Friday, December 17, 2010

"Motorcycle Santa" Visits Patients

Santa, Mrs. Claus and all of their "elves" bring holiday cheer to
Sentara Potomac Hospital

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen....but do you know Officers Jack and Dave and George? They're members of the Prince William County Police Motormen Unit and none of them has a shiny nose.

Since Santa left the reindeer back at the North Pole, the Prince William Motormen made sure he and Mrs. Claus landed safely at Sentara Potomac Hospital. Santa's red bag was full of cuddly gifts for all the children in the Pediatrics Unit. They also visited patients in the Emergency Care Center and on the Progressive Care Unit.

The best part of the visit was Santa's and the Motormen's stirring rendition of We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

Thanks to Santa and the Prince William Motormen for brightening our holidays!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Give the Gift of Life...

...Get a Redskins T-Shirt

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N.
Director of Community Education

I’m sure by now many are finished with their holiday gift list (or not!). Did you know that there is an invaluable gift you can give this year that won’t cost a single swipe of your debit card? That this gift has the potential to save up to three lives? That this gift cannot be artificially manufactured? What, you may well ask, is this magical gift? A pint of blood. Yes, your blood, dear readers, can save lives, pure and simple. And oh boy, if you ever wanted to feel needed, consider these facts about blood needs:

· Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
· More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.
· Sickle cell disease affects more than 80,000 people in the U.S., 98% of whom are African Americans. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.
· More than 1 million new cancer patients are diagnosed every year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatments.
· A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
· Only about 5 percent of the eligible population actually donates blood.

If you’ve never donated blood, be assured it is a safe process performed by experienced healthcare professionals. Heck, I do it all the time (well every 56 days if I happen not to be anemic that day), and honest, it’s practically painless!

The actual blood donation only takes about 10-12 minutes; combined with registration, mini-physical (checking temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin to make sure it’s safe for the donor to give blood), donation and refreshments (bring on the Lorna Doones!). The total time is about an hour and 15 minutes. When you think of it, what a bargain gift! An hour and 15 minutes of your time to save three lives; I challenge you to find a better deal at any shopping mall this season!

Just in time for holiday giving, Sentara Potomac will host a Red Cross Blood Drive on Tuesday, December 21, from 1:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. in the Hylton Education Center. Added perk: every donor will be the proud recipient of a Redskins T-shirt and a chance to win two tickets to a Redskins game (hopefully it’s one they’ll win)!

To make an appointment go to and enter Sponsor Code 16927, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or drop by the registration table outside the Garden Café on Tuesday, December 14 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wellness Wit and Wisdom

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N.
Director of Community Education

Fall is definitely here. What led me to this brilliant conclusion? It could have been the ocean of leaves that appeared in my back yard overnight, but it wasn’t. It might have been the first sniff of wood smoke wafting through the crisp evening air, reminding me I need to get the chimney swept, but it wasn’t. Even my imminently expiring county automobile sticker didn’t jar me to the reality of the season as much as the sight of…PUMPKINS!!

Actually it was my lack of pumpkins that jolted me into an awareness of the season. There I was, the morning of Halloween, realizing that for the first time ever, I may not have a pumpkin to carve! Friends from church, oblivious to my anxiety, cleverly lured me out to breakfast; assuring me I would find orange orbs aplenty at the local Wal-Mart.

Imagine my considerable horror when the pumpkin bin at Wal-Mart was strewed only with several warty, downright scary looking gourds!! With literally minutes to spare before the closing bell, I raced over to the Farmer’s Market, not daring to hope what I’d find. Lo and behold, there, in the middle of the market, was a sea of the most beautiful, perfect pumpkins I’d ever seen. A bargain at only $3, or 2/$5, I chose two beauties and dragged them back to the car, to be turned into my best Jack O’ Lanterns ever!

No doubt about it, pumpkins are certainly an integral part of the fall foliage, as well as a traditional part of our fall and winter holidays. What other squash can claim the dual role of Halloween Jack ‘O Lantern and Thanksgiving dessert? I mean have you ever tried to carve a zucchini?

When the amazing pumpkin isn’t busy scaring trick-or-treaters off the front porch, it actually packs quite a nutritional punch. One cup of pumpkin puree boasts a modest 80 calories, 19 grams of carbohydrates, zero cholesterol, less than 1 gram of fat, a whopping 588 milligrams of potassium (move over banana!), 2.4 grams of protein, 20% RDA of Vitamin C and a hefty 310% RDA of Vitamin A. It’s also high in the “f” word:(fiber).

Unfortunately many traditional pumpkin recipes are doused with high fat ingredients: eggs, butter, and cream. They may be yummy, but not worth your arteries slamming shut. Try substituting lower fat ingredients in recipes so as not to negate the good nutritional impact of the pumpkin. Just in time for holiday feasting, here’s a skinnier version of pumpkin pie, one that rivals my mother’s heavier, more labor intensive version:

Light Pumpkin Cream Pie
1 prepared reduced-fat graham cracker crust
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
2 small packages sugar free instant vanilla pudding/pie filling
1 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 8-oz. container Cool Whip Free, divided

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today is the Great American Smokeout

Becoming Tobacco-Free Can Reduce Your Cancer Risk
By Snehal Patel, DDS, M.D.
Sentara Potomac Hospital Medical Staff

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation close to 36,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal (throat) cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly one person per hour, 24-hours-per-day.

Of those 36,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in five years. This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma).

The death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development. Often it is only discovered when the cancer has metastasized to another location. Prognosis at this stage of discovery is significantly worse than when it is caught in a localized intra-oral area. There are several types of oral cancers, but around 90 percent are squamous cell carcinomas. It is estimated that approximately $3.2 billion is spent in the United States each year on the treatment of head and neck cancers.

Studies have shown that the death rate from oral cancer is about four times higher for cigarette smokers than for nonsmokers. It is also widely believed in the medical field that the heat generated by smoking pipes and cigars irritates the mouth and can lead to lip cancer.

Those at an especially high risk of developing oral cancer are over 40 years of age, heavy drinkers and smokers, or users of smokeless tobacco, including snuff. Campaigns to promote the safety of smokeless tobacco are being initiated, but it is clear that while it may reduce lung cancers, it has a negative effect on the rates or oral cancers.

Suspicious lesions of the oral cavity can undergo a simple biopsy under local anesthesia in the office, in order to obtain a definitive diagnosis.

Want to quit?
If you need help to stop using tobacco products, join Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Nicotine Anonymous Support Group. This friendly group meets every Wednesday, 7 – 8 p.m. at Sentara Potomac Hospital to offer support and tips for staying tobacco free. We know you can do it! Free. For information call the Health Connection at 703-221-2500.

The American Cancer Society is marking the 35th Great American Smokeout on November 18 by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk. Quitting smoking is not easy, but it can be done. To have the best chance of quitting successfully, you need to know what you're up against, what your options are, and where to go for help. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weight Loss Surgery Seminar

A free informational program from Sentara Potomac Hospital

With weight loss, it’s not so much about what you’ll lose, but rather what you’ll gain – a way to improve your quality of life. A way to feel better.

For those facing the struggles and frustrations of living with obesity, this free seminar is for you. Learn about Sentara Potomac Hospital’s surgical solutions to weight loss including laparoscopic gastric banding, gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and revisional procedures.

Also, find out more about insurance coverage and the Sentara Potomac Hospital team at this free event.

Sentara Potomac Hospital is designated a Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The ASMBS Center of Excellence designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of excellent outcomes in bariatric surgery.

This free event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Fredericksburg Hospitality House, Palm Room, 2801 Plank Rd., in Fredericksburg.

The first session will be held at from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.; and the second session will be held from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Free. To register call our Health Connection at (703) 221-2500 or register online.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free Seminar: Prostate Health and You

On Tuesday, November 9, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., a board-certified urologic oncologist from Sentara Potomac Hospital will discuss what prostate health means to you including prostate cancer treatments, side effects and risks, and professional medical advice regarding screening and general prostate health.

This seminar is free and will be held at Westminster at Lake Ridge, 12191 Clipper Drive in Lake Ridge. To register, call 703-221-2500 or register online.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Free Flu Vaccines For Seniors

Each fall, Sentara Potomac Hospital, in partnership with the Prince William Health District, offers free flu vaccines to persons 60 and over. Vaccines are given at places of worship and other community locations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 65 and older get a flu shot each fall. Upcoming senior flu clinics:

Monday, November 1, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 18825 Fuller Heights Road, Triangle. For more information, call Marcia Connolly at 703-221-4044.

