Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Happy PA Week!

According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, a PA is a medical professional who works as a part of a team with a doctor. A PA performs physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab test, perform procedures, assist in surgery and provide patient education.

PAs work in physician-PA teams and are educated in a collaborative approach to healthcare, which improves coordination of care and can improve outcomes. PAs extend the care that physicians provide and increase access to care.

Physician Assistant, Rick Kleinschmidt, at Center for Medical Arts in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery states that,“PAs are important because we help increase access to high quality healthcare for our patients. In this region, it is a much needed role as physician recruitment can be challenging for rural areas. Healthcare access and quality in southern Illinois has improved over the years and PAs have played a vital role in that growth.”

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

WORKcare.ready.well: Tools to Protect Your Employees

The WORKcare.ready.well program functions cohesively for companies and their employees by combining the strength of our occupational health, rehabilitation and wellness programs. Together, WORKcare administers occupational health services, WORKready offers rehabilitation and WORKwell provides employee wellness programs.


Your company’s most valuable assets are your employees— and that’s why WORKcare.ready.well focuses on preventative services and on equipping your company with tools to improve the health and wellness of your employees.

Each employer experiences unique challenges when establishing worksite health programs. Our wellness program is designed to meet the needs of employers of all sizes while emphasizing the value of a healthy worksite culture.

Although we focus our attention on injury prevention, in the event of a worksite injury our team works collaboratively across WORKcare, WORKready and WORKwell, providing injury navigation management while assessing and treating your injured worker—getting workers back to work as soon as possible.

For more information or resources including a blog with articles on the challenges of managing today’s workplace environment, please visit, talk with our team by calling 844.988.7800 or connect with us through

SIH, SIU Team up for fourth year to “Black Out Cancer”

Saluki Athletics and Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) are once again teaming up for an event called “the best charity promotion in college football.” On Saturday, September 26, the SIU Saluki football team will once again wear commemorative black jerseys during Family Weekend at the Salukis Black Out Cancer game.

In the weeks leading up to game day, fans participate in online bidding for the namesake jerseys in honor of a friend or family member impacted by the deadly disease. It’s the fourth year proceeds from the jersey bidding will benefit the new SIH Cancer Institute, which opened earlier this year.

SIH Vice President of Community Affairs Woody Thorne credits former Saluki standout Mike McElroy for initiating the “Black Out Cancer” game at SIU.

“Mike’s vision, and the ongoing partnership between SIU Athletics and the SIH Foundation, has proven to create a lasting and significant benefit to cancer patients and the communities served by SIU and SIH across the region,” Thorne said.

The symbolism of strength and courage has been especially poignant for players over the years, as they’ve donned jerseys bearing the names of their own mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers, and other close friends and family. Southern Illinoisans battling the disease and SIU Alumni from across the country also join in on the bidding, where the top 80 bids are matched with the player of their choice.

“It is an honor for Saluki Athletics to play a part in SIH’s efforts to deliver life-changing health care and cancer treatment to our community,” said SIU Director of Athletics Tommy Bell

The Salukis were the first college football team in the nation to develop and implement the “Black Out Cancer” game. To date, the event has raised nearly $132,000 for the SIH Cancer Institute.

For more information on the history of the game and ways to bid,

Vascular Services Evolve

Vascular services are growing as Dr. Mohammad Al-Zoubaidi, a board certified, fellowship-trained, vascular/endovascular surgeon, joins SIH Medical Group in Carbondale. Southern Illinois Healthcare’s Prairie Heart Institute already has a strong endovascular program (managing the arteries and veins outside the heart using minimally-invasive techniques). The addition of a vascular surgeon completes the comprehensive range of services.

What is Vascular Surgery?

Vascular surgery is a specialty of surgery which deals with diseases of the vascular system (arteries and veins outside the heart.) A vascular surgeon uses medical therapy or minimally-invasive catheter procedures (endovascular) as well. However, he also has the ability to do open surgical vascular reconstruction if needed.

