Cannabis: Driving Under The Influence

The New York State Office of Cannabis Management states, “Cannabis is legal in New York for adults 21 and older.”

Cannabis or marijuana refers to the dried leaves, stems, flowers, or seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant.  It contains the psychoactive or mind-altering chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD).

Although the use of cannabis is permissible for adults 21 and older, that does not mean it can be smoked or consumed anywhere you want.  Cannabis must be used responsibly and according to law.

According to the NYS Office of Cannabis Management, “Cannabis can be consumed in a private home or at a state-licensed on-site consumption site (coming soon). The smoking of cannabis is prohibited anywhere smoking tobacco is prohibited.”

It is also illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. There is a direct link between THC blood level concentration and impaired driving. THC can impair important skills needed to drive safely.  It is known to distort perception, and slow motor coordination and reaction times.

In addition to impairing driving abilities, the use of cannabis can have negative health effects. Some of which are:

  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Impaired memory
  • Difficulty thinking and problem solving
  • Increased heart rate
  • Breathing problems
  • Changes in mood
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Severe nausea and vomiting

Cannabis affects everyone differently. Therefore, it should never be used before driving, operating heavy machinery, or making important decisions. The NYS Office of Cannabis Management also recommends that those who are, “pregnant or breast feeding, have been diagnosed or are predisposed to having a serious mental illness, have a history of respiratory or cardiovascular illness, or are currently taking any prescription medication,” consult a physician before consuming.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor 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.

Learning The Facts About Aphasia

Aphasia is a neurological condition that can affect your speech, as well as your ability to write and understand both spoken and written language.

Aphasia typically occurs after a stroke or a head injury, but it can also have a gradual onset as the result of a slow-growing brain tumor or a disease that causes degenerative damage. Sometimes temporary episodes of aphasia can occur. These can be due to migraines, seizures or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA occurs when blood flow is temporarily blocked to an area of the brain.

The severity of aphasia varies depending on the cause and the extent of the brain damage.

Some of the symptoms of aphasia include:

  • Speaking in short or incomplete sentences
  • Speaking in sentences that don’t make sense
  • Substituting one word for another or one sound for another
  • Using unrecognizable words
  • Not understanding conversations
  • Writing sentences that don’t make sense

Aphasia can create numerous quality-of-life problems because communication is so much a part of your life. Communication difficulty may affect your job, relationships, and general day-to-day functionality.  Communication difficulties can also lead to feelings of shame and depression.

Once the cause has been addressed, the main treatment for aphasia is speech and language therapy. The person with aphasia relearns and practices language skills and learns to use other ways to communicate. Family members often participate in the process, helping the person communicate.

Because aphasia is often a sign of a serious problem, such as a stroke, seek emergency medical care if you suddenly develop any symptoms.

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.

Meet Dr. Mina Guerges

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center would like to introduce vascular surgeon Dr. Mina Guerges to our community.

Vascular surgeons are physicians who specialize in treating diseases of the vascular system, also known as the circulatory system.  Diseases of the vascular system include atherosclerosis, carotid artery disease, and peripheral artery disease.

Dr. Guerges is highly trained and skilled in performing minimally invasive endovascular and open-ended procedures.  He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and his medical degree from the Ross University School of Medicine.  Dr. Guerges completed his general surgery residency at the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and his vascular surgery fellowship at Staten Island University Hospital/Northwell.  He serves as a military surgeon in the United States Navy Reserves and is an active New York Police Department trooper surgeon.  Dr. Guerges is RPVI certified and is an active member of the American Board of Surgery as well as the Society of Vascular Surgeons.

Dr. Guerges’ specialties include treating lower extremity peripheral artery disease, carotid stenosis, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and other conditions that affect the vascular system.  He takes great pride in building relationships and helping patients beyond surgery by applying a holistic approach to treatment.  This involves identifying risk factors that can lead to vascular diseases such as diabetes and hypertension and working with patients to develop a lifestyle plan that addresses these issues and ensures long-term success.

“Vascular disease is prevalent in our community. Therefore, it is important that I educate patients about their risk for developing preventable diseases,” shares Dr. Guerges. He also believes that it is important to collaborate with physicians of other specialties such as podiatrists and neurologists to lower the risk for disease and avoid serious problems such as stroke or leg amputation.  “By working together we can create the best plan of treatment to achieve optimal results for our patients.”

Dr. Guerges is extremely happy to join the vascular surgery team at Jamaica Hospital.  He treats patients at 134-20 Jamaica Avenue as well as the hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center. To schedule an appointment, please call 718-206-8755 or 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.

Community Health Needs Assessment Survey

In collaboration with hospitals across the state, the MediSys Health Network (Jamaica and Flushing Hospital Medical Center) is conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment survey to determine the most important health concerns of the community, and we would greatly appreciate your input.

