Health

Clearing the air – BG to ban all smoking in city parks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board put principle (and clean air) above profits Tuesday evening as members voted unanimously to ban smoking in city parks. The park board asked that City Council adopt an ordinance prohibiting smoking in the parks. The only concern expressed by the board was the possible loss of rental revenue from people using park facilities. But the board agreed that the loss of a couple rental fees was worth the effort to provide clean air to park patrons. “If we’re a trend setter in that area, I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” said Kristin Otley, director of the city’s parks and recreation department. The city has long banned smoking in park buildings. Then in 2007, the policy was taken a step further. “At that point the staff was very concerned about smoking near our programs and around our younger users,” Otley said. In order to keep smoking away from ballparks, playgrounds, and shelter houses, the park board banned smoking in all areas except parking lots. In 2015, vaping was included in the smoking restrictions. On Tuesday, the board voted to ban smoking anywhere in the parks, starting in 2019. “We can make sure people using our facilities are in a healthy environment,” Otley said. Park board president Jeff Crawford agreed. “It fits with what we stand for as parks and recreation,” Crawford said. “Maybe we’ll gain a few rentals.” Natural resources coordinator Chris Gajewicz said he doesn’t envision the smoking ban hurting park usage. He noted the smoking ban at BGSU has not cut into the university’s enrollment. “It doesn’t seem to be hurting them,” he said. Park staff has noticed an uptick in cigarette butts being tossed in the parks.The new smoking rule would be enforced by park staff – as are the current restrictions. “I have no problem walking up to someone and saying, ‘Please smoke in the parking lot,’” Gajewicz said of the current rules. If staff ran into problems, they would call city police to assist. Passage of a city ordinance would strengthen the enforcement, Otley said. Mayor Dick Edwards commended the board for taking steps to completely ban smoking in city parks. “Given what we’re all about with the parks, it makes really good sense from my perspective,” Edwards said.



BG Rides wants to kick efforts into a higher gear

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Biking has many benefits. The rider gets exercise, and maybe sheds some pounds. Bike riding can help reduce the use of cars, and the resulting emissions. And for some folks it’s how they get where they need to go. For those people even the cost of an inexpensive bike can be a barrier. For a couple years, an informal group of bike enthusiasts has been gathering unwanted bicycles, rehabilitating them, and then giving or selling them for a minimal price. Now Kelly Wicks, one of the organizers of BG Rides, wants to step up the effort. They are meeting Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m., in Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. Anyone interested can contact Wicks at: kelly@groundsforthought.com BG Rides, Wicks said, started as an offshoot of the Community Rides in summer, 2016. He participated in the rides and from that sprouted the idea to connect unwanted bikes with bike riders. “We’re looking for help to see if there are other people  in the community interested in helping to take the group from its more informal nature to something more structured,” Wicks said. “In talking to  people in the community from various non-profits and international students, there’s a great need for bikes. For some people it’s an important form of transportation.” In its three summers of existence, BG Rides has distributed about 200 bikes, he said. The group would like more and wants to enlist more help to pursue that mission. “We fix those bikes up and either give them away or sell them for the cost of that it took to get them road ready.” Though it has been a low-key effort, Wicks said that Grounds for Thought gets multiple calls a month from people inquiring about finding a bike. “We need bikes,” he said. “We’re asking for bike donations.” Maybe landlords have abandoned bikes that can be refurbished rather than put out on the scrap heap. Even bicycles that can’t be repaired can be used for spare parts. Bicycling, Wicks said, is the second most common form of transportation after walking. “How many students have we seen come over from China or Europe and get here and not have any avenue to get around?” He added: “When you ride your bike a little bit, you become of aware of benefits.” Maybe it’s just “getting out and seeing your neighborhood,” he said. “There are so many benefits to riding your bike.” Wicks said: “We’re not talking about cycling. It’s riding bike as a form of mild exercise, and a form of transportation.” Bikes offer a way to introduce a form of “incidental exercise” into their daily routine for people who don’t have the time to carve out a time to go to the gym or take a run. As more people ride, he said, the need…


