595 West State Street, Doylestown, PA 18901 (215) 345-2200
V.I.A. Health System

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Lemon Ride

The Della Penna Pediatric Center of Doylestown Hospital is proud to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the fight against childhood cancer.

Join riders from Doylestown Hospital in the annual Lemon Ride this Sunday, July 20 at Central Bucks High School West in Doylestown.

The Lemon Ride

Offering four different course lengths for cyclists of all ages and ability levels, The Lemon Ride is a ride, not a race. Courses include a 4-mile Family Fun Ride, a 12 mile ride, a 35 mile ride and a Metric Century (63 miles). All routes start and finish at Central Bucks High School West.

This fun, family event features:
  • Children’s activities
  • Giveaways
  • Raffles 
  • A lemonade stand (of course!) 
Lunch, snacks and a Lemon Ride water bottle is provided for registered riders, as well as SAG (support and gear) support and rest stops throughout the ride.

Stay Healthy on Ride Day

Whether you are planning to ride, watch or participate in activities, you can feel great on ride day by:
  • Drinking lots of water to stay hydrated
  • Wearing sunscreen and protective gear (sunglasses, hat, etc.)
  • Always wear a bike helmet when riding

Dedicated Pediatric Care. Close to Home.

When children come to Doylestown Hospital for treatment, it is usually for a routine outpatient procedure or an acute visit to the emergency department. But, sometimes kids have more advanced needs that require overnight observation and treatment. We are pleased to announce that coming late summer, our expert inpatient care will be extended to all ages – including infants, children and adolescents – in the new Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center of Doylestown Hospital.

Participate In The Lemon Ride

Date: Sunday, July 20, 2014
Registration Time: 7:00 a.m.
Start Time: 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (varied by course)
Where: Central Bucks High School West
375 W Court Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
Learn more about The Lemon Ride or pediatric care services available at Doylestown Hospital.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

6 Tips for Atrial Fibrillation and Summer Heart Health

The heat can take a toll on your body and play a role in triggering episodes of atrial fibrillation during the summer. If you or a loved one have atrial fibrillation it's important to know the risks of hot weather.

Remember these tips to help protect your heart this summer:

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Dehydration has been frequently noted as a trigger for atrial fibrillation, or AFib. It is commonly associated with vacationers, who tend to stray from their regular eating patterns and schedule. When travelling, always remember to drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

Not only can caffeine and alcohol trigger an episode of atrial fibrillation, they also contribute to dehydration. Both caffeine and alcohol are considered diuretics that cause you to urinate more, which increases your risk of dehydration during hot summer days. Alcohol can also dilate blood vessels and lower your blood pressure, while caffeine speeds up your heart rhythm; both issues can contribute to an episode of atrial fibrillation.

Avoid Exercising or Outdoor Activities in Extreme Heat

Exercise alone can be a main trigger for atrial fibrillation, but mix in hot weather and your chances of another episode increase. It's best to avoid exercising in the extreme heat. Rather, stick to a cool indoor area to exercise.

Grab a Partner

If you have AFib or another type of heart arrhythmia, it's recommended you don't go it alone in the heat. Stick with somebody or have someone check in on you often. If you or your buddy experience heat exhaustion, be sure you know what to do: Get out of the heat and into a cool area, remove any unnecessary clothing, drink plenty of fluids and if not better within 30 minutes, call your doctor or 911.

Wear Light Clothing

Light-colored and loose-fitting clothes are your best choice to keep cool in hot weather. Natural fabrics such as cotton are also best to wear as opposed to synthetic fibers. Light, loose-fitting clothing is less likely to trap heat in your body and can help reduce your chance of heat exhaustion.

Check the Weather

Keep your eyes on the weather forecast and heed any heat warnings. Remember, warnings were created for a reason -- to protect us! Excessive heat is dangerous for everyone, but especially those with a heart condition like atrial fibrillation.

About the Afib Center

The AFib Center of the Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital, is a one-stop resource with invaluable information about degenerative heart rhythm disorder, heart disorder symptoms, and atrial fibrillation treatment options available to you right in Bucks County. Learn more about AFib Center of the Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital or to find a physician call 215-345-2121.

For more helpful tips and information, connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to Survive a Heart Attack

The first few minutes and hours are critical in surviving a heart attack.