According to Al-Zoubaidi, “This service raises the bar for SIH because we can now utilize minimally invasive techniques, an open surgery option or a hybrid of the two.”

Do you have a vascular problem?

  • Pain in the legs when walking
  • Swelling of the veins
  • Wounds that won’t heal

You’re looking at the only generally noticeable symptoms related to vascular issues. The other symptoms are much more vicious; and when they strike, the situation is critical.

  • Stroke
  • Ruptured aneurysm
  • Cold or discolored feet

Conditions treated by Vascular/Endovascular Surgery

Because vascular diseases are mostly gradual problems, the symptoms can be so subtle they go unnoticed. That’s why it’s so important to be established with a primary care physician and have regular check-ups. Be sure to share if you have the symptoms above. That, along with your risk factors (blood pressure, height, weight and other medical issues) can be the trigger for your doctor to order some simple tests that can find the sleeping giants listed below.

Once found, vascular specialists take into account your medical history to determine whether medical therapy, minimally-invasive or an open surgical technique will be the best approach. If you have multiple vessel issues, it may actually be a combination…hence the word “hybrid.”

Below is a list of diseases and the physicians at Prairie Heart Institute Southern Illinois Healthcare who can treat with minimally invasive measures and/or open surgery.

Endovascular Surgery (performed in the cath lab):

Mohammed Al-Zoubaidi, MD, Raed Al-Dallow, MD, Son Le, MD,
Varadendra Panchamukhi, MD,Magdalena Zeglin, MD

  • abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)
  • varicose veins
  • peripheral vascular disease (PVD)
  • carotid artery disease
  • temporary & permanent dialysis access
NEW! Open Vascular Surgery (performed in an operating room):

Mohammed Al-Zoubaidi, MD

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • varicose veins
  • peripheral vascular disease
  • carotid artery disease
  • dialysis access troubleshooting

Memorial Hospital of Carbondale Auxiliary Celebrates 50 Years of Service

The dictionary describes a volunteer as being a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertakes a task. Memorial Hospital of Carbondale Auxiliary & Volunteers has over 100 members who have done just that for the past 50 years.

The group was honored during a luncheon last Thursday. Hospital Administrator Bart Millstead lauded the group for all they do. “You are all amazing,” he told them. “On behalf of myself and the staff, thank you for being such an important part of our hospital and community.”

Reading from a large paper scroll he had prepared, Millstead said the group began 50 years ago with a mobile candy cart. Over the years money raised by the auxiliary has helped to provide thousands of dollars in renovations at the facility and provided scholarships for local high school students planning to pursue careers in the medical field. They recently donated $150,000 towards the new SIH Cancer Center.


Peggy Henson, Director of Volunteers at the hospital said the group works primarily Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. “We are also fortunate enough to have a small handful of persons working in the Gift Shop on select weekends,” said Henson. They man the hospital’s gift shop, run errands, deliver flowers, direct visitors and host various fundraisers throughout the year.

Cindy Frenkel, Nursing Administration said the volunteers and auxiliary members add so much to the hospital. “For the number of hours you all put in, to the donations you raise for this hospital, we can’t thank you enough,” said Frenkel.

Ludine Chamness of Murphysboro has been a volunteer at the hospital for 32 years. Her mother, Violet Cecil, was a volunteer before her.
“The people here become like your family,” said Chamness. “I really enjoy being a volunteer.”

Robb Summers is coming upon his tenth year volunteering with the auxiliary. “I’ve always been active in community service,” said Summers. “Not only does being a volunteer enable me to help others, it also provides me a chance to get out and be around other people.”

Henson said she loves her job. “I get to come to work every day and work with a great group of people,” said Henson.

Stroke: What You Need to Know

Sudden facial drooping. Weakness on one side of the body. Slurred speech. It’s a stroke, a brain attack, and time is of the essence. But for now, let’s use our brains to store a few things.