BGSU eyes Mercy College partnership as way to expand its nursing program

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University announced Wednesday an agreement with Mercy Health that will dramatically increase the number of nursing students it educates. BGSU and Mercy Health have signed a letter of intent to transfer operations of Mercy College of Ohio to the university. This marks just the first step of the transition that could take up to four years to finalize. First the trustees of BGSU, Mercy Health, and Mercy College need to approve the plan, then it will need to run a gauntlet of state, federal, professional and accrediting boards. That’s expected to take about a year. Then finalizing the arrangement will take  another two to three years. While many details are yet to be worked out, the goal is for BGSU to increase to 2,000 the number of nursing students. It now has about 350 who receive their clinical training through partnership with the University of Toledo. Earlier that summer the two institutions announced that partnership will end in 2022. Mercy College now has 1,300 students in Toledo and another 200 in an associate’s degree program in Youngstown. None of the students currently in either the BGSU or Mercy programs will not be affected by the change.  “This is an exciting day,” BGSU President Rodney Rogers said at a press conference announcing the partnership. “Clearly there is a tremendous need to insure we’re growing the number of nursing graduates.”  Bob Baxter, president and CEO of Mercy Health-Toledo Region said: “The demand for nurses and other allied health professionals far exceeds the supply in Ohio and the nation.”  By 2024 the country will need a million more nurses. That demand is driven by the aging of baby boomers, retirements in the health care field, and increasing demand by consumers for health care close to home. He said that the partnership builds on BGSU’s depth of academic programs and Mercy College’s 100 years of educating nurses.  The collaboration with Mercy Health will also offer BGSU faculty and students opportunities for research. Because of Mercy’s statewide network, clinical opportunities will be available around the state closer to here many BGSU students live. In entering into this plan, Baxter said, Mercy Health is responding to changing market conditions and the reduction in reimbursement for hospital-based nursing education programs. The transfer will allow Mercy Health to be able to focus on “its core business.” The need to educate more nursing students was behind the ending of the BGSU-UT consortium.  “At both institutions we were having very high quality, qualified students who weren’t able to get into the nursing program,” Rogers said. The two institutions felt separately they could pursue ways to educate more. Rogers said he would hope to have more nursing students than Mercy and BGSU now have. Rogers praised the “personalized education” Mercy offers to both traditional and nontraditional students…


More people have health coverage – fewer exercising & eating right

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More Wood County residents have health insurance – but fewer are getting enough exercise and eating right to take care of their bodies. A Community Health Assessment is conducted for the Wood County Health Department every three years to gauge how adults, youth and children are doing with their physical and mental health. The survey looks at such areas as health care access, health behaviors, chronic diseases, social conditions, youth and child health. Alex Aspacher, community outreach coordinator for the Wood County Health Department, reported on the results of the survey during a recent meeting of the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. The survey found that more Wood Countians have health care coverage now. In 2012, approximately 15 percent of local residents had no health insurance. That number is now down to 6 percent. “People don’t just have insurance, they are using it more,” Aspacher said. A total of 61 percent of Wood County adults had routine health checkups in the last year, compared to 49 percent in 2015. However, local adults still need to take better care of themselves – by exercising more and eating less unhealthy food. The number of adults who are overweight or obese in the county shot up to 72 percent, compared to 66 percent in 2015. The statewide rate is 67 percent and the national rate is 65 percent. On the survey, adults admitted to daily habits of 2.4 hours of watching TV, 1.5 hours on their cell phones, 1.4 hours on their computers outside of work, and 0.4 hours playing video games. A quarter of those surveyed said they had no moderate exercise in the past week. The health department recognized this as a problem. “We spent this summer encouraging people to use free community options,” Aspacher said. On the survey, many adults identified lack of time and the cost of gym memberships as impediments to getting exercise. So the health department has been working to identify free exercise opportunities. The Centers for Disease Control recommends 2.5 hours a week of exercise for adults, and one hour each day for kids. The survey showed that many local youth and children are getting recommended amounts of exercise. The youth and child obesity rate in the county has dropped in the last three years. “Our kids are at least getting exercise – even if we’re not,” Aspacher said. The numbers of youth using tobacco and alcohol have also dropped since the last survey. The one area seeing a troubling increase is mental health. More youth responded that they have considered suicide, and experience regular sadness or hopelessness. Wood County adults also showed a decline in mental health. When asked for the average number of days of poor mental health in the past month, local adults said 4.8 compared to 1.9 in 2015. When…


Drug & alcohol abuse prevention trumps politics in D.C.

