Snow Season is Here – Avoid Back Injuries with Shoveling Tips

Posted on : 12-26-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Events, Health Tips, News

During this time of year, it’s relaxing to sip a steamy cup of hot cocoa and watch as a steady stream of snowflakes falls from the clouds forming a sparkly blanket of snow all over the outdoors. However these cozy winter afternoons are often interrupted by the daunting realization that the snow must now be shoveled from the roads and walkways. So how can you prepare to shovel snow safely so not to injure yourself?

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, every year approximately 16,500 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries that happened while shoveling or removing ice and snow manually. Each year in the United States snow shoveling causes thousands of muscle sprains, broken bones, hurt backs, head injuries, and even deadly heart attacks.

“Since shoveling snow is definitely considered moderate exercise, people need to check with their physician to see if they should even shovel snow especially if they have a heart condition or do not exercise regularly,” says Valerie Paluszak, Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital. “If they are cleared to shovel, they need to take precautions to avoid hurting themselves – especially their lower back, which is one of the most common injuries that often occurs from shoveling snow.”

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers these snow-shoveling injury prevention tips:

  • Dress appropriately by wearing slip-resistant shoes and light, layered, water repellent clothing that provides both ventilation and insulation.
  • Warm up with some light stretch exercises.
  • Push snow. And if you have to lift snow, use the stronger leg muscles for support, not the back.
  • Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side because the twisting motion may stress your back.
  • Shovel early and often. The amount of snow that has to be removed is less and keeps it from freezing or partially melting and becoming harder to remove.
  • Use a proper snow shovel with a pole that is longer, adjustable, and curved to decrease the amount of bending needed to lower your risk of muscle injury. More user-friendly shovels are typically made of lighter materials such as plastic or lightweight aluminum. 
  • Pace yourself and take frequent breaks. Don’t shovel more than 30 to 60 minutes, just like you would during a regular exercise session.

And a safer option is to hire someone to remove the snow, while you sit back and enjoy drinking a cup of hot cocoa.

Free Lower Back Pain Screening

Suffering from lower back pain? Individuals experiencing aches, pain, spasm, stiffness or weakness of the lower back can find relief and treatment recommendations at a screening by a Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago physical therapist. This FREE screening occurs on January 15 at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) at Silver Cross in Homer Glen, 12701 West 143rd St. Call (815) 300-6288 to schedule an appointment.

Posted on : 12-24-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Health Tips, News

Help kids celebrate holidays safely

Posted on : 12-19-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Uncategorized

The biggest threat to the health of children older than one is not a dreaded disease, it’s accidental injury. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year nearly 230,000 children suffer injuries from toys severe enough to be treated in a hospital emergency room. Nearly 40% of those injured are younger than five.

“The last thing any child or parent wants is to end up in the emergency room hurt and unable to celebrate the holidays,” says Daniel Checco, D.O., Emergency Medicine physician at the 24/7 Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center located at 143rd St. and Bell Rd in Homer Glen.

The challenge for parents is to find toys that children will enjoy and that are known to be safe.

These simple guidelines can help keep the holiday season safe for your youngsters:

  • Avoid toys that shoot or have parts that fly off.
  •  Choose toys made of durable materials with no sharp edges or points.
  •  Don’t give young children toys with small parts. Youngsters tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking.
  •  Choose age-appropriate toys. Age labeling is provided for developmental and safety reasons.
  •  Select toys to suit a child’s abilities, skill, and interest level.
  •  To avoid serious ear injury, don’t buy toys that make loud or shrill noise.
  •  Choose well-made stuffed animals. The eyes, noses, and other small parts should be fastened securely.
  • Never buy hobby kits, such as chemistry sets, for children younger than age 12.
  •  Look for the letters “ASTM,” which indicate a toy or product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

“Parents just need to practice a common sense approach when purchasing age-appropriate toys for their children,” said Dr. Checco. “By simply explaining and demonstrating how to use the toys and keeping toys for older children away from younger ones, many accidents can be avoided.”

Hospital named Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery

Posted on : 12-10-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Fibroids, Incontinence, News, Top 100 Hospitals, Uncategorized

Francisco Garcini, M.D., Ph.D., and Nahla Merhi, M.D, co-directors of the minimally invasive gynecologic surgery program at Silver Cross, led the hospital to be designated as a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology.

Silver Cross Hospital was recently designated as a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology (COEMIG) by the AAGL, the leading association of minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons worldwide, and Surgical Review Corporation (SRC).  In addition, four physicians on the Silver Cross Medical Staff also received COEMIG designation.  These doctors are Francisco Garcini, M.D., Ph.D.; Nahla Merhi, M.D; Thomas Kazmierzcak, M.D.; and Peter Vienne, D.O.  Drs. Garcini and Merhi are co-directors of the minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at Silver Cross Hospital and led the team in the certification process.

