s needs are far more than physical,” Green said. “From necessities like food, clothing and safe shelter to complex needs like behavioral health-care, prescription fills and transportation to medical appointments – we can make immediate referrals to help victims at every level.”

For the care providers, it is more than a program. “It is our priority to provide the most advanced and compassionate care for sexual assault victims during the worst time in their lives,” said Cynthia Carsten, RN, MSN, the director of patient care services at the TMC Emergency Department.

A separate, dedicated quiet room

Green noted that sexual assault is a community health matter that affects us all – men and women, adults and children. “Stigma and avoidance will perpetuate the problem, hindering every victim’s recovery with unjust shame and fear.”

As a community member, we encourage you to learn more about sexual assault, have more open discussions about your knowledge and build empathy and understanding.

Green further explained that collective education and action are the answers. “It will take a community effort to prevent, and hopefully end, this community health problem.”

If you have been the immediate victim of sexual assault call 911. If you are a victim and seeking resources, contact SACASA at (520) 327-7273. Learn more about sexual assault at www.sacasa.org or call (520) 327-1171. SACASA is a division of CODAC.

Dine Out For Safety – support survivors of sexual violence by dining out on April 18 – participating restaurants will donate up to 20 percent of proceeds to support SACASA programs.

Mission Moments: Providing comfort in a time of crisis

Cheryl.jpgCheryl Kohout has guided many people through difficult moments. A hospice volunteer for four years and a former sexual assault crisis line volunteer for more than 12, the digital media communications analyst at Tucson Medical Center has helped patients and families through the swoops of emotion that can accompany times of transition or stress.

When Kohout was walking to her car one recent evening after work, she stopped to help a visitor clearly in a state of distress.

Experiencing what looked to be car trouble, the woman had stopped her vehicle on a tight roadway and was sitting on the curb, crying in frustration because it was just one too many burdens to carry that day.

Kohout worked with TMC Security to help get the car moved to a safe place and sat with her on the curb, listening to her and reassuring her. She also helped walk her back from self-blame by reminding her she wouldn’t make such disparaging remarks to another person and she certainly merited the same kindness she would give others.

Kohout shared her tips for helping others in moments of distress:
• Make sure they’re safe, first and foremost.
Check that they’re not in immediate danger and that they don’t need emergency treatment. They can’t move forward to any healthier place until their physical space is secure.
• Let them know they’re OK.
• Practice active listening.
Reassure them that you are hearing what they’re saying, it often helps to reflect back and acknowledge their feelings. “I understand why you would be feeling frustrated right now.”
• Help them figure out their next steps.
“What are you going to do after we’re done talking?” Sometimes in moments of stress, people need help to find their way. Empowering them to make their action plan may also include steering them to potentially more appropriate intervention and services.

Stopping to help that evening ultimately took more than an hour of her time, but Kohout never regrets helping others. “It’s important to me to make connections and to give back in a meaningful way,” she said.

Tucson Medical Center recently adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing a series of “mission moments” throughout the year.

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

 

Green Eggs and ham, anyone? Are those eggs safe to eat?

Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover, another spring holiday, eggs are the hot ticket right now. And unless your name is Sam, you probably don’t want to be eating many green eggs!

When I was little, we would hunt for eggs in the yard…the real thing AND we would eat them afterwards! I also used to eat mud pies and share ice cream cones with my dog. Obviously, food safety wasn’t of much concern to me back then!

Today, because of the rise in food borne illnesses, we have to be much more cautious and concerned about how we handle our food. Here are a few tips to keep your holidays eggcellent:

Egg Safety Tips:

Is it safe to eat the hard-boiled eggs we decorated?

Yes if you:
-Store them in the refrigerator
-When hiding them only place them away from bacterial sources such as pets and dirt
-Toss eggs that are cracked, dirty or have been out of the fridge for more than two hours
-Use all leftover cooked eggs within one week

Or you could cook two sets of eggs! One set for an egg hunt or centerpiece display, and the other for eating. That way, the eggs you eat can stay properly refrigerated.

Consider using plastic eggs for hiding. You can use them year after year!

Can I use eggs after the “sell by” date?

Yes! Make sure you use the eggs within three weeks of the “sell-by” date and:
-Store eggs in the refrigerator at less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
-When you buy eggs, make sure they are sold in a refrigerator case and that none of the eggs are cracked
-When you get home put the eggs in the refrigerator and keep them in their original carton displaying the expiration date.

While many refrigerators have a specialized egg rack in the door, don’t use it. Place your eggs in the main portion of the refrigerator. The egg rack on the door is not the best place to store eggs because the temperature is warmer there than on the interior shelves.

How do I hard-boil an egg?

Hard-boiled eggs should be cooked until the white and yolk are completely set.
-Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with water.
-Bring water to a boil, cover the saucepan, then turn off the heat.
-Let eggs stand in water for 15 minutes.
-Remove eggs and place in a bowl of ice cold water to cool.

Do hard-boiled eggs spoil?

Fresh eggs direct from the chicken have a protective coating that makes it difficult for bacteria to permeate the shell and contaminate the egg. The eggs you purchase from the store are often subjected to a high pressure water stream to wash the dirt off. This washing also takes off the protective covering and finally when eggs are hard boiled any remaining protective coating is washed away. Make sure hard-boiled eggs are refrigerated within two hours of cooking and used within a week.

Eek! Why is the inside of my hard-boiled egg green?

Oops! You’ve overcooked your egg. The sulfur and iron compounds in the egg have reacted on the yolk’s surface, but don’t worry the green-colored yolk is safe to eat.

Have more questions? The Eat Right website which is a fabulous resource for all things nutrition including food safety questions.

Mary Atkinson is the Director of Wellness at TMC and a register dietitian.

Sit. Stay. Bad human! 9 tips for the office worker

9 tips for the desk workerAs an office worker you may be bound to a desk and a computer. For most of us this means that we may sit most of the day. You might think staying seated is one of the safest things you could do, but too much sitting can hurt your body in a number of ways:

How sitting too much can hurt your body:

  • Increases your risk of heart disease
  • Increases your risk of diabetes
  • Causes poor circulation in your legs, which could lead to varicose veins or blood clots
  • May lead to fatigue and food cravings
  • Less activity leads to weight gain
  • Weakens your abdominal and gluteal (butt) muscles
  • Contributes to other structural problems in the spine and hips

We checked in with Laurie Ledford RD, our very own Nutritionista, for her tips to help us escape the chains of our desks.

What is a desk-bound office worker to do? Here are a few tips to get you out of your chair.

  1. Don’t rely on an hour or less of exercise to make up for a whole day of sitting. You need to get up and move more often than that to offset the bad effects of sitting.
  2. If you have a sit-to-stand desk, alternate positions throughout the day.
  3. If you don’t have a special desk, stand up whenever you don’t need to be touching your keyboard or your desk – e.g., when answering the phone, while reading, while talking with a coworker.
  4. Sit on an exercise ball or a stool with no back, so that your core muscles will have to do some work. Always sit with your feet flat on the floor.
  5. Hold walking meetings.
  6. Drink lots of water (or other unsweetened beverage) throughout the day, so that you will have to get up to relieve yourself of this fluid frequently.
  7. Get away from your desk every 30-45 minutes to give your eyes a break and do something active – e.g., pushups against your desk, wall sitting (back against the wall with legs bent at 90 degrees), squats, calf raises, brisk walking, stretches or yoga poses.
  8. Keep a resistance band in your office. Use it to perform squats, lunges and upper body exercises during your breaks.
  9. Park far away, in a shady spot. This gives you a nice little walk to and from work, plus a cooler car in the afternoon.

For more information on how just a little more standing for office or around the home can make all the difference check out this post on how to burn more calories without adding a workout. 

Laurie Ledford RDLaurie Ledford  is a Registered Dietitian at Tucson Medical Center who uses her knowledge and experience every day to support patients making healthy nutrition choices and prevent or combat the major killers of our time. Have a question about something you’ve heard or seen about nutrition or diet? Send your question to the Nutritionista at communications at tmcaz.com.

Pregnant? Finding sleep elusive? Try a body pillow!

The ever-changing state of your body during pregnancy inevitably makes getting comfortable enough to beat those fits of insomnia feel impossible. Your body is working to create a new life and an important part of that process is rest.

