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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Grateful for Her Heart Attack

You might wonder why Edie Weinstein is actually thankful for the health issues – including a heart attack – she's had this year. Until she explains why.


To say Edie Weinstein had a busy schedule would be an understatement. For so many years, days consisted of working a 12-hour shift at her addictions counseling job, followed by several hours of writing at home, and maybe five hours of sleep.

"My friends and family warned me I couldn't keep up with this pace," says Edie, a freelance journalist and former magazine publisher who also hosts a radio show.

Edie thought she was a healthy 55-year-old. She ate a vegetarian diet and worked out at the gym. It turns out that diet of mostly prepared foods was high in cholesterol and sodium. And the workouts were just another facet of a lifestyle marked by constant movement, frenetic drive and overwhelming pressure. She also has a family history of heart disease.

Her body couldn't take it any more.

A day she'll never forget

It was June 12, 2014 and Edie was driving home from the gym when the jaw tightness and pain set in, followed by profuse sweat and a pain that outstripped heartburn. When she got to the Doylestown Hospital Emergency Department, Edie calmly told the nurse behind the desk, "I think I'm having a heart attack."

Within minutes she was taken upstairs to The Heart Institute where interventional cardiologist Joseph McGarvey, Jr. opened her blocked artery with a stent he had threaded through her wrist, called radial artery stenting. Edie emerged from the heart attack with no damage to her heart muscle, but her life would never be the same.

"I realized I was sleepwalking through a lot of my life. This was a huge wake up call for me," Edie says.

The first order of business was to take a week and a half off – no work, no working out, no attending to worries. "One of the hardest things to do was rest," says Edie, determined to become a "recovering workaholic."

Edie started doing Cardiac Rehabilitation at Doylestown Hospital. The professionally supervised exercise and education program helps patients increase their function and reduce chances of another cardiac event.

The staff at cardiac rehab encouraged and motivated Edie all along the way. "I call them my cheerleaders," says Edie.

She now participates in the Phase Three program at Cornerstone Fitness in Warrington, having learned how to exercise safely and effectively without overdoing it.

"I wasn't going to let this heart attack go to waste."

Edie had asthma as a kid and grew up always having to prove she could do anything. That drive carried into her adult life, which saw this licensed social worker take on speaking commitments and more and more writing assignments. She is also an interfaith minister who officiates weddings. Edie grew accustomed to taking care of others, often at her own expense.

"I was always saying ‘yes' to people when I really wanted to say ‘no'," she points out.

In addition to her heart attack this year, Edie has survived a case of shingles, a breast cancer scare, kidney stones and an exhausted adrenal system.

She took a hard look at her life.

"One of the things I want people to know is that as much as you think you're invincible, you're really not. Your body needs rest."

Edie now takes naps. She has scaled back her work and social schedules. She is determined to enjoy life by reveling in the simple things one day at a time and by having fun. In recent months she has dyed her hair purple and danced on stage at a Chubby Checker concert. The result? Blissful enjoyment.

The power of positivity

"A positive attitude is everything. I don't know how people who don't have one get through this," Edie says.

"I do my best to be grateful for everything." Topping Edie's list is her family and friends. Followed by resilience. "I'm not a victim," she says. "I'd rather be resilient and thrive."

Having a sense of humor helps. Edie is also grateful for creativity, the gift of writing and touching others' lives. She wants to spread the word about her experience and about women and heart disease, and the importance of slowing down.

"Now I look back at my old schedule and wonder how I did that for so many years."

This Thanksgiving and indeed, every day, Edie looks forward to what lies ahead with a sense of positivity and purpose.

"I have so much to be grateful for. I'm grateful for 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.

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Honoring a Friend Close to the Heart

Doylestown Hospital and the Friends of the Heart Institute honored longtime supporter Herman Silverman for his dedication to the hospital and for his devotion to advancing cardiac care for our community.

The year was 1978 and local businessman Herman Silverman and two of his peers decided to start a club. The goal of the $100 Club was to ensure that Doylestown Hospital, their community hospital, could provide excellent cardiac care for years to come.

This club evolved into The Friends of The Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital. Growing from the seed funds of 1978, this group has raised more than $1 million over the years. The Friends of the Heart Institute is a volunteer, membership-driven organization dedicated to the promotion of heart-healthy lifestyles and the financial support of cardiac care at Doylestown Hospital.

To thank Herman, Doylestown Hospital commissioned a special plaque that now resides in the halls of The Richard A. Reif Heart Institute, named for longtime Doylestown Hospital CEO Rich Reif who retired in 2012.

"It's such a pleasure to work with so many wonderful people. I feel so privileged," said Herman when he got his first look at the plaque.

