Thursday, November 02, 2017
Doctors Perspective Autumn brings rotations memories

By Dr. Anthony Policastro Fall River, Massachusetts is located about 50 miles south of Boston. I did my pediatric residency in Boston and had community hospital rotations in Fall River. I was there the first time in my second year and I returned again my third year. I had six week rotations in autumn. At this time of year - the time change to standard time - I reminisce about Fall River. Both years that I was there, I was on call the weekend of the time change so I worked two extra hours those years. The second year involved a child who had been poisoned. I sat by his bedside all night. I did that twice between 2 and 3 a.m. The first year, I took vacation in the spring which coincided with changing the clocks so I lost an hour of vacation. I was smarter the second year. I took my vaca.tion in January which happened to be the year of the Arab oil embargo. We changed the clocks in January during my vacation. Most of you have seen The Sound of Music and you know about the oldest von Trapp daughter, Liesl. She was 16 going on 17 in the movie. Spoiler alert! There was no Liesl von Trapp. The oldest child was Rupert von Trapp, a family physician who practiced in Fall River. I had some of my more interesting residency experiences while I was rotating there. I had a child come in with bruises all over his legs. I asked the father how he got them. The father told me he had beaten the child with a belt. I reported him to social services and he came back to the hospital with his shotgun. I was able to convince him that under the law I had to make the report. Perhaps he took his shot.gun to Legislative Hall. I was called to the OB Unit one day for a woman who was going to have a c-section. Her membranes had been ruptured over 24 hours and I asked if she had a fever suggesting infection. The nurse told me that she had received too many pain meds to hold a thermometer in her mouth. I asked if they had done a rectal tempera.ture. They told me that they could not do that kind of thing to adults. I told them if she was so out of it that she couldnt hold an oral thermometer, she would never know. When the baby was born, the fluid smelled foul. I was upset that the obstetri.cian did not do a culture of the fluid so I would know what to treat. The head of pe.diatrics informed me that I could not ques.tion the head of obstetrics. The following week I was in the nursery and in rolled a new baby. There was a culture tube in the bassinet. I asked what it was and was told it was a baby culture. The head of obstetrics thought the fluid smelled funny so he took a culture swab and ran it up the baby. I guess thats called progress. I had some eventful ambulance rides. I got a call one night at 1 a.m. The head of pediatrics had sent a premature infant over from one of the other hospitals in town. He told me the infant was fine and I could see him in the morning. I tend to be obses.sive-compulsive so I went to the hospital. The infant did not look fine to me. I called the attending physician at 5 a.m., telling him I wanted to send the infant to Boston. The attending physician wanted me to wait until he came in to make rounds. I told him the infant was not going to get bet.ter by then. He told me condescendingly that I could transfer the infant if I really thought I had to do so. In the process of transferring the infant to Boston, we had to stop at the other hospital to obtain the mothers blood. We pulled into the parking lot and as we were stopping the ambulance, the infant stopped breathing. I had them move the transport incubator to the emergency room and I put in a breathing tube. I got the mothers blood and we left. We were there for less than 10 minutes. A few minutes after we left, guess which pediatrician came through the ER? Guess what they were talking about? He was very grateful. We took another child up to Boston one night. It was the same ambulance crew. Ironically, before we left they told me that they liked riding with me because I didnt lose my cool. On the way up, a van cut us off on the highway and the ambulance driver had to slam on the brakes. We went into a skid. The ambulance did a 360 de.gree spin just missing the fathers car who was following us. The ambulance turned another 270 degrees and rolled backward off the road. I knew I was okay when we stopped. I looked at the infant and he was vigorously so I knew he was okay. The nurse was waiting for me to ask if she was okay. Before I did, I checked the IV, which was not flowing well. My first com.ment was, D*** it, the IV stopped run.ning. I think the nurse wanted to hit me with the IV pole. Yes, I have many interesting autumn memories about Fall River, Massachusetts.

