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Healthy Babies Worth the Wait

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Are You at Risk for a Stroke? May is Stroke Awareness Month



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News & Announcements


Back on Track


Partner Spotlight


New Device Reduces Heart Muscle Damage


Cancer Center of Acadiana (CCA) would like to say “Aloha” for Cancer Survivors Day. CCA will host a Hawaiian luau-themed party in its lobby on Friday, May 31, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Burdin Riehl Center. The festivities will include entertainment, guest speakers, food, music and educational booths. National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual, treasured celebration of life that is observed around the world on the first Sunday in June. Participants unite to demonstrate that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful, productive and inspiring. The word “Aloha” is a Hawaiian word that, beyond warm greetings, means “affection,” “peace,” “compassion” and “mercy.” What a fitting salutation to celebrate Cancer Survivors Day!





Healthy Babies Worth the Wait


Paws for a Cause


Volunteers Give Back


The Need for Speed


Got Art?


Not All Walk-in Clinics Alike


Construction Update

(THEpulse) CCA Going Tropical for Cancer Survivors Day

COVER STORY: 8 Life After Stroke


Walk From Obesity Slated The 2013 Walk From Obesity is scheduled for Saturday, May 11 at the Ragin' Cajuns Soccer/Track Facility on Bertrand Drive. Registration and T-shirt pickup begins at 8 a.m., with the walk from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Online registration is available for $25 at until Friday, May 10 at noon. Registration on site will be $35 the day of the event. Children under the age of 12 may register for free and can enter a coloring contest through online registration. The goal of the fundraising drive is to raise $15,000 and is part of a nationwide effort to help fight the growing epidemic of obesity affecting more than one-third of U.S. adults. Prizes will be awarded and pledges can be turned in at the event. For more information, contact Brooke Doucet, manager of LGMC’s Bariatric Program, at (337) 289-8484.

Psychologist Joins CCA Team Cancer Center of Acadiana (CCA) has expanded its comprehensive care strategy with the addition of psychologist Glenn Ally, Ph.D., MP, to its treatment team. Dr. Ally brings decades of medical psychology and clinical neuropsychology experience to CCA. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, including several state and local professionally affiliated groups Glenn Ally, Ph.D., MP and organizations. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and has served as a teacher, presenter and in many other civic activities. Dr. Ally’s expertise will provide a valuable component of care for cancer patients and survivors. Dealing with cancer can be as mentally devastating as it is physically. Addressing the mental needs of a patient enhances the total care approach that CCA provides.


Get Your Weight

"Back on Track"




Where are They Now?


year ago, Jennifer Menard was in the midst of a 20-year struggle with being overweight, and it was taking its toll on her health. She was developing hormonal, thyroid and heart conditions. Even so, she saw exercise as something that would make her feel tired and drained. She finally accepted that she needed to change course. Jennifer followed the advice of her colleagues and contacted Philip Gachassin, M.D., Medical Director of the Bariatric Surgery Department at Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC). Jennifer expressed her goals to have a better quality of life and start a family with her husband of 15 years. The Bariatric Center of Excellence Program at LGMC had all of the resources she needed to help her overcome her struggle with weight. Since her weight loss surgery in 2012, her health has greatly improved. She feels better than ever and has recently received clearance from her doctors to start her family. “Now that I have taken control of my weight, I control my activities,” she says. “I now look forward to workouts. I see it as a tool to make me stronger, healthier and happier.” Her life has changed in dramatic ways. She says her biggest success is gaining control over her weight so that it does not control her. She now takes pleasure in shopping for clothes, too. She says it was tough to retrain her mind to form better habits and healthier choices. But, she viewed that ordeal as getting rid of her old, unhealthy ways to make way for the healthier person she has become. Jennifer says she wants to share her success by helping others take the same first step that she did. The Bariatric Department at LGMC offers a comprehensive program, providing education and counseling on nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and support groups for both pre- and post-operative surgery patients and those who may be interested in a non-surgical approach for weight loss. Contact the bariatric team at LGMC at (337) 289-8484 to see if they can assist you with your weight loss journey.

