Dr. Philip Cruz Shares His “Jamaica Journey”

Thousands of people work at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, and each has their own unique story to tell about their career paths. The following is one of them.

The Jamaica Journey of Dr. Philip Cruz began the day he was born. “I was born at Jamaica Hospital and spent my early childhood years living in South Ozone Park. This is one of the many reasons why I have such a strong connection with my patients and the community” explained Dr. Cruz.

Growing up, Dr. Cruz had a love for the sciences and research. His parents encouraged him to pursue a profession that would allow him to utilize both interests. This led to a successful career in stem cell research.

However, as time went on, Dr. Cruz realized that laboratory research was not his true calling. He decided to follow his intuition and enrolled in medical school in 1997 at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, which is now the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine.

After graduating medical school, Dr. Cruz did his residency training at the Family Medicine Residency Program at Jamaica Hospital in 2001. Upon the completion of his residency in 2004, he decided to further his medical training.

Over the next year, Dr. Cruz completed a fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the University of Massachusetts. “Many people don’t know this about me but I was a varsity athlete in my undergraduate years at the University of Pittsburgh. I have always had a desire to enhance my knowledge of sports medicine, and use this information to further help my patients and educate our residents and students,” said Cruz.

At the end of his training in Massachusetts, Dr. Cruz returned to Jamaica Hospital in 2005 as a faculty attending. He spent several years working in the Family Medicine and Emergency Departments.

Today, Dr. Cruz serves as the Director of Osteopathic Education in the Department of Family Medicine . In this role, he is responsible for teaching medical students and supporting residents throughout their career journeys. In addition to teaching, Dr. Cruz continues to see patients regularly. He is known by his colleagues and patients for his kindness and having a service-minded heart.

“My journey at Jamaica Hospital has been positive. I like what I do, where I do it, and the people that I do it with. There is a strong feeling of family and support here,” stated Dr. Cruz. “My colleagues and I also share similar principles and goals. We aim to meet our patients where they are, foster meaningful relationships and provide them with quality healthcare.”

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.

Tips On How To Gather And Travel Safely For The Holidays

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced the emergence of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the variant is likely to spread more easily than the original virus.  Therefore, it is important for people to exercise safety and caution, especially while traveling and gathering during the holiday season.

If you plan on traveling or socializing, it is important to follow these safety guidelines provided by the CDC to protect your health and the health of others:

  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can.
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others who don’t live with you.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
  • Test to prevent spread to others (Getting tested can give you information about your risk of spreading COVID-19).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Do not travel if you have been exposed to COVID-19, you are sick, or if you test positive for COVID-19.

The CDC is also recommending that you delay travel if you have not been fully vaccinated. Other travel and socialization recommendations include keeping gatherings small and consider staying at a hotel if you are visiting loved ones out of town.

Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the virus and minimize the severity of the disease.

It is important to keep in mind that you are considered vaccinated two weeks after receiving your second shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or two weeks after a single dose of getting Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.  If you do not meet these requirements, you must continue to take the same precautions as those who are unvaccinated.

By following these recommendations, we can stop the spread of the virus, protect our health, and safely enjoy the holidays.

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.

What Are Doctors Checking for During Physical Exams?

During a physical examination, doctors inspect different parts of our bodies to check for symptoms or potential health problems.  They may peer inside our ears, shine a light in our eyes, and look inside our mouths for tell-tale signs, here are some of the medical reasons why they do so:

  • Shining a light in your eyes- Our eyes can reveal a great deal about our health. Doctors shine a light in our eyes to evaluate how well our pupils respond. In healthy eyes, the pupils will shrink and maintain their round shape. Doctors may also look at the color of your eyes during an examination. Red eyes mays signal irritation and yellow eyes can serve as a warning sign for liver problems.
  • Peering into your ears – By using an otoscope, doctors can check for signs of infection. Some otoscopes can send a puff of air into the ear canal, this helps doctors to see your eardrum and how it moves when there is pressure in your ear canal.
  • Pressing your stomach-Doing so can help doctors determine if the size of your internal organs is normal. Additionally, your doctor may check for pain, tenderness, or firmness. Doctors may also listen to your stomach with a stethoscope to check for bowel problems.
  • Looking into your mouth- Our mouths can also tell us a lot about our health. Doctors look at the back of our throats to see if there are any infections. They also look at the color and texture of our tongues which can be indicative of infections or other underlying medical conditions.
  • Listening to your heart or lungs – By using a stethoscope, your doctor may listen to your heart to check for heart murmurs, irregular rhythms, or signs of congestive heart failure. Doctors listen to your lungs to check for wheezing, fluid build-up, or infections.

