A ‘reward better than anything else’ – Why a TMC employee volunteers

 

 

Employees are Tucson Medical Center’s greatest resource – the nearly 4,000 women and men who put patients and the community first – employees like Cindy Knowlton.

In the TMC financial services office, where Knowlton has worked for 15 years, you’re likely to hear complex, medical billing and fiduciary terms. For Knowlton, her dedication goes much further than facts and figures, and 8 to 5.

Choosing to give back

Knowlton has chosen to give back, investing hundreds of hours volunteering at the various TMC events throughout the year – helping fit bike helmets for children, providing free car seats, distributing healthy lifestyle information and many other endeavors that support the health and well-being of the community.

A dream come true

What has motivated Knowlton to become such a passionate and committed volunteer? “TMC was there for me, and I want to be there for TMC,” Knowlton said. “TMC is a very respectful place to work – they have provided great training, support and opportunities to grow my professional skills.”

In 2011, Knowlton was a single-mom working through the economic downturn. She still had dreams of owning her own home and TMC helped make her dream a reality.

“TMC was providing down payment assistance for employees who qualified,” explained Knowlton. “Owning my home has made an incredible difference in my life – and I’m glad to be a part of TMC’s community support efforts.”

A positive tired

Knowlton says there’s been an unexpected but satisfying aspect of volunteering. “It’s the stories from people in the community,” she said. “When a total stranger greets you with a hug and says ‘I have to tell you what TMC did for my family,’ it’s a great feeling.”

TMC presents at many well-attended events and Knowlton is candid about her efforts. “I’m tired after a volunteer shift, but it’s a positive tired,” she said. “It’s a tired that feels well-deserved because we’re making a difference – and it’s a prefect way of showing we’re not just a hospital, and that we’re caring for the community we serve.”

Better than anything else

Knowlton’s service means so much to her that she’s taken to recruiting others. “If you have the time to do it – you should do it,” she said. “The reward is much better than anything else.”

“I have the best job in the world!”

A TMC nurse takes her education to the next level

sandra goza rnEmpowered – that’s how Sandra Goza describes the feeling she gets as she arrives at TMC to begin her nursing shifts. “When I walk through that door I know I have the power to make a positive difference in someone’s life.”

With an extraordinary attitude and a strong work ethic, Goza is admired by both her colleagues and by patients. Recently, the experienced nurse took her training further by achieving a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN), and graduating with honors.

“You’d make a great nurse”

After owning her own business in Baltimore for many years, Goza moved to Tucson in 1996 and got her first job with TMC in housekeeping and transport. Soon after, she became a unit associate and was motivated to continue her professional career in patient care by her coworkers and the physicians in the Emergency Department.

“The reason I am here is the people I worked with believed in me,” she said. “I took it to heart when they told me, ‘Sandra, you’d make a great nurse.’

Stepping into nursing

After completing her schooling and internship, Goza started her nursing work in the TMC Emergency Department, and from there she made the move to the Pediatric Critical Care Unit to further develop her skills.

For the last twelve years, Goza has made the Neurology/Neurosurgery Unit her home. And of course, as any nurse will attest, floating to other units has become another way of helping nurses develop their skills floating for many years to help staffing in other areas.

“I’ve worked in every unit at TMC except one area,” Goza said. “I have learned how to provide care across the entire spectrum.” While working in the Neurology/Neurosurgery Unit she became a certified neuroscience registered nurse (CNRN), a coveted and noteworthy achievement.

Appreciative and humble

In 2011, Goza was honored with a Daisy Award, an international program that rewards and celebrates nurses with extraordinary clinical skill and compassion. The TMC Professional Development Council reviews the nominations and selects an honoree every quarter.

Goza was appreciative but remained humble. “It really meant the world to me when they read a heartfelt patient letter – but the whole time I was thinking, ‘Wow, is that really about me?’”

Helping people heal

With so much experience and the strong respect of her teammates, one might question why she decided to take on more education.

“When you are facing in the right direction – all you have to do is keep walking,” she said. “I am always striving for better and I have no intention of stopping.”

Additional benefits

An “ever-forward” outlook was only part of Goza’s drive to get her BSN. “What nurses do is such an important part of helping people heal,” Goza explained. “The BSN helped broaden my clinical knowledge and enhanced my ability to help patients live healthier, happier lives.”

An additional, but very satisfying aspect of achieving higher education involved her son. “I’ll never forget the look on my son’s face at my graduation,” she said. “He was so proud – it made me want to earn more degrees!”

Every day

Even with her recent accomplishment, Goza is considering further schooling for medical filmmaking or to become a nurse practitioner. For right now, she’s says she’s happy every day. “I have the best job in the world and I look forward to coming here every day.”

If you have received care from an exceptional TMC nurse, please nominate them for a Daisy Award by completing our brief online form.

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Volunteer opportunity came at the right time for stroke survivor

Gail.jpgHelping our community right here in Tucson get and stay healthy and keep on dancing is what Tucson Medical Center is all about. We’re showing off some of our fabulous community members in our latest commercials and you get to find out a little more about them here on our blog. Meet TMC dancer, Gail Black.

Gail Black was on the job when she collapsed at work. She’d had a devastating stroke and it would be a grueling recovery. She’d lost some words. Her balance was off. Her memory wasn’t as sharp.

She spent months and months rebuilding with physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy.

As she progressed in her recovery, she saw that TMC Senior Services was offering a lecture on stroke recovery and how to build new neural pathways in the brain.

While she was there, someone asked if she’d like to volunteer. “I said give me a year because I was still in that phase of my recovery. And a year to the date, someone called me back.”

“Tucson Medical Center has an amazing senior services program and it provides content that is very rewarding, informative and educational. It gave me information on how to live strong and that was very important to me,” she said.

