Health Matters Blog

Genetic Risk Assessment

Published May 31, 2013

Agnes Mikijaniec By Agnes Mikijaniec, ARNP Last Wednesday morning, I was performing my daily routine of packing the kids’ lunches and getting them to school. The morning news was on the TV as usual. My husband then asks me “What is wrong with Angelina Jolie? Does she have breast cancer?” Every news service in the country that morning was reporting on Angelina’s announcement in the New York Times Op Ed section. In her article she states that she has the BRCA 1 gene and elected to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction. She talks about her mother’s decade long struggle with ovarian cancer, her surgery and her motivations for undergoing such a...

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Joint Replacement – A Total Hospital Effort

Published May 24, 2013

[caption id="attachment_653" align="alignright" width="205"] Christine Gooley, APRN, BC[/caption] Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a talk about Total Knee Replacement surgery given by Dr. Elizabeth McLarney of Southern Vermont Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Dr. McLarney and her colleagues, Dr. William Vranos and Dr. Jon Thatcher, perform approximately 350 Total Joint Replacement surgeries per year. On the evening of Dr. McLarney’s educational session, the room was full of people who came to hear her discuss surgical and non-surgical options as well as hear from a patient who had undergone a Total Knee Replacement. The large t...

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Cancer Rehab Brings Relief from Lymphedema

Published May 17, 2013

By Jeri-Lynn Atwood

Lymphedema is one fairly common side effect of cancer treatment where a rehabilitation program can be particularly beneficial for the patient. It’s a condition that arises when structural damage to the lymphatic system occurs following treatments for breast cancer, although it can be associated with other cancers as well. While there is no cure, early diagnosis and treatment improves both the prognosis and the condition. The lymphatic system is comprised of a series of tiny vessels and nodes throughout the body which transports fluid collected in the spaces be...

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Rehab Creates New Normal for Breast Cancer Patients

Published May 10, 2013

Kelly McCue, RN, MSN, CNS, OCN, CHPN by Kelly McCue [caption id="attachment_685" align="alignright" width="225"] Kelly McCue, RN, MSN, CNS, OCN, CHPN[/caption] Breast cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in the world and is the most common cancer seen in women. It’s not surprising then that many of the patients seen at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital’s Oncology department are breast cancer patients. The treatment approach for breast cancer is varied and may include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Many times a woman may receive a combination of these treatments. The oncology team, along with the patient, determines the best treatment approach based upon a number of fa...

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Rehab Plays a STARring Role in Surviving Cancer

Published May 3, 2013

Eileen Casey by Eileen Casey In 1929 an article in the Journal of Medicine offered this advice about how to help patients who have suffered a heart attack: [caption id="attachment_8424" align="alignright" width="195"] Eileen Casey[/caption] “The nurse should be carefully instructed to do everything in her power to aid the patient in any physical activity so that all possible movements such as feeding himself or lifting himself in bed are spared…Finally the patient should be urged to spend at least 6 weeks and preferably 8 weeks or more absolutely in bed.” This outlook had significant consequences and by the late 1930s many people were ou...

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HBOT Brings New Hope for Healing Chronic Wounds

Published April 26, 2013

Lynne Vantassel By Lynne Vantassel [caption id="attachment_8378" align="alignright" width="184"] Lynne Vantassel[/caption] While most of us are familiar with the use of hyperbaric oxygen chambers for scuba divers with decompression sickness, the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) in wound care is an effective and FDA approved treatment for non-healing ulcers and wounds. HBOT is an adjunctive medical treatment in which the patient is entirely enclosed in a pressure chamber breathing 100% oxygen at greater than one atmospheric pressure. Treatment is determined by a specially trained physician who, after determining if the patient meets the criteria ...

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Hospital Volunteers Help Find A Way

Published April 19, 2013

Ina Feidelseit

By Ina Feidelseit

[caption id="attachment_8353" align="alignright" width="200"] Ina Feidelseit[/caption] In observance of National Volunteer Week (April 21-27), BMH has asked one of its volunteers to contribute a column about her experiences at the hospital. If you’ve driven past the main entrance of the hospital this year, you’ve caught a glimpse of the Emergency Department construction project taking place. Sometime in the summer of 2013, the hospital will have a new front door in which to welcome the community. What won’t be changing, however, is that the person gre...

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Wound Care Takes A Team Commitment

Published April 12, 2013

Gregory R. Gadowski, MD, FACS By Greg Gadowski [caption id="attachment_505" align="alignright" width="195"] Gregory R. Gadowski, MD[/caption] It’s been an exciting time at BMH since the Green Mountain Care Board approved the establishment of a state of the art wound care center at our hospital. We’ve been doing intensive staff training and working hard to have everything in place when the facility opens its doors next month. The BMH Center for Wound Healing will be the first of its kind in Vermont and the only one in the vicinity providing comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for chronic and non-healing wounds. While technologies like hyperbaric oxygen thera...

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Some Wounds Won’t Heal

Published April 5, 2013

By Lynne Vantassel Chronic wounds currently affect more than eight million people in the United States. Fueled by an aging population, the incidence of such wounds is on the rise as more patients are diagnosed with chronic medical conditions. A chronic or non-healing wound is a wound that hasn’t healed within 30 days using conventional treatments. These sores are symptomatic of one or more underlying conditions that prevent the normal flow of blood and hurt the natural healing process. Diabetes and venous disease put a patient at risk for chronic wounds. In fact, non-healing wounds are particularly prevalent in the estimated 25.8 mil...

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Striving for Perfection Part of the New Health Care Model

Published March 29, 2013

Kathleen McGraw, MD by Kathleen McGraw, MD [caption id="attachment_8101" align="alignright" width="226"] Kathleen McGraw, MD[/caption] One of the exciting things about the role of Chief Medical Officer at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital right now is the change in health care that is currently underway in the state. Vermont is leading the nation in health care reform. The process of implementation, which is going to take many years, has medical professionals paying attention to patient quality and safety and tying it to the patient experience in ways we never have in the past. The doctors and staff at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital have been committed to provi...

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