Healthwaves Winter 2019

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A wellness magazine from Bayhealth | WINTER 2019 | KENT–SUSSEX

Austin's superpowers


DEAR NEIGHBORS, The winter season is upon us. While this is a time of change, it’s also a great time to enjoy the indoors with friends and family. In this issue of Healthwaves, we offer stories of triumph, give advice on how to make healthy changes, introduce new doctors and new services, and much more. We first introduce you to Austin Willis. Now 10 years old, Austin and his brothers were in a serious car accident two years ago. His mother feared the worst. But after emergency brain surgery with Bayhealth Neurosurgeon James Mills, MD, and continued care and rehabilitation, Austin is back to his old life. Learn about his miraculous recovery on page 4. You may recognize the name Dan Gaffney from his work on morning talk radio. He’s been


open with his listeners about the cardiac event he experienced earlier this year. Since his heart attack, Gaffney has completely changed his diet and exercise routine, hoping to turn food into medicine. Learn more about the changes he’s made on page 8. For many of you in central and southern Delaware, it might be time to start thinking about retirement. But of course this decision can be tricky. Primary care physician Joseph Rubacky, DO, offers helpful tips for those close to retirement age on page 10. We also want those of you who have Medicare Part B to know about a great benefit that’s part of your coverage. Annual wellness visits with your doctor are a good way to prevent disease and detect any possible health

concerns early. Learn more about these appointments on page 7. Lucille Mehl is a well-known figure in southern Delaware. She’s an avid volunteer with various organizations. When she had to have surgery at the Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus, she was so pleased with the experience she immediately sent me a handwritten note to let me know. Her story is on page 14. Mehl’s surgery was performed by Noel Anupol, MD, one of our physicians specially trained in robotic surgery. Learn more about Bayhealth’s robotic surgery program on page 18. We hope you enjoy this issue of Healthwaves and that these stories inspire you to live a healthier life.

Healthwaves is a quarterly publication of Bayhealth. The information is intended to inform and educate. It’s not a substitute for consultation with a physician. Always consult your physician for individualized care. Bayhealth complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. If you have questions, please call JoAnn Davis at 302-744-7405. Bayhealth’s TDD or State Relay number is 866-237-0174. TERRY M. MURPHY, FACHE President and CEO, Bayhealth

DANIELLE PRO-HUDSON Editor, Healthwaves

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Media Center Coordinator II, Bayhealth

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AMANDA C. BOWIE Editor, Healthwaves

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640 South State Street Dover, DE 19901 302-674-4700

100 Wellness Way Milford, DE 19963 302-422-3311

IN THIS ISSUE... Feature story:

4A ustin’s


Pictured on cover: There’s nothing stopping 10-year-old Austin Willis. After Austin’s emergency brain surgery, his mom feared he would never walk or talk again. Now he’s right back with his brothers riding bikes, playing football and having fun.

6 Get to know our medical team

eating and exercising

7 Three reasons to schedule your annual wellness visit

18 10 years of robotics at Bayhealth in 2020

8 Dan’s change of heart about diet and exercise

20 Showing our true colors in tackling opioid addiction

10 Thinking of retiring — now what?

22 Movie Night is a crowd-pleaser

11 Ways to ward off what’s going around this winter

23 Bayhealth Foundation helps purchase new defibrillators

12 2019 Winter Classes 14 A special note for a seamless surgery 16 Nine months of healthy




Patient Story

Austin's superpowers Many would describe it as a parent’s worst nightmare. Ashley Shaeffer and her three sons were driving home from daycare one evening in June 2017 when everything changed. They were involved in a car accident where all three boys were ejected from the vehicle. The two younger boys escaped with just scratches, but the oldest, Austin, was seriously hurt.


EMS, the emergency department staff, the operating room team, and the team at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, the outcome may have been different. I know that we were able to save Austin’s life because of the level of care we provide in combination with all of the teamwork.”

Austin, who was just eight years old, was rushed to the Emergency and Trauma Center, Kent Campus. He had severe injuries to his brain and skull including swelling and fractures. He was also in a deep coma and wasn’t displaying significant reflexes. The team in the emergency department worked quickly to get Austin ready for surgery with Bayhealth Neurosurgeon James Mills, MD.

At the end of the emergency surgery, the team from Nemours/ Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children met Dr. Mills in the operating room, and transported Austin from there to the children’s hospital in Wilmington. Austin would spend nearly a year up north in the hospital and undergoing therapy for his rehabilitation. Austin had several follow-up surgeries and also had to relearn many skills, including walking, talking, eating, and swallowing.

