Category Archives: Health Matters

Health Matters is a monthly publication that you will find inside the Valley News.

ENT docs obtain new sinus surgery equipment

Oswego Hospital has installed state-of-the art, award winning navigation technology for use during sinus surgeries

The hospital’s new Ear, Nose and Throat doctors say this new advanced equipment is the best available.

“The hospital has made a significant investment in this equipment which operates similar to a GPS devise allowing Dr. Pence and myself to make informed decisions in real time when in the operating room,” said board-certified ENT Dr. Nicholas Groch.

Groch and Dr. Melanie Pence, who is also a board-certified ENT, recently opened Lakeshore ENT in the Oswego Health Center.

“This equipment is simply the best available and with this navigation system we are able to provide excellent ENT care to our patients,” Pence said. “Area residents needing this level of sinus surgery no longer need to leave their community.”

The equipment, called a Fusion ENT Navigation System, helps to reduce the risk of complications and can lead to a quicker recovery. The equipment’s associated irrigation system was the winner of a Medical Devise Excellence Award.

The two ENTs are familiar with this new technology as they have used it for many years. During their previous ENT positions, they helped to trial the equipment at a sinus center of excellence in Toledo, Ohio.

The two ENT physicians have a joint practice providing a wide range of services including hearing and balance testing, allergy testing, sinus surgery, pediatric ear infections, snoring and sleep apnea, thyroidectomies, skin cancer excisions and cosmetic procedures.

Both are board-certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck/Facial Plastic Surgery.

To provide additional services, Audiologist Karah Gottschalk has joined the practice to conduct hearing balance testing and dispense hearing aids.

The new physicians can be contacted by calling Lakeshore ENT at 349-5828.

Doctor knows benefits of New Vision program

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

A passion for health care and helping others, which was ignited during observational rotations as an Oswego County BOCES New Vision Allied Health student, has transformed into a successful career in the medical field for Pennellville native Jerry Emmons.

The 30-year-old director for emergency services at Oswego Hospital said his experience in New Vision created a solid foundation for his future.

“There’s no other way to see so many different parts of medicine as you do in New Vision,” he said. “It was an investment on the part of my school district, but I’m so glad that I had that opportunity.

“I met a lot of interesting people, a lot of professionals that I would work with later on in my career  … So much of what I did after school came out of the New Vision Program,” he said.

From 2000 to 2001, Emmons was enrolled in the BOCES-run program, which provides Oswego County students the opportunity to enhance their college applications by experiencing various health care settings.

“You would go … out on the (surgical) floor with the nurses, various doctors’ offices, primary care offices that were affiliated with the hospital, local cardiologists’ offices, there was a nursing home experiences … a little bit of everything,” he said.

While Emmons experienced every aspect of the health care field, he said a ride-along with Menter Ambulance was a life-changing opportunity that he was able to experience thanks to New Vision.

“I had never been on the ambulance before and I had no exposure to EMS, but I loved it,” he recalled. “It was just a chance encounter. After that, I was hooked.”

With an interest in emergency medicine, Emmons took the knowledge he gained through New Vision and pursued a biological sciences degree from Cornell University — spending school vacations and breaks as a paramedic with Menter, where he now serves as medical director.

Emmons earned his medical degree from Upstate Medical University in 2009.

After completing his residency there, he decided that home is where the heart is.

“I decided that I really wanted to be in this community. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to go to a big city,” Emmons said.

He began his tenure as the director for emergency services at Oswego Hospital Jan. 3, overseeing a department that treats nearly 25,000 people per year.

From student to teacher, Emmons now provides instruction to New Vision Allied Health students during their rotations through the Oswego Healthcare System.

“Definitely if we have an interesting case or if we’re going to do a procedure, I’ll ask them to come in for that,” Emmons said of today’s New Vision students.

“It is very rewarding. When I’m teaching them I’m telling them, ‘Look, this program is really worthwhile if health care is something you want to do, this is definitely a good foot in the door,’” he said. “It’s also valuable to those who discover that healthcare is not what they are interested in — sometimes rotations are the only way to know.”