Getting an annual physical is very important for your health.  A physical examination can help your doctor to detect problems that can pose a serious threat to your overall wellness.

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.

Vaccine Booster Eligibility

COVID-19 vaccines are found to be effective in lowering the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death.  However, the efficacy of the vaccine may decrease over time.  To help strengthen and prolong protection from COVID, vaccine boosters or additional shots are recommended for individuals who are fully vaccinated but may be at an increased risk for infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) both recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for those who fit certain criteria.

According to the CDC, individuals who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, are eligible for a booster if they are:

  • 65 years or older
  • Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
  • Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18+ who work or live-in high-risk settings

Booster shots for the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine are recommended six months after receiving your second dose. You can get any of the vaccines authorized in the U.S.

If you received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, you are eligible for a booster if you are 18 years old or older.  Getting any of the boosters authorized in the U.S.  two months after vaccination is recommended.

Side effects to booster shots may vary, the CDC states, “Reactions reported after getting a booster shot were similar to that of the 2-shot or single-dose initial series. Fever, headache, fatigue and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. However, as with the 2-shot or single-dose initial series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.”

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.

Tremors

A tremor is defined as the unintentional or uncontrollable movement of a part of the body. 

Tremors are sometimes the result of movement disorders, neurological conditions, or other health problems.

There are two types of tremors: resting and action. Resting tremors mostly affect the hands or fingers. They occur when a person is sitting still and tend to go away once an individual begins to move around. Action tremors occur when there is movement of the affected part of the body.

In addition to type, tremors can be further categorized by their appearance and cause. These categories include:

  • Essential tremor- results from a neurological disorder that causes the hands or other parts of the body to shake involuntarily and rhythmically.  Shaking typically tends to worsen during movement than when at rest.
  • Dystonic tremor- occurs in individuals with dystonia, a movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions. Dystonia causes repetitive or twisting movements.
  • Parkinsonian tremor- is a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease.  Tremors occur mostly at rest. Involuntary and rhythmic tremors often start in one side of the body and eventually progress to both sides.
  • Cerebellar tremor- is caused by lesions or damage to the cerebellum from a tumor, stroke, or diseases such as multiple sclerosis.  Cerebellar tremors can also be caused by inherited degenerative disorders such as ataxia as well damage to the cerebellum resulting from chronic alcoholism.
  • Orthostatic tremor- is a movement disorder characterized by a rapid tremor in the legs that occur when standing.
  • Psychogenic tremor- is the most common psychogenic movement disorder. It occurs often in patients who have conversion disorder. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Conversion disorder is a disorder in which a person experiences blindness, paralysis, or other symptoms affecting the nervous system that cannot be explained solely by a physical illness or injury. Symptoms usually begin suddenly after a period of emotional or physical distress or psychological conflict.”  Many patients with psychogenic tremors have underlying psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.
  • Physiologic tremor- is barely visible to the naked eye and is typically reversible once the cause is corrected.  It can become more pronounced when there is a reaction to certain drugs, alcohol withdrawal or medical conditions such as hypoglycemia or hyperthyroidism. These tremors may also present during periods of muscular fatigue, anxiety, or emotional stress.

Tremors can be diagnosed during a physical examination.  Your doctor may order urine, blood or neurological tests to check for underlying medical conditions.

Tremors are treated based on the underlying cause and may include physical therapy, psychotherapy Botox injections, medications or surgery.

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.

