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Pineland Family Dental photograph of a smiling young girl

Pineland Family Dental, Summerville

Pineland Family Dental is more than just a name reflecting a family-owned practice. The children and grandchildren of patients who were served by Dr. James McClary Sr. when he opened his doors 38 years ago are now patients of Dr. James McClary Jr.

“My grandfather started as a patient back in 1973, and now I am a patient who happens to work here,” said Elizabeth Ward, a member of the Pineland Family Dental staff. “Dr. McClary is a wonderful doctor and he does great work.”

Located on North Pine Street in Summerville, the practice is currently accepting new patients. The practice provides complete dental care for the entire family, cosmetic enhancement, implant restoration, partial and full dentures, periodontal therapy, emergency care, deep cleaning, porcelain veneers and much more.

Pineland Family Dental recently welcomed Joshua Massey, DDS. Sharing the vision of the practice, he takes the time to give his patients the best treatment possible.

At Pineland Dental, patients can find information on topics such as children’s teeth, cosmetic dentistry, crowns and bridges and periodontal disease. Patients can even request dental appointments through the website.

In addition to helping their patients, the McClarys volunteer their time and resources to help others in need. The senior Dr. McClary recently participated in a trip to Haiti to provide supplies and dental care for those less fortunate. His son shares that vision, and both are active in the Summerville community.

At this high-tech dental practice with a down-home feeling, patients are made to feel welcome and appreciated by the entire staff.

“Our office is all about the patients and making them feel comfortable and cared for,” said Ward. “Dr. McClary has taken emergency situations that other doctors in the area chose not to take on. He really cares about people and their situations.”

For more information about Pineland Family Dental, visit www.PinelandDental.com or call (843) 873-1646.

Summerville Medical Center in Summerville, South Carolina

Summerville Medical Center

Operating a good community hospital is all about understanding the needs of the people who live in the area served by the hospital, responding to those needs and playing an important role in the growth, development and general well-being of the community.

Summerville Medical Center, a 94-bed acute care hospital that serves Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, is already a good community hospital. Its new chief executive officer is primed and ready to make it a great one.

Summerville Medical Center's entrance sign by fountain and flowerbed.“We’re going to continue to make sure we’re hiring the best staff and aligning with the best physicians to deliver the best care possible,” says Louis Caputo, who took the helm of the hospital in early August 2009. “And we’re going to continue to identify the needs of the community and expand our services to meet those needs.”

Caputo, who has been with the hospital’s parent company, HCA, Inc., since 2001, came to Summerville from the Tampa area, where he was chief operating officer at South Bay Hospital in Sun City Center. A fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives since 2004, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and his masters from Belmont University in Nashville.

Summerville Medical Center, one of three hospitals in the Trident Health System – Trident Medical Center and Moncks Corner Medical Center are the other two – has been serving the people of the tri-county area since 1993. The 142,500-square-foot hospital has 494 employees, while 512 physicians serve the needs of patients at the three Trident facilities. Nearly 6,000 people are admitted to the hospital each year, while more than 37,000 use the emergency room. Trident estimates SMC’s financial impact on the tri-county area at $51 million.

Summerville Medical Center's Ambulance Entrance. Summerville, SCAccording to Caputo, Summerville Medical Center is already demonstrating excellence in several areas, including labor and delivery, orthopedic surgery and cardiac rehabilitation. He says the hospital’s sleep disorder lab is in the process of expanding because of increased demand from area residents. Summerville Medical Center also offers a 24-hour emergency room, medical and surgical services, outpatient services, an intensive care unit, occupational therapy, diabetes education, sports medicine and rehabilitation, lab services and medical imaging.

“Our goal is to take the services we offer and offer them better than anyone else,” he comments.

In their effort to cater to the needs of employees and patients, the hospital subscribes to the FISH! Philosophy, taken from a book by Stephen C. Lundin, John Christensen and Harry Paul. Here are the guiding principles of FISH!:

Play – Work made fun gets done, especially when we choose to do serious tasks in a lighthearted, spontaneous way. Play is not just an activity; it’s a state of mind that brings new energy to the tasks at hand and sparks creative solutions.

Make Their Day – When you “make someone’s day” (or moment) through a small act of kindness or unforgettable engagement, you can turn even routine encounters into special memories.

Be There – The glue in our humanity is in being fully present for one another. Being there is also a great way to practice wholeheartedness and fight burnout, for it is those halfhearted tasks you perform while juggling other things that wear you out.