You know that sleeping on your back again will have to wait and the best position for you and your baby is with you on your side, but that doesn’t make it any easier. With a little help from the right pillow, you’ll ease the strain on your body and get a restful night’s sleep.

As with anything, the best option for you won’t necessarily be the best for someone else. There are a variety of options out there to fit your particular needs.

The pregnancy body pillow – designed in the curved shape and length of your body, this option is like snuggling your partner all night.

The u-shaped pregnancy pillow – the name says it all, this versatile pillow is constructed to wrap around your body from front to back, allowing you to turn from your right to left sides and prop your head up when on your back.

The inflatable pregnancy pillow – shaped like a pool float, this option has a belly-shaped hole that allows you to rest comfortably on your stomach.

The wedge – small and intended for targeted areas, this pillow can be shaped to fit between knees, under the lower back or anywhere else that needs a little help.

“Getting enough rest is vitally important for your body and the development of your baby,” said Stacie Wood, clinical educator for Women’s and Children’s Services and Tucson Medical Center.

Now that you know your options, if you’ve got the DIY spirit and the reluctance to spend extra money, get creative! Hop onto Pinterest and get those creative juices flowing. Check out these pins we’ve saved for you on DIY Pregnancy Pillows.

TMC volunteer shares two best tools that helped her lose 48 pounds

DonnStairs.jpgDonn Corder has battled extra pounds for most of her life. So when she decided to fight back, she turned to two tools: Measuring cups and a food scale.

Corder, 59, who has volunteered in pastoral services at TMC for two years, was attending a lunch & learn session for volunteers when she learned about TMC’s weight management program. “I knew I needed to do something,” Corder explained. “My weight was creeping up and no matter what I seemed to do, it wasn’t going away. I also knew I didn’t want surgery and I also didn’t want a ‘system.’ I wanted to eat real food and not something out of a box.”

Corder met with registered dietitian Laurie Ledford, who went over her blood work to determine any risk factors. Corder was borderline on cholesterol and she comes from a long line of family members with diabetes.

Corder was surprised when she left the visit without a food plan to follow. Instead, she left with a food log, instructed to write down everything she ate for a week.

They discovered her servings were too large. The average serving for cereal is one cup. She had been just filling her bowl, and the result was twice that.

“I eat fast, so I didn’t realize how much I was eating. I started measuring and weighing everything,” she said. And she started to be more conscious of what she was eating.

Take cheese – a food Corder is particularly fond of. Ledford asked if she could really taste it in her salad, for example. And the answer was: Not especially. So the two of them agreed: Corder should eat her cheese, but she should have a chunk of it as a snack and really savor it.

Same with ice cream. Come on: Who eats half a cup of ice cream? But now, if Corder has a craving, she buys those individual servings at the grocery store to help her manage the portion size.

She made other little changes. Two percent milk dropped to one percent. She makes her own salad dressing. She makes snack bags of trail mix she’s made herself with just mixed nuts and raisins, since the ones at the store often have additional candy in them. She even put two weeks of snack bags in her carry on luggage when she took a two week trip.

With the help of the program’s physical activity counseling, she also added in more activity, whether it’s walking the hallways at TMC, jumping on the elliptical machine in the living room or walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator.

“It’s worked for me because I don’t feel deprived because I still have my favorite things.”

The only downside? A shopper she is not, and she now needs new clothes.

“You’re not going to be perfect every day, but it’s a question of whether you can make progress overall. It’s made a huge difference for me because I feel better, I sleep better and I have more energy.”

To find out more about TMC’s weight management program please contact TMC Wellness, (520) 324-4163 or Wellness@tmcaz.com

 

TMC Mega Raffle -Thank you Tucson for a record-breaking year!

 

The TMC Mega Raffle celebrated a record breaking year, selling out tickets faster than ever before! And that wasn’t the only record broken – the 50/50 jackpot reached a record-high of $693,600.

“We are so grateful to the community for their extraordinary support,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “Mega Raffle proceeds directly contribute to hospital services, programs and equipment that help provide exceptional health care with compassion to the communities we serve.”

Last year, Mega Raffle funds brought the most advanced echocardiogram imaging machine to TMC, and supported new cardiac rehabilitation equipment for heart surgery patients. The TMC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit received a new transport incubator, providing life-sustaining care for infants who must be transported across Southern Arizona.

“We thank each and every ticket buyer for supporting Tucson’s locally owned-community hospital,” Duran said. “The Mega Raffle also has some incredible prizes and we wanted to share some of the winners’ stories with you.”

Grand Prize, A.F. Sterling Home

Frank and his wife, Sherrie are Tucson natives that have entered the TMC Mega Raffle the last couple of years. This year they purchased one ticket and entered the 50/50 jackpot. “TMC is a big part of our family and we love this cause,” said Frank.

Their children were born at TMC and their daughter has received treatment for her Asthma. Sherrie also worked at TMC as a clerk in the emergency room when she was attending school at the University of Arizona. When Frank learned that he was this year’s grand prize winner of the A.F. Sterling Home or $600,000 cash, he could not believe it.

Frank and his wife both work for local school districts and their winnings will allow them to help their children with their college education. “This is life changing for us – we are so grateful to TMC,” Frank said.

50/50 Jackpot, $693,600

Barbara Gomez of Mesa, Arizona, is a retired engineer that worked for the state of Arizona for 32 years and has been entering the TMC Mega Raffle since it began. Two years ago, she won Omaha steaks and was thrilled. This year, she was shocked when she learned she was the 50/50 jackpot winner and will be splitting $693,600 with TMC!

Gomez is a cancer survivor that received care at TMC almost 40 years ago. She said, “I’ve had blessed life and need to give back. I had health issues and members of my family have too, so anything I can do to support this cause, I want to do.”

Gomez said she’d like to do some things for her grandchildren and give to her church. “This is amazing, but even if I never won anything, I would keep entering.”

Grand Prize, 2018 Lexus LC

Beverly Kudla planned to enter the TMC Mega Raffle the last few years, but said she always missed the deadline.

This year she was determined to enter and she’s glad she did, as this years’ grand prize winner of the 2018 Lexus LC or $150,000 cash option. Kudla’s late husband received care at TMC before he passed away last May.

After learning she won the grand prize, Kudla shared that the day after the final drawing would have been her husband’s 88th birthday. “This is really a gift. I always wanted to enter win or lose because TMC has been good to us,” Kudla said. With her winnings, she hopes to plan an exotic vacation to celebrate her 84th birthday.

Honda Civic and $9,500

Andrew Kent has entered the TMC Mega Raffle every year but never won anything until now. “My family has a strong connection with TMC,” he explained. Growing up, his father was an anesthesiologist at TMC and his mother was involved in the TMC Auxiliary.

Kent’s four daughters and two grandchildren were all born at TMC and he worked at the hospital in transportation to help earn money while he attended college and graduate school. A retired school administrator that now works as a dean of students, Kent was excited and shocked to learn he’d won a 2018 Honda Civic and $9,500.

Toyota C-HR and $8,500

Melinda Diaz works as a server at a local restaurant and it was her day-off when she got the call and learned she’d won the 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE plus $8,500.

“This news could not come at a better time,” said Diaz. “My car is not working right now, so this is amazing news!”

Diaz has entered the TMC Mega Raffle for several years, but this is the first time she’s won a prize. Her friends and family have received care at TMC. “It is a good cause and something worth giving my money to,” Diaz said.

Chief Nursing Officer, Marketing Manager go “Over the Edge” for the Girl Scouts

Four questions with TMC’s Chief Nursing Officer Mimi Coomler and Marketing Manager Tim Bentley on supporting the Girl Scouts by rappelling 17 stories from the 5151 E. Broadway Boulevard Office Tower on Saturday, March 24:

  1. What speaks to you about the Girl Scouts?

Coomler: The Girl Scouts is amazing at empowering young girls – and I support them so they can help more and more girls find their own center and their own power. My 7-year-old daughter is a Girl Scout so I’ve seen firsthand the great work they do.

Bentley:  I like their drive to instill confidence in girls at a young age. As a former high school coach for cross country and track, I truly believe that young people – especially girls – set themselves on a path to be successful by gaining confidence at a pivotal age.

