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Doc Talk

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As a disabled widower with a child at home, Robert Duncan says making ends meet has been very difficult. But in March, he learned about a free healthcare clinic that had just opened at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, near his Newport home. Today, both his health and his attitude are faring much better.


“Before, what I had been doing is just really struggling,” he recalled, as a St. Elizabeth nurse checked his blood pressure one May evening.


“But, I’ve been coming here for three months and I feel better now. The nurses here have been excellent. They go a little bit past just doing their jobs here. They really show me consideration and humanity and compassion. A lot of people wouldn’t do that.”


Perhaps “a lot of people wouldn’t do that,” but the two St. Elizabeth Healthcare nurses who started this clinic in March said that after they saw the need for the service firsthand, they almost had to do what it took to make it a reality.


St. Elizabeth Ft. Thomas Transitional Care Unit Nurse, Tracy Hagood, and Unit Nurse Manager, Lisa Bowman, decided to create the free clinic after they volunteered at the Court Place church’s weekly food pantry last year and noticed that many of those showing up for food, also desperately needed medical care.


“People at the pantry — once they found out we were nurses — started asking us all kinds of questions about their medical care and their medications because most of these people don’t have physicians and they needed attention,” said Ms. Bowman. “So, you know, we just looked at each other and were like, ‘Now we know why we’re doing this.'”


“It was just like the light switch went on,” Ms. Hagood added. “It was obvious what we needed to do. You know, sometimes you start seeing things and then you can’t turn a blind eye to it anymore. It’s just there.”


A weekly gift of health to the needy
Now, less than a year after the two nurses had that initial revelation, the free clinic is “there” every Wednesday evening in a small basement room the church graciously devoted to the effort. By late spring, 23 St. Elizabeth Healthcare nurses had also joined the effort, volunteering to serve a few hours each month.


Each week, the nurses descend on the room, stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs in hand, to treat whatever ailments those in need bring their way. By late spring, about a dozen people were showing up each Wednesday night to be seen for everything from blood sugar monitoring, to more urgent concerns that mandated trips to the nearest Emergency Department.


The free clinic is operated in conjunction with the church’s weekly food pantry, which serves hundreds of local needy families each month. As the two nurses predicted, the food pantry has supplied a steady stream of clients to the clinic, many of whom have neglected their health for a while and are very sick. One goal of the clinic is to turn that trend around. “Most of the people who come in are from Newport and Bellevue … and there’s a certain population who are living under the (Taylor-Southgate) bridge,” Ms. Hagood said.


“We just saw one man from down there who had a wound on his foot. … We also see a lot of patients here who have been on our unit. Some of them are congestive heart failure patients, and we’re hoping if they start coming here and doing more of the things they need to stay healthy, it will decrease the chances they’ll be readmitted or have to go to the Emergency Department. If they come here, we can really help people stay on track.”


That’s exactly what Newport resident, Sandra Graham was trying to do when she visited the clinic in May. She said she hopes her regular trips there for blood pressure monitoring will help fend off another major health crisis.


“I just want to make sure the medicine is still working,” said Ms. Graham. “By coming here, I keep updated on everything so I know I’m alright, because I don’t want to have another stroke. … I’m also telling my friends about this because a lot of them don’t go to the doctor because they don’t have doctors.”


Clinic nurses work hard to connect patients with sources of regular medical care, including a primary care physician who can keep track of their health long-term. In fact, Ms. Bowman and Ms. Hagood hope to recruit a physician, a nurse practitioner, a dentist and a few other health professionals to join their efforts at the clinic in the months ahead.


Few doubt that these two determined nurses will fail to attract such talent to their efforts. After all, this time last year there was no clinic and people like Robert Duncan were going without the medical care they needed because they simply couldn’t afford it. But, thanks to the extraordinary vision and energy of two St. Elizabeth nurses, Duncan’s not only healthier today, but so is the community he lives in.


“I don’t know if I can put it into words why I do this,” said Ms. Bowman. “It’s just that I think, ‘Why wouldn’t you?’ After all, I’m fortunate to have what I have in my life, so why wouldn’t I help somebody else out?”


“This,” says Ms. Hagood, “is what we’re called to do as human beings and as nurses – to care for people – and not just when we’re clocked in. This is really the true fabric of our profession.”

This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by St. Elizabeth Healthcare

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When it comes to a long and vital life, your actions are at least as important as your genes. Do you smoke? Eat healthfully? Stay active and maintain your recommended weight?


