Fun facts, trivia included in Upstate Health magazine

Can you find the red H?

Can you find the red H?

Page three of Upstate Health magazine this quarter features five random pieces of information you might not otherwise know about Upstate, including:

* The roof of the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital is marked with an H in a big cross symbol so that helicopter pilots can locate their landing target in the midst of the downtown buildings in Syracuse.

* Upstate University Hospital receives about 12,000 packages per month, ranging from letters to new pieces of research or medical equipment.

sharps* Bar codes on sharps containers — where needles are disposed after use – allow for the containers to be tracked as they are sterilized and reused for up to 600 times. The new Stericycle containers are expected to save money as well as improve safety for nurses and other medical care providers, says Jason Rupert, assistant director for outpatient operations and materials. The lids on previous containers opened like post office boxes. The new ones have holes on top, a design that Rupert says has been shown to reduce accidental needle sticks by up to 80 percent.

Participating in the check presentation at the hockey game are, from left, Upstate's Gennady Bratslavsky, MD, Michael Lacombe, MD, Dmitriy Nikolovsky, MD and Srinivas Vourganti, MD.  Joining them is Jim Sarosy of the Syracuse Crunch.

Participating in the check presentation at the hockey game are, from left, Upstate’s Gennady Bratslavsky, MD, Michael Lacombe, MD, Dmitriy Nikolovsky, MD and Srinivas Vourganti, MD. Joining them is Jim Sarosy of the Syracuse Crunch.

* Upstate’s prostate cancer team helped raise money for prostate cancer research at Upstate Medical University through a Movember Mustache Challenge involving the Syracuse Crunch hockey team. The men grew facial hair throughout the month of November, and fans voted by making online donations which totaled $4.467.58.

* Upstate’s College of Graduate Studies conferred 27 degrees in 2014, including 14 doctorates, 10 masters and three MD/PhD degrees. Programs of study include biochemistry and molecular biology, cell and developmental biology, microbiology and immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology, physiology and structural biology, biochemistry and biophysics. graduates

Posted in education, Golisano, hospital, urology | Leave a comment

This team of physicians responds to crises outside of the hospital

Meet the Team: Upstate Squad 1; David Landsberg, MD; Christian Knutsen, MD; Derek R. Cooney, MD; Chris Tanski, MD and  Jeremy Joslin, MD.

Meet the Team: Upstate Squad 1; David Landsberg, MD; Christian Knutsen, MD; Derek R. Cooney, MD; Chris Tanski, MD and Jeremy Joslin, MD.

Passengers dozed as Wednesday night turned into Thursday on their trip from Toronto to New York City. The Trailways bus moved south through Syracuse on Interstate 81, lit by a full moon. It made it almost to Nedrow.

That’s where a car was left unattended in the middle of the highway. The driver of a tractor-trailer had stopped to help. The bus slammed into both about 2:30 a.m.

Operators from the Onondaga County 911 Center dispatched crews from 10 ambulances, plus rescuers from eight fire and three police departments. They also activated Upstate’s Physician Response Team to help care for the victims of the crash.

Members of the special team carry pagers 24 hours a day like volunteer firefighters. They take turns being on call, responding whenever summoned by the Onondaga County 911 Center. It’s a community service that Upstate provides without charge to individual patients.

While overseeing patient care, the physicians – all of whom are professors at Upstate – provide real-time feedback to paramedics and emergency responders, explains Derek Cooney, MD, the team’s medical director. He says the team responds to crises both large and small.

Erin Wirths, MD, was on call on the November night of the bus crash. She rushed to the scene in a Ford Expedition equipped with medical gear and medications. Christopher Tanski, MD, and David Landsberg, MD, who specializes in patients requiring intensive care, met her at the scene. Jeremy Joslin, MD, headed to Upstate University Hospital’s emergency department to coordinate the mass casualty accident. He is the director of the adult emergency department.

Tanski said many of the 52 passengers from the bus were not seriously injured. So when he arrived at the crash site, “the focus turned toward the driver who was pinned in the wreckage and was critically injured.”

Twenty-six people were transported to area hospitals, while rescuers worked for two hours to extricate the driver. One of the physicians rode with him in the ambulance to Upstate, where he was cared for until he was released.

