Health

Patients feel loss of Dr. Lavey at cancer care center

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When Barbara Forbes got the news Dr. Robert Lavey was leaving the Wood County Hospital cancer center, she was certain he had taken a job at a bigger hospital. “He’s so gifted,” said Forbes, who was diagnosed with stage 4 Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in April 2017. “His expertise, his intelligence, his knowledge, his compassion, his communication are above and beyond.” Then Forbes was informed that Lavey had been terminated at the cancer center. “I’m being brutally frank – I was absolutely devastated when I heard he was leaving,” she said. “We’ve lost a gift and someone else is getting a gift.” Lavey, who had been medical director of the cancer center since its opening in 2014, said he was terminated in July at the Maurer Family Cancer Care Center after the number of patients being treated at the center dropped. He had been hired in November of 2013 to help design the center, select the staff, choose the equipment, and set the policies and procedures. His was the smiling face associated with the cancer center. “I feel a real pride in what we’ve done for the community and the services we provide for the patients and their families,” Lavey said during one of his final days at Wood County Hospital. “I am very much invested emotionally in the services.” Lavey said he was told the decision to end his employment was “just business.” “I was simply given notice I was being terminated.” Wood County Hospital President Stan Korducki declined to answer questions about Lavey’s departure. “I can’t comment on any personnel matters,” he said. Korducki stressed that the Maurer Family Cancer Care Center continues to provide quality patient care. “I can’t make any comment about Dr. Lavey,” he said. “We continue to have excellent physician services at the Maurer Cancer Center. Nothing has changed in terms of that.” Lavey said he was in the middle of a contract set to expire on March 30, 2019. The hospital has replaced him with Dr. Dhaval Parikh, who is board certified in radiation oncology and has practiced for more than 20 years. According to the hospital, Parikh provides care for patients “with all types of cancers through highly conformal radiation therapies, which matches the radiation beams to the shape of the tumor for precise treatment. He is well-versed in a…

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New dental site won’t turn away uninsured patients

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   By the end of this year, people without dental insurance will have a place to turn for help in Wood County. “To be able to finally offer services is huge for us,” Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey said as he prepared for the groundbreaking ceremony for the new dental services expansion to Wood County Health Department’s Community Health Center. The dental clinic will have five exam chairs, offering services such as X-rays, minor surgeries and preventative care. Community health assessments have repeatedly shown unmet dental needs as a top health problem for local residents. The health department was able to secure nearly $900,000 from the federal government to cover the construction costs for the facility that extends off the east end of the health department at 1840 E. Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. More than a decade ago, local officials who cared about public health and about children met at the county health department to discuss the lack of dental care for local children. At that point there was one dentist in the county who freely accepted Medicaid patients – Dr. Jack Whittaker. The problem wasn’t an easy fix with a clear culprit. Dentists are reimbursed at a lower rate by Medicaid than through private insurance. And the Medicaid patients often have significant dental needs because they have delayed treatment due to the expense. They often wait till the pain is unbearable, and the cost is escalated. Since then, the county offered a Band-Aid solution that has been a lifesaver to some residents. Once a month, the Smile Express parked its RV-size mobile dental unit outside the Wood County Health District to treat patients who otherwise would go without care. Though it made a difference in many lives, it was just scratching the surface of the unmet dental needs in the county. Every time the health district conducted an assessment of the county, the lack of dental services for low income residents ranked high on the list of needs. Wood County was not alone. In 2015, dental care was the top unmet health care need for nearly 157,400 children of all family incomes across the state, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Almost 486,000 children in the state lacked dental insurance, and nearly 340,000 had never been to a dentist. In Wood County that same…


