Category: General News

Murray-Calloway County Hospital Honors MCCH and Hospice Volunteers

MURRAY, KY – Volunteers of Murray-Calloway County Hospital were recognized and thanked for their ours of service to MCCH and Hospice with a celebration and dinner.

The MCCH Auxiliary was formally begun in August of 1981 to serve as a volunteer organization to support MCCH. Auxiliary members donated their time and money to the hospital and its mission of providing health care to the community. Since 1981, volunteers have donated more than 100,000 total hours to MCCH.

      • Most Hours in 2022: Lloyd Weatherly, Hospice Volunteer – 359.25 hours
      • Longest Volunteer Years of Service – Vicki Kemp, Hospice Volunteer – 25 Years

For more information on volunteering opportunities at MCCH, please call Kim Lindsey at 270-762-1906.

Katie Hoover, Social Worker at Hospice, Shannon Manning, Sharon Wyatt, Summer Cross, Jane Bright, Vicki Kemp, Lloyd Weatherly, Betty Geurin, Denise Windsor, Barbara Shade, Jerry Penner, CEO, Freddy Windsor, Sandra Hakos and Doug Mullins.

Barbara Shade and Sandra Hakos are MCCH volunteers and the other volunteers shown dedicate their time to the Anna Mae Owen Residential Hospice House.

Several volunteers were unable to attend but we certainly appreciate their commitment to the organization.

MCCH 5th Floor Nursing Staff Recognizes Fellow Employee

MURRAY, KY – Murray-Calloway County Hospital 5th Floor Nursing Staff recently recognized their 5th Floor MCCH Housekeeper Ludie Tomassi with a gift card, flowers, balloons, and cupcakes to show appreciation for the excellent job she does each day to make their area clean and taken care of.

Bariatric Solutions at Murray-Calloway County Hospital Achieves Accreditation from the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program®

Bariatric Solutions area center meets all criteria as a MBSAQIP-Accredited Center, according to national quality standards established to deliver safe, high quality metabolic and bariatric patient care

MURRAY, KY –  Patients seeking surgical treatment for obesity and its related conditions have a high-quality choice for receiving care at a nationally accredited program that meets the highest standards for patient safety and quality in the greater Western Kentucky and Northwest Tennessee area.

Dr. Brian Swain, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Director at Bariatric Solutions, announced today that its bariatric surgery center has been accredited as a Comprehensive Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), a joint Quality Program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

The MBSAQIP Standards, Optimal Resources for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, ensure that metabolic and bariatric patients receive multidisciplinary medical care, which improves patient outcomes and long-term success. MBSAQIP-Accredited centers offer preoperative and postoperative care designed specifically for patients with obesity.

Dr. Brian Swain stated, “Bariatric Solutions has provided the highest quality surgical and nonsurgical management of obesity for many years. It has been my goal to receive this quality accreditation for some time and I am so proud that it is now a reality. Our staff and MCCH work tirelessly to make sure our patients get the best care possible. It’s wonderful to be recognized for those efforts.”

Bariatric Solutions commitment to quality care begins with expertly trained staff and the leadership of an experienced bariatric surgeon. The program is tasked with continuous review of surgical data as they continue improving the structure and outcomes expertise necessary to provide safe, efficacious, and high-quality care to all metabolic and bariatric patients.

To earn MBSAQIP Accreditation, Bariatric Solutions met essential criteria for staffing, training, facility infrastructure and patient care pathways, ensuring its ability to support patients with obesity. The center also participates in a national data registry that yields semiannual reports on the quality of its surgical outcomes and identifying opportunities for quality improvement. The MBSAQIP Standards, Optimal Resources for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, are published by the ACS and the ASMBS.

“Our Bariatric Team has worked extremely hard to meet the requirements to achieve this accreditation. We strive to provide the highest standards of care to our patients in each of our services lines and this is just another example of putting our patients first,” said Jerry Penner, CEO.

After applying for MBSAQIP Accreditation, centers undergo an extensive site visit by an experienced bariatric surgeon who reviews the center’s structure, processes, and clinical outcomes data. Centers that earn accreditation are awarded a specific designation level, depending on how many patients it serves annually, critical care capabilities, the types of procedures provided, and whether it provides care to patients under the age of 18.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 93 million adults in the United States are affected by obesity and that number continues to increase. The disease of obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, among other health risks. Metabolic and bariatric surgery has proven to be effective in the reduction of comorbid conditions related to obesity.* Working together, the ACS and the ASMBS have developed accreditation standards for metabolic and bariatric surgery to assist patients with obesity in identifying centers that provide optimal patient care.