“We thought we were going to have to say goodbye; it was just unimaginable,” said Ashley “I remember being terrified. But I’ll never forget how amazing Dr. Mills was. He explained everything to me before he took care of Austin. I knew Austin was in good hands.”

“Austin was such an active kid before the accident. He couldn’t sit still,” said Ashley. “When he was first told things may be different afterwards, he didn’t want to accept it. He was determined he was going to do everything he used to be able to do.”

“This was a situation that required us to immediately resolve the increasing brain pressure,” said Dr. Mills. “Every minute mattered. Without the coordination of care between

Now 10, Austin has made an impressive recovery. He loves to run, ride his bike and play baseball. He also loves school and playing with his little brothers. “Austin’s doctors

are just amazed by his recovery. They can’t believe how much he is able to do,” said Ashley. “There were so many people along the way who said Austin would never walk or talk again. But they didn’t know just how determined Austin is. We call him our ‘Superman,’ because nothing is keeping him down.” Austin has all of his follow-up appointments with his care team at the children’s hospital in Wilmington. Recently, Ashley brought Austin to Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus so he could see Dr. Mills again and show off his recovery so far. “I wanted to make sure we got the chance to see Dr. Mills again and say thank you,” said Ashley. “I know he’s a big reason why Austin is still here, and we’ll never forget that.” “It was incredible seeing Austin again. Being able to see what a dramatic difference we can make in one person’s life makes it all worth it,” said Dr. Mills. “Austin is nothing short of a miracle. Seeing him now, seeing his progress, it’s simply remarkable.” ■





OUR MEDICAL TEAM Healthcare professions have enough terminology and acronyms to make one’s head spin. To better understand our hospital and office providers, here’s a breakdown of the types of medical staff and their roles. Physicians commonly seen at Bayhealth are MDs (doctors of medicine) and DOs (doctors of osteopathic medicine), which are equivalent. They have the same licensing to provide care; the distinction lies in the philosophy behind training styles. Osteopathic medicine views the body as an

integrated whole and some DOs perform hands-on musculoskeletal manipulation techniques whereas allopathic medicine practiced by MDs focuses on symptoms and specific treatments to address them. Both complete medical school then three-plus years of residencies with in-depth clinical experience. Many specialties require additional years of fellowship. Physician Assistants (PAs) hold master’s degrees from accredited PA programs with medical curriculum and clinical rotations. They often work collaboratively with physicians and may also diagnose and treat conditions, and write prescriptions.

Various types of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) have extensive graduate nursing education and experience. A nurse practitioner (NP) is often a primary care or outpatient provider. A certified nurse midwife (CNM), certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) or clinical nurse specialist (CNS) specializes in clinical care or hospital-based education. You might encounter residents (physicians in training) or medical students involved in your care. Bayhealth hosts medical students for part of their Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) clinical rotations, and will launch several residency teaching, or Graduate Medical Education (GME), programs beginning July 2021. These physicians completed medical school and are gaining more experience, under supervision, to refine their skills. Attending physicians are trained, practicing doctors who oversee medical students and residents. Bayhealth is proud to have many talented physicians and advanced practice clinicians on staff. While it’s good to know a practitioner’s title and what it means, most important is that they fit your unique needs. ■



Expanded Service

THREE REASONS TO SCHEDULE YOUR ANNUAL WELLNESS VISIT Preventive health services play a vital role in keeping people healthy. To help older patients not only prevent disease but detect any possible concerns early, Bayhealth is offering annual wellness visits to patients with Medicare Part B. “Wellness visits help keep track of needed annual tests and vaccines as well as give us an opportunity to discuss habits and lifestyle choices with patients,” said Bayhealth Primary Care, Milford Physician Preeti Gupta, MD. “When it comes to keeping our patients healthy, preventive services go a long way.” Here are three reasons why patients who have access to annual wellness visits should make an appointment with their doctor.







Patients who have had Medicare Part B for more than 12 months get a free wellness visit once every 12 months.

Annual wellness visits include a review of a patient’s medical history, potential risk factors for depression and mood disorders, medications, and functional ability and level of safety. The appointment also includes routine examinations and screenings. Education, counseling and referral for other preventive services are provided along with the creation of a personalized healthcare and screening plan.

