Thursday, May 31, 2007
Three hospitals ban smoking

By Anthony Policastro, M.D
About six months ago, I wrote about a trend in smoking cessation. That trend will become a reality at three local hospitals on July 1, 2007. Those hospitals will move to smoke free campuses. For that reason, I decided to update the article. Hospitals that move to smoke free campuses will not allow smoking anywhere on the hospital property. That will be true for hospital staff. That will be true for visitors. That will be true for patients. A reaction to this might be that it is not fair to smokers to have their ability to smoke in public decreased. In a way that might be true. However, hospitals are in the business of health care. That health care is sometimes in the form of inpatient care. It is sometimes in the form of outpatient care. It is sometimes in the form of community education. Sending a strong message about the dangers of smoking to the community is in line with the mission of hospitals. Telling people that smoking is bad for their health is important. Acting on that moves it to a higher level. It is not a matter of inconveniencing the smokers. It is a matter of stating clearly that smoking is bad for your health. Patients entrust their health to our care. We were going to give them the right medicine for that. We were not going to allow them to injure their health by smoking. Providing patients with smoking cessation aids is a part of this process. There are various quit programs that are available. There are various medications that can be prescribed to help patients quit. These need to be discussed with the physician at the time of admission. Occasionally patients will try smoking in their bathrooms. Smokers sometimes start hospital fires. Hospitals cannot allow that level of risk. Smokers who cause damage to property or other individuals are legally liable for that. Smokers who do that break the law just like they do on airplane bathrooms. That means that they can be ticketed or fined. When the entire hospital campus goes smoke free that means that patients cannot leave the hospital to have a cigarette. That is because the outside of the hospital still is part of the campus. Patients who do so are leaving the hospital against medical advice. Their insurance company could refuse to pay the hospital bill. That would result in the patient having to pay the bill. It may result in a loss of health insurance. There are obviously more things involved than just health. However, health is the most important one. We, as the medical community, need to constantly and consistently send a clear message. Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death and disability in this country. Our patients need to hear us say that loud and clear.

Safe Sitter Classes at Nanticoke
Safe Sitter classes for girls and boys aged 11 to 13 will be offered at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. The two part course will be held from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m. on June 19 and 21. The Safe Sitter program is a medically-accurate instructional series that teaches youngsters how to handle emergencies when caring for younger children. The cost is $50. Participants are to bring a bag lunch. To register your son or daughter or your child's babysitter, call 629-6611 ext. 2540. The goal of Safe Sitter is to reduce the number of accidental and preventable deaths among children being cared for by babysitters. All medical information will be taught by a certified professional. During the course, students get hands-on practice in basic life-saving techniques so they are prepared to act in a crisis. Instructors also provide tips to make sitters more confident caregivers. They teach safety and security precautions, such as what to do if a stranger comes to the door and when and how to call for help. They give information on child development and suggest age-appropriate activities. Participants will learn about the business aspects of babysitting. For more information about Safe Sitter, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611 ext. 2540.

Joseph P. Olekszyk receives award
Dr. Joseph P. Olekszyk was the recent recipient of the Presidents Achievement Award for his chairing and development of the 2007 Continuing Medical Education course for Otolaryngology/Facial Plastic Surgery-Head and Neck Surgery, May 2-6 at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Fla. The Board of Governors presents the award to members of the college who have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious service to the organization in a series of duties of great responsibility. The award was presented at the organization's Annual Ceremonial Banquet. Dr. Olekszyk, a board-certified otolaryngologist, practices and resides in Seaford, with his wife Patricia and their family. Dr. Olekszyk is a graduate of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine otolaryngology residency, 1990. The American Osteopathic Colleges of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery promotes the interests of Osteopathic Ophthalmologists and osteopathic Otolaryngologists/Facial Plastic Surgeons, to continue to improve their quality of training, education and to advance the practice of medicine through a system of quality and cost effective health care measures in the profession.

Red Cross Seeking Volunteers
Your Local Red Cross remembers June 25, 2006 very well.
That was the day that heavy rains caused terrible flooding in the towns and counties we serve, particularly Seaford, Blades, Caroline County and Dorchester County.
We remember our team of dedicated local volunteers:
* Opening a shelter at Woodbridge High School in Bridgeville for those evacuated from their homes because of the flooding.
* Opening another Red Cross shelter Hurlock Elementary School in Dorchester County.
* Delivering over 8,000 snacks and beverages to affected communities between June 25, 2006 and July 4, 2006.
* Delivering personal comfort, hygiene and clean-up kits.
* Visiting affected families to find what their needs were and how our local Red Cross could help them.
If you were or someone you know was affected on June 25, 2006 or if you are interested in helping others in times of disaster, consider joining our team of Disaster Responders. Volunteer orientations will be held at the Red Cross Seaford office on June 5, and on June 7, 2007 in Centreville (Queen Anne's County, MD). Both orientations will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Please sign up to attend a volunteer orientation by calling 302-472-6240 or 800-877-6620, ext. 6240 or emailing There are many ways that volunteers help the Red Cross. These include:
Disaster Responders
Bad weather, floods and other emergencies can strike at any time. Help your community by taking Free Red Cross disaster training and learn how to staff an emergency shelter, or become a Disaster Action Team volunteer, assisting families left homeless after fires, floods or other disasters. All disaster training is free and equips people with the skills they need to help others. Disaster volunteers respond at all hours of the night and the position takes time, training, commitment and good health.
Disaster Preparedness Presenters
Do you enjoy public speaking? Are you willing to commit to a comprehensive training program to deliver a pre-packaged PowerPoint presentation to business and community groups? Presentations will generally be in the day-time and last around two hours.
Health and Safety Instructors
Volunteers can be trained to become certified American Red Cross Instructors in First Aid, CPR, Babysitting, Pet First Aid, and CPR/AED (Automated External Defibrillator). Experience in public speaking, teaching or group presentations is preferred.
Lifeline Installers
Lifeline is an easy-to-use personal medical alert service that ensures that older adults living at home get quick assistance in an emergency - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Help a senior citizen increase his or her independence and sense of self-sufficiency by becoming a Lifeline installer.
Community Events
Community fairs and festivals are usually held during Spring and Fall. Volunteers who enjoy meeting people are needed to staff Red Cross tables at these events. This is an opportunity to meet your neighbors and educate them about the work the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula does in their communities and the importance of preparing for emergencies. Register online for free disaster training at
For more information about the Red Cross in your community, please visit