After split with UT, BGSU aims to expand its nursing program

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Like a cell that splits in order to reproduce, the nursing collaboration between Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo is coming apart. The goal is to graduate more nurses, said Interim Dean Sue Houston. The institutions announced this week the end of the collaboration which dates back to about 1972, Houston said. Originally BGSU’s partner was the Medical College of Ohio, before its merger with UT. It was UT, she said, that initiated the dissolution of the collaboration. “The University of Toledo approached us about their desire to be independent and pursue the nursing programs on their own,” Houston said. Once BGSU officials studied the options they realized it offered opportunities for BGSU as well. The separation has been “very agreeable” and “collaborative,” she said. There will be no change for either students already in the program or the class that enters in fall. Students who enter in fall, 2019 will be in the new program. Houston said the university now enrolls 100-120 students in a class. About 50 move into the clinical rotation. The culling of students after the second year is rigorous. All the pre-nursing students are ranked based on their performance in the first two years of pre-requisite courses and only the top students are accepted into the clinical rotation. Some are able to continue in a small collaboration with Mercy College. For some students “nursing may not be the major for them,” Houston said. “They don’t quite understand the science they need.” But “there are a many great students who might not quite have that GPA and might be great nurses, and it’s frustrating right now that we’re not able to meet the needs of those students. … It’s a very, very competitive process to get into the clinical rotation.” In some semesters the standard is higher than to get into medical school. By moving more pre-nursing students along to the clinical stage without lowering standards, “there’s great potential for this thing to grow larger.” (Two years ago, then Vice President for Academic Affairs John Fischer expressed concern about the impact of students taking College Credit Plus courses and not realizing how getting a low grade while still in high school could foreclose future options. Nursing was his prime example.) Graduating more nurses would address the growing demand for nurses. In making…


BGSU, UT to go separate ways with nursing programs

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS In order to meet the demand for more nurses in the region and across the country, The University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University will pursue independent nursing programs to educate additional health care providers. UT and BGSU currently partner in a joint nursing consortium. Moving forward with independent programs will provide opportunities for both universities to focus on separate strategies to educate and grow the supply of nurses, which is critical to meeting the future healthcare needs of the region. All current BGSU nursing students and new students beginning their studies in Fall 2018 will continue with the consortium program through graduation and will not be impacted by the change. Under the existing agreement, about 50 BGSU pre-nursing students annually go on to complete their required nursing coursework and clinicals through the UT College of Nursing after two years of pre-nursing studies at BGSU. While the students take their classes at UT during their junior and senior years, they remain BGSU students and are awarded their bachelor’s degree by BGSU. “Health care is a rapidly changing industry and universities need to continue to adapt to the changing environment in order to provide the best education for future health care providers,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “The nursing profession is more critical than ever and this new organizational structure will allow both UT and BGSU to grow our programs to better meet the need for more high-quality nurses in Ohio and beyond.” The demand for nurses in Ohio and across the nation far exceeds the current supply. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nursing is among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2024. The nursing workforce is expected to grow by 16 percent to 3.2 million by 2024 with more than one million job openings for nurses due to growth and replacements. “We agree that the time is right to pursue new partnerships,” BGSU President Rodney Rogers said. “We recognize that there is growing demand for nurses throughout northwest Ohio. This provides both universities the opportunity to grow their respective programs.” UT and BGSU continue to be strong partners. Last year the universities announced a foreign language course exchange program. The universities also are partners in the Building Ohio’s Sustainable Energy Future (BOSEF) initiative, a joint program that encourages students to…


Flavorful e-cigs target vulnerable teen users

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Decades ago, public health officials realized the lunacy of using a cartoon character to promote cigarettes. That was the beginning of the end for Joe Camel, the cool pool-shooting, cigarette-puffing character. The big colorful camel had become as easily recognizable as the Disney logo to youth, according to Dr. Megan Roberts, from Ohio State University, who spoke about adolescents and new tobacco products to the Wood County Prevention Coalition last month. As the use of traditional cigarettes has dropped among teens, the use of alernative tobacco products is up. Those new products include vaping – the inhaling and exhaling of aerosol produced by e-cigarettes or similar devices like vape pens. While cartoon characters have been banned from tobacco marketing, fun flavors are allowed – 7,764 flavors in fact – ranging from chocolate, to “mango tango,” to “cinna-MMM.” “Adolescents respond to tobacco marketing,” Roberts said. Despite restrictions, tobacco products are advertised heavily in places like convenience stores or gas stations. “They are plastered with tobacco ads.” The tobacco industry spends more than $9 billion a year on marketing, she said. A study of adolescents and cigarette advertisements showed that flashy tobacco ads increase activity in youths’ brains. Ads for flavored tobacco created brain activity in kids who weren’t tobacco users. An eye-tracking study showed kids focused longer when flavored tobacco ads were shown. The colorful ads combined with the fruity flavors create the perception that e-cigarettes are harmless, cool, even fashionable, Roberts said. “These are chemicals that can be dangerous when inhaled,” especially for developing brains, she said. Though smoking regular cigarettes is no longer as popular with adolescents, there are many other options out there for them now – cigarillos, e-cigs, hooka, juuls. In 2014, e-cigarette use surpassed cigarette use in middle and high school students in the U.S., Roberts said. Many teens and adults consider these newer options as safe, but Roberts disagreed. Hookah, she said, which involves tobacco being smoked through a water pipe, has the same risks as cigarettes. “With every puff, the user is inhaling carcinogens,” she said. “It’s not a harmless water vapor.” The same goes for cigarillos, which are tiny cigars. E-cigs, devices that deliver nicotine and other additives through inhaled aerosols, are not only flavored, but are also shaped like everyday items that adults don’t realize are e-cigs, Roberts said….


