Florida Medical Retreat offers surgery alternative for Dupuytren's Contracture

What is Dupuytren's Contracture?

Dupuytren's (pronounced "DOO puh trenz") contracture is a condition that affects the hand, and it may get worse over time. It usually begins with a thickening of the skin in the palm of the hand. This thickening may develop into a hard lump or a thick cord. As the cord or lump grows, it can cause the fingers to bend into the palm. The curl or bend of the finger is often called contracture.

Dupuytren's contracture facts and figures

  • Caucasians are at a higher risk for Dupuytren's contracture - It affects between 3% and 6% of Caucasians around the world
  • The little finger is the second most commonly affected finger
  • One, two, or more fingers may be affected
  • Men are affected more often than women

For additional information click here.

How XIAFLEX® can help

XIAFLEX® (collagenase clostridium histolyticum) is the only FDA-approved nonsurgical treatment for adults with Dupuytren’s contracture when a cord can be felt.

This means that if you and your doctor decide XIAFLEX® is right for you, you may be able to reduce the degree of your contracture and improve the range of motion in your finger(s) without having surgery.

To get an idea of the results you may see with XIAFLEX®, read How XIAFLEX® works

Find out about the potential side effects some XIAFLEX® patients have experienced by reading Review side effects.

Florida Medical Retreat's, Dr. Christopher Sforzo, has offered Xiaflex treatment for over 2 years. For more information on how we can help you, please contact www.floridamedicalretreat.com or call (941) 504-9543.


Sarasota Memorial Once Again Named Consumers' Preferred Hospital

For the 14th consecutive year, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System was named the Consumer Choice Award winner for the Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice metropolitan area by the National Research Corporation.

The award for 2011-2012 identifies hospitals that health care consumers have chosen as having the highest quality and image ratings in more than 300 markets throughout the nation. Of the 3,200 hospitals named by consumers in the study, the winning facilities rank highest in their Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs), as defined by the US Census Bureau. The study surveyed over 250,000 households representing over 450,000 consumers in the contiguous 48 states and the District of Columbia.

"Sarasota Memorial is delighted to earn this recognition from our community members,” said Sarasota Memorial CEO Gwen MacKenzie. "The award is a reflection of our physician and hospital staff's commitment to delivering compassionate, high quality care.”

National Research Corporation – an independent health care performance measurement company based in Lincoln, Neb – annually provides Consumer Choice Awards for the most-preferred hospitals in major U.S. markets. Winners, named in Modern Healthcare magazine, are selected from the nation's most comprehensive, nationwide consumer health care profile, the Ticker, formerly known as the Healthcare Market Guide. Consumer Choice Awards for hospitals are based on consumer preference responses.

"Consumers are taking a more proactive role in their healthcare decisions and demanding higher quality,” said Susan Henricks, President and Chief Operating Officer at NRC. "At NRC, we know it is imperative to learn from the patient’s experience in order to improve the quality of care. The Consumer Choice Award recognizes facilities that are meeting or exceeding the needs of consumers – their patients.”

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to partner with Sarasota Memorial. Congratulations!

Please join Florida Medical Retreat and Doctors Hospital of Sarasota for a fun golf event

Doctors Hospital is pleased to welcome professional golfer, Fred Funk for an afternoon of education and fun.  Mr. Funk will share his personal experience with joint replacement surgery and how it allowed him to get back to his active lifestyle.  Local Orthopedic Surgeons will discuss topics including Arthritis of the hip and knee, knee replacement options and hip replacement options. 

The event will be held on Monday, November 14th from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm at Doctors Hospital, 5741 Bee Ridge Rd., Sarasota.  This event is free and open to the public.  Enjoy tasty treats from Evie’s Tavern, have your golf swing analyzed by GolfTec Sarasota and view specialty golf carts by Custom Carts.   To register or for more information, please call 1-888-685-1596 today!

Florida Medical Retreat and The Inn at Sarasota Bay Club will be sponsoring a table and giving away a fun golf themed gift basket. Be sure to stop by our table! We hope to see everyone there.