Doylestown Hospital has streamlined the process of treating heart attacks. When it comes to patients surviving a heart attack (a measure known as 30-day mortality), Doylestown Hospital ranks #1 in Pennsylvania by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), making the best care available close to home. This process has to start with you, and the all-important call to 9-1-1.

Whether you or a loved one survives a heart attack depends on what you do during the first few hours.

Why Are the First Few Hours of a Heart Attack Critical?

How to Survive a Heart Attack
Time is muscle, as the saying goes. In other words, the sooner a heart attack is treated, the more heart muscle is saved. And the better the outcome for the patient.

According to the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), 85% of heart damage occurs in the first two hours of a heart attack. One of the goals of this international nonprofit organization is to educate people about "Early Heart Attack Care," or the "beginnings" of a heart attack, when symptoms may be mild but should not be ignored. That is the time to take action and get treatment. More than half of heart attack patients experience some or all heart attack symptoms.

Heart Attack Symptoms

  • Pressure, burning, aching or tightness in the chest
  • Nausea
  • Pain that travels down one or both arms
  • Jaw pain
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pressure, squeezing or discomfort
  • Back pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of fullness
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 right away. Even if you're not sure, it's better to call 9-1-1 and rule out a heart attack than to suffer the consequences of untreated heart attack.

Getting to the Hospital on Time

Research shows that in the U.S., only about 55% of chest pain patients are transported to the hospital by Emergency medical services (EMS). Yet calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment for heart attack. EMS staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped.
In the Doylestown Hospital community, EMS can transmit EKGs from the ambulance to the hospital to confirm a heart attack, setting the process of care in motion even before the patient arrives.

The Lower the Door-to-Balloon Time, the Better

Nearly all (96%) of all heart attack patients brought by EMS to Doylestown Hospital have their EKGs transmitted prior to their arrival, helping shave minutes off the door-to-balloon time. This measurement of quality in treating heart attack, also known as D2BT, is the amount of time between a patient's arrival at the hospital and when the blocked artery is opened through emergency angioplasty in the cath lab.

Doylestown Hospital has reduced door-to-balloon time and improved patient care by:
  • Working closely with regional EMS
  • Alerting the extended team at the hospital to prepare for the patient's arrival with a single call
  • Having a "Fast Track" protocol to send a heart attack patient directly to the cath lab to restore blood flow to the heart.
In 2013, Doylestown Hospital had an average door-to-balloon time of 55 minutes (well below the national goal of 90 minutes). On one occasion at Doylestown Hospital, that time was just 15 minutes.

30-day heart attack mortality rates

Did you know? Patients who arrive at Doylestown Hospital in an ambulance that transmits an EKG receive lifesaving care an average of 21 minutes faster than those who come in on their own.

Faster Treatment Means Better Outcomes

When it comes to patients surviving a heart attack (a measure known as 30-day mortality), Doylestown Hospital ranks #1 in Pennsylvania and #6 in the nation (CMS). Doylestown Hospital has ranked in the top six in the nation three years in a row. Teamwork and a carefully orchestrated process of care make this possible.
Remember : Calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment

"We urge anyone with heart attack symptoms to call 9-1-1 immediately to start the process of receiving life-saving care," says Elaine Schultheiss, coordinator of the Doylestown Hospital Chest Pain Center. "Doylestown Hospital works closely with emergency services personnel to prepare for the heart attack patient even before their arrival at the hospital. The team approach ensures that all heart attack patients receive the care they need as soon as possible."

Chest Pain Center Accreditation

Earlier this summer, Doylestown Hospital again received Chest Pain Center Accreditation from theSociety of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). The Woodall Chest Pain Center of Doylestown Hospital first received accreditation just after Doylestown's new Emergency Department opened in 2010.

Hospitals with SCPC accreditation have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. For patients, knowing the symptoms and knowing when to call for help can save your life.

About the Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital

The Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital is your resource for advanced cardiac care right in your community. We offer the latest minimally invasive treatment options for arrhythmia, valve disease, heart failure and coronary artery disease. Visit the Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital for more helpful tips and information on treatment options or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ditch the Itch: A Poison Ivy Primer

We love being outdoors in the summer. That brings us closer to pesky plants like poison ivy, oak and sumac. Our Doylestown Hospital health expert, Cathy Hogan, MSN, CRNP COHN-S, shares some tips on prevention and treatment.

Learn How to Identify Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

It's poison ivy season: What you need to know
You can find lots of pictures on the internet. All of these plants are "woody" plants/vines that grow in predominantly wooded areas.

