employee-of-the-month-leslie

Employee of the Month

Congratulations to Leslie in Administration for being recognized as our December Employee of the Month.

Leslie enjoys the opportunity to work with others. “First and foremost, it’s about the people. I thoroughly love interacting with everyone at this facility: the staff, the physicians and their staff, guests and their families, people attending meetings here in Administration, etc. etc. I enjoy greeting each and every person with a smile. I like using my skills and talents to assist others.”

When asked to reflect on what brought her to the healthcare field, Leslie remembers, “The summer of my junior year of high school, I interned at the Veteran’s Memorial Hospital in West Haven, Connecticut. That was my first experience in healthcare and then while an undergrad at UConn I actually started out with a Pre-Med major but soon shifted gears. I loved the allure of a career in healthcare because of it enables service to people. I began actually working in healthcare for the first time in the 90’s when I was first hired to do Workers’ Compensation at Yale New Haven Hospital (previously Hospital of Saint Raphael) and later transitioned into the Risk Management department there and loved every moment of it. The spark was ignited for healthcare!”

“I am completely humbled and feel truly blessed to receive this honor. This recognition validates the work that I do as well as the way that I do it. Working at MHfS these past two years has been very rewarding, especially being able to be part of Administration, often considered to be the central hub of activity (setting aside the OR Suite). I enjoy giving 100% every day with a smile to inspire others. Smiling, compassion and caring are all free gifts that keep on giving. Sometimes these simple intentional actions can change someone’s day. I try to make a difference by paying it forward.”

sleep-lab

Sleep: Preparing Your Body for Positive Surgical Outcomes

There are apps to help you track it, tips and tricks to help you get more, and stacks of studies warning of the risks of too little. We’re talking about sleep, of course, and while most people understand the important role of sleep in overall health, we want to talk about its vital role in surgical recovery.

Suddenly wondering what sleep has to do with surgery? Consider this: while you sleep, your body’s cells work to repair themselves, your brain clears away toxins, and regulatory hormones prepare your body for routine function. Basically, sleep is an essential ingredient in the formula for health and healing. This is particularly important following surgery, illness or traumatic injury.

At Methodist Hospital for Surgery (MHfS), we know sleep and recovery go hand-in-hand, so we take every step to make sure your body is prepared to snooze and repair itself.

Welcome to The Center for Sleep Disorders

At the industry-leading Center for Sleep Disorders at MHfS, our highly experienced team of sleep specialists utilize a range of tests and tools to diagnose the most common sleep disorders affecting 40+ million Americans, including:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Insomnia
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleepwalking

Patients with a history of sleep disturbances are strongly encouraged to participate in a sleep study before undergoing surgery. Diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, especially sleep apnea, can directly affect surgical outcomes. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea contributes to higher risks for post-surgical complications, including cardiac arrest and respiratory failure.

Making Sleep Studies A Breeze

Sleep studies at the Center for Sleep Disorders are simple, painless and informative. Overnight sleep studies are conducted in one of our clinic’s spacious, private rooms, where you’ll enjoy free Wi-Fi, a 50-inch television, a private bathroom and a queen-size bed. You’ll almost think you’re on vacation! In addition to overnight sleep studies, known as nocturnal polysomnogram, we also conduct sleep latency and wakefulness tests, which evaluate daytime and nighttime alertness and performance.

Get back to a good night’s sleep and set yourself up for successful surgery. Contact the Center for Sleep Disorders at Methodist Hospital for Surgery today at 972-685-7345 and find out how you can participate in a comfortable, insightful sleep test.

diabetes-awareness

Driving Awareness During American Diabetes Month

Driving Awareness During American Diabetes Month

Did you know that diabetes is the nation’s seventh leading cause of death? It outranks AIDs and breast cancer combined. But with growing awareness of its prevalence and increased knowledge of how to prevent and manage the disease, diabetes has met its match with healthy lifestyle choices and advanced treatment options.

We are proudly taking the opportunity to increase awareness about this devastating disease that currently affects more than 29 million Americans.

Here are some things you should know.

Diabetes is not an indication of people failing to take care of themselves.

While lifestyle factors play a part in the onset of type 2 diabetes, genetics is the underlying factor for both types 1 and 2, and it is altogether unknown what factors actually trigger the onset of type 1. This is one of the most compelling reasons to stay in the know about diabetes—it has so many potential catalysts!

