Category Archives: Hospital Services

Northern Westchester Hospital provides services for everybody’s health need.

The Pathologist: The Expert Behind the Scenes

Posted on: April 20, 2015

The Pathologist: The Expert Behind the Scenes

By Dr. Thomas Higgins

When patients are being treated for cancer, they may not realize that there is a specialist who PathologyMicroscope_silo_1plays an incredibly vital role in their care. One whom they will never meet — a pathologist like myself — who will provide a firm diagnosis, analyze the type of cancer the patient has, and provides information to suggest a course of treatment. We’re behind the scenes, but our input is necessary for oncologists and surgeons in understanding the type of tumor they’re dealing with.

Tissue biopsies are sent to a pathology laboratory to be carefully scrutinized by pathologists. In most cases we’re not only able to verify whether the tissue is cancerous, we can diagnose whether the tumor is aggressive or slower growing, and what type of drug might be most effective against the cancer. For example, a breast tumor that tests positive for a protein known as HER2 can be very aggressive and is unlikely to respond to hormone treatment. However, there are drugs that have been developed specifically to target tumors with this marker, and I provide information that the oncologist uses to decide upon the patient’s protocol.

As you can imagine, the need to properly identify the cancer and fully characterize it so the right treatment is prescribed is critical. We may not be meeting face to face with patients, but each slide we examine represents a real person. That’s why pathologists are careful to eliminate the chance of any possible errors. I will often consult one of the other pathologists in our department to help ensure accuracy. Northern Westchester Hospital has four pathologists on staff and we help check each other’s work.

Pathologists also send all their diagnoses to a state and national database through our cancer registry that can help keep track of the incidence of cancer and cancer types around the country. What’s more, I submit many of my reports to researchers who are overseeing clinical trials at the hospital. We’re part of about a dozen trials testing different types of treatments and protocols.

So if you or a loved one get a pathology report that identifies the type of cancer you have and the drugs that might help overcome the disease, you’ll know that you have a pathologist on your side.

Editor’s Note:
Thomas Higgins, MD is the Medical Director of Pathology at Northern Westchester Hospital.

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Healthy Snacks On-The-Go

Posted on: April 6, 2015

Nutritionist Approved:
Healthy snack products to look for on your next grocery trip

By Elisa Bremner, RD
This is the first edition of a series of nutritionist-approved food products on the market.

Snacks are an important and useful way to stave off hunger, bolster nutrient intake, keep energy up and satisfy the occasional craving (for emotional health!). But the best food is always the whole food. For snacks, I recommend fruit, vegetables and “mini meals” like a bowl of soup or ½ sandwich.

Processed, packaged food can fit into your balanced diet, but should never become the basis of your diet. Unfortunately, it’s just not possible for most of us to prepare fresh, whole-food snacks every time we get hungry. Practically speaking, when we’re running around all day, a packaged snack food may be the only option. We have choices. Here are five of my faves:

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Pulmonary Rehab and Quality of Life

Posted on: April 1, 2015

Pulmonary Rehab Can Improve Quality of Life

By Harlan R. Weinberg

Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is increasingly recognized as a significant part of treatment for Human respiratory system, artworkpeople with chronic respiratory illnesses and other lung conditions. Even for those with very impaired lung function, this specialized rehab can improve quality of life and the ability to live independently. Here, I explain how PR offers new hope to people with breathing difficulties.

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Dealing with Caregiver Stress

Posted on: March 20, 2015

“Caregiving can be very isolating, is a job most people didn’t apply for and never received proper training in, and does not pay very well,” says Jerri Rosenfeld, a social worker at Northern Westchester Hospital’s Ken Hamilton Caregivers Center in Mount Kisco, NY. Jerri spoke with Health.com; read complete article here to see tips on dealing with the stress of being a family caregiver.

Ken Hamilton Caregivers Center Northern Westchester HospitalAccording to the National Alliance for Caregiving, roughly one third of adults in this country are the caregiver for an elderly, ill or disabled family member. Two thirds of those caregivers are women.  And many of those women are also caring for children at home.

There are a number of resources available to you. How to find those resources is where the Ken Hamilton Caregivers Center comes in. Visit the Caregivers Center here.  Family caregivers find a wealth of practical resources and supportive staff.  You don’t have to go it alone.

Hip Replacement Surgery on the Rise

Posted on: March 19, 2015

Hip Replacement Surgery on the Rise

By Dr. Eric Grossman

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released findings iStock_3875724_LoRezthat from 2000 to 2010, the number of hip replacements for those older than 45 more than doubled.

The CDC said: “The number and rate of total hip replacements among inpatients aged 45 and over increased significantly from 2000 through 2010. The greatest increase in absolute numbers was in the 55–64 age group, where the number of total hip replacements almost tripled, whereas the greatest percentage change was in the 45–54 age group, which experienced a 205% increase. The 45–54 age group also had the greatest increase in rate, which more than doubled from 45 to 117 total hip replacements per 100,000 population.” (February 12, 2015).

I am not surprised by these trends based on improvements in surgical technique, durability of the procedure, durability of the implants, and patients’ desired active lifestyles. In my practice, I use what is called the “anterior approach” which can result in a faster recovery time, without postoperative restrictions, less muscle damage and a more natural feel to the artificial hip.

Previous generations of general practitioners were reticent to suggest hip replacement to their patients because of longer hospital stays, unproven effectiveness and longer recovery times. There was a time when doctors did not suggest hip replacement due to arthritis pain until their patients could not bear to suffer any longer.

Now, with advances in the surgical procedure, primary care physicians are more inclined to suggest the surgery. This is in part driven by their patients’ expectations. Individuals with painful arthritis are taking a proactive approach – they do not want to suffer in pain any longer than necessary. Additionally, they want to engage in an active lifestyle, and many advances in the surgery since it began to be performed approximately 50 years ago have made the new hips more durable.

The CDC also found that “In 2010, the average length of stay was shortest for the youngest age group and longest for the oldest group. Among those aged 45–54, the average stay was 3 days, lower than for each of the other age groups, while the average among those aged 75 and over was 4 days, higher than for each of the other age groups. From 2000 through 2010, the average length of stay decreased for each age group.”

These findings studied patients until 2010. Now, in 2015, I am seeing much shorter hospital stays after hip replacement surgery. Approximately 80 percent of my patients go straight home from the hospital – not to an inpatient rehabilitation facility as had been routine in the past – within 24-48 hours after surgery. Some select patients are even able to go home the same day of surgery. Our rehab protocols include rapid mobilization where the patients are expected to walk the same day as their surgery.

Watch Dr. Grossman’s patients tell their stories of
living life without pain after hip replacement.
View patient testimonials.

Hip replacement surgery has become more routine and is now being offered to a much wider demographic of patient, particularly patients ages 45-64 and it is not only helpful for senior citizens. There is no need to suffer with painful and activity-limiting hip arthritis. Talk to your doctor to see if hip replacement surgery is an option to explore.

Editor’s Note:
Eric L. Grossman, MD, FAAOS is Co-Director of Joint Replacement Surgery at the Orthopedic and Spine Institute at Northern Westchester Hospital and a member of Mount Kisco Medical Group.

Dr. Grossman is a fellowship trained, board certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in all facets of hip and knee joint replacement surgery including primary and revision total joint replacement, with a focus on the Anterior Approach to Total Hip Replacement.