2. Have you rappelled before?

Coomler: I haven’t, but I’m always up for an adventure!

Bentley: One time at a rock climbing gym. It was a 20-foot wall and all the young kids cheered me on when I did it. :/

3. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Coomler: I did the tango in front of 500 people to the tune of Sweet Caroline to raise money for the Diaper Bank. That was way out of my comfort zone.

Bentley: I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane years ago – with a parachute of course. I’m assuming the step off the building will be similar to the step out of the airplane. Although, I’m hoping my answer will be different this time –

Parachute Instructor: “Ready, GO!”

Me (looking down 5,000 feet): “You mean, right now??!?”

  • 4. What’s the most important lesson young girls should learn?

Coomler: Dream Big! When I was little, we said, “Girls can do anything they want to.” Now, it is more a reality than ever. Find your voice, find your dream and go for it.

Bentley:  It’s OK for girls to be smart, it’s OK for girls to be successful and it’s OK for girls to be recognized for their accomplishments. Don’t ever downplay them.  And as a track coach, it’s always OK for the girls to be faster than the boys. I always told the girls #BeFierce #BeStrong #BeBrave

Rather than directly sponsoring Tim or Mimi to go over the edge, we encourage donations to the Girl Scouts of TEAM G.I.R.L. who will also be going over the edge on Saturday to support their Girl Scout sisters here in Southern Arizona.

Hip Hop dancing with Type 1 – Brody’s got this!

Hip hop dancing can be tough for anyone, but not for Brody – a seventh-grader living with the challenges of Type 1 diabetes.

“Diabetes doesn’t change who I am,” said twelve-year-old Brody. “But it is a disease that I have to manage on a constant basis in order to stay safe.”

The moves? Brody’s practiced for years. The look? He’s got it on lock. The music? Please. So what happens when his insulin pump comes out during a performance? Brody’s got this.

Brody doesn’t miss a single beat – incorporating the pump wires into his routine.

The situation is a metaphor for Brody’s life. When Type 1 diabetes unexpectedly surfaced – he didn’t let it affect his dance, and Brody doesn’t let Type 1 stop him from playing basketball, gaming, learning to play the tuba or experiencing all life’s got to offer.

But Brody says it much better. “Don’t let type one diabetes stop you from doing anything!”

At four, Brody and his family learned his pancreas was creating little to no insulin – the hormone that regulates blood sugar. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a chronic and life-long condition that causes blood sugar to spike and fall unexpectedly.

Surging blood sugar levels are far more than a nuisance, they can lead to serious medical complications and death if not properly managed through insulin therapy.

“I have to check [my blood sugar] before meals and before bed,” Brody explained. “If I’m feeling like my blood sugar is too high or if I’m feeling like my blood sugar is too low I have to test. I am very active and so I have to test before I play any sports or any dancing. Monitoring my blood sugar is a big part of having diabetes.”

Even though this brave young-man doesn’t let Type 1 slow him down, he admits his life would be different if there was a cure.

“I would definitely be free from having to test my blood sugar, put on new insulin pump sites or wear a continuous glucose monitor – things like that,” Brody said. “I wouldn’t get sick as much as I get sick now. My mom wouldn’t call me as much.”

You can help kids like Brody by supporting Type 1 research through events like the JDRF Sip, Savor & Celebrate being held Friday, March 23 at La Encantada. Festivities start at 6 p.m. – enjoy live music, fantastic food and drink, and help move research closer to a cure.

Purchase tickets at www.celebratejdrf.com or call (520) 203-8084.

When should I tell my child about an upcoming surgery?

When should I tell my child about an upcoming surgery. When your child has an upcoming surgery or procedure, telling your child when they arrive at the hospital is generally a bad idea. So when to tell your child? Can it be too soon, too late? Amy Fregonese, child life specialist at TMC for Children, weighs in with some concrete advice on when and why to talk to your child about their surgery.

While talking about an upcoming surgery with your child may feel overwhelming, research has found that providing developmentally-appropriate preparation can help to decrease stress and anxiety before, during and after the experience.

When to tell your child:

Toddlers (1-3 years old)
Tell your child a day or two before. Toddlers are not able to understand the concept of time and may begin to worry if told too soon. It is normal for toddlers to become fussy and have behavioral changes before and after a procedure.

Preschoolers (3-5 years old)
Tell your child 3-5 days before the scheduled surgery. Too much time will allow fears and misconceptions to develop. Your child will be curious and will want to know what to expect.

Elementary school age (6-12 years old) 
Tell your child a week or two in advance. This will allow time to process the information and to develop and ask questions without allowing too much time for fears to develop. Your child needs details before, during and after the procedure.

Adolescents (12-18 years old)
Involve your teen in all aspects of planning for the surgery, including talks with the doctor. Allow teens to discuss and talk freely about their concerns. Allow them to maintain their independence and sense of control. Be supportive and honest.

What should I tell my child:

How much and when to tell your child will depend on age and developmental stage, personality, past health care experiences, and understanding of the illness or condition that is being treated.

You know your child best. Use your knowledge, along with the information you have gathered, to talk openly and honestly with your child. Focus on what your child will experience before and after the surgery. An expected stressor is less stressful than an unexpected stressor. Remember to ask your child what questions he or she has about surgery.

Finally, remember you child, no matter the age relies on cues from you. If you appear calm and confident, your child will be more relaxed.

A tour of the surgery area can help you and your child feel more comfortable and gain a better understanding of how things will proceed.

Amy Fregonese
Child Life Specialist

Surgery Tours

Our child life specialists can help your child understand surgery and what to expect. Pre-surgery and pre-admission tours are available. Most tours are geared for children ages 3 and up, but all ages and siblings are welcome. You can call (520) 324-1154 to set up a tour time that is best for your family.

Amy FregoneseAmy Fregonese, Child Life Specialist, specializes in supporting families as they prepare for and recover from surgery. Amy has been helping children and families at Tucson Medical Center for five years.

 

 

 

 

No more blood pressure pills, less pain after weight loss surgery

KelleeKellee Smith didn’t have a history of struggling with weight. She still has the size 2 gown she wore in a Miss Maryland pageant when she was 110 pounds.

But the weight started creeping on after a drunk driver in a large pickup truck slammed into her small car five years ago, shattering her shoulder, detaching her knee cap, severing the tendons in her leg and leaving her with a traumatic brain injury. It took two surgeries and about 18 months of rehabilitative therapy to start rebuilding her life.

She gained weight, in part from the reduced activity, in part as a side effect from the medications she was taking and in part as a result of turning to food as a comfort from the pain and physical limitations.

When her blood pressure medication would no longer control her blood pressure, though, she knew she had to make a change.

“I just wanted to be healthier. I didn’t want to worry about having a cardiac event or having to take more and more medication,” said Smith, a 45-year-old teacher.

Smith had gastric sleeve surgery in summer 2017.

One of the important tools for Smith was a food journal. Surprised to see how much soda she had been drinking, she switched to flavored seltzer water and eventually just switched to water.

Other changes: She adds a low-carb protein shake to iced coffee, giving her the creaminess of a frappucino without the extra sugar and calories. She turns sandwiches into lettuce wraps to eliminate the bread. She’s made spaghetti out of zucchini strings.

“I’m just a lot more conscious about labels and what I’m eating now,” she said. “I can still have the treats that I want, but I just look for ways to make them a healthier alternative.”

Smith said her surgeon told her not to be surprised if it was hard to make some of the transitions in the beginning, and at one point might wonder why she had decided to do it in the first place.

“I have not once asked why I did this,” Smith said. “I had tried diets and even diet medications. I had gone to gyms. I even had a personal trainer. Nothing was helping me lose the weight and I had really just resigned myself that this was how life was going to be for the rest of my life.”

Instead, six months in, Smith has lost 55 pounds in a safe, steady way. Initially at a size 18/20 pants, she bought herself a pair of size 12 jeans over the Christmas holidays. She’s doing strengthening classes at the gym. Between that conditioning and carrying less weight, she’s experiencing less pain and her balance is steadier than it had been in years.

Importantly, in October, she stopped taking blood pressure medication altogether because she no longer has hypertension.

And she’s strongly considering entering a pageant in fall 2018 to share her accomplishments.