Members of the team staffs the infirmary at the New York State Fair, provides medical oversight for large-scale events throughout Central New York and typically are summoned to incidents involving large numbers of ill or injured people.

Upstate’s physician responders provide a service residents are glad to have – but hope never to need.

Posted in community, emergency, trauma | Leave a comment

Presenting the winter issue of Upstate Health

upstatehealthwinter2015This issue of Upstate Health magazine features on its cover neurosurgeon Lawrence Chin, MD, and a patient who agreed to share his story about recovering from a broken neck.

You will also find stories about a new operating suite that allows for magnetic resonance imaging scans during surgery, and a new robotic tool that improves the precision of hip and knee surgeries. Our experts share information about epilepsy in older adults, how weight loss surgery affects the heart and research into childhood cancer.

Also featured in this issue is the inspiring story of an outreach program that is helping to restore hearing in Ethiopia.

Enjoy your Health, from Upstate. (Click to see the whole issue.)

Posted in health care, neurosurgery | Leave a comment

Gingerbread recipe comforts people with nausea, diarrhea, mouth sores

Gingerbread with Brown Sugar Meringue


For gingerbread:

2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup butter or margarine

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup molasses

¾ cup hot water

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

1 egg

iStock_000015542439XLargeFor meringue:

2 egg whites

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

½ cup packed brown sugar


Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan or 9-inch square pan with shortening; lightly flour. In large bowl, beat gingerbread ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.

Bake about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

iStock_000011020591LargeMeanwhile, in medium bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in brown sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until stiff peaks form and mixture is glossy. Do not underbeat.

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread meringue over hot gingerbread. Bake 8 to 10 minutes longer or until meringue is light brown. Serve warm. Store covered in refrigerator.

If you want to skip the meringue step, consider serving this gingerbread with applesauce. This recipe makes nine servings and is high in iron, magnesium and potassium and low in fiber.

Nutritional information, per serving:

410 calories

11 grams total fat

50 milligrams cholesterol

450 milligrams sodium

640 milligrams potassium

73 grams carbohydrates

1 gram dietary fiber

5 grams protein

This recipe is courtesy of the Betty Crocker Living With Cancer Cookbook by gynecologic oncologists Kris Ghosh, MD, and Linda Carson, MD.

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Healthy now, after final chemotherapy in October


After receiving her final chemotherapy treatment in October, Sadie Wilson, 4, was escorted to her port removal surgery by her doctor, Karol Kerr, MD. Sadie was diagnosed at 22 months of age with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and was cared for at the Upstate Cancer Center. Today, she is a healthy pre-kindergartner in her family’s hometown of Oswego. She is the twin sister of Layla and daughter of Michael and Meghan Wilson, who took this photo. It appears on the back cover of the winter 2015 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

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Improved shoulder implant designed to last

Upstate is one of two health care facilities in New York state and among only six facilities nationwide to use the FDA-approved implantable SMR TT metal back glenoid implant for shoulder replacements.

Upstate is one of two health care facilities in New York state and among only six facilities nationwide to use the FDA-approved implantable SMR TT metal back glenoid implant for shoulder replacements.

Patients who need shoulder replacements have a new option in a novel, improved implantable device available at Upstate Medical University. Upstate is one of two health care facilities in New York state and among six facilities nationwide to use the FDA-approved SMR TT metal back glenoid implant for should replacements.

Kevin Setter, MD, performs the surgeries through the Upstate Bone and Joint Center.

The implant allows for complex replacements to be done in a less invasive manner, and for patients to achieve a greater range of motion following surgery. A cup-shaped device replaces the glenoid and creates a secure, long-lasting bond by allowing for bone ingrowth. The device is made of a special metal, tantalum titanium (TT), which is a porous material that allows bone to grow in and around the device.

Setter said the device is significantly better than the more traditional shoulder prostheses used in shoulder replacement surgery, and it is an appealing option for younger patients. He is an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Upstate.

“Traditional artificial glenoids use bone cement to secure the prosthesis,” said Setter. “In time, the cement bone interface loosens. This may lead to pain, decreased function and possible need for revision surgery. The fixation of cemented components is greatest when first implanted. Over time this fixation will loosen. The SMR  TT metal back glenoid gains its fixation from a tantalum coated peg, available in various sizes to fit anatomical needs.