Black said the highlight of volunteering was the relationships she built. “I’ve met so many wonderful people. Sometimes you go to volunteer, thinking you’re going to help someone and you wind up being the person who is helped and rewarded. That has been my experience.”

She also appreciates every opportunity to share her story.

“I get up every day to a new sunrise, a new lease on life,” she said. “I look forward to finding ways to help and benefit others – even if it’s telling my story recovering from stroke. If I can help one person, that’s important to me. Life is great.”

Anyone can have a stroke, even children although the causes in children tend to be different. The elderly are not the only ones at risk for stroke although age is one factor. Stroke risk also increases with factors like increased blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and atrial fibrillation. 

Know the symptoms of a stroke. 

Early recognition and treatment make all the difference.

Check out Gail and others here to dance another day in our latest dance video.

Too busy for a heart attack: a working woman’s epiphany

SusanHelping our community right here in Tucson get and stay healthy and keep on dancing is what Tucson Medical Center is all about. We’re showing off some of our fabulous community members in our latest commercials and you get to find out a little more about them here on our blog. Meet TMC dancer,  Susan Smith.

Susan’s signs

Susan Smith wasn’t feeling her usual energetic self.

She’d been increasingly fatigued in the previous few days, but like many busy women, was juggling so many things – including an upcoming speech – that it was easier to just brush off her symptoms.

As she launched into her speech, she began to have palpitations. Could it be anxiety? She began to run short of breath. Had she been holding her breath? She broke out in a cold sweat. Menopausal symptoms?

“There I was, standing in front of 40 people and feeling like I was going to faint, but refusing to fall down in front of all of them,” said Susan, who moved to Tucson 42 years ago. She completed her presentation, sat down and drank some water. The symptoms subsided.

The next day found her in a cardiologist’s office, hooked up to an EKG. She was in the midst of a heart attack and her doctor informed her she would be going to the Emergency Department.

“I don’t have time to go to the Emergency Department,” she remembered protesting. “I have to teach a class tomorrow at 8 a.m.!”

“I went right to TMC and it was an experience I will never forget,” she recalled. Her cardiologist had called ahead and within seconds she was on a gurney, blood was being drawn, tests were underway. “I didn’t know if I should be terrified or just glad I was in such good hands,” she said.

Dancing to recovery

Five weeks after her stent was placed, she was feeling well enough to dance in a TMC commercial, but still practicing resting. “That’s a tall order. I have to remind myself to do things more slowly and with more patience. Instead of putting 25 things on a to-do list, I might do five.”

Yes, women have heart attacks

“Women in particular have a lot on their plates and a lot of times they’re so busy taking care of their family, they don’t have the time to recognize the symptoms in their own body,” she said, noting women often have different symptoms than men do.

Like men women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

“The main thing I learned and am telling my friends: If something doesn’t feel right, don’t wait. Check it out. It’s not worth taking the chance.”

In need of a cardiologist? Find a doctor who specializes in the heart here.

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TMC nurse named Mrs. Arizona; heightens awareness of postpartum depression

Sarah Barrett.jpgSarah Barrett has been a nurse for more than six years, specializing in serving new mothers and babies.

And even though she helps screen new mothers for postpartum depression, it didn’t occur to her that the sadness she felt and the guilt she carried as a result were rooted in her own struggles with depression.

It wasn’t until she took the screening tool herself that it all clicked into place for the mother of three.

“My score was through the roof,” she recalled of that day in the spring of 2017. “It took seeing it in black and white to help me understand what I had been feeling.”

Barrett, who was recently crowned Mrs. Arizona and will compete in August in the Mrs. America pageant in Las Vegas, will spend a year traveling the state to bring awareness to an issue that many women are afraid to share for fear of being judged.

“I knew when I entered this that I wasn’t going to be afraid to say, ‘This happened to me,’ and to be an example,” said Barrett. “It can happen to anyone and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or a bad mother. It means you’re human and it’s time for the community to embrace and support these women.”

Barrett competed in pageants in college, gaining confidence and interviewing skills as she shared her platform then about pet ownership.

Then came marriage and three children. The first two, her girls, weren’t easy – she had pre-term labor with both, although she made it to term. But her son came four weeks early. “The medical side of me and the logical side of me knew it wasn’t my fault, but as a mother, I felt like I had let my family down,” she said. She cried alone in the hospital the next day, with her son in the newborn intensive care unit and missing her daughter’s fifth birthday party. Driving home from the hospital with an empty car seat was excruciating.

Sarah CrownedBarrett said she pushed down the feelings and resumed her life, only to have them all come crashing in again on his first birthday, when she saw the familiar social media posts that pull photos from a year ago. Seeing him so small and intubated sent her into a tailspin.

She got used to crying in the bedroom, wiping her eyes and putting on a smile for everyone else. Her marriage was strained. “You can’t meet other people’s needs and take care of them if you’re not taking care of yourself,” she said.

It was hearing a friend’s story that left her reaching for the screening survey. “It was so eye-opening for me. All this time, I thought I was alone and there was something wrong with me.”

It was only later she found that in many cases, postpartum depression is triggered by the unexpected: if a woman had planned for a vaginal birth but ended up with a C-section, for example, or if the baby comes early or if there was an unplanned diagnosis. “You formulate the perfect birth in your mind and then when you go home and it’s not that perfect birth, it can be really hard.”

She found healing in the pageant process. “The more I shared my story with women about what I went through, and the more they reciprocated back about what they went through, the more it helped me heal. So the bottom line is don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who you trust.”

Barrett credits TMC for screening every new mother and for its robust weekly postpartum depression group, as well as for its mandatory class for new moms before they go home that touches on everything from properly installing car seats to symptoms of depression to watch for.

Click here for more information about our postpartum and pregnancy depression support group.

She wants to ensure more health providers screen new moms and wants to bring more awareness to support partners, who need tools to share what they’re witnessing. “You want to be careful about how you open those lines of communication: How are you feeling? How are you coping with being a new mother? I know it must be hard getting sleep right now.”