“Weight loss surgery isn’t an easy way out or a cure all, but it is a tool,” Smith said. “Every day, it’s a new commitment. Every day, I choose if I’m going to live an active life and make healthy choices.”

Tucson Medical Center director honored with HIMSS Book of the Year award

As a proud supporter of the Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson Medical Center is celebrating one of its very own literary talents!

Focused on leadership and management in health care and health information technology, Leading Healthcare IT: Managing to Succeed, by Susan Snedaker, MBA, CISM, CPHIMS, CHCIO, this week received the 2018 HIMSS Book of the Year Award.

The book presents a practical guide for developing passionate, engaged and competent leaders to meet the demands of today’s health care IT environment.

Snedaker is an accomplished IT executive and author. She is the director of Infrastructure and Operations and information security officer for Tucson Medical Center, where she oversees IT infrastructure and clinical engineering. Snedaker’s team developed and deployed innovative technology solutions to meet the evolving needs of the organization. Her approach to cross-team collaboration, clinical engagement and technical innovation has created an IT environment that delivers exceptional results. TMC is a HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 hospital and has ranked as a Most Wired hospital every year since 2012.

“I’m extremely pleased to receive the HIMSS Book of the Year Award,” Snedaker said. “This book represents an amalgamation of what I’ve learned through both education and experience, as well as what I’ve gleaned from working with peers, colleagues and mentors.

“I wanted to create an approachable, user-friendly book – with clear, concise and actionable information – that could accelerate leadership development specifically for healthcare IT. To have this book selected as HIMSS Book of the Year is a great honor.”

Gus Venditto, vice president, content development, HIMSS Media said, “Susan Snedaker’s ‘Leading Healthcare IT: Managing to Succeed’ provides a concise roadmap for professionals who manage, direct or oversee healthcare information and technology. Her insights provide a valuable perspective for readers, and we congratulate her for this significant milestone as an author.”

TMC and Mayo Clinic collaborate to promote survivorship at Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium

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For the second year in a row, Tucson Medical Center, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, is pleased to offer the Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium, designed to help patients find more about the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, as well as shared issues facing patients, caregivers and family members.

The broad-based symposium, with a focus this year on celebrating survivorship, will include discussions designed to help participants deal with the stress of these diseases and move forward in a positive direction.

The free event, which Mayo Clinic has successfully offered for nearly a decade in the Phoenix area, will take place on Saturday, April 7. Mindful walks will kick off the day at 7:30 a.m., with sessions beginning at 9 a.m. at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Arizona.

The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, a Holocaust survivor, who will share her perspective on embracing the possible. In addition to cancer-specific breakout sessions, TMC, Mayo Clinic and Arizona Oncology experts will also lead other topic discussions including intimacy after cancer, genomics, as well as exercise, diet and inflammation. Celestino Fernandez, a distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, will close with a session on finding happiness every day.

“Survive Well is a fitting venue to share advancing technologies, leading treatments, and support services,” says Aleksandar Sekulic, M.D., Mayo Clinic Dermatologist and Deputy Director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Arizona. “The symposium is a valued part of our collaborative efforts to provide meaningful information and support to patients with cancer and their families.”

As a member of the Mayo Clinical Care Network, TMC works with Mayo Clinic to better serve patients and their families by sharing education and best practices. “This symposium is a continued maturation of the relationship we’ve developed with Mayo Clinic, to ensure that our patients benefit from our collective knowledge,” said Dr. Robert Brooks, medical director of oncology at TMC.

For more information or to save your spot, please visit our website.

Mission Moments: Helping out with a four-legged family member

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Pets are familiar sights at Tucson Medical Center: Our K9 units help keep the hospital safe and our pet therapy teams brighten spirits of patients and staff.

So when Wellness Director Mary Atkinson saw this fun little guy out stretching his legs with his owner along TMC’s walking path, she introduced herself to the pair.

It turns out the dog was waiting in the car for his dog mom to have a procedure done and his dog dad was trying to split his time between checking on his wife and checking on his four-legged family member. As recent arrivals to Tucson, he didn’t want to leave the pet unattended in an unfamiliar home.

Hearing about the predicament, Atkinson offered to keep the terrier mix in the Wellness Department through the day.

He was a perfect gentleman – and looked quite dapper in the Girls on the Run bandana he scored during his sojourn in the new digs.

MaryAtkinson (2)“We were happy to help, and his owner was very grateful that he could focus on his wife’s surgery and know that this other member of his family was safe,” Atkinson said. “It’s always important to us to practice kindness and to be cognizant of ways we can help other people – and especially during stressful times in their lives.”

Tucson Medical Center recently adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing a series of “mission moments” throughout the year.

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

 

 

Bariatric support group helps patient stay on track with a healthy weight

MaryannMaryann Webb was once “fired” from a support group for not losing enough weight.

Never mind that she’d shed 100 pounds from her starting weight of 357 pounds after having gastric bypass surgery. It wasn’t fast enough or significant enough to meet the expectations of the other members of her group. So she quit.

She and a friend left another support group so depressed they went out and got a hot fudge sundae.

Then in January 2017 she found the support group at Tucson Medical Center for those who had weight-loss surgery.

The 74-year-old retired personnel trainer never misses one.

“It’s like getting a booster shot every month,” she said. She likes the positivity of the group and the non-judgmental environment.

Webb had a long struggle with weight. Part of it is genetics – a whole passel of her family is just a little shorter and a little heavier than average. And she comes from a long line of family members who comfort and nurture one another with food. If you went to grandma’s for Saturday supper, you knew you were going home with a dozen of her sugar cookies.

When she moved from the family farm and the physical demands associated with it, and took a desk job, she found herself gaining weight pretty quickly.

“I’d tried them all. The cabbage soup diet. The hormone shots. This was a long time ago, but I even tried that approach where they shock you when they show you a photo of food to try to make you repulsed by it. Nothing worked.”

It got worse when she was hit with a triple whammy: A divorce, a change in jobs and a newly empty nest after her daughter went away to college.

By the time she had surgery – this was back in 1999 – she was 55 and having trouble with her kidney function and she had diabetes. She took off 100 pounds pretty quickly and then years later lost more when she went through an unrelated medical condition.

The weight loss support group is offered monthly and provides an opportunity for patients who have had weight-loss surgery to connect with others who are in different stages of their weight-loss journey. Our mission is to provide a safe, supportive environment for patients to build relationships and get education focused on health and well-being for their lifelong journey.

Last year, she underwent surgery to fix a constriction and a hernia on the original bypass. When her surgeon asked her what she wanted from the surgery, she said she just wanted to eat lettuce again.

Unlike the larger incision from the first surgery, technology allowed a laparoscopic procedure this time around, with much less pain and a faster recovery. She stuck to her surgeon’s diet suggestions like gospel, sure it would help her heal faster. And sure enough, she’s eating lettuce again.

She’s also walking three days a week, doing aerobics three days a week and organizing monthly social events with a group of retired friends (including a tour of Tucson’s ethnic restaurants with strict orders to try something they’d never had before.)

“I feel better than I have in years,” Webb said. “It isn’t like the surgeon gets to wave a magic scalpel and suddenly the weight comes off like magic. It’s a tool. But it’s a tool that makes it easier. Plus, now I know myself better. I understand what I have to do to take care of myself. I know I never want to be that sick again. And I’ve learned over the years that it’s OK to be proud of yourself a little bit.”

And that’s also why her self-care toolbox includes the monthly support group held on the TMC campus for those who have had bariatric surgery at TMC.

Webb said she appreciates sharing her tips with others and learning from experiences others share – not to mention it’s often a tasty experience to boot.

A recent class had a series of taste tests for protein bars (she’s rather partial to Power Crunch salted caramel.) In another class, members shared their recipes for protein shakes and made samples. The class learned about vitamins and supplements in another.

“I can actually say that I’ve been to a lot of support groups over the years,” Webb said. “And this is really a support group.”

For more information about weight loss surgery at TMC attend a FREE weight loss surgery seminar.

TMC Healing Art Program Photography Exhibit

Steve Dell Sunrise at Mesa Arch

Steve Dell “Sunrise at Mesa Arch” 2010

More than 900 works of art have been donated and installed at Tucson Medical Center as part of the Healing Art Program. Why? Because artwork can make us feel better and speed recovery – and that’s more than a pleasant notion, it’s an evidence-based best practice.