NURSE OF THE MONTH - Nanticoke Health Services is pleased to announce that Kaitlin (Phillips) Webster, RN, has been named Nurse of the Month for October. Kaitlin began her career at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in July 2013, as a registered nurse in the Medical/Surgical Unit (MSU). She now works as relief charge nurse and is a preceptor for new team members in MSU. She works primarily on the evening shift and is the new leader of one of the MSU patient satisfaction groups, patient education. Kaitlin is kind, caring and always willing to help her peers. When she is in charge, she helps all of the MSU staff and demonstrates great team leadership. Kaitlin is not only a wonderful, knowledgeable nurse, but shows her passion for nursing in the pride she takes in doing her job she is a role model for nursing. Kaitlin lives in Seaford with her husband, Andrew, and their two dogs and a cat. Pictured from left: Lori Lee, RN, BSN, assistant VP of nursing; Alina Chisenhall, man.ager of MSU; Kaitlin Webster, RN, MSU; Rachel Gardner, director of MSU & CDU; Penny Short, RN, BSN, chief operating officer & chief nursing officer.

Changes for support groups The Alzheimers Association Delaware Valley Chapter has announced the merger of two caregiver support groups. The group meetings that have been held at Laurel Centenary United Church on the first Tuesday of each month at 2:30 p.m. have been discontin.ued. The group that meets at 5:30 p.m. at Laurel Centenary Church will hold their last meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The support group currently meeting at Methodist Manor House in Seaford on the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m., will meet the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. beginning Nov. 21. Both groups will continue to meet at the Methodist Manor House the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. For a complete listing of caregiver sup.port groups meeting in Sussex County, contact Jamie A. Magee, Sussex County office coordinator, at 854-9788 or

Better Breathers Club Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold a Better Breathers Club on Monday, Nov. 20 from 2 to 3 p.m., in the Medical Staff Conference Room. This free sup.port group is open to anyone affected by a chronic lung disease including relatives and caregivers. Backed by the American Lung Asso.ciation, the Better Breathers Club offers a venue for participants to learn from guest speakers and educational materials, social.ize with others affected by a chronic lung disease, and practice skills that will help them better manage their condition and improve their quality of life. The group meets the third Monday of each month. Refreshments will be provided and registration is required. For more information or to register, call 629-6611, ext. 1010.

TFCU supports Easter Seals Tidemark Federal Credit Union (TFCU) was a platinum sponsor for the 2017 Walk with Me Delmarva event to benefit Easter Seals. TFCU had the largest team with 21 employees and family members that joined over 200 participants who walked, strolled or ran in the event at Baywood Greens.

Nanticoke hosts stroke support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will host a stroke support group on Tuesday, Nov. 21 from 1:30-3:30 p.m., at the Seaford Library & Cultural Center. This support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families, friends, and caregivers. Modeled from the American Stroke As.sociation, this free support group provides education, community resources, and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering event. The two-hour support group meetings consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions in which caregivers and stroke survivors meet in groups to discuss concerns, pro.viding support and networking. Pre-reg.istration is not required and refreshments will be provided. For more information, call Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services at 629-6224. To learn more about Nanticokes stroke program, visit

Nanticoke to host Parkinsons education and support group Nanticoke Health Services, in conjunc.tion with CHEER and Care DE and the Manor House, will hold a Parkinsons education and support group on Thursday, Nov. 16 from 9:30-11 a.m. at the Manor House located at 1001 Middleford Road in Seaford. This support group is FREE and open to the public. Parkinsons disease (PD) is a progres.sive neurological disease that affects the part of the brain that controls muscle movement. A Parkinsons disease diagnosis can bring out many difficult emotions fear, anger, resentment, hopeless.ness, and more. It is a challenge to learn how to cope with these feelings along with the stress of diagnosis and treatment. Participating in education/support groups is essential for coping with an ill.ness such as PD or other disorders that impair bodily movement. This support group is not only helpful for the individual diagnosed with PD, but also for caregiv.ers, friends and family. Group members welcome guest speakers on a variety of subjects related to PD and provide support to each other through other small group discussions. Each individual may experience different symptoms, such as tremors, rigidity, poor balance, and a list of others.