eight loss can be an up and down battle for everyone. Even patients that have undergone bariatric or metabolic surgeries aren’t cured of the struggle. It’s when complacency sets in or demoralization takes hold that extra motivation becomes hard to find. That’s why the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence at Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC) has a Back on Track program available to anyone who needs a hand in getting back in control of their weight. Brooke Doucet, RN and Bariatric Program Manager at LGMC, explains that the Back on Track program is a way for people to get their goals back within sight and start fresh. “You have to acknowledge that you’ve made unhealthy choices, but can’t waste the little bit of energy you have on guilt and negative feelings. You have to move forward with better choices and a positive attitude,” she says. The Back on Track program is designed to re-teach the steps it takes to get back into an ideal exercise routine and to set new goals for safe and proper weight loss. The program is open to any weight loss surgery patient, regardless of where they had surgery. Behavior Modification Educator Raven Martin, MS psychology, conducts the six-week program. “A common mistake that people make is setting their goals too high instead of keeping them realistic,” says Martin. “Losing weight is more than just taking pounds off; it is learning to enjoy a new and healthy way of eating in a controlled manner and learning to recognize when you are full.” The Back on Track program teaches tips and techniques participants can use to manage their hunger, appetite and self-esteem. “We want patients to avoid behaviors that sabotage progress, such as staying up late or eating unhealthy foods that can drag you down,” says Doucet. “Instead, we teach them to incorporate things into their routines that are motivating, such as good music, an exercise partner or a fun exercise video.” She recommends things like line dancing with your kids, taking family walks, gardening or bike riding. “Warm weather is here and it’s a great time of year to get outside and get healthy,” says Doucet. “People just need to know that one workout is all it takes to get back on your way towards your goals,” she says. “Getting back on the right track will have you losing weight again before you know it.” Contact the bariatric office at (337) 289-8484 and speak to Raven Martin for details about the next Back on Track session. HEALTH IN GENERAL SPRING 2013



Surgical Hospital Tops in Customer Satisfaction


afayette General Surgical Hospital (LGSH) is a short-stay surgical hospital and medical office that is a joint venture between Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC) and local physicians. Every aspect of the facility, from waiting and exam rooms to the work areas, has been designed with patients and their families in mind. The 84,000 square-foot facility, just three blocks from LGMC, is comprised of a short-stay hospital and medical offices, and includes four operating rooms, 10 short-stay beds and laboratory, radiology and EKG services. Lafayette General Surgical Hospital was recently named recipient of the 2012 Press Ganey Summit Award for Inpatient Satisfaction. The award was given in recognition of LGSH reaching and sustaining the highest level of customer satisfaction for three-consecutive years, from 2009-2012. The Summit Award is one of healthcare’s most

"Winning the Summit Award was a big accomplishment for the hospital." — Carrie Templeton, LGSH Administrator/VP coveted symbols of achievement. LGSH is one of 114 organizations to receive this prestigious honor in 2012, and one of only 101 nationwide to receive the award for achieving and sustaining excellence in inpatient satisfaction. LGSH Administrator/VP Carrie Templeton says winning the Summit Award was a big accomplishment for the hospital. “We couldn’t be prouder,” she says. “It really validates the hard work and dedication of our staff and physicians toward providing an exceptional experience for our patients and their families.” Templeton says the entire staff and physicians are excited about winning the award. “It put a boost in everyone’s step, because winning a national award like this reaffirms the outstanding care provided to our patients every day.”

 Approximate ounces of IV fluid administered in a year at Lafayette General Medical Center 4



New Device Reduces Heart Muscle Damage


eturning home after a heart attack can be frightening. Until recently, there was a one-in-six chance, nationally, of being readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after a heart attack because of unrealized damage to the heart muscle. The problem is two-fold. Traditional methods of cardiac catheterizations restore blood flow to the heart, but the procedure itself can cause damage to the heart muscle. Additionally, after the procedure, blood thinners are prescribed to dissolve clots and to prevent new clots from forming inside the stent. However, recent data suggests one-in-two patients do not fill necessary prescriptions, which can lead to readmission and possibly a subsequent heart attack— and more damage to the muscle. Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) at Lafayette General is taking steps to avoid further damage to the heart muscle. One way is the use of the new ClearWay™ RX balloon catheter


Heart Fairs Everyone gets a FREE EKG Exam (read by a cardiologist), plus a Pocket EKG card.