Barrett said her marriage of 11 years is stronger than ever, and she’s found joy in being with her family. She’s also proud of her new role. “This is something we decided to do as a family, so I got the OK from all of them that we would do this. It’s been an amazing experience to be surrounded by these women who are passionate about a cause and involved in making a difference in their communities.”

Need more information about our Postpartum and Pregnancy Depression Support Group? Click here. 

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.

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.)

Mission Moments: Responding to the disaster in Puerto Rico

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we will share 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.

Dr. Monica Guzman Zayas

Dr. Monica Guzman Zayas watched helplessly as news reports showed her childhood home in Puerto Rico being decimated by hurricane winds and rain.

Her parents still live in her small hometown of Villalba, in a remote central area high in the mountains. For 16 days, she couldn’t reach them to find out if they were in a refugee center or if they were OK.

When the anesthesiologist at Old Pueblo Anesthesia finally was able to connect with them, she was relieved that they were OK. But she heard terrible stories of people on dialysis or in need of oxygen tanks struggling for any kind of routine medical services given the damage across the island to road networks, communication channels and power services.

“It just all seemed so desperate and I could not believe what I was seeing. I knew I had to help somehow.”

Dr. Guzman decided to ask if TMC might be able to assist with medications. The Pharmacy rapidly identified drugs that could make an immediate impact in the disaster, including those needed to treat infections and provide relief from symptoms.

“I cannot tell you how happy I was,” she said. “I asked because I feel that TMC is very involved in the community to make a difference. They don’t just say it, they do it. Their goal is to help the community to make things better, and that was true when another part of this country was in great need,” she said.

Guzman partnered with an aid group comprised of other doctors from Puerto Rico who banded together to secure desperately needed medicine, equipment and supplies. Dr. Guzman drew strength from seeing the photo (above) of the medical staff on the ground in Puerto Rico opening the boxes.

“It feels great to be able to help, especially being originally from there and seeing the destruction and knowing that what you remember is not there,” Dr. Guzman said. “You feel you are so far away and not able to reach them, so to be able to make some difference, I just don’t have the words to describe it.”

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Military service shaped TMC Imaging Director

danfelix3 (002)Every day is Veteran’s Day for Air Force veteran Dan Felix. There will be no parades or fanfare for him today. Instead, he will go to work to serve, shaped by his service in the Air Force.

Felix, the director of imaging at TMC, joined right after graduating from his high school in his rural, mining community of Hayden. There were 43 students in his graduating class.

A first generation U.S. citizen, whose parents hailed from Mexico, Felix was drawn to military service. “I wanted to give back to the country that allowed my parents to raise a family in America with all the benefits we all enjoy,” Felix explained. He’d seen firsthand great poverty in Mexico. “We had health care, clothing, food, money. From a young age, I learned to appreciate the opportunities and luxuries   our great country had to offer.”

The Air Force provided structure, taught him to develop his natural qualities of perseverance and patience, and challenged him to keep growing. He appreciated the mines – his father and brothers retired from that work – but he didn’t want it for himself. He signed up for college classes, obtaining associate’s degrees in X-ray technology and later, nuclear medicine. A bachelor’s in medical and imaging technology followed. He is now one class away from a master’s degree in leadership.

The transition was a natural one. “X-ray has some parallels to the technical work I was doing in the Air Force – there’s electronics and physics and you’re working with your hands – and that’s combined with an intellectual component.”

It was nuclear medicine that stole his heart. He initially told his instructor there was no way he was going to like it. But Day One he was besotted. “Just the sound of it is intriguing, but beyond that, you’re in the physics world, talking about radiation at its origin. I was living in this cerebral realm I had aspired to my whole life.”

He ended up joining Tucson Medical Center in 1999 to train in nuclear medicine. He never left.

“As I look back and analyze the mission of the military and TMC, they dovetail,” he said, noting both exist to serve others and play a role in providing for the greater good of everybody else.

He never takes the day off for Veteran’s Day. “I am so appreciative of being able to come into work to help others – the patients we serve, the workers who make up this hospital – and to provide for my family. I take a lot of pride in those three things, so if you think about that, why wouldn’t I want to work?”

That doesn’t mean he won’t spend some time reflecting on those who serve. “Joining the military at a young age means leaving your comfort, your home, your family and everything you know that is normal, and embarking into a huge world of unknowns,” he said.

“When I think about veterans, I think about those who decided to take a risk and take a leap of faith for the sake of their country. It’s not just a job. It’s a sacrifice for others – and I don’t think that’s easily understood unless you’re the one doing the sacrificing.”

Stay in optimum health, prevent metabolic syndrome

Tips from Endocrinologist Dr. Pati on how to prevent metabolic syndrome

Are you at risk for developing metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome, which often carries no signs or symptoms, is associated with several obesity related disorders including fatty liver and cirrhosis, kidney disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and obstructive sleep apnea. It places those affected by the syndrome at increased risk of developing diabetes and heart disease – and they never even know they have it!

Dr. Divya Reddy Pati, endocrinologist with TMCOne, answers our questions about this metabolic syndrome.

Tell me more. What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance syndrome or syndrome x, is a group of factors that increase the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps move blood sugar into the cell where it is used for energy. Obesity causes insulin resistance, which leads to high blood glucose.

How is it diagnosed?

A physician who specializes in endocrinology can prescribe the medical tests that diagnose metabolic syndrome, which is determined by a presence of three of the following:

  • Abdominal obesity, defined as a waist circumference in men ≥102 cm (40 in) and in women ≥88 cm (35 in)
  • Serum triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL or drug treatment for elevated triglycerides
  • Serum HDL cholesterol <40 mg/dL in men and <50 mg/dL in women or drug treatment for low HDL cholesterol
  • Blood pressure ≥130/85 mmHg or drug treatment for elevated blood pressure
  • Fasting plasma glucose ≥100 mg/dL or drug treatment for elevated blood glucose

What is the prevalence of metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is more common in African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans. Chances also increase with age, as well as with lack of physical activity.