HEALS is an acronym for the following four major factors that influence our health and happiness:


Heredity: This represents the genetics our parents passed to us. While we can’t change our genes, we can affect the way they impact our lives.


Environment: Once we’re adults, we can make our own choices about our footprint on the earth. Will we allow cigarettes in our homes, regularly change our air filters, and eat, live and vote in ways that protect the planet?


Age: Many health factors change as we age, including the strength of our bones, the vitality of our organs, and the cumulative effects of choices we’ve made, like eating poorly and excessive drinking.


Lifestyle: Lifestyle choices— from the diets we choose to the homes we live in — affect all the other factors that determine our longevity, health and happiness.


Sex/Gender: Men and women face specific risks and benefits purely due to their gender, including childbirth and prostate disease.


Twelve tips for better health this year Now that you have an easy way to remember the factors influencing your health, make a New Year’s resolution to take steps to positively influence those factors, including:


1 Don’t smoke.
2 Build physical and mental activities into each day.
3 Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, avoid fat and sugar, control portions and drink water.
4 Take a daily multivitamin, including calcium and vitamin D.
5 Maintain a healthful weight and body shape.
6 Challenge your mind.
7 Build a strong social network.
8 Learn to manage stress.
9 Floss, brush and see your dentist regularly.
10 Know your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
11 Obtain recommended screenings, like mammograms and colonoscopies.
12 Consult a healthcare professional before combining vitamins and herbs with medications.


If you need help to implement healthful changes this year, please call the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Holistic Center at (859) 301-5959 for everything from acupuncture for smoking cessation to yoga and massage.


Written by: By Toni Schklar, St. Elizabeth Holistic Health Center Manager.

This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.


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Mayo Clinic. The name is synonymous with the very pinnacle of quality healthcare. Indeed, U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks the prestigious organization as one of the top two hospitals in the country. And now that knowledge and expertise is available to you through St. Elizabeth Healthcare.


On Nov. 14, St. Elizabeth Healthcare became part of the esteemed Mayo Clinic Care Network. The selection for this prized healthcare position did not come easily. Mayo is the best, and as such, it only affiliates with the best. But, in Greater Cincinnati — and the commonwealth of Kentucky — Mayo has clearly concluded that St. Elizabeth is the best and exemplifies the kind of quality for which Mayo Clinic has been come to be known.


Now, the topnotch physicians from St. Elizabeth have direct access to the topnotch people from Mayo Clinic to offer patients what is unequivocally some of the best healthcare in the country. The physicians of St. Elizabeth are now working closely with national experts to make the very best decisions about patient care every single day.


Q: What is Mayo Clinic? And what is the Mayo Clinic Care Network?
A: Mayo Clinic is a non-profit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy of “the needs of the patient come first.”


Mayo Clinic operates its own facilities in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and includes more than 3,800 physicians and scientists who treat approximately 1,113,000 patients annually. Mayo Clinic created the Mayo Clinic Care Network to extend its style of collaborative care. Within the Mayo Clinic Care Network, like-minded organizations across the country share a common commitment to improve healthcare delivery in their own communities through high-quality, data-driven, evidence-based medical care, as exemplified by the Mayo Clinic.


Q: Why is St. Elizabeth collaborating with Mayo Clinic to improve care in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky?
A: The experts at St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Mayo Clinic know that patients prefer to obtain their healthcare close to home. That’s why, in keeping with the network’s primary goal, St. Elizabeth will continue to deliver topnotch care locally, but now augment that care, and benefit patients, by working closely with the experts of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, as well.


Q: How is St. Elizabeth actually bringing Mayo Clinic’s expertise to patients?
A: As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, the first in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, St. Elizabeth is developing close relationships with Mayo Clinic experts through direct collaboration and information-sharing tools, at no cost to the patient, including:

  • eConsults that allow St. Elizabeth physicians to connect electronically with Mayo Clinic specialists to get focused, timely input on specific patient care questions. .Through eConsults, Mayo’s leading experts in every medical specialty are available to evaluate a patient’s records, allowing you and your physician to make the best treatment decisions without traveling to a Mayo Clinic location.
  • AskMayoExpert, which is an online point-of-care tool designed and used by Mayo Clinic physicians. Through AskMayoExpert, St. Elizabeth doctors can instantly connect with disease management, care guidelines and treatment recommendations on hundreds of medical conditions at any hour of the day or night.