While New Visions does serve as a “sneak peek” into the medical field, the success of the program has been much more than a preview for students like Emmons.

The Oswego County BOCES Career and Technical Education Department offers three New Vision programs for high school seniors: Allied Health, Specialized Careers and Law and Government.

Each program provides a balance between classroom instruction and hands-on work in the career field.

For more information, visit oswegoboces.org or call 963-4255.

Theater group donates to nursing fund

Members of the Oswego Players, a local theatrical group which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, have donated proceeds from their recent performances of Death in the OR to a fund that honors an exceptional Oswego Hospital nurse each year.

The play was written by local physician Dr. Michael Nupuf,  and is based upon the book written by Dr. John Fountain, who relocated from the area several years ago.

Each year, the nurses at Oswego Hospital select an outstanding peer for the annual award, which is named in memory of Jean Carpenter, a licensed practical nurse, who passed away several years ago. 

Oswego Health to X-ray Halloween candy

Area ghosts, goblins and action figures can have their candy x-rayed on Halloween night by Oswego Health medical imaging personnel.

Three Oswego Health locations will be x-raying candy this year. Parents can bring their children to Oswego Hospital’s imaging department from 6 to 9 p.m. Please enter the main hospital doors off South Sixth Street and proceed to the medical imaging department, which is located just off the lobby.

Candy can also be x-rayed at both the Central Square and Fulton Medical Centers from 5 to 8 p.m. Parents using one of these facilities should enter the department through the urgent care center. The Central Square site is located at 3045 East Avenue in the village and the Fulton location is at 510 S. First St. in Fulton.

Oswego Health gets accreditation

Oswego Hospital has been accredited by The Joint Commission following a four-day survey conducted by the national standards organization.

The Joint Commission visited Oswego Hospital in June.  The surveyors did recommend improvements and Oswego Hospital is in the process of making those improvements.

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.

An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. To earn and maintain The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval, an organization must undergo an on-site survey at least every three years.

Oswego Health promotes Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The physicians and staff of Oswego Health will take part in activities throughout October that promote national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Perhaps the most important action community members can take is to encourage the women they know to have a mammogram.

Oswego Health Radiology Chief Dr. Mark Franklin recommends most women undergo a yearly mammogram beginning at age 40. Women who are at higher risk of breast cancer should talk with their healthcare provider about whether to have mammograms before the age of 40 and how often to undergo one.

Those at a higher risk for breast cancer include individuals who have a first degree relative — such as a mother or sister — who has had the disease.

Oswego Health radiologists, as part of the interpretation of each woman’s mammography screening, use a risk tool that can be found at U.S. National Institutes of Health web site: www.cancer.gove/bcrisktool.

“A digital mammogram is one of the most important tools physicians have to diagnose breast cancer,” Dr. Franklin said. “Early breast cancer detection through mammography likely results in improved outcomes.”

“Along with having a yearly mammogram, I encourage women to have a clinical breast exam yearly by their healthcare provider,” Dr. Franklin said. “Monthly self-breast exams are also important in the detection of breast cancer.”

In addition to offering digital mammogram services, Oswego Hospital can perform breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), adding one more diagnostic tool in the fight against breast cancer.

A breast MRI is one of the latest technologies available to assist in the detection of breast cancer. This new technology allows radiologists to see abnormalities that sometimes cannot be seen on either a mammogram or ultrasound. Specialized software assists radiologists with the interpretation of the approximately 1,200 images created during a single study.

Dr. Franklin encourages women who are known to be at high risk for breast cancer, or who have a first-degree family member with the disease, to have a breast MRI. Among those at higher risk are women who have had a first degree family member with breast cancer.

“This new technology is another tool for women at risk for breast cancer,” Dr. Franklin said. “A MRI of the breast has been performed for a number of reasons that include the diagnosis of breast implant rupture, surgical planning, staging of breast cancer and treatment planning, post surgical and post radiation follow up, dense breast tissue evaluation and evaluating trouble areas identified through a mammogram or ultrasound.”