Florida Medical Retreat Offers Alternative Solutions to Canada Provincial Health Care Plans

According to The New Rules Project of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance - newrules.org, facing budget crunches and a rising deficit, the Canadian government for the past two decades has been reducing the amount of the federal contribution to provincial health care. Initially set at fifty percent, the federal contribution has dwindled to a little more than 20 percent on average. Cost cutting has led to concerns about longer waiting times, lack of hospital beds and overall quality of care.

Provinces are aggressively experimenting with ways to maintain a high standard of care while reducing costs. Among the proposed remedies are to increase the private provision of care and to further devolve health care authority to local boards. The jury is still out on these and other reforms. 

As we all wait to see how these decisions play out, many are looking for alternate solutions to meet their health care needs. Florida Medical Retreat connects worldwide clients with first-class medical care in Sarasota, Florida. Our Patient Care Coordinators take the time to understand each individual's needs and assists in creating a medical and travel itinerary for client and their travel companion(s).

Patient Care Coordinators and in-hospital concierge are there every step of the way. Florida Medical Retreat will customize your package to fit your medical needs and your vacation desires at competitive prices.

For more information, call (941) 504-9543 or visit www.floridamedicalretreat.com.


Deloitte Assesses Future for Canada’s Medical Tourism Industry

Medical tourism has taken root in Canada as it has worldwide, according to a new report by Deloitte Canada’s Health Services Practice. “Anecdotal reports suggest that Canadians are privately purchasing cosmetic and elective services at an increasing rate, though little data is available,” said the report. “This growth presents opportunities for increased medical tourism in Canada – both for Canadians seeking care abroad and for establishing Canada as a medical tourism destination – and sets the stage for renewed focus on this healthcare trend by Canadian governments, providers and consumers,” according to Deloitte. The report said about 2% of Canadians (about 525,000 people) currently travel abroad for medical care each year, although it didn’t specify how many of those people could be classified as medical tourists.

Florida Medical Retreat aims to provide the complete package for those looking to travel for care.  As wait times increase and individuals seek to take more control of their health care needs Florida Medical Retreat offers immediate access to physicians, scheduled appointments and information necessary to make informed decisions on ones health.

Ranging from cataract lens replacement, orthopedic surgery, urology, neurosurgery, vascular, vein & artery, plastic/cosmetic surgery, hearing implants, Sinus and Skull Base surgery, advanced GYN surgery to radiation oncology. Our surgeons are leaders in their field and currently treat the world.


Florida Medical Retreat Partner Hospital Receives Quality Award

Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) presented Sarasota Memorial Health Care System with its first ever “BD Quality Award” today for pioneering best practices in blood collection techniques that promote safe, high quality patient care.

The award – presented by the leading global medical technology company BD – recognized Sarasota Memorial for developing state-of-the-art processes and procedures designed to prevent hemolysis in patient blood samples sent to the clinical laboratory for testing. Hemolysis is the breakdown of red blood cells. If significant hemolysis occurs to a sample, it could affect test results and lead to additional blood draws and tests.

In its continuing effort to develop best practices in patient care, Sarasota Memorial worked with BD to enhance and standardize its new blood collection protocol, educate its clinical staff and put in place a quality control program that ensures the best techniques and proper blood collection products are used in all situations.

Since adopting the best practices in 2009, Sarasota Memorial has successfully maintained a hemolysis rate of less than 1 percent overall across the health system – a rate well below the national average of 5-7 percent.*
* Source: LS Flynn & Associates

For more information on Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Florida Medical Retreat please visit www.floridamedicalretreat.com

What Is Medical Tourism? Let Sarasota Show You

Shopping to get the most bang for your buck isn't relegated to buying a car or the best cell phone plan anymore. Patients seeking medical procedures such as knee or hip replacement and cataract surgery are now shopping around, going beyond their local physician and hospital to investigate places around the world, comparing prices and well, looking into what each has to offer as a vacation destination as well.

Let's face it, if you're going to recuperate from surgery, you may as well do it in a place that offers beautiful scenery, exquisite service, delectable dining and engaging entertainment.