Thursday, November 4, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Prince William Area Senior Center at Woodbridge, 13850 Church Hill Dr., Woodbridge. For more information, call 703-792-5081.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wellness Wit and Wisdom

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N.
Director of Community Education

One of my favorite Disney movies is the classic Pollyanna. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, the heroine is an 11-year-old orphan who is sent to live with her bitter spinster aunt in a gloomy little village full of equally gloomy people. Pollyanna, however, is infused with an unquenchable enthusiasm for life which serves to change the lives of many of the villagers, and ultimately helps Pollyanna herself to overcome a personal tragedy.

Pollyanna’s tool for happiness is something called the “glad game.” Here’s how it works: Whenever something you perceive as being “bad” happens, say to yourself “I am glad of this because… (fill in the blank).” It’s a simple way of looking for the silver lining, or seeing the glass as half full. This little game is a good thing to practice, because as it turns out, having an optimistic outlook is beneficial to one’s overall health!

Studies show that folks who exhibit a positive attitude are less likely to develop certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and back trouble. They also recover more quickly from surgery. In fact, scientists now consider pessimism a risk factor for disease. In a study of 25-year-old Harvard University students, the optimists were significantly healthier at ages 45 and 60 than their pessimistic fellow students.

Psychologically, optimism also pays off. Optimists experience less stress, possibly because they believe in their own talents and expect the best outcome. Optimists don’t give up easily, and their persistence translates into greater achievement and success in life. In a study of clinically depressed patients, it was found that 12 weeks of training in optimistic habits worked better than medication!

Convinced that the practice of optimism is worthy of taking a whack at it? Okay, let’s start with a simple test of the Glad Game. Fill in the blank: “I am glad for Mondays because…” If you can do that one, Pollyanna would be very proud of you!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Free Diabetes Fair

The Diabetes Management Program at Sentara Potomac Hospital invites you to the 21st Annual Diabetes Fair on Saturday, October 30, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., in the Hylton Education Center at Sentara Potomac Hospital.

Bring your family and friends to this free event where you'll learn helpful hints for managing diabetes. You'll also have the opportunity to talk to medical professionals and ask questions. Plus:

• Ask the dietitian your questions about food and diabetes
• Talk to healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical representatives
• Learn about recipes and new products
• Blood pressure checks
• Body composition analyses
• Insulin pumps
• Blood glucose meters
• Enjoy healthy refreshments
• And more!

Special Presentation
Heart Disease and Diabetes: Reaching Your Target Range: A board-certified cardiologist will discuss the importance of knowing all of your numbers, including lipids, blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and keeping them in your target range. Being proactive about reaching your target and staying within your target range will greatly reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Click here to register or call 703-221-2500.

Modern Treatments for Incontinence and other Women's Health Concerns

More than 17 million women in the U.S. cope with urinary incontinence. If you’re one of them and want to know when to seek professional medical help, attend this free seminar presented by a board-certified urologist.

Making repeated visits to the restroom is both inconvenient and frustrating, but there is help for those with an overactive bladder including leakage, the inability to fully empty your bladder, or urgency or frequency.

At the seminar you’ll learn about modern treatments for common women’s pelvic health problems such as overactive bladder, incontinence, painful urination or intercourse, post-partum changes in bladder and bowel control and minimally invasive treatment of vaginal prolapse repair.

This free seminar will be held on Wednesday, November 3, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in the Hylton Education Center at Sentara Potomac Hospital. Click here to register or call 703-221-2500.

FREE Sinus Screening

Are you suffering from chronic sinus problems such as runny nose, itchy eyes, loss of smell or taste, headaches, or dizziness? These are common complaints, but solutions are available to help treat your symptoms.

Come take advantage of a free screening at Sentara Potomac Hospital and learn what treatment options are available. The screenings will be conducted by board-certified ear, nose and throat physicians specially trained in minimally invasive sinus surgery techniques, including balloon sinuplasty.

The Sinus Screening will be held on Tuesday, November 2, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. in The Potomac Center, Suite 130 (medical office building next to Sentara Potomac Hospital).

This screening is free but an appointment is required. Click here to register or call 703-221-2500.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wellness Wit and Wisdom

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N.
Director of Community Education

It seems like life just keeps getting more and more hectic and stressful. Even positive change causes stress. No time to think about anything as mundane as healthy food choices, right? WRONG! In periods of stress, even more attention should be paid to how we are fueling our bodies. Why? When under stress, we need more of all nutrients and in particular B vitamins, which contribute to the functioning of the nervous system, and calcium, which offsets the production of lactic acid from tense muscles.

Ironically, when under stress we often give in to the temptation of allowing healthy nutrition to take a nosedive.We are so busy and distracted that we may end up grabbing some pretty unhealthy grub. What’s a stressed out team member to do?? Here are some suggestions:

Adopt a nutritional “mantra”; anything that triggers you to think before you eat. “Garbage in garbage out” might do the trick!

Be prepared. Instead of becoming so ravenous that you find yourself wildly emptying quarters into the nearest vending machine, spend some time the night before planning and packing healthy snacks and lunches.

Eat smaller, more frequent meals to keep blood sugar levels steady. Include sources of protein as well as carbohydrates in your snacks to give your energy level more staying power. Low fat cheese, peanut butter, and hard boiled eggs are good sources of protein. Team with whole grain bread, crackers or pretzels for the carb part of the equation.

Avoid or consume in moderation: Caffeine, which can increase nervousness, impairs sleep, and sucks up your reserve of B vitamins. Alcohol: also depletes B vitamins and can be disruptive to sleep, not to mention affecting judgment/thought processes.

Avoid concentrated sugar/sweets, which can cause an immediate surge in blood sugar only to ultimately result in an extended “low”: translation: you may start out with a zing but an hour or two later you may find yourself crashed into your computer keyboard. Not a good thing!

Think fresh and “whole” rather than processed. Whole grain products and fresh fruits and vegetables will supply adequate amounts of magnesium and Vitamins B and C, all of which are needed even more in times of stress. Don’t rely on a multivitamin to take the place of good nutrition; they can be helpful but can’t replace the health benefit of whole fresh foods.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to get enough sleep, take time to exercise, play, read, socialize; in short, take good care of yourself.


Remembrance Ceremony

Commemorating infant and pregnancy loss

In honor of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, Sentara Potomac Hospital is holding a Remembrance Ceremony on Sunday, October 17, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Worship Room.

Please join us for speakers, poetry read by parents, music, commemoration and refreshments. Everyone who has experienced an infant and pregnancy loss, regardless of when or how the loss occurred, is invited to attend. It is our hope that the Remembrance Ceremony brings comfort to grieving parents, family members and others in our community.

For more information, please call Chaplain Carol Wille at (703) 583-3003.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Men’s Health Solutions

A free seminar for those coping with erectile dysfunction (ED)
and bladder control problems

More than five million American men live with bladder control problems and more than 30 million have some form of erectile dysfunction (ED), which can significantly impact quality of life for them and their partners.

The good news is that nearly every man can be successfully treated for these conditions and there is usually more than one option to choose from. Please join us for a free educational seminar to discuss the latest solutions for erectile dysfunction and male urinary incontinence.

A wide range of treatment options, from new medications to the latest surgical solutions, will be discussed. Also, patients will be attending to share their stories of successfully treating these conditions and will be available to answer your questions. Your spouse or partner is welcome and is strongly encouraged to attend.

Men's Health Solutions will be held on Saturday, October 2, at 11:00 a.m. in the Hylton Education Center at Sentara Potomac Hospital. This is a free event, but please register by calling 1-877-433-2873.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Discovery Channel Comes to Sentara Potomac Hospital

The Discovery Channel filmed part of an upcoming documentary at Sentara Potomac Hospital. The documentary, called “Overcoming Obstacles in Treating Your Diabetes,” is set to air on Oct. 2, 9 & 16 at 8:00 a.m. on the Discovery Channel (Comcast channel 53 in Prince William County). The documentary follows several diabetes patients through their experiences related to their diabetes treatment, education and management.

One of the subjects in the documentary is Sheri Danner-Murphy, a 43-year-old mother of two from Woodbridge who spent time in Sentara Potomac’s Intensive Care Unit due to complications from diabetes. While she was in the hospital she was encouraged to follow-up her care by enrolling in Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Diabetes Management Program so that she could receive the proper diabetes education. Sheri has since enrolled in the Diabetes Management Program and is excited about finally taking control of her disease.

