Review Category : Health

Local physicians receive state awards

From left to right: M. LaFrance Ferguson, MD and Faith Lawrence Polkey, MD. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

From left to right: M. LaFrance Ferguson, MD and Faith Lawrence Polkey, MD. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. (BJHCHS) has two physicians that were recently recognized by the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association (SCPHCA) for their statewide achievements.

The SCPHCA is the trade association, established in 1979, that represents the majority of the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in South Carolina, of which BJHCHS is a member.  The FQHCs in South Carolina currently employs more than 275 Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and Midwives and serves over 335,000 patients.

M. LaFrance Ferguson, MD, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), BJHCHS, was named “Health Care Provider of the Year” (2014), for exemplary performance by a physician in the community based health care setting.  Dr. Ferguson, a native of Beaufort County, who specializes in Family Medicine, has been the CMO at BJHCHS for over twenty (25) years.

Faith Lawrence Polkey, MD, Chief of Pediatrics, BJHCHS, Regional Director of Medical Education and Assistant Professor, A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine for the South Carolina Campus, was recognized by the SCPHCA for her outstanding leadership and tireless commitment to advocacy on behalf of medically underserved patients and was named “Community Health Center Advocate” (2014).  Dr. Polkey is a native of Charleston, SC and has been affiliated with BJHCHS since 2002.

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Return of the Reiki Clinic

By Chris Suddeth

April 26 is fast approaching and that means the second Lady’s Island Reiki Clinic of 2015. This lovely holistic offering is a form of energy work that hales from Japan and is translated as Spirit-Guided Life-Force Energy.

I am honored and excited to be part of the Reiki Community sharing this offering. I first heard about the clinics during my Reiki infancy back in 2009. Those blessed clinics molded the intuitive healer that I am today. We cannot heal until first healing ourselves. Those clinics formed the bonds of friendship and basis for healing that I am the beneficiary of today. The Reiki clinics gave many their first taste of energy healing and quite possibly the first transpersonal experiences of their lives. Then the clinics faded away a few years ago as we ceded to the natural ebb and flow of life.

Now, thanks to the insight of Reiki Master Ashana Jones, the Reiki community is bringing back this lovely offering of healing and fellowship.

Reiki’s roots found fertile ground in Japan in the late 19th century. Reiki’s intelligent energy is now rooted in the sandy soil of Beaufort and growing along with the live oaks that bless our vistas at every turn.

Reiki’s benefits can include deep relaxation, accelerating the body’s natural healing ability, increasing mental focus, emotional releases, and even spiritual revelations. Reiki is the path to whole self-care that attracts many due to its relative simplicity to employ into everyday life once attuned. In its simplicity lies its beauty to empower individuals to cope with the curve balls, fast balls, and flop shots of life. It can be a life changer that produces results even after just one short session with a practitioner.

Reiki is unique in the energy work world in that, it can be shared (as is the intention of the Lady’s Island Quarterly Reiki Clinic), but it can also be passed on by a Reiki Master to a recipient. Once this intelligent energy is “passed on” or attuned into the recipient, it’s theirs to do as little or as much with as they see fit.

Come experience this soothing energy in the locally available tool chest of holistic living. This Lady’s Island Reiki Clinic will be held at 9B Rue Du Bois April 26 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Additional dates are July 26, and Oct. 25. Contact Ashana Jones 843-263-3148 or Chris (Sutty) Suddeth 843-263-2397 for more information. Donations are accepted and appreciated but not expected.

When Chris Suddeth (Sutty) isn’t being Mr. Mom to 5 year old, Emma Belle, he balances his time between writing, real estate and supporting other’s healing through his personal blend of Reiki, Theta Healing®, Intuitive Healing, as well as teaching all three levels of Reiki attunement classes. You can contact him at 843-263-2397 or

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Learn how to look your best at any age

Dr. Audrey Klenke

Dr. Audrey Klenke

You’ve probably heard that 70 is the new 50 – or perhaps 60 is the new 40.  Whatever your age join Dr. Audrey Klenke, owner of Pinnacle Plastic Surgery,  for a spirited seminar, chock-full of cosmetic strategies to keep people guessing your age for years to come. The free event is scheduled for Thursday, April 16 at 5 p.m. at The Quality Inn at Town Center.

“Many patients tell me they want to look as good as they feel,” said Dr. Klenke, a member of the medical staff at both Beaufort Memorial and Hilton Head Hospital. She plans to discuss age-enhancing procedures like facelift, eyelid surgery, arm lift and breast reduction, as well as non-surgical options like Erbium laser resurfacing, dermaplaning and HydraFacial. Registration is required so call today to reserve your seat at 843-815-6699.

