Thursday, July 07, 2011
Talk about organ donation now

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Organ donation is an unusual subject. We don't often discuss organ donation until we need to. At that point, we are usually talking about a loved one who is seriously ill or injured and it is not what we want to be discussing at that time. In our region, there are 6,514 individuals on organ donation waiting lists. Most of those are waiting for a kidney transplant. Last year there were only 392 organ donors in our area. That means that many people on the waiting list will die because there is no donor for them. The time to discuss organ donation is when you don't have to. You should have a discussion with your family to see if there is a desire to become an organ donor if the situation arises. Motor vehicle accident victims tend to be fairly healthy at the time of the accident. They don't expect to need to address organ donation at that point in their life. However, if they are in an accident, it presents a problem. All of a sudden the family has to cope with a seriously injured loved one and their own grief. A discussion about organ donation may add to the anxiety level so having that discussion ahead of time is one less thing to add to the grieving process. Most of us think of the auto accident victim as the typical organ donor. However, those individuals only account for about 25% of the organ donor population. The highest number of organ donors comes from individuals who have had an acute stroke. A classic example is the ruptured brain aneurysm which usually occurs in a healthy, middle aged individual. Again it is unexpected and difficult to have a discussion about organ donation under the circumstances. A discussion prior to the event becomes important. Another situation that accounts for a significant number of organ donors is an episode of brain death from a lack of oxygen. The best example is the drowning victim. A drowning victim might have their heart and lungs resuscitated so they begin breathing again. However, they might have been without oxygen for too long before the resuscitation. As in the other examples, the best times to have someone express their desire to be an organ donor is long before the event. There are some people who think that they might not be an eligible organ donor. In most cases that is not true. There are only two truly disqualifying conditions at this point. One is AIDS and the other is metastatic cancer. Other illnesses might not be disqualifying. Age is not always disqualifying. It is estimated that each organ donor can provide organs for up to eight individuals. Even with that being the case, the 392 donors that we had for 6,514 individuals is not adequate. That means that the time to have the discussion about being a possible organ donor is now. Talk about it now so you can concentrate on other emotions if the situation ever presents itself.

Community CPR class is offered Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford.Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friendsand community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants 12-years-old and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

PRMC receives commendation Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC) was recently awarded the highest level of certification for its Physician Continuing Medical Education (CME) program by MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society. PRMC was granted Accreditation with Commendation, and is the first MedChi Accredited Provider System CME program in the state of Maryland to receive the honor. The designation certifies the Medical Center's Physician CME program for a six-year period through 2016. Currently, PRMC offers over 400 physician CME credits per year, allowing doctors to fulfill their state CME requirements without having to take time away from patient care. In order for physicians to maintain their Maryland licensure, they are required to receive at least 50 CME credits over a two year term.

Nanticoke offers first aid Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community First Aid classes to anyone interested in learning first aid on Tuesday, July 12, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Nanticoke Training Center on Water Street in Seaford.

Participants will learn basic first aid that will enable them to administer help during the first few moments until emergency responders arrive. Classes are open to participants 13-years-old and up. The course covers cognitive learning, role-playing and skill practice. Cost is $30. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations (if seating is available) will be an additional $5 fee. To register, or for more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

NMH offers Stroke Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19, at the Seaford Library. The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support, and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 8626.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program. The location rotates each week of the month according to this schedule:
  • 1st Thursday: Grottos Pizza, Rt. 26, Bethany Beach;
  • 2nd Thursday: Georgia House, 300 Delaware Ave., Laurel;
  • 3rd Thursday: Millsboro Pizza Palace, Rt. 113-southbound lane, Millsboro;
  • 4th Thursday: Blue Ocean Grill (formerly Milton House), 200 Broadkill Rd., Milton;
  • 5th Thursday (when applicable): Texas Grill (formerly Ocean Point Grill), 26089 Long Neck Rd., Millsboro.
"New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required.There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Carol Dobson or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

Hospice holds camp for grieving kids Delaware Hospice has spaces available at its free, four-day Camp New Hope in Sussex County, which benefits children and teens coping with the loss of a loved one.Camp New Hope will be held from July 12 through July 15, at Trap Pond for Sussex County residents. Since 1990, Delaware Hospice's New Hope program has offered individual and family counseling to more than 1,500 children and adolescents aged 6-17 who have suffered a loss.New Hope supports children referred from the community as well as members of Delaware Hospice families. The New Hope program is based on the belief that children can be supported in the process of grief reconciliation if they are provided with opportunities to express their feelings.Camp New Hope is the annual highlight of the New Hope Program.This inspirational day camp takes place over four days, connecting children in similar age groups in order to help them process their feelings of loss and grief. Many of the children in New Hope have lost a parent, a grandparent, or another close relative to illness or sudden death. The children are encouraged to express themselves by creating art projects such as murals, memory boxes, pillows and clay sculpting.They sing, participate in role-play, discuss their feelings in a one-on-one setting, enjoy group discussion with peers and counselors, play, exercise and find that they are not alone in their grief. Each camp concludes with a memorial service attended by parents and family members. You may refer a child to this year's Camp New Hope by contacting New Hope Coordinator for Sussex County, Angela Turley at 856-7717, ext. 3104, or

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.