Hospital offers robotic-assisted surgical system

From WOOD COUNTY HOSPITAL Wood County Hospital is excited to announce the recent acquisition of the da Vinci Xi Surgical System. The da Vinci Xi System was designed with the goal of further advancing the technology used in minimally invasive surgery. The System can be used across a spectrum of minimally invasive surgical procedures and has been optimized for multi-quadrant surgeries in gynecology, urology, and general surgery. The system’s advanced features include wristed instruments, 3D-HD visualization, intuitive motion, and an ergonomic design. As with all da Vinci Surgical Systems, the surgeon is 100 percent  in control of the robotic-assisted da Vinci System, which translates his/her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body. The Xi System’s immersive 3D-HD vision system provides surgeons a highly magnified view, virtually extending their eyes and hands into the patient. Wood County Hospital will welcome the community to attend an open house, and the opportunity test drive this new technology on May 31 from 5-7 p.m. in the Wood County Hospital Surgery Waiting Area. There will be live demonstrations from the surgical staff and interactive tables for the community to learn more about the technology offered at the hospital as well as behind the scenes tours of the state-of-the-art surgery center. Beverages and snacks will be available, and an iPad mini will be raffled off to one lucky attendee. Register for the event by visiting WoodCountyHospital.org/davinci. “Wood County Hospital has a long history of innovation in offering surgical services to its community.  We have been studying the robotic technology for some time, and believe that the Xi robot will truly make good the promised benefits of robotic surgery.  Patients receiving robotic procedures often have reduced blood loss, shorter lengths of stay, and faster returns to normal activity than with traditional approaches.  We have six surgeons on our Medical Staff who have experience using robotic technology and are thrilled to be bringing this capability to the patients of Wood County.” – WCH President, Stan Korducki  


Massage therapist Audrey Leslie lends helping hands to people with a variety of needs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Audrey Leslie was helping a friend when she found her mission. The friend had a sore back and asked Leslie for a massage. Leslie obliged. “You’re really good at this,” the friend said. “It wasn’t at until that moment that I realized I could do this for a living,” Leslie said. “That people would pay for me this.” That was in 2011. She was at an occupational stalemate. She didn’t know what she wanted to do, but “I wanted a career where I could help people.” She attended what was then the Healing Arts Institute in Perrysburg (now the Orion Institute.) “I absolutely fell in love. I’ve been doing that for the last six years,” she said. Leslie, after working inside a salon, is venturing out on her own, opening a studio within Blush at 100 S. Main St. in downtown Bowling Green this week. She sees clients by appointment only. Call 419-806-9317. Leslie said it was time to hang out her own shingle and take advantage of tapping into the business acumen of veteran entrepreneur Lee Welling, owner of Blush. “My passion is helping people with pain and fatigue,” she said. “That’s what I’m good at. … Massage is the oldest form of medicine.” Some are recovering from injuries, some dealing with chronic disorders such as fibromyalgia. A mother of three, she’s also certified to do prenatal massage. “I always had a plan in future to have classes for mothers of newborns on how to massage their babies.” Aroma therapy and essentials oils, which she is also certified in, play a big part in her practice. Leslie does CBD massage using oil made from hemp – it’s 100 percent THC free, she notes. “It’s amazing for auto immune disorders, fatigue, muscle ache and brain fog,” she said. She can use it as part of a massage. She also has products she can sell. Leslie, 34, grew up in Bowling Green and graduated from Bowling Green High School. She attended Bowling Green State University for two years. She worked in preschool until she had her first child.  “I became a mother and realized I just wanted to be a mother.” She was looking around for options when she had her epiphany about massage therapy. She noted that Ohio has some of the strictest regulations on massage therapy. She sees…