Shining Our Employee Spotlight on Sandra Leon Gonzalez

This month, we are proud to shine our Employee Spotlight on Sandra Leon Gonzalez, office manager of the TJH Surgical Suite. She has been with our hospital for 24 years.

Sandra was born in Ecuador and at nine years of age moved to New York. Her family first resided in Hollis, Queens and then when she was  10, moved to Richmond Hill. She attended P.S. 55, J.H.S. 226, Hillcrest High School and Queensborough Community College. As a resident of Richmond Hill, she was always familiar with the Jamaica Hospital name in the community.

Sandra is married to her husband Johnny for 37 years and has two sons, Michael who is 33 years old and Nicholas who is 27. She also has a grandson Jacob who is 6 months old. Sandra has a dog named Jackson who is one-half Labrador and one-half American bulldog.

In her free time, Sandra enjoys spending time with family and friends, attending concerts,  Broadway shows and dancing whenever possible. She also enjoys traveling, especially to Italy where she has been twice, France, Spain and of course her native Ecuador. Her favorite types of food are Spanish and Italian. Sandra likes many different types of music, this includes disco, Motown, jazz, Latin and anything else she can dance to. She is also a soccer, baseball, and golf enthusiast.

Making a difference and treating people with respect are very important to Sandra. This is why working at the TJH Surgical Suite has been a rewarding experience.

She believes in fostering an environment that is mindful of cultural sensitivities and one that allows patients to feel supported in voicing their concerns and opinions. Sandra has seen the Surgical Suite expand tremendously over the years and is very proud of its growth and contributions to the well-being of people in the community. She is grateful to her department’s leadership and staff for making this possible.

We are very happy to have Sandra as part of our team at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and we look forward to her being with us for many years to come.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Jamaica Hospital Adds Bi-Directional Communication Boards To Improve The Patient Experience

The Patient Centered Services Department at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is proud to announce the installation of bi-directional communication boards in all in-patient rooms.

The boards, which are 3’ x 2’ have been placed at the foot of each bed and are intended to convey information between the patient and the care team, enhance patient and family engagement, and improve the patient experience.

“What Matters to You, Matters to Us” is boldly written across the top of each board to emphasize the importance of effective communication and understanding.  The board is split into two halves underneath this title. Each half contains blank fields that are to be filled in daily by the care team and patient together.

The left side of the board is designated as the patient side. On this side of the board the patient can express how they prefer to be addressed, their goals for the day, their language of choice, and any questions or concerns they want to share with their healthcare team.

The right side of the board is to be completed by the care team and includes important information such as the names of everyone on the healthcare team. It can also identify any special needs the patients might have as well as address the care plan for the day.

The response to the bi-directional boards has been overwhelmingly positive with employees stating that the boards are “helpful,” “engaging,” and “good for the patients.  The patients are appreciative as well, sharing that they “really like them” and that the boards make them “feel cared about.”

The implementation of the bi-directional boards is one of many initiatives the hospital has taken to demonstrate our commitment to patient-centered care.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

World Tuberculosis Day

March 24th has been designated globally as “World Tuberculosis Day”. The event began in 1982 is sponsored by the World Health Organization and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and is intended to raise awareness that anyone can contract TB to make health professionals aware of the importance of testing people for the disease.
This date was chosen to celebrate  the discovery by Dr. Robert Koch of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the bacteria that causes tuberculosis) in 1882. This important discovery was the beginning of the steps being taken to control and hopefully one day eradicate the disease.

Unfortunately, Tuberculosis (TB) is still one of the leading causes of death around the world. TB is a contagious bacterial disease that affects mainly the lungs but can also affect the kidneys, brain and the spine.  Signs and symptoms may include:

• Coughing up blood
• Fatigue
• Fever
• Chills
• Night sweats
• Loss of appetite
• Pain with breathing

TB is spread by coming into contact with the airborne droplets  of the bacteria from an infected person. People most susceptible are those who have compromised immune systems and  include people undergoing chemotherapy, have diabetes, are very young or very old, and have HIV/AIDS. There are antibiotics that given to fight the disease but depending on the strain and their resistance to treatment, may require months or years of treatment.