Achieving the COEMIG designation positions Silver Cross at the forefront of minimally invasive gynecologic surgical care. Services have grown more advanced and specialized, and the accreditation demonstrates the Hospital and physicians’ commitment to excellence and patient-centered care. The Hospital’s outstanding team of physicians and nurses specialize in minimally invasive approaches to gynecology and offer expert specialized care for women who face surgical treatment for benign or malignant conditions.

“Earning the center of excellence designation signifies our ability to consistently deliver the safest, most advanced and comprehensive gynecologic surgical care services to women across our region in a new, state-of-the art facility,” said Dr. Nahla Merhi, co-director of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, IL. “The COEMIG program fosters quality improvement in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, and participation has focused our team on exceeding clinical benchmarks and guidelines.  But most importantly, our commitment to excellence improves the health and well-being of our patients.”

Silver Cross Hospital’s COEMIG program provides women with innovative, minimally invasive surgical treatment options for hysterectomies, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, prolapse, and other gynecologic conditions. Patients are cared for in a new 304-bed Hospital located at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox.  The Silver Cross Procedural Care Unit is equipped with 11 state-of-the-art surgical suites specially designed for minimally invasive procedures, private pre and post procedure patient rooms, and a spacious lounge for family and friends.  Silver Cross also has a DaVinci robot, which is the most advanced robotic-assisted technology available today to perform gynecologic surgical procedures.  In the past 8 months, Silver Cross has performed more than 150 procedures using the DaVinci robot.

“Compared to traditional surgery, patients who undergo minimally invasive gynecologic surgery experience less pain, reduced blood loss, fewer complications, shorter hospital stays and a faster recovery, so they can return to normal activities sooner,” says Dr. Francisco Garcini, co-director of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at Silver Cross Hospital. “This is why it’s quickly becoming the preferred – and often demanded – treatment approach for many women throughout the U.S.” 

COEMIG-accredited centers comply with requirements designated by the AAGL’s Standards Committee, and are subject to a comprehensive and thorough inspection by a review committee. Approved facilities must adhere to requirements including the following: an institutional commitment to excellence in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery; significant and ongoing surgical experience performing minimally invasive gynecologic procedures; an active Physician Program Director who is an obstetrician/gynecologist and; a full complement of consultative staff and services; a designated surgical team and support staff and continuous quality assessment. To verify compliance, an accredited facility is formally reevaluated every three years.

Birthing Center Recognize World Prematurity Day

Posted on : 12-07-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Events, News

Employees from Silver Cross Hospital’s Women and Infant Services Birthing Center recognize “World Prematurity Day” on November 16.  This day is set aside to honor the 1 million babies worldwide who died this year because they were born too soon, and the 12 million more who struggle to survive. 

“Our staff wore purple ribbons to show our support, not only for these babies, but also for the work done by the March of Dimes, whose goal is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality,” said  Marilyn Paolella, R.N., Director Women and Infant Services at Silver Cross Hospital.

Employees from Silver Cross Hospital’s Women and Infant Services Birthing Center Recognize “World Prematurity Day” on November 16. Pictured from left to right are: Elisa Wilson, R.N.; Kelly Zernia, Unit Clerk; Joanne Booble, Technician; Cheryl Jarosz, R.N.; Marilyn Paolella, R.N., Director Women and Infant Services; Sue Shroba, R.N.; Patti Duncan, R.N.; Linda Ellis, Technician; Nicole Jaramillo, R.N.; and Zora Garrett, Environmental Services Employees.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information about Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait, visit

Hospital Employees Raise $125,000 for United Way

Posted on : 12-06-2012 | By : tsimons | In : News

John Guidotti, Chairman of Silver Cross Hospital’s annual Employee United Way Campaign, with some of the over 100 stuffed animals that employees donated for the United Way Teddy Bear collection.

Silver Cross Hospital raised $25,000 to help the Annual Will County United Way Campaign, which kicked-off in mid-November.

The hospital’s theme for the campaign this year was “Live United.” It captures the commitment that the employees have shown to the community for those that are less fortunate.  Hospital employees were asked to participate in the Campaign by making a pledge through a payroll-deduction program. 

“Through our employees’ generosity, one in every four Will County residents will benefit from the services provided by the 45 United Way agencies in the county. We are grateful for their donations,” says John Guidotti, United Way Chairperson and Director of Internal Audit and Compliance at Silver Cross.

In addition, a new raffle was held called “A Bear, Book or a Buck.” When employees donated one of these three items, they received raffle tickets to win fun prizes. The money donations went to support the United Way, while the teddy bear donations went to support the children involved in the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center. These teddy bears will be given to children who are victims of a crime or assault. The Center, which provides counseling and prevention education, allows victims to choose a new teddy bear to aid in healing. And the book donations went to support the National Hook-Up of Black Women & Silver Cross Hospital Reading Rooms that are located in the Unity CDC – Center for Working Families at 201 South Briggs Street, Joliet, and in the Fairview Homes Community Center at 1426 Englewood Street, Joliet.

Childerguild Raises over $160,000 for Silver Cross at Annual Ball

Posted on : 12-05-2012 | By : tsimons | In : Uncategorized


Over 450 friends of Silver Cross Hospital attended the 84th annual Childerguild Ball November 17 at the Odyssey Country Club and enjoyed wonderful food and dancing. The premiere event of the holiday season raised over $160,000, which will be used to support women’s and children’s programs and services at the new Silver Cross Hospital.

For over 100 years, Childerguild has served Silver Cross Hospital by raising funds to support and serve women and children. The annual tradition of the Childerguild Ball began in 1928 as a fundraiser for the Obstetrics and Pediatrics departments at Silver Cross Hospital, and keeps going strong thanks to the commitment of the members of Childerguild and to the many friends of the hospital who contribute to make this event a great success year after year. This year Barbara Steffes chaired the Ball. Her committee included: Adele Adams, Carole DeBenedetti, Robin Hartney, Karen Hughes, Pam Resutko, Cindy Studer, and Carole Ziemke.

As a prelude to the dinner, the hospital awarded for the first time the Silver Cross Hospital Board of Directors’ Chairman Award to Paul Pawlak, President and CEO of Silver Cross Hospital, for his vision and leadership.  As the hospital’s longest serving CEO, Pawlak led Silver Cross to be recognized nationally for outstanding customer service, effective cost management, and superior clinical quality winning the prestigious 100 Top Hospitals National Award for seven consecutive years.   In addition, Silver Cross has been recognized as one of America’s Friendliest Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers for several years.  Never satisfied with the status quo, he consistently challenges staff to improve the hospital’s performance.  His appreciation and respect for the contributions employees make everyday has created a culture of excellence, caring and compassion under his leadership.  He has overseen the health system’s expansion to nine ambulatory care centers through Will, Grundy and Cook counties as well as over $600 million in new services and facilities including a 289-bed, $365 million replacement hospital which opened on Feb. 26, 2012 in New Lenox.  He is also responsible for bringing the Veteran’s Administration Community Outpatient Clinic and a Federally Qualified Health Center to the Joliet campus.

Under his direction, Silver Cross formed partnerships with world-renowned academic medical facilities including Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and University of Chicago Medical Center.  Silver Cross also operates the largest managed care organization in Will County.  

In addition, medals of excellence were given to two prominent community service and healthcare minded individuals.

This year’s Silver Cross Sehring Medal of Excellence was awarded to family medicine physician Joseph Karcavich, M.D. Throughout his 39 years at Silver Cross Hospital, he has shared his expertise as a leader serving as Chairman on the Silver Cross Hospital Utilization Committee, Vice-Chair of Family Practice, and Department Chairman on the hospital’s Medical Executive Committee. Over the years, Dr. Karcavich has volunteered with several community organizations. He was on the original Board of the Will Grundy Medical Clinic, which assisted patients who were really having tough times in their lives. In addition, he served on the Criteria Care Committee of the Quad River Foundation where he collaborated with hospitals and community business leaders. Further, he volunteered his time on the Board of Directors for the Mother Theresa Nursing Home, and was President of the Will-Grundy County Medical Society, as well as Chairman of the Will-Grundy Chapter of the Illinois Academy of Family Practice.

Silver Cross also honored Russ Slinkard with the Sangmeister Medal of Excellence for the many hours he has unselfishly given of his time to improve the quality of life of Will County residents. He held various roles at the Illinois Bell Telephone Company, First National Bank of Joliet and Three Rivers Manufacturers Association. Currently, Russ works as the President/CEO of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Under his innovative leadership, the Chamber has flourished.  For over 35 years, he has volunteered hundreds of hours to numerous area organizations including the United Way of Will County where he has held various roles. In addition, he has worked with the Center for Economic Development (CED) during the 1980’s. He was one of the charter members for the CED and served on its Board for 11 years. Further, for over 24 years Russ has been actively involved volunteering for Silver Cross Hospital. He has served on the Hospital’s Board of Trustees. Russ also volunteered to improve education in the Joliet schools. Through his work with the Joliet Junior College, Russ assisted in bringing a big business perspective to the college’s Board of Directors.

The Silver Cross Foundation is accepting nominations through Dec. 31, 2012 for the 2013 Silver Cross Medals of Excellence.  For more information, call (815) 300-7105.

The 2013 Childerguild Ball will be held Saturday, November 23 and the location is to be determined. For over 100 years, Childerguild has benefited women and children at Silver Cross Hospital.  Founded in 1910, by 13 benevolent women who had no children of their own, Childerguild was formed to benefit the obstetrics and pediatrics departments at Silver Cross.  In the early years, Childerguild raised funds through private donations and by hosting card parties.  Today proceeds from annual events such as the Ball along with the efforts of Childerguild members to operate the hospital’s Gift Shop has allowed the organization to donate over $2.3 million to fund maternal/child care projects at Silver Cross Hospital. For more information about Childerguild, call the Silver Cross Volunteer Department at (815) 300-7117.

$10 off a Spa Service

Posted on : 12-01-2012 | By : tsimons | In : breast cancer, Events, Mammography, News