What is the treatment?

Treatment of metabolic syndrome is aggressive lifestyle modification focused on weight loss and increase in physical activity. Weight reduction is optimally achieved by diet, exercise and pharmacological treatment if needed. Medications are used to treat risk factors such as high blood pressure, glucose and lipids.

What do you suggest we do to stay in optimum health?

It is important to visit your primary care physician regularly and address an endocrinology specialist if metabolic syndrome is encountered. Maintaining a healthy diet and an exercise plan (approved by your provider) is an excellent way of avoiding metabolic syndrome and maintaining optimum health.

pati1Dr. Divya Reddy Pati is an endocrinologist practicing with TMCOne. She diagnoses and treats diabetes, thyroid problems, calcium disorders, osteoporosis, pituitary, adrenal and other hormonal disorders.

 

A version of this interview was first posted on December 21, 2016

 

Advancements in chronic pain treatment – more than medication

chronic pain treatment, beyond medicationPain management specialist Dr. Robert J. Berens shares how advancements in chronic pain treatment are providing relief without a prescription.

What advances have a made a significant impact in chronic pain treatment?

Over the past few decades, the treatment options have been refined and improved for interventional pain medicine. We have many techniques to target specific nerves and try to reduce or eliminate their ability to generate pain signals in the brain.

Sometimes we can accomplish this with medication management and other times, minimally invasive techniques can offer more directed treatment with a more rapid resolution.

We have advanced techniques in radio frequency treatments to provide longer-term control of pain, in addition to directed nerve root therapies to establish relief.

Spinal cord stimulation is an area of significant improvement. We are now able to implant targeted stimulators into the area of the spine to control abnormal signals to the brain that are difficult to treat with other modalities.

What is interventional pain management?

Interventional pain management is a discipline in pain medicine that helps relieve patients of their pain by going beyond medication. It relies on a wide array of therapies to diagnose, reduce, and often eliminate a patient’s pain.

Minimally-invasive techniques have the ability to diagnose a problem and treat the pain accordingly – often via a procedure or treatment, such as injections or devices and managed over time if necessary.

Many interventional treatment therapies have been used to treat most aspects of spine related pain, and return a patient to their normal level of activities as soon as possible.

What are the advantages of seeing a pain management specialist?

Most patients initially receive their pain care from the primary physician. When pain control is not within reach or a more targeted treatment is available, the primary physician or others will refer to a pain specialist.

When is it time to seek a pain management specialist?

Pain can often begin as an acute problem and slowly change into a chronic problem that is difficult to treat. Chronic pain can be from a long-standing problem with or without an initial injury.

Once a problem does not appear to be improving, it is likely entering a chronic phase. Acute and chronic pain can be treated by a pain specialist and this should be considered at any time in the course of the problem.

It can often be noted that early referrals to an interventional specialist can often help to provide a more rapid reduction in pain, and at times eliminate the source.

Why have you continued to provide care at TMC?

I have been associated with TMC since 1990 because TMC has been a leader in our community and has consistently provided patient-centered care.

We have been fortunate to have a fabulous staff to support our services and provide compassionate care to our patients.

TMC has established itself through its commitment to excellence and its focus on creating the best team approach in Southern Arizona.

Dr. Berens

Dr. Robert J. Berens is board certified in pain management and anesthesiology. He has been in practice since 1990 and has served as the medical director of the TMC Integrative Pain Center since 2004.

For further information or to schedule an appointment, please call (520) 324-2080.

The Integrative Pain Center is located at 5355 E. Erickson Dr.

 

Powerlifting helped channel despair, helplessness after loss to domestic violence

When Rachel Tineo’s 24-year-old niece was murdered in a domestic violence incident by the father of her three children, Tineo didn’t know how to fathom the depth of her loss.

Tina Soto had been like a daughter to her – and that someone intentionally and senselessly took her life in front of her young children in June 2013 left Tineo full of rage.

“It’s not something you have a coping mechanism for,” said Tineo, a senior business systems analyst at Tucson Medical Center. “I would go home, talk to my husband, play with the dogs and get up and go to work again the next day – but it wasn’t enough. I had all these built-up feelings, including sadness, anger and depression.”

Something had to change.

Tineo had already been health-conscious. She was a runner. She ate clean.

A part of her thought she should just stick to her kettlebells and running routine. Another part felt it was time to jolt herself out of her comfort zone. She went to her trainer and explained, “I want to bring more to the table because I need it to get through every day.”

“It wasn’t until I started powerlifting that I was able to control the feelings I had. Whether I was deadlifting or bench pressing or squatting, I was taking all those feelings and putting them into buckets in my brain. And I would fill those buckets up with positive energy and that energy would eat up all of those negative thoughts. When I lift, I pick up that bar and I let it take everything away from me.”

Over the course of 6-8 months, she started feeling better.

By November 2014, she had enrolled in her first competition. In that first competition, she bench pressed 110 pounds, did 245 pounds on a deadlift and squatted 120 pounds.

“Powerlifting made me a stronger person physically, emotionally, mentally and intellectually.” It also gave her a ready-made support group, ready to cheer her on to challenge herself to bigger and better accomplishments.

After she started lifting, she started sharing her story publicly, hoping to raise awareness about domestic violence and help erase stigma. Tina had been too ashamed to tell anyone about what had been happening to her for the previous three years.

Serving as an advocate helps give her purpose, even though it is emotionally exhausting each time she relives the story. “I felt I really needed to do this for Tina.”

She will have her seventh competition on Saturday. She’s set a goal of squatting 231 pounds, bench pressing 145 and deadlifting 308.

