Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Introducing Radio SIH

Why does my child keep getting sick? Why is high blood pressure the silent killer? These are just some of the topics covered in Southern Illinois Healthcare’s new online podcast channel: Radio SIH.

Radio SIH features different experts, all practicing at SIH facilities, giving useful advice about today’s health topics.

You can either listen online at or go to iTunes and search Radio SIH to download our podcasts to your smartphone.

Either way, it’s a great way to learn about your health from physicians you are familiar with. Topics focus in on things that are local, happening right now in southern Illinois.

For instance, the Center for Disease Control has identified southern Illinois as a place where atrial fibrillation is prevalent. Dr. Daniel Correa de Sa, Prairie electrophysiologist explains why managing atrial fibrillation is so important. He discusses the nature of the disease along with typical symptoms. You can hear first-hand what treatment solutions are available right here.

While SIH frequently has physician speakers at various events and on local media channels, Radio SIH allows you the flexibility to listen to these medical discussions on your own time.

Be sure to tune in.

How to get an X-ray without going to the Hospital

Have you ever needed X-rays, but wished you could go to some place convenient and close to home—a place besides the hospital?

Here’s a little-known secret about SIH Imaging Services: While Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Herrin Hospital and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital offer a more comprehensive set of Imaging Services, several routine services like X-rays and ultrasound do not require going to the hospital.

Many don’t know that SIH conveniently offers imaging services in Carbondale, Herrin, West Frankfort and Benton. Our services can be found at the Center for Medical Arts, Herrin Logan Primary Care, West Frankfort Logan Primary Care, West Frankfort Miners Memorial Clinic and Benton Franklin Medical Arts.

Locations Chart

X-ray studies are a “walk-in” service, where as CT scans, ultrasound and bone density must be scheduled in advance.

“We want to provide our southern Illinois community with accessible, convenient diagnostic imaging to make everyone’s life a little easier,” said Jon Lough, Director of Imaging Services.

Talk with your doctor to find a convenient location that offers the Imaging services that you need.

For more information, visit or call 866-744-2468.

Today marks the beginning of Nurse Practitioner Week!

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Practitioners are more than just health care providers; they are mentors, educators, researchers and administrators. By providing high-quality care and counseling, NPs can lower the cost of health care for patients.

With almost 600 million visits made to Nurse Practitioners each year, patients report an extremely high level of satisfaction with the care they receive. Nurse Practitioners bring a comprehensive perspective to health care.

We would like to thank all the Nurse Practitioners for the dedication and compassion they show their patients today and throughout the year.

What is The DAISY Award?

Now available at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Herrin Hospital and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital—a way to say “Thank You” to your nurse.

The DAISY Award was established by the DAISY Foundation in memory of J. Patrick Barnes who died at 33 of ITP, an auto-immune disease. (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. )

The Barnes Family was awestruck by the clinical skills, caring and compassion of the nurses who cared for Patrick. The family believed that nurses are deserving of society's profound respect and recognition for the education, training, brainpower, and skill they put into their work, not to mention the compassion with which they deliver patient care so they created this national award to say thank you to nurses everywhere.

The DAISY Award is brought to you through the collaborative efforts of the SIH Shared Leadership Council. SIH will have three winners per quarter, one for each hospital. Nominations will be accepted through December with the first awards to be presented in January 2014.


Cardiac Management Center Now Open

p>Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a disease that does more than costs lives. It also affects quality of life for millions of sufferers and is responsible for millions in medical care costs—especially charges related to hospital readmissions. Prairie Heart Institute Southern Illinois Healthcare is working to provide CHF patients with long, productive lives while lowering readmissions and costs associated with the condition.

Nabil Al-Sharif, M.D. & Congestive Heart Failure

More about Nabil Al-Sharif, M.D.

Herrin Hospital Home to Cardiac Center

On February 25, 2013 a new Cardiac Management Center located at Herrin Hospital will be fully operational, and will feature a staff of providers including mid-level providers and specialty nurses who will follow up with recently-discharged CHF patients to answer questions, provide follow-up support and encouragement.

Prairie Cardiologist Dr. Nabil Al Sharif says that treatments for congestive heart failure nationwide total nearly $40 billion each year. He adds that 500,000 new heart failures will be diagnosed this year. Even in southern Illinois, the problem is significant. More than 2,500 patients were treated at Southern Illinois Healthcare facilities for heart failure in the last 11 months. Many of those patients made repeated visits to area hospitals.

Reducing Readmission Rates

“There are high readmission rates for CHF and we’re trying to prevent that,” Vicki Miller RN, who coordinates the Cardiac Management Center, says. “We’re working on the inpatient side to make sure we’re giving optimum care to our chest pain patients and then this new program will touch on all of the areas that tend to bring them back to the hospital.”

“This will be care after the care,” Miller explains. “It’s like a safety net dedicated to a population who we have found really needs some extra attention.”

Supporting Congestive Heart Failure Patients

“We’ll go over records, review their dietary and fluid restrictions with them and check on their medications,” Miller says. “We’ll look at their medication list to see if they understand and even if they were able to get their prescriptions filled. It’s all designed to keep them out of the hospital.”
Miller says the programs will involve family members and other support people, as well. For Al Sharif, the follow-up will be key to successful treatment of CHF.

