Cancer Screening Saves a Life in an Unexpected Way

November 25, 2014

This story appears in the Fall 2014 edition of My Boone Health magazine. Click here to request a free subscription.

by Jacob Luecke

There were plenty of good reasons for Steve Downes to get a lung cancer screening at Boone Hospital Center this spring.

For starters, Steve, 54, was a smoker for most of his life before quitting a couple of years ago. His decades of smoking put him at risk for cancer.

Another good reason to get screened was that the procedure would cost him nothing. The Stewart Cancer Center lung screening had been paid for by donations to the Boone Hospital Foundation.

Steve could have also felt compelled to get screened due to his longstanding friendship with Norm and Virginia Stewart—the leading local voices in the fight against cancer through their charitable work and as the namesakes of the Stewart Cancer Center.

But for Steve, one other reason trumped all the rest.

“I did it to make my wife happy,” he says.

Steve Downes

Steve Downes

Steve is the kind of guy who avoids medical care if possible. In fact, prior to his screening, he hadn’t seen a doctor for 10 years. He figured if he felt good, why bother?

So it took some convincing by his wife, Janice Downes, to get Steve to agree to the screening. Janice even called Boone Hospital herself to make Steve’s appointment. Then she called again when he missed that first appointment.

After all, why not get screened when the technology at Boone Hospital can detect cancer early on, when it is tiny?

But Steve’s screening ended up detecting something big—and it wasn’t cancer.

 

“Walking time bomb

As the nurse navigator at the Stewart Cancer Center, Mung Chin helps guide people through the complexities of a cancer treatment plan.

She’s also the person who calls patients with the results of their lung cancer screenings.

On the morning of May 14, Mung was reviewing Steve’s report before calling him. The report came back clear for cancer. However, Maxwell Lazinger, MD, the radiologist who read the scan, noted that Steve did have an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

When Mung called Steve, she gave him the good news about cancer, but also shared the aneurysm finding. She said she would send him information about how to get that checked out.

But after the call, Mung decided to go a step further. She was concerned the aneurysm might be serious.

“Although I am not a vascular nurse, from my experience working with Oncology patients—some could be really sick when they come to the hospital—I learned to be more cautious when it comes to a medical condition,” Mung said. “As a health care provider, one cannot simply assume that the person understands the severity of the problem and will take care of it as recommended. What’s more, it seemed that an aneurysm this size warranted some immediate attention.”

So she researched abdominal aortic aneurysms. She then reached out to Angelee Geisler, a nurse practitioner who works closely with Boone Hospital cardiac surgeon Joss Fernandez, MD, of Missouri Heart Center.

They decided Steve’s problem might need immediate attention. Angelee offered to have Steve see Dr. Fernandez the next day.

So Mung called Steve once more, discussed the potential severity of the aneurysm and offered the appointment with Dr. Fernandez.

The urgency caught Steve off guard.

“It was kind of scary,” he says. “I’ve been healthy all my life. I’ve broken bones through sports and stuff, but I’ve never had any kind of issues at all, ever. It was a shock.”

However, Steve knew that aneurysms could be serious. His father, Ed Downes, twice had surgeries to fix aneurysms. His grandfather had died from an aneurysm.

“All of the sudden, I was a walking time bomb,” he says.

 

Collaborative effort

The next day, Steve was back at Boone Hospital where he had a CT scan, this time focusing on his abdomen. The scan determined his aneurysm measured 6.4 centimeters.

Left alone, an aneurysm that size has a 14 percent chance of rupturing per year, Dr. Fernandez said. If a rupture occurred, Steve would likely die.

Dr. Fernandez wanted to act quickly, scheduling a surgery for the following week.

Steve also consulted his friend, cardiologist William Woods, MD, who agreed with the assessment and advised that Dr. Fernandez was the best surgeon for the job.

A week later, Steve was back for the surgery. During the procedure, Dr. Fernandez placed a stent to reline Steve’s aorta, keeping blood from entering the aneurysm.

The surgery went smoothly.

“His prognosis is excellent,” Dr. Fernandez said. “I get great satisfaction from turning a life-threatening, scary situation into a friendly and comforting experience.”

As he recovered at Boone Hospital, Steve was very pleased with the care he received.

“Everything was as peaceful and as calm as it could be throughout the procedure,” he says. “Everybody in the hospital was great.”

He was also impressed by Dr. Fernandez.

“Not having a lot of experience with doctors as a patient, I was extremely happy,” Steve says. “He was a nice guy, straightforward, told me exactly what was what.”

Steve’s experience also stands as an example of how the collaborative environment between disciplines at Boone Hospital leads to quick, life-saving treatment.

“At other medical centers I have worked at, getting another specialist to see your patient requires setting up an appointment through their staff and sending medical records, which leads to delays,” Dr. Fernandez said. “The coordination between disciplines at Boone is as simple as a cell phone call direct to the doctor or nurse coordinator.”

So while Steve’s lung cancer screening didn’t find cancer, it still saved a life.

“If it wouldn’t have been for that lung screening, I would have never found the aneurysm,” Steve said. “I probably wouldn’t be here.”