To this day, Tineo still relies on powerlifting as a form of therapy to get through life’s everyday stresses, as well as the knowledge that Tina is gone.

She’s also kicked up her running program, signing up for a half marathon in March 2018.

Tineo said she’d love to eventually lift with her grandchildren. In the interim, she’s teaching them about respecting themselves – from what they put in their mouths to the activities they do and the way they treat others.

“It’s important to be nice to each other and not say mean things to hurt each other. It’s important to respect boundaries. Ultimately, domestic violence is a learned behavior. If it’s learned, it can be unlearned.”

 

 

 

 

Screening reveals stroke risk – An update on Norman

Norman and Mary Louise Clarke - carotid artery screening

Norman and Mary Louise Clarke

Norman Clarke had no reason to think that there was anything amiss when he stopped by for a preventative screening including a carotid artery screening at TMC two years ago. At 81 years old, the retired automotive engineer exercised three times a week at the gym, saw his doctor twice a year for checkups, took medication to keep his cholesterol in check – and his blood work always came back great.

He and his wife, Mary Louise, were stunned at his results of a preventative screening.

A scan of his carotid artery showed a blockage of more than 70 percent on the left side.

“I was shocked. There had been no symptoms and nothing to indicate this was a problem,” Norman recalled. “It was serendipity that we went that day, because I would never have known otherwise about the great risk I was facing.”

The carotid artery screening, part of the vascular wellness screening, uses an instrument called a transducer to scan the carotid artery in your neck. The transducer scans the carotid artery to check the flow of blood and can identify plaques and blockages that put you at risk for an ischemic stroke.

A stroke on the left side of Norman’s brain would have impacted the right side of his body, possibly impacting his mobility on the right side of the body, as well as speech and language problems, and memory loss.

Following the screening results, Norman’s doctor cleared the calendar to bring him in on a Monday morning, and by Monday afternoon he was having a scan of his arteries. The news was even worse than he had learned initially: the blockage was 90 percent.

Instead of being on a plane to Michigan, where the Clarke’s spend six months of the year, Norman was scheduled for surgery. The 90-minute surgery, known as a carotid endarterectomy, required one night of hospitalization and a week of good behavior at home: no lifting or dragging of heavy objects and listening to every instruction from Mary Louise, a former medical-surgical nurse and retired nursing professor.

Fast forward to 2017, Norman and Mary Louise are planning their return to their Tucson home from Michigan, to the magical pink mountains, the town and the network of Tucson friends, to volunteering at TMC, and to see Norman’s Tucson doctor.

Norman’s doctor monitors both the left and right carotid arteries every six months. The initial screening alerted the Clarke’s to the danger lurking in Norman’s left carotid artery. A subsequent screening has revealed a growing plaque in Norman’s right carotid artery. At this time there is no surgery planned, but monitoring is critical. Norman’s advice: “Be your own health advocate … get screened. Everything looked rosy for me, but just because your blood work is OK, it doesn’t mean everything is.”

 

TMC honors 50-year employee at annual employee recognition event

BDP42971.jpgNancy Spiller left home at 17, just out of high school, armed with little more than her diploma and some experience working as a volunteer candy striper.

She landed her first job at Tucson Medical Center – and now, 50 years after she was hired into the business office that day, she’s still coming to work every morning to the same place.

“Fifty is a big year – it’s very special to me,” said Spiller, who has worked eight different jobs during her tenure, most recently serving as clerical support in pediatric therapies.

Spiller will be celebrated at TMC’s annual Service Pin ceremony, which honors employees at every five-year milestone of their careers.

There are 467 honorees this year, including 18 people with upwards of 40 years of service. Spiller is one of two employees with the longest running length of service.

Aside from the fact she needed a job, Spiller wanted to help people, which is why she served as a candy striper. When she was in the fourth grade, her mother died, which in retrospect, she said, might have fueled her interest in health care.

Spiller came to TMC two months after the arrival of Don Shropshire, a beloved and iconic leader who served 25 years as TMC’s CEO.

She remembers being so naïve that her colleagues teased her routinely. One afternoon, they told her Mr. Shropshire was holding on the phone for her. She chided them, saying she knew they were making up stories. After much back and forth, an exasperated Spiller went to the phone.

“Who was on the other end? Mr. Shropshire. He was going on a business trip out of town and I was the only person with the combination to get into the safe for business travel. I was never so embarrassed,” she recalled.

NancySpillerCelebrates50YearsTMC was a very different place then; small compared to today’s campus. A cart that wheeled from room to room served as the gift shop.  Vending machines, not a cafeteria, stocked food. Laboring mothers were just screened off from one another with privacy curtains. Calls came in on old operator switchboards.

Five of her closest friends came from TMC – one of whom she’s known since she started 50 years ago.

“We’ve been through marriages and divorces and births and sickness and death and baptisms – you name it,” she said. “We’ve been through it all.”

Spiller remembered the hospital rallying around her when she had her first child, Steven, who was born with a heart condition and required complex surgery. Mr. Shropshire sent a card. The staff raised money through a bake sale. “It wasn’t just coming to do work here – it was like a family rallying around to help,” she recalled. “If I had to do all of it on my own, I’m not sure I could have made it.”

Steven lived to the age of 24. His younger brother Matthew is now a newlywed.

Both were born at TMC.

Spiller initially meant to retire at her 45th milestone, but here she is, still, 5 years later.

In part, it’s because the work is rewarding. She mists up telling of one boy with autism who came in speaking very little, if at all, and who now tells her all about his day.

“I think it’s wonderful what TMC does in the community,” she said.

“I have gone home in tears because of these kids and what we’re able to do for them. If I can make a difference for just one person, that means a lot to me. I wouldn’t still be here if I didn’t think I still had that ability.”

TMC Jobs link

 

Dr. Patel returns to Tucson, providing pediatric endocrinology at TMCOne

Patel C PhotoDr. Chetanbabu Patel returned to Tucson in June and joined the TMCOne location on 2380 N. Ferguson, across the street from the TMC main campus.