The Importance of Sleep in Children

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of children (4 months- 17 years) living in the United States, get less sleep than what is recommended for their ages.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends:

• Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours

• Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours

• Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours

• Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours

• Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours

A lack of sleep can affect children in several ways. Children who do not receive adequate sleep are at a higher risk for developing health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, poor mental health, and obesity.  Sleep deprivation can also contribute to the development of behavioral or academic problems.

There are several ways parents can help children achieve a good night’s sleep. This includes:

  • Turning off devices at least an hour before bedtime
  • Ensuring beds are comfortable
  • Creating a consistent bedtime routine (changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, etc.)
  • Establishing and keeping a consistent sleep schedule (This includes weekends and vacations)
  • Keeping children from going to bed hungry or too full
  • Avoiding scary movies, books or television shows before bed
  • Helping to alleviate bedtime fears or anxieties by talking about them and providing comfort

It is important that children receive adequate sleep as it is beneficial for their overall health and development. If your child is consistently having problems falling or staying asleep despite practicing healthy sleep hygiene, you should consult a doctor.

To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, 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.

Patient Story: What Started Out As a Mild Headache Quickly Turned Into A Medical Emergency.

While going about his usual routine on a warm summer day, Norbert Silva began to experience a mild headache.  As the day progressed, his symptoms grew more severe.  Hoping desperately to find some relief, Mr. Silva decided to take a few painkillers but still, the pain intensified.

Shortly after, Mr. Silva began to vomit. His body was warning him that something was terribly wrong. He immediately went to a local hospital to seek medical attention.

Following a thorough examination, it was decided by doctors to transfer Mr. Silva to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center to further investigate a suspected tumor. “I remember feeling nervous, everything was happening so fast,” shared Mr. Silva.

Upon his arrival at Jamaica Hospital, the E.R. team worked quickly to conduct a series of diagnostic tests. It was discovered that Mr. Silva developed a large tumor in the brain which was compressing his optic and oculomotor nerves.  “Throughout this process, the staff made it a priority to keep me informed and as comfortable as they could,” said Mr. Silva.

Shortly after this discovery was made, Mr. Silva realized that his vision was becoming blurry, he was rapidly losing the ability to see and move his right eye. “I was scared but all I could think about was my family. Thinking of them helped me to build up my courage,” he said.  

Neurosurgeon Dr. Amrit Chiluwal was consulted to further assess Mr. Silva’s condition and it was determined that surgery should be performed right away. “Dr. Chiluwal visited me and explained why I needed surgery and what to expect. I felt confident that he would take good care of me,” said Mr. Silva.

Mr. Silva’s surgery was performed by Dr. Chiluwal and fellow neurosurgeons Dr. Shamik Chakraborty and Dr. Mohsen Nouri.  The operation was successful thanks to the physicians’ expert training. “Our goal was the remove the tumor from the brain and decompress the nerves safely and in the least invasive manner possible,” shared Dr. Chiluwal. “Within 24 hours after surgery the patient’s vision was back to normal and he was able to move his right eye normally.”

Mr. Silva had a positive recovery in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He said, “Everyone involved in my care treated me well.  The nurses in the ICU were amazing.  Dr. Chiluwal came to see me in the day and night. He’s a nice guy, a great doctor.”

Mr. Silva was released from the hospital just in time to celebrate his birthday. “I thank Dr. Chiluwal and the entire team for giving me the opportunity to celebrate another year of my life. I got to go home and see my family,” shared Mr. Silva,

Today, life is back to normal for Mr. Silva. He reports that his vision is now better than it was before and that he cherishes each day. His advice to others is to listen to their bodies and “don’t delay going to the E.R. if something does not feel right.”

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 Welcomes Dr. Hala Ubaid.

Hala Ubaid DO

Jamaica Hospital would like to introduce our community to Obstetrician and Gynecologist Dr. Hala Ubaid.

Dr. Ubaid was born and raised in New York.  She is fluent in three languages: Urdu, Hindi, and English.

Dr. Ubaid earned her bachelor’s degree from the New York Institute of Technology, then went on to complete her medical education at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. She graduated with honors from both programs.