The plaque reads, "In 1978 Herman Silverman, local business leader and philanthropist, recruited three other businessmen-Elmer Cates, Frank Galinski and John Knoell—to found the $100 Heart Club. Each year they would enlist 100 members, resulting in an annual commitment of $10,000 to improve the delivery of heart care at Doylestown Hospital. Dr. Bruce Applestein and Dr. Joseph McGarvey, Sr. were the first cardiologists supported by the new organization. Herman served as Chairman through 1999 and thanks to his leadership and dedication, over $1 million has been raised by the group he founded. Today, The Heart Institute is recognized nationally and has received numerous awards for advanced cardiac care."

The Friends have helped the Heart Institute grow into the world-class program it is today. Doylestown Hospital is a regional center of excellence for cardiology and cardiac surgery. The team has extensive experience with valve repair and replacement, including minimally-invasive valve surgery and TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement).

About the AFib Center of Doylestown Hospital

The AFib Center of the Heart Institute offers a complete range of treatments from medical management to complex convergent procedures. The center’s success rates for AFib ablation are comparable to the leading AFib centers across the United States.

As an accredited Chest Pain Center, treating heart attack is a team effort involving EMS who transmit EKGs to the hospital, fast-track protocols in the Emergency Department and an experienced team of interventional cardiologists in the cath lab. A notable 75% of the catheterizations done at Doylestown Hospital are done using radial artery access.

For more information about becoming a Friends of the Heart Institute member, please look online or call 215-345-2124. Your membership is a tax-deductible gift that will touch the lives of thousands who turn to Doylestown Hospital for heart care.

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.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Great American Smokeout

As the American Cancer Society marks today as the 37th annual Great American Smokeout, it serves as a reminder that quitting is essential for your health.

The Great American Smokeout encourages over 43 million American smokers, as of June 2013, to quit tobacco smoking for 24 hours in hopes that their decision not to smoke will be long lasting.

Smoking causes more damage to the body than many people may be aware of. The infographic below, illustrates what damage smoking does to your body.


Take Action

Whether you are a smoker or not, you can help to support millions of people in the fight to end cancer. Below are a handful of resources available from the American Cancer Society:

Health Matters on CBTV

Doylestown Hospital has partnered with the Central Bucks School District to produce a monthly health education program on the district's cable TV network, CBTV. Stay tuned for a blog post about the show, "Be Smart, Don't Start," and discover even more reasons why people should quit smoking, or, even better, never start. Show covers:
  • Dangers of smoking to your health and financial status
  • Vaping and other forms of tobacco
  • What it's like for people who have emphysema and smoking-related illness
  • Lung cancer and screening
  • An actual diseased lung with emphysema and cancerous tumor
  • Benefits of quitting and resources available to help you quit smoking

About the Cancer Institute of Doylestown Hospital

Accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, the Cancer Institute of Doylestown Hospital offers patients the quality care they expect from a leader in cancer diagnosis and treatment— close to home. Comprehensive services include oncology-certified patient navigators, a state-of-the art infusion suite, Penn Radiation Oncology on site, and access to cutting-edge therapies and innovative clinical trials through the Penn Cancer Network.

Visit the Cancer Institute of Doylestown Hospital or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Kids

The holidays are heading our way. And with them come lots of treats and holidays food feasts for the whole family. Kristin Morrow, RD, LDN, CDE, nutritionist, shares some tips on how to help kids to follow a healthy diet over the holidays.

Kids face the same eating challenges over the holidays as adults such as school parties and visiting family and friends; with food being a focal point of these gatherings.

Adults tend to allow kids to have extra sweets at the holidays, like a special breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes with syrup well before the big dinner event on Thanksgiving, leftover pie after every dinner until it's gone and hot chocolate and cookies with sugary toppings for nighttime snacks in December.

How can children eat healthy at holidays parties?

Provide your child with regular meals and snacks during the day, so that they are not extremely hungry when they get to the party. Include good sources of fiber like fruits and vegetables, protein like lean meat, nuts and beans, and a little healthy fat like oils, olives, or vinaigrette salad dressing to increase their feeling of satisfaction and help with blood sugar stability so they are not as eager to eat all the sugary and fatty treats when they arrive at a party.

Should children help with cooking during the holidays?

Cooking with kids is always a fun and casual opportunity for a teaching lesson. Rather than point out to kids what not to eat as they are shoving a fourth cookie in their mouths, a cooking session allows you to talk about appropriate portions and benefits of the whole grains, fruits and vegetables in the recipes.

Talking about healthy portions and nutritious foods when a child is cooking rather than eating is one of the best ways to keep the focus on the food and avoid the child having guilt feelings as a parent points out they are overindulging. Also, hands-on learning makes the lesson more real for kids, and gives them a sense of accomplishment, which may help them to be more interested in the food they had a hand in making.

