South Peninsula Hospital welcomes Carol Klamser

South Peninsula Hospital welcomes Carol Klamser, DNP, as a new family practice provider at South Peninsula Hospital. She will begin  her practice in the hospital’s specialty clinic at the same building, 4201 Bartlett Street, on Friday, Nov. 15. Appointments with Carol can be made at 235-0310.

Carol earned her Doctorate in Nursing Practice in Forensics from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis. She has been a nationally certified  Family Nurse Practitioner and certified as a Physician Assistant since 1990 and has expertise in chronic Hepatitis C management and treatment. “We’re excited to have her on the team, to not only offer primary care to her existing and new patients, but to partner with Dr. Ross Tanner, visiting lipidologist, to expand the diabetes specialty care offered by his clinic” said Derotha Ferraro, spokesperson.

In addition to patient care, Carol loves teaching. She taught in the BSN, MSN, and Nurse Practitioner programs at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and has been a tenured Associate Professor in the Associate Degree program since 2010 for the College of Health at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She runs the UAA nursing program at the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College which includes didactic and clinical rotations at South Peninsula Hospital.

Carol is a leader in clinic, educational, and consulting areas of forensics. She offers consulting on forensic and medical issues to various attorneys in Alaska. She has served on the Forensic Nurse Certification Board, and currently is elected on the IAFN Nominating Committee and the Education Task Force Committee for the International Association of Forensic Nurses, developing educational guidelines for forensic examiners, which was recently published. She currently serves on the State of Alaska Maternal, Infant, and Child Death Review Committee.

Stop the Bleed Training to help stop preventable deaths

Uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of preventable deaths from trauma and the greater the number of people who know how to control bleeding in an injured patient, the greater that individual’s chances of surviving their injury. South Peninsula Hospital is on a mission to help prevent deaths from bleeding emergencies by empowering the public through trainings called Stop the Bleed. During these trainings, individuals learn skills for stopping bleeding both by using only their hands and with a full trauma first aid kit available.

The first community training will take place on Saturday, November 23 from 10-11am at the hospital’s training room on Pioneer Avenue. Registration is required by calling 235-0285. The training is free, and Stop the Bleed kits will be available for purchase. Attendees will not only learn the techniques, but also be offered the opportunity to become a certified trainer from Stop the Bleed, a program of the American College of Surgeons in cooperation with the Department of Defense.

The hospital’s goals for 2020 include training local high school and middle school students and school staff, establishing a roster of 24 trainers in the service area, establishing a community Stop the Bleed equipment loan/purchase program, providing at least one Stop the Bleed kit at each public AED station in the service area and to train at least 200 community members in Stop the Bleed. Securing funding for an ongoing program is also a priority. For more information on the Stop the Bleed program, register for an upcoming class or to make a donation, contact the hospitals Health and Wellness Department at 235-0285.

No-Cost Childbirth, Breastfeeding & Newborn Care Classes with Homer Medical Center’s West Wing Clinic Midwives

We offer childbirth, newborn care, and breastfeeding classes free of charge on a rotating basis throughout the year.  These classes are all held on Tuesday Evenings from 5:30pm – 7:30pm in the South Peninsula Hospital Conference Rooms 1 & 2 (park in the lower parking lot and enter through the double doors by the cafeteria).

Click here for dates, topics & more information on the upcoming Winter 2019 Class Series from November 19th through December 17th with Laura Greet, CNM & Julie McCarron, CNM, Certified Lactation Consultant.

You may bring a coach with you to class, you may bring food, and you may come to all, a few or even just one class!

For more information please contact the West Wing Midwives at (907) 435-3040

Walk with a Doc, Saturday November 16th with Dr. Ross Tanner!

Did you miss Know Your Numbers on November 14th? Forgot to ask an important question? Want a friend to learn about what you heard? Join Diabetes & Lipid Clinic of Alaska founder Ross Tanner, DO and South Peninsula Hospital’s Health & Wellness Department at SPARC (600 Sterling Hwy next to Homer Middle School) for our next “Walk with a Doc”! All are welcome Saturday, November 16th from 9:00 am-10:00 am for Dr. Tanner’s brief talk on Know Your Numbers: What your lab results can tell you about your health. Then, spend the rest of the hour walking at your own pace, chatting, and asking any questions!