MCCH Employees Go Blue for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and employees raised awareness at Murray-Calloway County Hospital by wearing blue on GO BLUE day.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the U.S. While screenings for colorectal cancer are an important step in saving lives, only 59% of adults aged 45 years and older are up to date with screenings. Colorectal cancer affects people in all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people age 45 and older.

According to Colorectal Cancer Statistics 2023, a new report by the American Cancer Society, an estimated 153,020 people will be diagnosed with colorectal in the U.S. in 2023. The report also found that the proportion of those diagnosed with advanced-stage colorectal cancer increased from 52% in the mid-2000s to 60% in 2019. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to encourage people to get screened.

For more information about colorectal screenings, call MCCH at 270.762.1381 or call West Kentucky Gastroenterology to find out how you can schedule your appointment at 270.759.4000.

An Incisionless Surgical Solution Ffr Gerd/Reflux/Heartburn Performed at Murray-Calloway County Hospital

MURRAY, KY – Murray-Calloway County Hospital is now providing a procedure for those who experience GERD. Dr. Brian Swain now offers the TIF procedure for the treatment of GERD. TIF stands for Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication, and the advantage when compared to traditional fundoplication is that TIF is ‘surgery from within’ performed through the mouth and from within the stomach. Based on the same well proven principles of conventional more invasive laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery, the TIF procedure reconstructs the valve between the esophagus and the stomach to prevent reflux. Because the procedure is incisionless, there is reduced pain, no visible scar and most patients can get back to their normal activities within a few days. This procedure is focused on allowing patients to get back to living without pills and heartburn! Surgery without an incision is a reality that is giving those suffering from chronic acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) a back-to-normal life.

What’s GERD?

In a healthy patient, there is a natural valve between the esophagus and the stomach that forms a physical barrier preventing stomach fluids from backwashing (refluxing) up into the esophagus. In a patient with chronic GERD, this valve has become dysfunctional. Many patients take reflux medications such as PPIs (proton pump inhibitors), which suppress acid production to help relieve their heartburn symptoms. Even with PPIs, they are often unable to eat the foods they want or need to sleep sitting up to reduce nighttime reflux. In addition, recent studies have shown that long-term use of PPIs is linked to health risks such as inadequate absorption of minerals-1, chronic kidney disease-2 and dementia-3 .

How We Can Help:

Millions of Americans are diagnosed with GERD, yet many are not fully satisfied with their treatment options. The TIF procedure with the EsophyX device offers an excellent alternative.

Dr. Swain says, “The TIF procedure significantly improves quality of life for our patients. I have successfully performed this procedure over the last decade and am confident in its safety and efficacy profile as an optimal solution for treating patients with chronic GERD. Results continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of the TIF procedure – reflux no longer impacts our patients’ lives like it used to. TIF lets us offer the same benefits as more invasive surgery, but with minimal risk.”

To date, the TIF procedure has been performed in over 22,000 patients worldwide with over 100 published peer-reviewed papers documenting consistent outcomes in over 1,500 study patients.

For more information about this procedure, or you or someone you know suffers with chronic GERD, and wants to learn more about the TIF procedure: contact West KY Surgical at 270.753.2444.

Murray-Calloway County Hospital Welcomes Dr. Alexander Diaz to The Regional Cancer Center Team

MURRAY, KY – Dr. Alexander K. Diaz is a radiation oncologist and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association who will join the cancer team at Murray-Calloway County Hospital in August 2023.

He received his Bachelor of Science (B.S.) from the University of Georgia and both his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN. In graduate school, his research focus was on pediatric brain tumors under the mentorship of Dr. Suzanne J. Baker at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  He is currently in his last year of residency training at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC.

Career highlights include:

  • Multiple publications in high-impact peer-reviewed journals including Nature Genetics, Seminars in Radiation Oncology, Cancer Research, International Journal of Radiation Oncology – Biology – Physics, Acta Neuropathological Communications, and Sports Medicine
  • Service Champion Gold Star Award for Exemplary Service, Duke University Medical Center
  • Hal and Alma Reagan Fellowship, University of Georgia
  • American Association for Cancer Research Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award

Dr. Diaz will oversee the department of radiation oncology, becoming the newest member of our growing multidisciplinary team caring for patients with cancer. Radiation therapy uses precisely targeted high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells.