How can parents limit sweets during the holidays?

Don't make everything sweet, and allow for that treat later in the day to have a flavor impact. Also, encourage them to slow down their sweet eating. Practice this before a party: have each member of the family take a bite of a cookie and put the cookie down while chewing and savoring the cookie. Don't pick the cookie up again before chewing well and swallowing. This activity makes the sweet last longer and allows the brain and the digestive tract to communicate when enough is consumed.

How important is it for adults to be good role models during the holidays?

Being a good role model is critical for helping kids to develop good eating patterns and a healthy relationship with food during the holidays and year-round. Some tips include:
  • Eat wholesome meals and snacks. Include fruits, vegetables, protein and healthy fat.
  • Don't skip meals to "save" up for later.
  • Be mindful! Don't be distracted by your phone, TV or work while you are eating. This will help you be better prepared to decide when you are full, and it will teach your kids not to engage in distractions during eating as well.
  • Food is not a reward! Giving sweets and treats as rewards sends a message that they are more desirable than other more health-promoting foods with less intense flavors.
  • Try new foods. Different holiday traditions and a plethora of seasonal recipes can help to expose you and your child to different tastes and textures.

What tips do you have for keeping kids active over the holidays?

  • Be active yourself.
  • Take a family walk or play soccer or kickball.
  • Organize a scavenger hunt, asking kids to search the yard or nearby park for items in nature like a 7 inch pine cone, a red leaf, and a black rock, etc.
  • Limit screen time to less than 2 hours. Turn on music for a dance party, start a hula hoop contest, or have everyone pitch in with household chores.

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. Visit Nutrition Counseling of Doylestown Hospital for more information.

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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Coping With the Holidays While Grieving

The holidays can be a challenging time for those mourning the loss of a loved one. Support is available. A Doylestown Hospital Hospice bereavement coordinator offers suggestions for coping and details about a free seminar on November 17.

Most of us eagerly anticipate the holiday season and look forward to celebrating good times. "The holidays for most of the world continue to be joyous," says Celia M.R. Blum, MSW, Doylestown Hospital Hospice Bereavement Coordinator. "Everywhere you see advertisements, it's in the media and in the stores." But for people who have recently lost a loved one, there may be a very different feeling going into the holiday season.

"People can feel more isolated or out of place. They're surrounded by everything that's celebratory. The fact that some people are grieving is not really acknowledged," says Celia.

It's not just the holidays that can be challenging for the newly bereaved. Anniversaries, birthdays and other special dates can be daunting particularly in the first year after a loss.

Celia offers several suggestions for coping with the holidays and other special occasions.

5 Tips to Cope with Grief During the Holidays

  • Focus on You - Don’t expect to do everything you have done in the past. Focus on you and choose what brings you the most comfort.
  • Create a Support System - Ask yourself, "What do I need to make it through this holiday season?" Set up your own support system with family and friends. During your griefing period, even the smallest gesture from a loved one can provide you with comfort.
  • Evaluate Traditions or Create New Ones - Decide whether to continue traditions over the first year after a loss. Realize that things may be different in the future and planning something different is not an insult to the memory of a loved one and can be a positive way to ease some of the pressure.
  • Be Honest With People - Be honest about what you can and can't do. Don’t force yourself to do certain things or feel a certain way. Put yourself first versus others.
  • Plan Ahead - Think about the holidays and important dates now so you have a plan in place. Make decisions that are in your best interest.

Coping with the Holiday Season Seminar

Celia and hospice volunteer Barry Kaplan, MD will present "Coping with the Holiday Season," a free bereavement seminar. They will explore challenges, coping strategies and discuss ways to honor and remember the loved one who has died.
Date and Time:
Monday, November 17, 2014 at 1:30pm to 3:30pm
The event is free. To register, or for more information including location, call 215-345-2079.

About Hospice Bereavement Services

Doylestown Hospital Hospice provides a comprehensive bereavement program for members of our community. Educational seminars, ongoing support groups and meals together provide opportunities for support with others who can relate. For information and a complete listing of ongoing events, call 215-345-2079.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Infusion Therapies: Beyond Cancer Care

Did you know two-thirds of outpatient infusion services at Doylestown Hospital are for treatments other than chemotherapy?

When it comes to infusion services, many people are familiar with chemotherapy, but infused medications are also available to treat other medical conditions such as MS (multiple sclerosis) and RA (rheumatoid arthritis).

