Blanchard Valley Hospital to Host “Living with Chronic Back Pain” Presentation

Attendees will learn about the options individuals with chronic back pain have to help reduce or eliminate their pain….

Blanchard Valley Hospital (BVH) will host “Living with Chronic Back Pain,” part of the “Live and Learn” series, to educate the community about methods of coping with chronic back pain. This event will be held on Tuesday, November 6 from 12 to 1 p.m. in the Marathon Auditorium of BVH and led by Panagiotis Bakos, MD from Blanchard Valley Pain Management and John Ogden, MD, a neurosurgeon from Neurosurgical Associates of Northwest Ohio.

Dr, Bakos

A boxed lunch will be provided and seating is limited. RSVP is required by Tuesday, October 30 and can be made by calling 419.423.5551 or emailing events

Dr, Ogden

Attendees will learn about the options individuals with chronic back pain have to help reduce or eliminate their pain. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.


Dr. Bakos completed a fellowship in Pain Management at the New England Medical Center/Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts and is board certified.


Dr. Ogden completed medical school at The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon, Arizona. He fulfilled his internship and neurosurgery residency at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

BVHS Weekend Column: Technology’s Toll on Productivity and Connection

Technology has allowed us to fool ourselves into thinking we are being more productive and performing at our peak due to our ability to multitask…….

by Nancy Proctor, BSN, MAE, BVHS Patient Experience Manager & Educator

Recently during an education session I presented, a gentleman sitting in the front row never looked up from his phone once—an entire 90 minutes. This reminded me that many believe our society is more connected than ever due to technologic advances. If by “connection” we mean access to and ability to share information, it is quite true. However, as human beings we could not be more disconnected at this time.

Many neuroscientists believe our survival depends on human interaction, which creates trust and connection. This connection takes place because of brain cells called “mirror neurons” that activate when we are physically present with each other. It is because of these neurons that we have the ability to be empathetic, compassionate and supportive. Our social bonds are damaged due to refusing to “unplug.” In short, technology is terrible for connection. Words are only 10 percent of what creates communication and dialogue; with technology, not only do mirror neurons fail to activate, we also miss out on 90 percent of what constitutes communication, including body language and tone of voice. As a result, we increasingly misinterpret people’s intentions. Additionally, we gain false courage and have the potential to hurt others as we communicate while hiding behind technology.

Technology has allowed us to fool ourselves into thinking we are being more productive and performing at our peak due to our ability to multitask. Adam Grazzaley, author of “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High Tech World,” has concluded that when we multitask with multiple media while simultaneously focusing on work, a project or even an in-person interaction with someone, everything we do takes 25 percent longer, and it could take up to 30 minutes to return to our task, rendering us much less productive. Additionally, splitting our attention usually leads to mistakes, which further compromises performance.

Multitasking is rewiring our brains so that instead of all parts working in harmony with each other, the right and left halves of the brain attempt to divide and conquer thus working independently and often “misfiring” within the prefrontal cortex, which is where our logical and rational thinking takes place. To paraphrase Gazzaley, multitasking with multiple media is hurting our ability to think in important ways. While multitasking, we struggle to pay attention, recall information or complete one task at a time. Multitasking ultimately decreases performance, productivity and results. In short, the minds of multitaskers do not perform optimally. As a society, we are in essence creating our own cultural attention deficit disorder.

When we multitask or rely on technology to take the place of real human interaction, we never truly connect. We are wired in such a way that our well-being depends on our connections with others. It does not matter how technologically sophisticated we become; connectivity remains a core part of being human. Our survival depends on trusting, supportive relationships as well as being physically present and genuinely interacting with others.