Q: How do patients access Mayo expertise from St. Elizabeth?
A: Through the Mayo Clinic Care Network tools mentioned, and ongoing health care consulting to improve operational and patient care excellence, St. Elizabeth is building a closer working relationship with Mayo that will benefit patients and community health. For specific questions on care, you are invited to talk with your St. Elizabeth physician.


For more information, go online to for detailed information about the Mayo Care Clinic Network and its many benefits to you.


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Spice and bath salts―those are the innocent-sounding names of two very addictive and dangerous substances that drug treatment professionals at St. Elizabeth say are becoming big problems among local youth. Below is information on the drugs, signs of their abuse and where to turn for help if you believe someone you love has a drug or alcohol problem.


“Spice, K2, fake marijuana, skunk or moon rocks”
Those are just a few of the street names for a frightening drug that treatment professionals are seeing increasingly used by young patients coming into St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for Drug and Alcohol Treatment. Regardless of the name, the drug is essentially the same: dried, shredded plant material, which has been treated with what is presumed to be a number of mind-altering chemical additives.


Though illegal, the substance is reportedly very easy to find and purchase locally. Which is evidenced by the number of users who have ended up in local emergency rooms suffering from violent seizures, debilitating headaches, light sensitivity and other troubling symptoms. But, even more disconcerting is the fact that this drug can leave lasting, sometimes debilitating effects on its users.


At St Elizabeth, we’ve seen firsthand how this substance can wreak havoc on the lives of those who use it. In one example, a patient came to us for treatment after a four-month-long hospitalization at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. That hospitalization was necessitated by a prolonged episode of smoking spice. This young patient had reportedly been left in a complete stupor by the drug, at one point, and had to relearn how to perform all the standard activities of daily living.


In fact, recent studies indicate that spice abuse can lead to sudden, severe mental illness, which can even become long-term in certain vulnerable people. This fact is very troubling, especially given that spice seems to be so appealing among teens and young adults.


Earlier this year, the St. Elizabeth IOP staff polled our teen-age patients to get a read on the drug’s popularity and prevalence locally. More than 75 percent of our young patients admitted using spice―often in an attempt to get “cheat” drug screens required by their parents or court officials.


Almost all the users reported intense “highs” from smoking spice, as well as severe withdrawal, including headaches, paranoia, increased fighting and black-outs. In fact, many patients said withdrawal―including extreme paranoia, nausea and disconnection to reality―was so difficult that they wanted and needed to continue using spice in order to manage its painful effects.


Though the substance appears to be more popular among youngsters, adults in St. Elizabeth’s Adult Dual Diagnosis treatment program also reported using spice. But, these older users seemed to know more about how harmful the drug can be and, perhaps as a result, used it for shorter periods than our younger patients.


Older patients in our program were, in fact, more likely to use the drug once and stop. Regretfully, many of the younger patients said they had simply pressed through the considerable discomforts of withdrawal and continued use.


Bath Salts: A “Legal Poison”
The synthetic stimulant, known on the street as “bath salts,” is relatively new to the recreational drug trade. So new, in fact, that the legislation needed to ban it is still being created. As a result, this dangerous, mind-altering chemical is now being sold legally on the internet and at some drug paraphernalia stores.


Bath salts are very easy to find and buy, especially online. But, they’re not cheap. As a result, the drugs are often mixed with other substances and sold at a lower price, making them more attainable and affordable. The drug’s easy accessibility is specifically disconcerting when you consider that knowledge is limited about its precise chemical composition, how it’s produced, and its short- and long-term effects. Some of the drugs sold on the street have later been found to contain potentially lethal rat poison. Therefore, it’s critically important that everyone, particularly parents, learn about the drug and its dangers.


We do know, for instance, that bath salts often contain a chemical cocktail that simulates amphetamines, like methedrone and mephedrone. These drugs act as stimulants on the brain, making them highly addictive and prone to abuse. In fact, among drug abusers, these products are often called or sold as “cocaine substitutes.”


Sadly, the prevalence of these drugs appears to be growing, from use by mostly suburban young adults, to newfound popularity in both urban and rural communities. Likewise, its use has increased among preteens and older adults. Despite the warning label reading: Not intended for human consumption, bath salt packaging is often appealing to youngsters, with names like Ivory Wave, Red Dove, Zoom, White Lightening or Ocean Snow. Some users report feeling euphoric, while others say they feel more alert, confident and talkative.