Thursdays, 3:30 - 6 p.m. • June 13 • Oct. 10 • July 11 • Nov. 14 • Aug. 8 • Dec. 12 • Sept. 12

at CIS at Lafayette General 443 Heymann Blvd. Saturdays, 9 a.m. - noon

in cardiac catheterization procedures. Nick Cavros, M.D., is the Primary Investigator of a national clinical trial looking at the effectiveness of ClearWay RX in reducing 30-day readmissions for heart attack patients. Earlier studies found that using this device to treat heart attacks decreased the number of readmissions. ClearWay RX is an extremely thin, porous drug-delivery balloon that is injected directly at the site of the blocked artery. This allows for quicker dissolving of the clot and improved flow downstream in the tiny arteries of the heart. ClearWay RX is capable of delivering up to 500 times the concentration of traditional medications used during interventional procedures and reduces damage to the heart muscle. “The rate at which even the most severe heart attack patients are readmitted is reduced to nearly nothing,” says Dr. Cavros. While other cardiologists from CIS at Lafayette General have joined Dr. Cavros in aiding coronary circulation with ClearWay RX, he has gone on to utilize the balloon in treating patients with large pulmonary embolisms, a condition associated with a high mortality rate. In these cases, a larger ClearWay RX catheter is used, but the principle is the same. Dr. Cavros injects smaller doses of clot bursting medication directly at the sight of a clot. In the months that he has used the procedure on pulmonary embolisms, he’s saved the lives of several patients. Lafayette General is one of only 10 U.S. hospitals, and the first in the Southeast, to use ClearWay RX for this purpose. “We want patients to not only survive heart attacks, but to have a quality of life afterwards,” says Dr. Cavros.

• Aug. 24 • Oct. 26

at LGMC’s Burdin Riehl Center, 2nd Floor 1211 Coolidge Street (across from the hospital)

Call (337) 289-8600 to make an appointment.



The Need for Speed Stimulants Rev Teens Beyond Limits by Scott Hamilton, M.D. n the movie Top Gun, hot-shot fighter pilot “Maverick” yells, “I feel the need for speed!” He is, of course, talking about jets. In medicine, we are talking about stimulant use. People commonly drink the stimulant caffeine, whether in coffee, tea or soft drinks. We drink caffeine to wake up in the morning and to pick us up in the groggy afternoon. It makes us feel good, and it works pretty well. Life gets pretty busy for teenagers and, as a result, they start using caffeine, too. They use it to stay up with schoolwork or with friends, then drink it to wake up the next morning. Many teenagers overuse stimulants in two ways: by drinking energy drinks and by taking Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder medications that are not theirs. Energy drinks were invented to give more of what one could get from a cup of coffee — more sugar, more caffeine. They also contain a substance called guarana, which is essentially a high-potency version of caffeine. Energy drinks are so potent that, besides use as a wake-up or study aid, some drink them to get a “high.” When mixed with alcohol, the energy drink and the alcohol enhance each other’s effects, multiplying the high. We see many teenagers in the Emergency Department with complaints of chest pain, palpitations, dizziness and anxiety. These conditions are often benign, but they are made worse and happen more often with the use of energy drinks. Take a teenager with anxiety and school pressure, amp them up on an energy drink, and the anxiety gets amped up, too. When energy drinks are mixed with alcohol, alcohol effects are worse – more car accidents from drunk driving, more fights, more alcohol poisoning. Other stimulants used by teens include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medications like Adderall, Concerta and Vyvanse. These stimulants


