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April 10, 1998     Cape Gazette
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April 10, 1998
 

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HEALTH & FITNESS Beebe lab at forefront for best care, best cost By Kerry Kester Through implementing its strategic plan, Beebe Medical Center's laboratory has ex- panded the services it offers to the commu- nity. With state-of-the-art equipment and procedures, the lab now conducts more tests that not only provide patients with bet- ter service but also lowers health-care costs. According to Dr. Ray Sukumar, chief of pathology and laboratory services, Beebe streamlined its processes through automa- tion. The result was that laboratory techni- cians gained more time to use their knowl- edge for more thorough testing, interpreta- tion and consultation. "We can provide tests for health," said Sukumar. '`The best way we can help is by keep- ing the patient healthy, not by curing the dis- ease." For example, the lab now tests for an autoim- mune disease such as lu- pus. "The new method is easier to read," said Dr. Kathleen Romain, SUKUMAR pathologist. "It's more accurate, and we've been providing a much better service in the past two years." The lab also has a new service for health- care professionals. It will provide an im- mediate HIV test for someone who may have had a needle stick or other exposure to an HIV-positive patient while providing "Since technicians are from the local community, they don't look at this as just another job," said Romain. "They have a vested interest in the community. It's safer to keep the work in the community than to ship it out. I don't know that you'd get that enthusiasm in Philadelphia, but you do get that in a local community." "This lab is a very high tech, very effi- cient lab for the patient, to the point where people say we're in a different lab, and that credit goes to our lab techs," said Sukumar. Women's services enhanced Women's health services are also im- proved because of the lab's expansion. For example, on March 1, Beebe implemented a new procedure called an arnniostat. The test is particularly useful to doctors who need to make an immediate decision on whether to deliver a baby. Romain explained that if a pregnant woman is involved in an accident, the physician wants to know the lung maturity of the fetus before determining whether to deliver the baby. The kind of situation that requires that information, he said, is nearly always an emergency. Prior to Beebe getting the amniostat, the hospital would have to send laboratory work to Philadelphia; it would take from 24 to 36 hours for results. That delay, she said, caused unnecessary risk to the women and their babies. "It's a very com- mon problem for eare.--:'Mezt hoqaitadondo-HIV--ts-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-V-OBlGYIls [obstet(i- ing," said Sukumar. We do it right here." ciansdgynecologists]," Sukumar said that eventually the lab could said Romain. provide the testing service to the general The lab also has the public, capacity to run screening The lab also now performs a new cardiac tests on pregnant women test that quickly identifies whether a patient who are at risk or have ROMAIN experiencing chest pain suffered a heart at- symptoms of developing gestational dia- tack and needs hospital admission, betes. Because the testing is done locally, Beebe will celebrate National Laboratory physicians receive the results almost imme- Week from Monday, April 13, through Sat- diately; if patients are diagnosed with dia- urday, April 1 g. Romain and Sukumar said betes, they begin treatment sooner, improv- that key to Beebe's successful laboratory is ing the health of both the mother and baby. that technicians, now using more of their Couples will also find infertility testing talents and skills, have researched and im- more accessible, said Romain. Part of fer- plemented many of the new protocols the tility testing, she explained, is determining lab is using, a woman's hormone levels. i.:" ] "; Above, Bernadine Weldon and Gary Wilkinson, clinical lab assistants, re- view data from laboratory tests. Below, Gavin Jackson, medical technologist, provides a doctor with prompt results. "You're trying to determine if someone has ovulated," said Romain. "You want to decide what her fertility status is; you want to know that fairly quickly." Before Beebe had the means of perform- ing those tests, women had to travel to Wilmington, Washington, D.C., or Balti- more. The women seeking the testing would have to do the traveling frequently, said Ro- main. "We're talking about women in their ---30s :W-Id-ffffwbmen," said Romain. "It's very stressful on the patient." For some women, awaiting the results of a pap smear may be agonizing. Beebe processes pap smears and in so doing, can reduce the lag time by up to nearly four weeks. "We provide the pap smear results within three or four days, but if it's sent out, it might be three or four weeks," said Suku- mar. "Plus, we can get the history of a patient, and history with pap smears is crucial," said Romain. With large laboratories, she said, it is logistically more difficult to coordinate patient history information for the techni- cians performing the tests. "If you keep it local, constantly commu- nicating with a group of offices, you get much better correlations," she said. "Laboratory testing is part and parcel of a patient's health," said Romain. The techni- cians are very involved in their work "be- cause the patient may be their sister, their neighbor, their friend. They want to pro- vide this value." Children benefit from chiropractic medicine I have a special kinship with children helped by chiropratic medicine, because I was one of them. 'L age 9, I injured my neck while tumbling in gym class at SChOOl  was treated conventionally with over-the-counter medication with no relief. developed violent headaches and al?, medical orobabilities failed *o help me. Chiropratic care not only cured the effects of my injury. Out I became a lifetime pa- tient and chose chiropractic as a career. My young patients are enthusi- as.! participants in their own care. They are eager to have their treatments and they love to testify to :he results. Their fearless trust makes them easiest to adjust with gentle pain- less pressure of only one or two fingers. It has been found that the birth process can be the biggest culprit for many of the most common childhood illnesses. Because of the torque applied to the infant's head and neck. cervi- cal vertebrae often subluxate, causing pressure on the nerves sending to and from the brain. Cervical realignments have fa- cilitated the healing of such child- hood conditions as asthma, headaches, ear infections, vision trouble and colic. Recently, I had the honor of be- ing entrusted by a caring mother to attempt treatment on a child with severe seizure disorder. Again, after exhausting and un- successful medical treatments were tried, the patient continued to have 50 to 75 seizures a day. Even thougla I have 100 percent confidence in my ability and in my patients' ability to rieal, this always amazes me. After one treatment, the number of seizures were reduced o 10 to 115 and gradually to none. When care is qeg-ected occasional seizures occur, although they are greatly reduced. With regular maintenance, rials young patien will be free from the agony of this disorder Seeing children free of disease is among the greatest of my re- wards as a chiropractor. I have treated infants from less than one week old to young peo- pie of college age. Many have grown up in my practice and I feel that early and continued chiropractic care im- proved not only the condition that brought them in but also seemed to have a posxtive effect on eir overall health. I apolaud the courage of the par- :nts who had the courage to try the avenue of alternative treat- ment for their children. Like all therapies, chiropractic is dot a fix-all ;or children out I continue to wonder a the very high average of complete cures for many chronic childhood prob- lems. Even if the success rate was on- ly one of many, the smile of a healthy child is priceless. HEALTH TOPICS D- Christopher Baldt is practicing chiropractic medi. cine at Long Neck Chiroprac- tic: 945-4575.