Along with these “highs,” however, most users often report heart palpitations, blurred vision, hot flashes and muscle tension. Doctors and clinicians say use of bath salts can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure and heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia and delusions. There may also be nausea or vomiting, resulting in decreased appetite. And then there’s the possibility of addiction. Though little evidence suggests bath salts are physically addictive, users say it’s tough to stop once they’ve started. Indeed, long-term use may result in psychological dependence.


The good news is that the overall prevalence of abuse of this drug is still relatively low. But, it’s important that the public be informed about the drugs’ presence and its true effects to reverse the current rise. So, while it’s true that bath salts have been known to provoke extremely violent behavior in some people―like that relayed in some recent national media coverage―these are extreme cases, and should not be used as reference points.


We hope the information in this article will help you better identify whether someone you know or love has a problem with spice, bath salts or any other drug. In those cases, we hope you will seek help as quickly as possible. In case of emergency, call 911 or go immediately to your nearest hospital emergency department. In less urgent circumstances, where you think you or someone you love needs help, please call the professionals at the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Intensive Outpatient Program for Drug and Alcohol Treatment at the number listed above for more information and support.


Call (859) 212-5384 to contact St. Elizabeth Intensive Outpatient Program for Drug and Alcohol Treatment.


Written by: Charlene Burlew & Tom Garamy, St. Elizabeth Healthcare―Chemical Dependency Therapists.
Editor’s Note: This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

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The grass is turning a crispy brown, the kids are growing tired of the pool and the stores are brimming with notebooks and calculators.


School is officially just around the corner. Are your youngsters ready? Vaccinations, physicals, eye exams and even dental check-ups are required for many youngsters, depending on their age and grade level. That’s why we’ve compiled this clip-out list to help you know exactly what your child needs by which grade.


But, make your appointments as soon as possible because physicians’ days fill up very quickly at this time of year. And if you still need to find a doctor, don’t hesitate to contact St. Elizabeth Physicians for referral to a great physician close to your home.


Vaccinations:Who Needs What and When
The following vaccines are required for a child’s entrance into child care centers, certified family child care homes, preschool, or Head Start:
• Diphtheria (DTaP)
• Tetanus (DTaP)
• Pertussis (DTaP)
• Haemophilus influenza b (Hib)
• Hepatitis B
• Measles (MMR)
• Mumps (MMR)
• Rubella (MMR)
• Polio (IPV)
• Streptococcal pneumoniae
• Chickenpox (Varicella)


To enter kindergarten, children must have at least:
• Three to four doses of Hib (depends on brand)
• Two doses of varicella (or have had the illness)
• Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella
• Three doses of Hepatitis B
• Four doses of polio
• Five doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis


To enter sixth grade, children must have:
• Booster of tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis
• Meningococcal vaccine.
• Varicella Booster (if child hasn’t already had two doses or the illness itself)


Compiled by Jeffrey Janning, M.D. and Lesley Weghorn, M.D. with the St. Elizabeth Physicians Pediatrics office, Crestview Hills (859) 341-3383. To find a St. Elizabeth Physicians doctor near you, call: (859) 859-301-DOCS (3627).


Editor’s Note: This is a special advertising supplement, paid for St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

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St. Elizabeth Sports Medicine Director Dr. Michael Miller doesn’t have to look at the calendar to know when it’s mid-July. He can tell practices have started by the sudden surge in young athletes coming into the sports medicine clinic with sports-related injuries.


“Our volume of patients goes way up starting around July 15,” Dr. Miller says. “The increased number of injuries is primarily a function of the increased number of young athletes that begin their fall sports seasons.


“By far and away the most common type of injury is the overuse injury involving bones, muscles and joints. Athletes sometimes do too much, too quickly, too soon and their bodies gradually break down. Examples of overuse injuries include: shin splints, tendonitis, stress fractures and knee cap pain. Proper training and conditioning over the summer may help reduce injuries in the fall.”


Many of those sudden onset injuries, like broken bones and sprains, also end up at Commonwealth Orthopaedics. Commonwealth Sports Medicine specialist, Dr. Matthew DesJardins, said they also see a surge in patient athletes at this time of year. Still, he says, a big concern for young athletes at this time of year doesn’t involve orthopaedics at all.