“The donated paintings, drawings and photographs really go a long way in promoting healing and enhancing the patient experience,” said Lauren Rabb, curator of the TMC Healing Art Program.

On March 8 you can view a hand-picked selection of the first exhibit of TMC art outside the hospital at the Temple of Music and Art.

 

“The TMC Healing Art Program helps patients heal in surroundings that inspire, encourage and cheer,” said Michael Duran, TMC vice president and chief development officer. “Events like the photography exhibit help us populate the hallways, numerous courtyards and many public spaces throughout the TMC campus with life-enhancing art.”

Bill Steen   “Monsoon Intersection, the Malpais, NM”   2007

Bill Steen “Monsoon Intersection, the Malpais, NM” 2007

The event features the images of renowned national and local photographers, such as Gregory Cranwell, Steve Dell, B.G. Boyd, Marla Endicott, Larry Hanelin and Niccole Celeste Radhe.

The exhibit also includes the photos of professional photographer Pamela Gresham Knight, who is traveling from Texas to attend the opening in-person.

“I am astonished by the incredible artwork the TMC Healing Art Program has received,” said Knight. “These photos and paintings are what you might normally see in a museum or gallery.” Knight also explained she strongly supports the cause. “I’m honored and humbled to have my photographs be part of providing relief and comfort for patients who are healing.”

Enjoy the rare opportunity to view the artwork at the treasured Temple of Music and Art. The Arizona Theatre Company bar will be open.

TMC Healing Art Photography Exhibit

March 8, 5 – 8 p.m.

Temple of Music and Art Gallery, 330 S. Scott Ave.

FREE to attend (no RSVP needed)

Photographs, 16 x 20 inches or 10 x 20 inches, are available for purchase through May 12. Proceeds support the TMC Healing Art Program

TMC’s Healing Art Program accepts donations of gallery-quality paintings, graphics, photography and sculpture. “You will be truly amazed by the quality of the images presented at the fundraiser,” said Rabb.

To donate artwork, take a TMC artwork tour or for more information visit http://www.tmcaz.com/healing-art-program or call (520) 324-3116.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small changes add up to 50 pound weight loss for Lindy

LindyWhen 36-year-old occupational therapist Lindy Schoch decided to do a weight management campaign a year ago, she was feeling kind of blah.

Her energy was down. She was carrying too much weight. And even though she was working out five days a week, her scale wouldn’t budge.

Schoch consulted with a member of the wellness team and registered dietitian Laurie Ledford to come up with a solution.

“I thought I was eating healthy – and I was – but you can eat too much even if it is healthy,” she said. “Decreasing portion control was a big key for me. The important thing is to take small steps instead of trying to do everything at once. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed.”

Over the course of the year, without making drastic changes, Schoch lost 50 pounds, with a goal of another 30 by her spring 2019 wedding.

Here’s what helped:

  • Breakfast: She swapped out her breakfast Greek yogurt for one that has half the sugars and all the protein. She supplements her breakfast with two hard boiled eggs.
  • Lunch: She stopped putting cheese and ranch dressing on her six-inch submarine sandwiches – stuffing them with flavorful vegetables, pickles and pepperoncinis instead – and switched to flatbread instead of sub rolls. Over time, she switched to salads with chicken and avocado, forgoing the sandwich altogether.
  • Snacks: Ledford told her she should eat something in between meals so she wasn’t ravenous for her big meals, since that makes it harder to control portions. She takes an apple or banana for a quick snack in between meals.
  • Drinks: Sodas are rare for her. She usually opts for unsweetened tea. She did have to completely give up coffee. “I actually hate coffee, but I love creamer. I had to give up coffee because I couldn’t have it without half a cup of creamer in it. That helped cut out a bunch of fat and sugar calories.”
  • Sugar: She’s the first to admit she’s a cookie fiend. And she likes chocolate. And while she’s pretty disciplined about steering clear of office goodies, she has learned one important lesson: “If I really want a piece of chocolate, I will have it. When you crave it, have one of that item and have it right away when you first feel like having it. I’ve made the mistake of trying to resist and then later, eating too much of something because I’ve been wanting it all day.”
  • Be patient with yourself. “Six weeks into my 12 week program, I had done all this and I hadn’t lost one pound. Not one. This is where people get discouraged, because they make changes for a certain time and they give up, but your body needs time to adjust to the changes you’re making. By the twelfth week, I had lost 11 pounds and then it just poured off, six pounds every other week.”
  • Let technology help. There are a lot of fitness apps on the market, but Schoch particularly likes My Fitness Pal, a free app that logs her caloric intake and activity levels and helps her stay on track for her long-term weight goal.

“I don’t deprive myself and I’ve found that what I’m doing now is sustainable,” she said. “I feel lighter now. I can run and it’s less taxing. I have more energy and I feel good about the direction I’m heading.”

TMC Wellness offers one-on-one appointments and small group counseling with a registered dietitian or exercise physiologist. 

Pregnancy and the flu vaccine – Protection for you and your baby

Why you should get the flu shot if you're pregnant

Photo by Alex Pasarelu

“Babies can’t be given the flu vaccine until they are six months old, so the vaccine that you receive is for both of you,” explained Erin Sperry Schlueter, M.D. F.A.C.O.G., department chair of TMC OB/GYN.

With pregnant women on the short list of people with an increased risk of developing flu complications, understanding the facts about the flu vaccine is a top priority. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women can get the flu vaccination at any time in their pregnancy, but it is best to get one early in the flu season, October through May.

The vaccine can be given in two ways, a shot or a nasal mist. The mist is not recommended for pregnant women, although it’s safe for women who have just given birth and are breastfeeding.

Protecting yourself from the flu is only half of the benefit; the other half is the protection it gives your baby. The vaccine decreases your risk of getting the flu while you’re pregnant and then keeps your baby protected for the first six months of life. If you do happen to catch the flu after getting the flu shot, it is usually a much more mild sickness.

“The flu shot is critically important for pregnant women because they are at a much higher risk of life-threatening complications from the flu. We also recommend that all immediate caregivers such as partners and grandparents get themselves protected with a flu shot to provide a ‘cocoon’ of immunity around the new baby”, said Dr. Sperry Schlueter.

Don’t get caught by the flu, get your vaccination early. Mild side effects like a sore arm and a low fever for a few days are a minor annoyance when compared to the flu virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on their website about the vaccination and pregnancy. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/qa_vacpregnant.htm.

If you haven’t already had your flu vaccine, get vaccinated. Even if it is late in the flu season the vaccine can still be beneficial. You can schedule an appointment to get the flu vaccine at the TMCOne Wyatt office by calling (520) 394-6619. A brief registration keeps you on schedule, the central location makes it easy and the friendly professionals provide the quality care your family expects from TMCOne. The flu shot is covered by insurance and only $25 for out of network plans.

 

An Emergency Room Visit: A Patient’s View

Emergency DepartmentNothing is more frustrating that sitting in the emergency room feeling terrible and watching someone who looks perfectly fine walk in and walk straight through to triage and be taken back. Right?

I recently got to be that person skipping the waiting room, moving straight past go to immediate help.

I felt fine, well except for the piercing headache behind my left ear that had been there for three days, but that hadn’t brought me into the emergency room. What brought me in was when one side of my face began to droop.

It was quite odd. At first it was just that my eyes didn’t look the same as usual. One seemed bigger than the other and then my face started to seem flat on one side.

Signs of a stroke

I recognized the drooping face as a possible symptom of a stroke and after I called my husband and dropped off the kids with some friends, I had a friend take me to the emergency room. Not my brightest moment. After all, if this was a stroke I was wasting precious brain time, but at least I didn’t drive myself! I couldn’t possibly be having a stroke – could I? After all my mum was 70 when she had her stroke. I was just 48 years old – a spring chicken. While I am definitely overweight, I didn’t have other risk factors.

I raced up to the front desk in the emergency room and began to explain my concerns. By this point my mouth was beginning to droop, too. The nurse took one look at me and whisked me back.

I’m sure to those left in the waiting room this seemed massively unfair. After all, there I was, able to walk, apparently in not significant distress, no bleeding or obvious trauma (they couldn’t see my face) and I was going to be seen before everyone else waiting.