Dr. Franklin added a breast MRI is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging, but rather a supplemental tool for detecting and staging breast cancer and other breast abnormalities.

The breast MRI takes about 20 minutes and entails the use of an intravenous contrast. A physician referral is required.

Digital mammography appointments can be made in several convenient locations throughout Oswego County, including the Oswego Health Services Center, Fulton Medical Center, the newly opened Central Square Medical Center and at the Pulaski Health Center.

To make a mammography screening appointment in either Oswego or Pulaski, call 349-5540. For appointments in Fulton and Central Square, call 592-3555.

To make an appointment for a breast MRI, call (800) 634-2468.

Oswego Health Offers Breast Cancer Support Group

For residents seeking a breast cancer support group, the caring and sharing breast cancer support group meets the third Tuesday of the month from 6:30 to 8:30 p. m. in the conference room of the Fulton Medical Center.

Leading the group is Liz Schremp.

“We call breast cancer treatment a journey and our members have all experienced the many emotions you feel during that journey,” said Schremp last year when the group began meeting at the Fulton Medical Center. “Breast cancer for a woman can be very, very overwhelming. There are phases of the journey and we lead each person on a positive route.”

In addition to the support group, its members can provide a facilitator 24 hours a day to those that need support before the next support group meeting. Schremp can be contacted by calling 592-7468.

New Oswego Health ENTs visit senior health fair

Oswego Health’s two new otolaryngologists who treat a variety of ear, nose and throat issues, as well as provide facial plastic surgery, attended state Sen. Patty Ritchie’s Senior Health Fair held earlier this week at the Fulton War Memorial.

Board Certified ENTs Nicholas Groch and Melanie Pence opened an office Oct. 8 in Suite 210 of the Oswego Health Services Center, located next to Oswego Hospital. Contact them by calling 349-5828.

The otolaryngologists have a joint practice providing services such as hearing and balance testing to allergy testing, sinus surgery, pediatric ear infections, snoring and sleep apnea, thyroidectomies, skin cancer excisions and cosmetic procedures.

Both physicians are board-certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Otolaryngology in head and neck/facial plastic surgery. An audiologist is also expected to join the practice in the upcoming weeks.

The ENTs will host an Ask The Doctor program at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 in the  lower level JPC conference room of the Oswego Health Services Center, next to Oswego Hospital. The program is free and open to the public.

The Oswego Healthcare System includes Oswego Hospital, The Manor at Seneca Hill, a skilled nursing facility; Springside at Seneca Hill, a retirement living community; an urgent care center in Fulton, and health services centers in Mexico, Parish and Phoenix. For more information, call 349-5500 or visit oswegohealth.org.

2 new ENT doctors join Oswego Health

Two otolaryngologists, who will treat a variety of ear, nose and throat issues as well as provide facial plastic surgery, have joined the Oswego Health medical staff.

Board-certified ENT physicians Nicholas Groch, D.O. and Melanie Pence, D.O. will open an office Oct. 8 in Suite 210 of the Oswego Health Services Center, located adjacent to Oswego Hospital.

Dr. Groch earned his bachelor’s degree and doctor of osteopathic medicine at Michigan State University. His internship and residency in otolaryngology/facial plastic surgery were both completed at Henry Ford Bi-County Hospital in Warren, Mich.

Dr. Pence earned her bachelor’s degree, as well as her doctor of osteopathic medicine at Michigan State University. The East Lansing based-college is where she also completed her internship.

Dr. Pence fulfilled her residency in otolaryngology head & neck/facial plastic surgery at Metropolitan Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The two otolaryngologists will have a joint practice providing a wide range of services from hearing and balance testing to allergy testing, sinus surgery, pediatric ear infections, snoring and sleep apnea, thyroidectomies, skin cancer excisions and cosmetic procedures. Both physicians are board-certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Otolaryngology in head & neck/facial plastic surgery. An audiologist is also expected to join the practice in the upcoming weeks.

The new physicians can be contacted by calling 349-5828.