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Melanoma of the eye

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

Malignant “choroidal” melanomas arise from the blood-vessel layer “choroid” beneath the retina. In North America, 6 out of each million people will be diagnosed with a choroidal melanoma each year. Malignant choroidal melanomas can spread to other parts of the body.

Ophthalmologists can determine if you have a choroidal melanoma by performing a complete eye examination. This includes asking questions about your medical history, examining both of your eyes, looking into the eye through a dilated pupil at the tumor, performing an ultrasound examination, and specialized photography (to examine the circulation within the choroidal melanoma). HEALTH - melanomas

Your ophthalmologist will also request that you have a complete general medical check up and specific tests depending upon what they see inside your eye. Ophthalmologists can correctly diagnose an intraocular choroidal melanoma in over 96% of cases (without a biopsy). Though occasionally necessary, biopsies can be avoided because they require opening the eye (which risks letting choroidal melanoma cells out) and risk intraocular hemorrhage and infection.


Most patients with choroidal melanoma have no symptoms and the melanoma is found on routine eye examination. If patients have choroidal melanoma symptoms, they are usually seeing “flashes of light,” noticing “distortion” or loss of vision, and floating objects (floaters) in their vision.

1) If the choroidal melanoma is in the front of the eye (near the natural lens), it can push or tilt the natural lens causing an irregular astigmatism (blurring of vision).

2) Choroidal melanoma can leak fluid beneath the retina, making the retina detach and cause symptoms of flashing lights and floating specks.

3) If the choroidal melanoma is in the macula (center of vision), it can grow beneath the fovea making the patient far-sighted. The choroidal melanoma can also grow into and destroy the fovea causing distortion, loss of vision or changes in color perception.

It is important to note that most patients with choroidal melanoma have no symptoms at all. Their tumors are found when they visit their eye doctor for a “routine” eye examination. So everyone should have at least an annual eye examination (includingdilated ophthalmoscopy).

Other, more unusual presentations of anterior choroidal (iris) melanoma are discoloration of the iris, a brown spot on the outside of the eye, an irregularly shaped pupil and glaucoma.


Small Choroidal Melanoma:
Patients with a small choroidal melanoma can be treated after their first visit, but since growth helps to prove that the tumor is a cancer, your doctor may suggest “observation” or watching for a small amount of choroidal melanoma growth prior to treatment. Your ophthalmologist should discuss the relative risks and potential benefits of  “observation for growth” as compared to “immediate treatment” for choroidal melanoma. Once growth is documented, your ophthalmologist will recommend definitive treatment.

Medium-sized Choroidal Melanoma:
Around the world, most patients with a medium-sized choroidal melanoma are treated with either radiation therapy or removal of the eye. Though there are several forms of eye and vision-sparing radiation therapy, ophthalmic plaque radiation therapy is the most common and widely used.

Since the results of the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study (COMS) suggest that plaque radiation therapy and enucleation of the eye are equally effective for the prevention of metastatic choroidal melanoma, few patients with medium-sized choroidal melanoma are treated by removal of the eye.

Because both enucleation and plaque radiation therapy for choroidal melanoma are likely to harm your vision (in that eye), you should discuss the risks and benefits of these and other treatment options in consultation with your ophthalmologist.

Large-sized Choroidal Melanoma:
A patient with a very large choroidal melanoma may be treated by removal of the eye (enucleation). This is because the amount of radiation required to destroy a choroidal melanoma that fills most of the eye may be too much for the eye
to tolerate.

However, most patients with large-sized choroidal melanoma can also be treated with eye-sparing radiation therapy. After radiation for large choroidal melanoma, these eyes are at greater risk to have poor vision, to become uncomfortable and may have to be secondarily removed.

It is important to note that as compared to like-sized malignant melanoma of the skin, patients are much more likely to survive a choroidal melanoma. This is because it is much more difficult for a choroidal melanoma to spread from (get out of) the eye to other parts of the body. However, large (choroidal melanoma) tumor size decreases the chance that vision-sparing treatments will be successful. In general, the larger the choroidal melanoma the worse the prognosis for both vision
and metastasis.

Patients often ask why they have a choroidal melanoma. Choroidal melanoma is more common among patients with blue vs. brown eyes, those with outdoor occupations and in Australia where there is an ozone hole. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume (though unproven) that choroidal melanoma is related to sunlight (ultraviolet exposure).

Because sunlight exposure has been linked to several eye cancers and diseases of the eye, I suggest that you think of Sunglasses as Sun Block for your Eyes and start wearing your UV blocking sunglasses. They make great gifts too!

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A cup of coffee a day may keep retinal degeneration away!

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

Here’s something coffee drinkers can get excited about. Aside from java’s energy jolt, food scientists say you may reap another health benefit from a daily cup of joe: prevention of deteriorating eyesight and possible blindness from retinal degeneration due to glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetes.

Raw coffee is, on average, just 1 percent caffeine, but it contains 7 to 9 percent chlorogenic acid (CLA), a strong antioxidant that prevents retinal degeneration in mice, according to a Cornell study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (December 2013).

The retina is a thin tissue layer on the inside, back wall of the eye with millions of light-sensitive cells and other nerve cells that receive and organize visual information. It is also one of the most metabolically active tissues, demanding high levels of oxygen and making it prone to oxidative stress. The lack of oxygen and production of free radicals leads to tissue damage and loss of sight.

In the study, mice eyes were treated with nitric oxide, which creates oxidative stress and free radicals, leading to retinal degeneration, but mice pretreated with CLA developed no retinal damage.

The study is “important in understanding functional foods, that is, natural foods that provide beneficial health effects,” said Chang Y. Lee, professor of food science and the study’s senior author. Lee’s lab has been working with Sang Hoon Jung, a researcher at the Functional Food Center of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea. “Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and we are understanding what benefit we can get from that,” Lee said.

Previous studies have shown that coffee also cuts the risk of such chronic diseases as Parkinson’s, prostate cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive declines.

Since scientists know that CLA and its metabolites are absorbed in the human digestive system, the next step for this research is to determine whether drinking coffee facilitates CLA to cross a membrane known as the blood-retinal barrier. If drinking coffee proves to deliver CLA directly into the retina, doctors may one day recommend an appropriate brew to prevent retinal damage. Also, if future studies further prove CLA’s efficacy, then synthetic compounds could also be developed and delivered with eye drops.

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Khang Pham as new Pharmacy Director

Beaufort Memorial Hospital has named Khang H. Pham, Pharm.D. as its new Director of Pharmacy Services following a national search to fill the position left open by the passing of the former head of the department. In his new position, Pham is responsible for the operation of the hospital’s pharmacy services, including strategic planning, day-to-day operations, pharmaceutical care, clinical and distributive services, financial and personnel management and legal responsibility. BMH Pharmacy Services encompasses both inpatient and ambulatory pharmacy locations and services.

Khang H. Pham

Khang H. Pham

Pham, who immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in 1995, earned his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of South Carolina – College of Pharmacy in 2005. He began his career as an oncology clinical pharmacist at Bon Secours/St. Francis Hospital in Greenville and Gibbs Cancer Center in Spartanburg. He went on to work for two years in the pharmacy corporate office of Novant Health in Charlotte, NC. In April 2012, Pham joined Beaufort Memorial as an oncology clinical pharmacist specialist. A year later, he was promoted to Pharmacy Clinical Coordinator. Pham had been serving as interim director since the death of Frank Miriello in December.

“Frank was the best mentor I’ve ever had,” Pham said of his late boss. “I’m so proud to be able to continue his legacy.”

For more information on Beaufort Memorial Hospital pharmacy services, visit or call (877) 532-6472.

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Palmetto Hospital Trust rewards Beaufort Memorial


Beaufort Memorial Hospital has done such a good job keeping its employees safe from workplace accidents, it was recently rewarded with a check for $261,897 from Palmetto Hospital Trust, the hospital’s workers’ compensation self-insurance pool. The organization’s emphasis on preventing lifting injuries, trips and falls, injuries from sharp objects and helping injured workers return to work as soon as their condition permits, earned the hospital the refund.

“Beaufort Memorial Hospital and other Palmetto Hospital Trust members are benefiting from effective loss prevention strategies, including an emphasis on preventing lifting injuries, and widespread implementation of transitional duty programs,” said Larry Gray, PHT Services Executive Vice President for Claims and Risk Management (pictured here presenting the check to members of the BMH staff). “In addition, they are diligent about reporting claims promptly.”

PHT Services administers the workers’ compensation program for Beaufort Memorial Hospital and other South Carolina hospitals and health care organizations participating in the Palmetto Hospital Trust.

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BMH nurse receives DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses

As a nurse in Beaufort Memorial’s Intensive Care Unit, Sabine Hershberger understands the stress patients and their families experience in the face of a serious illness. Offering them comfort and compassion has become part of her job.

Recently Sabine was honored with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses for showing exceptional kindness to a critically ill patient and her husband and children.

Sabine was nominated for the award—a national tribute reserved for RNs who go above and beyond the call of duty—by Alexandra Lepionka, whose mother was cared for by Sabine while dying of lung cancer.

“From the start, we all appreciated Sabine for her openness when answering our questions,” Alexandra wrote in the nomination form. “She gave us clear and compassionate feedback without providing false hope or delivering personal judgment as to what we as a family should be thinking or feeling.”

The family also appreciated that Sabine, who had spent the better part of her youth in Germany, was able to speak to them in their native language.

“In spite of the distressing nature of our situation, Sabine’s infectious smile and willingness to engage with us on such a personal level meant that we still had occasion to achieve the kind of lighthearted atmosphere my mother would have enjoyed and encouraged had she been able,” Alexandra wrote. “More importantly, she seemed to understand when we needed privacy and when it gave us pleasure to share our memories with her.”

During the family’s long vigil, Sabine made sure they had something to eat and went to the trouble of moving an extra recliner into the room so both the 17-week pregnant Alexandra and her father could rest as needed.

“Her obvious appreciation for my mother, whom she had the opportunity to get to know in the time before our arrival, and her dedication to us in those final hours left us secure in the knowledge that Mama spent her last nights in the company of a kind, attentive person, who did everything possible to make her feel comfortable and cared for,” Alexandra wrote. “For this, we thank you from the heart, Sabine.”

Last week, in a surprise ceremony, Sabine was presented with a trophy titled, “A Healer’s Touch,” a hand-carved sculpture created by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe.

The DAISY Award was created in 1999 by a Seattle couple as a way to honor the nurses who took care of their son before he died. It has since been adopted by healthcare facilities all over the world.

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The Blood Alliance March drives

• Sunday, March 1: Tidal Creek Fellowship Church, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 290 Brickyard Point Rd. S., Lady’s Island

• Monday, March 2: Technical College of the Lowcountry, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 921 Ribaut Rd., Beaufort

• Tuesday, March 3: Sea Island Rotary (Quality Inn), 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2001 Boundary St., Beaufort

• Wednesday, March 4: Beaufort Academy, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 240 Sams Point Rd., Lady’s Island

• Thursday, March 5: Riverview Charter School, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., 81 Savannah Hwy., Beaufort

•  Friday, March 6: Beaufort County Government Center, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 100 Ribaut Rd., Beaufort

Our Donor Center at 1001 Boundary Street, Beaufort, is also open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday, 12 noon – 6:30 p.m. Please note that a government-issued photo I.D. is required to donate. Examples are driver’s license, passport, military I.D. For more information or appointments, please call 843-522-0409 or visit

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Eyebrow Extension Enhancements now available in Beaufort

By Takiya Smith

Three years ago my mother was diagnosed with cancer.  As she underwent the grueling process of chemotherapy, I watched her endure the loss of her hair, lashes and brows. It was during this time that I noticed my otherwise strong, confident and beautiful mother become a little less secure about her looks. Our hair, lashes and brows don’t make us the women we are, but they certainly enhance what we already have.

For the past 5 years I have meticulously applied millions of eyelash extensions, hair by hair, lash to lash, one Takiya Brow Extension 1at a time to many a client. The results have been nothing short of beautiful, however the new confidence and glow extensions give these women is what I have found to be most rewarding in my line of work.   Now, with the introduction of Eyebrow Extensions, I expect nothing less.

Eyebrow Extensions, much like Eyelash Extensions, are single synthetic fibers mimicking the natural shape, texture and color of brow hairs. They are either applied to existing brow hairs or directly to the skin.  Prospective clients do not need to wait for hair regrowth because the procedure offers a hypoallergenic adhesive that allows direct bonding, even to sensitive skin.

Eyebrow Extensions are a great alternative for anyone with sparse, thinning or scar damaged follicles. They add a natural, noticeable, undetectable alternative to replace temporary or permanent hair loss. The Brow Company Beauty Bar & Makeup Studio is excited and anxious to offer this ground breaking new service in Beaufort County. For more information or a consultation, please contact the salon directly at (843) 322-0426 or book online at

Takiya La’Shaune Smith is a the founding owner of both Beautique Lash & Brow and The Brow Company Beauty Bar & Makeup Studio. She is a published author and mentor as well as a Licensed Cosmetology Instructor and International Beauty Educator utilizing her experience in the industry as a platform to promote inner and outer beauty, health, wellness, social etiquette and positive self-esteem. Find, follow or contact her at

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