Thursday, July 09, 2015
Doctor's Perspective
Visual closure can cause problems
By Dr. Anthony Policastro

One of the traits we all possess is visual closure. This is a skill that we use when reading things.
It allows us to assume that words say what we expect them to say even if we do not read them completely.
The classic example is: " the quick brown fox jumped over the the small white fence." Most people will read that sentence and never notice that the word " the" is repeated twice - at the end of one line and at the beginning of the next.
Their visual closure skill allows them to do that without really seeing each word. In medicine there are many instances where visual closure can cause problems.
Sometimes it might allow us to read the wrong drug name. We assume we know which drug it is but it sounds like a second drug and we make the wrong assumption.
It might happen when we look at the time. We may assume we see the correct time, however, we do not. That is why it is better to use military time rather than a.m. and p.m. when giving medication.
It might happen with patient names. They might sound alike or actually be the same name. That is why patient identification now involves both a name and birthdate which removes a possible error.
Recently, we have seen an example of the same situation in a non-medical setting. A group of parents took their children to see the movie, Inside Out. The projectionist set the computer up to play the movie. When the computer took over, the horror movie, Insidious 3 came on. Parents were outraged that their children were exposed to this. The projectionist was quickly labeled at fault and the movie theater was held responsible. You can bet that some parents are going to sue the movie theater.
In actuality, the mistake was made on the part of the movie companies. They made two movies, released them the same weekend and created names that were perfect for a visual closure mistake. INSIDeOUt and INSIDiOUs. Each have nine letters. Seven of the nine letters are identical.
This was an accident waiting to happen. The poor projectionist and movie theater just happened to be the ones who got into trouble.
When we read things, we need to read them carefully. However, the people who create what we read need to understand that we sometimes may not do so. They need to pay attention and consider potential problems.

Diabetes education program

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, will hold a four-session diabetes education program on July 22, 29, Aug. 5, 12, from 5-7 p.m., at the hospital. Registration is required. The cost of the four-session program may be reimbursable by insurance.
This four-session program includes weekly education sessions and individualized meal planning for diabetes self-management. Family members/significant others are welcome to attend. Pre-registration is required. To register and for more information about the course, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Easter Seals plans kick-off event

Join Easter Seals at the kick-off event of the third annual Walk With Me Delmarva 2015 on Thursday, July 23 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at Easter Seals Tunnell Center, 22317 DuPont Blvd., Georgetown.
Enjoy food from Grotto Pizza, desserts and giveaways while learning more about how Walk With Me Delmarva raises critically needed funds to help people with disabilities in your local community. Everyone is welcome. RSVP to Linda Forte at 302-253-1100, ext. 1121 or Meet 2015 Walk With Me Ambassadors, Diane, Ed and Luz and learn how Easter Seals has impacted their lives.
Registration is open for Walk With Me Delmarva 2015, which will be held on Sunday, Oct. 18 at Baywood Greens, Long Neck. Visit to register or donate to the event.

Diabetes Support Group

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, will hold a free diabetes support group for individuals with diabetes from 5-6 p.m. on Monday, July 20, at the hospital. Are you struggling to make positive behavior changes in your life or would you like to share with others coping with diabetes?
The topic will be Diabetes & Your Heart and there will be a question and answer period. Registration is required. To register and for more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Nanticoke offers childbirth classes

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is offering childbirth classes on Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the hospital. The class will meet each Tuesday for a total of five weeks & four weeks related to childbirth education and the fifth week will be a breastfeeding class.
Sessions include: July 14, 21, and 28.
Maternity education classes are designed to offer information, counseling, support, and hands-on experience to help prepare for a new family member.
They will cover pregnancy in general, information to prepare the expectant mother for labor and delivery, and will include a tour of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Mother Baby Care Unit. A refresher course is available for those who have previously taken childbirth classes. The refresher class covers breathing techniques, signs, symptoms, and stages of labor, birthing options, and a tour of the Mother Baby Care Unit.
Cost of the childbirth course is $50, and cost for the refresher course is $25. Mothers are encouraged to bring their partner or support person for all courses. Advance registration is required.
To register, or for more information, call 629-6611, ext. 2540.