Risk factors to consider include:

  • Being Overweight
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Unhealthy Cholesterol Physical Inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Age, Race & Gender
  • Family History

A diabetes diagnosis does not mean you will have to take insulin.

While insulin dependency is a reality for those with type 1 diabetes, in which the body produces no insulin at all, it’s not for type 2. For those suffering with type 2 diabetes, treatment and symptom management may begin with a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes, along with the possibility of regulatory medications. Still, it’s important to know that type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, so while insulin may not be needed initially; it could become part of your regiment later in life.

You can live the good life with diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease, but it doesn’t have to overshadow your brightest moments. Those who are proactive in working with their doctor to understand their diabetes type and severity and who commit to making quality choices can still expect long and healthy lives.

For more information on how we can help, please call our Center for Wound Care & Hyperbarics at 972-685-7330 or visit us online at http://methodisthospitalforsurgery.com/services/

physical-therapy

Easing Pain With the Power of Physical Therapy

As we move throughout our daily lives, occasional aches and pains are an expected hiccup. Sometimes we can stretch our discomfort away or ease the edge with ibuprofen, but what about when pain refuses to be run off? What do you do when it becomes a chronic feature in life?

Methodist Hospital for Surgery urges you to consider one of the safest and most effective routes for pain management. Physical therapy (PT) can improve your mobility and range of motion and alleviate pain associated with injury, surgery and degenerative bone and joint diseases. In turn, it can eliminate the need for costly surgeries and reduce dependency on highly addictive opioids.

So ask yourself—could PT be your solution for chronic pain?

Will my pain respond to physical therapy? How do I know if it’s an ideal treatment for me?

PT has been proven to be effective for numerous types of pain, including back, hip, knee and shoulder pain. Joint pain of almost every kind benefits from this kind of treatment. For traumatic injury, such as muscular or ligament tears, or degenerative diseases, including osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease, PT can not just alleviate pain and improve mobility, it can eliminate the need for surgery.

How long do I have to participate in physical therapy for it to be effective?

The best PT programs are rooted in attentive, one-on-one care in which your therapist routinely re-evaluates your functional mobility. Because everyone who seeks PT has a unique performance goal, it is impossible to say how long your need for PT will last—your program may require one month or three. Instead, you and your therapist should work on developing a list of functional performance goals that will help determine when you can satisfactorily step away from PT.

Do I need a referral to get started with physical therapy?

We advise you to check with your insurance provider first and foremost, since they may require a referral or preauthorization. You should also consider specific state laws regarding the pursuit of PT. In Texas, you can request an initial screening without a referral or prescription, but ongoing treatment will require a medical diagnosis that warrants PT.

Take advantage of physical therapy’s proven power to heal. For more information and office locations, visit us online at http://methodisthospitalforsurgery.com/contact/

backpack-spine

Back to School: Back(pack) Problems

You’ve downloaded this year’s list of school supplies, braved the retail store crowd hunting for the same calculators, No. 2 pencils, and 3-ring binders, and undoubtedly came to terms with that fact that, whether first grade or freshman, your kids are growing up entirely too quickly.

As you send them off to begin another school year, you remember how many germs get passed around, hands stay unwashed and inevitable sick days lie ahead. Yet, there’s one aspect of your child’s health that may be easily overlooked but can have lifelong effects: proper spine health and care.

Remember all those school supplies you bought? Guess where they generally end up? You guessed it, on your child’s back, along with heavy books, lunches and personal items. These can add a significant amount of stress and strain on the spine, especially when factoring in how often they’re weighing on your child’s back.

Take this into consideration: the more weight that is on your child’s back, the more he or she must compensate to keep the back straight. When bent at the hips or lower back, unnatural compression of the spinal column and the vertebrae can occur, which generally results in soreness of the neck or can easily lead to back pain. Generally, to help offset the stress put on the spine, many physicians and physical therapists will recommend only carrying anywhere from 10% – 20% of the child’s bodyweight in their backpack at any point. This allows the back to stay aligned without putting unnecessary strain on it.

Also, wearing backpacks on just one shoulder adds an imbalance in weight to one side of the body, again forcing the spine to compress and compensate. While wearing a pack over one shoulder may be easier or is a preferred method for most kids, it can certainly cause pain if too much weight is being carried.

Backpack Health – How Can You Help?

You obviously won’t be able to monitor your children at all times, but you can certainly equip them with the right backpack to help reduce harmful stress and strain.