What can you do to combat this issue? Here are some suggestions:

  • Make it a point at least once a day to “be present.” Do not send emails or texts; instead, speak with someone in person. Make eye contact, smile, affirm what they say and listen empathically. Use and read real facial expressions instead of emojis.
  • Set certain times during the day to be online, then unplug. Truly listen and engage in meetings, conversations and work projects. If you are in the audience during a presentation, workshop or conference, put your devices away. Focus on one thing at a time.
  • To reduce compromising relationships and negative technological interactions, remind yourself that if you are typing a message you would never say to someone in person, you probably should not be typing it. Additionally, you should never send a difficult message or one that will change someone’s life over text, email or any other media.
  • Know when work is over and when it is time to be home with family or friends. Cultivate those relationships.
  • Spend time in nature or at events without continually taking and sending pictures and videos– just be present.

To conclude, consider the words written by Antoine de St. Exupery in “The Little Prince”: “In this age of social media and communication by texting and Twitter, really looking at each other is a crucial and sometimes fleeting experience…without the first step of engaging with each other, we can never hope to understand or relate to one another in the physical realm.”


BVHS: Dr. Lorie Thomas Master Surgeon

“To be named a master surgeon by SRC is indeed an honor,” commented Dr. Thomas…..

Lorie Thomas, DO, a gynecologist at Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS), has achieved accreditation as a master surgeon of both minimally invasive gynecology and robotic surgery by Surgical Review Corporation (SRC). This accreditation distinguishes Blanchard Valley Obstetrics & Gynecology, a division of BVHS, from many other outpatient facilities by providing the highest quality of care to its patients as determined by an independent, external process of evaluation.

Status as an accredited organization means BVHS along with Dr. Thomas has met nationally recognized standards. Not all health care organizations seek accreditation, and not all that undergo the rigorous on-site inspection process are granted accreditation.

“Blanchard Valley Health System strives to remain updated on the latest technologies and procedures,” said Chris Keller, president of Bluffton Hospital and vice president of Blanchard Valley clinical services and supply chain. “Dr. Thomas’ hard work to receive this accreditation reflects on our organization’s commitment to providing elite quality care to our patients.”

Health care organizations seeking accreditation by SRC undergo an extensive self-assessment and on-site inspection. This process includes physicians, nurses, and administrators who are actively involved in the accredited program. The inspection is consultative and educational, presenting best practices to help an organization improve its care and services.

“To be named a master surgeon by SRC is indeed an honor,” commented Dr. Thomas. “I am committed to continuously learning and passionate about providing the best care possible to my patients and allowing them to return to their lives.”

Established in 2003, SRC is an internationally recognized patient safety organization dedicated to recognizing and refining surgical care. SRC is the leading administrator of quality improvement and accreditation programs for surgeons and hospitals worldwide. SRC’s proven methodology, known as the “Cycle of Excellence,” results in quantifiable and unparalleled improvement in outcomes, patient safety and costs across surgical specialties. For more information, visit

BVHS: Athletic Concussions….Part II

Probably the most drastic change in management of concussions in the last few years is the use of rest…..

Athletic Concussions (Part 2), by Michael Stump, MD, Blanchard Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

In “Athletic Concussions (Part 1),” I discussed how recent research has guided the immediate assessment and management of concussions in sports. With this article, I will continue this topic by discussing how research has affected the subsequent evaluation and treatment of concussions.

One evolving change to the evaluation of concussion is realizing that not all concussions are the same.  At least six different subtypes of concussion syndromes have been identified, and many patients will display more than one of these subtypes simultaneously. This is important to understand because these different subtypes may require different treatments. For instance, some patients will have a disruption of communication between the eyes and the brain. These individuals will have increased symptoms when their eyes are moving, such as when reading, driving or watching television. Individuals with this type of disruption benefit greatly from eye exercises. Other patients may have issues with fatigue during cognitive or concentration activities, and these individuals might benefit from time away from school and homework. Still others may experience mood disturbances due to the concussion, and their symptoms actually worsen if they are removed from school and their friends. Recognizing these different subtypes can be helpful in choosing the correct treatment and advancing athlete recovery.