Discover Natural Sarasota

Not only does Sarasota offer all of the above, it also happens to house the best trained physicians, cutting-edge technology and the most stringent safety standards in the world.

Dr. Debra Sandberg, CEO of Sarasota's Florida Medical Retreat, says that while patients had been traveling outside of the U.S. for lower-cost surgical procedures, the trend in medical tourism is beginning to shift back to the States.

"A couple things happened to change industry," Dr. Sandberg explains. "People who had gone to other countries suffered complications because the equipment is just not as good. Our surgeons have had to do repairs on patients who've had procedures performed in other countries.

"So in the last five years the U.S. has been a popular choice for its safety and security," Dr. Sandberg continues. "It was just rated the fifth most desirable destination in world. Also, doctors in U.S. hospitals are willing to work with those who pay cash."

Florida Medical Retreat: Surgery in Paradise

Florida Medical Retreat is designed to accommodate patients who not only desire superior medical treatment, but a superior rehabilitative experience as well. The retreat offers door-to-door concierge service-from assistance in scheduling the procedure to arranging luxury accommodations and entertainment for the family, to planning the patient's medical itinerary.

The retreat boasts 10 specialists who offer medical services that include cosmetic procedures, cataract surgery, orthopedic corrections, vascular surgery, urological treatments and neurological procedures performed at both Doctors Hospital of Sarasota and Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Following surgery, patients can join their families at the luxurious Sarasota Bay Club, where the club's rehabilitation center, The Inn at Sarasota Bay Club, offers physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Post-Op Perks

In addition to world-class medical facilities and staff, Sarasota's advantages include pristine beaches, world-class museums, theater and dining.

Siesta Key's Siesta Beach was recently named the No. 1 Beach in North America by beach expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman. Its powdered sugar sands and island amenities offer serenity and comfort in a tropical setting. But there's also plenty of beach to enjoy on Longboat Key, Casey Key and Lido Key, Venice and Englewood. Sarasota boasts 13 public beaches along Florida's southwest coast.

When John Ringling brought his circus to town in the early part of the 20th century, his love of the arts and discriminating taste came with him, which helped to mold Sarasota into the internationally acclaimed cultural destination it is today.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art houses 600 Baroque masterpieces and a collection of Peter Paul Rubens' work that is considered the finest in the world, and his historic mansion is an architectural masterpiece. Also located on the estate is the Asolo Theater, a genuine 18th century palace playhouse originally constructed and used in Asolo, Italy. Ringling had the theater carefully dismantled, shipped and reassembled in Sarasota, where it now serves as a state theater housing a world-class repertory company.

Sarasota thriving downtown theater district includes the Sarasota Opera House, the Banyan Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, the Golden Apple Dinner Theater and the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida. And there are galleries, too, such as Art Uptown and Artisans" World Marketplace, to name a few.

Sarasota's culinary offerings are no less stellar. This coastal community's international flavor and love of culture have enticed chefs and sommeliers from around the world to call Sarasota home. And their award-winning restaurants offer everything from European fare to Indian flavor, surfside seafood to submarine sandwiches.

Florida Medical Retreat Partner Hospital Receives Highest Possible Rating in 23 Specialties

Patients treated at 5-Star Hospitals have 73% lower chance of death and are 63% less likely to experience complications compared to 1-Star Hospitals

Sarasota, FL (Oct. 18, 2011) – A report released today by HealthGrades, the nation’s most trusted, independent source of physician information and hospital quality ratings, named Sarasota Memorial Hospital 5-star rated in 23 specialty areas. Choosing a hospital can be a life or death decision. HealthGrades report found that patients treated at 5-star rated hospitals experience a 73% lower risk of mortality and a 63% lower risk of complications compared to 1-star rated hospitals. “We’re very proud to be awarded five stars in so many specialties,” said Sarasota Memorial CEO Gwen MacKenzie. “It is a testament to the commitment and caliber of our physicians and health care team who are working hard to save lives every day. The recognition is heartening, but at the end of the day, what makes us most proud is how our patients feel, and we want them to feel better just knowing we’re here.”

