Convenient care during the holidays

When do you need a walk-in clinic or the Emergency department?

Dr. William ConyerWhen the holidays get hectic, and you need convenient care, Baptist Prime Care and Baptist Express Care clinics in select Walmart stores may be the best choice.

Many people turn to the Emergency department as their first choice. While it is not uncommon for the Emergency department at Baptist Health Paducah to treat all kinds of illnesses, from the common cold to a heart attack, people can save time and money by choosing the appropriate provider for different needs.

The Emergency department is for emergencies. The sudden onset of severe headaches, chest pain, fainting spells and neurological issues should be evaluated in the ED because of their potential to be life-threatening.

For NON-life-threatening conditions – medicine refills, pregnancy tests or ongoing treatment for a chronic condition – there are more convenient walk-in choices, where you can see a health professional without an appointment:

  • Baptist Health Prime Care, on the main campus at 2501 Kentucky Ave, is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
  • Baptist Express Care, in Walmart SuperCenters on Hinkleville Road and Irvin Cobb Drive, are open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays through Fridays; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

David Saxon, MD, and I treat patients at Baptist Health Prime Care, along with nurse practitioners and nurses. We provide primary care, as well as offer on-site lab and X-ray.

Prime and Express Care clinics both are equipped to handle ailments such as:

  • Minor headaches, back pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Minor allergic reactions
  • Coughs, sore throat
  • Bumps, cuts, scrapes
  • Rashes, minor burns
  • Minor fever, colds
  • Ear or sinus pain
  • Sprains, strains
  • Eye swelling, pain, irritation or redness

I also serve as the medical director of Baptist Express Care, a good walk-in option for  fast, affordable basic healthcare services, including check-ups, vaccinations, screenings and treatment for minor injuries for people over 2 years old. Express Care is operated by well-trained nurse practitioners and often you’re in-and-out in a flash. Prices are posted so patients know the cost before treatment; and cash, credit cards and most major insurance plans are accepted.

Both locations will be closed on Christmas. If you have a question about where to go, ask our nurses at Baptist Health Line at 270.575.2918.

– William Conyer, MD, family practice physician

Posted in The Medical Perspective | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baptist Health Paducah offers area’s only NICU

Dr. OwensFor four years, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Baptist Health Paducah has been a blessing for 700 local families, including many of my own patients, whose newborns need extra care. It is now expanding to allow more families to benefit from this service close to home.

Helping families

Before the NICU was available here, babies born prematurely or with other developmental problems had to be transported to Louisville or Nashville, often while their parents juggled work schedules and caring for other children at home.

Now, if your baby does come early, it’s comforting to know the NICU stands ready to care for babies born up to 10 to 12 weeks early, providing expert care close to home. Babies as small as 1 kilogram – about the size of a squash – can stay here while they grow and get the help they need from respiratory, rehab, pharmacy and other special services.

While expectant parents prepare for the birth of their little one, they are relieved to know that specially-trained staff, including a neonatologist and NICU nurses, is here to care for their newborns if they need special care.

One of my patients, Lashonda Saddler, and her husband, Patrick, knew from experience the value of a NICU close by. Their older son had to be hospitalized in Nashville when there was no NICU here. When their second son, Zani, arrived early in March 2013, he stayed in the Baptist NICU for two weeks.

“I had a little more peace knowing the NICU was here in case he came early,”  Lashonda said. “It was awesome to be able to go home and get some sleep and then drive 10 minutes to see my baby.”

The local service also allowed Patrick, the band director at Paducah Tilghman High School, to continue working. “I didn’t have to drive back and forth to Nashville. It was close to home and just across the street from my work,” he said.


Babies have been important throughout the 60-year history of Baptist Health Paducah. The first baby was born here just four hours after the hospital opened in 1953, and nearly 80,000 have followed – more than four times the number at the area’s other hospitals combined.

Baptist Health Paducah’s NICU opened with six beds, but it has recently been approved to add four more. Renovation will be conducted in phases over two years, first involving the relocation of some physician offices in Doctors Office Building 2. We are pleased to be able to meet this community need.

