Thursday, April 30, 2015

Weems Memorial April/May Newsletter

Weems Partners with Dermatology Associates for Skin Cancer Services
May is Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month and Weems Memorial Hospital has advice and services that can help you protect yourself. On May 21 and again on June 18, the Weems Medical Center East in Carrabelle will host dermatology appointments by Dermatology  Associates of Tallahassee. Dr. Armand Cognetta Jr. MD and his team of skin cancer experts will be seeing patients at the Weems Medical Center East clinic in Carrabelle.  To schedule an appointment, please call (850)877-4134 or go online to

Free Phone Program
Weems Memorial Hospital is partnering with the Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc.(FTRI)  to assist hearing-impaired residents in receiving a free amplified telephone. 

FTRI representatives are available to meet by appointment on the third Wednesday of each month at the two Weems Medical Center locations in Apalachicola and Carrabelle. To learn more about the free phone program, visit To make an appointment please contact Ms. Myrtle Hoffman at (850) 408-7810.

Weems Lab Receives Accreditation
George E. Weems Memorial Hospital Laboratory has once again met all criteria for laboratory accreditation by COLA, a national healthcare accreditation organization.  Accreditation is given only to laboratories that apply rigid standards of quality in day-to-day operations, demonstrate continued accuracy in the performance of proficiency testing, and pass a rigorous on-site laboratory survey.  The Weems Hospital Laboratory earned COLA accreditation as a result of a long-term commitment to provide quality service to all patients.

Dealing with Summer Marine Hazards
With summer very soon upon us, we thought this would be a good time to share information on how to take care of some potential health hazards that are unique to an ocean side environment. 

With our beautiful bay and gulf waters, we have a plentiful supply of sea creatures.  Two of the most common are jelly fish and stingrays.  If you come to the beach often enough, you or someone you’re with will be stung by one of our local creatures.  This can be a scary occurrence, especially if it happens to a child.  By remaining calm and following the instructions below, you can turn this sometime traumatic incident into a story to tell your friends. 

Jellyfish Sting
There are only a few jellyfish whose sting is deadly or potentially deadly and they are not usually found in our local waters.  If you get stung when in the water, get out of the water and do not touch the area where you were stung.  Remove the stingers from the site by scrapping the skin with a credit card.  If a credit card is not available, rub sand over the site to dislodge the stingers and rinse it off in salt water.  Deactivate any remaining stingers by blotting or pouring white vinegar on the site with a clean cloth.  If vinegar is not available you can use salt water.  Soothe any remaining irritations with antihistamine pills or creams such as Benadryl.  Seek immediate medical help if there are any symptoms worse than skin irritation or if you are having trouble breathing. Urinating on the sting does not help – that is a myth!  Rinsing the sting with fresh water if the sting occurred in salt water can cause the stingers to inject more venom, not less. 

Stingray Sting
Stingray stings are rarely fatal but they are extremely painful.  If you get stung by a stingray, specifically the barb, get out of the water.  Immediately soak the affected area, usually a hand or foot, in the hottest water tolerable.  The venoms of these sea creatures are heat labile, and soaking the affected part in hot water not only makes the pain go away but destroys the venom.  How long to soak is easily assessed by removing the extremity from the water – if it still hurts, put it back in!  If there is bleeding from the site where the barb stuck in, do not try and stop the bleeding.  Let it bleed to get as much of the venom and any bacteria out as you can.  Once the pain has subsided, apply a clean bandage over the wound and watch for any signs of infection.  If the puncture wound appears to need additional medical attention or if you begin to have tightness in the chest, swelling on the face, difficulty breathing, welts, and/or nausea, go to the ER immediately. 

The 2015 Weems Memorial Foundation Fundraiser Butts & Clucks event will be held June 20 at Battery park in Apalachicola. Weems Foundation Trustee President John Solomon and his team of award-winning barbeque enthusiasts have hosted the popular fundraising event for more than 5 years. To reserve your butt or cluck, please contact John at or just show up June 20th from 10 to 5 for some award winning pulled pork dinners and check out all the competitors competeing to be the Butts and Clucks Grand Champion.