Mammography Van in Greenwood

On Wednesday, Aug. 12, the Delaware Division of Public Health's (DPH) Women's Mobile Health Screening (WMHS) van will be stationed outside the CHEER Activity Center in Greenwood to provide mammography screenings.

DPH provides funding to the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) to operate and staff the year-round efforts of the mammography van in partnership with Beebe Medical Center. Appointments for mammography screenings are available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Women need to obtain a prescription from their doctor and call the WMHS office to make an appointment, 1-888-672-9647.
The WMHS van provides mobile mammography services to low income, uninsured, and underinsured women. Medicaid, Medicare, and most health insurance is accepted. WMHS staff can help women apply for Screening for Life, a program of DPH that pays for the cost of a mammogram for eligible women, or find another program that can help cover the cost of a mammogram. If you have a problem with your breasts, or have had breast cancer, you should not be screened on the van.
The Delaware Cancer Consortium recommends screening annually beginning at age 40, depending on one's family history. For more information and to make an appointment, call 1-888-672-9647.

Safe Sitter Classes offered

Nanticoke Health Services offers Safe Sitter classes for children ages 11-13, who are interested in learning child care essentials and safety. Classes are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 11 and Monday, Oct. 12.
The Safe Sitter course is designed to train teenagers how to be safe baby/child sitters. Components include infant/child development and care, safety, injury prevention, first aid, accident management, rescue breathing and choking management.
Cost is $35 per student, which includes the class and all materials needed. Advance registration is required. To register or for more information, call 629-6611.

Easter Seals joins 25th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

Easter Seals will be joining people across America to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 2015. Prior to this law, it was legal to discriminate on the basis of disability. Today, more than 54 million Americans with disabilities, their families, neighbors and communities enjoy the benefits of the ADA. "The passage of the ADA has been, and will continue to be, a life changer for people with disabilities/" Kenan Sklenar, Easter Seals President/CEO said. " We have come a long way towards advancing accessibility for people with disabilities over the last 25 years. I hope the next 25 years brings even more awareness and advocacy to make sure everyone, with and without disabilities have the same opportunities." On July 18, the Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council will be hosting a celebration in Dover. It will include live music, speakers including Secretary Rita Landgraf and Tony Coelho, vendors, family-fun, Disability Rights Museum on Wheels and so much more. For more information, go to:

Remember to practice safe boating

DNREC's Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police reminds those launching their vessels on Delaware waterways to practice safe boating. Tips for recreational boaters include:

  • Don't drink while operating a vessel & avoid putting yourself, passengers and other boaters at risk by having a non-drinking designated operator.
  • Exercise patience and courtesy at crowded boat ramps and docks.
  • Observe all " Slow/No Wake" areas.
  • Maintain a lookout for other vessels and keep a safe distance from them.
  • Avoid traveling at unsafe speeds, including congested areas.
  • Make sure children 12 and younger are wearing life jackets while underway as required by law.
  • Wear your life jacket and encourage all your passengers 13 and older to wear them also.
  • Check navigation lights and make sure to turn them on when operating at night.
  • Carry your boating safety certificate and required safety equipment, including enough life jackets for everyone aboard, a fire extinguisher and a whistle.
  • Paddle boards are considered vessels, and passengers are required to have a life jacket on board and carry a whistle or other sound-producing device. If out after sunset, a flashlight is also required.
  • Personal watercraft (PWC) operators and passengers must wear life jackets and follow vessel rules, including safety equipment noted above. Operators also are required to wear a lanyard attached to the PWC's emergency ignition safety " kill" switch, which shuts off the engine if the operator is thrown from the proper operating position.
  • PWC operators must be age 16 or older. Ages 14 and 15 may operate a PWC, but only under the direct supervision of a parent or legal guardian on board. Youth under age 14 may not operate a PWC on Delaware waters.
  • Prohibited PWC maneuvers which endanger the safety of persons and property include: weaving through congested vessel traffic, jumping or attempting to jump the wake within 100 feet of another vessel, following within 100 feet of a water skier or tuber; and dpeeding in restricted speed areas.
For more information on safe boating, visit