Thursday, March 19, 2009
Cameras can be a dangerous feature to a child's cellphone
By Anthony Policastro, M.D
A few months ago I wrote about the reasons I had concerns about children under age 16 using cell phones. The news has recently added one more reason to restrict cell phone use to responsible adults. The reason has been called sexting. This is a term that relates to the use of the picture taking components of cell phones. It involves sending sexually suggestive pictures via cell phones. The usual case is that of an adolescent girl who sends a picture of herself to her boyfriend. The picture may have her semi-clothed. The picture may have her unclothed. The statistics are relatively startling. A survey showed that 20% of adolescents send such pictures via their cell phone. Another survey showed that 44% of adolescents have received such pictures. While the pictures are usually meant for one individual to view them, that does not always happen. Most adolescent boys who receive such a picture tend to brag about it to their friends. Thus they show it to all of their friends. Sometimes the pictures get downloaded to a page like facebook so everyone can view them. There was one girl in the Midwest who sent a picture to her boyfriend. They later broke up. He shared the picture with the entire school. She was branded as a slut by all her classmates. She committed suicide. What is more at issue is the fact that every state has laws related to child pornography. In most cases the sender is underage. Therefore the sending of it makes them a violator of the law. The recipient then has child pornography on his cell phone. If he passes it on to others, then he is distributing child pornography. A recent survey of 225 high school students asked if they knew sexting was against the law. Only 31 were aware of that. At the very least parents need to make it clear to their children that they expect them to obey this law. Many localities are left with no choice but to prosecute the adolescents when they find this kind of thing. In one case a 19 year old boy received a picture from his 15 year old girlfriend. He passed it on. He got caught. He was sent to prison for 6 years. Some police departments have started prosecuting adolescents under 18 for these activities. The real question for parents is whether their adolescent falls into the 20% who send pictures or the 80% who do not. Since 44% of adolescents receive pictures, the odds are about 50/50 that your adolescent has received such a picture. Like all devices cell phones require a great deal of responsibility on the part of the user. There are some basic cell phones that do not take pictures. Perhaps that is all your child needs.

Cancer Networking Support Group The Wellness Community of Delaware offers a "General Cancer Networking" support group the third Monday of each month from 4:30- 6:30 p.m. held at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center second-floor library, Seaford. Professionally led cancer support programs offer hope, education, and emotional support for adults with cancer and their loved ones who want to fight for recovery and the quality of their lives. Learn how to feel less isolated and more in control. All programs offered through The Wellness Community of Delaware are free of charge to people affected by cancer. For further information, or to register, call 645-9150.

Cancer Center hosts program Women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer can now receive free professional help to cosmetically disguise the appearance-related side effects of treatment. Look Good...Feel Better, a program developed by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the National Cosmetology Association, trains volunteer cosmetologists to help women with cancer conceal loss of hair, skin problems, and other side effects that can result from cancer therapy. Cancer Care Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will host the program on Monday, March 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Cancer Care Center's 2nd floor conference room. The program is free to all patients in active cancer treatment. Registration is required and space is limited. To register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center at 629-6611, ext. 2588.

CHEER plans healthy living expo On Tuesday, April 21 the CHEER Community Center in Georgetown will host a free Healthy Living Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Healthy Living Expo, which is open to the public, has room for more vendors to set up a table at the expo. The fee is $75 or $50 if you offer a health screening. For registration or more information, call 302-854-9500.

Tunnel Cancer Center fundraiser The Sussex County Cancer Survivors Fund will host a fundraising event for the Tunnel Cancer Center patient-relief fund from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, at Gray Hare on Route 24 in Lewes. The event includes food, music and other entertainment. Proceeds will benefit the relief fund at Tunnel Cancer Center, which helps patients in financial duress while they fight catastrophic illnesses. For more information, email or contact Frank Shade at 302-542-5582.

Nanticoke offers cholesterol class Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next cholesterol class is Tuesday, March 31 at 5 p.m. at the hospital. The class will focus on foods and eating habits that may help manage cholesterol levels and incorporate practical suggestions for overcoming the barriers to eating in a heart healthy way. Topics include risk factors, saturated, unsaturated fats, trans fats, portion sizes and other American Heart Association guidelines. Class fee is $20 and pre-registration is required. For more information and to register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 2455.

