Thursday, June 25, 2009
Treat thunderstorms with caution
By Dr. Anthony Policastro
With summer comes thunderstorms. The thunder is what we pay attention to. We sometimes forget that the thunder is nothing more than the sound that lightning makes. When there is a flash of lightning, we see it immediately. That is because light travels at 186,000 miles per second. Sound only travels at 768 miles per hour. Therefore, we have a pause between seeing the lightning and hearing it. There is an old rule of thumb. If you see a flash of lightning you can then count the number of seconds until you hear the thunder. The number of seconds will be approximately equal to the number of miles away that the lightning was. Lightning is dangerous. There was recently a Little League player in Virginia that was killed by lightning. They were playing a game that was stopped because of lightning. The boy and his friend went out to the field to play catch. That was when the lightning struck. From 1990 through 2003, there were 756 deaths form lightning strikes in the United States. That was a little over 50 deaths per year. Delaware was 40th overall in deaths from lightning strikes during that period. We need to respect lightning from a physical standpoint and safety standpoint. Lightning strikes to power lines can cause household fires in plugged in appliances. Many people have a false sense of security about surge protectors. They think if they have one, they and their electrical appliances are safe. What they do not realize is that surge protectors work well for power surges. A direct lightning strike is more than enough to overwhelm even the best surge protector. The best approach during a lightning storm is to unplug the appliances from the surge protectors. We use a computer service center in Salisbury, Md. Whenever we go there, they have a lineup of computers that were on a surge protector during a lightning storm. We also need to recognize the fact that holding an electrical appliance during a direct lightning strike can be dangerous over and above the risk of fire in the appliance. Thus lightning can be dangerous from a variety of standpoints. We don't need to be like the dogs that cower when they hear the thunder. However, we should realize that the thunder means there is lightning around. We need to respect that fact and take the appropriate precautions.

Free Rapid Testing for HIV To mark National HIV Testing Day on Saturday, June 27, Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) and its community partners emphasize that free, rapid HIV testing continues to be available at sites throughout the state - all year long. To find a testing site close to you and basic HIV prevention information, visit Below is a sampling of testing sites in Sussex County. Thursday, June 25 (12 noon - 6 p.m.) Sussex County AIDS Council (Heaven Bound Ministries, 214 Front Street, Seaford). Free confidential rapid HIV counseling and testing. No appointment needed. Call (302) 644-1090. Friday, June 26 (10 a.m. - 4 p.m.) Sussex County AIDS Council (Laurel Street State Service Center, 31039 North Poplar Street, Laurel)

New hospital planned in Milford Bayhealth President/CEO Dennis Klima has announced that a new Milford Memorial Hospital will be built on the existing hospital property. The next step in the process of preparing for construction of a new facility will include the development of site and master facilities plans and will be followed by important excavation and infrastructure work on the existing site before actual construction begins. And, if all goes as planned, construction will be completed in phases over a number of years. While planning and development work takes place, Bayhealth continues to budget several million dollars annually for upgrades and improvements at Milford Memorial so that the existing facilities can continue providing quality healthcare to the community until the new construction can be completed.

Safe Sitter Class offered Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is offering a Safe Sitter class for girls and boys ages 11 to 13. The 2-day course will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., July 8 and 10. The Safe Sitter program is a medically accurate instructional series that teaches youngsters how to handle emergencies when caring for younger children. Cost is $50. Participants are to bring a bagged lunch. To register your son, daughter or child's babysitter, call 629-6611, ext. 2540. All medical information will be taught by a certified professional. During the course, students get hands-on practice in basic life-saving techniques so they are prepared to act in a crisis. Instructors also provide tips to make sitters more confident caregivers. They give information on child development and suggest age-appropriate activities. Participants will also learn about the business aspects of babysitting. To register or for more information about Safe Sitter, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 2540.

Patients may choose their visitors Governor Jack Markell has signed legislation allowing patients to receive visitors of their choosing while they are hospitalized or housed at a nursing home. House Bill 112, sponsored by Rep. Helene M. Keeley, D-Wilmington South, allows competent adults to receive visits in a hospital, nursing home or nursing facility from any person they choose. The law does not overrule a facility's visitation policies that are based on the patient's medical condition, visitation hours or a court order. Rep. Keeley said she heard from several residents that close friends or extended family members were not able to visit their loved ones in the hospital or at a nursing home because their policies limit visitors to immediate family. HB 112, which the House and Senate unanimously passed, eliminates any inconsistency with existing visitation rights in licensed long-term care facilities while requiring that the facilities adhere to advance health care directives and powers of attorney. It also makes clear that any person who presents a threat to staff of a facility would be denied visitation.

NHS awards three scholarships Nanticoke Health Services recently presented three scholarships to local high school graduates who plan to enter the health care field. The three recipients are Nelthalie Regusme, Woodbridge High School and Kimberly Graves and Hilary Cooper, from Seaford High School. Nelthalie Regusme will attend Salisbury University, Kimberly Graves will attend Liberty University in Virginia and Hilary Cooper will attend the University of Delaware. All three plan to pursue a degree in nursing. Hilary Cooper and Nelthalie Regusme successfully completed the Health Career Internship program at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, which is intended to provide exposure in a healthcare environment for students considering health related careers. This class integrates classroom activities with real workplace experiences during rotations to various health career areas of the hospital.