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Preventing drug and alcohol abuse is not a political issue. Milan Karna saw that firsthand this week as he attended a roundtable discussion hosted by President Donald Trump at the White House. Karna, coordinator of the Wood County Prevention Coalition, was asked to attend the 20-year anniversary of the Office of the National Drug Control Policy’s Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant awards in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Karna was one of six grant recipients present from the 731 programs in the nation. The programs – which work to prevent drug and alcohol abuse by youth – were awarded $90.9 million. The Wood County Prevention Coalition’s piece of the pie was $125,000. This is the fifth year for the local coalition to receive federal funding. “The coalition is neutral,” Karna said. “It’s public service for the betterment of the entire community.” Karna was gratified that the current administration appeared to understand the value of the prevention programs. “I understand people have different feelings about different political figures,” Karna said. Both Ohio senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have been long-time supporters of funding the programs – but the support of the administration was unproven. “It was encouraging to hear this administration has agreed to allow this program to continue,” Karna said. During the roundtable discussion, youths from some of the prevention coalitions spoke of the reasons behind their commitment to the cause. President Donald Trump shared his personal story of his brother’s alcohol addiction. “He seemed very sincere,” Karna said. “I could sense that he was personally affected.” Karna has his own personal story that spurs his efforts to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. Karna’s father had issues with alcohol and tobacco. He was able to quit drinking – but had a much tougher time with smoking – even after undergoing a quintuple bypass. “He was asking my brother and me for cigarettes,” shortly after the surgery, Karna said. His father, who grew up in Yugoslavia, started smoking at age 5. He died in 2012 at age 72. “I think that’s something that drives me,” Karna said. It’s a motivator for many. “I think this is an issue a lot of people care about. There is a lot of grief and energy to do something,” Karna said. That may be why the issue has the ability to cross political lines. “Prevention is something we should all be able to rally around,” Karna said. “Prevention is often talked about, but when push comes to shove, it’s not always supported. We believe our youth are the most valuable asset. Prevention should be supported.” The Wood County Prevention Coalition will use the federal grant funding to continue its efforts such as: Working on environmental strategies with law enforcement Surveying local youth to get useful data on substance abuse. Providing training for…


BG may completely snuff out smoking in city parks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Visitors to Bowling Green’s parks may soon be able to take a deep breath of fresh air without the chance of gagging on secondhand smoke. The Bowling Parks and Recreation Board is discussing the possibility of making all city parks completely smoke-free. The city has long banned smoking in park buildings. Then in 2007, the policy was taken a step further. “At that point the staff was very concerned about smoking near our programs and around our younger users,” said Kristin Otley, director of the city’s parks and recreation department. In order to keep smoking away from ballparks, playgrounds, and shelter houses, the park board banned smoking in all areas except parking lots. In 2015, vaping was included in the smoking restrictions. But on Tuesday evening, the parks and rec board discussed taking the smoking ban further. “Is now the time to go completely smoke free? It’s to the point when there are people doing it, it really bothers the other people,” Otley said. “So we’re just sort of exploring it.” A smoking ban seems to blend well with the park department philosophy. “One of our core values is health,” Otley said. “We want to make sure we’re providing healthy environments and opportunities to the community.” Both Bowling Green State University and Wood County Hospital have banned smoking on their campuses. It is guessed that some of those employees take a short drive to the parks for a smoke. “We’ve been getting a lot more people making comments,” Otley said. And park staff has noticed an uptick in cigarette butts being tossed in the parks. Natural Resources Coordinator Chris Gajewicz recently made signs to post at Wintergarden Park making it clear that people cannot smoke as they walk the trails. “How frustrating is that – when you’re trying to enjoy nature,” Otley said. The board seemed supportive of the complete smoking ban in the parks, but will continue to discuss the matter at the next monthly meeting. The only concern expressed was that a full ban could affect the park building rentals. The new requirement would be posted on rental rules. The new smoking rule would be enforced by park staff – as are the current restrictions. “For the most part, they respect that,” Otley said of those asked to extinguish their cigarettes. If staff ran into problems, they would call city police to assist, she added. “This is definitely something the staff feels very strongly about,” Otley said.