Studies show that the information, training, and counseling that participants receive while attending support group sessions enhances the quality of life, help to alleviate stress, and may even boost the immune system. Tara Trout, LPN at Nanticoke Memo.rial Hospital, co-facilitates the group with Kathy Landis, Caregiver Resource Coor.dinator at CHEER in Sussex County. For more information, contact Tara at 302-629-6611, extension 3838.

Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services to hold Lymphedema Support Group Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services hosts lymphedema support groups on the third Thursday of each month at the Seaford Library and Cultural Center from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm. This months meeting will be held on Thursday, Nov. 16. This free support group is open to affected by lymphedema including patients, caregivers, and relatives. Meet.ings will consist of a lecture by healthcare professionals and medical equipment providers followed by refreshments and an open question and answer session or dis.cussion amongparticipants. Registration is required. Lymphedema is an abnormal collection of high-protein fluid just beneath the skin that occurs most commonly in the limbs. The condition can be caused by a variety of factors including family history, dam.aged lymph vessels, lymph node removal, infection, or radiation therapy. Lymph.edema causes swelling which may create movement limitation, and leaves patients at higher risks for wounds and infections. Lymphedema is a chronic condition with specific manual treatments, skin care, compression pumps, wraps, and exercises. For more information or to register, contact Robert Donati, PT, CLT at 302-629-6224. To learn more about services provided by Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services, visit

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH - Nanticoke Health Services is pleased to announce that Kristina Ward has been named Employee of the Month for October. Kristina began her career at Nanticoke Health Services in March 2011, as a student radiologic technologist while still in the radiologic technology program at Del-Tech. Upon graduation from Del-Tech, Kristina became a standby employee for two years until she received a full-time staff position as the senior radiologic technologist for general radiology. Kristina is an ideal role model because of her professional, hardworking and patient-focused manner. She comes in early and stays late to ensure line placements are done on patients who need them with the surgeons. Kristina is dedicated to giving her best at her job. She consistently demonstrates a great work ethic, high-quality patient care skills and a positive work attitude. Kristina spends her free time with her fianc┼Ż and three children all under the age of nine. Pictured from left: Tres Pelot, RRT, assistant vice president of clinical services; Steven Rose, RN, MN, president & CEO; Kristina Ward, senior radiologic technologist; Missy Babinski, director of radiology; Penny Short, RN, BSN, chief operating officer & chief nursing officer.

DART 20th Annual Stuff the Bus Thanksgiving food drive is Nov. 6 DART will hold its 20th annual Stuff The Bus Thanksgiving Food Drive throughout the State starting on Nov. 6 and ending on Nov. 11. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, DARTs goal is to collect 20 tons of non-perishable food for Delawareans in need of food assistance. We need the publics help to achieve our Stuff The Bus will be collecting food at seven sites throughout the State. The site locations, collection dates, and times are: Monday, Nov. 6: Acme, 18578 Highway, Rehoboth, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7: Walmart, 939 N. Du.Pont Highway, Milford and Acme, North Dover Center, 1001 N. DuPont Highway, Dover, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8: Acme, Fairfax Shopping Center, 1901 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9: Rodney Square, Market Street side, Wilmington, 7 AM - 5 PM Friday, Nov. 10: Rodney Square, Mar.ket Street side, Wilmington, 7 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11: Acme, Suburban Plaza, 100 Suburban Dr., Newark and Acme, 460 E. Main St., Middletown, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. DART also encourages the public to donate directly to the Food Bank of Dela.ware if they are unable to visit any of the Stuff The Bus collection sites. For more information on donating food, contact the Food Bank at 302-292-1305, or visit their website at