Within a couple of minutes members of the rapid response stroke team were evaluating me for a stroke, bloodwork was being taken, and my situation was being evaluated. After the initial evaluation they were pretty sure I wasn’t having a stroke, but it wasn’t clear what was going on and something was definitely going on. Most of the possible scenarios and options were pretty awful. Center for Neurosciences nurse practitioner Frances West and neurologist Dr. David Teeple kept me calm and informed and made the decision to keep me at the hospital for observation.

The following day, after ruling out a possible reemergence of an earlier melanoma, the pieces began to fall into place. I had Bell’s palsy.

Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s palsy affects about 30,000 to 40,000 people every year in the United States. It results in the paralysis or weakness of one side of the face as a result of damage to the facial nerve. The cause of Bell’s palsy isn’t known, but generally the weakness or paralysis is thought to be due to swelling of the nerve in the area where it travels through the bones of the skull. For many, symptoms often begin to improve right away, but it may take weeks or even months for the muscles to get stronger. For some people symptoms may never completely disappear.

Six months out, my face is still lopsided. I can’t drink straight from a bottle, and talking at length can be tiring and embarrassing as I drool when my mouth tires. However, I can blink and smile. My facial paralysis isn’t quite as obvious as it was previously.

Bell’s palsy is not pleasant, but as my ability to parent, work, live and be an active member of my community is not impacted by my looks, I’ll take this slightly lopsided smile over the other possibilities like stroke or brain tumor.

I am grateful to know that if it had been a stroke, the TMC Rapid Response Stroke Team was ready to act, and the front desk staff prepared to recognize and move on a possible stroke case. And next time I’m in the waiting room of an emergency room … I’ll be a tad more patient as a new arrival is whisked back before me even if they don’t look sick.

While Tucson boasts a half-dozen stroke centers, TMC is the city’s only primary stroke center that has 24/7 coverage by board certified interventional neuroradiologists along with a neurology and neurosurgery stroke team.

Rachel Miller is a Communications Specialist at TMC.  She has decided since developing Bell’s palsy that everyday should be pirate day. (Individuals affected by Bell’s palsy are often unable to close or blink the eye on the affected side. A patch protects the eye from the everyday dust. Here Rachel takes advantage to play pirate.)

TMC nurse helped make wedding dream come true for one couple

Malloree Ingalls (2)It only takes a quick chat with TMC Cardiac Unit nurse Malloree Ingalls to understand why she was drawn to a career in nursing. Her upbeat smile and approachable attitude put her patients at ease during what is often the most stressful time in their lives.

One such patient was just days away from open heart surgery when his fiancée of 12 years told him that she would like to stop waiting and just get married, to her delight, he said yes. “She was worried about upsetting family and friends by not having a big thing. I told her, “Don’t worry about them, this is for you,” Ingalls recalled.

Cutting the cake at hospital wedding

When the couple asked cardiothoracic surgeon Kushagra Katariya, M.D., how many times he had performed this particular surgery, the patient’s fiancé recalled with a laugh, “He said five times … this week.”

With that reassurance and the surgery in a few short days, Ingalls and the team from the Cardiac Unit sprang into action. “She told me that she heard that you can get married in a hospital, so I started making some calls,” said Ingalls.

With two rings purchased at the TMC Gift Shop, calls were made to arrange for a cake, refreshments from Food and Nutrition Services, a notary and TMC Chaplain Mary Klaehn.

With that, a wedding came together.

 

The bride nominated Ingalls for a DAISY Award, an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care given by nurses every day. In her nomination, the bride said of Ingalls, “Words can never explain my utter love and gratitude towards her and her beautiful soul…Having her as our nurse was the best thing that happened to us, in our most troubling time.”

hospital wedding rings

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Nominate an extraordinary nurse for the DAISY award

TMC closely following developments in Green Valley

2014-judy-rich-standing-preferred-pose To Our Community,

We have received several questions regarding the recently announced bankruptcy sale of Green Valley Hospital to a California-based equity firm. According to the public announcement, there was only one bid received for the struggling medical center and that bid was accepted for the acquisition of the hospital alone and did not include the associated medical office buildings, hospital equipment and other related assets.  The bidder was actually a lender who had loaned money for the time it was in bankruptcy.

TMC HealthCare has been following the Santa Cruz County hospital’s bankruptcy proceedings carefully, with an interest in supporting the surrounding communities. As a nonprofit community hospital, we continually seek opportunities which are consistent with and further our mission to provide exceptional healthcare with compassion. However, any new venture or investment must be financially viable. Since the Green Valley Hospital has a history of substantial financial losses, we needed to be mindful of how such an investment would impact our broader system. After a careful analysis of the opportunity in Green Valley, it did not make sense to participate in the current  bidding process for that hospital asset. We will continue to monitor the situation to see if an appropriate opportunity arises for our involvement with the hospital.

TMC has a long-standing relationship with the Green Valley residents, so please know that we will continue to explore how we can best and most appropriately serve that population.

If you have further questions, please call Julia Strange, vice president, Community Benefit, at 520-324-2017.

Sincerely,

Judy Rich

Did you nix New Year’s resolutions this year?

What's your thing - nix the new year resolutionsA message from Laurie Ledford to all those folks looking to set a health challenge for themselves, but not taking the New Year resolutions path. 

Many people see the New Year as a chance for a fresh start, a time to make big changes in their lives. Some people will make resolutions, vowing to become better versions of themselves. Knowing that most New Year’s resolutions fail, and realizing lifestyle makeovers are difficult, other people won’t bother setting a goal for the year.

If you are the type of person who enjoys a challenge, and you can set a goal that is enjoyably difficult but not impossible, then go for it! Just be sure to make a plan – your roadmap – so you don’t get lost along the way. You can use the advice below to help you stick to your plan.

For you non-resolvers out there, let’s find an alternative way to improve yourself without all that stress. Instead of a resolution, just create “Your Thing.” (If you prefer, you can call it your mission, objective, intention, ideal or purpose.) Make it fairly specific, so that it gives you direction for making the right choices. Here are some examples.

  • You want to get eight hours of sleep every night. When the television tries to keep you watching past your ideal bedtime, you say, “Sorry TV, that’s not my thing.”
  • You want to reduce your sugar intake, and someone offers you a soda. You could tell them, “Thanks, but soda’s not my thing.”
  • You want to eat more vegetables. When a waiter asks, “Would you like fries with that?” You reply, “Actually, veggies are more my thing. I’ll have a side salad instead.”

“Your Thing” needs to be about something you want to change. It may not be what your doctor, your family, your friends or strangers online think you should change. The desire to change must resonate inside of you, and you must have a clear idea of why you want to change. That reason will help provide motivation to, for example, choose the after-dinner walk instead of the after-dinner ice cream.

“Your Thing” is not one big transformation; it is instead a continuous process and an ongoing learning opportunity. It isn’t a single decision; it is lots of choices, made moment by moment. In this approach, you break down the overall improvement into small steps, and you take one step at a time.If you have a slip-up along the way, you forgive yourself and move on. However, you can learn from each little slip-up. Ask yourself what you could do to help yourself make a different (better) decision next time.

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Often making the right decision comes down to choosing one behavior over another. For “Your Thing,” it means choosing to do what’s right, not what’s easy. It’s easy to fall into old habits. Therefore, you need to become aware of what you are doing day to day. Notice which behaviors or habits support “Your Thing” and which ones do not. Then get curious about what drives those behaviors. Here are some common triggers.

  • your location or surroundings
  • the time of day
  • other people
  • your emotional state
  • some other associated behavior

Now make a plan. Decide what you are going to do differently when the trigger activates your behavior. Ideally, it will be something that provides the same good feeling while still supporting “Your Thing.” Your plan may not be an instant success. You may have to try several different tactics to stick with “Your Thing” And you may find that what you thought was a trigger actually wasn’t. This is why changing habits is an ongoing process of learning. It takes time to figure out your behavior.

No matter how vigilant you are, there will be times when it is simply too much work to make the right choice. Sometimes you are so exhausted or stressed that you feel unable to resist the old habit, and so you give in. Guess what? It’s OK. Nobody’s perfect, so forgive yourself, move on, and vow to do better next time.