"We have many patients who use infusion services for blood products and IV fluid replacement, targeted therapies for RA, Crohn's and psoriasis, and albumin replacement for chronic liver conditions," says Betsy Alexander, RN, BSN, MS, OCN, CHPN, director of Cancer Services at Doylestown Hospital.

Outpatient Infusion Unit Amenities

At the core of the Outpatient Infusion Unit is clinical care, comfort and convenience. The unit includes five private rooms and six treatment bays that include space for a support person. With easy access from route 202 and valet parking, our goal is to make it as easy as possible for our patients to get to us.

Our spacious and comfortable unit provides patients with state-of-the-art devices, equipment and infusion pumps, a dedicated pharmacist who serves as a resource for nurses and to provide patient education, and flat-screen TVs among other amenities. The Cancer Institute also has an on-site laboratory, so patients may have blood work done while receiving treatment.

Another feature, which is intangible but just as important in making patients feel comfortable and confident about their care, are the nurses. "The main thing is the nurses really take an interest in what's important to each and every patient. It truly is patient-centered care," says Betsy.

"And patient education is huge," Betsy adds. "At least 50% of what the nurses do is patient education."

Our experienced, oncology-certified nurses spend extra time with new patients on the first day of treatment carefully going over each step of the care plan. They provide each patient with a personalized calendar, which contains information about everything from possible side effects to pain management.


Treating Multiple Sclerosis (MS) with Infusion Therapy

Tysabri® (natalizumab) is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 and may reduce the number of MS flare-ups each year and slow progression of physical disability. It is an infusion given every 28 days.

Because it increases the risk of getting a rare brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), Tysabri® is available only through a restricted distribution program called the TOUCH® Prescribing Program. To meet criteria to become a TOUCH® site, the staff of the Outpatient Infusion Unit at The Cancer Institute of Doylestown Hospital completed specialized training.

"We wanted to be able to offer this to the community," says Betsy. "I've known patients who were traveling as far away as the Lehigh Valley for this treatment. But for anyone dealing with a chronic illness, it's better to be close to home. Your life is disrupted enough without having to travel far away for treatment."

About The Cancer Institute of Doylestown Hospital

Accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, The Cancer Institute of Doylestown Hospital offers patients the quality care they expect from a leader in cancer diagnosis and treatment — close to home. Comprehensive services include oncology-certified patient navigators, a state-of-the art infusion suite, Penn Radiation Oncology on site, and access to cutting-edge therapies and innovative clinical trials through the Penn Cancer Network.

Visit the Cancer Institute of Doylestown Hospital or connect with us onFacebook or Twitter.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fight the Flu

Flu season is here. While media attention has focused on the Ebola virus lately, it is important to know the basics about flu and how to best protect yourself.

Despite the media hype, experts suggest your chances of getting the flu are much greater than contracting Ebola. There is a vaccine for the flu, and common everyday practices can decrease your chance of getting sick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu deaths in the U.S. range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people per season, which starts in the fall and usually peaks between December and February. The flu causes thousands of hospitalizations each year.

The elderly, the young and those with certain health conditions are at higher risk for complications from the flu.

What Is the Flu?

Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Most experts believe that you get the flu when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks and droplets containing flu germs land in your mouth or nose. But you can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose. That is why frequent hand hygiene is such an important part of staying healthy.

Flu Symptoms May Include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Feeling very tired

Visit Our Cold and Flu Prevention Pinterest Board:



Fighting the Flu

The flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu. "It's never too late to get a flu shot," says Doylestown Hospital Infection Preventionist Krista Doline, BS, MT (ASCP), CIC. "Get it as soon as you can to protect yourself and your loved ones."

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older. Doylestown Hospital requires all associates and volunteers to get the flu vaccine every year to protect patients, themselves and their loved ones. That's how important vaccination is.

The seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against what research suggests will be the main flu viruses circulating that season.

Where Can You Get a Flu Shot?

You can talk to your primary care physician, look in the newspaper for flu clinics or check out the internet. There's a ton of information online. Try Flu.gov. On the homepage you can enter your zip code and find flu vaccine providers. Also, the CDC provides lots of important information.

"And, no, you can't get the flu from a flu shot," adds Krista. The influenza viruses contained in a flu shot are inactivated (killed), which means they cannot cause infection. And, there's even a new vaccine for people who are allergic to eggs.

Stop the Spread of Germs

Wash your hands often. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or cough into your elbow. Try to avoid contact with sick people. If you are sick, experts recommend that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.

If you have been diagnosed with the flu, you should stay home and follow your health care provider's recommendations. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about over-the-counter and prescription medications to ease flu symptoms and help you feel better faster.

If you need a physician, find a physician online or call the PulseLine at 215-345-2121. For more helpful tips or to connect with us, find us on Facebook or Twitter.

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