The Community Health Needs Assessment survey will assist in the development of a plan that involves many community partners to improve the health of our community. The results of this survey are very important as they can also impact funding, spending, and other wide-reaching decisions about healthcare delivery systems.

The survey is open to all community members residing in New York. To access it, please click here, and share what issues matter to you most.  Please share the survey with family, friends, and others so that their input can be heard. All responses are confidential.

Thank you for your time and for helping us gain valuable insights into the needs of the community.

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.

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

The month of April has been designated as Testicular Cancer Awareness Month.  This is a disease where cancer cells form in one or both testicles. The average age of detection is 33 years old. The American Cancer Society estimates that 8,430 new cases are diagnosed each year and more than 380 men will die from the disease. It is considered to be a highly treatable disease, with an average of one death per 5,000 men.

There are a few risk factors for testicular cancer:

  • Family history
  • History of HIV positivity
  • Races – Caucasian American males are at the highest risk followed by African American males than Asian American males
  • Body size – tall slender males are at higher risk
  • History of an undescended testicle

The signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include:

  • A lump or swollen testicles
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Back pain
  • Breast growth or tenderness
  • Pre puberty growth of hair on face and body
  • Aches in the belly or testicles

Diagnosing testicular cancer is done by performing a physical exam as well as an ultrasound to detect whether a mass is solid ( more likely to be cancerous ) or fluid-filled, a blood test to detect certain proteins, a biopsy to see if there are cancerous cells present, and an MRI or Cat Scan to see if cancer has spread.

Treatment of testicular cancer is determined based on what is found at the time of diagnostic testing. Typically surgery to remove the affected testicle(s), as well as radiation and chemotherapy, are needed.

Testicular cancer is highly treatable if caught early. If you would like 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.

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.

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 daybut it can interfere with your ability to sleep at night
  • Avoid drinking any caffeinated beverages at least five to six hours before bed.
  • Exercise dailyVigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity.
  • Evaluate your sleep environmentRemove 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.

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.

Acute Stress Disorder

Acute stress disorder (ASD) is a trauma and stress-related disorder that typically develops within three days to one month after a traumatic event. Examples of such events are physical or sexual assault, the sudden death of a loved one, a car accident, a natural disaster or receiving a life-threatening medical diagnosis.  According to the American Psychiatric Association, “An estimated 13 to 21 percent of survivors of car accidents develop acute stress disorder and between 20 and 50 percent of survivors of assault, rape or mass shootings develop it.”

Symptoms of ASD generally last up to one month after the traumatic event, and may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Intrusive thoughts and memories
  • Nightmares
  • Avoidance of people, places or things that trigger memories
  • Dissociation
  • Changes in mood
  • Reckless or destructive behavior
  • Heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, abdominal pains or any other physical symptoms that can be caused by elevated stress

If symptoms persist beyond one month, they are often indicative of the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Anyone can develop ASD after experiencing a traumatic event.  People with ASD are at an increased risk for developing PTSD, this is why it’s important to receive treatment as soon as possible to prevent this progression.

ASD can be diagnosed after a person has experienced symptoms for at least three days.  A mental health provider will perform a series of examinations or evaluations to rule out causes such as health problems, substance abuse, medication side effects or other psychiatric disorders.

Treatment for ASD can involve cognitive behavioral therapy, medication or exposure-based therapies.

To schedule an appointment with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5575.

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.

COVID-19 In Children

Recent reports have shown a dramatic increase in the number of children testing positive for COVID-19 in the United States, especially as the highly transmissible Omicron variant spreads across the country.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported the week of January 13th, which is four times the amount we experienced during last winter’s surge.

Due to the rise in pediatric cases in the U.S., Jamaica Hospital Medical Center would like to provide parents with a list of signs and symptoms to look for in their children.

In most cases, COVID-19 symptoms in kids are milder than the symptoms experienced by adults and in some cases, children display no signs at all.

Some of the possible symptoms of a COVID-19 infection in children include:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue

Some children may also experience diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, or loss of taste or smell.

Even though most children who become infected do not experience severe symptoms, some may develop a condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (or MIS-C). This condition is characterized by inflammation in various parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys, lungs, eyes, skin, brain, or gastrointestinal organs. Recent research has shown that children between the ages of 2 and 15 infected with COVID-19 may develop MIS-C. Onset of symptoms typically occur between two to six weeks after the child is exposed to coronavirus. Possible symptoms of MIS-C include:

  • Skin rash
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cracked lips
  • Swelling of the hands or feet
  • Bloodshot eyes

The best protection against serious illness for COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. It is recommended that all children, ages five and up get a vaccine. For details, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/

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.