During the two-day filming, the Discovery Channel interviewed members of the hospital’s Diabetes Management team including diabetes educators Robyn Johanson, R.N., Nadine Young, R.D., and Barbara Warren, R.N., as well as Dr. Ericka Walker and inpatient educator Donna Weaver, R.N.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

FREE Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Screening

If you experience leg pain, particularly when walking or exercising, that usually disappears after a few minutes of exercising; you may have Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD. PAD affects the body’s blood vessels, especially in arms, legs, feet and hands.

In addition to leg pain, other symptoms of PAD can include: numbness and tingling in the lower legs and feet; coldness in the lower legs and feet; or ulcers or sores on the legs or feet that don’t heal. This screening is for adults who are currently not being treated for PAD.

The screening will be held on Saturday, September 25, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in The Potomac Center, First Floor (next to Sentara Potomac Hospital). The screening is free but an appointment is necessary. Click here to schedule your appointment or call 703-221-2500.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wellness Wit and Wisdom

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N., Director of Community Education

When I was a kid, it wasn’t going back to school that I dreaded (I was actually kind of a nerdy kid), but the fact that my dad was usually the one sending us off to school, as mom worked early. Don’t get me wrong, my dad was a prince of a guy, but he believed in launching us into those hallowed halls of learning with a good “stick to your ribs” breakfast on board. That usually meant the “o” word….oatmeal. I not only didn’t like oatmeal, the stuff made me literally gag.

My solution was to dig in and get it over with as soon as possible; confessing my oatmeal aversion to my sweet dad was not an option. Unfortunately, sweet dad took my gobbling as a sign of enthusiasm and would invariably plop another helping in my bowl…sigh. Then there were his boiled tongue sandwiches cleverly smuggled into my lunch sack…but that’s another story.

The point is: dad was not only sweet but wise, knowing that a good breakfast was important for energy, concentration, and learning in general. Another school year is upon us. For those of us with students at home, our efforts may be concentrated on securing new outfits, backpacks and school supplies. We would do well to take stock of what we’re putting into our little scholars as well!

Here are a few nutrition tips to help ensure a successful and healthy school year:

• By all means provide your children with a healthy breakfast before they board the bus. Include protein (egg, milk, peanut butter), whole grains (toast, whole grain cereal), and fruit. Beware of the sugar bombs being passed off as cereal!

• Lunch time is a challenge as you won’t be around to play food Gestapo. Check out your child’s lunchroom menu ahead of time, if possible, and help him/her make healthy choices. If you pack your child’s lunch you’re more in control, but make sure it’s something your child will eat. For years I packed an apple in with my son’s typical peanut butter sandwich and chips (yes chips…no one’s perfect!). It was only when one of the “lunch ladies” at his school casually informed me that the apple was consistently used for hoop practice that I switched to grapes. To this day grapes are the preferred fruit of choice for my now college-aged son. Who knew???

• Ah dinnertime: you’re tired, the kids are tired, let’s fly through McDonald’s. Right? Wrong! If you can’t remember the last time you all sat down at the dinner table together, a new school year is a great time to start. Children who regularly eat dinner at home with their parents have lower risk of substance abuse, lower stress and anxiety levels, and higher levels of self esteem, not to mention higher grades than their “take-out” peers.

This year, make sure your beloved scholars are packing good nutrition into their school days; you may just see a surprise payoff at report card time! Reference:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Debunking the Myths of Prostate Cancer

A FREE Seminar from Sentara Potomac Hospital

Did you know that men who wish to be screened for prostate cancer should have both a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and a digital rectal exam (DRE)?

Urologist Dr. Inderjit Singh separates fact from myth regarding prostate cancer treatments, side effects, and risks and offers professional medical advice regarding screening recommendations from the American Urological Association. Blood pressure and cholesterol screenings will also be available. Ladies are welcome to attend! Find more information at

This free seminar will be held on Thursday, Sept. 30, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., at the Spring Hill Clubhouse, 8946 Yellow Daisy Place, Lorton, Virginia. Click here to register or call our Health Connection at (703) 221-2500.

Sentara Potomac Hospital Offers Free Foot Screenings

For Those Who Suffer from Foot Pain

Pain in your feet can affect a person’s ability to enjoy the most basic activities of daily life. For those who suffer from foot pain, Sentara Potomac Hospital is offering two free foot screenings. At the screenings, specially-trained podiatrists will provide free consultations and explain available treatment options and ways to relieve your foot pain. These consultations will last approximately 10-15 minutes and are by appointment only.

LORTON: Friday, Sept. 17, 9 – 11 a.m. at Spring Hill Clubhouse, 8946 Yellow Daisy Place, Lorton, Virginia.

SENTARA POTOMAC HOSPITAL: Saturday, Oct. 23, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Sentara Potomac Hospital.

These screenings are free but an appointment is required. Click here for an appointment or call our Health Connection at (703) 221-2500.

Aching Back? Hurting Joints?

Sentara Potomac Hospital Offers FREE Fall Seminars
for Those Suffering from Back, Neck or Joint Pain

Joint Replacement: Is it right for you?
Do you suffer from severe knee, hip or shoulder pain due to arthritis or other joint problems? Joint replacement surgery may help you return to a more active lifestyle. At this free seminar, orthopedic surgeon Joseph Hanna, M.D., will discuss advances in treatment options and new minimally invasive techniques, including gender knees and partial replacements. A question and answer period will follow the seminar.

This free program will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. in the Hylton Education Center at Sentara Potomac Hospital. Click here to register, or call our Health Connection at (703) 221-2500.

Solutions to Back & Neck Pain
If you are considering surgery to relieve your back pain or if you suffer from chronic neck or back pain, recurrent pain, or leg or sciatica pain, you’ll want to attend this free seminar presented by Paymaun Lotfi, M.D., who is medical director of Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Spine Center.

Dr. Lotfi is a specialist in Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery (MISS). Removing herniated discs and other common back operations can now be performed using minimally invasive techniques. These new surgical procedures are more precise, cause less damage to the surrounding tissue and require much smaller incisions. That means faster recoveries and shorter hospital stays for patients.

This free program will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Hylton Education Center at Sentara Potomac Hospital. Click here to register, or call our Health Connection at (703) 221-2500.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Weight Loss Surgery & Health Living Expo to be Held on Sept. 19

Open to all, Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Weight Loss Surgery & Healthy Living Expo has something for everyone -- whether you want to learn about weight loss surgery, are currently pursuing surgery, or are experiencing life after surgery. This year’s event has a special focus on proper nutrition and exercise.

The Expo will be held on Sunday, September 19, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Hylton Education Center at Sentara Potomac Hospital. Join us and attend learning sessions, meet our doctors and staff, visit exhibits, and watch our ‘Look at Me Now’ Fashion Show featuring our weight loss surgery patients.

Participants will also learn about healthy eating, exercise programs, vitamin supplements, plastic surgery options, and revisional surgery. Plus, tour the Weight Loss Surgery Unit, sample our healthy smoothies and enter our raffle to win a Wii Fit!

Keynote speaker, Delegate Rosalyn R. Dance, a resident and former mayor of Petersburg and a gastric banding weight loss surgery patient, will share her story of success.

Free! Click here to register or call Sentara Potomac’s Health Connection at 703-221-2500. For more information please email or call 703-730-4456.

How Sweet the Sound

Healing Strings Provide a Soothing Melody

Ten years ago, Debbie Doyle woke up in her hospital room after having surgery and heard what she thought were the most peaceful and healing sounds coming from the hallway. A harpist was outside her hospital room door playing music for everyone on the recovery unit. A musician by trade and passion, Doyle decided that day that she wanted to touch patients in the hospital the same way.

Ten years later, Doyle is now fulfilling her goal of providing music therapy to hospital patients by volunteering every week at Sentara Potomac Hospital. After meeting Sentara Potomac Hospital Chaplain Carol Wille at a retreat, she and Wille launched ‘Healing Strings’.

“When Carol and I met at the retreat we began talking about my desire to provide music therapy at a hospital,” says Doyle. “As fate would have it, Carol had also seriously been thinking about starting a music program at Sentara Potomac, and the rest is history. I’m so glad that we were able to come together and start this program. I’ve been thinking about it for 10 years.”

A church choir director since 1978 and a school and private music teacher for the past 12 years, Doyle also sings, plays the piano, guitar, Native American flute and various other instruments. She began to learn the harp a few years ago in order to play soothing harp music for hospital patients.

“My passion has always been music ministry,” says Doyle. “Starting Healing Strings is another outlet for that passion. I love what music does for the heart and soul. One day I was playing on the Surgical Unit and all of a sudden a patient began singing the lyrics along with my harp. She had tears in her eyes and the patients and staff were so appreciative. That’s really what it’s all about – making people feel good through music.”