keep the ADHD brain focused and calm. The medicines are mostly derivatives of amphetamines, known as “speed.” Many high school and college students without ADHD use these medications as a study aid. They buy them from kids with ADHD for a few dollars per pill. These stimulants can be effective. Non-ADHD teens use them to stay awake to study or pull an all-nighter to write a paper. Two kinds of teens use these meds: the kid who puts off schoolwork until the last minute, or the highly competitive kid trying to stay ahead of his classmates. But, not only is it illegal to take these medications without a prescription, it is illegal for kids to sell them. It is also just plain cheating to use stimulants that way. Though ADHD medicines often work, they are addictive. Typical teens try a pill for a one-time study session. It works so well, they use it for more tests, then to write papers, then to just get through homework. Eventually, it’s a steady cycle of blasting through work on an amphetamine high, followed by crashing and sleeping it off, accompanied by weight loss and depression. Finally, these drugs have similar side effects to energy drinks, only worse. Anxiety, an abnormally rapid heart rate, hyperventilation, sleep deprivation and post-high depression are all problems that bring teens to the Emergency Department. Even worse, these medications bring risks like heart arrhythmias and sudden death to users without a proper medical screen. So, help teens avoid energy drinks or illegal stimulants. Help them learn good time management, study habits and sleep habits as youngsters. Learning those good habits is not only great for managing schoolwork, but also helps when planning life. And if they really need a pick-me-up, buy them a cup of coffee.

Scott Hamilton, M.D., is a board-certified pediatrician by the American Board of Pediatricians and medical advisor in the Lafayette General dedicated pediatric treatment area within the Emergency Department. Dr. Hamilton currently serves on the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Advisory Council as the Governor’s appointee to the committee to enhance EMSC statewide and is a Pediatric Advanced Life Support course instructor. His blog is available at and through a link at, where it is accessible to parents anytime, anywhere there is an internet connection.

Scott Hamilton, M.D.




Not All Walk-in Clinics Alike

I Family Health Plaza Camellia Blvd. in River Ranch Farha Khan, M.D., and Andre Perron, M.D.

(337) 769-0069

Family Health Plaza South Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville Pernell Simon, M.D., Medical Director, and Sarika Gunda, M.D.

(337) 857-5765

HOURS OF OPERATION: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. • Sat. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. • Sun. 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

t’s just after five o’clock on a Monday afternoon, and the waiting room at Lafayette General’s Family Health Plaza South in Youngsville is starting to see another wave of patients for the day. A man in his early twenties presents with viral-type symptoms, a woman is suffering from a chronic sinus infection and a teenage boy enters with an injury encountered while lifting weights. On the other end of town, the staff at Family Health Plaza in River Ranch is seeing its own scenarios of cases, from fractures to lacerations. Patients are able to walk in with no appointment, including during lunch, after hours and on most holidays. Many of them, children and seniors alike, are return clientele. However, a growing number come for preventive reasons, needing physicals for work or schoolrelated sports, as well as annual checkups. Physician Practice Manager Stacy Mistric says it’s been a busy season for both clinics, with an earlier-than-normal onset of the flu virus. “We administered over 700 vaccines this year,” she adds. Another main difference from most urgent care centers, the Family Health Plaza clinics provide board-certified physicians led by a medical director. “Our physicians are family and internal medicine practitioners whose years of experience have made them great diagnosticians,” says Mistric.





Life After Stroke n speaking with Helen Turner, you’d never know that she’s suffered two major strokes in the last three years. While there are no significant physical effects lingering from the episodes, the memory remains a reality check.


She remembers the first “wake up call” in 2010. “I had a brief bout of atrial fibrillation one night and then it went away, like it’s done several times before. The next morning when I woke up, I felt so exhausted and just wanted to stay in bed. “My husband and I had started walking at the mall on weekdays. That morning, I didn’t want to go, but I went anyway. Halfway into the walk, my right leg gave out and I had to sit down; I thought I’d pulled something. Ten minutes later, my speech became slurred. That’s when we knew something was terribly wrong and my husband drove me to the nearest hospital.” In the Emergency Department, Helen’s blood pressure was very high and it was confirmed that she’d had a stroke. Fortunately, she regained her speech and use of her right arm and leg within two days. After spending a week in the hospital, Helen was discharged, but continued speech and physical therapy at home. Then, two years later, it happened again. Helen suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), an interruption of blood flow to the brain. Less than 12 months later, she experienced another full-blown stroke. This event was worse than the first, leaving her completely unable to speak and walk. But, with medical treatment and physical therapy, her good fortune prevailed and she walked away again, literally, with no effects to speak of. “I can’t raise my right arm straight up,” she

