Browse Author: Paul Hackbarth

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February Is Dental Health Month

February is Dental Health Month, and Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) is using this month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.

Did you know that sugar can cause teeth to decay within 20 minutes after every meal or snack? Tooth decay occurs when sugar and bacteria in your mouth combine to create an acid, which can cause a cavity to form on a healthy tooth.

To keep your teeth healthy, dentists recommend that you brush the top, bottom, front and back surfaces of your teeth until they are clean. You should brush your teeth and tongue for 2 minutes, at least twice a day. Do NOT go to bed without brushing your teeth.

Use a toothbrush with soft bristles in order to avoid damaging your gums, and change your toothbrush at least every 3 months and after any illness.

Dentists also recommend that you drink more water and use dental floss at least once per day. Flossing can remove food and plaque that your toothbrush cannot reach.

Rinse your mouth after eating any food with sugar. Consider using mouthwash because it reduces acid in your mouth and cleans hard-to-reach spaces.

People also should avoid tobacco products. Did you know that smokers are 4 times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers?

Additionally, limit the amount of alcohol you consume as well as sugary and acidic foods and drinks.

Make sure to visit your dentist twice a year.

Fluoride is vital to healthy teeth and protects against cavities. Children ages 6 and younger need a daily supplement of fluoride, which often can be found in toothpaste.

Infants require special care when it comes to healthy mouths. Parents are encouraged to clean their baby’s gums with a soft, clean, damp washcloth after every feeding. Do not put juice, soda or other sweet drinks in a baby’s bottle or sippy cup.

In addition, parents should start brushing as soon as their child’s first tooth comes in with a small, soft toothbrush. Infants also should see a dentist by their first birthday.


February Is American Heart Month

American Heart Month, which is celebrated each February, is a good time to remind both men and women about the dangers of coronary heart disease and ways people can reduce their risks.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.

What puts someone at risk for heart disease?

High blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol and obesity are some of the risk factors for heart disease, according to Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Cardiologist Thomas Martin, MD, FACC. The more risk factors people have, the more likely they are to develop heart disease.

The risk factors listed above account for about two-thirds of the total number of heart disease cases, while the remaining causes of heart disease are still unknown, Dr. Martin says.

Men are at a higher risk for heart disease than women. However, the risk rises in women over age 55, provided they do not have the risks previously mentioned.

Men and women who have a family history of coronary heart disease are at a higher risk, as well.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

In 50% of the population, the first symptom of heart disease can be, unfortunately, sudden death.

That percentage is higher when it comes to smokers, Dr. Martin says. The good news is that by quitting smoking, people can quickly reverse their additional risk factors. After two weeks, the immediate risk goes away. Although the residual effects of smoking last for a much longer time, according to Dr. Martin.

The most common symptom of coronary heart disease is discomfort in the chest — pain, pressure or a burning sensation. Sometimes the discomfort will radiate to people’s backs, shoulders and jaws.

This pain can be associated with shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, and if severe enough, vomiting. About one-third of all heart attacks present with classic symptoms, Dr. Martin says.

Women present with different symptoms than men. Heart disease is missed more in women because they present with unusual symptoms that not everyone is aware of as being heart-related, Dr. Martin says.

Atypical symptoms for heart disease in men and women (though more common in women) are back pain and an unexpected shortness of breath that presents suddenly.

Diabetics are especially at risk for heart disease, Dr. Martin warns. They can have a heart attack and not even know they are having symptoms.

How do you know if you should seek medical attention?

People who have an onset of chest discomfort they cannot explain should see a provider immediately, Dr. Martin advises.

If people are not sure about their symptoms, they should go to the hospital or see their doctor. Do not dismiss symptoms as nothing, like heartburn or acid reflux. Be safe and seek medical attention.

To schedule an appointment with the PCRMC Medical Group Heart & Vascular Center, please call 573-308-1301.


PCRMC Recognizes Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and Anesthesiologists

Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) is celebrating National Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Week, which runs January 22-28, this year, and National Anesthesiologists Week, which takes place from January 29 through February 4, 2017.

Both CRNAs and anesthesiologists are trained to give patients anesthesia during certain procedures to allow them to be free of pain. All anesthesia care is provided with the highest degree of professionalism.

The most substantial difference between CRNAs and anesthesiologists is that before being trained in anesthesia, anesthesiologists receive medical education while CRNAs get nursing education. However, they are both taught to use the same anesthesia process.

This year’s CRNA Week marks the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists’ 18th annual celebration of anesthesia patient safety and the nation’s 50,000-plus CRNAs and student registered nurse anesthetists who safely and cost-effectively provide approximately 43 million anesthetics each year.

CRNA Week was initially known as National Nurse Anesthetists Week, but this new name helps patients, hospital administrators, healthcare professionals and others become more familiar with the CRNA credential and the exceptional advanced practice registered nurses who have earned it.

Nurse anesthetists have been providing anesthesia care to patients in the United States for more than 150 years. The CRNA credential came into existence in 1956.