“The hope is that with this new design, the fixation of the component will increase over time as the patient’s bone grows into the implant, forming a more solid bond. This in turn will hopefully lead to an improvement in already good long-term results with shoulder replacement surgery.”

That’s why younger patients may be suited for the new design.

The first of the TT glenoids was implanted in Italy in October 2013. Upstate was one of two centers in the country chosen by Lima Corporate for implantation of this special prosthesis. Setter has performed complex shoulder replacement surgery in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and England and has both trained with and taught some of the most well-respected shoulder surgeons in the world.

To learn more about the SMR  TT metal back glenoid, contact the Upstate Bone and Joint Center at (315) 464-8634.

Shoulder replacement is featured in the March 2015 issue of Physicians Practice

Posted in community, orthopedic, surgery | Leave a comment

Recipe: Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Photo courtesy of Morrison's.

Photo courtesy of Morrison Healthcare, food service provider for Upstate Medical University.

When you crave something decadent and sweet, it can be tricky not to go overboard on calories.

Here’s a recipe from Morrison Healthcare, the food service provider for Upstate Medical University, that can satisfy a sweet tooth with a reasonable amount of calories – as long as you stick with a single 1/10th-of-the-pie slice. As an added bonus, the pumpkin provides a strong helping of vitamin A.

Organs including the heart, lungs and kidneys depend on vitamin A to work properly, and the vitamin is important for normal vision, the immune system and reproduction.



30 small gingersnap cookies (about 7 ½ ounces)

2 tablespoons raisins

1 tablespoon canola oil


1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 pints (4 cups) frozen low-fat vanilla ice cream, softened


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray.

2. To prepare crust, combine gingersnaps and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and pulse until blended. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.

3.  Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

4. To prepare filling, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a   large bowl and mix well. Add ice cream and stir until blended. Spoon the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Let the pie soften slightly in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Nutritional information

Pie makes 10 servings. Per serving:

231 calories

5 grams of fat

4 milligrams cholesterol

42 grams carbohydrates

26 grams added sugars

4 grams protein

2 grams fiber

158 milligrams sodium

149 milligrams potassium

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Study: Free antibiotics meant more patients filled prescriptions

Doctors have a tendency to prescribe medications for which they have free samples to give to patients, according to several previous studies. Would doctors similarly prescribe medications that patients could get for free at Wegmans?

That’s what a group of Upstate emergency medicine researchers wondered as they compared data provided by Wegmans for its pharmacies in Onondaga County. The grocery chain headquartered in Rochester offered nine generic oral antibiotics for free starting in 2009. So researchers lead by Jeremy Joslin, MD, compared 214,892 antibiotic prescriptions from the first six months of 2008 with 221,480 from the first half of 2009.

“The promotional pricing of the antibiotics had a significant impact on the number of prescriptions filled,” Joslin wrote in a study published in September in the journal, Pharmacy Practice, with colleagues Susan Wojcik, PhD and William Grant, PhD. The number of antibiotics filled that were included in the promotion increased by 13 percent, while the number filled that were excluded from the promotion decreased by 20 percent.

Joslin says to help ensure that patients fill their prescriptions, doctors should pay attention to promotional programs when appropriate.

Today, Wegmans sells many generics for $4 for a 30-day supply, and several other retail pharmacies offer similar deals.


Posted in community, emergency, pharmacy, research | Leave a comment

Eight ways to burn calories in Central New York in winter

Say you’ve got two hours on a Sunday afternoon in Syracuse. The way you spend that time will determine whether you burn a whole bunch of calories – or not.

Keep in mind, the precise number of calories a person burns is influenced by the person’s age, body weight, gender, activity level and movement efficiency. Use these numbers — calculated for an 180-pound person — only as a guide.

couchpotatoCouch potato: burn 132 calories

icehockeyPlay ice hockey: burn 1,420 calories

poolShoot pool: burn 397 calories

skiSnow ski, at moderate speed: burn 972 calories

mother and children making cookiesBake cookies: burn 240 calories *

snowmobileSnowmobile: burn 572 calories

cardsPlay cards: burn 200 calories

Winter'sActivitiesASnowshoe: burn 1,308 calories

* not counting the calories you add from the cookies you eat

This list was reviewed by exercise physiologist Carol Sames, PhD, director of the Vitality fitness program at Upstate’s Institute for Human Performance.