In his job, Steve Downes inspects roofs, estimates damage and sells repair work.

Not long after the surgery to repair his aneurysm, he found himself inspecting Norm Stewart’s roof.

“I got to thank him for basically saving my life,” Steve says.

 

Boone Hospital Foundation

The lung cancer screening that detected Steve’s aneurysm was funded by donations to the Stewart Cancer Center—named for Norm and Virginia Stewart—through the Boone Hospital Foundation. The service to the Stewart Cancer Center is just one aspect of the foundation’s many roles inside Boone Hospital, where it works to enhance the care and create a more comfortable healing environment for patients.

To learn more about the foundation’s work or to make a donation, visit boone.org/foundation.


Boonique Gifts Offers Unique Items, Personalized Service

November 18, 2014
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of My Boone Health magazine. 
 
Boonique Gifts is currently seeking volunteers for evening and weekend hours. If you’d like to volunteer, please visit boone.org/volunteer or call 573.815.3472 weekdays, 8 am to 4:30 pm.

stories and photos by Jessica Park

The call came from California. Dee, the gift shop assistant who took the call, talked to a woman whose childhood friend was staying at Boone Hospital Center. The caller’s friend was not going to recover.

Dee knew this had to be a very special gift. The two women had grown up together; now, the friend in California needed to be at her friend’s side in spirit.

“Tell me a memory about the two of you growing up together,” she asked.

The caller told Dee that she and her friend would, as children, have fun reciting and acting out nursery rhymes. Dee immediately thought of an animated, talking Mother Goose doll sold in the shop. She retrieved one of the dolls and held it up to the receiver as its warm voice recited “Humpty Dumpty.”

The caller loved it and purchased the gift over the phone. And Mother Goose was delivered to her friend’s room.

“That customer later called back to tell me that her friend had let her know it was by far the best gift she’d ever received,” Dee says.

A New Home

Boonique Gifts opened in its new home in the lobby of the hospital’s new patient tower in June 2011. Across from the admissions desk, a curved wall of windows showcases a collection of colorful glass and glazed ceramic, fashionable scarves and handbags, a menagerie of plush animals, and new items being artfully arranged by Wanda, the gift shop’s coordinator.

Wanda also creates seasonal displays in a case just outside the shop. An assortment of black and gold Mizzou Tigers gifts will soon turn to a black and orange assemblage of Halloween ornaments.

“Holiday decorations are some of our best-selling items,” says Barb, manager of Boonique Gifts. “We like to have fun with sales around the holidays. Sometimes we’ll offer a discount for wearing a Halloween costume or singing a Christmas carol.”

In addition to a new location, the gift shop recently received a new name: Boonique Gifts, a portmanteau of Boone, boutique and unique. The gift shop staff members pride themselves on offering special items, from knickknacks to necklaces, not found in nearby stores.

“We have regular customers who come in from out of town to shop here for presents,” Barb says.

All sales at Boonique Gifts are tax-free and proceeds benefit the Boone Hospital Foundation. In addition to Barb, Wanda and Dee, the gift shop is staffed by a close-knit group of dedicated, upbeat volunteers, some of whom have worked in the hospital gift shop for decades.

“They’re loyal to Boone,” Wanda says. “This is their hospital. They’re not just here to put in time.”

Some shoppers aren’t looking for gifts but an experience. Visitors waiting on loved one wander in and browse. Hospital employees on break pop in for a pick-me-up snack.

“Sometimes,” Wanda says, “what people who come in here really want is a listening ear.”

Barb agrees. “I think of our shop as a respite.”

Personal Shoppers

“We offer a personal shopper approach,” Dee says. “If I know a patient has already received a similar gift, I’ll suggest something different. I’m happy to make recommendations. Flowers aren’t for everybody.”

Boonique Gifts offers custom gift baskets tailored for any patient. Any item in the store, including personal hygiene items and Sudoku puzzles, to name a few, can be included. For those still unable to decide, Boonique gift cards, customizable for any amount, are also available.

The gift shop also takes orders from and delivers items to patient rooms during shop hours on weekdays. Payments can be made over the phone with a credit or debit card or with cash upon delivery.

Patients have found these services helpful. Dee recalls another customer who called the gift shop: “A lady called me from her room and said, ‘I’m going to be here all day, and I’m bored. Do you have any magazines?’”

After learning that the patient loved celebrity magazines, Dee read her the shop’s extensive list of titles.

“Great,” the patient said. “I want them all. With three young kids at home, I rarely have time to catch up on gossip about the stars.”

“So we bundled up the magazines and ran them all up to her room. She was so happy, you would have thought we’d gone to the moon and back for her.

Boonique Gifts is located on the first floor near Boone Hospital Center’s Main Entrance. The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Online orders may be placed 24 hours a day at http://www.boone.org/giftshop or, for telephone orders, call 573-815-3525.


Foundation book sale — August 21-22

August 20, 2013

Join us Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 21-22, for our Boone Hospital Foundation book sale! We’ll have great books and unique gifts at fantastic prices.

The sale takes place in the Boone Hospital Center main lobby and benefits the work of our foundation, which helps improve the care at Boone Hospital.