Purchasing a lightweight backpack with multiple compartments is ideal. The lightweight material won’t add a significant amount of tertiary weight to your child and the different compartments will allow weight to be distributed more evenly. Also, many backpacks now come with padding for the back and shoulders, providing even more support for your child.

Much like any tool or aid, there is a proper way to use it; the same goes with a backpack. You can tell your kids about the issues and complications that can arise from misuse. Encourage them to:

  • Make frequent locker trips instead of jamming everything in their pack
  • Wear the pack properly to evenly distribute the weight on their bodies
  • Leave unnecessary or untimely items at home or stored safely in their lockers
  • Keep only 10-20% of their body weight in the pack at any time

Help keep this school season healthy and safe. For all your medical care, trust Methodist Hospital for Surgery.

Additional Backpack Health Resources

New York Times Article

methodist-hospital-technology

How Technology Affects Your Body

It’s no secret that we are inundated with technology everyday. The way we communicate with family members and loved ones, how we read our news, pay our bills, receive healthcare and go to work are all streamlined by technological advances.

While information is now readily available at our fingertips and we are more connected than ever, our bodies are prone to suffer from the adverse effects technology can have. Whether sitting too long at our desks, losing proper spinal alignment or not being active enough, it has become increasingly easy to develop poor habits and suffer from greater health risks.

Instead of accepting these conditions as the norm, there are many ways to help maintain your health and wellbeing and keep your body in check.

Ergonomic Accessories

There are numerous ergonomically friendly devices that can help prevent the onset of health issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomic keyboards, mouse pads and arm rests help keep resting posture correct and alleviate pressure on various points of the arm that may cause problems.

Standing Desks

One of this generation’s biggest health concerns is being stagnant or sitting at a desk for extended periods of time. Numerous studies have been conducted that show how detrimental this can be to multiple aspects of your health, so standing desks help counteract these effects. By standing, the body can circulate blood more freely and keep posture aligned. Many companies now offer standing options to help lower healthcare costs.

Lumbar-Supporting Chairs

Okay, so let’s assume you check with your company and can’t get a standing desk installed, another great option is a ergo and lumbar-supporting chair. These provide the support your body needs to maintain natural alignment and reduces “slouching” significantly. This also helps create natural tendencies to sit and move properly. Ultimately, if you’re going to have to sit, at least you’ll have proper alignment while doing so.

Wearable Fitness Trackers

Speaking of sitting too long, one of the biggest advancements in the health field is fitness trackers. Many wearable tech companies offer their own iteration that allow you to track and monitor how active you stay throughout the day. By keeping a close eye on activity level, you can help combat inactivity and get a bit of exercise along the way. So get up and get moving!

Staying Mindful

Alright, so this isn’t technology and not something you’re able to buy online, but it’s easy to do. When texting or browsing on your phone, sitting at a desk or table, or just using any type of technology, think about your neck, spine, arms and legs. If you’re staring down at your phone, your neck is in a vulnerable position, so raise your phone to stay more aligned. Sitting up straight or maintaining good posture allows us to develop good habits when we sit, stand, walk or run. Keep your legs bent or elevated appropriately. When you type, try your best to not rest your wrists on the keyboard or desk. The next time you find yourself slouching or when your back or neck starts feeling sore, correct your positioning. All of these are slight changes that can produce drastic results for your body.


We’re only provided one body in this lifetime, so we must do whatever we can to make sure it’s in the best condition. If you’re already suffering from orthopedic or spine issues, our specialists can help get you back on the fast track to healthy living!

warming-up

Warming Up for Summer Activities

Whether swimming laps at the pool, joining a competitive baseball or softball league, running trails at your favorite park or simply playing a game of HORSE with a good friend, summer is one of the best times of the year to get outside and be active.

Yet, before you get started, it’s crucial to always warm up and stretch properly to help avoid injury. And while there are numerous ways to help get your body primed and limber, these are some of the best methods to use:

Dynamic Stretching

It’s been found that static stretching can actually hinder your body’s performance when exercising, so dynamic movement and stretches are much better for warming up all those muscle groups. Stretches such as lunges, squatting, arm circles, butt kicks and leg kicks move you through a continuous range of motion and help loosen your body up properly.

Foam Rolling

If you have one readily available, utilizing a foam roller before and after your workout keeps your muscles relaxed and capable of moderate to strenuous exercise. Also, post-work out rolling helps your muscles regenerate and grow more efficiently.

