Upstate hospital

Members of the clergy can many times be on the front line in the fight against drug addictions. Ministers, rabbis and priests are often the first people who become aware of an addiction problem in an individual or family.

With that knowledge, SUNY Upstate has started offering the tools local clergy may need to deal with similar situations.

Darryl Banks, an elder at the Mt. Carmel Seventh Day Adventist Church on Syracuse’s south side, says sometimes it’s easier for him to hear a story of addiction than anyone else. 

Mike Mozart / Flickr

Central New York emergency medical technicians have increasingly been on the lookout for liquid nicotine overdoses.  

As the use of smokeless e-cigarettes continues to grow, more and more liquid nicotine is ending up in the homes of Americans. And it’s not safe, says Upstate Medical University toxicologist Nicholas Nacca.

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Syracuse's Upstate Medical University is taking a research project into the community, which will focus on older, frail adults.

Dr. Sharon Brangman, chief of geriatric medicine, says usually researchers start out with a thesis and then try to prove it. Armed with a $15,000 federal grant, they’ll work the other way around on this.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s been a spike in the number of people heading to emergency rooms in Central New York, for treatment after using synthetic marijuana.     

Christine Stork, clinical director of the Upstate New York Poison Center, knew there was a problem when she came to work last week.

MTSOFAN / Flickr

An Alzheimer’s Association report released in March shows that most Alzheimer patients aren’t told about their diagnosis.  One central New York expert says that can be harmful.

Dr. Sharon Brangman, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center at Upstate Medical University, wasn’t surprised when she heard that only 45 percent of those with the degenerative brain disease got a diagnosis from their doctor.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Upstate University Hospital has won a “comprehensive stroke center” designation by a national health care accrediting agency. But what does that mean for central New York stroke victims?

Catherine Stephens, the administrator of the Upstate Stroke Center, likes to say “time is brain” when emphasizing how important it is for stroke victims to get fast treatment. So as soon as Upstate is alerted of a patient with a possible stroke, the team goes into action.

Sudipto Sarkar / Flickr

More central New Yorkers are apt to smoke cigarettes, than anywhere else in New York State. This comes at a time when most private health insurance plans, as well as Medicaid and Medicare cover smoking cessation strategies. So why the disconnect?  Experts say getting people to quit comes down to education.

According to the New York State Health Department, just over 22 percent of central New York adults smoke. The state smoking rate is 10 points below that.  

World Bank Photo Collection

Today is World AIDS Day. The director of the Designated AIDS Center at Upstate is optimistic that the state will reach its goal of dramatically reducing the number of new HIV infections across the state.  

In October, New York state announced a target of reducing the number of new HIV infections to 750 per year. Right now there are 3,000 new diagnoses reported every year in New York State.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse has been able to turn a small profit after two years of deep losses, due in part because the hospital reduced its staff and increased bill collection.

The public hospital eliminated 139 positions in 2013 through attrition. It also relied a little more on contracted labor, said Stuart Wright, the hospital’s chief financial officer.

"Sometimes they can be cheaper, overall, but it’s not our overall goal to have temporary labor, but it can be slightly less expensive," he said.

This week: Ebola preparedness and more

Oct 24, 2014

“We are as ready as we can be,” Christopher Dunham, Upstate University Hospital’s emergency management director, says of the Ebola crisis. Upstate is one of eight hospitals in New York State that was designated to handle any patients in the state diagnosed with Ebola.

People who arrive at the hospital’s emergency department are asked about recent travel to West Africa and contact with anyone infected with the Ebola virus. Dunham says protocols are in place to swiftly isolate patients suspected of having Ebola.

NIAID / Flickr

New York State Health Department officials are in Syracuse this week looking at how SUNY Upstate Medical University is preparing to become one of two hospitals in upstate New York designated to deal with Ebola patients.

Being an Ebola hospital means Upstate has to be ready on three fronts, according to hospital CEO John McCabe.

"One is identifying the patients early," McCabe said. "Second is taking care of them in a safe way, and third is being sure that no other patient, staff member, family member has any exposure.”

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

There are no known cases of Ebola in New York, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state officials are making preparations in case one occurs and have identified eight hospitals, including Upstate Medical University Hospital in Syracuse, as Ebola care centers.

Cuomo says the eight hospitals around the state have been identified as Ebola treatment centers, and personnel at all 200 of the state’s hospitals will be trained how to respond if a person with Ebola walks into their emergency room.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The mishandling of an Ebola patient at a Texas hospital has health care institutions across the country on alert, and that includes central New York. Local hospitals and health care providers have stiffened protocols when it comes to dealing with a patient who could have the deadly disease.

Soon after walking into the emergency room at St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse, prospective patients are asked about more than their symptoms. They’re quizzed on where they have been.
 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A steady stream of patients visit the infirmary at the New York State Fair each day. Though most people have minor maladies, one fairgoer did have a heart attack early in the fair's run and is recovering. Upstate Medical University Hospital ER Physician Erin Wirths isn’t surprised. She says the fairgrounds has all the pieces in place to deal with an emergency situation. For the most part the infirmary handles small things, and sometimes fairgoers who need a few minutes to rest up.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Upstate Medical University Hospital’s community campus has added a new unit for older patients who may need a little more time recovering from a hospital stay.