8 SPRING 2013


demonstrates, “but, if that’s the worst of it, that’s alright with me.” Looking back, there were some risk factors that were telling of a possible stroke on the horizon. Helen’s neurologist, Aaron Friedman, M.D., says that a patient who’s experienced atrial fibrillation may be five times more likely to have a stroke than someone who doesn’t have this condition. And, while Helen had no problem with high cholesterol, she did take medication for high blood pressure. She never smoked, nor did she have diabetes, but Helen says she was overweight. “My eating habits weren’t the best,” she says guiltily. Her family’s medical history revealed that both parents died from heart disease and one grandparent fell

Stroke Survivor Helen Turner

victim to a stroke. Almost one year since her last stroke, Helen takes the blood thinner Coumadin to improve circulation. Healthier foods have been incorporated into her diet and the unhealthy ones are being phased out. She and her husband have taken up walking again, two miles a day, five days a week. Consequently, she’s lost 27 pounds and lowered her blood pressure. Helen is able to share her experiences with others as a member of Lafayette General’s Stroke Support Group. “We meet on the second Tuesday of the month and exchange our stories—and our challenges.” Now a member of the hospital’s stroke steering committee, Helen gives constructive feedback from the patient’s perspective. “Being a member of this steering committee allows me to give suggestions on making it an even better experience for other stroke patients,” she says.


Acadiana Stroke Support Group

A stroke occurs when there is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain. Strokes may cause sudden weakness, loss of sensation or difficulty with speaking, seeing or walking. Sometimes people suffering a stroke can have a headache, but a stroke can also be completely painless. It is extremely important to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke and to get immediate medical attention if they occur.

2013 Meeting Schedule: (2nd Tuesday of the month)

May 14 June 11 July 9 August 13 September 10 October 8 November 12


Meetings are at 3 p.m. in Owen Auditorium, located on the first floor of the hospital across from the Boulevard Bistro (Cafeteria). Join us at the next meeting of Acadiana Stroke Support Group. For more information, call (337) 289-7740.

"The longer a patient waits to go to the Emergency Department after a stroke, the more brain injury they are likely to have, and that injury is permanent. Approximately 32,000 brain cells die every second during a stroke." — Damon Patterson, M.D. Neurologist

Face drooping – Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Arm weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Speech difficulty – Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly? Time to call 911 – If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call and mention the word "stroke."

STROKE BY THE NUMBERS: • Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. • About 795,000 Americans will have a new or recurrent stroke each year. • Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death within the United States and is responsible for one out of every 18 deaths. • On average, someone in the United States dies of stroke every four minutes. • Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States. • In 2010, Americans paid approximately $73.7 billion for stroke-related medical costs and disability.

RISK FACTORS: • Age – Risk of stroke more than doubles after age 55. • Heredity – Risk is higher if a parent, grandparent or sibling has had a stroke. • Ethnicity – African Americans have a higher risk of death from stroke. • Gender – Stroke is more common in men than in women; however, more women die of a stroke. • Prior stroke or heart attack – Transient Ischemic Attacks, known as “mini strokes” or "TIAs," produce stroke-like symptoms, but cause no permanent damage. A person who has had a TIA is almost 10 times more likely to have a stroke than someone of the same age and gender who has had no history of TIAs.

Stroke Risk Factors

Each box that applies to you equals 1 point. Total your score at the bottom of each column and compare with the stroke levels below.

Risk Factor

High Risk


Low Risk

Blood Pressure Cholesterol Diabetes Smoking Atrial Fibrillation Diet Exercise I have stroke in my family Score (each box = 1)

>140/90 or I don’t know >240 or I don’t know Yes I still smoke I have an irregular hear tbeat I am over weight I am a couch potato Yes

120-139/80-89 200-239 Borderline I’m tr ying to quit I don’t know I am slightly over weight I exercise sometimes Not sure

<120/80 <200 No I am not a smoker My hear tbeat is not irregular My weight is healthy I exercise regularly No