Laurie Ledford RDLaurie Ledford is a registered dietitian from Atlanta, Georgia, the land of grits, collard greens and super-sweet iced tea. She now works as a registered dietitian  in the Tucson Medical Center Wellness Department. She enjoys helping people improve their health through sustainable dietary changes while still relishing occasional indulgences. In her off hours, Laurie engages in foodie pursuits such as sampling unusual flavor combinations (olive oil and basil ice cream was a good one) as well as hiking and cycling.

Safety practices for exercising in the dark

Safety tips for exercising in the darkWhether you’re taking the dog out for a walk or just getting out for a run yourself it can be hard this time of year to get outside when it’s light out. If you don’t have time during daylight hours to get out, stretch your limbs and fill your lungs, make sure you follow these safety practices when exercising in the dark:

  • Plan your route and tell someone where you are going and when you should be back. Avoid poorly lit and overgrown streets and trails.
  • When planning your route make sure to note where there are open businesses that you can stop at in case of emergency.
  • Don’t be predictable. Make sure you change up your route!
  • Bust out the neon! Wear bright and reflective clothing so drivers can see you.
  • Leave the tunes at home. Be aware of your surroundings don’t wear earbuds or headphones.
  • Bring a cell phone and identification. Or at a minimum, have ID and emergency medical information on a tag or on a card.
  • Rely on inner sparkle–don’t wear jewelry or carry money.
  • Use a headlamp, flashlight or clip-on bike light so drivers can see you.
  • Take pepper spray and a whistle in case you do encounter someone or something threatening.
  • Don’t run alone. Taking the dogs out for a run means we’re all getting exercise. If you don’t have a canine friend to accompany you, see if a friend is up for being an exercise buddy.

If you must, make friends with a treadmill for a couple of months. I know, it’s not the same as getting outside, but if it keeps your exercise routine on track, it’s helping your physical and mental health. I struggle with this, as it can seem boring sometimes, but if I don’t have a run buddy on a particular day, a gym treadmill is the next best thing. Skipping a workout never feels good.

In health,

Amy

Amy Ramsey is manager of TMC Employee Wellness Engagement, a mom, a Boston marathon runner, hiker and all around fitness guru.

 

Protecting your family against rabies

skunk rabiesRabies reports have been in the news lately. Tucson has had at least one confirmed case and one suspected case in the last month alone. Additionally, the recent death from rabies of a 6-year old Florida boy is a warning call for us all. Rabies is something as parents with curious and inquisitive children we need to be aware of. We connected with Tim Bohan, nurse practitioner in the TMC pediatric emergency department for a few words of advice to parents and caregivers regarding rabies.

This information is meant as a guide, but should not be used in place of medical advice from your health care provider.

Advice to parents and caregivers regarding rabies:

Thanks to widespread canine rabies vaccination, the disease has become a very rare disease in the United States, but awful situations such as the Florida incident still do happen.

Primarily, the risk is mainly from wild animals, especially bats such as in the Florida case, but raccoons, skunks, foxes, javelinas and coyotes are also sources. We just had a case of a rabid skunk found dead at Jesse Owens Park last month, and this week a suspected rabid gray fox bit a woman in Vail near Rancho del Lago. In total there were 77 cases of rabies identified in animals in 2017 just in Pima County.

What can I do to lower the risk of my child being exposed

  1. Teach your child to never handle wild or unfamiliar domestic animals even if they seem friendly.
  2. Vaccinate your dogs, cats AND ferrets against rabies AND keep up to date with vaccinations.
  3. Bat-proof your home and have those unwelcome lodgers evicted if they’ve already taken residence. Pima Animal Care Center has more information about bat-proofing

My child has been bitten or scratched by a bat/dog/feral cat/ferret/fill in the blank. What should I do?

  1. First thoroughly flush the wound with water and wash it with soap and water.
  2. Call Pima Animal Care Center for help if this animal can be captured, but do not attempt to capture a possibly rabid animal without the proper equipment and training.
  3. Call your pediatrician. Any bite by a wild animal should be considered a risk for rabies until proven otherwise. Exceptions: rabbits, hares, squirrels, rats, mice and other small rodents. Even if your domestic cat or dog has been immunized, if they bite your child they need to be watched for 10 days to make sure that they don’t develop symptoms.

What will the pediatrician do if there is suspicion the bite was from a rabid animal?

We examine the skin. If we think there is a high chance your child has been scratched or bitten by an animal with rabies, we must immediately immunize your child against rabies. The immunization is injected into the skin around the bite. Your child will also receive the rabies vaccination.

Even if we don’t suspect rabies we will often start oral antibiotics to ward off against infection from the bacteria in cat and dog saliva that can cause cellulitis.

My child is terrified of shots. Can we just wait and see?

No. Seek medical attention immediately, and have a professional assess the risk. Once the infection develops there is no sure treatment. Treating at the time of the bite is critical, if not rabies is almost always fatal.

We have bats in our house should I be worried?

Please have the bats removed and bat-proof your home. If the bats have been found in the areas where your child sleeps or plays, whether your child has been bitten or scratched or not – immediately report it to your regular pediatrician.

Tim Bohan NPTim Bohan
Nurse Practitioner
TMC Pediatric Emergency Department

 

Why children with diabetes need a pediatric endocrinologist

Why see a pediatric endocrinologist

Let’s face it: children are physically, cognitively and emotionally strikingly different from adults. When children have diabetes these differences affect how they communicate and understand symptoms and treatment of the disease.

The pediatric endocrinology team at TMCOne is comprised of specialist providers and educators who support our pediatric patients and their families with developmentally appropriate care. Pediatric endocrinologists treat children with diseases of the endocrine system, such as those with diabetes or growth disorders. We talked to the team about treating children with diabetes:

My child has been diagnosed with diabetes, why should we see a pediatric endocrinologist?

Both children and adults can experience similar symptoms of high and low blood sugars, but younger children might have trouble expressing their symptoms to their parents or caregivers. As physicians and educators, we take extra time to explain complicated medical details to a child in terms they can understand.

The difference between treating children and adults with diabetes isn’t just in how we communicate, but also because we are treating a condition that is affected by the ongoing physiological and hormonal changes associated with growth.

As children grow, develop and experience puberty, their insulin requirements change. Children with diabetes need to have regular monitoring throughout these changes to adjust treatment plans, educate, and help with any problems that have developed around diabetes. The pediatric endocrinology team helps your child and you master the skills and knowledge whether it is a young child newly diagnosed, or the teen who learning to manage diabetes independently of their parents.

Regardless of age, however, a person with diabetes needs a supportive network of family, friends and health care professionals to troubleshoot the everyday or emergent events that can occur with diabetes, whether it is type 1 or type 2.

What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes is a broad term used to describe a number of disorders with different origins and impacts. What Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have in common is a problem with the hormone insulin.

The primary purpose of insulin is to pull glucose into the body’s cells. Without insulin, or without a full insulin dose, glucose remains in the blood, raising blood sugar levels in the individual. Both those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes must monitor and manage their blood glucose carefully to avoid both short-term symptoms and long-term complications. Both forms of diabetes are serious conditions that require medical care.

Type 1 diabetes

Cells in the pancreas of people with Type 1 diabetes do not make insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin to control their blood glucose levels. Insulin can be delivered by injections or pumps. It’s usually diagnosed in children or young adults

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the form of diabetes that affects a large portion of our adult community, but is seen increasingly in young children. When a person has Type 2 diabetes, insulin is still produced by the pancreas, but it does not work as well as a person without diabetes.

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes is often associated with excess weight. Families are encouraged to use diet and exercise to help weight loss and reduce the body’s resistance to insulin if their child has Type 2 diabetes. In addition, medication may be used to make the insulin more effective. When those treatments do not work, insulin may be used.

Which type of diabetes is more common in children?

New cases of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes among children are on the rise. Type 1 diabetes is significantly more common in children than Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is found predominantly in adults 40 years and older. It is found occasionally in teenagers.

In the last decade, children have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at a higher rate than before. The following risk factors are linked to the higher rates of Type 2 diabetes in children:

  • increased sedentary lifestyle
  • higher body mass index
  • excess of availability of processed foods

Helping children exercise and eat a healthy, balanced diet can help drive down the rates of Type 2 diabetes, but it cannot affect those with Type 1 diabetes. Children with Type 1 diabetes cannot prevent nor treat their lack of insulin through diet and exercise.