Just Jump

Yes, seriously. Jumping rope or in place for 5-10 minutes will get your heart rate and body temperature up, loosening up your arms, legs and core. Obviously, don’t over exert yourself and do however much that your body or fitness level will allow and build from there.

Speaking of jumping, jumping jacks address all major muscle groups and open up your flexibility and range of motion significantly. Try substituting in a few sets of 20 pre-workout to help get that blood flowing.

Yoga

Nothing demonstrates flexibility and stretching quite like yoga. While there are many stages and degrees of difficulty to the art, performing basic functions allows the body to regulate oxygen through the bloodstream and loosen up and stretch those major muscle groups. Obviously, don’t go above and beyond your body’s limits the first few times, but begin incorporating different positions in as you become accustomed and more flexible.

Get to Walking – The easiest way to warm up and cool down after any exercise or sport is walking. You’re able to help regulate your breathing and, depending on the amount of energy you plan to exert, can adjust your speed accordingly.

Clearly, there are multiple ways to help get your body prepared for any physical activity or sport you want to participate in. If you have fallen victim to strains, sprains or other injuries, contact the physical therapists at Methodist Hospital Surgery are get back on the road to recovery today.

spine-sports

More Than A Crick—Common Spinal Injuries In Sports

You’ve long doffed your winter coat and have already spent plenty of afternoons basking in the sun. At Methodist Hospital for Surgery, we certainly hope that your coming days are going to involve summer sports and weekend campouts, but we also want to know that you’re taking care along the way.

Specifically, as people become more active, especially in school or community athletic programs, our orthopedic specialists want to highlight some of the more common spinal injuries that can occur in these scenarios, along with how to prevent and treat them.

Because spinal injury should never be the reason for summer coming to a swift end.

Knowing When Things Are Out of Whack

Spine-related injuries common to sports is a lengthy topic, with a mile-long list of injuries one could sustain. But let’s shorten our focus to specific types of spinal injury and narrow it down to the top three: disc injury, pinched nerves—called stingers—and fractures.

  • Disc Injury: herniated or “slipped” discs can occur as a result of prolonged pressure throughout the spine; an individual disc can tear out of its normal position and begin pressing against the spinal column. This kind of pressure against the spine’s root nerves can cause numbness, pain, and tingling in the limbs. Treatment generally begins conservatively, with anti-inflammatories, ice, and rest, but may progress to bracing, physical therapy, and steroid injections depending on the injury’s severity.
  • Stingers: known clinically as a brachial plexus injury, stingers are common in contact sports and are caused by the head being forcefully pushed down or to the side (usually in a collision). The resulting pinched nerves cause stinging electrical-type pain, usually in one arm, and can lead to overall weakness in the limb if not treated. Much like disc injuries, treatment may include rest, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, or steroid or cortisone injections.
  • Fractures: while it sounds scary, “spinal fracture” is not synonymous with “spinal cord injury” and the severity depends on the location of the fracture and whether surrounding ligaments were also injured or dislocated. Symptoms vary in accordance with the severity of the fracture but can include back or neck pain, numbness and tingling, muscle spasms or weakness, or paralysis. In many cases, spinal fractures heal with conservative treatments of rest and medication, otherwise braces, orthotics, and surgical fusion may be necessary.

Prevent Injury & Play It Safe

With spinal injury, it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re engaging in any kind of contact sport, make sure helmets, padding, and other protective gear are worn and properly fitted. If you or another athlete suspects a spinal injury after a fall or collision—especially if you experience pain, numbness or tingling, or muscle weakness or paralysis—see an orthopedic specialist right away.

Not sure who to see regarding spinal injuries? Learn more about our orthopedic spine specialists visit our website MethodistHospitalforSurgery.com or email us at comments@methodistsurg.com.

hyperbaric-treatment

Under Pressure: Hyperbarics In Wound Healing

Atmospheric pressure and exposure to a key chemical element may not sound like the ideal mix for treating persistent wounds, but it’s actually one of medicine’s most long-standing and highly effective solutions.

The chemical element? Oxygen. And the method itself is known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy or hyperbaric medicine, which has long been used to address not just wounds, including skin grafts and burns, but also decompression sickness (common among divers), carbon monoxide poisoning and even anemia.

It’s a unique specialty not intended for every patient. But if you suffer from open wounds that refuse to heal, whether as a result of diabetes, radiation or other ailment, this could be your ideal road to wellness.