“We really get concerned at this time about the effects of the heat and dehydration, which can have serious medical complications,” says Dr. DesJardins.


“That is particularly the case for football players, who are wearing equipment which predisposes them to heat illness and dehydration. So we really need to remind everyone about that because most of the interventions for heat-related injuries must happen at the team and coaching level where they need to manage their practices in the heat.”


Concussion: Know the Symptoms


Another serious situation that calls for immediate cessation of play and attention by a physician is a concussion, an injury that statistics indicate happens to athletes as often as 3.8 million times a year. Both doctors stress that it’s essential that athletes, coaches and parents all know and respond early to the signs and symptoms of concussion.


“You do not have to have loss of consciousness to have a concussion,” says Dr. Miller.


“In fact, the majority of sports-related concussions don’t involve loss of consciousness. The symptoms include being dazed and confused initially, as well as blurry vision, dizziness, headache and maybe even a little nausea. They really just may feel they’re in a fog. And the new guidelines now say that if an athlete shows any signs or symptoms of a concussion, they must be taken immediately out of the game or practice and not allowed to return until they’re cleared by a medical doctor.”


A complete evaluation by a medical doctor is also something every student athlete should do before practices start in the first place. In fact, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association requires a yearly pre-participation examination.


The bottom line for safeguarding the health of student athletes then is really that a little awareness and preparation now will go a long way toward ensuring a youngster stays healthy and on the field long after the heat of summer is gone.


“When their athletes are letting them know they have pain and soreness, they need to listen,” said Dr. Miller. “The earlier you can pick up an overuse injury the less likely it will go on and become a chronic problem where they end up missing more in the long run.”


Written by Shelly Whitehead


Editor’s Note: This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by St. Elizabeth Healthcare

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St. Elizabeth Physicians General Surgeon, Dr. Magued Khouzam, is working to rally monetary and medical supply support for two medical missions to Ethiopia and Egypt this year. Dr. Khouzam is working with other volunteering medical professionals from around the world as part of the Coptic Medical Mission trips.


The Coptic Medical Mission is a global endeavor to provide healthcare to the needy, and help spread God’s word, sponsored by the Coptic Medical Association of North America. The missions are an extension of the Coptic Church, the largest Christian church in Egypt and the Middle East.


In its first mission, 20 physicians from the U.S. and Canada traveled to Egypt for a week. In that brief time, the team performed 90 surgeries, including cardiac, obstetrical/gynecological, eye, and ear, nose and throat procedures. The volunteer medical team also participated in clinics, lectured and taught staff physicians.


In November 2011, Dr. Khouzam was again among the team that traveled on a second mission trip to Ethiopia, where poverty is rampant and there is currently only about one or two physicians per 100,000 people. Healthcare in Ethiopia is ranked among the worst in the world, with high maternal and fetal mortality.


The team that traveled there in November included 23 physicians and two OR nurses, who completed 80 surgeries during their stay. Dr. Khouzam said he hopes the next two trips this year will be even more successful, but much depends on the generosity of others.


“In 2012, we are planning two missions – one to Ethiopia (May 12-19), and another to Egypt (November 2012),” he said. “We are hoping to raise enough funds to be able to sponsor operating room nurses/technicians from St. Elizabeth Healthcare to join the mission and transfer their expertise to local OR nurses and technicians (working at the mission destinations).


“We wish to have extra money to purchase some medical supplies. We also accept donations in the form of medications, medical supplies, children’s clothing, toys and school supplies.”


Monetary donations will be tax exempt upon request and checks should be made payable to the Coptic Medical Association of North America.


Donations of new or gently used clothes, toys or school supplies can be placed in the designated donation box in the operating room holding areas at St. Elizabeth Edgewood, Florence and Fort Thomas.


Editor’s Note: This is a special advertising supplement, written by Shelly Whitehead and paid for by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

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You leave your doctor’s office, wondering what happened. You had a ton of things to ask her, but somehow you only remembered a few of your less pressing concerns during the visit. Worse still, you forgot to tell her about that new medicine you’re taking.