A routine physical usually includes a TB skin test. If you would like to schedule a physical exam and a TB test with one of our physicians, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Signs That A Headache Is More Than A Headache

Headaches are very common. They can be caused by a variety of reasons including eye or neck strain,  stress, strong smells, bright lights, infections, or high blood pressure.

Typically, headaches are not indicative of a life-threatening emergency.  However, there are times when our bodies are trying to alert us to a problem requiring urgent medical attention.

Here are a few warning signs:

  • A sudden or very intense headache
  • Changes in headache patterns
  • Headaches following head injury
  • Headaches that begin to occur regularly in those over the age of 50
  • Headaches accompanied by speech and vision changes
  • Headaches accompanied by a stiff neck and fever
  • Headaches accompanied by redness and pain in the eyes
  • Headaches accompanied by changes in behavior
  • Headaches with nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches that interrupt sleep
  • Headaches that begin after sneezing, coughing or straining the body
  • Headaches that worsen with movement
  • Headaches that prevent normal day-to-day activities
  • Headaches persisting for more than 24 hours

These tell-tale symptoms should not be ignored as they are often associated with serious health conditions such as brain tumors, stroke, hemorrhaging, concussions, meningitis, or hypertensive crisis. See a doctor right away for immediate medical intervention as timely treatment can prevent further complications.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Shining Our Spotlight on the MediSys Women’s Health Center

This month, we are proud to shine our spotlight on the MediSys Women’s Health Center (WHC) located at 133-03 Jamaica Avenue in Richmond Hill, New York.

This site opened in November of 1998 to serve the health care needs of women of all ages.  It has 14 modern exam rooms and two procedure rooms.  

The services offered here are prenatal care, maternal fetal medicine, gynecologic oncology, gynecologic urology, family planning, mammograms, bone density exams, OB/GYN ultrasounds and gynecologic biopsies, colposcopies, Endosee, and LEEP. Annually the staff sees over 32,000 patients.

The center is open Monday to Friday 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM and Saturdays 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM. It is easily accessible by public transportation. There is an “E” train station located within walking distance and so are the  Q-24, Q-56, and Q-54 buses.

A few of our staff members shared with us why they enjoy working at the Women’s Health Center. Desiree Francis, RN tells us “Working at WHC gave me the opportunity to grow both professionally and personally.  My colleagues are like a second family. I enjoy my job. Going above and beyond to assist patients is our ultimate goal here.  Being able to do this makes waking up to come to work every day well worth it.”. Melissa Estrella, an ambulatory care representative says,  “It is a pleasure to work at the Women’s Health Clinic; I get to learn and be involved in women’s health from start to finish in their pregnancies.” Catherine Conley a patient access representative tells us  “the women’s  health clinic is about  community, trust and dedication . We give all our patients 110 % and make sure that each visit is stellar, with no stone being unturned; that’s where our dedication comes in. Working here has changed my life in so many positive ways.”

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of the providers at this office, please call 718-291-3276.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Stress and Urge Incontinence

Urinary incontinence or the loss of bladder control is a common disorder.  The American Urological Association estimates that, “A quarter to a third of men and women in the U.S. suffer from urinary incontinence.”

Although urinary incontinence affects men and women, it is more prevalent in women as a result of pregnancy, menopause and childbirth.

There are different types of urinary incontinence including stress incontinence, overflow incontinence, functional incontinence, mixed incontinence and urge incontinence. The two most common are urge and stress incontinence.