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS CAR SHOW - Levin Clark presented the Fifth Annual Georgetown Breast Cancer Awareness Car Show on Saturday, Oct. 21, to benefit the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition at 16 Mile Brewery. The event included a parade, live concert with the Glass Onion band, trophies, helicopter rides, food and craft vendors, and demonstrations by the State Police canine division and State Police mounted division. Hall of Fame NASCAR driver Harry Gant signed autographs. The event featured 66 trophies in various categories. In total, over 250 cars, motorcycles and tractors registered for the event and proceeds exceeded a record high of $10,000. The funds will be used to expand DBCCs programs in the community. For more information about the DBCC, visit

Nanticoke weight loss to host free weight loss seminars Nanticoke Weight Loss and General Surgery will host free weight loss seminars on Monday, Nov. 20 at 5:30 pm and Saturday, Nov. 11 at 10:30 am at the Nanticoke Training Center located within the Miller Building at 121 S. Front Street in Seaford. These seminars are designed to provide education to individuals considering weight loss surgery to help them make informed decisions on whether surgery is an appropriate option. Obesity is a disorder that can lead to several health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. For those who suffer with morbid obesity, having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above, it can also affect many organs within the body. Many patients are able to bring their BMI down through lifestyles changes under the care of their physician. For others who have not been able to achieve weight loss through these methods, bariatric surgery can be an effective method to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. The weight loss seminars will consist of educational presentations by Dr. Tarek Waked to inform individuals about the many bene.fits of weight loss surgery. Patients and their spouses, family members or friends are welcome to attend. Registration is required. To register for one of these free seminars, call 302-536-5395. To learn more about services provided by Nanticoke Weight Loss and General Surgery, visit

DHSS sees comment by Nov. 13 The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services continues its work to adopt value-based payment reform strategies as part of the effort to establish a health care spending benchmark for the state and recently published a draft plan. Public comment is being sought on the plan, Delawares Road to Value, which outlines changes in policy and legislation to transform the delivery of health care and improve outcomes for Delawareans, while lowering the growth rate of health care spending. The plan is posted on the DHSS at Public comments can be emailed to The deadline for submissions is Nov. 13. Its important to hear from Delawar.eans about our draft plan for the health care spending benchmark, said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician. Think of the benchmark as a target for all of the health care spending in Delaware in any given year. I want to hear from people con.sumers, providers, employers, nonprofit leaders and other stakeholders about how we can best set and meet that target while providing consumers with care that improves their outcomes. In a federal analysis released this sum.mer, Delaware had the third-highest per capita spending for health care in the country, behind only Alaska and Massachusetts. In 2014, Delawares per-capita rate of $10,254 was 27 percent higher than the U.S. average. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimated that if Delaware continues at that pace, total health care spending in the state will more than double from $9.5 billion in 2014 to $21.5 billion in 2025. In terms of overall health, Delaware ranks only 31st among the states, according to Americas Health Rankings. The benchmark will serve as a major step in transforming Delawares health care system to a more outcome-driven sys.tem and away from a system that pays for care based solely on the number of room days, visits, procedures and tests. The benchmark also will position Delaware to move toward innovative payment reform strategies, address issues in access to care, and quality improvement.

Nanticoke Tributes for Healthcare Leadership is Nov. 9 The 14th Annual Nanticoke Tributes for Healthcare Leadership, presented by Nanti.coke Health Services, will take place Thursday, Nov. 9 at the Heritage Shores Clubhouse in Bridgeville from 6-9 p.m. The awards honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the provi.sion and improvement of healthcare in the communities of western Sussex County. The Founders Award will be presented to Nancy Cook-Marsh; the Charles C. Al.len, Jr. Philanthropy Award is being awarded to the Trinity Foundation, and Dr.. James Palmer is being inducted into the Nanticoke Physicians Hall of Fame. For more information, visit or contact the Nanticoke Health Foundation at 536-5390.