Opiate addicts find lifeline in local ARC program

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Fighting the opioid crisis can be like aiming at a moving target. Drugs get more potent, people are prone to relapse, and some proposed laws work against success. But it appears that Wood County’s Addiction Response Collaborative is having an impact. “We’re making inroads,” Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson told the county commissioners Tuesday morning. In the six months that the ARC has been up and running, the program has been alerted to 80 individuals who have overdosed. “Some of those have overdosed multiple times,” Dobson said. Of those 80, five died. While tragic, that number is far less than the 16 people who died of opiate overdoses in 2016 in Wood County. The ARC team, made up of Belinda Brooks and Det. Sgt. Ryan Richards, had contact with the 75 addicts who overdosed, three of whom refused help. Of the addicts, 55 cases were referred to ARC by law enforcement officers, and 22 were referred by family members. “Those are great numbers,” Dobson said of those referred by family. That means the word is getting out to more than just law enforcement. “I was pleasantly surprised. People are contacting the program.” Of those working with the ARC program, four overdosed a second time and are currently in treatment. “That’s a great number when you’re talking about 75 people.” The ARC Quick Response Team responds to overdose incidents and other addiction-related incidents and calls. The team initiates a conversation with the survivor and family members. The goal is to encourage and offer assistance in obtaining treatment and counseling through multiple local behavioral health providers. During the past six months, Brooks and Richards have made 611 contacts with the 75 addicts – following up with them, encouraging them, looking for any gaps in the services, Dobson said. In addition to the Quick Response Team, the program works with programs in the court system, including a diversion program, analyzing the current intervention process being used by the court and the implementation of a court docket specific to addiction. Initially, some of the law enforcement offices in the county were suspect of working with the ARC. “There was more law enforcement resistance,” Dobson said. Some police agencies feared the ARC would take over cases. “That’s not our intention. We step in with ‘What can we do to help?’” In fact, Richards often shares information that he has collected from addicts with local law enforcement about how the drugs were accessed. Local judges have included ARC involvement as a probationary requirement, Dobson said. And Brooks and Richards have spoken at schools and town hall meetings to educate the public about the program. Wood County Commissioner Ted Bowlus praised the work of the program. “Without the ARC, who knows how many people would have overdosed,” he said. Bowlus noted the increased…


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 variety of advanced treatment techniques and specializes in the latest therapies including external and internal radiation therapy.” But that’s of little consolation to patients who had come to trust Lavey for their cancer treatment. “The day I got the letter (about Lavey leaving) I felt so lost,” said Diane Ruggiero, who is being treated for breast cancer. “What am I going to do without him? I could just cry. He was my rock. I think he saved me.” Ruggiero started…


Tipping the scales – local fight against childhood obesity

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When Diane Krill was a child, she spent summer days playing in the park – not parked in front of the TV. “We were there from sun up to sundown,” she said of days of non-stop activity. “We didn’t go home until the dinner bell rang.” But times are different now, said Krill, CEO of the Wood County Community Health Center. Parents afraid to let their children roam the neighborhood sometimes prefer to use the TV as a babysitter. And when they do activities – like soccer or baseball – busy parents often rush through a fast food drive thru to pick up dinner. “We are seeing trends that are leading from childhood to adulthood,” said Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey. The likelihood that an obese child will learn healthy eating and exercise habits as an adult is, well, slim. So on Tuesday, the Wood County Health Department held a meeting on childhood obesity for interested community members. A recently conducted Community Health Assessment showed that 72 percent of Wood County adults are overweight or obese – higher than the state average of 67 percent. That adds up to about 37,000 Wood County adults who can be labeled as obese. “That seems staggering,” Batey said. “What can we do about that?” The survey found slightly better results among local youth, where the number of obese youth dropped a bit in the last three years. “We’re seeing a positive trend with our youth, and we don’t want to lose that,” he said. A big problem appears to be that many Wood County adults are not modeling healthy exercise or eating habits for their children. And discussing people’s diets can be a potential minefield – like bringing up politics or religion, Batey said. When surveyed about exercise, many local adults said they don’t have time for physical activity. However, in the same survey, adults averaged 2.4 hours a day watching TV, 1.5 hours on their cell phones, and 1.4 hours on the computer for non-work items. “We’re not taking time to get up and move,” Batey said. “I’m not saying don’t watch TV. But get up and move while you’re watching TV.” Batey admitted to being a “couch potato” himself, and eating too much fast food – until he and his wife had their first child. “This is about childhood obesity. But kids learn from our behaviors as adults,” he said. In the countywide health survey, 76 percent of the parents said the most physical activity they participate in with their children is cleaning and yardwork. While that’s all good, it’s not showing kids that exercise can be fun. “Are we setting the standard that kids want to get physical activity,” Batey said. “What messages are we sending to our kids?” Batey’s household has a rule that each…