Dr. Diaz has been married to his wife, Rachel, since 2018, and in March 2022 they welcomed their baby girl, Maya, to the family.

In his spare time, he enjoys weightlifting and spending time with his family. He will join the cancer care team alongside Dr. Ghanem and Alison Sasseen, APRN.

Dr. Diaz will be located at the new Regional Cancer Center located at 803 Poplar Street in Murray. For more information, call the Marketing Department at 270.762.1381

Murray-Calloway County Hospital Offers Comfortor1 for Patients

MURRAY, KY – Murray-Calloway County Hospital has recently started the ComfortOR1 patient notification service. This service allows patients the comfort of knowing where their loved one is during the surgical procedure. This service works with the family member to authenticate the cell phone that will be used for communication during the patient’s procedure. The process of authenticating a contact cell phone and email are necessary to help prevent sending personal health information to unintended recipients. ComfortOR1 has made the authentication process simple and immediate.

With each patient contact that is included, an authentication message will be sent to the cell phone number provided. The recipient MUST respond with they are willing to accept message from this hospital. A colored indication appears within the Contact box on the left of the Notify screen that will be either orange (authentication needs to be sent), Green (authentication accepted), or Red (authentication rejected).

Following the acceptance process, a DETAILS link appears on the right of the screen. The details section will confirm the contacts information and information such as the following:

  • The patient is falling asleep now and the surgery is about to begin.
  • The surgery has begun. This procedure should take about an hour or so.
  • We have completed the surgery and everything went well. I will be in the waiting room shortly to sit with you.

This service is a great communication method between the family members and the surgical team and provides comfort to the patient’s family during the stress of a procedure.

MCCH Hosts MSU Health Fair for Faculty & Staff

Murray-Calloway County Hospital’s Health Promotions recently collaborated with Murray State University to host a health fair for all MSU faculty and staff. Free screenings offered included osteoporosis heel scans, glucose and cholesterol, blood pressure, waist circumference, and additional educational material to support our community.

Pic 1: Representatives from our physician practices and departments included the following:

Left to right: Jadi McBride, Murray Pediatrics and Women’s Health of Murray, Whitney Villanueva, Murray Medical Associates, Melissa Dodd, Murray Urology and Oncology and Hematology of Murray, Chris Kemmerzell, West KY Gastroenterology and Murray Cardiology, and Gina Hill, Murray medical Associates.

Meditation Garden at The Regional Cancer Center will be Named in Recognition of the Rileys

MURRAY, KY – The Foundation at Murray-Calloway County Hospital recently received a donation from Roy and Jennifer Riley of Murray, KY to support fundraising efforts for the Enduring Hope Campaign and toward the meditation garden at the new Regional Cancer Center that is currently under construction and expected to be complete late spring 2023.

The Rileys have been generous supporters of helping in the fight against cancer through various efforts including: Roy’s current participation in the Men in Pink campaign, helping share their story in Jennifer’s fight against breast cancer, and most recently by donating funds toward a new meditation garden for patients undergoing treatment.

Jennifer says being able to donate to the program is incredibly special. Jennifer’s journey began when she was diagnosed in November of 2020 after a routine mammogram followed by an ultrasound. She then had to undergo a biopsy and results showed it was Stage 3 breast cancer. Jennifer did not have the gene for breast cancer and she had zero family history.  However, she was 1 in 8 women diagnosed with breast cancer. Jennifer began her journey with a lumpectomy and then had an additional surgery because there was cancer still showing in the margins. She underwent chemotherapy known as the “red devil” and then 12 weeks of another chemo called Taxol. Due to an autoimmune disease, Jennifer experienced complications and became hospitalized on three different occasions. In addition, she completed radiation treatments and continues today with hormone treatment due to having a hormone positive cancer.

One of the difficult things she experienced during her journey was having to attend her treatments and appointments alone due to the pandemic and Covid restrictions. Jennifer was thankful for the cancer center which allowed her to do treatments close to home. The comfort of seeing familiar faces and people she knew gave her some peace during such a scary time.

