Monday, October 28, 2013

Child Safety Seat Smarts

     As parents and caregivers we want the best for our children, but sometimes we fail to place our children in car safety seats. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that in one year, more than 618,000 children ages 0-12 rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat, booster seat or a seat belt at least some of the time.

     Maryland’s child passenger safety laws require children younger than eight years old to ride in an appropriate child restraint, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller. Every child from eight to 16 years old who is not secured in a child restraint must be secured using the vehicle’s seat belt.

     Child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers ages one to four years, according to the CDC.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bringing Exercise Fever to the Workplace

Emily and her daughter after
completing the Meritus Health
Pumpkin Dash 5K
     Emily Radaker is passionate about her healthy lifestyle and shares that passion with those around her. A life-long runner, kickboxing instructor, yoga student and Insanity DVD junkie, Emily is no stranger to exercise. “I am constantly challenging myself to push harder,” she says.

     When Emily left public accounting to work as an internal auditor for Meritus Health’s business integrity department, the health system gained a natural fitness leader. “I’m thrilled to be working in an environment where employee health is promoted,” says Radaker. Soon after joining Meritus Health, Emily became a member of the health system’s wellness committee and suggested a running club to help employees prepare for the fall Meritus Health’s Pumpkin Dash 5K Fun Run/Walk. In late July, Emily led the Fit to 5K program where, two times a week, 25-35 employees would stretch, walk and run their way to improved endurance.

Monday, October 14, 2013

So You Need Outpatient Surgery….

     When you need knee surgery or your child needs his adenoids removed, you might feel uneasy or nervous. It could be the pre-surgical prep or the worries over anesthesia. Whatever the case, you want to feel confident that you have selected the best outpatient surgical center.

     Outpatient surgery, also known as same-day surgery or ambulatory surgery means that patients return home the same day of their procedure. According to the American Hospital Association, more than 5,000 ambulatory surgical centers (ASC) across the United States provide same-day surgical care, including diagnostic and preventative procedures. ASCs are either associated with a hospital or a free-standing facility.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Breast Cancer and Radiation Therapy

      When faced with early-stage breast cancer, many women seek breast-conserving surgery, known as a lumpectomy. But surgery must be combined with radiation therapy to lower the risk of a cancer recurrence in most cases.

     Before the year 2000, external beam radiation therapy was a breast cancer patient’s only choice for radiation treatment. External beam radiation therapy is effective at eliminating cancer cells, but it can damage normal cells and cause side effects such as fatigue, swelling and skin irritation at the tumor site.

Cutting-edge treatment
      Breast brachytherapy, also known as accelerated partial breast irradiation, is another way to deliver radiation therapy. The treatment delivers a precise, highly concentrated dose of radiation from inside the breast, instead of applying radiation to the entire breast with an external beam. The temporary insertion of a treatment device and the positioning of a radioactive seed kills breast cancer cells that may remain after surgery.

How it works
     Soon after breast surgery, a surgeon places a treatment device into the patient’s surgical site. Using computer guidance, a radioactive seed is temporarily inserted into each catheter and removed after the procedure. The treatment lasts for approximately ten minutes, after which the patient returns six hours later for an additional ten-minute therapy session. The device remains implanted in the patient for the duration of the treatment, approximately five days, and is removed shortly after therapy.

     Meritus Health’s John R. Marsh Cancer Center has been performing breast brachytherapy for more than five years. It offers breast cancer patients and oncologists the newest breast brachytherapy devices to effectively treat cancer cells that could not be treated with first generation devices.

     “Every patient and tumor is unique,” explains radiation oncologist Dan Cornell, M.D. “By using a device with multiple catheters, we can shape the radiation dose and conform the treatment to the patient’s anatomy and tumor area.”

Benefit to the patient
     Traditional external beam radiation treatment spans six weeks. Breast brachytherapy’s five-day treatment makes it an attractive alternative for breast cancer patients.

     “This therapy saves the patient time and diminishes radiation side effects,” says Dr. Cornell.

     Candidates for breast brachytherapy include women 50 and older with early-stage breast cancer whose tumor is confined to the breast and measures less than three-quarters of an inch. Meritus Health’s John R. Marsh Cancer Center offers women in the tri-state area more options in their breast treatment than ever before by using the latest generation of advanced breast treatment devices that allow doctors to steer the dose away from critical structures.

By: Anne Gill

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Help for Victims of Domestic Abuse

     Witnessing abuse between parents is a strong predictor of violent behavior from one generation to the next. Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to law enforcement. It takes six to eight times for a victim of domestic abuse to leave the abuser, if the victim ever leaves. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and these are the sobering facts behind the abuse.

     Domestic violence occurs at all income and education levels and age ranges. While most view domestic abuse as physical, it can also involve financial and sexual control and verbal intimidation. When domestic abuse results in physical injury, it’s called domestic violence.

Know the signs