According to Chaplain Wille, patients aren’t the only ones enjoying Healing Strings.

“Debbie has received such a positive reception from everyone,” says Wille. “Hospital nurses and staff have stopped me and asked when ‘the harpist’ will be back. I’m thrilled that everyone looks forward to her visits --- we are accomplishing our goal of providing music therapy at Sentara Potomac. We are also hopeful that more people in our community with musical talents will consider being a volunteer with the Healing Strings program.”

Healing Strings Music Therapy is looking for more musically talented volunteers to join the program. If you’re interested in volunteering for this program, please contact Chaplain Carol Wille at 703-583-3003.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wellness Wit and Wisdom

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N.
Director of Community Education

I will never forget the most horrid night’s sleep of my life. It happened the night I shared my daughter’s bedroom.

I only undertook this folly as an out-of-town guest was given the only habitable bedroom in the Deutermann hostel: my own. Just plowing my way to the spare bed was an athletic feat in itself. I finally managed to settle in among the dozen or so stuffed animals who were sharing the mattress. This was like sleeping in one of those catch-the-stuffed-animal cages at carnivals; I half expected to see a big black claw dangling overhead!

Even the “stuffy” brigade could have been overcome, but I still found myself wide-eyed most of the night. Why? The wall clock had a tick-tock that could have single-handedly raised Lazarus. Not to mention that the fan my daughter must have blowing at tornado speed (and sound!) in order to successfully catch her beauty rest was competing for the highest decibel award with the clock. I would’ve had a better night’s rest in the middle of a football stadium at half time.

While my worst sleepless night could be attributed to some extreme circumstances, lack of sleep is a common problem and most Americans don’t get enough. Some lucky people can get by on 5 hours of sleep, but the average adult needs 7-8 hours per night in order to stave off daytime drowsiness, and perform optimally on the job. One in four Americans reports getting an average of 6 hours of sleep or less per night. In fact, most adults report feeling sleepy during the day at least a few times monthly. About 75 percent of Americans report regular or occasional insomnia or other sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.

The consequences of too little sleep include irritability, increased errors on the job, and slower reaction time. If you count yourself among the sleep deprived, here are some tips to get back on the road to healthy zzzz’s:

1. Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Sad to say, but trying to “catch up” by sleeping in on weekends doesn’t help. Naps are ok, but brevity is key here. Anything longer than 30 minutes can interrupt sleep schedule and cause grogginess.

2. Take stock of your sleeping atmosphere. Room temperature should be comfortable. This is an individual issue. My daughter obviously considers an igloo comfortable. I, on the other hand, prefer something a bit more temperate.

3. Minimize distractions; if I find myself in unenviable position of sharing my daughter’s room again, the clock is history, along with the plethora of stuffed animals. Either the fan or my daughter will have to go too. This is serious stuff!

4. Spending a lot of time at the computer may be hazardous to your sleep patterns. Take a break at least every hour; close your eyes, roll your shoulders, etc.

5. Cultivate your relationships. Loneliness breeds insomnia!

For help finding a sleep medicine specialist, call Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Health Connection referral service at 703-221-2500 or online at

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sentara Potomac Hospital Partners with Prince William Courage

Hospital to Provide Sports Medicine Services to Soccer Club

Sentara Potomac Hospital Sports Medicine and NoVa Orthopedic and Spine Care have teamed up with Prince William Soccer, Inc. to provide sports medicine services to soccer athletes who participate with the Prince William Courage.

The Sentara Potomac Hospital Sports Medicine and NoVa Orthopedic and Spine Care team consists of physical therapists, certified athletic trainers, and orthopedic surgeons who specialize in sports medicine. These specialists, along with Sentara Potomac Hospital’s state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging services, can help athletes get back in the game when injuries occur.

This partnership will allow Prince William Courage athletes to have quick access to Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Emergency Care Center, diagnostic studies, and appointments with the appropriate medical specialist.

Certified Athletic Trainers (ATCs) will be on the soccer fields during Prince William Courage camps, tournaments and games for U12-U19 athletes. If there is an injury, the ATCs evaluate the athlete and recommend and expedite the appropriate medical care. NoVa Orthopedic and Spine Care physician, Dr. Richard Layfield, a board-certified orthopedist with a certificate of added qualification in sports medicine, will be on call to order needed testing and will provide next-weekday office appointments for injured Courage athletes. Dr. Layfield also works with area high schools to provide care to high school athletes. Fast track service is also available to athletes who are injured during practice.

“We are very excited about our partnership with Sentara Potomac Hospital and NoVa Orthopedic,” says Mike Yeatts, executive director of Prince William Soccer. “It will be great having the peace of mind that our athletes will be taken care of immediately if they are injured. Keeping our athletes safe and healthy are top priorities at PWSI and this partnership will help ensure that they receive the proper care in a timely manner.”

About NoVa Orthopedic and Spine Care
NoVa Orthopedic and Spine Care consists of specially-trained orthopedic surgeons who use state-of-the-art techniques and procedures. They specialize in sports medicine, minimally invasive spinal surgery and joint replacement. Their office is located in the Potomac Professional Village, 2028B Opitz Blvd., in Woodbridge. Phone: 703-490-1112. For more information visit

About Prince William Soccer, Inc.
Prince William Soccer is one of the largest and most progressive clubs in Virginia with over 4,000 members. The mission of Prince William Soccer is to make meaningful contributions to the community through the game of soccer. They offer programs for beginners through the highest level of competition. They strive to maximize the potential of every player which includes helping to develop character, sportsmanship, teamwork and other important life skills. Over the years, many PWSI athletes have gone on to enjoy productive high school, college and even professional soccer careers. Businesses or organizations interested in partnering with PWSI or are encouraged to contact Mike Yeatts at 703-670-6061 or For more information visit

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wellness Wit and Wisdom

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N.
Director of Community Education

The old adage “Good things come in small packages” certainly holds true when it comes to healthy foods. If you had to pick ONE food that packs the best wallop nutritionally, what would it be? Spinach, perhaps? Popeye would certainly vote for that one! How about salmon, touted for its high marks in omega fatty acids? Good pick but not quite good enough.

Arguably the food that might be said to top the list could well be the humble little blueberry. Fresh or frozen, blueberries are nutrition giants cleverly disguised. Here are our TOP TEN REASONS TO POP A PECK OF BLUEBERRIES (INTO YOUR MOUTH):

#10: Blueberries are a sweet, natural treat low in calories. One cup of blueberries has only about 81 calories, so if you’re looking to lose weight blueberries are a harmless, healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

#9: Move over cranberries! Researchers at Rutgers University have found a substance in blueberries that improves urinary tract health and reduces chance of urinary tract infection.

#8: European studies have shown a relationship between bilberries (a cousin of blueberries) and improved eyesight. This is thought to be due to a pigment called anthocyanin, which is also what makes blueberries… blue! This compound may also prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

#7: Blueberries are a good source of dietary fiber, and the benefits of a high fiber diet have been well documented over the years.

#6: Dried blueberries are used in Sweden to treat diarrhea in childhood. It is believed that anthocyanosides, a substance found in blueberries, has an antibacterial effect, particularly upon the bacteria E-coli.

#5: The same anthocyanosides mentioned above also have a beneficial effect on blood vessels and the treatment of varicose veins.

#4: The antioxidants in blueberries may prevent the buildup of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol in blood vessels, thus reducing risk of heart disease and stroke.

#3: Blueberries contain resveratrol, a potential anticancer agent, and also contain substances that decrease the growth of cervical and breast cancer cells.

#2: The tiny blueberry is #1 in antioxidant activity, surpassing 40 other fruits and vegetables for the honor. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are nasty particles that damage cells in numerous ways such as noted in #4.

And the NUMBER ONE reason to eat more blueberries: if you are looking for a fruity Fountain of Youth look no further than the blueberry! The antioxidants in blueberries also boast anti-aging properties and ongoing studies are finding that blueberries improve memory, concentration and balance.

Dr. Steven Pratt, coauthor of Superfoods: Fourteen Foods that Will Change your Life, maintains, “If you had to pick one food to ensure your lowest rate of dementia as you get older, blueberries are the thing — fresh or frozen it does not matter.”

While July is officially Blueberry Month, blueberries are grown in 30 states, available fresh eight months of the year and always available frozen. Why not make every month Blueberry Month?