Licensed Practical Nurse Susan Larimore says wellness visits keep patients on track for annual tests like mammograms and vaccines. “Doing your annual wellness visit gives you a chance to prevent an illness or catch a disease like cancer in its early stages,” Larimore said. ■




Patient Story

Dan’s change of heart about diet and exercise Dan Gaffney is often the talk of the town. Many people listen to the Milford native each morning on Delaware 105.9 FM. Besides his on-air time on 105.9, Gaffney also works at a radio station in Philadelphia on the weekends. If that’s not enough, he’s father to eight children between the ages of 3 and 27. Needless to say, Gaffney is a busy man. That’s one of the reasons he didn’t pay too much mind to some changes in his health. “I remember feeling sluggish and winded,” said Gaffney. “I just attributed it to needing to lose weight and eat better.” The truth is the symptoms were signs of a more serious

issue. While driving home from Philadelphia late one night in early March, Gaffney noticed chest pains. When it got worse he decided to stop at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus to get checked out by the emergency department. Gaffney admits driving himself to the emergency department may not have been the best idea. His cardiologist, Jennifer Eakin, DO, says it happens far too often. “We always tell our patients and their family members if anyone is having a heart event to call 911, especially if you are driving. Just pull over and make the call. The truth is, you can get sick very quickly. When you call 911, medical personnel can start intervening right away, when every minute matters.” As soon as Gaffney arrived at the Emergency and Trauma Center, Kent Campus he was taken in for evaluation.


“I have to say how impressed I was with the care I received,” said Gaffney. “I was taken right back and was undergoing tests within just minutes of arriving.” Gaffney’s medical team discovered he had one blockage and determined he needed a stent placed. After the procedure Gaffney was prescribed the typical medication regimen. The combination of the procedure and the medication made something click for the radio personality. “I knew then that I wanted to make a lifestyle change to prevent this from ever happening again,” said Gaffney. That’s when he started a plant-based diet filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. He is diligent with his diet and incorporates exercise as well. In just a few months, Gaffney has dramatically improved his cholesterol and lost more than 40 pounds. “The changes Dan has made have been remarkable,” said Dr. Eakin. “We’ve already adjusted his medications and dosages because of the changes he’s made. Dan is a great example for other patients to show that they can take their health into their own hands and prevent future cardiac issues.”


Gaffney says while he knew he had high cholesterol in the past, it was hard to do something about it. He just didn’t have the willpower to make a lasting change. After his heart attack, he knew what he needed to do. “I always knew how to eat well; I just struggled to do it. After my cardiac event, I was motivated. I didn’t find it hard to make the right choices,” said Gaffney. “As great as the care was, I don’t want to spend any more time in the hospital if I don’t have to.”

“We always strive for the preventive approach, but as humans in today’s world that can be hard,” said Dr. Eakin. “The truth of the matter is, when patients have a cardiac event and continue to live the same lifestyle without making any changes, it’s a matter of when — not if — they will have another cardiac event. The steps Dan has taken will ensure he stays heart-healthy.”

Gaffney admits he’s taking a new approach now to his health. In addition to his lifestyle changes, he sees Dr. Eakin for his regular heart checkups. “My biggest takeaway from this experience has been if you think something is wrong, follow your instincts. Don’t ignore the signs. Our natural tendency is to assume that any pain or body issue will go away, but many times it won’t. If you have any concerns, get care now.” ■

While most people expect chest pain or shortness of breath to be signs of heart trouble, Dr. Eakin says it’s not uncommon for fatigue to be an early symptom of heart problems. That’s why she stresses that all patients should have a primary care doctor to talk to about any changes or symptoms someone is experiencing. A primary care doctor can then refer patients for further testing like a stress test.



Health & Wellness

Thinking of retiring -now what? When retirement age nears, people experience a range of emotions. Some may be excited to travel the world, take a bigger role in their grandchildren’s lives or find a new hobby, while others feel lost and unsure of what to do with so much free time. Primary care physician Joseph Rubacky, DO, offers three useful tips for those close to retirement age.

VOLUNTEER OR GET A PART-TIME JOB “Men are not allowed to retire without a volunteer opportunity or part-time job lined up,” said Dr. Rubacky. Men, more so than women, tend to live sedentary lifestyles in retirement causing weight gain, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. “There are volunteer opportunities everywhere — your church, the base, hospitals, animal shelters — find something that interests you.”

JOIN THE GYM Exercise is imperative five times per week for an hour. Joining a gym allows retirees to get out of the house, socialize and have a community of people who will hold them accountable. “If you’ve never worked out in your home before retirement, you won’t do it in retirement,” said Dr. Rubacky. “There are a lot of options for gyms, personal trainers and fitness classes in our area,” and with memberships as low as $10 per month, Dr. Rubacky says there’s no excuse for not joining. “With exercise, your sleep patterns will improve too.”