1. Stroke is not just for old people.

You actually need to get the “it’s for old people” notion out of your head. More and more we are seeing stroke happen in younger individuals. Nationally, 34% of strokes occur in people under age 65. At Herrin Hospital alone, 50% of our patients last year were under the age of 65.

2. No matter what age, learn the symptoms.

Typically, it’s the bystander who notices someone is having a stroke. This is your chance to save a life! So teach your kids even, how to spot one. Need an acronym to help you remember? Try FAST.

  • Facial drooping
  • Arm or Leg weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Time-note the time of the first symptom and call 911

Or, share this video with friends to help everyone learn about stroke.

3. We’re serious. Make the call to 911. Do not drive.

Even if the symptoms go away shortly. Any one of these symptoms should prompt a call to 911. With stroke, there is a very brief window when we can halt brain damage caused by stroke. The call to 911 activates more than the ambulance crew. It’s activating hospital staff and doctors of the SIH Brain & Spine Institute’s Stroke Network.

4. Being experts at stroke isn’t automatic at every hospital.

Recently Herrin Hospital joined the ranks of its sister hospital in Carbondale as a Primary Stroke Center–a fancy way of saying that we follow the same protocols of nationally-recognized stroke programs and we have the numbers and outcomes to prove it—so says the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and the Joint Commission.

In 2012 SIH realized a significant deficiency in stroke care for our region and set out to make a change that would really impact some lives. Stroke in southern Illinois used to mean a stop at a local hospital with a quick flight to St. Louis. Not anymore. With some key neurologists, stroke care coordination and nurses with some intense training, we can better stop stroke and prevent the serious after-effects.

5. We’re spreading the love.

To really help all southern Illinoisans, we have to spread it beyond the walls of SIH’s Primary Stroke Centers. The system in place lends itself to have “stroke outposts.” Our own St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Murphysboro and now Harrisburg Medical Center have joined the Stroke Network. With training from SIH’s stroke coordinator, they stand ready for stroke patients in and around their community. For most strokes, they can deliver treatment right in their own emergency rooms

St. Joseph Improves the Colonoscopy Experience

St Joseph Memorial Hospital staff just made the world of endoscopy, such as colonoscopy, a little more comfortable. A recent expansion/remodeling project was completed this March just as the United States recognized colon cancer awareness month.

Endoscopy is the process of using specialized scopes with cameras to enter the mouth or the rectum to evaluate the digestive tract. If they find polyps (growths that can turn into cancer), they are usually removed on the spot.

The unit at St. Joseph is already recognized for their excellence in quality by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. The expansion to four endoscopy suites is an answer to the nationwide efforts spreading awareness of colon cancer prevention. It also provides more access to care as physicians are tasked to control population health.

Colorectal cancer continues to be the third most diagnosed cancer in Illinois. As a nation, we are starting to make a difference. Southern Illinois Healthcare facilities have seen an 18 percent increase in studies over the last year.

Generally not a test that people look forward to, but most people are surprised that it’s usually not as bad as they imagined. “It’s awesome to be able to identify a treatable condition before it turns deadly. It also gives folks peace of mind when they have a negative screening,” said Fred Hall, St. Joseph Memorial Hospital Surgical Director.

For the test you are given light anesthesia. Most have no recollection the study happened at all. People typically feel they have awakened from a nice nap without a “hungover” feeling.

While often cringing at the idea of the study, most people overlook the amazing benefits. Colorectal cancer is one of the most treatable cancers if you find it early. And if you’re not high risk, unlike other screenings, it’s only an every-10-year screening.

“I have often heard people tell me that they are embarrassed or shy to have a colonoscopy or to discuss it with their doctor,” said Dr. Satyadeep Bhattacharya, colorectal surgeon with SIH Medical Group. “However, I believe that the benefits of screening are so great that we should talk about it as a society and make it common knowledge – so that the average person does not feel awkward any more. Together, we can make a difference.”

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.