You should wear long pants, shirts, socks and fully enclosed footwear when walking in these areas. Wear gloves when working around these poisonous plants. It is best if you wear plastic gloves over cotton gloves. The urushiol (the oily, sticky resin that causes the rash) in poison ivy can seep through cotton gloves, and make you susceptible to contracting the rash.

Another way to prevent the oil from getting on your skin is to use a good barrier cream, like Stokoguard or Ivy Block. Presently there is no vaccination.

Urushiol, Poison Ivy Oil and You

The oil from the poisonous plants can be carried on pets, and interestingly enough, pets are not affected by it. Ponds, streams, rivers and lakes can harbor the oils from these plants without ever seeing the offending plant. In addition, oil transferred from the plant to other objects months or even years ago – such as gardening tools – can cause a reaction.

What to Do if You Are Exposed to Poison Ivy, Oak or Sumac

Wash exposed skin immediately after contact. Wash in cold water, since warm or hot water helps the toxins get into your pores. Also, if you think your fingernails may be harboring the toxic oil, use a toothbrush under the nail to remove the toxin, then throw away the toothbrush.

Remove and wash clothes (separately from other clothes) and any items exposed to the oil.

How to Treat a Mild Case of Poison Ivy

Apply calamine lotion 4 to 6 times a day to the affected area. Anesthetics and antihistamines applied to the skin play no role in alleviating the symptoms of the rash; however, oral antihistamines like Benadryl can offer minor relief, and probably should be taken at bedtime to offset the side effect of drowsiness. You can apply 1% hydrocortisone cream to decrease the inflammation.

Try This Treatment For More Severe Cases of Poison Ivy

If the rash is severe, meaning on a large part of the body or the face, steroids may be advisable and your pediatrician or physician will direct you appropriately. However, steroids should be reserved for the worst cases.

Also, if you do not have any open areas, you can use rubbing alcohol, which can prevent further spread of the toxic oil. In addition, Betadine can be painted on the area and left to dry to decrease the itch.

Another idea to pull the fluid from the blisters is to make a paste from Betadine and baking soda. Put the paste over the blisters then allow it to dry and crack off. Make sure the area has dried before putting on clothing to prevent staining from the Betadine.

Soothing the Itch

Oatmeal baths are comforting, but in a pinch good old-fashioned oatmeal added to lukewarm water works.

It is important not to scratch the rash to prevent bacteria from getting in. Do not pop blisters even if they are weeping. You should cover them. Cut your fingernails short, resist scratching, or wear socks over your hands to prevent opening areas up.

A comfort measure that works well is to apply ice, but not directly to your skin. Use a cover like a towel over the ice pack. Also, aloe vera secretes a cooling gel from its leaves. Just snap a leaf off and apply the gel directly to the rash. If you buy aloe vera in the store, make sure it contains at least 90% aloe.

Remember This When Dealing With Poison Ivy

  • The best option for controlling the spread of poison ivy is to remove the plants by hand, as the sprays and killers are not environmentally friendly.
  • Never burn the plants, since the oil is vaporized and can be inhaled, causing havoc in your lungs, possibly leading to respiratory failure.
  • Don’t skip the step of washing your clothes or gardening shoes and equipment, since poison ivy and oak residue can stay on objects for up to 5 years.
  • If you develop a fever more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, see yellow scabs or pus, or have tenderness over the affected areas, see your doctor, you may have an infection.

About Doylestown Hospital

Doylestown Hospital is a comprehensive 238-bed medical center serving families throughout Bucks and Montgomery Counties and Western New Jersey. The hospital, along with The Doylestown Hospital Surgery Center at the Health & Wellness Center in Warrington; Pine Run Community and Health Center; Lakeview by Pine Run, and VIA Affiliates, comprise the VIA Health System.

For more helpful tips and information, connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fourth of July Fireworks Safety Tips

It wouldn’t seem like the Fourth of July without fireworks. Your best bet for staying safe is to go see a fireworks show instead of setting off your own.

Summer is officially here, and that’s when emergency medicine physician Brenda Foley, MD starts seeing fireworks-related injuries in Doylestown Hospital’s Emergency Department.
Fireworks Safety
Consider this:
  • Fireworks were involved in about 11,400 injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments in 2013.
  • There were an estimated 2,300 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers in
  • 2013.
Dr. Foley tells us about the very real risk of injury from fireworks, and how to stay safe.