But retirees don’t need to go into the gym experience blindly. “Meet with a personal trainer at the gym who can help you set personal goals and who can show you how to use the gym equipment so that you’re safe,” he explained. MAINTAIN A SENSE OF PURPOSE AND SELF-WORTH “There are many retirees in our area that had very demanding jobs like teaching, military service and nursing,” said Dr. Rubacky. “When they retire they lose their sense of purpose. This is where volunteering or having a part-time job can help. I’ve seen others travel the world or take on co-parenting with their children. I've even had one patient in his 70s go back to school to get his doctorate in engineering.” Another tip: “Don’t think about aging. Have a young mindset and that’s how you’ll feel,” said Dr. Rubacky. After decades of working, retirement should be a welcome change of pace and offer time to refocus on your health and well-being. ■



Health & Wellness

WAYS TO WARD OFF WHAT’S GOING AROUND THIS WINTER Winter illnesses are a concern for all parents. This is especially true if children are in school, where sharing germs is unavoidable at times. With that in mind, Pediatrician Julia Pillsbury, DO, shares the following advice.



“This is especially important when there’s sneezing or sniffling,” said Dr. Pillsbury. “I suggest children take hand sanitizer to school for times they can’t wash their hands.”

Dr. Pillsbury recommends the flu vaccine for children over 6 months old. “Despite what people think, you can’t get the flu from the shot,” she said.



Teaching kids to use a tissue to cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze or cough also stops the spread of germs. “I use a spray water bottle to show them what happens when they don’t cover their nose and mouth. Parents can easily do the same,” said Dr. Pillsbury. “You can also teach them to cough into their elbow.”

“Both thin the mucus so your child doesn’t get too congested,” said Dr. Pillsbury. Using chest rubs is also effective for treating symptoms.

DRINK LOTS OF FLUIDS This thins mucus, reduces fever and keeps the body hydrated so it can fight illness.

AVOID COMBINATION MEDICATIONS Dr. Pillsbury says kids typically don’t need all of the ingredients they contain. Instead, for children age 4 and older, she recommends products containing the expectorant guaifenesin and using them as directed.

“Colds usually don’t require medical attention,” said Dr. Pillsbury. “But if your child’s cough is bad or gets worse, they have a fever or they complain of ear pain, they should see a doctor. The flu comes on quickly, with fever and body aches. Children need to be tested right away, because the flu medication is only effective when given within the first 48 hours.” Dr. Pillsbury adds that one of the best things parents can do for their children is to set a good example by following this advice themselves. ■




Maternity BIRTH CENTER TOURS We invite you to tour the facility where you will meet your new baby for the first time. Quarterly tours are hosted at both campuses.Visit to register. To arrange for a personal tour, call 302-744-7245 (Kent) or 302-430-5739 (Sussex). INFANT CARE These classes focus on basic infant care to give parents confidence in their ability to care for their babies. Visit to register. HELLO BABY Adjusting to a new brother or sister can be difficult for the older sibling. Bayhealth’s “Hello Baby” program is designed to help children accept their new role. Visit to register. This class has a fee. BREASTFEEDING 101 Come learn the basics about breastfeeding. Support persons are encouraged to attend. This class is offered the first Tuesday of every month at Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus and the third Tuesday of each month at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus. Visit to register. LABOR AND CHILDBIRTH Classes are offered for expectant mothers and their partners. Mothers-to-be are encouraged to register early in their pregnancy. Visit to register. This class has a fee.


PUMPING MILK AND MORE Expectant mothers will learn the ins and outs of what kind of pump works best, based on personal circumstances and preferences. Visit to register. BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT GROUP While breastfeeding is natural, it’s not always easy for new moms. Our Breastfeeding Support Group offers an encouraging environment. For more information, visit

Weight Loss BARIATRIC INFORMATION SEMINAR Learn more about Bayhealth’s Surgical Weight Loss Program. Find out about the risks, benefits and outcomes. Meet the surgeons and staff of the bariatric program, ask them questions and see if you meet the criteria for bariatric surgery. These seminars are free of charge and all are welcome. To register, call the Bayhealth Surgical Weight Loss Office at 302-430-5454. SURGICAL WEIGHT LOSS SUPPORT GROUP These meetings offer a secure and comfortable forum both for patients who have already had bariatric surgery and for people who are considering weight loss procedures. Participants learn valuable information from guest speakers and open discussion. The group is free to join. For more information, call the Bayhealth Surgical Weight Loss Office at 302-430-5454.

Healthy Aging PACE PROGRAM The PACE (Promoting Active Community Engagement) Program, previously the STEPS to Healthy Aging Program, is for anyone in Bayhealth’s service area who is interested in healthier living. PACE Clinics are held monthly in Dover, Lincoln and Milford and give you an opportunity to receive individualized counseling from a registered nurse (RN) based on your health problems, medications and blood pressure. Quarterly lectures are also provided. Visit or call 302-744-7135 for more information.