These two weeks allow CRNAs and anesthesiologists across the country the chance to educate the public about advancements in anesthesia patient safety and the role and value of CRNAs and anesthesiologists in delivering anesthesia care.

CRNAs provide anesthesia in collaboration with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists and other qualified healthcare professionals. CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural healthcare settings in America.

There are three basic types of anesthesia. General anesthesia produces a loss of sensation throughout the entire body. Regional anesthesia creates a loss of sensation to a specific region of the body. Local anesthesia causes a loss of sensation to a small, specific area of the body.

The anesthesia chosen for patients is based on factors such as their physical condition, the nature of the surgery and their reactions to medications.

CRNAs stay with their patients for the entire procedure, constantly monitoring every important function of their body and individually modifying their anesthetic to ensure their maximum safety and comfort. 

PCRMC Valet blog

Valet Service Now Offered at Delbert Day Cancer Institute, Medical Office Building

Even before patients step inside the Delbert Day Cancer Institute (DDCI), Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) tries to make their experience better as they drive up to the building.

With the opening of the DDCI came a free valet service available to patients along with their families, guests and visitors. PCRMC has partnered with Towne Park for the service.

Rob Koppenhoefer, account manager with Towne Park, said he and four guest service associates provide the valet service, which is available Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the DDCI and the Medical Office Building.

A patient or guest who wants to use the valet service can drive up to the buildings, and a guest service associate will give the driver a valet slip before parking his or her vehicle.

The driver then holds onto the slip and once his or her appointment or visit is finished, the driver gives the valet slip to the guest service associate, who will bring the parked vehicle back to the driver.

Koppenhoefer and the guest service associates also assist patients and guests with wheelchairs, walkers and other equipment. They help open doors and direct them to the registration desk or appropriate location.

“On average, we probably open close to 1,000 doors a week and greet about 1,000 people a day,” Koppenhoefer says.

“We just want to brighten people’s days. We are the first and last face they see during their guest experience, so we are always smiling,” Koppenhoefer says.

People may tip the guest service associates, if they wish, but it is not required.

Koppenhoefer says he and the guest service associates have had positive reactions from patients and guests so far. “We’re there to help them,” he says.

The valet service began at the DDCI on January 9, 2017, and at the PCRMC Medical Office Building on December 1, 2016.

DDCI Photo

PCRMC Delbert Day Cancer Institute to See First Patients January 9

The Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Del­bert Day Cancer Institute (DDCI) is scheduled to open and start seeing its first patients this Monday, January 9, 2017.

The $43 million, four-story, 100,000-square-foot cancer center represents a major investment in Rolla, Missouri, and surrounding communities. The opening of the DDCI is an historic event that will forever change the face of cancer care in south-central Missouri.

Six years ago, PCRMC first announced the creation of the cancer institute named after Dr. Delbert Day, curators’ professor emeritus of ceramic engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri.

Dr. Day’s son and daughter-in-law, Ted and Kim Day, provided the “seed gift” for the cancer institute.

Additionally, the community raised $7 million during a successful capital campaign to help construct the DDCI. A total of 1,170 businesses, organizations and individuals contributed to the cancer treatment facility.

“Ted and Kim Day lit the fuse,” Dr. Day said but added that the community “provided the fuel to get us where we are today.”

“When a community gets behind a project such as this, great things are bound to happen,” said PCRMC CEO Ed Clayton. “The Delbert Day Cancer Institute is something that we hope you, our community, are very proud of.”

PCRMC has been offering cancer care services for over three decades, but what makes the DDCI so special is that “we can integrate the care that we currently offer in several places under one roof,” said PCRMC Director of Radiation Oncology Christopher Spencer, MD. “These services will all be streamlined in a central, convenient location.”

An additional 520 patients can be treated each year at the DDCI.

This cancer institute features modern, state-of-the-art equipment and uses the latest in cancer treatment technology to help people living with cancer.

PCRMC purchased a Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator, which can deliver radiation with speed and accuracy to treat cancer.

The DDCI also has a new Siemens PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography) scanner, which uses small amounts of radioactive material and X-rays to scan the body to obtain information about cells and tissues that may be cancerous.

In addition, the DDCI offers chemotherapy services, radiation oncology, medical oncology and hematology care, imaging services, an infusion center, a new pharmacy, cancer rehabilitation, genetic counseling, nurse navigator services, social services, a cancer resource center, dietary support, spiritual support, a wig and bra fitting boutique and more.

While the cancer center is an architectural masterpiece as seen from the outside, it is the care providers, staff, employees and volunteers who will bring the true, exceptional care to cancer patients inside the building.

At the DDCI, patients will receive world-class cancer care, close to home, so they do not have to travel far for their treatments and therapies.

Cancer patients will be served by a team of radiologists, medical and radiation oncologists, general surgeons, pathologists, urologists, pulmonologists, palliative and supportive care physicians, gynecologists, otolaryngologists as well as nursing staff, social workers, dietitians and many others.

The DDCI is nationally accredited by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.

To learn more about the DDCI, visit the cancer center located at 1060 West 10th Street, Rolla, Missouri, call 573-458-3324 (DDCI) or go online to