Living on the lake and being surrounded by nature and water helped create a peaceful and therapeutic environment for her. When she heard about the meditation garden, she knew that was a perfect fit to help provide some comfort for patients undergoing treatment. Infusions can last anywhere from an hour to multiple hours, so having a view of a beautiful garden creates feelings of peace, calm and well-being.

“Everyone has been touched by cancer, and too many lives have been lost to this terrible disease,” said Jennifer Riley. “We are so fortunate to have this leading cancer center here in Murray. We hope this donation inspires others to give to a center that will take care of families for years to come. As a patient, I wanted to give back to an organization that gave me new life. We know there are people before us who gave, and it is our turn to pay it forward.”

The meditation garden is strategically located just out front of the infusion bay windows for patients to enjoy while receiving treatment. The infusion bays will allow patients to have a choice of having privacy during their treatments or be in a community environment. The hope is for patients to experience respite from the rigors of cancer treatment and to enjoy emotional, spiritual and physical benefits associated with nature. Spending time in the garden may promote:

  • Physical activity and social interaction
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relief or distraction from symptoms
  • Enhanced capacity for healing
  • Feelings of peace, calm and well-being

The Enduring Hope campaign continues to raise money for this new $12 million Regional Cancer Center which will bring the oncologists, social workers, pharmacy, and infusion area under one roof. The centerpiece of the new Regional Cancer Center’s equipment will be a state-of-the-art linear accelerator that can deliver stereotactic radiation therapy.

“We are giving back because they saved Jennifer’s life. We owe a debt of gratitude to the hospital, to the nurses, to Dr. Ghanem and other physicians because they did a great job for Jennifer. This is the least we can do to help make sure that we have excellent facilities right here at home to help the next person who is facing the same thing that Jennifer had to walk through,” said Roy.

 The Rileys know this investment will pay off for years to come.

There are many opportunities available for individuals to make personal contributions, various naming opportunities for different areas and rooms within the new facility, and availability for business or corporate partnerships to contribute.

“We are deeply grateful for Roy and Jennifer’s generosity,” said Jerry Penner, CEO at MCCH. “Because of their generosity, patients will be impacted by the healing effects of a meditation garden that will provide hope and comfort during their cancer journey.”

For more information on how you can support the building of a new Regional Cancer Center in Murray, please contact Lisa Shoemaker, Senior Philanthropy Officer at 270.762.1291.

The Murray-Calloway County Hospital is the only nonprofit healthcare facility in our county. The Foundation at Murray-Calloway County Hospital is a 501C3. All donations are tax deductible according to Federal and State laws.

Murray-Calloway County Hospital Welcomes Dr. Callie Dowdy to West Kentucky Surgical

MURRAY, KY – Callie Dowdy, MD, Vascular and General Surgery, has recently joined West Kentucky Surgical at Murray-Calloway County Hospital.

Dowdy is originally from Murray and a 2006 graduate of Murray High School. She has returned to the area after completing her Vascular Surgery Fellowship at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

She was a 2015 graduate from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, where she graduated in the top 25% of the class and where she also completed her General Surgery Residency in 2020. She received a BS in Chemistry as well as a BA in English Literature from the University of Richmond in Virginia.

During her educational path, she received several awards and recognitions including:

  • Three-time 1st Place Winner: Delaware Valley Vascular Society Clinical Science and Case Presentation Competition
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society
  • Gold Humanism Honor Society
  • Inaugural Member – UKCOM Western KY Rural Medical Training Initiative

She has been published and presented at national conferences on several vascular surgery topics, including aortic surgery, renal and visceral vascular disease and venous disease. She is interested in medical education and won several Certificates of Excellence for Medical Student Education as a resident.

Dr. Dowdy will provide vascular and general surgery services. Her specific interests include limb preservation, carotid surgery including minimally invasive treatment options, open and endovascular aortic surgery, dialysis access, complex wound care and vein disorders.

She is delighted to be back “home” with her husband, Andrew Parker, who is also a Murray native. In her spare time she enjoys camping, hiking, good food and spending time on KY Lake with her family. She will join the medical community at MCCH alongside her father, fellow surgeon Craig Dowdy, MD and her sister, clinical psychologist Abby Dowdy, PsyD.

Dowdy will be located at West Kentucky Surgical at 300 South 8th Street, Suite 401 East. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call West Kentucky Surgical at 270.753.2444.