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Physician News at Sentara Potomac

Dr. David Sharashenidze has joined the pulmonary and critical care practice of Drs. Richard Robinson and Mark Clinton. Dr. Sharashenidze is fellowship-trained in pulmonary medicine, critical care and sleep medicine from The George Washington University Medical Center and the Washington Veterans Hospital. Prior to joining Drs. Robinson and Clinton, he served as director of the Critical Care Unit at the Specialty Hospital of Washington at Hadley. Their office is located in The Potomac Center, 2296 Opitz Boulevard, Suite 230, in Woodbridge. Telephone: 703-878-0924.

Plastic and general surgeon Dr. Andrew Kriegel has opened an office in the Potomac Center, Suite 210. Dr. Kriegel completed his residency in general surgery at Medical University of Ohio and is certified by the American Board of Surgery. He completed further training in plastic surgery at Penn State University. His experience includes both aesthetic and complex reconstructive surgical procedures. Telephone: 703-910-6567.

Infectious Disease Associates have announced the addition of Dr. Amy Treakle to their practice. Dr. Treakle completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Maryland Medical System. Dr. Treakle also completed a fellowship in infectious disease at The George Washington University - VA Medical Center. She joins Drs. Arthur Chutuape, John Symington and Sherrie Lee Walker at 8988 Lorton Station Boulevard, Suite 204, in Lorton. Telephone: 703-339-3524.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tackling Pesky Childhood Conditions

Runny noses, ear aches, growing pains and upset tummies….staples of children everywhere. Luckily, these common childhood complaints come and go without the need for major medical intervention. However, there are several irritating childhood conditions that aren’t extremely serious, but are pesky none the less.

“All parents can count on the occasional minor condition that doesn’t warrant an emergency room visit, but does require medical treatment,” says Robyn Gorman, M.D., a pediatrician on Sentara Potomac Hospital’s medical staff. “Common conditions we see are conjunctivitis (pink eye), lice, ringworm, and rashes.”

Seeing Red? Be on the Lookout for Conjunctivitis

“Pink eye or conjunctivitis is something that we see often,” says Gorman. “If your child has red or swollen eyes, a gooey discharge, itchiness or general irritation, you should take him to the doctor for treatment. Sometimes pink eye is mistaken for allergies, but it’s actually an infection with a bacteria or a virus, much like those that cause colds or sore throats.”

Dr. Gorman says that prescribed eye drops or ointments will effectively treat the area and provide comfort. Also, she suggests using a damp, warm washcloth to clean the crusty discharge that causes the eyelids to stick together in the morning.

“Pink eye is very contagious, so it’s important to wash your hands regularly and keep other children from coming into contact with someone with conjunctivitis,” says Gorman.

Bugging out About Lice and Ringworm

The names themselves give people the heebee jeebees. Unfortunately, lice and ringworm like to hang around your kids. Now, those are friends that you don’t want your kids to make!

“Every year, especially after the start of school or daycare, we see increased cases of lice and ringworm,” says Gorman. “Again, these conditions aren’t serious, but they are an annoyance to parents and children.”

Both are very contagious and may or may not require a prescription, says Gorman. “Lice are pesky little critters that like to hang out in hair, and ringworm is actually a fungus (like athlete’s foot) that should be treated with anti-fungal medication.”

There are some over-the-counter treatments, but Gorman recommends visiting the doctor if symptoms are severe or if treatment methods aren’t working.

Robyn Gorman, M.D., is a pediatrician with Woodbridge Pediatrics. Her office is located at 1924 Opitz Boulevard in Woodbridge. Telephone: 703-494-1144.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Perry Named President of Sentara Potomac Hospital

Megan Perry has been named Sentara Corporate Vice President, Northern Virginia & President, Sentara Potomac Hospital. Perry will be responsible for directing Sentara's efforts in the Northern Virginia market and leading Sentara Potomac Hospital.

Perry began her career at Sentara in 1990 as an Administrative Resident at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital while completing her Master’s of Health Administration degree from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University. She served in various roles including Vice President of Ambulatory Services & Women's Health and Vice President for Cardiac, Vascular & Transplant Services for Sentara Hospitals.

Perry went on to become Administrator for Sentara Hampton General and was at the helm during the construction and move to CarePlex where she served for another four years. Most recently, Perry has been Senior Vice President for Business & Service Line Development.

In December 2009, Potomac Hospital joined Norfolk-based Sentara Healthcare. Since that time, Perry has demonstrated superior leadership and the management skills necessary to meet the challenges in leading the integration of Sentara Potomac Hospital and the development of the Northern Virginia market for Sentara. She has also earned a strong reputation from the Sentara Potomac Board and Medical Staff leadership as an action-oriented, collaborative executive.

“I’m honored and excited to have this new opportunity,” says Perry. “Since Potomac joined Sentara Healthcare I have been thoroughly impressed with the hospital and look forward to leading Sentara Potomac into an even brighter future of serving our residents.”

Perry and her family plan to relocate from Newport News to Northern Virginia.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Golf Classic a Swinging Success

Sentara Potomac Hospital raised more than $70,000 at our 11th Annual Golf Classic held at Old Hickory Golf Club.

The funds from this year’s event benefit the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program (SANE), serving the greater Prince William County community through the Irene V. Hylton Emergency Care Center at Sentara Potomac Hospital. The SANE program provides comprehensive quality healthcare for victims of sexual crimes and helps seek justice through the forensic process.

Over the past 11 years, the Golf Classic has benefited many special projects at Sentara Potomac Hospital. Since the tournament began a total of $707,808 has been raised to help improve healthcare services for members of our community.

Special thanks to the event sponsor Hancock, Daniel, Johnson & Nagle, P.C. and to all of the sponsors and players who supported this fun-filled event.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wellness Wit and Wisdom

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N.
Director of Community Education

Did you know that taking a vacation may increase your life span? In a study of over 12,000 middle-aged men at risk for heart disease, those who did not take a regular vacation were more likely to die over a nine year period than those who did.

While vacations are potentially good for us, one aspect of vacationing that isn’t so healthy, particularly if that vacation happens to be a cruise is — you guessed it: weight gain! The average cruise-goer comes home relaxed, refreshed and eight pounds heavier. Land lubbers as well often take a vacation from healthy living when they head out of town. Lounging on the beach, eating boardwalk hot dogs, and sipping exotic cocktails can all add up…to extra pounds.

Unfortunately, a strange phenomenon occurs; the extra baggage we so easily put on is much tougher to take off! The obvious solution then, is to avoid the weight gain in the first place. Here’s how to enjoy vacation without having more than great memories when you get home!

Be prepared. This goes for both eating and activity. Pack healthy snacks and drinks. If you are going to be driving for any length of time, make sandwiches and have a picnic lunch at a rest stop instead of opting for the junk food drive through. The added advantage of this is affording one the opportunity to get out and walk around. Rest areas are usually pleasantly landscaped. On the other hand who wants to stroll around a McDonald’s parking lot?

Work fitness into your vacation plans, and get it over with early in the day. Stroll the beach, ride a bike, hit the exercise room or take a swim in the morning. Then spend the rest of the day with your well-deserved trashy novel guilt-free!

Ok, so you are on vacation after all, and a few indulgences are to be expected. But if you’re going to pay a visit to the local creamery, forego the bacon and egg breakfast. Vow to eat healthy for two meals out of three, or better yet, three meals out of three and then splurge on dessert.

People who exercise portion control are most successful in weight loss efforts. It’s also true that people who frequently take their meals in restaurants are more likely to be overweight. Why? Because restaurant food portions are often gargantuan compared to what we need to consume. When dining out, beware of this potential sabotage. Split an entrée, ask for half portion, or take half the meal home. If you’re really fanatical, ask to have half your meal boxed before it gets to the table. Now there’s determination for you!

Remember the creamery? If you must have the Double Dutch Chocolate Devil’s Delight, don’t let the devil talk you into the mega size. Vacations nourish our spirits. We remain in charge of nourishing our bodies, no matter where we are. Let’s be as good to our bodies as vacations are good for our souls!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hot Summer Classes for Teens

Sign up now for Sentara Potomac Hospital’s hot summer classes just for teenagers.

Safe Sitter (Ages 11 – 13)
This program for 11- to 13-year-olds is designed to prepare young people for the responsibility of taking care of young children. The fee includes a course manual and a tote bag with baby-sitting supplies. July 13, 8:45 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. $75*

Heartsaver CPR for Teens (Ages 11 – 17)
The course teaches skills in adult, child and infant CPR and relief of choking. Ideal for teens working as lifeguards, babysitters or camp counselors. July 10, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. $50*

*Save $15 by signing up for both Safe Sitter and CPR for Teens for only $110!

Register online at or call our Health Connection at 703-221-2500.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wellness Wit and Wisdom

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N.
Director of Community Education

Warning! This column is for women only!!!