While there are many great reasons for moving to Tucson, Dr. Patel summed it with just one. “The best care for the children we are treating,” he said. “This was a unique opportunity to be a part of a comprehensive program involving specially trained staff who communicates frequently and openly with families – that’s why I chose TMCOne.”

Dr. Patel and his team provide care for children ages 0 to 18 who are experiencing a wide range of endocrine related illnesses, including diabetes, thyroid disorders, adrenal and pituitary disorders, metabolic challenges, and much more.

“Chronic endocrine issues are complex and require a team working together to best help children achieve strong health,” the doctor explained. The team involves the coordinated efforts of specialists at the TMCOne clinic and Tucson Medical Center. The specialists include clinical dieticians, social workers, certified diabetic educators and several others.

Why the certified educators? “The importance of communication cannot be overstated – we want parents to feel comfortable and confident working with us because they are the most important part of the treatment team.”

Peds Endocrinology Care Flyer JPEGEach endocrine challenge is as unique as each human body and what works for one child may not work for another, which can frustrate parents and the patient. Dr. Patel says empathy is an important part of the care provided at his clinic.

“I try and place myself in the parent’s shoes, and understand what is happening with respect to the family dynamics as well as with happening with that particular child. I give them my undivided attention and spend enough time so that they understand why I want them to get labs or to consider one of the treatment options.”

Dr. Patel has dedicated his career to learning as much as possible about pediatric endocrine illness, and he is a devoted advocate for children and their families.

“I always dreamed of becoming a doctor to help others,” he said. “I enjoy working with the parents as well as the babies and teenagers to help them achieve optimum health.”

In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Patel has held many respected positions, including director of diabetes education at the Steele Research Center, chief of pediatric endocrinology at Texas Tech University and assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Arizona.

His immediate and extended family also reside in Arizona, and Dr. Patel has always felt that Tucson is his home. While basketball, tennis and reading are his favorite hobbies, he most enjoys spending time with his family.

Dr. Patel is currently accepting new patients. Please call (520) 324-1010 to schedule.

 

 

Make summer snacks fun, tasty and healthy

Summer snack 3Summertime brings vacations, warm weather and great food. The TMC and TMCOne Clinical Dietician Kallie Siderewicz offers some tips to make summer food fun, tasty and healthy.

Healthy doesn’t mean boring

Try a peanut butter and low-fat Greek yogurt dip for fruit. Ranch seasoning also gives Greek yogurt the yum factor for dipping veggies.

Other fun dishes include fruit kabobs, apples slices topped with peanut butter, coconut, and chocolate chips. A summertime favorite is fruit coated with frozen yogurt.

Cool off by infusing water or tea with lemon, lime, berries, oranges, mint, or rosemary.

Summer snackFor an adult beverage, try light beer, a glass of red wine or liquor mixed with water or diet soda.

High-calorie pitfalls

Before hot summer days have you reaching for a frozen coffee drink – remember that a small serving can have over 500 calories. Sodas and most sports drinks offer hard-to-burn calories with no nutrition.

For adults, mixed drinks usually combine alcohol and sugar, piling calories on top of calories.

Fruit salads made with fruit canned in heavy syrup can have as many calories as pie and cake, especially if you add marshmallows and whipped cream.

Don’t forget water

Water is the absolute best thing you can give your body. It hydrates, helps cleanse and cool. Another good reason to drink water – it can aid in weight loss.

Kallie Siderewicz.jpg

 

 

Kallie Siderewicz is a clinical dietician at the TMCOne Rincon location. She also provides nutrition services at Tucson Medical Center.

Admissions nurse named ‘Heart of Hospice’

Karen Novak, R.N., sitting, with (l-r) interim director Kimberley Fore, manager Stephanie Carter and medical director Larry Lincoln

Karen Novak, R.N., with TMC Outpatient Hospice, was honored this morning at a quarterly recognition selected by her colleagues as the “Heart of Hospice.”

Novak, who has been with Tucson Medical Center for more than 20 years, is the TMC Hospice liasion for the hospital. As a TMC Hospice admissions nurse, she works closely with the Palliative Care Team and Case Management as well as with patients and families who are dealing with potential end-of-life issues.

“Karen helps to aid in transitioning patients smoothly between the hospital and Hospice,” according to her nomination. “Her bedside manner is impeccable. She has a way of speaking with patients and family members that allow them to feel that they are both being understood in what they want and cared for in a compassionate way that embodies the mission of Hospice.”

Novak learned her skills in a variety of settings, including in the Emergency Department when it included truma care, and Case Management. She works with patients of all ages, including pediatric cases.

The quarterly award comes with a recognition plaque on the unit, a pin and a dedicated parking space. The award allows colleagues to recognize their peers:

Everything he or she does is for our patients and families and personifies compassion, kindness, empathy, a great work ethic and knowledge. The Heart of Hospice is also someone who is calm under pressure, is respectful, is detail-oriented, is a critical thinker, and has great communication skills. This person is someone who is always there to help his or her peers and does so with grace and skill. Being able to nominate someone for this award is a gift because it means you have observed greatness, not just once, but every time you have interacted with this individual.

Has a hospice nurse made a difference to you or your family? Consider recognizing this extraordinary nurse with a DAISY Award nomination.

Endocrinology addresses thyroid health challenges

Dr. Divya Reddy Pati addresses thyroid health issues, endocrinology

by Divya Reddy Pati M.D.

You have probably heard the term thyroid, but are you aware of its significance and that it can involve health challenges? Thyroid issues are relatively commonplace and most cases are easily treated. An endocrinologist can best address thyroid problems and determine the best means of treatment.

What is the thyroid gland?

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in front of the neck. This vital gland produces the thyroid hormone that helps regulate the body’s metabolism.  