“Patients today have a wide array options when it comes to choosing a healthcare provider,” said Kerry Hicks, HealthGrades chief executive officer. “At HealthGrades, we are proud to have led the way for empowering patient choice based on objective clinical outcomes and access to actionable quality measures. We commend Sarasota Memorial Hospital for its superior quality and support of consumerism and transparency in the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg area.”

In addition to the Five-Star ratings below, earlier this year Sarasota Memorial was awarded HealthGrades three most prestigious overall quality awards for 2011– America’s 50 Best Hospitals (top 1% for quality & safety), Patient Safety Excellence Award (top 5% for patient safety) and Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence (top 5% for clinical excellence). • Five-Star Rated for Emergency Medicine for 2 Years in a Row (2010-2011)
• Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Heart Attack for 10 Years in a Row (2003-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Heart Failure for 10 Years in a Row (2003-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Overall Orthopedic Services in 2012
• Five-Star Rated for Spine Surgery for 7 Years in a Row (2006-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Hip Fracture Treatment in 2012
• Five-Star Rated for Back and Neck Surgery (except Spinal Fusion) in 2012
• Five-Star Rated for Back and Neck Surgery (Spinal Fusion) for 8 Years in a Row (2005-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Neurosciences in 2012
• Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Stroke for 10 Years in a Row (2003-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Overall Pulmonary Services for 4 Years in a Row (2009-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Pneumonia for 10 Years in a Row (2003-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Peripheral Vascular Bypass in 2012
• Five-Star Rated for General Surgery in 2012
• Five-Star Rated for GI Procedures and Surgeries for 3 Years in a Row (2010-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Treatment of GI Bleed for 9 Years in a Row (2004-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) in 2012
• Five-Star Rated for Overall Critical Care for 3 Years in a Row (2010-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Sepsis for 9 Years in a Row (2004-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Pulmonary Embolism for 3 Years in a Row (2010-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Treatment of Respiratory Failure for 3 Years in a Row (2010-2012)
• Five-Star Rated for Maternity Care for 9 Years in a Row (2003-2011)
• Five-Star Rated for Women's Health for 9 Years in a Row (2003-2011)

Key findings of the HealthGrades 2011 Healthcare Consumerism and Hospital Quality in America report include:

Patients had, on average a 73% lower risk of dying in a 5-star rated hospital compared to a 1-star rated hospital, and a 54% lower risk of dying in a 5-star rated hospital compared to the national average.

Patients had, on average, were 63% less likely to experience in-hospital complications than patients at 1-star programs, and had a 43% lower chance of developing an in-hospital complication than the national average.

If all Medicare patients from 2008 through 2010 had been treated at 5-star hospitals, 240,040 lives could have potentially been saved.

If all Medicare patients from 2008 through 2010 had gone to 5-star hospitals for their procedure, 164,472 in-hospital complications could have potentially been avoided.

The new 5-star study released today analyzed the mortality and complication rates for a variety of procedures and diagnoses at 5,000 U.S. hospitals. A 5-star rating means the hospital outperformed the national average to a statistically significant degree. A quality comparison of doctors and hospitals in the Tampa-St Petersburg area can be found online at HealthGrades.com http://www.topcities.healthgrades.com/ratings/tampa-stpetersburg-fl

Florida Medical Retreat is proud to have Sarasota Memorial  Healthcare System in our partnership!

Exceeding Expectations with both Inbound and Domestic Medical Tourism

Not only American citizens understand the value of the medical treatments available across state borderlines. International patients from all around the world also appreciate America’s reputation of great healthcare, and have for decades. This is known as inbound medical tourism, when foreigners enter the U.S. for medical treatment. According to the Department of Health Systems Management, it is estimated that between 43,000 and 103,000 foreigners came to the U.S. for treatment in 2007.