That frustrating scenario is one that far too many of us experience. St. Elizabeth Physicians Family Practitioner Dr. Esther Saalfeld knows. She sees it all the time. From patients who forget their medication lists to those who can only vaguely describe their symptoms, communication problems in the doctor’s office can really get in the way of an accurate and timely diagnosis. That is particularly true these days, when primary care physicians, like Dr. Saalfeld, are typically seeing about 34 patients in a rushed eight-hour day.
The good news is that there are some simple things you can do to vastly improve communication with your doctor and, as a result, the care you receive. At the top of the list? Preparation.
Elizabeth-InStory.gif Dr. Saalfeld says if all patients would take a few moments to think about their medical issues ahead of their visit, the results would be dramatically improved.
"I recommend that patients actually make a list of the issues they’re having before they come in," says the veteran Taylor Mill doctor.
"Keep it simple and brief, and pick out two or three of the most important things to discuss at that visit. I’ve found if people do this they’re able to be more succinct, they don’t forget anything and the problems are a lot easier to address.

"The other thing they must do is to bring a medication list or the medications themselves. That is huge."

Six Questions to Ask Before Your Visit
The list is a great beginning, but it’s not all you need to think about before your visit. Saalfeld said you should also try to quantify and qualify your symptoms. But, skip the online research and self-diagnosis. Saalfeld said that usually doesn’t help.
Instead, spend the time before your office visit thinking about, and even jotting down answers to the following questions:
•    How, specifically, does the problem I’m having feel?
•    Where, on my body, is it centered?
•    When did it start?
•    What makes it better or worse?
•    How intense is the pain, on a 1-10 scale?
•    What medications am I taking and what are the dosages?

Saalfeld emphasized that the more specific you can be about your symptoms, the better. But, it’s likely you’ll only have time to discuss two or three issues during a typical office visit. Schedule another appointment if you have additional concerns. Finally, take writing materials to your appointment so you can jot down your doctor’s instructions.

What to Do if You Have Questions After Your Visit
Questions remain sometimes, even for those who’ve prepared well for their visits. That’s one reason St. Elizabeth Physicians doctors increasingly recommend that their patients enroll in the new electronic medical record system called MyChart. The online personal health information tool allows patients to send things like follow-up questions and refill requests directly to their doctors at any time, via computer. It also keeps record of all St. Elizabeth test results and physician visits.

If, however, you don’t use this system and must follow-up with your doctor about non-emergency issues by phone, physicians recommend that you:
•    Call early in the day
•    Leave a one-sentence description
•    Provide symptoms and dates
•    Have medication and pharmacy information handy

Physicians are as busy as the rest of us. But, like Dr. Saalfeld, their joy comes from quick and accurate diagnoses that get their patients back on the road to health quickly. By following a few communication pointers, you can help your doctor do just that, well into the future.

"Really, the biggest problem physicians have is when patients are vague about the problems they’re having," Dr. Saalfeld said. "The more information you can give us, the better and more quickly everything goes, and the more we can really get an idea what’s going on and get you feeling better."

AUTHORED BY: Shelly Whitehead with contributions from Dr. Esther Saalfeld

Editor’s Note: This is a special advertising section provided by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

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Partners. That’s how Amy Gastright has always viewed the midwives at St. Elizabeth Physicians Women’s Health.


Like many women, Mrs. Gastright first began seeing them for gynecological care when she was still a teenager. The 33-year-old Taylor Mill woman says she started forming strong bonds with them at her very first visit with veteran midwife, Shauna Zerhusen.


"I was just 18 or 19, and I remember she took me into her office first and she really talked to me like I was an adult," Mrs. Gastright recalls.


"Since that point, I’ve never felt uncomfortable. You never feel rushed … because they really take time with you. It’s just kind of special."


That relaxed partnership is what the physicians and midwives at the practice – with offices in Florence and Cold Spring – say many of their patients are seeking when they choose midwives for gynecologic and obstetric care. It’s a partnership that’s always been a perfect fit for Mrs. Gastright, who naturally went to see one of the midwives when she and her husband, Doug, wanted to have a child.


Unfortunately the Gastrights faced complications that forced them to spend years seeing fertility specialists for treatments, which all ultimately proved unsuccessful.


"I’ll Never Forget That Day…"
At wit’s end, and frustrated with all the complex medical treatments, the couple decided to try a more holistic approach to their problem. That’s when Amy Gastright went back to Shauna Zerhusen and received a referral to an acupuncturist. Within two months, the Gastrights were expecting their first child.


"I’ll never forget that day when I found out I was pregnant – I was absolutely hysterical I was so happy," Amy recalls.


Fortunately, there were no complications with Amy’s pregnancy, so she could receive all her care from the midwives at St. Elizabeth Physicians Women’s Health. Complicated pregnancies are always referred to the care of the physicians at the practice, while the midwives there specialize in normal pregnancies.