Probably the most drastic change in management of concussions in the last few years is the use of rest.  In the past, both physical and mental rest were recommended until symptoms resolved. However, the latest research suggests we have been resting patients with concussions too much and slowing their recovery. The practice of “cocooning” in which the athlete with a concussion is placed in a dark, quiet room and told to sleep is no longer recommended. Now, athletes are encouraged to start returning to their normal activities as soon as they can tolerate it.

The key is to allow activities that do not reproduce symptoms. If an activity causes an increase in symptoms, then the athlete should stop that activity for the day. The next day, he or she can try the same activity again, attempting to partake in the activity a little longer than the previous day. In this way, the patient can gradually increase his or her activity over time, therefore returning to his or her usual routine more quickly. For instance, the athlete may try to walk a little each day and lengthen the walk 10 to 15 minutes every day if symptoms do not significantly increase. This is true of both physical and mental activities. In the past, providers recommended patients with concussions refrain from using “screens” such as computers, smart phones and video games. Now, as long as they do not increase symptoms, it is okay to use electronics. Additionally, if using electronics does cause symptoms, patients are permitted to attempt to gradually increase their use over time.

The one exception to returning to activities is anything that would have a risk of another head injury.  Athletes should not return to any contact or collision activity until all of their concussion symptoms and findings have resolved, and only with the consent of his or her physician.

While these new recommendations allow athletes to return to daily activities more quickly, it is still important for all athletes who may have a concussion to be evaluated by a physician. Providers can help determine which activities are safe for athletes to resume and give guidance on how to gradually increase others. They can also determine if more specific treatment is needed, such as eye exercises, physical or cognitive therapy, or medications, as well as what modifications to school and work may be necessary.

BVHS: Upcoming Flu Shot Clinics for Primary Care Patients

Patients must schedule an appointment …………….

Blanchard Valley Medical Practices have scheduled several flu shot clinics for the patients of Putnam Primary Care Ottawa, Bluffton Primary Care and Caughman Health Center. Patients must schedule an appointment to receive the shot. The flu shot clinic schedule is as follows:

Putnam County Primary Care – Ottawa

Open to established Putnam County Primary Care of Ottawa patients.

Call 419.523.0012 to schedule an appointment.

  • Tuesday, October 9, 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 16, 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 18 2 to 7 p.m.
  • Friday, October 19, 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 23, 1 to 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 24, 8 a.m. to noon.

Bluffton Primary Care

Open to established Bluffton Primary Care patients.

Call 419.369.2280 to schedule an appointment

  • Wednesday, October 24, 1 to 4 p.m.

Caughman Health Center

Open to established Caughman Health Center patients.

Call 419.427.0809 to schedule an appointment.

  • Wednesday, October 10, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, October 18, 3 to 6 p.m.

For questions or more information, call one of the above primary care offices.

BVHS: Athletic Concussions…Part I

There have been many studies attempting to develop a test that can more accurately determine if an athlete has a concussion……

Athletic Concussions (Part 1) by Michael Stump, MD, Blanchard Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

Concussions in sports have been in the news and on social media frequently over the last few years.  Over that same time period, there has also been an increase in research on concussions, and this new knowledge has changed many aspects of concussion treatment. The depth of this topic calls for a two-part column, and this week’s column will discuss what research has taught us about the initial evaluation and management of concussions.

A concussion is defined as a disturbance in brain function that occurs following some trauma to the head. Animal research has helped us understand what happens during a concussion at the cellular level. Basically, the brain is not working properly because communication between brain cells is disrupted.  This disruption results in the common signs and symptoms of a concussion, such as headache, confusion and difficulties with memory, concentration, dizziness and/or balance. Contrary to popular belief, most athletes with concussions do not experience a loss of consciousness.