Walk with a Doc Homer is always free, and open to all ages and abilities! There is parking up at the SPARC and down below in the Homer Middle School Parking lot. Find out more on Facebook or our page on the Walk with a Doc National website!

Walk with a Doc is a nationwide walking program for everyone interested in taking steps for a healthier lifestyle. What better way to start your weekend than on your feet making strides to help your heart and improving your general health to live longer! While you walk at your own pace, you’ll have the opportunity to have questions answered by local physicians.

There will be free blood pressure screenings, prizes, and refreshments!

Please bring clean indoor walking shoes.

Email wellness@sphosp.org, or call the Health & Wellness Department at (907) 235-0970 with questions or for more information!

Living Well Alaska: Self-Management workshops for adults with ongoing health conditions

The next series of Living Well Alaska workshops for adults with ongoing health conditions and their family or caregivers will be on Wednesday evenings, 4:30pm – 6:30pm from September 18th-October 23rd.  Living Well workshops were developed by Stanford University to focus in a fun, interactive group setting on staying as healthy & active as possible even while living with chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, obesity, and any health condition that requires long term self-management.

The cost for the entire 6-week series is $40, and assistance is available.  Contact PeggyEllen Kleinleder at (907) 235-0311 for more information and to register!  Put the life back in your life!

Measles – Vaccination is the best prevention; call ahead if you have symptoms.

Vaccination with the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine continues to be our best defense to keep measles from spreading. Make sure you and your family are up-to-date with the MMR vaccine – contact your healthcare provider if you or anyone in your family is unsure of their immunization or needs the MMR vaccine.

Anyone can get the MMR vaccine completely free-of-charge at Homer Medical Center during their normal walk-in clinic hours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:00 – 8:00PM at 4136 Bartlett Street.

If anyone thinks they might have measles, they should call their health care provider or local public health center immediately. It’s important to get care quickly, but people should call first and not go directly to the doctor’s office, clinic or school.

Measles often starts with a fever (as high as 104° F), cough, runny nose, red eyes and sore throat. A rash follows that usually starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has confirmed a single case of measles in a teenager from the Kenai Peninsula. Read the full press release here.

For more information and recommendations on vaccination, prevention and treatment for measles visit the DHSS Measles page here.

View and download this 2-page flyer with information on free vaccination at HMC and other local resources, as well as general measles information.

 

 

Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) Alternative Pain Therapy

Although there are many causes of back pain, one of the more common is facet arthritis. The facet joint provides stability to the vertebral column of the back and the facets in the lower back often develop debilitating back pain. One might experience pain with rising from a sitting position or from riding in a car. Bending forward can cause severe aching.

One of the treatments for this type of back pain is radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which addresses the nerve that transmits the pain.  By stunning this nerve, the pain can be stopped for up to a year, until the nerve regrows back to the facet joint. RFA is a minimally invasive procedure that uses imaging (CT scanner) to help a physician in placing a needle right to the site where the nerve approaches the facet joint. After appropriate numbing, the tip of the needle is inserted and used to heat a small area of the nerve tissue. After 90 seconds, the nerve is stunned and no longer transmits any pain until it regrows. RFA patients experience almost immediate relief and remarkably most do not need a retreatment for at least a year.

It is quickly becoming a preferred treatment because it is so helpful for the patient’s pain relief, has minimal risk, reduces the use of pain medication, and requires little to no down time for recovery. The procedure is now offered by Edson Knapp, MD, board-certified radiologist at SPH, and is covered by most insurances.

Because there are many causes of back pain your doctor may require that you have an MRI of your back prior to having this treatment. It is important to understand what is causing your pain so as to receive the correct treatment. In addition to RFA, South Peninsula Hospital offers a complete and holistic approach to help you with your back pain. Ask your primary care doctor if you might be a good candidate for RFA, or call the hospital’s imaging department at 235-0362 to learn more.

Edson Knapp, MD
Interventional Radiologist and Medical Director at South Peninsula Hospital’s Imaging Department
Fellowship Trained in Oncologic Imaging and Interventional Radiology
Board Certified in Radiology

Wildfire Smoke and your Health

Here are a few tips for your health as the southern peninsula gets more smoke from the Swan Lake fire:

The biggest health threat from smoke is from fine particles. These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis. Fine particles also can aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, these populations are at greatest risk from wildfire smoke:

  • People who have heart or lung diseases, like heart disease, chest pain, lung disease, or asthma, are at higher risk from wildfire smoke.
  • Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke. This may be due to their increased risk of heart and lung diseases.
  • Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke as children’s airways are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults do.