Dr. Ubaid performed at the top of her class and gained extensive experience serving a diverse population during her residency training at Nassau University Medical Center. She is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

Dr. Ubaid is highly trained in performing a wide range of obstetrical and gynecological procedures including general gynecologic surgery.

Before joining Jamaica Hospital six months ago, Dr. Ubaid worked at a private practice for several years. “I have always wanted to work in a team setting in which I could mentor medical residents and care for a community that was underserved. I am able to do these things and more at Jamaica Hospital. I’m happy to be a part of this team,” she shared.

Having lived in Queens and with family members currently residing in the borough, giving back to the community is very important to Dr. Ubaid.  Building trust among her patients is equally as important.  Dr. Ubaid believes that one of the best ways to foster relationships with the women and families she cares for is to be sensitive to their cultural needs. “I aim to meet the unique needs of each of my patients. It is my goal to provide them with quality healthcare throughout all stages of life,” she said.

To make an appointment with Dr. Ubaid, please call Jamaica Hospital’s Women’s Health Center at 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.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome diagnosis

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) or Willis-Ekbom disease is a common disorder that causes what is often described as tingling, pulling, throbbing, itching, burning, aching or crawling sensations in the legs. These sensations result in an uncontrollable urge to move your legs.  

RLS can also occur in other parts of the body such as the arms or torso; however, these instances are less common.

Anyone can be at risk for developing RLS.  According to the Sleep Foundation, “RLS affects 5 to 10% of adults and 2 to 4% of children in the U.S. and it is found in women more often than men. People of all ages can develop RLS, but the most severe symptoms tend to occur in older adults.”

Symptoms of restless legs syndrome can include:

  • An irresistible urge to move the legs or arms
  • Discomfort in the legs or arms
  • Trouble staying asleep due to the urge to move your limbs
  • Periodic limb movement or leg twitching while you sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness due to sleep disruption

These symptoms most commonly occur in the late afternoon or evening hours and may increase in severity at night. They can also happen when you remain inactive or seated for extended periods. Symptoms typically go away in the morning.

Although the exact cause of restless legs syndrome is unknown, it is believed that genetics and environmental factors play a significant role.  RLS is often associated with other medical conditions such as:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Late-stage kidney disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy

RLS may also occur temporarily during pregnancy with most women developing the disorder during their third trimester.

Some medications such as anti-depressants, anti-nausea, and allergy drugs can contribute to the development of RLS.

A diagnosis for restless legs syndrome is determined after your medical and family history is assessed, a complete physical and neurological exam is conducted, and blood tests are ordered to rule out other possible conditions. Your doctor may also refer you to a sleep specialist for an evaluation.

Currently, there is no cure for restless legs syndrome.  However, there are treatments available to manage symptoms.  Your doctor may include the following treatments or therapies in your care plan: exercise, massages,  foot wraps, stress reduction, iron supplementation or prescription medications.

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.

Pericarditis

There are several reasons why chest pain should never be ignored, pericarditis is one of them.

Pericarditis is the swelling and inflammation of the pericardium- the thin, saclike tissue that surrounds the heart. Pericarditis can affect people of all ages, but men ages 16 to 65 are more likely to develop it.

The causes of pericarditis can include:

  • An infection
  • A heart attack
  • Systemic inflammatory disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Trauma
  • Certain medications
  • Health disorders such as AIDS, kidney failure, cancer, or tuberculosis

Sharp or stabbing chest pain is the most common symptom of pericarditis; however, other signs and symptoms may also occur.  They include:

  • Coughing
  • A low-grade fever
  • Abdominal or leg swelling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath

According to the American Heart Association, “Pericarditis can be acute, meaning it happens suddenly and typically doesn’t last long. Or the condition may be “chronic,” meaning that it develops over time and may take longer to treat. Both types of pericarditis can disrupt your heart’s normal function. In rare cases, pericarditis can have very serious consequences, possibly leading to abnormal heart rhythm and death.”

Pericarditis is usually mild and may clear up with rest or simple treatments.  Treatment in more severe cases can include medications or surgery.

If you are experiencing chest pains, it is important that you see a doctor right away. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce the risk of complications caused by pericarditis.

To schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7100.

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.