The most frequent questions about concussions that occur during sports include, “What should I do if I suspect my child has a concussion?” and “Should I bring my son/daughter with a concussion to the emergency room?” The first important step in managing a concussion is to remove the individual from the practice or game immediately. Recent studies have shown that if an athlete is allowed to continue participating instead of being removed from play, even if they do not sustain another blow to the head, the risk for a prolonged recovery over one month is doubled. In answer to the emergency room question, while all patients with a suspected concussion should see a physician, in most cases it is not necessary to be seen immediately. Red flags that indicate the need for the athlete to be seen in the emergency room include a loss of consciousness lasting for over one minute, severe vomiting, unequal pupils, seizure, rapidly progressive headache or any other symptoms that worsen over time. If none of these are present, observe the individual for any worsening symptoms and see a physician within two to three days.

In the past, it was standard practice to wake patients with concussions every one to two hours to make sure their symptoms were not worsening. However, recent research has shown that frequent waking actually slows recovery, since proper sleep is important to recovery from concussions. Instead, providers recommend monitoring the injured athlete for at least three hours to make sure he or she is not showing any of the warning signs mentioned above, then allowing him or her to sleep.

There have been many studies attempting to develop a test that can more accurately determine if an athlete has a concussion. A number of blood tests and imaging studies, such as computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans have been reviewed, but none have been found to be useful. You may have heard about the “concussion blood test” that was in the media recently, but this test is only positive if a patient has bleeding in the brain; by definition, a concussion does not have any brain bleeding. Therefore, this test cannot distinguish between patients with a concussion and those without. While some modifications to MRIs have been shown to be positive in patients with concussions, these tests currently are not ready to be used in evaluation of patients.  Despite all this research, at this time, most athletes with concussions do not need any testing, and providers continue to make concussion diagnoses based on the patient’s history and examination.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for a discussion on how the latest research has changed the management of concussions.

“Living Through Loss” Series at Blanchard Valley Hospital

“Myths & Misconceptions of Grief” will focus on dispelling the many inaccurate beliefs about grief such as “grief improves the second year” and “grief progresses in predictable stages.”

“Living Through Loss” Series at Blanchard Valley Hospital

 The 30th annual “Living Through Loss” educational series by Bridge Home Health and Hospice, a division of Blanchard Valley Health System, is currently underway. Presentations are held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Marathon Auditorium at Blanchard Valley Hospital, located at 1900 South Main Street in Findlay. The topic for October is “Myths & Misconceptions of Grief” presented by Jill Gilgenbach, bereavement coordinator at Bridge Home Health and Hospice. The presentation will take place on Monday, October 15.

“Myths & Misconceptions of Grief” will focus on dispelling the many inaccurate beliefs about grief such as “grief improves the second year” and “grief progresses in predictable stages.” An opportunity for discussion will follow the presentation. Although the thought of speaking up in a group can be intimidating, many attendees find the discussion helpful as they discover their questions and concerns are similar to others. Gilgenbach will be available to speak with attendees in private following the presentation.

“Living Through Loss” is a nine-month series that focuses on the issues surrounding the death of a loved one. Presentations provide information related to the grief process and offer opportunities for discussion. Although the thought of speaking up in a group can be intimidating, many attendees find the discussion helpful as they discover their questions and concerns are similar to others. Each monthly presentation is open to the public and registration is not required.

Topics and dates following the October presentation are as follows:

  • November 19: Facing the Holidays After a Loss
  • December 17: Guilt, Anger and Challenges
  • January 21: Understanding Depression in Grief
  • February 18: Taking Care of You
  • March 18: Cooking for One: Your Food, Your Mood
  • April 15: Grief and Tough Topics
  • May 20: Reinvesting in Life: Discussing Growth, Reconciliation and Renewal

This series is sponsored by Bridge Home Health and Hospice. For questions or to have a full program brochure sent to you, please contact Gilgenbach at 419.423.5351 or email

Williams Becomes a Certified Professional of Healthcare Quality

Roxanne Williams, director of corporate quality and patient safety at Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS), has recently become a certified professional in healthcare quality (CPHQ).