New Hospital Construction Project Moving Forward
Plans to construct a new Weems Memorial Hospital facility took a major step forward in April as Weems officials learned that the application package for $10 million had been approved by the Florida USDA office for submittal to the federal office for final review and funding. 

Following final approval, the next steps would consist of obtaining a construction loan and a construction manager, followed by the design process. According to Cooper, groundbreaking for the new facility is expected by the end of the year with an anticipated completion date projected for 2017.

Free Quit Smoking Classes
Weems Memorial Hospital will host a Tobacco Cessation “Tools to Quit” program on 4/21/2015 from 5-7 pm at the Weems Memorial Hospital in Apalachicola. The Tools to Quit program is a free two-hour tobacco cessation program held to assist those using any form of tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, snuff, dip, etc.) with quitting. Nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine patches, gum, etc.) are FREE to active participants. 

Additional Classes will be held at Weems Hospital each month.  The May class is scheduled for 5/19/2015 dates. Please contact Emily Kohler at 850-224-1177 and/or at for more information.

National Hospital Week May 10-16
National Hospital Week is commemorated nationwide May 10-16 - a celebration of hospitals and the men and women who support the health of their communities through dedication and compassionate care. It also recognizes the miracles they help to make happen on a day to day basis, both large and small.

In recognition of National Hospital Week, Weems CEO Michael Cooper said, “I am exceedingly proud of each member of our staff. I recognize the important role each person plays in extending a sense of trust to our patients and to our community.”  

According to Cooper, Franklin County’s hospital is more than a place where people go to heal, it is a part of the community that fosters health and represents hope. Providing skilled and compassionate care, George E. Weems Memorial Hospital has been the cornerstone to our community’s health for more than 50 years

Dr. Charbonneau Leaves Weems
The Weems Memorial Hospital organization announces Dr. Eugene Charbonneau will be leaving our area to pursue a new opportunity.  He will see patients as scheduled, at both Weems Medical Centers East and West, until April 25, 2015.  

Dr. Charbonneau has been a dedicated Medical Provider to Franklin County for many years having served with the Department of Health, as well as his service at Weems Medical Centers for the past three years.

The Weems organization wishes Dr. Charbonneau health and happiness in his new endeavor and thanks him for his service to our community.

Weems Joins County’s Sexual Assault Response Team 
Weems Memorial Hospital has stepped up to join a nationwide effort to stop sexual abuse. Weems is the newest member of the Franklin County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), a group established to provide a coordinated, multi-disciplinary, and survivor focused response to the needs of sexual assault victims and the community as a whole.   

Local SART partners include: Refuge House, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Carrabelle City Police Department, Weems Memorial Hospital, Weems Emergency Medical Services, and the Office of the State Attorney.

“Our goal is to create positive partnerships with agencies, community organizations, and individuals that may provide assistance to sexual assault survivors,” says Aimee DiPalma Sapp, Franklin County SART Coordinator. “Together, we strive to establish compassionate support systems for victims, which include assisting them as they navigate medical, legal, and advocacy systems.”

Weems officials are in the process of creating a SANE room designated solely for victims that present to their facility seeking sexual assault victim services.   Protocols have been created to ensure that each agency understands their roles, responsibilities and duties when a sexual assault victim seeks services.  

“The nurses at Weems Memorial have been trained in forensic collection best practices,” Sapp says. “This has helped every person that has contact with the victim and most importantly the victim themselves.”

Weems Memorial’s nurses have all attended SANE overview training.  A specific room has been designated and a cabinet in that room holds all the necessary paperwork and recovery packets along with a bag for the victim to have clean clothes and toiletries.  The entire hospital process has become victim centered.  Refuge House has been able to explain the role of a Refuge House victim advocate and the difference a SART can mean to each agency having contact with victims.   

SART also recently launched a public awareness campaign in the form of countywide billboards recognizing the group's services.

Nurse’s week is recognized each year from May 6th to May 12th in celebration of the contribution of nurses to society. The profession of a nurse requires great observational skills and the ability to respond sensitively to a patient’s needs. On 12th May, International Nurse Day is celebrated worldwide to commemorate the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.  Those who enter the nursing profession have a passion to serve others.  Take the time to thank a nurse today!