Al Sharif says traditionally, 27 to 30 percent of CHF patients are readmitted to the hospital within a month. He hopes the efforts of the Cardiac Management Center will drastically reduce that number across all SIH hospitals.

“Half of them are readmitted because of non-compliance with medications or food,” he explains. “There are a lot of things we can do and it begins with educating people about what they can eat and what to avoid, how to take their medications and even making sure they are getting their medications and following up with their doctors.”

The center will be staffed by nurses and mid-level providers who will work with recently discharged CHF patients to make sure they are following prescribed protocols and getting both the medications and follow-up appointments necessary.

“We believe that by educating these patients and having follow-up with them, we can reduce readmissions by 50 percent,” Al Sharif says.

Hole in the Heart

For more than a year, patients requiring some very specialized treatment to close potentially dangerous holes in the heart have been able to receive that treatment in Southern Illinois with little travel, minimal disruption of their lives and great outcomes.

Doctors with Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants, using the catheterization laboratory at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, are repairing patent foramen ovales and atrial septal defects—the two conditions commonly known as a hole in the heart—with a procedure known as a percutaneous, or under the skin, closure. The process, in which surgeons insert a sheath into a vein in the patient’s groin to place the repair device in the heart, takes about 30 minutes. The device plugs the hole and lets patients return to their normal routine in about a day, minus most of the problems originally caused by the defect.

Interventional Cardiologist Prasanna Kumar, M.D.

More about Prasanna Kumar, M.D.

Getting Back to Normal–Fast

Unlike traditional open-heart surgery, recovery time for placement of the “patch” is minimal.

“Patients can get up after a few hours of bed rest and they’re back to their normal routine the next day,” Interventional Cardiologist Prasanna Kumar of Prairie Cardiovascular in Carbondale explains. “It is a very, very quick recovery time.”

A Condition that Often Goes Unnoticed

Kumar says that holes in the heart are very common—as many as one in four people have them—but the condition often goes unnoticed.

“If it doesn’t bother anyone, we don’t do anything, and often we don’t look for it unless a patient is having trouble,” Kumar explains. However, after patients complain of persistent migraine headaches or if they suffer otherwise unexplained strokes, cardiologists and neurologists often suspect the condition. “Especially when young people have strokes—what we call cryptogenic strokes—that don’t have a clear explanation as to what caused them, we begin to look for these sorts of causes,” Kumar says.

Advanced Heart Care Close to Home

While blood thinners and other medicines can be used to treat the condition, he says studies show the best option is to close the hole, something that can be successfully accomplished quickly and close to home.

“People no longer have to travel far for this kind of advanced care,” he says. “They can have great outcomes right here,” Kumar says.


SIH Implements Visitor Restrictions

For the protection of our patients and their families during this time of increased flu activity, SIH has implemented a temporary visitor restriction policy at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Herrin Hospital and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Murphysboro. The decision comes on the heels of a recommendation from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

At present, visitation is restricted to individuals ages 18 and older. Additionally, each patient is limited to two visitors at a time.

Friends and loved ones with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, stuffy nose, sore throat and/or body aches, are asked to refrain from visiting. For additional help in keeping our patients safe, masks and hand sanitizer are available at the many respiratory etiquette stations positioned at the entries of each hospital.


Herrin Hospital makes coveted Target Stroke Honor Roll

When it comes to stroke, time is brain. Treatment within the first three hours—the golden window for stroke—is critical to saving the millions of neurons vital for human function. Herrin Hospital is currently one of only two hospitals in Illinois to make the coveted Target Stroke Honor Roll from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. One of the highest honors in stroke care, it means Herrin’s Emergency Department is among the fastest in the nation for life-saving care.

Herrin Hospital’s measures include aggressive use of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator, commonly known as tPA, and a fast track protocol similar to the hospital’s successful STAT Heart program to diagnose and treat stroke within a 60-minute window. The interdisciplinary stroke team at Herrin Hospital involves physicians, nurses and staff from emergency, lab and radiology who work together in a seamless process. Target Stroke Honor Roll recognizes hospitals that treat at least half of eligible patients with tPA within an hour of their arrival to the emergency department. Herrin Hospital is achieving this goal at a rate of nearly 90%. The role of emergency medical services (EMS) is also critical to Herrin Hospital’s success in nationally recognized stroke care.

“For us, minutes are not enough. We’re down to the second, really, at every point of the process, trying to fine-tune what we can do to improve our care,” said Josh Miksanek, MD, medical director of the Emergency Department at Herrin Hospital.

Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of long-term disability. Nationally, nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

“At the onset of stroke symptoms, we encourage people to call 9-1-1. It’s heartbreaking when patients think it’s nothing and go back to sleep or arrive in our emergency rooms two days later unable to use an arm. The first three hours are critical to get the treatment to stop the debilitating stroke in its tracks,” said Leslie Cranick, Southern Illinois Healthcare’s stroke program coordinator.

Recognize the Signs of a Stroke and act F.A.S.T.