In general, quality assurance is a draw for international patients. They seek accessibility to the best technology available for their treatments & procedures along with the services of highly developed, concierge-like international patient departments. The U.S. is home to a number of world-renowned hospitals, physicians and surgeons, and patients with the means to do so will travel to the U.S. seeking a specific name; University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic, Mount Sinai Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

There are a number of issues to consider when receiving foreign patients. It is imperative for hospitals to understand and prepare for the cultural and linguistic obstacles they will face. For this reason, most hospitals have an international patient department which works to make foreign patients feel welcome.  The international patient department provides both onsite and offsite services. First, it creates marketing plans specific to each country from which it hopes to attract patients. It will also offer assistance with visas, travel planning, accommodation reservations, tours and other activities. The department will also review payment options with the patients and help them finalize their choice. Additionally, the department offers a variety of in-hospital support. One of the main considerations are language barriers, so hospitals will often have specific reception offices staffed with employees who are fluent in the patients’ language along with educational materials and customized welcome packages. They might also have medical and registration forms translated into the language as well. Some hospitals also have doctors and nurses who speak the language and/or have a highly developed interpretation program.

It is extremely important to make these patients feel comfortable in this new environment. As much as a hospital relies on its reputation to attract patients, it also relies on word-of-mouth marketing, which remains the strongest influencer of the purchasing of all products and services in the world according to a study by Bazaarvoice, a social marketing leader. If patients have a good experience, they will pass that on to their family and friends back home. The international patient departments will thus often have an orientation session with the patient and physician to ease any concerns of the unfamiliar before any treatment is administered.

The use of a Certified Medical Tourism Facilitator is highly recommended. They are able to connect international patients with top facilities and providers in the U.S. for services and procedures and treatments such as joint replacements, cardiac care and spinal surgeries. They communicate directly with doctors to insure the best quality of care is ensured to the patient and provide clarity to their concerns before and after treatment.

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Florida Medical Retreat provides assistance to those looking for first-class medical care in the US. Our surgeons have experience at: Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, Columbia University, Yale and Vanderbuilt University to name a few. To learn more visit www.floridamedicalretreat.com or call today!

Canadian Snowbirds: Tips for Extended Visit to the United States

Every winter, active adult snowbirds, flock from northern climates to America’s warmer southern regions. While many of these retirees are coming from the northern United States, some of them hail from neighboring Canada.

Though Canadian snowbirds share much in common with their American counterparts, crossing the border brings additional concerns. Doug Gordon is one Canadian snowbird who has been wintering in the United States for the past eight years. While Doug and his wife have enjoyed their winter visits to Arizona and California, they are careful not to stay longer than the allowed 182 days per year. If they were to exceed this limit, they would be required to pay taxes in both countries.

Like many snowbirds, Doug acknowledges, “[The taxes] would be a kind contribution for allowing us to hunker down under the wonderful California sun for the winter, but we choose to count the days.” While they can appreciate the reasons behind the laws, double taxation is a cost that most snowbirds cannot afford. Fortunately, these extra taxes can be avoided by staying only as long as allowed by law.

Canadians who visit the United States for less than 30 days in a calendar year are simple “visitors” and do not have to worry about taxes. If a Canadian’s visit extends more than 182 days in a calendar year, he is considered a “resident alien” for tax purposes and must file a regular U.S. tax return. Canadian snowbirds whose visits fall between 30 and 183 days in a single calendar year still may meet the criteria for having a “substantial presence” in the United States.

Through organizations like the Canadian Snowbird Association information found online, and the help of fellow travelers, Canadian snowbirds can learn how to accomplish their dreams of wintering in a warm climate. With a little planning, it is easy for snowbirds to divide their time between two homes, even if those homes happen to be in different countries.

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Tennis Elbow The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Christopher R. Sforzo, M.D.

Board Certified – Fellowship Trained Orthopaedic Surgeon

Unfortunately, tennis elbow affects many of us. Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is the most common injury in patients seeking medical attention with the complaint of elbow pain. Tennis elbow occurs in men and women equally, and on the dominant side 75% of the time. The typical age to get tennis elbow is between 35 and 65 years old.