 Prevalence

Thyroid-related health challenges, such as thyroid nodules, are very common. Nodules can create too much thyroid hormone or no thyroid hormone at all. Most are benign, although a very small percentage can be cancerous.

What is a nodule?

A thyroid nodule is a growth or lump on the thyroid gland, and is usually discovered by a patient, in a routine physical exam or incidentally by imaging. There are usually no symptoms associated with a nodule, although a nodule that is large may sometimes cause a change in voice or difficulty swallowing or breathing.

What are the risks?

The risk of developing thyroid nodules increases with age. While most thyroid nodules are benign (non cancerous,) the prevalence of cancer is higher in children and adults younger than age 30 or over age 60. There is an increased cancer risk for individuals who have a family history of thyroid cancer, and for patients who have received radiation therapy of the head and neck.

Endocrinology

Endocrinology is the medical study and treatment of hormones and endocrine glands, like the thyroid gland. An endocrinologist is a physician who specializes in this area, and will order lab tests to determine if the nodule is hot (overproducing) or cold (not producing). An ultrasound is needed to further determine the type of nodule, and give the endocrinologist information needed to determine the most effective treatment plan.

Based on the type of nodule, a specific biopsy, guided by ultrasound, will be ordered to best identify the nodule.

Treatment

Treatment of thyroid nodules depends on the type of nodule.

If a biopsy shows a benign nodule, monitoring might be recommended every 6 to 12 months with a physical exam and/or a thyroid ultrasound.

Surgery is only recommended for nodules that are cancerous or suspected of being cancer. In the rare situation that nodules are large enough to cause problems with swallowing or breathing surgery might also be recommended.

Regular provider visits

Thyroid nodules should always be addressed. While most are not harmful, there is a small risk of cancer.  Your health care provider can make the appropriate referral to an endocrinologist, one of the many reasons it is important to visit your primary care provider and receive periodic physicals.

divya pati endocrinologistDr. Divya Pati is an endocrinologist practicing with TMCOne. She diagnoses and treats diabetes, thyroid problems, calcium disorders, osteoporosis, pituitary, adrenal and other hormonal disorders.

Stay in optimum health, prevent metabolic syndrome

Optimum Health .jpgDid you know that some people have a syndrome that places them at increased risk of developing diabetes and heart disease – and they never even know they have it?

Metabolic syndrome, which often carries no signs or symptoms, is also associated with several obesity related disorders including fatty liver and cirrhosis, kidney disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea.

Tell me more. What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance syndrome or syndrome x, is a group of factors that increase the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps move blood sugar into the cell where it is used for energy. Obesity causes insulin resistance, which leads to high blood glucose.

How is it diagnosed?

A physician who specializes in endocrinology can prescribe the medical tests that diagnose Metabolic syndrome, which is determined by a presence of three of the following:

  • Abdominal obesity, defined as a waist circumference in men ≥102 cm (40 in) and in women ≥88 cm (35 in)
  • Serum triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL or drug treatment for elevated triglycerides
  • Serum HDL cholesterol <40 mg/dL in men and <50 mg/dL in women or drug treatment for low HDL cholesterol
  • Blood pressure ≥130/85 mmHg or drug treatment for elevated blood pressure
  • Fasting plasma glucose ≥100 mg/dL or drug treatment for elevated blood glucose

Prevalence

Metabolic syndrome is more common in African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans. Chances also increase with age, as well as with lack of physical activity.

Treatment

Treatment of metabolic syndrome is aggressive lifestyle modification focused on weight loss and increase in physical activity. Weight reduction is optimally achieved by diet, exercise and pharmacological treatment if needed. Medications are used to treat risk factors such as high blood pressure, glucose and lipids.

Optimum health

It is important to visit your primary care physician regularly and address an endocrinology specialist if metabolic syndrome is encountered. Maintaining a healthy diet and an exercise plan (approved by your provider) is an excellent way of avoiding metabolic syndrome and maintaining optimum health.

pati1

Divya Reddy Pati, M.D.

Dr. Divya Pati is an endocrinologist practicing with TMCOne Medical Group. She diagnoses and treats diabetes, thyroid problems, calcium disorders, osteoporosis, pituitary, adrenal and other hormonal disorders.

TMC One Med Group your health your team OL

Developing rituals can help build balance

Terri Waldman on developing rituals to balance lifeTerri Waldman, the Director of TMC’s Geropsychiatric Center, was one of the experts interviewed for the Arizona Daily Star’s series on dementia, Hope and Help. Among the stories was one on finding hope. Here is her monthly column on the importance of building ritual.

Every morning, I go for a walk with my dog.

If I miss that walk for some reason, my day just feels a little off.

It’s one of my rituals, along with meditation, that gives shape to my day.

Ritual, which is increasingly recognized as important to our health and wellbeing, is more than merely everyday habit. But to be clear, it also does not have to be reserved for just the sacred and complicated.

Whether we are talking about rituals of religion, families or individuals, those intentional steps we take on a regular basis help remind us about what’s important and help us build a sense of stability in our lives.

When I was a child, bedtime meant my parents would tell each other and their children that they were loved. For me, regardless of family squabbles or anything else that happened during the day, it gave me that sense of continuity. No matter what else I faced, love was not a negotiation.

When you hear “ritual,” there are all kinds of ideas in our head about what that looks like, often involving ceremonial trappings and historical foundations. But it can be as simple as having dinner as a family – a ritual that is growing in importance all the time as we lose some of that precious time to busy lives and technology.

It can be having a cup of coffee on your patio to start your morning. It could be a cup of tea in the evening. It could be a prayer before bed.  It’s any time you carve out that feels good and centering and maybe even healing to you.

In the work I do, I’ve noticed that some people’s lives become imbalanced because they lack structure. Rituals have a way of grounding you. Even if you’re traveling, you can still have that morning coffee or that bedtime tea and feel a sense of structure. Ritual does not have to be rigid. And it doesn’t have to be something handed down through generations – it can be something you create.

