Wellness briefly

Phillips certified as executive

The Certifying Commission in Medical Management recently designated Dr. Christopher Phillips a Certified Physician Executive. Phillips is Trinity Health’s Cardiovascular Services medical director (recognized as a Top 50 cardiovascular hospital by Truven Health Analytics for the 2013 calendar year) and a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon. He has also been recognized as the 2013 Medical Director Winner for the Case in Point Platinum Awards, a unique awards program that recognizes the most successful and innovative case management programs working to improve health care across the care continuum.

In addition, Phillips has also pioneered the development of a new procedure called The Phillips Port Access. This new procedure allows for a safer and more accurate placement of the AtriCure Clip, to dramatically reduce stroke rates by 90 percent. This single port access also facilitates a less invasive approach to lung resections, resulting in 24- to 36-hour discharges. Most recently, Phillips presented this procedure at the International Symposium on Left Atrial Appendage and to staff at Stanford University Hospitals and Clinics in California.

Phillips is a clinical adviser on research and development as well as a preceptor/instructor for AtriCure Inc. He is also actively pursuing his Masters of Business Administration degree at the University of Massachusetts.

Phillips is located at Trinity Health Center-West, 101-3rd Ave. SW in Minot. His contact phone number is 857-3655.

– Jill Hambek

Flu shot protects those around us

It’s the time of year when health professionals urge most people to protect themselves by getting a flu shot. A point often lost, however, is that it’s also the best way to protect the people we care about, such as family, friends and the community at large.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe said people who skip the flu vaccine aren’t just putting themselves at risk. “It’s the people around us we need to consider,” he said. “It could be a grandparent, a child or someone with an underlying health condition. People over 65 are at higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia. If you’re young and healthy you may feel that you don’t need a flu shot. You do, of course, but you also need one to protect Grandma.”

Anyone can get the flu, healthy or not, Nwaigwe added. Moreover, people can have the flu virus for days before experiencing symptoms. “People are flu contagious as many as three days before symptoms manifest,” he said. “You can spread the virus before you know you have it.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the 2012-2013 flu season was a reminder of how unpredictable and severe influenza can be.

“Flu activity began early in the U.S. and was high for 15 weeks. It was more severe than recent seasons, with hospitalization rates – especially for older adults – the highest recorded since the CDC began tracking data. Deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza were the highest recorded in nearly a decade. Also the number of pediatric deaths was the highest since that type of surveillance began,” the agency reported.

“Studies show that the vaccine didn’t work as well at protecting older adults against the influenza A viruses,” Nwaigwe said. “These findings highlight the need to create better vaccines and also the importance of increasing vaccination rates across all age groups. The more people we vaccinate, the more people we can protect.”

Nwaigwe said flu vaccine is now available in most communities and now is the time to get a flu shot.

– Jill Hambek