If your Red score is 3 or more, please ask your doctor about stroke prevention right away. If your Yellow score is 4-6, you’re off to a good start. Keep working on it! If your Green score is 6-8, congratulations! You’re doing very well at controlling your risk for stroke! HEALTH IN GENERAL SPRING 2013



Worth the Wait LGMC Encourages 39-Week Deliveries


n the world of an unborn baby, the last few weeks in the Clinical Education Services. “When we explain all of the womb are just as important to their development as the risk factors that could jeopardize the baby’s health, they first months. A baby’s brain at 35 weeks weighs only twochange their minds.” Robichaux also explains another thirds of what it will weigh at 39 to 40 weeks. Lungs and other factor seldom considered. “Sometimes, it's hard to internal organs are still undergoing crucial development. The know exactly when you became pregnant. Even with an eyes and ears are still developing at that point, too. Babies ultrasound, your due date can be off by as much as two born before 39 weeks sometimes have not learned to suck weeks. If you schedule an earlier delivery by a week or two, and swallow, and have to catch up in gaining more weight. that could potentially make the delivery four weeks early.” Years of research show that The move to take the 39-Week inducing labor or performing Initiative to hospitals statewide “It is not unusual for a woman to want to Caesarean sections before 39 came in November 2010 after the weeks of gestation for no medical March of Dimes gave Louisiana have her baby’s delivery coincide with a reason significantly endangers work schedule or the arrival of an immediate a poor rating on its “Prematurity a newborn’s health. To improve Report Card.” family member from out of town.” babies’ outcomes and decrease Since then, the campaign to the number of admissions into educate mothers-to-be has been — Judy Robichaux, Director of LGMC’s Women’s, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, successful. In 2012, the number Children’s and Clinical Education Services Lafayette General Medical Center of elected deliveries before 39 (LGMC) joins the Louisiana weeks dropped significantly both Department of Health and Hospitals, along with the Louisiana statewide and nationally. Lafayette General experienced Hospital Association and others, in promoting the “39-Week an even greater reduction in elective deliveries, ending the Initiative.” This program encourages pregnant women to wait last quarter of 2012 with none at all. at least 39 weeks to deliver and urges doctors to refrain from Experts recognize that you may not have the option of doing elective deliveries unless medically necessary. when to have your baby. If there are problems with your “It is not unusual for a woman to want to have her baby’s pregnancy or your baby's health, you may need to deliver delivery coincide with a work schedule or the arrival of an early. But, if you have a choice and you're thinking of immediate family member from out of town,” says Judy scheduling your baby's birth, wait until at least 39 weeks; Robichaux, Director of LGMC’s Women’s, Children’s and it’s worth the health of your newborn.




4E[WJSVE'EYWI Animals Assist Therapy at LGMC


ometimes, people need a helping paw. Thanks to the Pets for Health program, Lafayette General’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department gets regular assistance from a few fourlegged therapists. Numerous scientific journals say animal-assisted therapy encourages healing by improving a patient’s physical, emotional and cognitive condition. Pet therapy is typically geared towards patients recovering from stroke, orthopedic issues and head injuries. “It’s formal therapy. It’s not used for diversions to fill up time or take a patient’s attention,” explains Kathy Jack, recreational therapist in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department at Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC). “It’s actual therapy where patients are doing functional activities.” Jack says dogs are used as a therapy tool for occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and recreational therapy. “With stroke patients, if somebody has a weaker side, we’ll get them to focus on that side to make their fingers move back and forth by massaging the dog,” says Jack. “If it’s somebody who’s regaining strength, we’ll get him or her to throw a ball, brush the dog or something to get them to move that muscle more. “For the orthopedic patient, we may get them to walk the dog back to their room to work on balance. For head injury patients, we’ll ask them questions like ‘what’s the dog’s name?’ or ‘how old is the dog?’ We’ll have a list of questions to work on their memory and cognition.” Jack says the dogs can help patients improve balance, distance of gait, ambulation, hand dexterity and coordination, dynamic reaching (across the body), memory, attention