Understanding Hyperbaric Treatment

Hyperbaric treatments combine a stream of 100% oxygen, delivered inside a pressurized atmosphere (air pressure about three times greater than normal), to increase the amount of oxygen in your blood. The additional oxygen in turn triggers the release of growth factors, such as hormones and vitamins and stem cells, to promote and expedite healing from the inside-out.

According to J.R. Williams, II, MD, medical director of the Center for Wound Care & Hyperbarics at Methodist Hospital for Surgery: “Most chronic wounds are suffering from poor blood circulation and, therefore, poor oxygen delivery, which is immediately improved by hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) by forcing more than 100% oxygen into the tissues.”

Are You A Candidate for Hyperbarics?

Generally speaking, anyone dealing with a condition that could benefit from hyperbaric therapy is an ideal candidate. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind.

First, you must be able to withstand the pressure. Literally. Hyperbaric chambers do not utilize a painful degree of pressure, but it is greater than what is normally experienced—not unlike swimming to the bottom of a deep pool. Expect some ear popping and a little chest heaviness.

Second, those with lung or heart disease or with inner ear troubles may not do well in the hyperbaric environment. If these conditions prohibit you from hyperbaric therapy, your physician will certainly explain the why.

What To Expect During Treatment

Hyperbaric treatment sessions can last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours and require only that you lie back, breathe normally and relax—you can even watch TV or listen to music. The chamber itself is a long, see-through tube that, once sealed, fills with pressurized oxygen. Following treatment, you may feel a little lightheaded or hungry, but the feeling passes quickly and treatment does not limit your performance in any way.

“Research proves that HBOT is a very beneficial advanced therapy in treating many types of wounds,” said Dr. Williams. “It is proven to advance wound healing, returning patients to a better quality of life.”

Don’t let stubborn wounds slow you down. Find out if hyperbaric therapy is right for your situation, and then take full advantage of this simple and painless procedure. If you’re curious to know more or have already been cleared to pursue treatment, be sure to contact the hyperbaric specialists at Methodist Hospital for Surgery.

sleep-lab

Sweet Dreams for Complete, Quality Health

If you only remember one thing for the sake of your health, let it be this: sleep well.

Sleep is one of the most critical components in your overall health, affecting your physical, mental and emotional states of being. Unfortunately, in this age of mobile phones, digital clocks and televisions in bedrooms, getting proper rest has become a unique challenge. But don’t accept the idea that sleep deprivation is part of life—it shouldn’t be! There are things you can do to slumber soundly, and Methodist Hospital for Surgery is here to help.

Enter the Center for Sleep Disorders at Methodist Hospital for Surgery. Sleep studies are the modern man’s tool for determining what hinders proper sleep, so physicians (or dieticians or therapists) can prescribe targeted remedies. The Center for Sleep Disorders at Methodist Hospital for Surgery just might be your ticket to improved rest and better health.

What happens inside the sleep lab?

A Sleep study, officially termed polysomnogram, involves lots of measurements. When preparing for a sleep study, sensors are attached to your scalp, legs, chest and neck, and record things like:

  • Brain Waves
  • Eye Movements (this helps determine when you’re in deep sleep)
  • Heart Rate
  • Breathing Pattern & Oxygen Levels (these readings may indicate sleep apnea)
  • Body Position & Movement
  • Leg movements

There are also microphones throughout the sleep lab to help monitor snoring or other sounds you make during sleep. After a sleep study, all of your measurements are evaluated to determine whether you suffer from any number of sleep disorders, which may include:

  • Sleep Apnea
  • Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleepwalking

So I can’t sleep, now what?

Good news—treatment methods for sleep disorders are as innovative as the labs used to diagnose them. In addition to pharmaceuticals created to promote proper sleep cycles, breathing devices like the CPAP are helpful in alleviating sleep apnea and simple dental appliances can help with snoring.

Other times, devices and drugs are not the trick. That’s when your physician may prescribe certain lifestyle changes, such as tobacco cessation, exercise programs, stress management or dietary adjustments.

It’s time to get some sleep.

Don’t let sleep loss lower your quality of life. If you wrestle with daytime fatigue, unusual shifts in mood or anxiety levels, slow reaction times and suspect that sleep may be the underlying problem, contact the bedtime pros at Methodist Hospital for Surgery and take the first step to a good night’s sleep.