Diabetes education classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford will hold a four-session diabetes educational program beginning Wednesday, April 8 and continuing April 15, 22 and 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the hospital. Registration is required and the cost of the four-session program may be reimbursable by insurance. This four-session program includes weekly education sessions and individualized meal planning for diabetes self-management. Family members/significant others are welcome to attend. For more information and to register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education Department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Stroke and Osteoporosis Screening Residents living in and around the Seaford community can be screened to reduce their risk of having a stroke or bone fracture. The Seaford VFW Post #4961 will host Life Line Screening on April 8. The site is located at 9767 Middleford Road in Seaford. Appointments will begin at 9 a.m. Screenings identify potential cardiovascular conditions such as blocked arteries and irregular heart rhythm, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and hardening of the arteries in the legs, which is a strong predictor of heart disease. A bone density screening to assess osteoporosis risk is also offered and is appropriate for both men and women. Packages start at $139. All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete. For more information call 1-877-237-1287 or visit Pre-registration is required.

Respiratory care recognized Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Respiratory Care Department has earned Quality Respiratory Care Recognition (QRCR) under a national program aimed at helping patients and families make informed decisions about the quality of respiratory care services available in hospitals. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is one of only 700 hospitals in the United States to apply and receive this award. To qualify, Nanticoke proved it met a series of criteria regarding staff competence, availability of critical services, and a physician designated as medical director of respiratory care services. Dr. Amir Quefatieh is the medical director of respiratory care services at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. The Respiratory Care Department provides assessments, diagnostics, and treatment for patients with pulmonary disorders and also offers education, prevention practices and screenings at community health events.

Caregiver training available The Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter sponsors The Family Caregiver Education Series four times a year in each of Delaware's three counties. Delaware Hospice Center at 100 Patriots Way in Milford will host the training on Friday, April 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The program includes a medical overview, legal and financial issues, challenging symptoms, daily care issues and information on getting the help you need. Training for family caregivers is free and lunch will be provided by Delaware Hospice. Pre-registration is required by Friday, April 17. For more information or to register, call Jamie Magee at 302-854-9788.

ESMGMA plans seminar The Eastern Shore Medical Group Managers Association will host a seminar on "How to Handle Difficult Patients" on Saturday, March 25 at noon at Adam's Ribs in Fruitland, Md. The speaker is Bob Teale, a certified ophthalmic executive with the Eye Care Business Advisory Group of Allergan, Inc., an eye care company based in Irvine, Calif. Teale works with medical practices, physician groups, hospital pharmacies, billing companies and managed care organizations. His advisory expertise includes financial analysis, human resource management, optical shop enhancement, leadership training, practice valuations, strategic planning and overall practice efficiency. There is a $15 charge for lunch and space is limited. To attend the seminar, call Bill Martin at 410-546-2500, ext. 112 or email

Depression support group There will be a bimonthly Depression Support Group meeting in Laurel on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Any person who suffers from depression is welcome to attend. To register, call the Delaware Mental Health Association at 800-287-6423.

Hospice promotes Decisions Day Have you thought about your future health care? The term "Advance Directive" may sound intimidating or irrelevant, but the reality is that every adult should have one. An Advance Directive enables individuals to make legally valid decisions regarding future medical treatment, in the event that they are unable to speak for themselves, and ensures that those wishes are carried out in the manner they have chosen. This document records your medical care preferences for your physician, loved ones and clergy, and relieves the decision-making burden from your family members. Delaware Hospice is participating in a national effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-makingan effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16, 2009 as National Healthcare Decisions Day. Representatives from Delaware Hospice will be available throughout April to speak to your organization about Advance Directives. For more information, call 1-800-838-9800, and ask for the Community Ed representative for your area.

Nurses' assistant program Become a member of the rapidly expanding health care field by taking the evening nurses' assistant course, offered through Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus. Instruction will be given at LifeCare at Lofland Park in Seaford and Delaware Tech in Georgetown from April 27 to June 25; classes will meet on Monday through Thursday from 5 to 10:30 p.m. This 150-hour course teaches students to safely perform basic nursing skills under the supervision of a licensed nurse. Graduates will be prepared to take the Nurse Aid Competency Exam for certification. All nurses' assistants must take this exam to be certified to work in Delaware. Funding through the Department of Labor and limited scholarships are available for this course. For complete information, contact Delaware Tech's Corporate and Community Programs at 302-854-6966.

Buffet benefits LifeCare LifeCare at Lofland Park will host a buffet dinner at the Georgia House Restaurant in Laurel on Monday, March 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. Dinner includes an all-you-can-eat buffet consisting of Mississippi Cajun catfish, Yankee pot roast, buttermilk fried chicken, pasta marinara, salad, rolls, various sides, assorted desserts and non-alcoholic beverage. Carryout is available. Adults are $16.99 each, ages 4 to 12 cost $8.99, and ages 3 and under eat free with a paying adult. All money raised will be used for entertainment costs for residents at LifeCare at Lofland Park. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact LifeCare at Lofland Park at 628-3000, ext. 8300 or via email at