If you have a question about your pregnancy, ask our nurses at StorkLine 24 hours a day at 270.575.BABY; or if you need an obstetrician-gynecologist, phone Baptist Health at 270.575.4551.

- Dennis Owens, MD, obstetrician

Posted in The Medical Perspective | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baptist new radiation equipment to shorten treatment

Dr. GruberBaptist Health Paducah, the Paducah area’s only nationally-accredited cancer center, is on the brink of an exciting new era in cancer treatment.

The hospital recently invested $3.1 million to purchase new technology that can shorten radiation treatments from weeks to days.

When installed next March, it will be used to perform new techniques known as stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy. Stereotactic means imaging markers are used to guide the beam of the radiation or the surgeon to the precise spot needing treatment to minimize the damage done to any surrounding tissue.

Why is it better?

For brain surgery, the new stereotactic equipment represents a major advance. Since we added neurosurgical staff to treat cases locally, the number of brain tumor patients treated at Baptist Health has tripled. This non-invasive treatment for brain tumors truly is a paradigm shift.

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a highly precise form of radiation therapy initially developed to treat small brain tumors and functional abnormalities of the brain. It is now being applied to the treatment of body tumors with a procedure known as stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT).

The new equipment will provide an alternative to invasive surgery, especially for patients unable to have surgery and for hard-to-reach tumors close to vital organs. Besides brain tumors, it can be used to treat tumors throughout the body, including lung, liver, spine, prostate and head and neck.

It is the most advanced technology available anywhere, and it will be here in Paducah. Oftentimes local patients travel out-of-state for treatment, but this new treatment will allow them to stay close to home.

New cancer center

This treatment will become part of a comprehensive all-under-one-roof Regional Cancer Care Center at Baptist Health Paducah. Baptist Health treats about 1,200 patients a year, including about 110 outpatients daily for radiation and chemotherapy.

To meet the growing need, Baptist Health Paducah announced recently its 2015 plans to develop the cancer center. It already has retained an architect, made site visits to other cancer centers and conducted focus groups with physicians and patients to determine their needs for a new center.

Preliminary plans call for the center to be developed adjacent to the current radiation therapy area on the northeast end of the campus on the Broadway side. It will bring together radiation therapy, outpatient chemotherapy, lab, rehabilitation, research, education resources, palliative care, dietary counseling, complementary medicine and retail space – with nurse navigators to assist patients and their families as they go from diagnosis through treatment.

Nov. 20 informational meeting

The public is invited to an informational meeting to ask questions and hear more details about the center at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, in the Baptist Heart Center auditorium. At 7 p.m., details will be provided on an expansion of our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

If you have any health questions, talk to a nurse 24/7 at Baptist Health Line: 270.575.2918.

  • Neurosurgeon Thomas Gruber, MD
Posted in The Medical Perspective | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Staying healthy during the hectic holidays

LeaFrom Halloween to New Year’s, the holidays are filled with high-sugar, high-calorie treats to wreck your diet and extra activities to derail your daily fitness regimen. It’s hard to stay on a healthy path when stress and festivities lurk around every corner.

The average person gains five pounds over the holidays, which can be hard on the heart. It’s important not to give up, even if you have a bad day or two. Get back to your healthy lifestyle as soon as you can because small changes can have a big impact on your health over the long-run.

Heart disease is the leading killer for men and women in the U.S., but many of its risks can be diminished through small lifestyle changes. A heart-healthy lifestyle not only includes maintaining an ideal weight and exercising, but also eating more fruits and vegetables and reducing unhealthy fat, sugar and salt in our diets. This is important for adults and children.