Baer, a male Australian Shepherd, allows patients Lucille J. Breaux (left) and Victorine Babineaux (right) to brush his coat as part of their physical therapy session at Lafayette General Medical Center. span and they even decrease depression. “The dogs promote a positive learning environment. They’re so unconditional with what they provide,” she says. Dog owner Jennie Carter has been volunteering her dogs since the program started at LGMC in 1998. “They like to please you,” says Carter. “They know what you want them to do.” Carter’s dog “Baer” is a 10-year veteran of the program. He knows the routine well, and seems to love every second of it. Baer is an 11-year-old black and white Australian Shepherd with a thick and silky coat. His genial temperament suits him well for his role. He’s patient while waiting for the session to begin; is mindful of everyone in the room; gets excited and enthusiastic when he needs to and is docile and sweet as patients begin their sessions brushing and petting him. Stroke patients Lucille Breaux and Victorine Babineaux both expressed appreciation after their session with

Baer. They got to brush and pet the dog before tossing toys for him to fetch down the hallway. “Lovely,” says Babineaux. “It’s soothing and it relaxes you,” adds Breaux. “They’re amazing how much they let people do,” Jack says of the dogs. “They don’t flinch, they don’t react and they can read the patient, too,” she says. Jack recalls one experience where one of her patients was angry about being awakened from a nap. Jack says the dog knew the patient was upset because he eased up as close as he could, and gently rested his head on the patient. “The patient calmed down in minutes,” she says. To be certified in the Pets for Health program, animals must undergo thorough testing and evaluation. “Baer passed his first try,” says Carter. “I’ve groomed every dog there is, and this dog is the best,” she says proudly. Baer’s positive energy can uplift more than patients in the rehab unit as he trots down the hall. A nurse walking by spots Baer and delights, “I love it when the dogs are here!” HEALTH IN GENERAL SPRING 2013




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Tiffany Brannen (left) and Sherrilyn Perry (right) are two of Lafayette Generalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s many volunteers.

Giving Back V

olunteering can be a rewarding experience for both the giver and the recipient. This is especially true in a hospital setting. Since 1962, volunteers have helped Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC) provide services and goodwill to its patients. Monica Guidry, Volunteer Coordinator at LGMC, says she is reaching out to the public in search of more volunteers 18 years or older. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our goal is to grow volunteers as the hospital continues to grow,â&#x20AC;? she says. Ideally, sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to appeal to a broad range of folks to ďŹ ll the many needs and shifts available at the hospital. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want people with a variety of skills and abilities,â&#x20AC;? she says. Guidry explains that volunteering is suitable for people of all ages. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great opportunity for students looking to get their feet wet, or a foot in the door in the medical industry,â&#x20AC;? she says. A variety of positions are available at all times of the day and week. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We try to identify positions that our volunteers enjoy so that we can retain them,â&#x20AC;? says Guidry. Volunteers often choose to work in the gift shop or at an information desk. But, they are also needed for numerous other positions, such as wheelchair valets and in pastoral care and ofďŹ ce settings. Guidry says if you have the desire to help people and want to build a sense of pride, then â&#x20AC;&#x153;be of service to our local hospital.â&#x20AC;?

Got Art? Calling All Artists!


afayette General Foundation for Healthcare Innovation is now accepting donations for the third annual Gala and Art Auction. This year’s event will take place October 3 at the Heymann Performing Arts and Convention Center. The live auction has become the most anticipated event of the gala with original paintings from physicians, patrons and others, as well as other special gift items. If you are interested in donating artwork, contact Foundation Executive Director Geoff Daily at (337) 289-8950, or email him

at no later than July 22. Actual artwork is due by August 19 so that its photograph can be included in the gala’s program, which will be distributed prior to the event. Any art received after August 19 will surely be accepted, but will not appear in the program. Early art contributions could be featured in print ads promoting the gala. Gala planners are hoping to collect artwork that rivals last year’s contributions, which brought $36,000 to the Foundation. Music at this year’s gala will be

provided by Rio Luminoso, with a special performance by MacKenzie Bourg. Bourg was a Top 20 finalist on NBC’s The Voice and is a former pediatric patient of Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC). Tickets for the gala are $200 and can be purchased through the Foundation’s Executive Director. Proceeds from the Gala and Art Auction help raise funds for the Foundation in support of LGMC. As a 501c(3) not-for-profit corporation, the hospital generates money by billing for its services and then reinvests net revenue to improve health care in Acadiana.





