Study indicates location plays role in elective surgery
For patients whose conditions can be treated with elective surgery, location matters, according to a report from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.
For instance, patients in Columbia are one-third as likely to have prostate removal surgery as those in Panama City, Fla., and more than three times as likely to have a mastectomy as those in Salisbury, Md. Those differences are highlighted in a Dartmouth Atlas report, available online at www.dartmouthatlas.org /pages/decision_making _series.
Variations of a similar magnitude were found across the South Atlantic region and the country for other procedures. The goal of the report — which was based on Medicare records — is to encourage patients and their families to make sure they are fully informed about their choices. The surgeries are, after all, considered elective.
Some variations can be related to local diet and population makeup, but the broad differences within regions also point to the influence of the availability of facilities and physicians who regularly perform the procedures.
Rates in Columbia were well above the national average for coronary angioplasty, back surgery and knee replacement and below average for hip replacement and prostate removal.
Some South Carolina numbers stand out. The rate of coronary angioplasties in Greenville is 13.8 per 1,000 Medicare patients. That’s double the rate in Charleston (6.0) and much higher than the national average (7.5). And the rate of gallstone surgery in Florence is 5.0 per 1,000 Medicare patients, while Columbia is at the national average of 3.3.
Take a First Day Hike to start the new year
If you’re looking for a healthy start to the new year, consider at First Day Hike at a state park.
Many of South Carolina’s state parks have scheduled ranger-guided hikes on Jan. 1. Most are relatively short and easy.
In the Midlands, there’s a 2.5 mile hike on Little Gap Trail at Dreher Island State Park at 9 a.m., a hike around Lake Poinsett at Poinsett State Park at 9 a.m. and a 2-mile hike around the lake at Sesquicentennial State Park at 1 p.m.
Other walks are scheduled at Aiken, Barnwell, Caesars Head, Calhoun Falls, Charles Towne Landing, Cheraw, Chester, Devils Fork, Edisto Beach, Givhans Ferry, Hickory Knob, Huntington Beach, Lake Hartwell, Lake Warren, Landsford Canal, Lee, Little Pee Dee, Musgrove Mill, Myrtle Beach, Oconee, Paris Mountain, Rivers Bridge, Sadler Creek, Santee and Table Rock parks.
If you want to start the year with a challenge, one of the two hikes at Table Rock will be the 7.2 mile trek to the top of the mountain, starting at 9 a.m.
Orangeburg physician named president of medical association
Dr. Gary A. Delaney, an anesthesiologist from Orangeburg, has been installed as the 2012-2013 president of the Southern Medical Association.
Delaney practices at the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg and is immediate past president of the South Carolina Medical Association. He earned his medical degree at the University of Kentucky and did his residency at University Hospital in Lexington, Ky. Delaney has served as president for the Edisto Medical Society as well as the South Carolina Society of Anesthesiologists.
Flu season arrives in state, Midlands
Flu season hit the Midlands hard and suddenly in November.
As of Nov. 3, only 16 rapid flu tests had come back positive in Richland, Lexington, Sumter and Kershaw counties. From Nov. 3 through Nov. 24, there were 349 positive rapid tests in those counties, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. And 202 of those were in Richland County.
Statewide, there were 38 flu-related hospitalizations in the week ending Nov. 24. There had been only 23 in the previous five weeks.
Officially, the flu status in the state went from sporadic to widespread, and the first flu-related death of the season, a child in Barnwell County, was reported last week.
Health officials remind people that the best defense is to get a flu shot, and the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash hands often and thoroughly and stay home when you’re sick.
City council, mayor give donation to breast center
Mayor Steve Benjamin and the Columbia City Council presented the Palmetto Health Breast Center a $5,000 donation Tuesday. The funds were raised at the 2012 Mayor’s Campaign Against Breast Cancer Isabel Law breakfast.
USC study seeking participants with lung cancer
The University of South Carolina is seeking African-Americans in the Midlands who recently have been diagnosed with lung cancer to participate in a new study designed to improve survival rates.
The study, which also includes the University of North Carolina and East Carolina, will run for several years and is funded with a $330,000 grant through the American Cancer Society. The goal of the grant is to identify strategies that encourage patients to follow through on health care instructions.
African-Americans are more likely to develop and die from lung cancer than any other racial or ethnic group.
Information: (803) 799-5022 or ashleye.davis @uscmed.sc.edu
Compiled by Joey Holleman