In addition to books, the sale includes bargain and $5.99 jewelry selections. You can also enter to win Cardinals memorabilia.

We hope to see you at the book sale on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Thursday, Aug. 22, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

reading book mother child


Improving the health of your community — 2013 Foundation Community Campaign

July 15, 2013

By Barb Danuser

Barb is the Executive Director of the Boone Hospital Foundation.

Dear Friends,

Barb Danuser

Barb Danuser

The Boone Hospital Foundation continues to grow and expand the services offered at Boone Hospital Center so that the best health care is available to you and your loved one when critical illness strikes.

The Foundation is the connection between philanthropic community members and Boone Hospital Center working to improve the education and health of the communities we serve.

Gifts to the Foundation enrich lives, save lives and transform patient care. Your gifts impact on our community and patients is immeasurable and is put into action by funding items such as:

Download our campaign brochure.

Download our campaign brochure.

• Supplies to provide free health screenings from our Mobile Health Unit. In 2012, this unit made stops in 42 outreach locations, providing screenings to over 1,100 community members.

• Help to support massage therapy to over 1,000 patients in our supportive care program.

• Sleep sacks given to all (2,100) babies born at Boone in 2012 to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

• Lifeline medical alert services provided to 20 qualifying seniors each month, making it safer to stay in their homes.

• The Kids on Track summer program. Nearly 1,100 youth enrolled in the 2013 program committing to run an intermittent marathon over the summer promoting healthy lifestyles for our communities’ youth.

We need your help to continue to build a healthier community and stronger hospital. Won’t you help us support Boone Hospital Center to continue to be a leader in our health care community?

Click here to download our brochure and learn more about giving opportunities.


Annual foundation jewelry sale begins Tuesday, May 7

May 6, 2013

jewelry saleJoin the Boone Hospital Foundation for the Masquerade $5 Jewelry Sale in the Boone Hospital main lobby from 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 7, through 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 9. The sale will be open 24-hours a day during that time!

Cash, checks, credit cards and payroll deduction will be accepted. Proceeds will benefit Boone Hospital Foundation.

For more information, contact the foundation at 573-815-2800.


Donation supports Boone Hospital’s work to provide comfort at end of life

April 4, 2013

The Boone Hospital Foundation has received a $20,000 donation in honor of the hospital’s Supportive Care service.

Foundation donation 2013

From left, Marlee Walz, director of patient care services; Barb Danuser, executive director of the Boone Hospital Foundation; Mandy Schmidt, palliative care nurse; Dorreen Rardin, Supportive Care coordinator; Dr. Michael Daly; John Bolton, manager of medical oncology.

Supportive Care provides a wide spectrum of services that promote comfort and healing during a patient’s hospital stay. Those services include: massage therapy, spa treatments, healing touch, music therapy and aroma therapy. In addition to these services, for patients facing the end of life, Supportive Care also provides comfort bags with a soft blanket, stuffed animal, journal, photo album and visitor log.

An anonymous mid-Missouri woman provided the donation in recognition of the caregivers who gave comfort to her husband during his final days. The gift will support Boone’s Supportive Care Program.

“Boone Hospital Center is blessed to have an outstanding Supportive Care program that works with a variety of patients across our many care units,” said Barbara Danuser, executive director of the Boone Hospital Foundation. “The donor was incredibly moved by the care provided to her husband before he passed away. Her gift will help bring that same level of comfort to future patients.”


Crafty fifth graders raise more than $1,100 for Intensive Care Nursery

February 8, 2013

A group of fifth grade students at Columbia’s Shepard Elementary School have raised $1,137 for Boone Hospital Center’s Intensive Care Nursery.

Money jarThe students spent dozens of hours making crafts and selling them to their peers before school this week. The hand-made items ranged in price from $1 bookmarks to $4 extra-large hair bows.

Emma Goodlet and Megan Pilant came up with the idea and were joined by 10 other girls in their grade. Emma, who made duct tape accessories, hair bows, wallets and bracelets said the response from their classmates was overwhelming.

“I sold out on the first day and I had to go home and make more,” she said.

The girls said it felt good to work to benefit others.

“I like doing this kind of stuff. And it’s fun, too,” said Megan, who made bows, headbands, wallets and pot holders.

Today was the last day of their sale. The girls had a table set up just inside the main entrance with their merchandise. Many students arrived at school with cash in hand and swarmed the table.

Table

Barb Danuser, executive director of the Boone Hospital Foundation, watched as the students purchased the fashion accessories and other homemade items.

“This is wonderful, I’m so impressed with what they’ve done,” Danuser said.

The generous donation will help the Boone Hospital Foundation purchase items for the Intensive Care Nursery such as Giraffe beds, recliners for parents and infant SleepSacks.

Parents said they were proud of what their girls had accomplished.

Chris Marks said his daughter Madison spent much of her free time recently making earrings for the sale.

“I couldn’t even tell you how many hours,” he said. “Every minute she has free she is making them.”

Katie Goodlet, mother of Emma, said she was proud as well.

“It think it’s great. She has a big heart,” she said. “She said it’s her first step toward being president.”

Group shot


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