"All our midwives are advanced practice registered nurses, with master’s degrees in nursing. We’re all also nationally certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives … and we all can prescribe drugs, as well," Ms. Zerhusen said.


Partners with Physicians, Too
All five midwives work in partnership with the three obstetricians and one gynecologist at St. Elizabeth Physicians Women’s Health to ensure every woman gets the care she needs, even if problems develop. In fact, Dr. Robert Flick, Assistant Medical Director at the St. Elizabeth Obstetrics and Gynecology Outpatient Center in Florence, said at least one physician is at the hospital when every patient gives birth.


"We’re still in-house 24 hours a day … so if a woman should suddenly need a C-section, for instance, we move in," Dr. Flick said.


"Otherwise, the midwife is right there laboring with them, hour after hour, tapping into their expertise to try to lessen their discomfort."


The birth of Amy and Doug Gastright’s first son, Brycen, two years ago was a blessedly normal one, so they were able to take complete advantage of their midwife’s full attention. In fact, the birth was such a good experience that this May the Gastrights delivered a second boy the same way. It’s the kind of repeat business that this group of midwives just can’t get enough of.


For more information, contact St. Elizabeth Physicians Women’s Health:
Florence: (859) 212-5125
Cold Spring: (859) 912-6500


Editor’s Note: This is a special advertising section provided by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

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Women’s healthcare took a giant leap forward when St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas opened its new multi-million-dollar Women’s Wellness Center last week.


At approximately 8,000 square feet, it is one of the largest such centers in Northern Kentucky. But it’s much more than size that makes this state-of-the-art facility unique. It’s also the posh surroundings, seamless delivery of care, and up-to-the-second technology that you’ve come to expect from all things St. Elizabeth.


“This center for women’s wellness is both technologically advanced and beautiful to behold,” said St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas Chief Operating Officer Thomas Saalfeld.


“It’s the perfect setting for our skilled medical professionals to deliver a large spectrum of wellness services to women from all over the area.” Full Spectrum of Services in One Convenient Location


The center offers women a broad array of services in a soothing, spa-like setting on the hospital’s second floor. St. Elizabeth System Director for Women and Children Laurie Conkright said that when administrators asked Northern Kentucky women what type of center they wanted at their Fort Thomas hospital, the overwhelming majority of women pointed to centers already open at St. Elizabeth Covington and Edgewood as prime examples.


“Women told us they really liked the kind of one-stop shopping experience offered at those Women’s Wellness Centers,” Conkright said.


“So we really wanted to provide that same kind of feeling and experience for the people of Fort Thomas with a very comfortable environment offering state-of-the-art medicine with all the latest diagnostic equipment.”


The center’s dedicated group of physicians, cancer surgeons, nurses and technicians are all skilled in the most advanced medicine and the use of the latest diagnostic technology to obtain the clearest picture of each woman’s health. The center features a pair of digital mammography machines, a stereotactic room, ultrasound technology, bone density scanners and a women’s boutique, as well as educational, exam and consultation rooms.


“Aside from mammography and bone density testing services, we offer breast biopsy, ultrasound, genetic counseling and the services of our nurse navigators, all in one easy-to-reach space at St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas,” said Women’s Wellness Nurse Manager Toni Carle.


“Before, all these services were spread out across the facility. Now, by bringing them all together in this beautiful space, it really helps streamline everything from diagnosis to treatment.”

A Calming, Comfortable Environment


When planning the center, St. Elizabeth leaders remained ever-mindful of the fact that medical tests and procedures can often be unsettling. That’s why so much time and thought was invested to create a calming environment at the new Fort Thomas center.


By working with a team of veteran healthcare architects and interior designers, St. Elizabeth has succeeded in creating a welcoming and peaceful place for the area’s premier women’s healthcare services.


“The colors used in the center are very feminine, but still very bold, including large-patterned carpeting and rich, darker-colored accent walls that give you a different feel and perception of things,” said St. Elizabeth Assistant Facilities Management Director Patrick Wilgenbusch.


We used a lot of different materials, too, like art glass and ceramic tile with lush colors, like browns and golds and rich reds. I think when it’s all said and done, it comes together very nicely to portray a new concept at St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas that I think women will really like.”


Editor’s Note: This is a special advertising section provided by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.