Urge incontinence, also known as overactive bladder, is characterized by loss of urine that is associated with an intense or sudden urge to urinate that cannot be delayed.   This may result from:

  • Bladder infections
  • Bladder inflammation
  • Bladder cancer
  • Brain or nerve problems
  • Bladder stones
  • Enlarged prostate

Stress incontinence occurs when activities such as sneezing, coughing, laughing, standing up, or exercising causes urine to leak.  This can be caused by:

  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Nerve injury
  • Being overweight
  • Pelvic or prostate surgery

Urinary incontinence requires medical attention; unfortunately, a significant number of people who experience symptoms do not seek treatment. Untreated bladder incontinence can lead to skin problems and infections. It can also affect an individual’s mental health and overall quality of life in the long run.

Urinary incontinence is often indicative of an underlying medical problem. Therefore, If you are experiencing symptoms, it is advised that you see a doctor as soon as possible.  Your physician can begin treatment early.  Treatment may involve medications, physical therapy, bulking agents (to help close the bladder opening), or surgery.

To schedule an appointment with a urologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Sleep Awareness Week

The keys to a healthy lifestyle are eating right, exercise, and what’s the third thing?  Oh yes, sleep. While we give a great deal of attention to the first two, the importance of a good night’s sleep is often overlooked.

Serene woman sleeping at night

March 13th through the 19th  has been designated Sleep Awareness Week and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) want to raise awareness and educate the community about how important sleep is to each and every one of us. While most of us understand the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, we often do not make sleep a priority.

There are many health benefits that sleep can provide. Sleep aids our heart, brain, lungs, and muscles to function properly.  Additional benefits include:

  • Improved immunity
  • Decreased pain
  • Increased alertness
  • Lower risk of injury
  • Improved memory
  • Better mood

The NSF recommends that adults receive seven to nine hours of sleep each night. They also provide the following tips to ensure a restful night’s sleep.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.  Try to separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety; a lot of which can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Napping may help you during the day, but it can interfere with your ability to sleep at night
  • Avoid drinking any caffeinated beverages at least five to six hours before bed.
  • Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity.
  • Evaluate your sleep environment. Remove any noisy distractions, eliminate bright lights and set a comfortable temperature to optimize your sleep.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and  Make sure your mattress is supportive.

If you still have trouble falling asleep or getting a restful night’s sleep, you should speak with your doctor as there may be an underlining medical issue. Jamaica Hospital operates a state-of-the-art sleep center that can help diagnose and treat a variety of sleep disorders. For more information, or to make an appointment, please call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Bacterial VS Viral Infection: What’s the Difference?

When pathogens (microorganisms) such as bacteria or viruses enter our bodies and multiply, they can cause harmful infections.

Infections resulting from viruses are called viral infections, and those caused by bacteria, bacterial infections. Both are invisible to the naked eye, can be contagious and cause similar symptoms such as inflammation, fever, coughing or vomiting.

Although viral and bacterial infections share similarities, there are primary differences between the two.

Bacteria are living, single-celled organisms that can reproduce on their own. They can survive in different environments inside and outside the human body. Most species are harmless and some are even beneficial for our health. However, a very small percent can cause illnesses such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, or in more severe cases cholera or tuberculosis.  Doctors can treat most bacterial infections with antibiotics.  Unfortunately, some strains have become resistant to these medications.

Viruses are much smaller than bacteria and are not considered to be living organisms.  They consist of a core of genetic code, a coat of protein and fat lipids to protect them. Viruses cannot reproduce on their own and require living hosts such as people or animals to survive. Unlike bacteria where only a small percent is harmful to our health, most viruses cause illness and disease. Viral conditions include measles, chickenpox, HIV, polio, and COVID-19.  Antibiotics are inefficient in treating these illnesses. Treatment for viral infections focuses on alleviating symptoms. Doctors may also prescribe antiviral medications to help the body fight infection.