Young people and fireworks

Thousands of people each year, most of them teens and children, are injured using fireworks each year. About 45% of those who suffer fireworks-related injuries are less than 15 years of age. The most commonly injured areas of the body are the hands and fingers, followed by eyes.

Types of injuries from fireworks

The most common type of injury related to fireworks is a burn. However, fireworks can also cause cuts, bruises and even the loss of an arm or leg.  Unspent explosive material or residue can be projected into the eyes causing blindness, cataracts or retinal detachment.

"Firecrackers can explode at close range, causing a ‘blast’ injury to the face and hands in particular," says Dr. Foley.

Don’t underestimate the potential danger of sparklers

"Sparklers are an often underappreciated source of injury," says Dr. Foley.

But they shouldn’t be. Sparklers reach high temperatures -- up to 1,200 degrees, hot enough to boil water or burn wood -- and can cause up to third degree burns, especially if they unintentionally ignite clothing.

Sparklers are often handled by young children, sometimes on their own, and because of this potential for injury, children should be monitored very closely with sparklers (and all fireworks).

Recommended Safety Tips

  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is at a professional display.
  • Young children should not be permitted to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Reinforce withyour children essential fire safety tips, such as to "stop/drop/roll" and call 911.
  • If you do decide to light fireworks, make sure that you do it in an area that is open, away from homes/buildings and free from dry grass/leaves.Do not point or aim fireworks at a person, and make sure that people are out of range of the area where fireworks are being lit.
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket.
  • Do not use homemade or illegal fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time, and back up quickly after lighting.
  • Never re-light or pick up a firework that did not fully ignite.Wait 20 minutes, and then apply water before picking up.
  • Have a bucket of water or a hose nearby.

Bottom line: Go see a fireworks show done by professionals. You’ll enjoy the holiday a lot more.

About the Emergency Department of Doylestown Hospital

Brenda Foley, MD
Brenda Foley, MD
The Doylestown Hospital Emergency Department is staffed by certified emergency physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, registered nurses and patient care technicians. With 39 private treatment areas, two critical care suites and a designated pediatric/minor acute care area, the ED is equipped to handle any emergency. The ED was recognized with a Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award in 2013 for consistently high levels of patient satisfaction.

For more helpful tips or to connect with us, find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Inspired to Create Art, Inspiring to Others

Local artist and teacher Greg Telthorster was inspired by the Tuscan landscape, but his journey with a serious disease has inspired those who know him. His works are currently featured in the ArtWalk at Doylestown Hospital.

Greg Telthorster
Greg Telthorster was born to be an artist and teacher. "Mr. T" taught in the Hatboro-Horsham School District for some 30 years at just about every grade level, but mostly at the middle school. While he was teaching his pupils about art, Greg created art, too. He brought beauty to life through oil paints, selecting rich colors and real-life subjects.

Several years ago, Greg and his wife, Marcia, traveled to Italy to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. It was the start of a "painting spree," as Marcia calls it. For the next five years, Greg would create dozens of paintings of the Tuscan landscape, iconic stone doorways and colorful meadows.

His work would stop only after a devastating diagnosis in 2005. Greg started to experience weakness in his right hand and was later diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is a rapidly progressive, neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles.

According to the ALS Association, as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease, and about 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. ALS commonly strikes people between 40 and 60 years of age, but younger and older people can also develop the disease. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

Following the diagnosis, Greg continued to paint, but his right arm was failing. Mixing oil paints was a struggle. That's when three friends – who hadn't painted before – stepped in to help. They would become known as the "Painting Angels." At first Greg could apply the paint; later the "angels" would follow his directions and execute the brush strokes for him.

No longer able to create original works, Greg worked with a printer to make high-quality canvas reproductions called giclée prints of his oil paintings; available for sale on Greg's website.

Telthorster Art"People like his work," says Marcia. "The giclées allow more people to enjoy the work."

Despite using a wheelchair for the last seven years, Greg has continued his artistic pursuits, which include showing his work. He has participated in Doylestown's Arts Festival in the fall, and over this past winter he had a show at Kathy Davis Studios in Horsham.

"Greg was so happy he got to show his art in the community where he taught the kids," says Marcia.

Since shortly after Greg's diagnosis, both he and Marcia have been very active in promoting awareness of ALS and raising funds for research. They've helped with the ALS bike ride in June and been enthusiast participants for several years in the Walk to Defeat ALS in Philadelphia and Bucks County. Last November, Greg wasn't going to go to the walk, so his friend Patti Stover decided to bring the walk to him.