CPR & First Aid HEARTSAVER CPR/AED/ FIRST AID This course reviews the steps of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for adults, children and infants. Participants will learn how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED). The first aid education covers general principles, medical emergencies, injuries, and environmental emergencies. Call 302-744-7135 to register. This course has a fee and requires the purchase of a textbook. HEARTSAVER CPR/AED This course reviews the steps of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for adults, children and infants. Participants will learn how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Call 302-744-7135 to register. This course has a fee and requires the purchase of a textbook.


2019 WINTER CLASSES HEARTSAVER FRIENDS AND FAMILY CPR This course is designed for people who want to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) but do not need a CPR course completion card. It is ideal for community groups, new parents, grandparents, babysitters, and others age 14 and over. Call 302-744-7135 to register. This course has a fee and requires the purchase of a textbook. HEARTSAVER PEDIATRIC CPR/FIRST AID This course reviews the steps of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for children and infants. It also provides information on how to manage a child’s injury during the first few minutes of an emergency until professional help arrives. Call 302-744-7135 to register. This course has a fee and requires the purchase of a textbook.

PROSTATE CANCER This support group brings together prostate cancer survivors and those who are close to them in an open forum so they can share their experiences and learn from one another. Call 302-744-7990 to learn more. STROKE This group is for stroke patients and their caregivers. Guest speakers present information on educational topics such as dealing with depression, nutrition and the promotion of overall wellness. Visit for more information. HEALTHY HEARTS CLUB The Healthy Hearts Club provides a forum where patients and their care partners can learn how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle and maintain overall health. Visit to register.

Support Groups


BETTER BREATHERS This support group is for people with chronic lung disease and their family members.

MAMMOGRAMS Each month, Bayhealth hosts regular mammogram screenings at multiple locations at no cost to those who are uninsured or underinsured. Registration is required.

Visit for more information. DIABETES This support group provides a nonjudgmental atmosphere where persons with diabetes can gain disease management insight from one another. Call 302-744-6307 to learn more.

To register, call 302-744-6719. CLINICAL BREAST EXAMS A clinical breast exam is a physical examination done by a healthcare practitioner trained to notice abnormalities in the breast tissue. Bayhealth offers free clinical breast exams to the community. Registration is required. To register, call 302-744-6719.

See you there! Bayhealth is driven to make a difference in the communities we serve. Stop and see us at the following events to learn what’s new and how we can help you.

Winter WonderFest Nov. 21 - Dec. 30 Hudson Fields in Milton will host this year’s Winter WonderFest, which includes a light show, a Christmas Village and a skating rink. Go to to learn more about the event.

Festival of Trees Nov. 25 - Dec. 20 Come see dozens of beautifully decorated trees on display at both Bayhealth hospitals. Raffle tickets are just $1 each for your chance to win one of the trees. Winners will be drawn Dec. 20. Visit to learn more.

Go Red Luncheon March 19 The Southern Delaware Go Red for Women Luncheon and Fashion Show is an annual event held to raise funds and awareness for the American Heart Association. Visit to learn more. Want to stay in the know? Visit to sign up for regular news and health and wellness tips through email.



Patient Story

A special note for a seamless surgery Milford resident Lucille Mehl was so pleased with her positive surgical experience at Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus that she went home after the procedure and a one-night hospital stay to handwrite a letter to Bayhealth President & CEO Terry M. Murphy, FACHE.

Those who know Mehl aren’t surprised that she took the time to express her gratitude for the quality of care she received; she’s developed a reputation in the community for positivity. “Everything went well, and I think it’s important to write letters when things are good,” she said.

Lucille Mehl and her husband Tom are pictured at Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge in Milton, where they donate time each week maintaining the property and helping visitors.


A retired speech pathologist and principal, Mehl relocated to Delaware from upstate New York in 2003 with her husband Tom. They chose Milford as their retirement home and are active volunteers in the area. In 2013, Mehl received a Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award for donating time and talent to the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge’s Nature Center, the Milford Lions Club, Delaware Hospice, the Milford Senior Center, Seaside Jewish Community, First Presbyterian Church in Milford, and Meals on Wheels. Looking back on her Feb. 21, 2019 hysterectomy, Mehl admits to having a case of jitters before undergoing the procedure. “I was very nervous. It was my first experience with something like this. I had never had any big surgery,” she said. Additionally, she was a bit concerned about the possibility of bad weather and about the facility itself.


After all, the new Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus had just welcomed its first patient on Feb. 5. In the end, her concerns were unwarranted. Her experience, according to her letter to Murphy, exceeded her expectations from start to finish. “From the moment I had my pre-admission testing, the surgery and post-operative procedures were excellent,” she wrote. “Everyone that I had dealings with was knowledgeable, caring and dedicated to the service they gave to me personally.” In addition to individually recognizing the staff with positive comments on the Bayhealth Honors Card, Mehl said she enjoyed having her own room, a room with a view. “My breakfast on Feb. 22 was delicious, especially the coffee. The added touch of the Delaware State News on my breakfast tray was over the top,” she wrote. Mehl also praised her surgeon, OB-GYN Noel M. Anupol, MD, as “walking on water. He listened to my complaints.” Meanwhile, he credits her for being a wellinformed patient. “She is a good person and a great patient, and she asked appropriate questions,” he said. He described the procedure for this patient, a minimally invasive, gynecologic laparoscopic surgery. “Every case is different, and her procedure was appropriate for her medical problem at the time,” he said.

Dr. Anupol explained that robotically assisted gynecological surgeries, including hysterectomies, are now available at Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus. “The robotic arms do not replace the surgeon, and the system cannot perform the surgery by itself. It is a technologically advanced tool to help the surgeons perform minimally invasive surgery with enhanced visualization, dexterity and precision. The patient will have shorter hospitalization, reduced pain and discomfort, a faster recovery time, a quicker return to normal activities, a cosmetically smaller incision resulting in reduced risk of

infection, as well as reduced blood loss and transfusions,” he said. “Our philosophy is to serve all patients well and give them appropriate care,” he added. Since her surgery and recovery went well, Mehl says she has happily resumed an active lifestyle. “I am a nine-hole golfer, I dance, and I do yoga and tai chi,” she said. And to Murphy she wrote, “Thank you all again for my great care and stay. I’m just so thrilled that the new hospital is here in our community.” ■




Health & Wellness

Nine months of healthy eating and exercising Eating right and exercising while pregnant prepares women for a healthy pregnancy and for the marathon-like events of labor and delivery. Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand and allow moms to be stronger when in labor, enhance their ability to push, give them more stamina, and lower their chances of having a C-section. Certified Nurse Midwife Lindsay Robinson, MSN, CNM, WHNP, (pictured at left below with patient Elizabeth Torrey on the St. Andrew’s School campus) offers advice for a health pregnancy.

EAT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS “Eating for two isn’t something we recommend, as this will cause a woman to consume too many calories during pregnancy,” said Robinson. Women who had a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet prior to pregnancy only need to eat an additional 300 calories per day while pregnant. This is equivalent to a serving of low-fat yogurt and one-half of a peanut butter sandwich.

Planning snacks helps keep moms-to-be on track. “Don’t consume empty calories. Replace juice or soda with water, chips with healthy trail mix, and candy with apples and peanut butter,” said Robinson. Being prepared and having “grab and go” snacks on hand is essential. “Eat good, nutritious meals that are low in carbs and sugar and high in protein, and choose lean meats.” KEEP EXERCISING “Exercising during pregnancy keeps mom and baby healthy, prevents excessive weight gain and will prepare the mom for labor. Labor is an athletic event, which requires strength and endurance,” explained Robinson. “Generally, it’s safe to exercise unless there’s an underlying medical condition such as a heart issue, pre-term labor risk or placenta previa.” For those who exercised before pregnancy, Robinson says to stay on track. “If you’re a runner, run. Your body will tell you when you need to slow down.” Signs that you’ve pushed yourself too far include lightheadedness or dizziness, difficulty catching your breath, chest pains, a racing heart that won’t slow down after you’re done exercising, or uterine contractions.



START EXERCISING For those who haven’t exercised in a while, Robinson suggests walking 30 minutes per day, five days per week — but only after talking to your provider. Other options include swimming, which is safe, soothing and relaxing; resistance training with low weights and high reps; and prenatal yoga, which stretches the body, relieves lower back pain and can help the baby get into a good position for labor. Pregnant women might also try using a stationary bike at the beginning of their pregnancy, but should be mindful of balance issues in their second and third trimester. By 20 weeks, all women need to stop doing exercises flat on their backs, such as sit-ups, since this position significantly decreases blood flow to the baby. POST-PREGNANCY EXERCISING “This is referred to as the fourth trimester,” said Robinson about postpregnancy. “This is a period of recovery and women must give themselves time to heal. Some women can begin light exercise between two and four weeks but must be on pelvic rest for six weeks,” she said. Regular exercise and a healthy diet during pregnancy will help a woman heal faster from either a vaginal or cesarean delivery. PLAN AHEAD Preconception counseling appointments help women on their road to pregnancy. “We help women understand ways to lower their risks for complications and have healthy pregnancies,” said Robinson. “This is a time for the patient and the provider to set goals and prepare for a pregnancy that is healthy for mom and baby.” ■

FREE ONLINE EDUCATIONAL TOOL AVAILABLE FOR EXPECTANT MOTHERS Bayhealth is now offering expectant mothers access to a free online tool with educational resources that will help guide them during their pregnancy and beyond. The tool includes information about pregnancy milestones and prenatal care as well as the services, classes and programs offered by Bayhealth. Those who register for any of Bayhealth’s maternity classes will receive top-level access to all of the available content. Topics included at the top level of access are labor and birth, postpartum care, and newborn care. Women who deliver at Bayhealth but don’t take any of our maternity classes will receive access to the postpartum and newborn care sections upon the birth of their baby. The content is available online via the password-protected website,, or by downloading the free MyYoMingo app. It’s also offered in several languages, and there’s even a read-to-me option.




Expanded Service

years of robotics at Bayhealth in 2020 Bayhealth started its roboticassisted surgery program at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus in November 2010. Since the program began, surgeons have done more than 2,700 robotic procedures using the da Vinci surgical system. In 2019, Bayhealth expanded its robotics program to Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus with the purchase of another da Vinci surgical system and expanded the existing program at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus with the addition of the ExcelsiusGPS®, a robotic spine surgery system. “Robotics is the most advanced form of minimally invasive surgery,” said Bayhealth Colorectal and General Surgeon Assar


Rather, MD, FACS, FASCRS. Dr. Rather is one of the surgeons who uses the da Vinci system and is also the chair of Bayhealth’s Robotics Steering Committee. “When you combine the outcomes of all of the surgeons performing robotic-assisted surgery at Bayhealth, we have successfully completed thousands of complex cases and procedures. In fact, our results are better than the national average, and we have nearly 10 years of robotics experience.” The surgeries performed using the da Vinci robotic-assisted system span a wide range of specialties including bariatric, colorectal, general, gynecologic, thoracic, and urologic. More than 30 specific surgical procedures fall within these broader areas. “It’s not common for a small institution to have several

specialties using the robot,” said Bayhealth Thoracic Surgeon Paul Fedalen, MD. “Bayhealth was also the first in the state of Delaware to perform roboticassisted thoracic surgery, and we have done hundreds since.” As of fall 2019, more than 45 robotic surgeries were completed by the three surgeons trained to use the da Vinci system at Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus. The procedures include hysterectomies, tubal ligations, cholecystectomies (gallbladder surgery), ventral hernia repairs, and inguinal hernia repairs. “Our goal is to do as many surgeries as possible using the robot and to expand into other specialties beyond general and gynecologic so we can provide benefits to more patients,” said Kristin Brimmer, BSN, RN, who serves as the robotics coordinator at the Sussex Campus.

In terms of the ExcelsiusGPS spine robot, Bayhealth Neurosurgeon Amit Goyal, MD, says it allows Bayhealth’s neurosurgeons to place hardware into patients’ spines with the utmost accuracy and precision, often eliminating

the need for rare, but costly, revision surgeries due to misplaced hardware. “The system is also very patient-centric, as it allows us to customize the surgery based on each patient’s individual needs,” said Dr. Goyal.

Both robotic surgical systems provide patients with a faster recovery, less pain and fewer complications so they can get back to their daily lives. ■

MEET OUR ROBOTIC SURGEONS Bayhealth’s robotics program includes specially trained and credentialed surgeons who are supported by two robotics coordinators and a team of highly trained and experienced anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, nurses, assistants, and surgical technicians. Assar Rather, MD General & Colorectal

Francisco Rodriguez, MD General

Rajesh Kurpad, MD Urologic

Radu Nedelcoviciu, MD General

Noel Anupol, MD Gynecologic

Gregory Spana, MD Urologic

Wendy Newell, MD General

Nasreen Khan, DO Gynecologic

Dawn Tartaglione, DO Neurosurgery

Rahul Singh General & Bariatric

Mark-Anthony Umobi, MD Gynecologic

Amit Goyal, MD Neurosurgery

David Cloney, MD General

Paul Fedalen, MD Thoracic

James Mills, MD Neurosurgery



Our Community

Showing our true colors Drug addiction, particularly opioid addiction, is a nationwide issue — one Delaware is far too familiar with. The state has the fifth-highest overdose rate per capita in the nation. A 2017 Division of Public Health Drug Overdose Mortality Report showed that of the 346 deaths in Delaware caused by drug overdose in 2017, 84 percent were caused by opioid abuse. Moreover, 81 percent interacted with a Delaware health system in the year before their deaths. This is why Bayhealth has joined the fight against substance abuse disorders by participating in statewide initiatives as well as making changes in-house to better help patients.

BAYHEALTH GOES PURPLE For the second year in a row, Bayhealth is participating in Delaware Goes Purple, a drug-free awareness campaign initiated by Sussex County Health Coalition. What began in the city of Seaford has grown into a statewide effort to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around addiction. Bayhealth held a “Step Out for Substance Abuse” event


in October, where team members joined together to walk and show support for the cause. Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus Lead Chaplain Rev. Carol Harris (pictured left) is the chair for Kent County Goes Purple. She got involved in the awareness program because of her role as the coordinator for Vines Community Project, a Kent County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition. “Delaware Goes Purple gives leaders across the state a chance to collaborate and unite in the fight against drug abuse. We’re demonstrating on a state and national level how an entire state can come together when we’re threatened by something such as substance abuse,” Rev. Harris said. “I’m proud to work for an organization that is such a major supporter of an important initiative. I believe Bayhealth and the state are moving in the right direction to not only help patients with substance abuse disorders but to prevent addiction.” MAKING CHANGES FOR PREVENTION While Rev. Harris is busy raising awareness with Delaware Goes Purple, other Bayhealth team members have spent the past year searching for ways the organization can reduce opioid prescriptions to patients and connect patients with recovery resources.

A change to how opioids are prescribed has resulted in a 50 percent reduction in opioid prescribing. Peer recovery specialists, who have experience with substance abuse, are embedded in the Bayhealth Emergency and Trauma Center (ED), Kent Campus to help connect patients with treatment centers. In the first five months, 294 patients were engaged in conversations, with 117 agreeing to treatment. Before this, very few patients entered treatment directly from the ED. Bayhealth is working to increase access to medications that treat overdoses and addictions, and update policies regarding opioids. “We are building a system of care in the federal, state and local community to not only treat patients with opioid issues but prevent addiction in the first place,” said Bayhealth Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer Jonathan Kaufmann, DO (pictured right). He is chair of Bayhealth’s Opioid Oversight Task Force. “Opioid addiction affects people from all walks of life. The stigma surrounding substance abuse is unjustified. Substance abuse disorders are diseases like many of those we treat on a daily basis. We need to care for, and support, this population of patients just as we do with patients suffering from diabetes or heart disease.” ■


in tackling opioid addiction




Our Community

IS CROWD-PLEASER Bayhealth was thrilled to host a movie night at DE Turf Sports Complex in October. The family-friendly affair was open to the entire community and boasted lawn games, a mini health fair, craft stations, and a viewing of The Secret Life of Pets at sunset.

As part of Bayhealth’s sponsorship of The 2019 Big Draw Festival DE presented by Milford-based Mispillion Art League, children and adults alike created greeting cards at the event that were meant for patients at Bayhealth Hospitals, Kent and Sussex campuses.

The cards were placed on patient food trays and spread cheer to more than 300 patients. The Big Draw is designed to encourage community members to be creative. ■




Our Community

Bayhealth Foundation helps purchase new defibrillators Defibrillators are pieces of lifesaving equipment used to help restore a patient’s normal heartbeat. When a need arose last year to replace our entire defibrillator fleet, the Bayhealth Foundation stepped in to help by providing $1 million to purchase more than 80 new defibrillators. A defibrillator sends an electric shock to the heart to help restore a normal rhythm. The new Zoll defibrillators ensure Bayhealth has the best equipment and technology available when lifesaving measures are needed for the care of patients. “Early CPR and defibrillation is vital to patient outcomes and survival rates, so it’s important we have the latest technology,” said Clinical Educator Sylvia Stubbs, MSN, RN-BC.

Senior Manager of Clinical Engineering Sterling Townsend, CBET, said defibrillators are a Risk Group 1 piece of equipment, making it vital that Bayhealth has fully functioning defibrillators available for use. “Usually we can phase out a product, but in this instance we had to replace an entire fleet because it’s important our staff is confident that the

equipment can help save a life. The Foundation was definitely a godsend in stepping in to purchase the devices,” Townsend said. The purchase of the new defibrillators is just one example of how the Bayhealth Foundation lives by Bayhealth’s mission to improve the healthcare community. ■

The new defibrillators are hands-free devices with a detailed, real-time display that shows CPR quality metrics. This means team members no longer have to stop CPR to check heart rhythms because the data will be on the defibrillator’s monitor. The device also provides analytics to show if staff is doing CPR properly and if they need further education and training.




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