Magical guests from Disney on Ice appeared on the Pediatrics floor at Lafayette General Medical Center on March 21. Mickey and Minnie Mouse visited patients and their families.

Staff members from Lafayette General Surgical Hospital won the March 9 Heartstrings & Angel Wings Gumbo Cook-off at Henry Guidry Memorial Park in Henderson. Employees pictured are Susan Woollen, Travis Carpenter, Lucy Savoy, Chris DuBuc and Raven Hulin.


Women wore extravagant and unusual hats at the annual Madhatters luncheon, a fundraiser for the Acadiana Symphony of the Arts. Lafayette General donated a free limo ride, mammogram and lunch for two as a giveaway at the luncheon’s silent auction. Representing LGMC were (standing left) Theresa Bodker, Cancer Center of Acadiana, and (standing right) Patrice Doucet, Community Relations.

As a sponsor of the annual Festival Eggstrordinaire in the Oil Center on March 23, LGMC provided a "Breastfeeding/ Diaper Changing Tent" for moms and a separate "Diaper Changing Tent" for dads. Staff members on hand for assistance included: (l-r) Ashley Nevils, RN, Ashley Breaux, RN, Natalie Stout, RN, and Missy Deshotels, RN, from L&D; The nurse standing is Loretta Richard, RN, from Mother/Baby; Not pictured is Karen Lavergne, RN, IBCLC.




The landmark sign that adorned the West Tower façade was removed Feb. 4 as part of the ongoing ED/OR construction project. The west tower will soon be home to the new trauma elevator connecting the rooftop helipad to the Emergency Department and surgery platform below.



Columns of the first floor were being erected in late March as work progressed on the $52.5 million Emergency Department/Operating Room expansion project at Lafayette General Medical Center.

2I[%HHMXMSR8EOMRK7LETI Parking Changes Coming Soon


he construction area around Lafayette General saw dramatic changes during spring. Project Manager Marie Lukaszeski explains what’s been happening, and what is next. In early March, the firststory slab was finished, along with the first-floor columns and sheer walls. Near the end of March, the form for the second floor was underway to facilitate the second-story concrete pour. The columns will go up four levels. Lukaszeski says that after the concrete pouring is complete, the outside — skin of the building will go up. With the outer shell in place, changes will be less noticeable as work progresses on the interior. “What you’ll see next is the trauma elevator start going up the side of the building,” she says. Another major change will occur at the end of May, when

parking in the Heymann lot is removed. Lukaszeski says the perimeter construction fence will be relocated, cutting off most of the parking in the emergency entrance area. “It’s important for everyone that does not have an emergency to use alternative parking areas and entrances,” she says. This includes visitors, employees and delivery services. “Our valet parkers will have a full presence at the Emergency Department entrance,” she explains, which will likely utilize most of the available parking in that vicinity. Once the fence is moved, Lukaszeski says a giant crane will begin working on the foundation of the new parking garage. “There’s going to be a lot of congestion on that side of the building,” she warns. Completion of the $52.5 million project is expected by fall 2014.

“It's important for everyone that does not have an emergency to use alternative parking areas and entrances.” Š¡“Ž¦–Š£¯Ž£–“ထ¡œ”ŽŒ¤˜ŠšŠ‘Ž¡



I choose Lafayette General I love numbers because you can’t measure the hypothetical. At Lafayette General, it’s not just about data. It’s about making the data tell us a story. The story is telling us that we’re providing excellent care, from stroke to neurosurgery patients. We have the best, and we’re a top performer. We’re an Advanced Primary Stroke Center as well as a Neuroscience Center of Excellence. This proves that it’s not about numbers. It’s about what’s happening at the bedside. We can assure people that this is the best place to be for health care services.

My name is Joan Stokes, and I choose Lafayette General. Joan Stokes, Asst. Director of Quality, analyzes medical data to improve patient outcomes.



Health in General Spring 2013  

A publication of Lafayette General Health.

Health in General Spring 2013  

A publication of Lafayette General Health.