Choose Your Attitude – When you look for the worst you will find it everywhere. When you learn you have the power to choose your response to what life brings, you can look for the best and find opportunities you never imagined possible. If you find yourself with an attitude that is not what you want it to be, you can choose a new one.

Summerville Medical Center is located at 295 Midland Pkwy, Summerville, SC 29485. You can get more information online from Google Maps entry for Summerville Medical Center.

Virus closeup under microsope

Key Facts About Seasonal Influenza (Flu)

What is Influenza (Also Called Flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can bring on mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is by getting a seasonal flu vaccination each year.

Every year in the United States, on average:

  • 5 percent to 20 percent of the population gets the flu;
  • More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications;
  • About 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.

Older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease are at increased risk for serious complications from seasonal flu illness.

Symptoms of Flu

Symptoms of seasonal flu include:

  • Fever (often high);
  • Headache;
  • Extreme tiredness;
  • Dry cough;
  • Sore throat;
  • Runny or stuffy nose;
  • Muscle aches;
  • Stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea also can occur but are more common in children than adults.

Complications of Flu

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.

How Flu Spreads

Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person when people with influenza cough or sneeze. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

Preventing Seasonal Flu: Get Vaccinated

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get a seasonal flu vaccination each year. There are two types of flu vaccines:

  • The “flu shot” – an inactivated vaccine – containing killed virus – that is given with a needle. The seasonal flu shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
  • The nasal-spray flu vaccine – a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu – sometimes called LAIV for live attenuated influenza vaccine). LAIV is approved for use in healthy people from 2 to 49 who are not pregnant.

About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not protect against flu-like illnesses caused by non-influenza viruses.

When to Get Vaccinated Against Seasonal Flu

Yearly seasonal flu vaccination should begin in September – or as soon as the seasonal flu vaccine is available – and continue throughout the flu season into December, January and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time seasonal flu activity peaks in January or later.

Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Seasonal Flu?

In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting seasonal flu can get vaccinated. However, certain people should get vaccinated each year either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for high risk persons. During flu seasons when vaccine supplies are limited or delayed, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) makes recommendations regarding priority groups for vaccination.

People who should get a seasonal flu vaccination each year include:

  1. Children from 6 months to 19 years;
  2. Pregnant women;
  3. People 50 and older;
  4. People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions;
  5. People who live in nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities;
  6. People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    1. Health care workers;
    2. Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu;
    3. Household contacts and caregivers of children younger than 5.

Use of the Nasal Spray Seasonal Flu Vaccine

Vaccination with the nasal-spray flu vaccine is an option for healthy people 2 to 49 who are not pregnant – even healthy persons who live with or care for those in a high risk group. The one exception is healthy persons who care for those with severely weakened immune systems who require a protected environment; these healthy persons should get the inactivated flu vaccine.

Who Should Not Be Vaccinated Against Seasonal Flu

Some people should not be vaccinated without first consulting a physician. They include:

  • People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs;
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past;
  • People who developed Guillian-Barré syndrome within six weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously;
  • Children younger than 6 months – influenza vaccine is not approved for use in this age group;
  • People who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated until their symptoms lessen.

If you have questions about whether you should get a flu vaccine, consult your health care provider.

Courtesy of CDC.gov

Syringes. Vaccinations are important

Vaccinations: Cure is Less Painful than the Disease

There has been no lack of discussion about vaccinations recently. While Hollywood stars have warned their fans against immunizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has repeatedly sung the praises of drugs developed to protect people of all ages from sometimes deadly diseases.

“Vaccinations prevent diseases that can cause severe problems,” said Dr. Harriet Hansen of MUSC Physicians Primary Care, who is board-certified in Family Medicine and treats patients of all ages. “Vaccinations are one of the most important improvements in public health.”

For example, there is no cure for the once-dreaded polio, but, because of vaccinations, it is now rare. On the other hand, chickenpox and whooping cough can easily be prevented, but they are becoming more common in the United States because many people choose not to vaccinate.

“Controversial findings have heightened fears about the side effects of vaccines that had been used to prevent the spread of deadly diseases,” explained Dr. Jill Aiken of Sandlapper Pediatrics, a Roper St. Francis Physician Partners practice. “Parents became afraid that their children would end up with autism, and some TV personalities perpetuated this myth. It took a while for the media to realize these assertions were not based on reliable research.”

So what are immunizations? According to the CDC, vaccines contain the same germs that cause disease. For example, the measles vaccine contains the measles virus, which has been weakened to the point that it doesn’t make a person sick. A vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if someone was exposed to the disease. Once people are vaccinated, they develop immunity to the disease.

