Review Category : Health

Get ready for a night of healthy fun: Beaufort Memorial, The Island News team up for Girls Night Out

This month’s Island Girls Night Out will be a different kind of celebration! While it’s Beaufort Memorial’s first time hosting the monthly event, it’s certainly not their first time hosting a party.

In fact, the hospital’s popular annual Girls Night Out celebration will be back for its fifth year with music, munchies and a whole new lineup of fun activities designed to help women improve their health. The program is being billed as a marquee event of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, offering women their “ticket” to wellness with a focus on breast care, OB-GYN health and an active lifestyle.

These women, along with hundreds of others, attended last year’s Girls Night Out sponsored by Beaufort Memorial Hospital. This year’s fun event promoting women’s health will be Thursday, Oct. 16.

These women, along with hundreds of others, attended last year’s Girls Night Out sponsored by Beaufort Memorial Hospital. This year’s fun event promoting women’s health will be Thursday, Oct. 16.

The free event will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16 on the second floor of the Beaufort Memorial Medical and Administrative Center on Ribaut Road (directly across the street from the hospital’s main campus).

The event has “sold out” in years past, so registration is recommended by
Oct. 9 in order to guarantee admission.

Visit and click on the “Girls’ Night Out” banner on the homepage to reserve your ticket. (If you do not have web access or need additional information, call 522-5952.)

As they enter the venue, guests will be issued a ticket to all of the interactive displays and demonstrations, along with two beverage tickets for wine or beer.  Participants who visit all three health stations will have the chance to win prizes. The festivities also will include hors d’oeuvres and music.

“We want to provide women with the information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices,” said Emily Harris, who is helping coordinate the event for BMH. “But we’re doing it in atmosphere that’s fun and entertaining.”

At the breast health area, attendees will be invited to play the popular cornhole “Tata Toss.” In this game, participants are asked to answer true or false to questions related to breast care by throwing a pink (of course) bean bag into one of two holes marked “myth” or “fact.”

The area will also include breast models used to teach women how to perform monthly breast self-exams, as well as a display explaining the difference between the new 3-D mammogram and standard mammography. General surgeon Dr. Deanna Mansker and plastic surgeon Dr. Audrey Klenke, as well as the staff of the Women’s Imaging Center, will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about breast health, while radiologist Dr. Christa Catalano will be available to discuss the benefits of the new digital breast mammography, a three-dimensional X-ray that provides a clearer, more accurate view of the breast.

Beaufort Memorial gynecologist Patricia Thompson, MD, and breast nurse navigator Amy Hane discuss breast health with guests at last year’s Girls’ Night Out.

Beaufort Memorial gynecologist Patricia Thompson, MD, and breast nurse navigator Amy Hane discuss breast health with guests at last year’s Girls’ Night Out.

To help women determine if they’re at high risk for breast cancer, the hospital will present a mini seminar on the topic — one of three breakout sessions being offered during the event. The program also will include “Maybe Baby” for women thinking about getting pregnant and “Hot and Flashy,” a discussion on menopause.

In the active lifestyle station, internist Dr. Robert Vyge will join several of the hospital’s nutrition experts to offer advice about making smart food choices, knowing your healthy weight, and the importance of regular exercise and check-ups.

The all-star lineup of medical professionals expected at the event includes members of BMH’s new OB-GYN practice, Drs. Christopher Benson, Gregory Miller and Berniece Redmond. They will be joined by gynecologists Drs. Eve Ashby and Pat Thompson. They will be discussing topics such as minimally invasive hysterectomies, hormones and menopause.

For the first time, pediatricians and anesthesiologists — essential members of Beaufort Memorial’s cohesive Birthing Services team — will be participating. Drs. Faith Polkey, Nicole Broerman and James Simmons or a healthcare professional from his practice will be available to answer questions, as will one or more physicians from Low Country Anesthesia.

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Former Beaufort Memorial Hospital board chairman awarded high honor

The South Carolina Hospital Association named former Beaufort Memorial Board Chairman Jerry Schulze the 2014 Distinguished Hospital Trustee of the Year, capping a dozen years of service that accompanied unprecedented growth of the community hospital.

Jerry Schulze

Jerry Schulze

Schulze was presented with the award — the highest honor given in hospital trustee leadership — at the association’s annual Trustee Administrator and Physician Conference held in September on Hilton Head Island.

“With all the changes occurring today in healthcare, Beaufort Memorial has stayed ahead of the curve,” said Schulze, who stepped down as chairman in March after two six-year terms — the maximum allowed under board bylaws. “It’s a very well-run, sophisticated hospital.”

The prestigious tribute comes on the heels of two other statewide honors for BMH. In January, President and CEO Rick Toomey was elected chairman of the South Carolina Hospital Association’s board of trustees. Then in May, Beaufort Memorial general surgeon Dr. Tim Pearce was installed as president of the South Carolina Medical Association.

“One of the advantages the hospital has is that it can attract top talent because Beaufort is such a desirable place to live,” said Schulze, a retired health care executive who moved to the Lowcountry in 1998. “For a community of our size, we have a tremendous pool of talent.”

Schulze himself boasts an impressive resume that includes stints as vice president and elected corporate officer of Pfizer Inc., and president and CEO of Medeva Americas Inc., a NYSE-listed, London-based pharmaceutical company.

Three years after moving to Beaufort, Schulze was named to the board of Broad River Healthcare, a 501(c)(3) organization that supports Beaufort Memorial. The following year, he joined the hospital’s nine-member board. His fellow board members elected him chairman in 2008.

“For every one of his 12 years on the board, and most especially for his six as chairman, Jerry was unstinting — utterly unstinting — in his efforts on Beaufort Memorial’s behalf,” said BMH President Toomey. “Simply put, he used his prodigious talent, limitless energy and broad experience in the business of health care to make things happen and get things done.”

During Schulze’s tenure, the hospital initiated a wide range of improvements, including a $14.5-million renovation and expansion of the emergency department, construction of a four-story medical and administrative building, purchase of the advanced da Vinci Si Surgical System, state approval to perform life-saving emergency cardiac interventions, and ongoing technological upgrades that have earned the hospital “Most Wired” status 11 years in a row by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.

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Study: Hip fractures less likely after cataract surgery

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

After practicing ophthalmology for nearly 15 years and performing thousands of cataract surgeries, I’ve recognized additional benefits beyond better vision and spectacle independence: patients improve their ability to ambulate; cognitive function and mood are improved in patients with dementia and depression; and overall quality of life improves.

When older people have cataract surgery to improve their vision, they also lower their risk of falling and breaking a hip, according to a national study. People in their 80s and those who have serious illnesses such as heart disease are most likely to benefit — the research shows that these patients had about 30 percent fewer hip fractures in the year after they had cataract surgery. The study, published in the August edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, compared the rate of hip fractures in more than 400,000 Medicare patients who had cataract surgery with a matched group of patients who did not have their cataracts removed.

Older people are more likely to fall and break their hips or other bones, and recovering from such injuries is often difficult for them. Earlier studies have found that vision loss is a key reason for seniors’ higher risk of falling. When cataracts and other aging eye problems decrease older people’s visual sharpness and depth perception, they also lose the ability to maintain balance, stability and mobility.

People should never be regarded as “too old” to have their cataracts removed. Other studies show that after cataract surgery, older people tend to sleep better, be less depressed, and lead more active, enjoyable lives.

Overall, the greatest decrease in hip fracture risk was seen in patients aged 80 to 84 who had cataract surgery. Another notable group was patients with severe cataracts, for whom risk was reduced by 23 percent. Although U.S. health statistics show that women are more susceptible to hip fractures than men, this study found no significant gender-linked differences in fracture risk.

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Musings from the therapist’s chair

Don’t change the edge, let the edge change you. The edge of things is where growth happens. Take the edge of the river where it meets the land; different species meet and change and nourish each other. Yet we change that edge by building into it, on it, and beside it. What if we let it, the edge, change us by seeing it and letting it be? The same is true for people, we have growing edges that need to be nourished and left to grow, rather than manipulated and changed into what we think others want us to be. Benton Lutz is a psychotherapist in private practice in Beaufort.

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Health Briefs

Learn how to manage multiple medications 

Are you being prescribed multiple drugs by multiple doctors and find it difficult to keep track of all of your medications? Do you wonder how medications and supplements interact? If so, mark your calendar for Thursday, Oct. 2, at 1:30 p.m. when Lynn Harrelson, RPh, FASCP, will address these questions and more at the Parkinson’s Support Group of Beaufort and Port Royal’s next meeting.

Ms. Harrelson is a senior care clinical pharmacist with more than 35 years of experience. She provides medication therapy management services to patients across the Southeast. The meeting is free and open to those who are managing multiple medications, dealing with aging or chronic disease. The Parkinson Support Group meeting will be from 1:30-3 p.m. at Shell Point Baptist Church on Parris Island Gateway, across from the Bi-Lo Shopping Center. For more information, contact Rose Ewing at 843-252-3001 or

Pinnacle Plastic Surgery has community events 

• Thursday, October 2: Pinnacle Plastic Surgery’s First Anniversary Celebration from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., 7 Mallett Way, Bluffton, SC, 29910. Join a champagne reception as Pinnacle Plastic Surgery celebrates its first anniversary. Tour the facility and meet Dr. Audrey Klenke as you enjoy light refreshments, product demonstrations, fantastic door prizes and the grand unveiling of The Bra Project of the Lowcountry.

• Thursday, October 9: Pinnacle Plastic Surgery Presents: The Bra Project of the Lowcountry, 5 to 8:30 p.m., at Belk of Beaufort. Vote for your favorite one-of-a-kind, student-designed bra and be entered for a chance to win that bra. You can also vote at Pinnacle Plastic Surgery, located at 7 Mallett Way in Bluffton, from October 3-23. The Bra Project benefits DragonBoat Beaufort to help local breast cancer survivors.

• Tuesday, October 28: Breast Reconstruction Lecture, noon to 1 p.m., at Beaufort Memorial Hospital Keyserling Cancer Center conference room. Join the Paula Williams Memorial Breast Cancer Support Group as Beaufort County’s only female plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Audrey Klenke, gives an informative lecture regarding the latest in breast reconstruction options. Please RSVP at 843-815-6699 or


Beaufort Memorial named ‘Most Wired’ 

For the 12th straight year, Beaufort Memorial earned a spot on the list of nation’s Most Wired Hospitals in the U.S., putting it in the company of some of the most prestigious medical centers in the country.

Only six South Carolina hospitals met the American Hospital Association’s set of rigorous IT criteria designed to reduce the likelihood of medical errors.

Each year, Hospitals & Health Networks magazine conducts a survey that asks hospitals and health systems nationwide to answer questions regarding their information technology initiatives. This year, respondents completed 680 surveys, representing 1,900 hospitals.

“The Most Wired data show that shared information allows clinicians and patients to have the information they need to promote health and make the most informed decisions about treatments,” said Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the AHA. “Hospitals, their clinicians and their communities are doing tremendous work to enhance their IT systems in ways that support care and delivery improvement, and patient engagement goals.”

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Co-chairs named for 26th Annual Valentine Ball

Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation has tapped longtime BMH boosters Dr. Andy and Laura Beall and Dr. D.J. and Ryan Christian to co-chair the 26th Annual Valentine Ball, the organization’s biggest fundraiser.

The black tie event will be held Feb. 7 at the Beaufort Memorial Medical and Administrative Center, located across from the hospital.

Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation taps Dr. Andy and Laura Beall and Dr. D.J. and Ryan Christian to co-chair the annual Valentine Ball.

Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation taps Dr. Andy and Laura Beall and Dr. D.J. and Ryan Christian to co-chair the annual Valentine Ball.

Both the Christians and Bealls have firsthand experience with BMH. All three of the Christians’ children were born in the hospital’s Birthing Center. Laura Beall, a breast cancer survivor, was treated at Beaufort Memorial’s Keyserling Cancer Center.

A sales consultant for Etcetera clothing, Beall recently joined the foundation’s Board of Trustees. Her husband, Andy, is executive director of the Santa Elena Foundation.

D.J. Christian is an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) with Beaufort ENT and Allergy, where Ryan previously worked as the office manager.

Staunch supporters of the hospital’s mission, the co-chairs have been regular attendees at the ball and have hosted several pre-ball dinner parties with friends. They’ve also served on the decorations, auction and dinner party planning committees.

“The dinner parties are our favorite part of the ball,” Beall said. “We love how they bring together the most interesting people of all seasons — people you might not have known otherwise, but can now count among your dearest friends.”

Held at some of Beaufort’s most beautiful homes, the pre-ball dinner parties will kick off the evening of fun. Every guest who purchases a ticket by Jan. 16 will receive a personal invitation to one of the parties.

Following dinner, guests will make their way to the ball. The festivities will include a silent auction, dancing and decadent desserts. More than 500 people are expected to attend this year’s event.

Since its inception in 1990, the Valentine Ball has raised nearly $4.2 million for the non-profit hospital. Proceeds from the 2015 event will help finance the renovation and much-needed expansion of the Intensive Care Unit. Other improvements will include state-of-the-art cardiac and invasive monitors, lift equipment, special ICU beds and family consultation and waiting rooms.

Tickets to the 2015 Annual Valentine Ball start at $150 per person. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 843-522-5774 or visit

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BRA Project to help support local cancer survivors

With October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an area plastic surgeon and her staff have found a creative way to recognize and raise support for breast cancer survivors in our community.

braprojectlogo1-03This month Pinnacle Plastic Surgery will host The BRA Project of the Lowcountry, a special traveling exhibit that will help raise money for DragonBoat Beaufort, a non-profit organization that provides grants to help local cancer survivors and their caregivers. Pinnacle Plastic Surgery is the practice of Dr. Audrey Klenke, the only female plastic surgeon in Beaufort County.

Five fashion design students, from Savannah College of Art and Design and Savannah Arts Academy, created one-of-a-kind bras that will be displayed at Pinnacle Plastic Surgery and Belk locations in Hilton Head and Beaufort.

The bras will be unveiled at Pinnacle’s First Anniversary party on Thursday, Oct. 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at their office at 7 Mallet Way in Bluffton. The event is open to the public, but RSVPs are requested by calling 815-6699 or visiting

The bras will be on display at Belk of Beaufort the following Thursday, Oct. 9 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. where members of community can see them and vote for their favorite. Everyone who votes will be entered in a drawing to win one of the bras.

“Many of our patients are courageous breast cancer survivors, and we are proud and honored to have the opportunity to support them in such a fun and creative way,” says Dr. Klenke.

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Beating the Odds: Robot-assisted surgery offers local prostate cancer patient long-term results

Hugh Davis never gave much thought to his prostate. The walnut-shaped gland — known to wreak havoc on the lives of men 40 and older — hadn’t caused him any trouble.

Prostate patient Hugh Davis.

Prostate patient Hugh Davis.

But when two of his siblings began developing prostate issues, he decided not to take any chances. Every six months without fail, Davis went to his urologist for a PSA screening, a simple blood test used to look for signs of prostate cancer in men.

“My brothers’ prostate issues made me more diligent about getting checked,” Davis says. “I started to get tested regularly just to be sure.”

Davis was in his mid-40s when he began having the twice-a-year screenings. It was all good until the spring of 2013, when his PSA level came back higher than normal. A biopsy confirmed he had cancer.

“I knew there was a slight chance I could develop cancer because of my family history,” the 69-year-old retired Beaufort attorney says. “But I had no symptoms. It was a shock to hear the words.”

In its early stage, prostate cancer is usually asymptomatic. According to the American Cancer Society, it’s most often discovered during routine screenings. Davis had several more tests, including an MRI and bone scan, to determine if cancer cells had spread to other parts of his body. The results showed the cancer was confined to the prostate.

His urologist, John Adams, MD, of Coastal Carolina Urology, offered Davis several treatment options — surgery, radiation or cryotherapy, which involves freezing and killing the cancer cells.

Prostate surgery is frequently used to treat localized prostate cancer, particularly for men with a life expectancy of more than 10 years. Surgically removing the entire prostate eradicates the cancer and reduces the chances it will come back.

Although preventing recurrence was a priority for Davis, he was reluctant to have open surgery — the traditional approach to prostatectomy. In this operation, the surgeon removes the prostate and some of the tissue around it through a single long incision in the pubic area.

Adams recommended Davis meet with fellow Beaufort Memorial urologist Michael Staley, MD, the only physician in Beaufort County performing robot-assisted laparoscopic prostate cancer surgery.

“Robotic surgery appealed to me because it offered the best chance of getting rid of the cancer totally with minimal side effects,” Davis says. “If it hadn’t been available, I probably would have gone with radiation therapy or the freezing treatment.”

Because Davis was in good health and in his 60s, he was a candidate for the procedure.

Using the advanced da Vinci Si Surgical System, the prostate can be removed through several small incisions in the abdomen, resulting in less blood loss and post-operative pain. Patients are discharged from the hospital the day after surgery and need a catheter for one week. In comparison, open surgery requires a two- to three-day hospital stay and two to three weeks with a catheter. Men can return to their regular activities in 10 days, compared to four to six weeks with the open approach.

Davis chose to have the surgery last fall. Since then, his PSA levels have been undetectable, indicating the prostate cancer is gone.

“I feel I made the right decision,” he says. “Now that it’s behind me, I don’t have to worry anymore.”


Prostate cancer continues to be the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men in the United States. One man in six will get prostate cancer during his lifetime. Most urologists still recommend PSA testing for patients 55 to 69, especially African American men who are nearly 1.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than Caucasian men and 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease. Be sure to discuss PSA testing with your doctor.

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Dr. Harshman joins Beaufort Memorial Physician Partners

David Harshman, MD, part of the team that helped Beaufort Memorial Hospital win state approval to perform life-saving emergency cardiac interventions, has joined Beaufort Memorial Physician Partners.

An interventional cardiologist, board certified in cardiology, internal medicine and interventional cardiology, Harshman has been a member of Beaufort Memorial’s medical staff and has been performing diagnostic catheterizations in the hospital’s Cochrane Heart Center since 2010.

Dr. David Harshman

Dr. David Harshman

He served as co-chairman of the hospital’s STEMI committee, charged with helping BMH apply for a Certificate of Need from the state to treat patients suffering an ST elevation myocardial infarction or STEMI—the most dangerous type of heart attack. He is one of three cardiologists now performing emergency interventions at the hospital.

“We’re delighted to have Dr. Harshman on our Physician Partners team,” said BMH President and CEO Rick Toomey. “He has been a valued member of our medical staff and played a key role in helping us attain approval to perform emergency interventions. The STEMI program has proven to be a tremendous benefit to the community by providing timely treatment to critical patients.”

Harshman’s practice, renamed Beaufort Memorial Cardiology, will remain at its current location in suite 300 of Beaufort Medical Plaza, 989 Ribaut Road.

Prior to joining Beaufort Memorial Physician Partners on Sept. 1, Harshman was employed by Roper St. Francis Health Care System. A native of Illinois, Harshman was in private practice in Missouri and Illinois for over 30 years. He served as director of cardiac catheterization laboratories in hospitals in both states and director of the Coronary Care Unit at St. Mary’s Health Center in St. Louis.

Harshman received his B.S. in biology from Northern Illinois University and his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He completed his internship, residency and fellowship at Saint Louis University Hospitals in Missouri.

Beaufort Memorial Physician Partners includes a wide range of specialists, from surgeons to orthopedists, as well as primary care doctors. For more information on the group, visit To make an appointment with Dr. Harshman, call 843-522-7110.

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Sleeping in contact lenses is a risky endeavor

By Mark S. Siegel

If you’re a contact lens wearer, chances are you’ve snoozed with your contacts in at least a time or two. Maybe you only do it once in awhile, when you fall asleep in front of the TV or forget to bring disinfecting solution on an overnight trip. Or maybe it’s more of a regular practice, and you leave them in for days (and nights) at a time.

Either way, it’s not a good idea.

When you sleep with your contact lenses in, you’re depriving your corneas of oxygen. This is analogous to wearing a plastic bag over your head when you sleep which is not ideal for oxygen exchange. The cornea receives oxygen from the air when you are awake, but when you are asleep, it gets nourishment and lubrication from tears and a gelatinous fluid inside the eye called the aqueous humor. If there’s a contact lens in your eye when you’re sleeping, then the contact lens acts as a barrier between the closed eyelid and the cornea, and it’s fairly tight over the surface of the cornea. When you’re awake, the contact lens is actually supposed to move a bit — about a millimeter of movement with every blink — in order to allow the cornea to get oxygen. But when you’re sleeping with your contacts in, the contact lens is unable to move because your eyes aren’t blinking. The end result is an oxygen-starved cornea, which becomes more susceptible to infection.

Bacteria or parasites can infect any microscopic abrasions of the cornea, which can be caused by contact with the back surface of the contact lenses. These bacterial microorganisms are part of our normal eyelid flora or can be introduced from the contact lenses themselves (a contact lens can have some bacteria on it because it’s not clean or it’s been resting on the eyes for so long), or from water, even when it’s safe for drinking. A parasite found in water called acanthamoeba, for example, can cause serious eye infections. Corneal ulcers, which are localized infections of the cornea, may cause permanent scarring resulting in loss of vision or even blindness.

In fact, a 2012 study in the journal Ophthalmology showed that the risk for keratitis — inflammation of the cornea — increased 6.5 times with just occasional overnight lens use among people who used contact lenses intended for removal at the end of the day.

While there are some contact lenses that have been FDA-approved for “extended wear,” meaning you can wear them for multiple days at a time, the FDA still recommends people using these lenses remove them and not wear them overnight at least one time a week. However, it’s simply not a good idea to wear these lenses overnight, if you can help it, because there is still an increased risk for infection.

Moreover, multiple studies have shown that people who wear extended-wear lenses (soft hydrogel lenses) have a 10 to 15 times higher risk of developing ulcerative keratitis, compared with daily-wear contact lens users. Overnight wear, regardless of contact lens type, increases the likelihood of corneal infection, which may result in permanent vision loss or even blindness and should be avoided.

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