BVHS Director of Corporate Quality and Patient Safety Becomes a Certified Professional of Healthcare Quality

Roxanne Williams

 Roxanne Williams, director of corporate quality and patient safety at Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS), has recently become a certified professional in healthcare quality (CPHQ). A CPHQ is an individual who has passed an accreditation examination developed by the National Association of Healthcare Quality.

Becoming a CPHQ means Williams demonstrates competent knowledge and understanding of program development and management, along with quality improvement concepts and other quality-related skills. Only approximately 11,000 professionals have received this certification.

“BVHS consistently strives to offer the highest quality of care and service,” said Williams. “Becoming a CPHQ provides me with a deeper understanding of quality principles and tools that can be used within the organization. I am honored to bring these skills to the health system.”

For more information on the certification for professionals of healthcare quality, visit

BVHS Donates Materials for ‘Stop the Bleed’ Kits

These materials include gauze, gloves, markers, tourniquets for both adults and children, and more.

Blanchard Valley Health System Donates Materials for ‘Stop the Bleed’ Kits

 The emergency & trauma services department of Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS) has purchased materials for kits that assist individuals in stopping an otherwise uncontrollable bleed during an emergency. These materials include gauze, gloves, markers, tourniquets for both adults and children, and more.

The department aims to educate the community on how to utilize the kits to stop a bleed while also providing them with the resources to do so. The goal is to distribute the kits to schools across Hancock County, major businesses in Findlay and law enforcement facilities to place in officer vehicles.

“These kits can save lives,” said Katie Richard, registered nurse and trauma program manager at BVHS. “When used correctly, the supplies we plan to distribute to the community can significantly decrease mortality in the event of an emergency. Our goal is to help prepare the community for such an incident, with the hope that it will never occur.”

Blanchard Valley Hospital is a Level 3 trauma center certified through the American College of Surgeons. The hospital actively attempts to educate the community on a variety of preventative methods to avoid injury. “All injuries can be prevented,” Richard explained. “Distributing bleeding-control kits helps increase the chances a victim will survive.”

The bleeding-control kits will be formed and distributed as part of the American College of Surgeons’ “Stop the Bleed” campaign that aims to prepare the nation for emergencies.

For more information about these kits and BVHS’ trauma education programs, contact Richard at 419.423.5493 or

Blanchard Valley Health System provides a total continuum of care to more than 100,000 households in an eight-county area.


Bluffton Hospital Gains Pediatric Hospitalist

Youth now have the opportunity to receive specialized care at the facility…..

Bluffton Hospital, a division of Blanchard Valley Health System, recently welcomed Jennifer Hohman, MD as its first pediatric hospitalist. Previously, patients newborn to 18 years old who required overnight care were typically transferred to Blanchard Valley Hospital or another nearby hospital with pediatricians on staff. Now that Dr. Hohman has joined Bluffton Hospital, children can be admitted without leaving town.

Dr. Jennifer Hohman

The addition of Dr. Hohman allows children who visit the hospital with more serious illnesses or injuries to remain close to home while receiving overnight care.

“Children have always had exceptional care available at Bluffton Hospital’s emergency department,” said Nicole Keuneke, director of operations at the hospital. “Now, youth have the opportunity to receive specialized care at the facility.

We are focused on providing complete family care to our patients,” she continued.  “Recently Bluffton Primary Care was established on our campus and now the services provided by Dr. Hohman make Bluffton Hospital an easy choice for health care.”

Apart from being a pediatric hospitalist, Dr. Hohman will serve as the lead physician at Bluffton’s Beyond MedSpa, also part of Blanchard Valley Health System. The addition of Dr. Hohman will allow patients of all ages to receive medical procedures such as laser treatments and injectables without having to travel.

Dr. Hohman looks forward to serving Bluffton and the surrounding communities. To contact her, call Bluffton Hospital at 419.358.9010 or Bluffton’s Beyond MedSpa at 419.369.2288.