There’s already a waiting list for the new Transitional Care Unit that's on the fifth floor of the former Community General Hospital. Unit nursing director Amy Rottger, says the idea is to help senior patients who, while clinically stable, still need physician oversight and specialized services.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

There is a nationwide racial disparity when it comes to breast cancer. The mortality rate is 41 percent higher for African-American women than Caucasian women. But a special program at Pioneer Homes in Syracuse hopes to put a dent in that number.

The idea is to get the 149 women over the age of 40 in this public housing development to get a mammogram, which can detect cancer in its early stages and can lead to better survival rates.

River Hospital

Beginning in August, River Hospital in Alexandria Bay will partner with Syracuse's Upstate Medical University to bolster the Thousand Islands' hospital's services.

The goal is to bring more physicians to work in River Hospital's emergency department, according to chief executive officer Ben Moore. He says the hospital is receiving about $1.4 million in state and federal funding this year to bring in between six and nine additional physicians.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A ceremony in Syracuse Friday launched the new face of cancer treatment in central New York. The Upstate Cancer Center is ready for patients, and assistant director Dick Kilburg says its innovative design merges nature and advanced cancer-fighting technology.  
 

"Basically what we’re doing with this facility is bringing all the services under one roof, and being able to offer patients what they deserve in this community," Kilburg said. "All the extra services that a cancer center should be offering.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Downtown Syracuse is in the midst of a multi-million dollar development boom. Much of this development is fueled by people who want to live downtown.

There are signs of construction all along the 300 block of South Salina Street in Syracuse. Downtown Committee executive director Merike Treier says today’s downtown has changed a lot in the last decade.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Electronic medical records are becoming the norm at Syracuse-area hospitals. St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and SUNY Upstate Medical University each took milestone steps this month into the digital world.

Hospital staff and patients at the Golisano Children’s Hospital have been using a computerized software system to track medical records since March. With Upstate’s Community Campus coming on board earlier this month, the teaching hospital in Syracuse now has fully implemented an electronic medical records system in all phases of care, according to hospital CEO John McCabe.

Abuse of heroin and opioids is something that often starts in adolescence, according to SUNY Upstate Medical Center addiction expert Dr. Brian Johnson. He said the illegal drug industry begins targeting middle schoolers, so they become addicted by the time they’re out of high school.

“The industry wants to recruit children,” Johnson said. “It’s a pediatric disease. By the time some of these kids get to college, the college [health care providers] say they’ve had this addiction for several years and it’s entrenched.”

He said one way to deal with this is to be more aware.

SUNY campuses across central New York are working to get the final pieces in place to begin attracting business as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Start-Up NY. 

Start-Up NY offers businesses a chance to operate tax-free for ten years, if they set up shop within one mile of college campus, and create jobs that support the academic mission of the school they’re affiliated with.  

So far, according to the Start-Up NY web site, there are more than a dozen colleges and universities aligned with the economic development program.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

They’re the people you probably come in contact with every day: the custodians, the restaurant workers, the landscape employees who make an average of fewer than ten dollars an hour. But what is it like to be  a low-income worker in Syracuse and how does it impact their health? One agency asked these questions to 275 local workers. While the answers weren’t surprising, they provide a basis for future initiatives.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Upstate University Hospital and the Golisano Children’s Hospital have won a Level 1 trauma center designation from the American College of Surgeons.

After a year and a half of investigations into the hospitals' adult and pediatric services, Upstate becomes the only hospital to get this Level 1 designation in New York state, since the state allowed hospitals to go after these designations two years ago.

The hospital already had the label in the eyes of New York state, but emergency department Dr. Eric Shaw says this outside award takes that up a notch.   

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is hoping to use his influence to expedite delivery of a sterilization product used by hospitals. The senator was called by central New York hospitals to help deal with the shortage of the material used to sterilize equipment used in surgery.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Despite resigning as president of Upstate hospital amid questions about his compensation, Dr. David Smith is still being paid as a faculty member at the medical school.

When Dr. Smith resigned as president of SUNY Upstate Medical University and University Hospital Nov. 15, he retained his status as a tenured professor of pediatrics. He’s been on medical leave from the position for over two months after undergoing back surgery.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Upstate Medical University has a new tool that can help diagnose one of the most common cancers that strikes men. The hospital is one of the first in the nation to purchase a technology that gives doctors a more targeted approach in finding prostate cancer.

Jeff Barkley, a firefighter from Phoenix, had close family members die from prostate cancer. But even as his PSA level rose over the last several years -- that’s the blood test that is an indicator of prostate cancer -- five biopsies came back negative.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

In early November, Dr. David Smith resigned as president of the State University’s Upstate Medical University and University Hospital. Days before, the Times Union in Albany had reported Smith was close to leaving Syracuse’s biggest hospital to become president of Penn State University.

Instead, he’s found himself the subject of several investigations.

Lindsay Fox / Flickr

The Food and Drug Administration may soon get in on the fast growing e-cigarette industry. It’s considering labeling them as tobacco products, which would mean regulation over where they’re sold and how they’re made. That's good news for central New York smoking opponents, who say a lack of regulation is one of the big danger points of these electronic smoking devices.

So what is an e-cigarette anyway?

“A vaporized form of nicotine that is derived from tobacco, that is flavored and inhaled like a cigarette,” says Upstate Cancer Center Medical Director Leslie Kohman.

Aidan Jones / Flickr

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, but chances are you might not know that. Lung cancer just doesn’t get some of the same attention as other types of cancer, and that ultimately leads to more deaths.

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