Thursday, October 25, 2012
We rely on the support of others to help accomplish our goals

By Dr. Anthony Policastro One of the things that is very clear to those of us who have spent a full career in the military is that you never accomplish anything on your own. You are supported by the people that you work for, the people that you work with and the people that work for you. It is no different in the civilian world. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and Nanticoke Health Services have selected me as one of two physicians to be honored at this year's Tributes Banquet on Oct. 25. It is a great honor to be so recognized. However, it is clearly not an individual accomplishment. In the 3 to 5 minutes that I have for an acceptance speech, there are far too may people to thank than I could mention. For that reason since the Seaford Star is being published that same day, I would like to use this week's column to thank the many individuals who have supported me through the years. I will avoid mentioning specific names because I would most likely leave someone out. There are many different groups of individuals that I need to thank. First, any hospital is overseen by an executive team which includes the CEO and individuals at the vice president level. These were the people I worked with every day. There were many individuals who rotated in and out of those roles during my time at Nanticoke. However, they all brought something different to the executive team which allowed me to use their varied expertise to accomplish things that I would not have been able to do on my own. The many administrative assistants who supported me over the years tended to be the efficient and effective silent partners. The second major group was the physicians. One of the CEO's used to say that my job was "like herding cats." He meant that physicians are very individualistic so it is difficult to get them to move in similar directions. I did not see it that way at all. It was their individual differences that allowed us to make sure that when we did something, we did it right. The next group of individuals that I would like to thank are those with whom I worked with on an intermittent basis. They include a variety of diverse performers. For example, I admitted patients from the ER. I also went to the ER for pediatric patient codes (and often was the one that had to inform the family when things did not go well). I went to the OR to attend c-sections. I admitted patients to the inpatient pediatric service. I was often in the laboratory and radiology departments. All of these individuals helped me care for my patients. I would not have been able to provide care without them. There were other areas that were more administrative in nature. The medical records department where I played the "I dare you to find something wrong with my chart" game. The quality improvement and JCAHO areas which had so many changes over the years. This also includes the facilities management individuals. I sometimes felt like the stairway light bulb Nazi. Even areas that I did not interact with often, involved individuals that I had interactions with. I need to thank that diverse group of people as well. There is one special group of people that I need to applaud. When I formally retired as medical director at Nanticoke, I became the pediatric hospitalist for the next two years. That meant I spent several hours every morning working in the nursery. I hold very dear that relationship I developed over that period of time with the people on OB and the nursery. Part of that was the frequency. However, a more important part was the fact that the newborns were the group of patients who could get the sickest the fastest. I needed to have a group of people that I could trust to be my eyes and ears when I was not there. I needed to trust their observations and their judgment. They never disappointed me. The last major group of individuals that I need to address are the people who worked for me. There were many of them and they never stopped making me look good. They included the nurse practitioners, counselors and administrative assistants at the Wellness Centers in the three local high schools. They included the many individuals that worked in the Cancer Care Center when it was first built. They included the physicians and staff that were part of the Mid Sussex Medical Center. There were four physicians and support staff when I started. There were 18 physicians when I left. They included the case management individuals who were ever resilient. Their name changed frequently, their location in the hospital changed and their job description changed. However, they were always ready to make the changes and move forward. They included the medical staff office. I know I said that I did not want to use names, however, the support given to me by the medical staff office was so significant that I need to make sure that I recognize Lana Ruhe (who unfortunately became a cancer victim after her retirement), Natasha Snead and Melanie Bell. Without their help, there would have been so many lose ends that we would have had significant recurrent problems. My hat is off to them. I already indicated that no matter how inclusive you try to be, you always leave someone out. For that reason, I want to thank any area that I failed to mention. There were several groups of individuals who worked briefly for me so I apologize for not specifically including them. Also, all of the individuals that I did take time to thank were supported by many other people who helped them. I want to extend my thanks to those individuals as well. When I accept the award at the Tributes Banquet I will not be accepting it for myself. I am flattered and honored and humbled by my selection, however, it is clearly not based upon what I accomplished alone. Thank you to Nanticoke Health Services and the many individuals that supported me during my time there.

Expanded recall of medications Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) advises Delawareans who feel ill following spinal and joint injections received after May 21, 2012, to contact their health provider. This is in response to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) expanded recall of all New England Compounding Center (NECC) medications. FDA has now advised DPH that 13 Delaware health care providers received NECC medications that are part of the expanded recall. No illnesses in Delaware have been linked to NECC medications to date. Patients who feel ill following any of these injections received after May 21, 2012, should contact their health provider. Symptoms include: fever, new or worsening headache, nausea, and new neurological deficit. Symptoms typically have occurred within 1-4 weeks following injections. However, fungal infections can be slow to develop, and there are reports of longer periods between injection and symptoms. Patients and their doctors need to watch closely for symptoms for at least several months following the injection. While the recall was initiated due to an ongoing outbreak of fungal infections associated with a contaminated steroid injection - preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate - FDA cannot confirm the sterility of any of the NECC products. The following includes Delaware facilities identified by FDA as having received New England Compounding medications: Advanced Eye Care PA, Anesthesia Providers, Bayhealth Medical Center, Beebe Medical Center, Richard Bonder, MD, PA, Christiana Health System, Christiana Spine ASC, Glasgow Medical Center, Lewes Surgery Center, Pain Center of Delaware, Precision Pain and Rehab, St. Francis Hospital, Swier Clinic. Individuals with concerns about New England Compounding medications should call DPH's Bureau of Epidemiology at 1-888-295-5156.

Bayhealth offers balance screening To mark Physical Therapy Month in October, Bayhealth will offer free balance screenings for the public on Wednesday, Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Kent General Outpatient Rehabilitation Center, 560 S. Governors Ave., Dover. The balance screening will assess risk factors for falling and provide education about balance and the importance of maintaining flexibility and strength.

A new, high-tech system called the Balance System SD will conduct five tests on participants who simply stand on the machine. The system will test for fall risk, athletic single leg stability, limits of stability, postural stability and CTSIB (Clinical Test of Sensory Interaction and Balance). Following the screening, education will be presented to each participant to help them learn how they can prevent falls. Falls can cause serious health problems and injuries, especially among the elderly. While appointments are not necessary for this free screening, call 302-744-7095 for more information.

First flu cases confirmed Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) reports the state's first laboratory confirmed cases of influenza for the 2012-2013 flu season. DPH received reports of cases of influenza type B that were confirmed by commercial laboratories. The three cases were female: a 15-year-old from Smyrna; a 27-year-old from Seaford; and a 4-year-old from Bear who was identified Oct. 16. None were hospitalized. There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus - types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks each year. Beginning in October each year, DPH monitors the occurrence of influenza-like illness in hospitals, selected long term care facilities and medical clinics to track flu trends in the state. Reports so far do not suggest that influenza is widely circulating in Delaware. DPH urges all Delawareans 6 months of age and older who have not yet been vaccinated against the flu to get a vaccine as soon as possible. For DPH flu clinic schedules for this season, visit For more information on influenza prevention, diagnosis and treatment call the Division of Public Health at 1-888-295-5156 or 302-744-1033, or visit

Go Red scholarship program The American Heart Association and Macy's, national sponsor of Go Red For Women, announce the second year of the Go Red Multicultural Scholarship Fund which is designed to help women of diverse backgrounds achieve a dream of working in a healthcare position. This year's deadline is Nov. 30 and several prizes will be awarded in the amount of $2,500. For more information, or to apply online, visit

Tobacco cessation classes Bayhealth's seven week Tobacco Cessation program offers support and guidance to help you quit using all tobacco products. The next series of classes begins Tuesday, Nov. 6 and is held every Tuesday for seven weeks, ending on Dec. 18. The class will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Rehab Conference Room at Bayhealth Milford Memorial. This series of classes offers strategies to improve your lifestyle through behavior modification, diet, stress reduction, exercise and nicotine replacement therapy. The "quit week" is the fourth week of the program. This program is free to all Delaware residents. Call 1-877-453-7107 to register. You must be at least 18 to register and be able to attend all sessions. For more information, call Bayhealth Clinical Educator Terry Towne, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC, at 744-6724.

Hospice presents suicide conference Delaware Hospice's Family Support Center will hold a professional conference, "The Aftermath of Suicide," with keynote speaker, Dr. David Jobes, PhD, ABPP, on Friday, Oct. 26, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford. School guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, clergy, counselors, funeral service staff, bereaved and others, who provide grief support to the community, will benefit from this conference. Speakers will explore the top three "Why's" asked by survivors following a suicide death, effects of vicarious trauma on survivors, and the integration of the new life story. Contact hours (6.25) have been approved for social workers, mental health counselors, chemical dependency professionals, funeral services, nurses, and nursing home administrators. Cost of the workshop is $99 per person or $75 per student, which includes breakfast and lunch. Deadline for registration is Wednesday, Oct. 24. Register or learn more by contacting Vicki Costa, LCSW, associate director of Family Support Services, at 856-7717 or 800-838-9800, x1129, or

Prepared childbirth classes at PRMC Peninsula Regional Medical Center is offering a series of "Prepared Childbirth" classes in the fourth quarter of 2012. A traditional four week series of classes, which meet only on Mondays from 6 to 9 p.m., will begin on Nov. 19. A four week series that meets only on Tuesday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. will begin on Nov. 20. Parents also have the option of a weekend series on Oct. 27 and 28 or Dec. 15 and 16 that will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both days. All classes will be taught in the Avery W. Hall Educational Center on the PRMC campus. Meet other expectant parents at this interactive course that includes information about prenatal care, labor and delivery, post partum care and infant safety. Classes should be taken during the 6th to 8th month of pregnancy. The fee is $75 for the mom to be and her coach. Pre-registration is required. Participants are asked to bring a blanket and two pillows to each class. For more information, call 410-543-7126 or visit the Classes and Events section of the Peninsula Regional Medical Center website at for online registration.

HNMH offers CPR classes 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, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 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. 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 to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

HIV/AIDS Support Group A new support group for HIV/AIDS will meet every other Wednesday, at 7 p.m., in the Branford Lounge at Epworth UMC at 19285 Holland Glade Rd., Rehoboth Beach. The group is sponsored by Epworth UMC, CAMP Rehoboth, the AIDs Delaware and Delaware HIV Consortium. For more information, contact David at

Parkinson's support group meeting The Nanticoke Parkinson's Education and Support Group will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on the third Monday of each month, from 10 to 11:30 a.m in the ballroom at the Nanticoke Senior Center. The public is welcome to attend the meeting and stay for lunch and a social time after the meeting.