Most adults can remember that as children, they scratched those red welts that plagued them for days or even weeks. But their parents knew that once they recovered from chickenpox, they wouldn’t have to deal with it again. Or at least they thought they knew. In fact, if you had chickenpox as a child, you carry the varicella zoster virus and the possibility of shingles, a painful rash that can cause loss of vision. According to the CDC, a million Americans a year suffer from shingles. “When patients reach 60, they should get the shingles vaccine,” said Dr. Hansen. “Other routine adult vaccinations, like tetanus and TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) should be every 10 years.”

Vaccinations can prevent many diseases, including influenza, pneumococcal, hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV).

Each year, an average of 226,000 people are hospitalized with influenza, and between 3,000 and 49,000 die, according to the CDC. Probably the most well-known of all viruses, the u is a viral infection of the nose, throat and lungs. Older adults and those with certain health conditions are at high risk for serious complications. e vaccination, easily accessible at your neighborhood pharmacy, is covered by most insurance plans.

In 2012, there were approximately 32,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease, an illness caused by bacteria, with 3,300 of them leading to death, according to the CDC. Chronic hepatitis B affects 800,000 to 1.4 million people, with complications such as liver cancer. A blood-borne disease, its victims can suffer from flu-like symptoms. HPV causes about 17,000 cancers in women and about 9,000 cancers in men annually.

“It is important to get your child vaccinated with the HPV vaccine before age 11 or before their sexual debut because once he or she gets the virus, it is too late. Sexual debut encompasses any type of sexual activity,” Dr. Aiken explained. “This is a recommended vaccination. Parents make the final decision, and, as a doctor, I am your consultant.”

When children are young, it is easy for parents to get them to the pediatrician for their routine shots. However, as they get older, fewer adolescents get the appropriate vaccinations or boosters. Their activity schedules are busier and concerns about what are deemed to be childhood diseases are forgotten until they actually become ill.

Dr. Aiken pointed out that meningitis used to be a serious problem, but vaccinations in the United States have helped halt its spread.

“You would hear about it at colleges or other crowded living conditions such as Army barracks. Now we give a vaccine at their 11-year old booster, where before it was only given before heading off to college,” she said.

Side effects can occur with any medicine, including vaccinations, with the most common being a low-grade fever, rash or soreness around the injection site. According to the CDC, the risk of serious complications from a disease that could have been prevented by vaccination is far greater than the risk of a serious reaction to a vaccine.

As both Dr. Hansen and Dr. Aiken attest, immunizations play a crucial role in the health of individuals and of the East Cooper community.

Alexi Downing

A Journey of Persistence, Love and Faith

In many ways, Alexi Downing is a typical teen. She loves the beach, riding her bike and listening to music.

“She’s sweet and sassy,” said Alexi’s mom, Angela Downing. “She’s determined.”

These traits have helped the 13-year-old girl, now living in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, navigates life with an ultra-rare genetic disorder that causes physical and speech impairments, among other challenges.

It took years to get to the root of Alexi’s disabilities, but, thanks to her parents’ perseverance, along with advances in genome sequencing, Alexi was finally diagnosed at age 8-and-a-half with ADNP syndrome.

The complex genetic disorder stems from a mutation in the activity-dependent neuroprotective protein gene, which affects brain development, according to the ADNP Kids Foundation website. The gene also has been linked to autism spectrum disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.

According to rarediseases.org, the exact number of people who have this disorder is unknown. One estimate says that about 1 in 20,000 people in the general population in the United States and Europe are afflicted by it. When Alexi was diagnosed in 2015, there were only 10 documented cases in the world. She is currently one of only 220 children across the globe with ADNP.

“I look at these children as miracles,” Downing said.

With long chestnut hair and expressive brown eyes, Alexi is the middle child in her family. Her older sister is in high school and her younger brother is in the fifth grade.

Born in the Chicago area, Alexi spent the first five years of her life shuttling between specialists at health care centers across the country, including hospitals in Chicago, Boston and other parts of the United States. She later visited the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Doctors were puzzled by the young girl’s condition; some suspected low-functioning autism.

Further medical testing revealed she likely had a rare genetic syndrome, though doctors couldn’t match her symptoms to any of the thousands of existing genetic conditions in their databases.

At age 2-and-a-half, Alexi could not crawl, walk or stand. She had language delays and suffered from a sleep disorder and occasional breathing troubles. Over the next few years, she underwent numerous treatments, including occupational, physical, aquatic and speech therapy. At one point, she was up to 10 therapies a week, her mom said.