"There were 200 people on the street in our neighborhood doing the walk and there was a band in our family room," remembers Marcia. "It was a remarkable day."

Telthorster ArtPatti is the Senior Executive Director of Nursing Services at Doylestown Hospital. She and Marcia became friends during Marcia's nearly 20-year career at Doylestown during which she served as Director of Volunteer Services and Director of Human Resources.

The team "Legs for Greg" composed of family and friends has helped to raise more than $200,000 for ALS research over the years. "We are always so touched by the support we receive," Marcia says.

Technology has allowed Greg to continue pursuing his artistic interests. He uses a Jouse, or jaw mouse, to navigate a computer screen. Since his voice is failing, he uses a system called the Eyegaze to move his eyes over a computer screen to ‘talk.' Greg is currently working on a sort of virtual museum that can be used as an educational tool.

Marcia describes her husband as the "most amazing man ever."

"Greg never complains. He decided early on how he was going to handle this, that he would take the high road. He is a really wonderful person to be around. Greg is very inspiring to the rest of us. He handles everything with grace. And he does have a great sense of humor."

Greg's work can be seen in the Doylestown Hospital ArtWalk through the end of August.

"We are so touched that more people get to see the work Greg did," says Marcia. "The opportunity to display at Doylestown Hospital is very special."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Loving Life as a Locavore

Our nutrition expert weighs in on the benefits of eating locally-grown food.

Locavore (noun): A person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.

Locavore Living
These days, the average produce item travels about 1,500 miles from farm to table. Locavores try to shrink that distance to about a 100-mile radius. Since we're all supposed to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, summer is a great time to be a locavore. Produce grown at local farms – or your backyard – abounds.

"Consumers are more interested than ever about where and how their food is produced," according to Audrey Fleck of Healthy Directions Nutrition Therapy and Counseling. "Shopping at a farmer's market or local farm provides an opportunity to talk to the people who are at the center of bringing food from the farm to your plate."

There are several benefits of "going local," says Audrey.

Taste the Difference

Many people swear by the taste of local produce. One reason is the freshness – foods picked within 24 hours simply taste fresher.

Better Taste, Better For You

Produce loses nutrients and enzymes the longer it sits. Since local produce has a shorter time between harvest and your table, it is less likely the nutrient value has decreased.

Conventional farms generally grow fruits and vegetables they can mass produce and that will last a long time on the shelf, says Audrey.
Audrey Fleck, Nutritionist at Doylestown Hospital
Audrey Fleck

Audrey adds, "Because quantity and durability is a goal, conventionally grown food is more likely to use genetically-modified seeds (GMOs). There is controversy surrounding whether GMO foods are safe for human consumption. Because there is no long-term research on humans and negative health effects shown in animal studies, I caution against consumption of these foods. Local farms produce food with the goal of selling to the local and direct market (such as local restaurants and farmer's markets), so nutritional quality and taste would be more of a priority than durability."

Local Food Is Good for the Local Economy

Spending money at local farm markets keeps those dollars in your community to be reinvested with other local businesses. There are lots of farm markets in our area.

Every year, Penn State Extension publishes its handy guide "Fresh from Bucks County Farms: Guide to Roadside Markets & 'Pick Your Own' Farms" that includes a chart of what's in season, a list of 64 area farm markets (their location, contact info and hours of operation), a listing of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA's), community farm markets and more.

Benefits for the Environment

Keeping local farms in business means keeping farmland and open and/or green space preserved. With local food traveling a shorter distance (and using less fuel), locavores may also help conserve energy and reduce pollution. And, small farms often adopt environmentally-friendly practices.

"Many local farms are transparent in the way they grow their food and are happy to answer your questions," notes Audrey.

Seasons and the Value of Variety

From early summer strawberries to fall favorites like apples, local crops offer a variety of seasonal tastes at their peak of flavor. Local farmers are often able to try different crops and offer interesting varieties you might not find elsewhere.

Hungry for More?

Check out these sites for more information:

About Nutrition Counseling of Doylestown Hospital

Nutrition Counseling of Doylestown Hospital offers personalized nutrition plans for those with a current medical condition or those interested in preventive health and weight loss. For more helpful tips or to connect with us, find us on Facebook or Twitter.