Hospice of NW Ohio seeks volunteers, offers training

From HOSPICE OF NORTHWEST OHIO Hospice of Northwest Ohio is seeking compassionate individuals to provide companionship and support to patients living in long-term care facilities and in their own homes. Volunteers play a vital role in enhancing the end-of-life experience for our patients and their families. The skills and interests of each volunteer are matched to the important needs within our organization. Hospice volunteers receive comprehensive training to ensure they have the confidence to perform this important role. Training includes understanding the hospice philosophy of care, communicating with patients and families, learning about what to expect at the end of life as well as basic health and safety precautions. For more information about becoming a volunteer and when the next training session is planned, contact the Hospice Volunteer Department at 419-931-5534 or jtucholski@hospicenwo.org. To learn more about Hospice of Northwest Ohio or to complete a volunteer application, visit our website at www.hospicenwo.org. Find us also on FaceBook and Twitter.


Weighty issues – county citizens getting fatter & sadder

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County residents have gotten fatter and sadder in the last three years. The latest Community Health Assessment results for Wood County adults show growing numbers of people carrying around extra weight physically and mentally. Nearly 40 percent of local adults classify themselves as obese, while another 33 percent say they are overweight. A total of 14 percent of adults reported feeling sad or hopeless for two or more consecutive weeks. The surveys are conducted every three years by the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio. “We can be confident that this is pretty accurate,” Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey said earlier this week. A total of 1,200 adult surveys were mailed out to randomly selected residences. In order to be statistically accurate, 383 responses were needed. A total of 431 adults responded. The youth surveys fared even better, since they were conducted at schools. The health survey process began in 2008 – which allows the health department make comparisons to past health data. “How are we trending? Are we getting better in this trending?” Batey asked. The answer is yes and no. Overall, the youth data is positive. “I was very happy to see the trends with our youth,” Batey said. “We’re either holding the line or improving.” Obesity and overweight numbers among youth are gradually improving. Physical activity among youth is increasing. “Those are good things to see,” he said. Cigarette smoking among youth is at a record low. Overall substance abuse is down in kids. The numbers of youth trying alcohol and engaging in binge drinking are also down. Adolescent sexual activity is down. And bullying has dropped a bit. The one area seeing a troubling increase is in mental health. More youth responded that they have considered suicide, and experience regular sadness or hopelessness. “Mental health still seems to be declining,” Batey said. “It’s a trend that’s going in the wrong direction.” In the survey responses of parents with children ages birth to 5, a positive trend was seen in a majority of families reading to children every day in the past week. The biggest negative was a drop in mothers attempting breastfeeding. “That jumped off the page for me,” Batey said. “I think that’s huge.” But overall, Batey was happy about changes seen in younger respondents. “I’m very optimistic about the trends we’re seeing in our children and youth,” he said. Adults, on the other hand, slipped in some key areas especially weight and mental health. A total of 39 percent of adults ranked themselves as obese, compared to 22 percent three years ago. That compares to 32 percent of Ohioans and 30 percent overall in the U.S. that consider themselves as obese. Combined, 72 percent of local adults described themselves as either overweight or obese. “That’s a pretty big swing for…