They are undoubtedly from another planet. They leave the toilet seat up, and their dirty socks down (on the ground wherever they took them off!). They are slow to fix a leaky faucet but quick to disappear at the dreaded phrase, “let’s go shopping.” They have no clue that television programs should be watched one at a time, unless of course it’s a football game.

They are the men in our lives, and despite their idiosyncrasies, they are treasures. They may not understand why we cry, but they dry our tears. They patiently explain the mysteries under a car hood or extol the virtues of their collapsible ladder, blissfully oblivious to our blank stares.

They are little league coaches, landscapers, handymen and even short order cooks. They are our fathers, brothers, husbands, lovers and friends. Exasperating and wonderful, these great guys are nonetheless not invincible.

June is National Men’s Health Month. Time to lovingly nudge the men in your life toward improved health. Consider these facts:

1. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men in the U.S.
2. Men are 30% more likely to suffer a stroke than women.
3. In 2006, over 90% of lung cancer deaths in men were attributed to smoking.
4. Overall, seven of 11 adults visiting doctors are women, despite the fact that men die younger than women.
5. Men who watch television for three or more hours per day are twice as likely to be obese as men who watch for less than an hour.
6. In a decade-long British research study, the death rate (from all causes) of least sexually active men was found to be twice as high than the most sexually active group.

Given the above statistics, try these nearly painless strategies:

1. Urge your gentlemen to visit a physician on a regular basis. Many risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, have no symptoms but are easily detected through simple procedures. Likewise, many cancers respond wonderfully to therapy, but early detection and treatment are vital.
2. Don’t expect the man in your life to get off the couch unless you join him. Walking together three to four times a week will do you both good. Have that doctor’s visit first if exercise has long been a foreign word.
3. If your guy is a smoker, strongly support his non-smoking efforts.
4. Re: #6 above. Advice is self-explanatory. Go for it, ladies!

Celebrate those precious men in your life with love and gratitude!

Reference: Center for Disease Control;

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sallie Eissler Wins Ruby Award

Sallie Eissler, MSN, R.N., director of Partnership Development and Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Family Health Connection Mobile Health Clinics, received the 2010 Ruby Award from Soroptomists International of Woodbridge.

Eissler was given the Ruby Award for her many efforts to improve the lives of women and children in our area, including her work with the Pediatric Primary Care Project and Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Family Health Connection Mobile Clinics. Soroptomists International also made a monetary donation to the Sentara Potomac Hospital Auxiliary in honor of Eissler’s award.

Eissler came to Sentara Potomac Hospital in 1990 as the director Women’s and Children’s Services. In 1995 she was named director of Partnership Development and was the driving force behind starting a mobile health clinic in eastern Prince William County. Due to overwhelming demand, a second mobile clinic was put into service just two years later.

The Family Health Connection Mobile Clinics provide much needed general medical care to residents without health insurance along the Route 1 corridor of Woodbridge and in Dale City. Both mobile health vans serve thousands of residents each year, preventing serious illness and frequent emergency room visits.

Eissler also serves as chairman of the Board of the Greater Prince William Community Health Center.

Soroptomists International is a non-profit organization of professional women dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in the local community and around the world.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Stay Safe During Summer Storms

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N., Director of Community Education

When Midwest thunderstorms raged, my mother would declare: "The angels are bowling." Childish wisdom prevailed. Recognizing her poorly disguised terror, I imagined it was only a matter of time before a telltale lightning bolt incinerated our house. Years later during similar Virginia storms, the howling of my two Irish Setters pretty much told me the same thing. Ditto the frantic shaking and quaking of my three current pups…ever have a 70-pound German Shepherd-mix wake you from a sound sleep by leaping on your head? Yep, no bowling tales for these crafty canines…they know when we’re doomed.

I still have a healthy respect (ok, fear) of thunderstorms, with good reason. While thunderstorms take up less space and time than hurricanes, these dainty dangers are plentiful. Some 16 million thunderstorms occur annually worldwide; 100,000 occur in the United States. In Virginia, we experience 35-45 thunderstorm days per year, mainly during summer afternoons and evenings.

All thunderstorms are dangerous. It’s important to know the dangers: 140 fatalities per year are attributed to flash floods, the greatest thunderstorm killer; most flash flood fatalities occur at night or from being trapped in cars; lightning, a by-product of all thunderstorms, averages 93 deaths and 300 injuries per year, and causes millions in property damage annually; straight line winds are responsible for most thunderstorm damage, and such winds can exceed 100 mph; hail and tornadoes can accompany thunderstorms, causing death, property and crop damage.

Before a storm: Listen for severe weather warnings, issued by county or parish; check the weather forecast before leaving for an outdoor event, especially if you will be in a situation where shelter is hard to find quickly; watch for these signs: darkening skies, increased wind, flashes of lightning, thunder, radio static; and have access to an AM/FM radio.

When a storm is approaching: If you hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Seek shelter immediately; move to a sturdy building or car. Avoid small shelters, lone trees, or convertibles; leave boats and water; avoid using telephones and electrical appliances, anything that could conduct electricity; avoid taking a bath or shower; turn off air conditioners as power surges from lightning can overload compressors; get to higher ground if flash flooding is a danger. Once flooding occurs, abandon cars and move to higher ground.

Being safe means staying alert and knowing your "enemy", be it a thunderstorm or other hazardous weather conditions. One last piece of advice: don’t tell your kids (or dogs!) the angels are bowling. They’ll know you’re lying.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Using Microscopic Surgery to Tackle Male Infertility

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love and get married. Then, along comes baby…..well, it’s not always that easy. Between 15 and 20 percent of couples are unable to conceive a baby after one year of unprotected intercourse.

Even though the media seems to focus on female infertility, male reproductive problems directly account for about 20 percent of all infertility cases, plus in an additional 30 percent of cases it is a combined male/female issue.

According to Dr. Ash Kshirsagar a urologist on Sentara Potomac Hospital’s medical staff and an associate with Potomac Urology, male infertility can be caused by a number of reproductive problems.

“Common fertility problems in men include underlying genetic problems, obstruction in the reproductive tubes, and side effects from medications,” explains Dr. Kshirsagar. “The most common problem is something called varicocele, which are dilated veins in the spermatic cord leading to the testicle. Dilated veins can cause low sperm production, which obviously leads to trouble conceiving a baby.”

Dr. Kshirsagar is the only physician in the area who is fellowship trained in male infertility and microscopic surgery. He uses this surgery at Sentara Potomac Hospital to treat varicocele and other male infertility problems.

“Microsurgery allows me to precisely treat the affected area to allow for better sperm production. We can also use this type of surgery to perform reverse vasectomy. Men who wish to reverse their vasectomy (elective male sterilization that blocks sperm from entering semen) now have a very effective option that can increase their chance of successful reversal to about 90 percent.”

“These procedures have provided excellent outcomes for many men and couples,” says Dr. Kshirsagar. “Infertility can be a very trying issue for couples and it’s gratifying to know that we can help these couples reach their dreams of becoming parents.”

Urologist Dr. Ash Kshirsagar is the only physician in the area who is fellowship trained in microsurgery for male infertility. He can be reached at 703-680-2111. Potomac Urology is located in The Potomac Center, 2296 Opitz Boulevard, suite 350, in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Get the Skinny on Skin Cancer

One million people. That’s how many Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. Of those one million people, 60,000 will be diagnosed with the most serious type of skin cancer – melanoma.

“Melanoma is the least common but the most dangerous and life-threatening of all skin cancers,” says Dr. Geoffrey Moorer, an oncologist on Sentara Potomac Hospital’s medical staff. “Early detection and diagnosis are vital for successful treatment.”

“Melanoma is more dangerous than other cancers of the skin because it can spread to vital organs in the body, making treatment much more difficult,” says Dr. Moorer. “Less serious carcinomas (skin cancers) usually do not spread to internal organs.”

Dr. Moorer says that the best way to detect skin cancer at its earliest stages is to get to know your moles and the look of your skin.

“Everyone should closely inspect all moles or spots on the body,” says Dr. Moorer. “Any changes in these moles, such as darkening or irregular colors, uneven borders (normal moles are usually oval or round with defined borders), or moles or spots that are bigger than a pencil eraser, should be reported to your doctor immediately.”

According to Dr. Moorer, other warning signs to watch for when inspecting your moles include itchiness, tenderness or pain; oozing, bleeding or a bump; spread of the pigment to the surrounding skin; and moles that look completely different from your other moles.

Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Dr. Geoffrey Moorer stresses the importance of early detection of skin cancer. His office is located at in the Century Medical Building, 2280 Opitz Blvd., Suite 300, in Woodbridge. Telephone: 703-897-5358.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wellness Wit and Wisdom

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N.
Director of Community Education

My Sunday routine has undergone its annual spring renewal. Translation: the Farmers Market has reopened!! So after this sinner dutifully attends Sunday church services, I trade my hymnal for a canvas grocery bag and head for the market. There are many reasons to make the local Farmer’s Market part of your weekly routine, most of them healthy and economical. Here’s what you’ll find:

Fresh seasonal fruits and veggies at reasonable, competitive prices. From berries and tomatoes, greens and potatoes earlier in the season to succulent peaches and nectarines in mid-summer, to a myriad of apple varieties, squash and pumpkins in the fall, the selection is dizzying. The market is a great place to experiment with fruits and veggies you may not see in the local grocery.

I am a great fan of Swiss chard, but had only seen it in the green and red varieties. Little did I know it comes in a rainbow of colors, found at the Farmers Market. If you think summer squash equals zucchini and yellow crookneck, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the different varieties to try at the market. Red romaine lettuce? Yep, there is such a thing and I picked it up just last week. If you are going organic, you’ll likely to find at least one stand that boasts organic, pesticide-free produce.

Herbs, herbs and more herbs. If you are at all interested in growing your own herbs, the Farmers Market invariably boasts several local growers’ offerings, robust and healthy. I took a teensy little mint plant last year and it grew into the herb that ate Cleveland (almost!). Having nowhere near a green thumb, I was pretty impressed. Nothing like snipping fresh herbs all summer long to add nutritious pizzazz to any dish. This year I planted basil, rosemary, oregano and Italian parsley. The mint? My teensy plant from last year is alive, well, and has grand ambitions of becoming a ground cover!

Flowers and decorative plants. No need to go to a pricey nursery, the Farmers Market always has a great selection of flowers and plants in season. Other vendors get in on the action as well. Fresh breads, pies, kettle popcorn (ok, some of these aren’t all that healthy!) and even goat cheese all can be had at the Farmers Market.

The real beauty of this experience is the fact that all this bounty is not only fresher and more varied than the local grocery, but inexpensive! Last year I put myself on a $20 budget per visit and came home with enough produce to feed a family of four for a week. Celebrate spring by treating yourself to a visit to the Farmers Market; you’ll boost your health and spare your pocketbook!

*The Farmers Market I frequent is the Dale City Farmers Market, located in the commuter’s lot at Dale Boulevard and Minnieville Road. It is open Sundays from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. There are also Farmers Markets in Old Town Manassas and Haymarket. For more information, simply Google them by location.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Flip Flops: The good, the bad and the fungi

The start of summer means that flip flops are back in business. Actually, for many young people, flip flops aren’t summer-only footwear. Gone are the days flip flops were seen only at the beach or pool. For many, they’ve become a fashion must. According to podiatrist Dr. Mehul Shah, these young people may want to re-think where and when they’re flipping and flopping.

“Flip flops have become a fashion statement for many people,” says Dr. Shah, a podiatrist on Sentara Potomac Hospital’s medical staff. “But wearing flip flops all of the time can damage your feet or toenails. Trauma can be caused by someone stepping on your toe, accidentally kicking your feet, or by tripping and stubbing your toe. This trauma can cause small breaks in the toenail and separate the toenail from the skin underneath allowing for dirt and wetness to get under the toenail. When this happens fungus can form under your nails, especially when the flip flops get wet.”

Toenail fungus symptoms include yellowing, thickening and/or crumbling of the nail, swelling, streaks or spots on the nail and even nail loss. Toenail fungus can also be picked up in damp areas such as public gyms, pools or showers. This can occur when you are barefoot.

“Treatment for toenail fungus varies and can be difficult, so the best treatment is prevention.” says Dr. Shah. “Keeping your feet clean and dry, trimming your toenails and preventing even small injuries to your toes are the best preventions. Some of the most common treatments include topical medications, oral medications and the latest laser treatment.”

Wearing flip flops to amusement parks, concerts, parks or other highly populated areas presents risk for foot trauma. According to Dr. Shah, many people don’t even notice they’ve received foot trauma during these outings because the injuries may be small. But those small injuries could open the door to big problems down the road.

Podiatrist Dr. Mehul Shah warns trauma to unprotected toenails can cause fungus, injury or other foot problems. Dr. Shah’s office is located in the Century Medical Building, 2280 Opitz Blvd., Suite 230, in Woodbridge. Telephone: 703-583-5959.

Friday, April 30, 2010

National Cancer Survivors’ Day Celebration on June 6

National Cancer Survivors’ Day is held each year in hundreds of communities throughout the world on the first Sunday in June. It is a symbolic event to demonstrate that life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality. Join us at Sentara Potomac Hospital on Sunday, June 6, at 2:00 p.m., for speakers, refreshments and entertainment.

This year’s featured speaker is Shak Hill, whose wife, Robyn, is a 17-year cancer survivor. His wife’s diagnosis of cancer was the wake-up call that led to his publishing When the Doctor Says It’s Cancer and A Woman’s Guide to Financial Planning. Shak uses humor, knowledge and life experiences to reach audiences across the country.

There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. To register call Sentara Potomac’s Health Connection at 703-221-2500 or online at Co-sponsored by Sentara Potomac Hospital and Potomac Radiation Oncology Center.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Join us for Relay for Life - May 15 & 16

Crushing Cancer One Decade at a Time is the theme for the 2010 Relay for Life event, which will be held at Forest Park High School on Saturday, May 15 through Sunday, May 16. This celebration is an opportunity to support cancer survivorship as well as raise funds for the American Cancer Society’s programs and research.

This fun-filled, overnight event raised over $200,000 last year as participants from teams walked the track over the 24-hour period.

This marks the seventh year that Sentara Potomac Hospital’s General Cancer Support Group and the Potomac Radiation Oncology Center have participated. Survivors are specially honored during the Friday night Survivors’ Dinner and during the first lap around the track.

Come and join the fun! To register a team, please go to and join the rest of us during this exciting and inspiring event.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Are You a Smoker Who Wants to be a Non-smoker?

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N.
Director of Community Education

It was a dark and stormy night. There we were, the visibility out of the already puny windshield of our Volkswagon almost zilch in the blinding Wisconsin snow storm. Suddenly my vision was even more impaired by the cloud of billowing smoke curling off my sister’s newly lit cigarette. I coughed…I hacked…and then I did what many a non-smoker I daresay has resorted to in a similar situation. “Give me one of those darn things!” I lit up…I coughed, I hacked, but from that day on, at the age of 16, I became a smoker.

So began my 16-year on again, off again love affair with cigarettes. In those days we didn’t worry too much about the dangers of smoking. After all, the then paltry warning on the packs: the Surgeon General has determined that cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health was hardly a deterrent. Maybe?? Maybe not!! As the years went on I knew better. I even quit for two years once…until I caught a glimpse of a physician’s note after a pre-employment physical…“29-year-old slightly obese female”…I stopped at a 7-11 and picked up a pack on the way home. Cigarettes were my weight control program, my social crutch (I’m a closet introvert) and my stress management.

Sound familiar? It wasn’t until my 18-month- old daughter, Ann, snatched a butt out of the ash tray and grabbed the Bic lighter with the other little fist that something snapped in my smoke-clouded brain synapses. I finally quit for good.

If you are a smoker and you want to quit, you know, as I do, that it just ain’t easy! Yet consider the facts: smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and death worldwide, causing the death of 393,000 Americans per year. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, and is a main cause of lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema). It is also a major cause of heart disease and stroke. If you need more tangible motivation to consider quitting how about the extra yearly health care expenditures which average out to $4,260 per smoker? Add that to the $1,650-a-year the pack-a-day smoker spends and you’ve got a chunk of change you could probably find a better use for!

If you are a smoker who would like to quit, there’s help out there. Both the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association offer help online. As in my case, quitting smoking often requires several attempts, so don’t be discouraged. Studies show that using counseling or medication separately increase the chances of success, and both together are even more effective.

While not a formal counseling session, Sentara Potomac Hospital offers a weekly Nicotine Anonymous Meeting in the Hylton Education Center from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. every Wednesday. If you are looking for a non-judgmental, supportive group of people who are going through the same struggles as you in your attempts to be nicotine free, please consider joining us. You do not have to have quit smoking to join; only have the desire. Together, we can move mountains…or at least kick butt, literally!


Putting the ‘D’ Back in Your Diet

Recent studies have shown that many Americans are not getting an adequate amount of vitamin D. What does that mean for women? Simply, if you’re not getting enough vitamin D you are at risk for osteoporosis because vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium.

“Even if you’re taking calcium supplements your body may not be getting the calcium it needs,” says Atousa Farough, M.D., an internal medicine physician with Cardinal Internal Medicine and a member of the Sentara Potomac Hospital medical staff. “Without adequate vitamin D, calcium is not properly absorbed into the body. Therefore, the calcium is really not helping maintain your bone health.”

According to Dr. Farough, the relationship between calcium and vitamin D is similar to gas and oil in your car. Even if you use the highest quality gas in your car, it won’t run well if you don’t replenish your oil.

“The two work in tandem and don’t really work as well without the other one,” says Dr. Farough. “The current recommendations are for women 18- to 50-years-old to take 200 IU (International Units) of vitamin D a day. Those ages 50-70 should take 400 IU and those over 70 should take 600 IU a day. But women should talk to their doctors about how much vitamin D they need. Many women need more than the recommended amount – especially those who get limited sun exposure or who have other health conditions that warrant the increase.”

“In addition to aiding calcium absorption,” says Dr. Farough, “research suggests that vitamin D also provides protection from osteoporosis, hypertension, cancer and other diseases, which makes talking to your doctor about vitamin D even more important.”

According to Dr. Farough, 10 minutes of daily sun exposure can also contribute to vitamin D intake, as well as eating vitamin D-rich food such as fish, eggs and fortified milk or orange juice.

Dr. Atousa Farough encourages all women to talk to their doctors about getting the right amount of vitamin D. She is a partner at Cardinal Internal Medicine in Lake Ridge and can be reached at 703-497-4700.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wellness Wit and Wisdom

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N.
Director of Community Education

An early morning news program’s report brought back a vivid memory from my pediatric nursing days on a trauma unit at Children’s Hospital in San Diego. In the course of my duties I cared for many little ones who had been victims of accidents, but one of the most heart wrenching was a toddler who had been run over in his own driveway by his unsuspecting dad.

The child was riding a low slung tricycle which dad could not see through his rearview and side mirrors. The result: the little guy suffered a near fatal crushing injury to his chest. My story had a happy ending in that the child survived without any lasting physical deficits. However, the horrific guilt and remorse experienced by the father were I’m sure something he carries still.

The news story I heard unfortunately had a much more tragic ending; a one-year-old little boy was run over and killed in the family driveway on Easter Sunday. The statistics surrounding this type of accident are staggering. According to Kids and Cars, a non-profit safety organization that maintains a national database tracking such accidents, reports that 50 children a week are backed over by cars, and two of those children will die as a result.

Susan Koeppen, the CBS correspondent covering the story, noted that so far this year some 17 children have died after being run over. April is typically the peak month for these accidents, as mild weather lures the little ones outdoors. Blind zones are the culprits in these accidents, which in 60% of the cases occur with larger vehicles such as SUVs, trucks or minivans.

In an unbelievable visual, Koeppen demonstrated just how difficult it is to see behind an SUV. Through the mirrors of the car, nothing appeared in the rear view. In actually, some 60 kids were sitting behind the car! offers these tips to protect your child from a back-over injury:
  • Never leave small children unattended in the front yard; make the front yard a “no child zone” when adults are not around to closely supervise.

  • Don’t let any child play outside after dark.

  • Ideally, children should play in a fenced back yard. Take your children to a safe area to ride their bikes or to play with sidewalk chalk.

  • Back up cameras installed in cars are an added safety feature, but parents and other adults who care for children should take the extra steps…literally…of walking behind the vehicle to make sure there are no small children left undetected behind the car before they back up.

  • Car keys should never be left unattended in a vehicle.

  • At an early age instill in your child the basic safety rules of never playing around or near parked vehicles.
The bottom line: when it comes to your child’s safety, nothing replaces careful parental supervision.


Back, Leg and Neck Pain: When to Seek Medical Advice

Recurrent pain in the back, legs and neck is one of the most common reasons people visit their doctors. A better understanding of the causes of pain and the diagnostic process to identify the problem will help you find the right solution.

At this free seminar, Hajeer Sabet, M.D., an orthopedic spine surgeon on Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Medical Staff, will discuss some of the common causes of back pain, leg pain and sciatica and the different types of problems that can cause each. He’ll also discuss different ways to get relief – from what questions to ask your doctor to lifestyle changes, physical therapy, medical treatment and new surgical options, including minimally invasive spinal surgery.

Join us on Tuesday, May 4, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Hylton Education Center at Sentara Potomac Hospital. This program is free but registration is required. To register, call Sentara Potomac's Health Connection at 703-221-2500 or register online under Special Programs.

Women’s Health Initiative: Small Steps to Healthier Lives

Sentara Potomac Hospital has partnered with da Vinci® Surgery,, Curves International, and the Office on Women’s Health to help spread the word about the importance of taking control of your health with diet, exercise and annual gynecologic exams.

At these free events, doctors and health professionals from Sentara Potomac Hospital will discuss important wellness information and how to take small steps to a healthier life. They’ll also discuss other women’s health issues and the advantages of Sentara Potomac Hospital’s da Vinci robotic-assisted surgical system for gynecology and pelvic surgeries. As an extra bonus, Curves is offering a special promotion for participants (details at

Join us at our Small Steps to Healthier Lives Series:

Monday, May 3, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Curves, 2221 Old Bridge Road, Lake Ridge
Presented by Dr. Alf Adler, board-certified gynecologist

Tuesday, May 11, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Focus on Women’s Pelvic Health
Hylton Education Center at Sentara Potomac Hospital
Presented by Dr. Alok Desai, a urologist with fellowship training in female urology, and Dr. Richard Jenet, a board-certified and da Vinci-trained OB/GYN

These programs are free but registration is required. To register, call Sentara Potomac Hospital's Health Connection at 703-221-2500 or register online under Special Programs.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sinus Problems? We Have the Solutions

Are you suffering from chronic sinus problems such as runny nose, itchy eyes, loss of smell or taste, headaches, or dizziness? These are common complaints, but solutions can be found to help treat your problem.

Join us at our free seminar, Sinus Solutions, on Thursday, April 29, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Hylton Education Center at Sentara Potomac Hospital.

Drs. Ramin Ipakchi and Alidad Arabshahi, ear, nose and throat specialists on Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Medical Staff, will discuss some of the common causes of sinus discomfort and the different types of treatments – medications and new surgery procedures -- that are available for relief. Drs. Ipakchi and Arabshahi are specially trained in minimally invasive sinus surgery techniques, including balloon sinuplasty.

This is a free program but registration is required. To register, call Sentara Potomac's Health Connection at (703) 221-2500 or register online at

President & CEO Announces Retirement

After almost 30 years with Sentara Potomac Hospital, William H. Flannagan, Jr. has announced his retirement. Friday, April 23 will be his last day.

Bill Flannagan joined the Sentara Potomac Hospital leadership team in 1980 as the vice president of Professional Services and in 1982 he became the vice president of Operations. In 1985 he was named executive vice president and chief operating officer responsible for all day-to-day hospital and affiliated operations. He began his new role of president and chief executive officer in 2009 when Bill Moss stepped down as hospital president after 31 years.

Statement from Bill Flannagan:

“In 1980, my first impression of the hospital was that it had so much promise. I saw a place that had the potential and the opportunity to grow into a great community asset. At that time the northern Virginia area was expanding tremendously and the healthcare industry was growing rapidly as well. I was excited about getting started and helping move us along in a rapidly changing field.

“During my almost thirty years of involvement with our hospital, I have been given a tremendous opportunity to help with the growth and development of a truly wonderful community organization. This was made possible by a great team of individuals; Bill Moss, our Board of Trustees and Directors, as well as a dedicated group of long-term administrators, directors, employees, and physicians.

“Our goal has always been, and still is, to treat our patients and employees the way we and our families would want to be treated. We have dozens of long-term employees who have been here for many years. They have the skills and smarts to work just about anywhere, but they choose to stay here, year after year. I think that is a testament to our family-friendly atmosphere and I’m very proud of what we have built together over these years.

“I am also appreciative of having had the opportunity to participate in the process that has brought Sentara and Potomac together. I believe we did the right thing for the community for the right reasons and have succeeded in securing nothing but a positive future for the hospital.

“It has been my privilege to be a member of the Sentara Potomac Hospital team.”

A search for Flannagan’s replacement will begin soon. Valerie Keane, vice president of Operations, has been named interim administrator responsible for daily hospital operations, effective April 26. Keane joined the hospital team in 1989.