Two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, and about a third of children and adolescents weigh too much. The extra pounds put us at a greater risk of developing several debilitating and costly diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Tips for a healthy holiday

  • Don’t completely deprive yourself of holiday foods you love. Instead, eat them less often and in smaller portions.
  • Stroll around the neighborhood for 30 minutes looking at the Christmas lights or exercise indoors, if the weather doesn’t permit outside activities.
  • Before a holiday party, eat a healthy snack, such as nonfat yogurt or a piece of fruit. The fruit will fill you up and help you pass up party foods.
  • If chocolate is your passion, choose one piece of dark chocolate, which is full of antioxidants.
  • Use the stairs, instead of the elevator, while shopping. Or park away from the store entrance, and walk a little farther. Every step counts.
  • Buy lean cuts of meat for family meals, and boil or grill them to reduce the fat. When serving potatoes, use yams or sweet potatoes to increase vitamins and minerals. Try using low-fat buttermilk instead of butter and cream in mashed potatoes. Cook with olive oil instead of unhealthy oils or fats.

Heart-healthy recipes

Baptist Health Paducah provides a variety of heart-healthy recipes at For people dealing with congestive heart failure, check out the recipes to control salt in your diet and manage fluid intake to protect your heart.

If you need extra help with your weight, Baptist Health now offers medical and surgical weight loss programs. Check for free information sessions.

Chest Pain & Stroke Hotline

If you have questions about heart attack or stroke symptoms, you can talk to a Baptist nurse free 24 hours a day on the Chest Pain & Stroke Hotline: 1.800.575.1911.

  • Cardiologist Brian Lea, MD
Posted in The Medical Perspective | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to safely manage your weight loss

QuinteroIf you struggle with your weight, you are not alone. Most of us are trying to lose weight or maintain our weight at some point in our lives.

You shouldn’t be ashamed to see a physician over concerns about your weight and possible health risks associated with being overweight. It is the right thing to do for your body and your future.

See your primary care physician

The first step to a healthier weight is talking to your primary care doctor about any concerns. Your weight alone is not the best indicator for risk of health complications, so your doctor will calculate your BMI or Body Mass Index. It is calculated by weight divided by height, then squared.

This calculation will tell your doctor if you are considered to be normal weight for your height or if you are overweight or obese. The greater the number, the higher your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious health conditions.

What’s the next step?

After determining your BMI, you and your doctor may need to discuss medical and surgical options for weight loss.

The first step is to speak with a dietitian, who can advise you about healthier food choices. Changing your diet and exercising are still the best solutions for long-term weight loss. There are no shortcuts or magic pills that will provide you the same solution.

Some people find they can’t achieve a healthy BMI with lifestyle changes or even medical intervention. These patients should consider weight loss surgery a safe and reasonable option.

Most insurance companies pay for weight loss surgery if you have a BMI of 35 or higher (considered obese) because it is the only known cure for diabetes. It also can reduce or eliminate sleep apnea, high blood pressure and other risk factors.

Insurance companies usually require six months of medically-supervised weight loss before surgery. During those six months, patients may lose weight and educate themselves about the surgery and how it will affect their life and eating habits.

Informational session

I will share more about medical and surgical options for weight loss at an informational session set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Heart Center auditorium. For reservations, phone 270.443.0202.

– Paige Quintero, MD, general and bariatric surgeon


Posted in The Medical Perspective | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why real men wear pink: 1 in 8

Picture Bill Brown Color 08-08-12Dancing around in pink gloves feels a little silly. I know, I just did it.

It looks a little silly, too. Just silly enough, we hope, to get your attention.

We need to get your attention. Why? Just think: One in eight.

One in eight. That’s the number of women who will get breast cancer in their lifetime. That’s a couple of women out of your Sunday School class, at least one on your street, maybe three or four co-workers. It’s your mother, your sister, your daughter or your best friend.

Its prevalence can’t be denied. Its toll on our community can’t either.

Cancer, or the “C” word as some call it, has long struck fear in our hearts – and much for good reason. Some cancers still are rarely detected until they are so advanced that a cure is difficult. Thankfully, breast cancer isn’t one of those. Mammograms have been common screening tools since the 1980s, and now digital mammography – even with 3-D pictures – has improved accuracy to find cancers as small as a grain of salt!

When breast cancer is discovered in its earliest stages, chances are it can be cured. Yes, cured. Now that’s a “C” word we can embrace.