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He recovered from a broken neck

Edward L. St. George, a seasonal resident in Cape Vincent, looks out toward the St. Lawrence River near the spot from which he fell last summer and broke his neck. Photo by Amanda Morrison, Watertown Times

Edward L. St. George, a seasonal resident in Cape Vincent, looks out toward the St. Lawrence River near the spot from which he fell last summer and broke his neck. Photo by Amanda Morrison, Watertown Times

One minute, Edward St. George was on the deck of his family cottage on the St. Lawrence River in Cape Vincent, taking measurements for vinyl siding work he was doing that day.

The next, he was falling from the granite ledge the deck overlooked. His neck and upper back struck the edge of the rock about five feet down. He fell over the cliff, slamming against rock abutments for 15 or 20 feet on his way to the ground. Two or three barrel rolls later, his body came to rest against the back of a neighbor’s cottage.

“All I could do was breathe and blink my eyes. I couldn’t even make a sound. I remember looking out of the corner of my eye and seeing what I thought was my hand, and I couldn’t move it. I couldn’t move anything,” St. George recalls.

The drama that unfolded among the boulders in Cape Vincent stretched into the emergency department and operating rooms at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse and into the physical and occupational therapy unit at Strong Memorial Hospital, near St. George’s home in suburban Rochester.

Edward St. George with neurosurgeon, Lawrence Chin, MD.

Edward St. George with neurosurgeon, Lawrence Chin, MD.

St. George, 62, – an engineer who worked in middle management at Eastman Kodak, Co. and ITT/Exelis before taking early retirement – may not have survived to walk again were it not for the careful handling by rescuers. In cases of spinal injury, movement could cause further damage. “You could take someone who would otherwise have a recovery, and make it a complete injury,” says Lawrence Chin, MD, who leads the department of neurosurgery at Upstate.

The neighbor who heard a loud thud against her cottage and came to investigate instructed others not to move St. George before dialing 911. He was wedged between her cottage and steep terrain. Rescuers from the Cape Vincent Ambulance Squad and the Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Service had the tricky task of getting St. George onto a backboard without jostling his body, and then onto a helicopter so he could be flown to Upstate. St. George remembers almost getting sick during the flight, and how the paramedic soothed him.

Hear an interview with St. George and Dr. Chin

More than a year after the accident, St. George believes he is 90 percent back to where he was prior to his injury. “My left arm can still sometimes be uncomfortable with nerve pain. My left hand is still numb. But my grip strength and my left arm’s range of motion have returned, thanks to therapy.”

spinalcordboxHe remains grateful to his rescuers and caregivers.

“A lot of little towns, you wouldn’t necessarily expect phenomenal response, but that is indeed what I received,” he says.

St. George underwent computerized tomography at the hospital. The doctor in the emergency department stood over him going over the imaging results. He will never forget her reaction.

“She put her hand across her chest and leaned over to me and said ‘you are my miracle today.’”

One vertebra in his neck was pushed forward. That vertebrae plus the ones above and below it were badly fractured.

Chin developed a plan to use traction to help the middle vertebra slip back into place. St. George wore a weighted halo of metal bars for about 36 hours. He could feel the tug. It was uncomfortable.

“It worked,” he says. “Luckily, a day and a half or almost two days later, I had the surgical procedure.”

Fractured bones will heal, but ligaments that connect the bones of the spine do not. So Chin made two incisions, one in the front of St. George’s neck and another in the back. He installed a plate in the front and screwed rods into place in the back, fusing three vertebrae. Several weeks later, after St. George developed severe numbness in his left arm, the surgeon operated again to fuse a fourth vertebrae.

St. George has been in physical and occupational therapy for more than a year. He has sworn off extension ladders and roof work. Life has gotten back to normal for him.

He appreciates the entire medical team at Upstate, including the emergency department and imaging technicians, nurses, therapists and surgical team, plus everyone who cared for him during his stay of more than two weeks. “The skill and genuine desire to help me were extraordinary.

“The outcome has been terrific. I couldn’t be more grateful,” says St. George. “I’m sure Dr. Chin considers it routine, what he did, but I don’t. When it’s you, it’s a miracle.”

Hear an interview with St. George and Dr. Chin

Posted in emergency, neurosurgery, surgery, trauma | Tagged | Leave a comment