If you are healthy, you’re usually not at a major risk from short-term exposures to smoke. Still, it is a good idea to avoid breathing smoke if you can help it and use common sense. If it looks smoky outside, it’s probably not a good time to mow the lawn or go for a run. And it’s probably not a good time for your children to play outdoors.

Use these links for additional health information related to smoke:

Here are some smoke prediction sites to help with planning activities and decision making:

Sports Physicals Day at Homer Medical Center

Homer Medical Center is offering free sports physicals at a one-day clinic on Saturday, July 20, 2019 for high school students who need a physical for participation in school sanctioned activities.  Appointments are not required, and exams are offered from 10am-4pm at the Homer Medical Center clinic on Bartlett Street.  Exams are offered free of charge by providers from Homer Medical Center.

Parents are asked to complete the History Form and if applicable the Special Needs Supplemental form and bring this entire document with them to the clinic.
Pre-participation exam form (PDF)

All students must bring or wear loose fitting shorts for the screening.

If students are unable to attend, they can make an appointment for an annual wellness exam and a sports physical form will be filled out as part of the wellness exam. In most cases this will be at no cost to a patient with insurance.  Those without insurance and who do not make the free sports physical day can make a sports physical appointment on a regular clinic day at a cost of $52.00 less a 25% discount for a total of $39.00 to be paid at time of service.

Please contact Homer Medical Center at (907) 235-8586 for additional information.

Measles in Homer is Preventable

The following editorial was written by SPH Chief of Staff  Giulia Tortora, MD and originally published in the Homer News on  June 5, 2019.

In 1989, I spent two months working in a hospital in Tanzania, Africa. While I worked in that small village, where no vaccines were available and care options were limited, I was shocked to discover that the main disease that killed children was measles. Not malaria. Not malnutrition. Measles. Watching any child die of a preventable disease is heartbreaking.

Measles vaccination rates have declined, and the outbreak in the U.S. is both serious and terrifying. The likelihood of seeing it in Alaska is very high, and we need to prepare to face the consequences of this public health nightmare.

There is a great deal of controversy about vaccinations, mostly due to misinformation that started with a study in 1998 by Anthony Wakefield that postulated a connection between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. It has since been proven both falsified and inaccurate. There have been many studies since then that disprove that link. But misinformation is rampant, and this causes people to make unfortunate decisions — decisions that will cause deaths in our community.

Here are the facts: getting two doses of measles vaccination confers 97% immunity. Any adult born before 1957 is considered immune. If there is no laboratory evidence of immunity in adults, a booster should be given.

Children should routinely be vaccinated with the MMR initially at 12 to 15 months of age, with a second between age 4 and 6.

There are different Centers for Disease Control recommendations for travel, and for any outbreak, with infants being vaccinated earlier, and adults receiving boosters.

Measles is one of the most infectious viruses known. With exposure, nine out of 10 unimmunized people will contract the disease, by way of droplet contact. The virus remains infectious for two hours after a person is in an area. That means that if you enter an elevator 2 hours after someone with measles sneezed in that elevator, you can get the disease.

Measles starts with a high fever (as high as 105 degrees), then feeling sick, coughing, having a runny nose and getting red eyes. After that there are spots that occur in the mouth, and then a rash, which comes on about 14 days after exposure. It is a spotty rash, and it spreads from the head to the trunk, then to the lower extremities. A person is infectious for the four days before the rash starts. There are rare cases in which the rash does not appear.

The people who are most at risk for complications are children under age 5, adults over age 20 and pregnant women. There is no effective treatment, but getting immunoglobulin infusions can decrease the complication and death rate. If exposed, vaccination as soon as possible can decrease your risks, preferably within 3 days of exposure.

There is one other little known aspect to measles infection: it has been shown that a measles infection changes your prior ability to fight infection for up to three years. That means that the immunity that you have built up from prior exposures or immunizations is no longer present. It is a side effect that is only seen with measles.

My hope is that we move towards better immunization coverage to protect our community. Additional reliable information on Measles is available on the CDC website. You can look into this in any of the medical clinics in town, and at the public health department. If we can keep one person from getting sick from this, it will be worthwhile. If we can keep one person from dying, that will be a victory.

– Giulia Tortora, MD

Media advisory on measles from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health