Wood County residents urged to get up and get active

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County residents are being politely prodded to get up off their sedentary seats. The Wood County Health Department has launched a campaign encouraging local residents to get more exercise using free community parks and trails. Health surveys have shown that too many people are overweight, and too few are getting the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week. Only 28 percent of Wood County adults surveyed last year said they exercise five days or more per week. Ten percent said they did not have any physical activity in the past week. Inactivity and obesity are tied to many areas of a person’s health and can lead to a variety of serious diseases. And last year’s physical activity and nutrition survey showed that Wood County residents need to do better at both. “It was enough to give us some ideas of where we should prioritize,” said Alex Aspacher, community outreach coordinator for the Wood County Health Department. “It’s pretty much common knowledge that lack of physical activity and obesity are big problems across the country,” Aspacher added. The survey conducted last year showed that not only were many people not getting enough exercise, but many also weren’t aware of local exercise options available to them. So health department officials decided to start a motivational campaign, encouraging local residents to use the exercise options already available throughout the county. “We have great parks. We want to promote what we already have,” Aspacher said. In addition to the county parks, nearly every community in Wood County also has its own park. “You can go to the park in Grand Rapids and see something completely different than you would see in the park in Bradner.” A new website, WoodCountyHealth.org/activity, lists parks and trails in different communities, as well as events such as 5Ks and fun runs, and links to recreation programs, fitness groups, SilverSneakers sites for seniors, and several links to cycling resources. “There is one place to go for the information,” Aspacher said of the website. “This might inspire someone to go to a park.” Having a goal in mind can create the motivation people need to stick with an exercise routine, but many people have a tough time getting started. Wood County Health Department will post encouraging messages, exercise tips and photos showing the diverse parks and recreation opportunities that Wood County has to offer. Local residents are asked to share those messages on social media. “We want them to help amplify the people we reach,” Aspacher said. The health department’s physical activity campaign will culminate Aug. 17 at the Pemberville 5-Miler, which also includes a free 1-mile fun run, making it a great target for people of all fitness levels, he said. “Walking is something that everybody can do,” he said, adding that fitness events can…


Cocoon hotline number will change as of July 1

With the closure of The Link, the phone number to access Cocoon services 24/7 will be (419) 373-1730. This new number will take effect July 1, 2018. The Cocoon has partnered with The Link, a program of Harbor Behavioral Health, for the last 13 years to answer hotline calls from survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  These calls were then routed to Cocoon advocates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The new number will not affect services in any way. All callers seeking services will be immediately connected to an advocate. The Cocoon advocates will continue to provide the same excellent services to the Wood County community. The Cocoon provides safety, healing, and justice to survivors of sexual and domestic violence. In 2017, the organization responded to 5,739 service calls and provided more than 3,100 nights of emergency, safe housing.


Stop the Bleed aims to teach techniques to staunch blood loss from traumatic wounds

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Stop the Bleed started in the wake of tragedy. The trauma surgeon who treated the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings realized that some of them could have been saved if someone had staunched their bleeding. Stop the Bleed’s goal is to teach people a way to do just that the same way they are taught CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. It’s needed not just in the case of a mass shooting or bombing. Victims of car accidents, job injuries or household mishaps could have their lives saved if someone can stop them from losing blood. Nicole Knepper, who was at Bowling Green State University Friday to train campus police officers, said these techniques were used when her father-in-law was injured while cutting wood. “We’re just giving people the knowledge to act immediately to save someone’s life,” she said. “You never know when this would be needed.” Acting soon is essential, said Knepper, a training coordinator for Mercy Health. A person weighing 150 pounds has about five liters of blood. Losing 40 percent will cause the person to fade into unconsciousness. The two techniques to stop critical bleeding are applying a tourniquet and packing and compressing the wound. Stop the Bleed provides kits at their website (bleedingcontrol.org), but common objects at hand can be used. A t-shirt and a pencil can be used as a tourniquet. Even a dirty sock can pack a wound, Knepper said. Stopping bleeding will save the person’s life. You can’t give antibiotics to someone who is dead, she said. If possible though the first choice is a tourniquet. That marks a change in training. Knepper who has been a trauma nurse for 25 years said medical professionals were told never to use a tourniquet. The fear was that cutting off the flow of blood to a limb would result in the need to amputate the limb. But there have been no documented cases of amputation from tourniquets on for less than two hours, she said. In any event, she said, the approach is to save a life even if it means losing a limb. The tourniquet will hurt, a lot. Pain is not a reason for easing up or thinking it’s not on properly, she said. But tourniquets cannot be applied to some areas, the neck and groin. That’s when packing and compression are needed. Knepper demonstrated packing the wound with the hemostatic dressing. That dressing has a substance in them that promotes coagulation. Like other techniques and material promoted by Stop the Bleed, this was developed by the military to treat battlefield injuries. But other materials at hand can be used, she said. The most difficult are wounds to the torso. Those usually involve internal bleeding that compression and packing cannot stop. Those victims should be the first to get treatment. Knepper…