Can children acquire both types of diabetes?

A child can get either Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes. In general, of all the children in Southern Arizona with diabetes, about 85-90 percent have Type 1 diabetes.

It’s important to note that Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are managed differently. Type 1 does not become Type 2 diabetes nor does Type 2 become Type 1.

Check out our blog posts about Type 1 diabetes.

When your child is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes

Dr. Priti Gupta Patel, pediatric endocrinologist

Dr. Chetanbabu M. Patel, pediatric endocrinologist

Dr. Chetanbabu M. Patel, pediatric endocrinologist

Flu season procedures in effect to protect patients, visitors, staff

when to come to the ed with flu and when to stay awayWith Arizona currently experiencing a nearly 800 percent increase in flu cases over last year, Tucson Medical Center has implemented new visitation procedures to reduce the spread of the flu and better protect patients, families and staff.

  • Children can be highly susceptible to flu and those under the age of 13 may not enter patient care areas, although nursing staff will consider extenuating circumstances. Parents are asked to provide supervision while children are in other areas of the hospital, including public waiting lobbies and the cafeteria or coffee shops.
  • Please do not visit patients if you have flu symptoms yourself, including fever, cough, vomiting or other ailments indicating a contagious illness.

Please remember to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer frequently. Also, please keep your hands away from your face to reduce your risk of contracting the flu.

Support from family and friends is important in recovery. We thank you for your help in keeping your loved ones as healthy as possible during this severe flu season.

TMC receives recognition as top 100 hospitals, health systems with great neurosurgery and spine programs

Neurosurgery-spine-programs-2017

Tucson Medical Center was pleased to be named to Becker’s Healthcare’s 2017 list of “100 hospitals and health systems with great neurosurgery and spine programs.”

The list of organizations reflects those with extensive neuroscience and spine programs and that provide treatment and cutting edge research into neurosurgical disorders. The editorial team examined national and regional rankings and awards for neurosurgery, neurological care and spine surgery.

“The hospitals on this list have earned top honors for medical excellence in their spine and brain surgery departments and we are heartened to see that our hard work in achieving excellent outcomes for our patients has been recognized,” said Chief Medical Officer Rick Anderson.

Becker’s noted that TMC is a regional leader in spine surgery, with specialists performing about 1,000 spine operations per year. National organizations have taken notice of TMC’s neurological surgery program; CareChex ranked the hospital among the top 25 institutions in the country for neurological surgery in 2018. Stroke care is another focus for TMC’s neuroscience department, which boasts Tucson’s only comprehensive stroke center with 24/7 coverage.

Stroke prevention 2018

TMC also has earned comprehensive stroke certification from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program and received the Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. TMC also has a robust brain tumor program, and the Center for Neurosciences worked with the hospital to develop the Brain Tumor Hotline for newly diagnosed patients.

To view the full list, please visit:

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/lists/100-hospitals-health-systems-with-great-neurosurgery-and-spine-programs-2017.html

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve got the flu: Is the Emergency Department for you?

when to come to the ed with flu and when to stay awayThe flu outbreak across the state is hitting much earlier – and far harder – than expected.*

If you’ve come down with influenza, how do you know when you should see your primary care provider or if you should go to the emergency room?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a flu guidance page on its website to help you determine whether you should head to the emergency room or your doctor. In short, the emergency room should only be used by those who are very sick and are exhibiting emergency warning signs, including:

In adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Looking for a same day appointment with a primary care provider? Check out TMCOne.

In children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:

  • Being unable to eat
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Has no tears when crying
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

Some people are at much higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu than others.

They include:

  • pregnant women or new mothers who have given birth in the past two weeks
  • children, especially those under 2 years old
  • adults over 65
  • people whose body mass index is over 40
  • people with diabetes
  • anyone with a medical condition that compromises his or her immune system

“The important thing to do is to prevent the flu in the first place,” said Cynthia Carsten, interim director of TMC’s Emergency Department. “Wash your hands. Avoid close contact with people who have the flu and get a flu shot – and particularly if you are in a high risk group. If you’re sick, stay home if you can.”

*Arizona Department of Health Services Influenza Summary.

Flu season is here – when to bring your child to the emergency room

Over the past few weeks our pediatric and adult emergency rooms have swelled with patients with flu-like symptoms looking for relief.

While it is critical that some seek emergency help, the majority of patients with the flu do not need emergency medical care.

In the Pediatric Emergency Department we are seeing a lot of children with flu-like symptoms who have high fevers (103F-105F). As a mom to a toddler and a preschooler I know how worrying those high fevers and respiratory symptoms can be, and I have to remind myself that a fever is actually a sign of the body taking care of itself. So when should you bring your child to the emergency room and what can you do at home to relieve symptoms?

This information is meant as a guide, but should not be used in place of medical advice from your health care provider.

If you’re in need of a same day appointment check out TMCOne

When to bring your child with fever and flu symptoms to the emergency room

  1. Your child is struggling to breathe.
    If your child’s skin has a blueish tinge, is breathing fast or is struggling to breath
  2. Is not waking up
    It is normal when we’re sick to sleep or rest, but if you can’t get your child to wake during the day or the child is not interacting go to the emergency room.
  3. If your child has a high-risk condition, such as heart, lung or kidney disease, or an immune-system disease and is spiking a high fever (103F-105F) seek medical help.
  4. If your usually affectionate child is so irritable he or she doesn’t want to be held
  5. Has a fever AND rash
  6. If your infant has no tears when crying or has significantly fewer wet diapers for 8 to 10 hours.
  7. Any infant less than 2 months old who has a fever over 100.4F.

My child seems to be coming down with flu-like symptoms, but none of the above apply.

The kid is miserable and so am I should we come in?

If your child is at high risk of flu complications because of another condition, call your health care provider, otherwise you can probably avoid the emergency room. Try to make children as comfortable as possible at home.

  1. Let them rest
  2. Make sure that they are getting lots of fluids to avoid dehydration
  3. Let the fever do its job. However, if your child is uncomfortable try lowering the body temperature with a lukewarm bath (do not use ice packs or alcohol bath) or giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Make sure you give the right dose! Talk to your pediatrician or pharmacists for help in finding the right dose. Do not over bundle them.

What if my child has a fever over 103, should I bring them in?

My child’s temperature recently soared to 105.6 Fahrenheit, and he was uncomfortable so we brought the fever down by alternating doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen, talk to your pediatrician before trying a combination approach. DO NOT GIVE THEM ASPIRIN – there has been an association with Reye’s syndrome. The medications won’t get rid of the flu, but they may help you and your child ride out the flu with less suffering. If the fever persists for more than three days or if your child develops any of the symptoms above contact your pediatrician.

What we can and can’t do in the emergency room

Make my kid better please!

There is nothing we would like more than to make your child feel better. It’s what we’ve dedicated our lives to. When it comes to the flu we are limited in what we can do. Because the flu is a virus, antibiotics like amoxicillin are USELESS. In fact, they are worse than useless and can be harmful if used when not needed.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ANTIBIOTIC MISUSE AND DRUG-RESISTANCE HERE.

While there are antiviral drugs like Tamiflu, there is a very small window at the beginning of the flu where they have limited effectiveness. Usually, by the time your child is exhibiting symptoms, it’s too late. What we can do in the emergency room is help if your child is dehydrated or struggling to breathe.

How can we stop the rest of the family from getting sick?

  1. Teach your children to cough into their elbows and model the behavior to help reduce the amount of germs flying through the air.
  2. Make sure everyone in the family practices good hand-washing technique and washes their hands frequently–after going to the bathroom, before eating or touching their face, etc.
  3. Use masks! Stop the droplets.
  4. Get the flu vaccine. I know, I know, this year’s flu vaccine isn’t as effective as usual, but it is stopping some of the flu variants, AND it may help reduce the length of time you’re affected.
  5. Eat well, get plenty of sleep and exercise.

Healthy wishes,
Melissa Hodges RN

Melissa Hodges is a pediatric emergency room RN and mom to two young boys. Melissa has been at Tucson Medical Center for ten years. She is a knitting ninja apprentice, who makes a mean chili and enjoys spending time with her family and friends in beautiful Tucson, Arizona.


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461