If ritual is something you want to more fully develop in your life, you might look at your life to see what you have in it already.  You probably have more of it in your life than you think. If it isn’t obvious to you, you might ask a friend: What do you see in my life that brings me comfort?

You might just start with something simple: Finding 5 minutes of quiet time with your thoughts. It’s easy to click on the TV or the radio for a distraction, but learning to be present with oneself can be a gift. And it might just start with one, simple ritual.

Terri Waldman has more than 20 years of experience in providing services, advocacy and leadership in the field of aging in Pima County. Currently the Director of the TMC Geropsychiatric Center at Handmaker, Waldman received her Masters in Social Work at Arizona State University. She follows her father’s philosophy that five minutes of laughter every day leads to quality in life.

TMCOne now offers highly experienced care for your entire family in Rita Ranch

Thomas Weisman, M.D. Family Practice TMC One

Thomas Weisman, M.D.
Family Practice
TMCOne

As a board-certified family physician, Thomas Weisman, M.D., brings a wealth of experience to TMCOne. For decades, he worked in family medicine and emergency care. Having worked in Rita Ranch for the past 12 years, he knows the community well. He’s excited to now offer his expertise as part of TMCOne – a group that he feels provides a spirit of medical care that is much needed in the Tucson area. He describes this care as “medical care with a heart.”

Dr. Weisman looks forward to earning your trust, and is confident that TMCOne will make a positive contribution to people who live in Southeast Tucson.

▪ What is your background? 

I was born and grew up in New Jersey. I attended Haverford College in Pennsylvania, then graduated from University of Pennsylvania Medical School. I interned at Cook County Hospital in Chicago before opening my own family medicine private practice in West Virginia where I cared for patients for 18 years.  I eventually left private practice and became a full-time Emergency Department physician. Over the next decade, I worked in emergency rooms in West Virginia and California. My family and I decided to move to Arizona where I returned to family practice. I worked in Rita Ranch for 12 years and am thrilled to now provide care to this community through TMC One. I am married with two children.

▪ What inspired you to go into primary care?

A profound experience as a child inspired me to go into primary care. When I was a little boy, I was cared for by my cousin who was a general practitioner. His office was on the second floor of a house and he would often see me at home when I was sick. I have vivid memories of his dark suit, vest, pocket watch and bag that smelled of leather and alcohol. He was extremely dedicated to his work and it seemed like a noble path for my life as well.

▪ What made you decide to come to Tucson?

My family and I decided to come to Tucson because my wife’s family lives here and they love it. My wife fell in love with Tucson, and I followed her lead. Truth be told, the first time I visited here it was 110 degrees out. I wasn’t so sure about uprooting from California but I’ve grown to tolerate the Arizona heat!

▪ What do you think is the biggest health risk facing Southern Arizonans?

I think the biggest health risk facing Southern Arizonans is the rapidly rising cost of care, and the confusion of our health care financial system. Who can keep track of it all?

▪ Do you have any areas that are of particular interest to you?

My interests are primarily focused on internal medicine, which is a major area of my studies. I enjoy family medicine because I’m able to foster a relationship with my patients and their families. Having deep-rooted knowledge of a family and their dynamic allows me to know the full story and therefore provide exceptional care.

▪ Why is it so important for people to get established with a PCP before they get sick?

I know that no one likes to get sick, and no one likes going to the doctor as it can be stressful. But the reality is, people get sick. If you have established a good relationship with your PCP and have faith in them when you’re healthy, it makes things easier when you are sick and need to go see them. From a physician’s perspective, it’s easier to make an accurate diagnosis and create an appropriate treatment plan if you know your patient’s case beforehand.

▪ What has been your most valuable life experience that has impacted your medical career?

My most valuable life experience that has impacted my medical career is having a family. It has helped me relate to so many of my patients. I believe that many of us have similar life problems, and having empathy for each other helps us ultimately understand each other better.

▪  How do you approach your relationship with your patients?

I have found that being a partner to my patients helps me create a plan of care with them rather than for them. I don’t want my patients to look at me as the boss of their health care. My goal is to partner with them to try and keep them healthy, or get them better quickly when they are sick. I use an understanding and patient approach when dealing with my patients and work to not just treat their symptoms, but help organize their care.

Dr. Weisman is accepting new patients!
TMCOne’s Rita Ranch location is at 9356 E. Rita Road, #180.
Expanded hours for your convenience! Appointments available as late at 8 p.m.
Call (520) 324-4499 to make an appointment.

Rosemary Duschene: Bariatric surgery and hard work lead to a new life

RosemaryRosemary Duschene had grown weary of her diabetes – and along with it, her daily regimen of multiple pills, multiple shots and multiple complications.

“I happened to catch a commercial that said bariatric surgery improves the diabetic condition,” she said.  “I had been a diabetic for 25 years, and it was just becoming totally unbearable.”

With support from her physicians and loved ones, she underwent the surgery just over a year ago, and now reports her diabetic regimen is down to just one pill per day – with the hope that even that one last pill could become unnecessary.

“Within one year’s time I lost 65-70 pounds,” Duschene recalled, noting the lifestyle change was “really not so difficult!  TMC made certain everything was perfect before I became a candidate for surgery.”

After the bariatric surgery to assist her weight loss, she was quickly back on her feet and active. “I wasn’t used to sitting around, and now I had all this added energy and less weight to carry around, so it was easy to get up and move.”

She had a dog to walk, so that was a great motivator – but the biggest energy stimulus has to be Duschene’s 2-year-old grandson, always ready for a trip to the park.

“I let him run, and he chases me, and I chase him…I want so much to be a part of his life.  It’s hard to keep up with a 2-year-old, but it isn’t so bad any more!  I don’t get so tired. It’s just really great to feel so good.”


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