Bacteria and viruses are all around us; therefore, there will always be a risk for infection and transmission. However, we can prevent this from occurring by practicing proper hand hygiene, disinfecting surfaces, staying home when sick and getting vaccinated, when possible.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Airline Pilot Thanks Jamaica Hospital For Saving Her Life

During her flight on July 15, 2021, from Fort Lauderdale to New York City, pilot Kyra McGrath knew she didn’t feel right. The nine-year JetBlue pilot from Syracuse initially felt abdominal cramping, but by the time she landed her Airbus A320 full of passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the pain was unmanageable, and she needed to be rushed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Kyra had some initial hesitations “At first I didn’t want to go to Jamaica Hospital, but the paramedics convinced me that it was the right place to go.” Thankfully she listened as she was immediately treated by the Emergency Department team and a CT scan revealed that her large intestine was about to rupture.  Dr. William Nugent, the surgeon on-call, successfully performed an emergency colectomy and end ileostomy.

After the surgery, Kyra’s opinion about the hospital changed dramatically as she stated, “After my experience I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. I couldn’t ask for a better crew to save my life.”  She also praised Dr. Nugent, who she affectionately began referring to as “Nuge”. She added, “He was awesome. He checked on me every day after my surgery and did a great job communicating with my entire family. There was nothing we couldn’t ask him.”

The surgery was only the first challenge that Kyra had to endure though. The complex procedure required extensive recuperation. Kyra explained how during her 16-day admission she lost nearly 30 pounds, but she credits the hospital team with making an uncomfortable situation manageable. “I really got to know all the nurses, but I want to especially thank the night nurses as they were there for me after my husband and parents left. They provided me with comfort when I was alone. I would also like to acknowledge the wound care team who patiently taught me how to change my ostomy bag and dressings.”

Thankfully, Jamaica Hospital’s surgical team did such a great job, the procedure, which required Kyra to temporarily use an ostomy bag, was able to be reversed, allowing her to continue flying. “I have been flying since I was 17 years old. If not for Dr. Nugent and the entire team at Jamaica Hospital, I would have had to give up my life-long passion. I thank everyone at Jamaica Hospital from the bottom of my heart.”

Kyra is currently completing her required re-certification and is anxiously awaiting returning to work as a pilot for JetBlue.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

National Endometriosis Awareness Month

Endometriosis Awareness takes the spotlight during the month of March with a mission to raise awareness about the disease which currently affects an estimated 176 million women around the globe.

Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus- grows outside the uterus. This abnormal growth of tissue can commonly be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, ligaments that support the uterus, as well as areas between the rectum and vagina.  Areas where endometriosis is less commonly found are the lungs, thighs, arms and other areas beyond the reproductive organs or lower abdomen.

Endometrial tissue develops into growths or clumps called implants.  These clusters of tissue respond to the menstrual cycle the same as they would inside the uterus.  Meaning, each month the tissue builds up, breaks down then sheds.  Unlike the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus; endometrial tissue cannot be discharged from the body through vaginal bleeding.  This results in inflammation, swelling, the formation of scar tissue or internal bleeding.

The symptoms of endometriosis typically present themselves during reproductive years- on average between the ages of 12 to 60 years old.  Symptoms include:

  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Pain during pelvic examinations
  • Severe pain during menstruation
  • Pain during urination or a bowel movement
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infertility

The cause of endometriosis is unknown but several factors such as genetics, retrograde period flow, immune system disorders and hormones are being researched.

Most cases are diagnosed in women between the ages of 25 to 35 years of age; however, some women with endometriosis remain undiagnosed because they do not have symptoms and the disorder is sometimes mistaken for other conditions.

Women who do experience symptoms should speak with their doctor about receiving tests such as pelvic examinations, laparoscopy and imaging tests, to find out if they  have endometriosis.

Although there is no cure for endometriosis, effective treatments including medication, surgery and alternative therapies are available.

If you are experiencing the symptoms it is recommended that you make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. If you would like to make an appointment with a gynecologist, please call 718-291-3276

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.