Because she couldn’t support her own weight, doctors recommended a wheelchair for Alexi. Her parents declined, worried that Alexi’s muscles would become even weaker if she was confined to a chair.

Over time and with continued therapy, Alexi learned to walk with support devices, from leg braces to a pediatric walker. A surfboard therapy machine helped her strengthen her core muscles and improve her balance. The efforts paid off; Alexi took her first independent steps at age 3-and-a-half.

Five years later, Alexi was finally diagnosed by a retired pediatrician, Dr. Joseph Peeden, who ran a diagnostic clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee, where the Downings had moved in 2011 for a job opportunity. For months, the doctor combed through Alexi’s extensive medical records. Through his painstaking research and collaboration with a genetic testing firm in California, he concluded she had ADNP.

Downing credited an Israeli neuroscientist, Dr. Illana Gozes, with discovering the gene that contributes to ADNP syndrome.

“When ADNP syndrome was discovered, we teamed up with parents and key researchers worldwide,” Dr. Gozes said in an email. “Together, with the Downing family and Alexi’s story, we have broadened the description of ADNP syndrome.”

Alexi’s significant progress stems from “her family’s dedication and involvement with the right professionals,” Dr. Gozes added.

Learning Alexi’s diagnosis gave the Downings hope and helped them connect with other families coping with the disorder.

“Her diagnosis has propelled our family to being rare disease advocates,” Downing said. “A diagnosis does matter.”

The younger children are diagnosed, she explained, the sooner they get proper intervention therapies and medical work-ups, leading to “better outcomes in the future.”

The Downings moved to the Lowcountry in 2015, when Robert Downing took a job as chief financial officer at Palmetto Primary Care Physicians.

When the Downings moved to South Carolina, they heard about the unique work being done at the Greenwood Genetic Center.

“They used their database to locate and find more ADNP children. Some were like Lexi, undiagnosed for over eight years,” Downing explained.

GGC sent some families to the ADNP Foundation and helped start a blood metabolic testing study for ADNP.

“They even expanded it outside to other states so they can study if they see any breakdowns for our children that they could pursue treatments for,” Downing said. “Greenwood Genetic Center has been instrumental.”

Today, with the help of continued therapy, Alexi walks without assistance, though her gait is sometimes unsteady, Downing said. She communicates using modified sign language and her “talker” – a special iPad app with an artificial voice output.

Alexi’s expressions speak volumes, too.

“Everything is reflected in her smile and her eyes,” Downing said of her daughter. “She has so much inside of her that she wants to say.”

This past November, the Downing family traveled to Mount Sinai Children’s Hospital in New York for a special study on ADNP with a team of multidisciplinary doctors that accepts donations for funding. To learn more, visit www.adnpfoundation.org.

There is currently no cure for ADNP syndrome, though the Food and Drug Administration has approved a clinical trial for a potential treatment.

As research continues, the Downing family will forge on with “faith and hope” for Alexi’s future, Downing said: “Love is the answer until we find a cure.”

By Caroline Fossi

An Ode to Primary Care Physicians

An Ode to Primary Care Physicians

Four years pre-med,
four years more of school.
Three years in residency,
Proves you’re no fool.

During rotations, what did you find?
Babies and brains, hearts and eyes …
Lungs and livers,
Infectious diseases? My, oh my!

When it came time
to pick just one,
You scoffed at the thought
of ruining your fun.

Specialize in medicine?
How boring you say.
Staring at moles,
day after day?

Listening to a pair of lungs
pushing air in and out,
A miracle for sure,
but tedious no doubt.

You ran through the list
of options to choose,
Gastro, gyno-, neuro-,
each you refused.

Hemorrhoids and placenta,
may give others questionable glee.
Just fine for some,
but not your cup of tea.

Some doctors deliver,
Some cut and slice.
Some draw blood,
and never think twice.

While others like you,
choose to keep it open.
Seeing patients with sniffles,
and those that are broken.

You’re the first to hear of their fevers and aches,
their runny noses and swollen tonsils,
And red, itchy skin,
that’s begging for a consult.

Others may think,
Why not pick a field?
But I see you dear PCPs,
and the many you have healed.

Today you’ll be sneezed on,
and children will cough in your faces.
Adults will bend over to point out
unusual bumps in all the wrong places.

As far as battles go,
you’re on the front line.
Treating the masses,
is where you truly shine.

So take your specialties,
and do them well.
Our beloved generalists are busy,
from the wait times, you can tell.

By Krysta Chapman

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