Among all cancers treated at our hospital, the number of breast cancers is second only to lung cancer. Last year alone, we had 146 new cases of breast cancer. Statistics can seem cold, but just think about the impact these have on 146 families:

– More than one-third were under 60, women with families and jobs, in the prime of their lives.

– As a testament to the importance of breast cancer screening, more than one-half of the diagnosed breast cancers were Stage I or smaller, meaning they were caught early and had the best chance to survive.

– Looking five years out shows the real importance of early detection: 93 percent of Stage 0 cancers survived 5 years; 88 percent of Stage 1; and 84 percent of Stage 2.

The American Cancer Society says women should have a mammogram every year from 40 on – earlier if there is family history. Most insurance covers annual mammograms, and so do Medicaid and Medicare. It’s a quick test – in and out in 20 minutes – and the process has been refined for maximum comfort and convenience, my wife assures me.

Bill_Mickey_BrownSo why would a woman miss her mammogram? Maybe she’s busy, she thinks cancer won’t happen to her, she’ll do it next year.

All of which brings us back to the silly dance. Our hospital filmed its fourth annual Pink Glove Dance this year for a national video contest to promote breast cancer awareness.

Firefighters, EMS and police – mostly men – from 12 public safety agencies joined our doctors and nurses in the dance. They’re not from our hospital, but they are from our community, touched as we all are by the one in eight women with breast cancer.

As fun as it was to see the bomb squad in full gear with pink gloves, they are not the stars of our video. Our stars are the 24 breast cancer survivors who got their mammograms, lived through cancer detection and treatment to smile and dance for you to a song called, “The Best Day of My Life.”

To define the best day of their lives, many of the survivors wrote the dates they were considered cancer-free. Some of them wrote EVERY DAY, and others wrote TODAY to signify the joy in living each moment.

We hope you will honor their courage by viewing the video and voting every day now through Sept. 28 at, knowing that every vote serves as a reminder to someone to get that mammogram. So there are more survivors to join the dance.

William A. Brown is West Regional executive for Baptist Health and the president of Baptist Health Paducah.

Posted in The Medical Perspective, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Who needs to get a mammogram?

Kim BakerAre you putting off getting a mammogram? That may be a risk you don’t want to take. Countless women can testify to the importance of this screening.

Just ask the 24 breast cancer survivors who danced in this year’s Baptist Health Paducah Pink Glove Dance video. All of them would encourage other women to perform breast self-exams and schedule regular mammograms.

Life-saving early detection

One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. It is the most common cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. Because early detection improves survival rates, the American Cancer Society recommends beginning breast self-exams in your 20s and annual mammograms at 40, or earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer.

Obstetrician/gynecologists Blair Tolar, MD, and Amber Savells, MD, and nurse practitioner Tammy Carr, APRN, and I at Baptist Health Women’s Choice encourage our patients to perform regular breast self-exams. One Johns Hopkins study says 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump.

The American Cancer Society recommends doing the breast self-exam while lying down so the breast tissue is spread evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible.

Mammograms save lives

Mammograms are just as important. They can help detect cancer before lumps form.

Outpatient digital mammography is located in Baptist Health Imaging Center at 2705 Kentucky Ave., next to Baptist Health Paducah with a separate entrance and designated parking near 28th and Kentucky Avenue.

Five technologists perform more than 650 mammograms each month in the mammography suite, which features a spa-like atmosphere and art work by local breast cancer survivors.

Baptist Health Paducah has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, a distinction awarded to just the top 3 percent in the nation for quality imaging.

 Pink Glove Dance video

You can support local breast cancer survivors by voting Sept. 9-23 for the Baptist Health Paducah Pink Glove Dance video, which reminds women to get annual mammograms for early detection. Vote once daily at from each e-mail address.

Online voting will determine national winners with cash prizes awarded to breast cancer charities. If we win, our proceeds will benefit the Kentucky Cancer Program.

To make an appointment at Baptist Health Women’s Choice, phone 270.443.1220. For information on mammograms, phone 270.575.7242 (BIC). To schedule an outpatient test, phone 270.575.2662.

– Kim Baker, APRN, Baptist Health Women’s Choice



Posted in The Medical Perspective | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment