Thursday, December 27, 2012
Gun deaths are high in the U.S.

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
The holiday season has taken a more somber note after the recent shootings in a Connecticut school. We mourn the loss of the children and teachers in that unfortunate incident.
It won't be long until the vocal minority of gun advocates try to put a spin on it that makes gun ownership not play a role in what happened.
These individuals use statistics to try and justify a situation that ultimately does a great deal of harm to the population of our country.
Most of the time they point out that gun incidents are rarer than other kinds of accidents. That is clearly true. However, we spend a lot of time trying to prevent all kinds of accidents. Our focus on gun related deaths in children needs to have the same zero tolerance that we have for other major childhood problems.
For example, in an average year about 80 children under age 14 die from handgun related incidents. Just think how horrified we would be if we heard the news about those deaths occurring on a single day.
Here is a list of the top 15 nations (in order) in terms of death from guns: El Salvador, Jamaica, Honduras, Guatemala, Swaziland, Colombia, Brazil, Panama, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, U.S.A, Montenegro, Paraguay and Nicaragua. You might ask what the U.S.A. has in common with the rest of the countries on that list. I, for one, do not know.
In children, the problem occurs in the home. 50% of childhood gun deaths occur in their own home.
40% more occur at the home of a friend or relative. This should tell us that when there are children around, guns need to be locked up.
They need to be kept in separate places from the ammunition. They need to be kept unloaded.
Unfortunately, the statistics show that in 30% of homes with children, guns are kept unlocked and loaded. They also know that 75 to 80% of first and second graders can tell you where the guns are kept in the household.
About 34% of children live in a house where there is a gun. Then 69% of that group has access to more than one gun.
There is some good news in that the number of deaths have been declining over the years.
From 1997 to 2002 the number of unintentional deaths from firearms declined by 80%. Therefore, we are addressing the issue.
As individuals, we need to understand that children and accidents go hand in hand. If there are children in the household, guns should not be left unlocked and loaded where the children can get them.
Video games that involve shooting weapons are not for children. Things like Call of Duty have no place in the children's video game world. Many studies have shown that seeing and using violence in any form of media makes children insensitive to further violence down the road.
We all have a role in protecting our children. That involves what we do as individuals. It also involves what we do as a population when we look at the kinds of gun control laws that make sense. It involves realizing that the gun lobby can make you believe anything they want because they have the money to do so.

Quality health coverage is coming
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced that Delaware is the first state to be conditionally approved to operate a State Partnership Exchange. Delaware is partnering with HHS to operate an exchange, which will be ready for open enrollment in October 2013.
A Partnership Exchange allows states to make key decisions and tailor the marketplace to local needs and market conditions.
"I applaud Delaware's work to build a new health insurance marketplace," Secretary Sebelius said. "Delaware has made significant progress, and will be ready in ten months for open enrollment when Delawareans will be able to use the new marketplace to easily purchase quality health insurance plans."
Because of the Affordable Care Act, consumers and small businesses will have access to a new marketplace starting in 2014 where they can access quality, affordable private health insurance. These comprehensive health plans will ensure consumers have the same kinds of insurance choices as members of Congress. Consumers in every state will be able to buy insurance from qualified health plans directly through these marketplaces and may be eligible for tax credits to help pay for their health insurance.
To learn more about Exchange conditional approvals, visit:
For more information on Exchanges, visit:

Diabetes educational program
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, will hold a four-session diabetes educational program on Jan. 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 5 to 7 p.m., at the hospital. Registration is required and the cost 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 the weekly sessions. To register and for more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

A.I. duPont now on network
The Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) has announced that Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington is now making clinical results available to community healthcare providers through DHIN.
Launched in 2007, DHIN has grown to include 97% of Delaware's health care providers who have access to a wide array of medical information from hospitals, laboratories, medical imaging providers and pharmacies.
With the recent addition of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children and with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital set to begin sending data within weeks, all of Delaware's acute care hospitals are now participating on the Delaware Health Information Network.

Free tobacco cessation classes
Make quitting tobacco your first resolution for 2013. Join Bayhealth for its next seven-week series of tobacco cessation classes and let us help you eliminate cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco from your life.
Classes start Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, and are held on consecutive Wednesdays: Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30, and Feb. 6, 13, 20, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., at the Bayhealth Education Classroom on 208 W. Water St., Dover.
The program is free for all Delaware residents. Participants must be at least 18-years-old to register. Quit week is mid-way through the program.
To find out more, contact Terry Towne, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC, at 302-744-6724, or visit To register, call 877-453-7107.

Massey wins Educator Award
Gretchen Massey, RN, PCCN, a clinical coordinator on the Intermediate Care Unit, Kent General Hospital, is the 2012 winner of the Geraldine Webb Palladino Outstanding Educator Award.

The award honors Geraldine "Gerri" Palladino's enduring contributions and untiring energy in promoting the professional development of hospital staff. Recipients demonstrate the same unwavering commitment to excellence that characterized Gerri's work at Kent General Hospital.
Massey received the award for her dedication to and passion for the nursing profession. She frequently mentors other nurses. Many patients and colleagues praise her bedside manner. Massey began her nursing career as an LPN at Kent General in 1990. Since then, she has earned her RN and BSN degrees from Wilmington University.

Bariatric surgery info sessions
When diet and exercise aren't enough to help you lose weight and keep it off, support and tools are available to help you meet your goals. Bariatric (weight loss) surgery can be the key to helping you get rid of many obesity-related health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and joint pain.
The first step in the process is attending an informational seminar. The Bayhealth Bariatric Program conducts monthly bariatric surgery seminars for people interested in weight loss surgery. The next sessions will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 2 and Wednesday, Jan. 23 at Milford Memorial Hospital Conference Rooms A & B and Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Kent General Hospital General Foods Conference Rooms 1 & 2.
Learn more about the Bayhealth Bariatric Program including the laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery (LAP-BAND¨), The Laparoscopic Roux en Y Gastric Bypass, and the Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy. Find out about the risks, benefits and outcomes. Meet the surgeons, and staff of the bariatric program and ask them any questions and see if you meet the criteria for bariatric surgery.
These seminars are free of charge and all are welcome. Register by calling the Bayhealth Bariatric Office at 430-5454 or register online at

It's not too late for a flu shot
Give yourself the gift of good health this holiday season: get a flu shot. Although flu season has officially started, it's not too late to take steps to prevent infection. Bayhealth Medical Center has joined the growing ranks of U.S. healthcare systems that make the annual flu shot mandatory for all employees. Staff who do not receive the shot are required to wear masks when in patient areas.
Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that 63% of healthcare personnel nationwide have been vaccinated this year. According to the CDC, over 100 cases of the flu have been confirmed in Delaware in 2012. 45% of the state's cases are in Kent County, with 31% in New Castle County and 24% in Sussex County. More than half of those cases have been confirmed in the last two weeks, indicating that flu season is picking up.
Because flu season usually peaks in January and February, getting the flu shot now will still provide protection against influenza virus infection. Cases of the flu have been reported as late in the year as May.

Breathe Well facilitator workshop
The American Lung Association in Delaware invites all healthcare professionals and professionals trained in asthma management to join them for the Breathe Well, Live Well Facilitator Workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 630 Churchmans Rd., Ste. 202, Newark.
The workshop will train qualified health professionals to be Breathe Well, Live Well certified facilitators. Breathe Well, Live Well is an adult asthma management program from the American Lung Association.
The workshop costs $300 for the day, with breakfast and lunch included. For more information or to RSVP, call Nicole Goldsboro at 302-737-6414 or email at

2013 Biggest Loser Challenge
Bayhealth Lifestyles Fitness Center, 2013 Biggest Loser Challenge is looking for individuals who need to lose 10 or more pounds and would like the help of our expert fitness coaches to achieve their goals.
The Biggest Loser Challenge begins Jan. 7, 2013 and will end March 30. During the 12-week program, each participant will work with a fitness coach; participate in weekly weigh-ins; receive fitness/nutrition handouts; keep a weekly food diary; and track performance goals. At the end of the challenge, the contestant who has lost the greatest percentage of his/her original weight will win the grand prize.
Last year's competition featured 101 contestants who lost a combined 1,116 pounds.
To participate, visit Bayhealth Lifestyles Fitness Center in Dover or Milford during regular business hours to pick up a medical history form and registration packet. Costs include a $50 participation fee and three-month membership ($150 for Dover/$125 for Milford).

Go Red for Women 2013
The Southern Delaware Go Red For Women will be held on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013.
Tickets, which are $35 each, include extensive health screenings, $10 gift card from Macy's, guest gift bag and lunch, entertainment that includes fashion show and silent auction. Table sponsorships are $1,000 and exhibitor sponsorships are $1,500. The event begins at 10 a.m. with lunch and the program starting at noon. For more information, visit

Sussex Tech offers CEHRS program
The nation's health care delivery system is rapidly being transformed by the introduction of computer based health information systems. The Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist (CEHRSª) program offered by Sussex Tech Adult Division covers the information necessary to earn your certification in this exciting new field.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is anticipating explosive growth in the number of jobs needed by the health care industry over the next five to seven years. Prepare yourself for employment in this area by enrolling today in this program and by earning a nationally recognized certification.
Classes are forming now and will begin on Jan. 15, 2013. For more information or to enroll, call the Sussex Tech Adult Division office at 856-9035 or visit

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.

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