It is thought that the problem occurs because of small, irreparable tears in the tendon that cocks up the wrist. Pain over the outside of the elbow is the most common symptom, which is where this tendon begins. This same tendon (called the extensor carpi radialis brevis or ECRB) also shares its origin with the common finger extensor tendons, which straighten the fingers out. Thus, it is not uncommon for the pain to extend down the top of the forearm to the wrist and hand. Usually my patients describe the pain when they are lifting things, especially away from their body, with the forearm turned palm down and the wrist flexed, or bent towards the palm side. Some pain can even be at rest and feel very intense like a burning or stabbing pain. The pain associated with tennis elbow usually has a gradual onset, but may also come on suddenly. Numbness is not associated with tennis elbow.

Tennis elbow is typically seen in manual laborers (plummers, painters, gardeners, and carpenters) or those involved in racquet sports. Probably 1/3 of regular tennis players experience tennis elbow at some point in their career. In addition to racquet sports, tennis elbow is seen in golfers, fencers, and other sports participants. However, the total number of patients who are tennis players is less than 10 %. It is not common for professional tennis players to get tennis elbow, as you will never see anyone at Wimbledon with a tennis elbow strap on! This is probably due to poor stroke mechanics in the everyday player, whereby the wrist is bent and then extends when striking the ball during the backhand. This puts tremendous strain on the ECRB, and with each stroke, exacerbates the problem. Other contributing factors include striking the ball off the “sweet spot” of the racquet, improper grip size, and over-tensioned tennis strings. Playing on harder surfaces also increases the risk of developing tennis elbow.

Other causes of pain over the outside of the elbow include instability of the joint, elbow arthritis, and radial tunnel syndrome. The symptoms of these conditions are usually distinct, but in some cases they can be confusing. X-rays of patients who have the diagnosis of tennis elbow are almost always normal. Other studies such as an EMG or MRI are only obtained if there is confusion about the diagnosis.

Before surgery is considered, a trial of at least six months of conservative treatment is indicated and consists of a properly placed forearm or wrist brace and modification of elbow activities. I have not found anti-inflammatory medication or physical therapy to be of significant value, although both can be used if desired. If the above treatment is not helpful, a cortisone injection can be beneficial but no more than three or four injections are recommended in any one location in a year.

Conservative treatment is in two phases. Phase I (pain relief): consists of activity modification, bracing, cortisone injections, and possibly anti-inflammatories and/or physical therapy. Phase II (prevention of recurrence): is equally as important and involves stretching and then later strengthening exercises, proper tennis form, grip size, and string tensioning, so the micro tears will not occur in the future. Stroke mechanics should be evaluated to ensure patients are hitting the ball in the center of the racquet and players should not lead the racquet with a flexed elbow. I will often encourage my patients to see a tennis pro/instructor for a swing and racquet evaluation. Approximately 70% of patients will be symptom free regardless of treatment in one year after symptoms begin.

Some newer treatments that have been described include extracorporeal shock wave therapy andautologous blood injection. Shockwave therapy is a controversial treatment option for tennis elbow and recent studies have not shown it to be of any benefit. A recent article in the Journal of Hand Surgery reported the results of a small group of patients who underwent injection of their own blood into the location of lateral epicondylitis. More investigation is needed before this should be considered a standard treatment.

When conservative treatment has failed, usually after 6 months, then surgery is discussed. Many procedures have been described. Procedures as simple as percutaneous release of the tendon off of the bone have been described and more recently arthroscopic procedures or other procedures involving the joint and resection of a ligament as well have been described.

The most popular procedure today is a simple excision of diseased tissue from within the tendon, shaving down the bone and re-attachment of the tendon. This can be performed as an outpatient procedure with regional anesthesia (where only the arm goes to sleep) and through a relatively small incision of approximately 3” long. After surgery, a sterile bandage and splint is placed on the elbow. Patients will remain in a splint for about one week to allow the incision to heal. After that point, the splint is removed, and the patient can begin gentle motion of the wrist and elbow. 85-90% of patients with this technique are typically able to perform full activities without pain after a recuperation of two to three months. Approximately 10-12% of patients have improvement but with some pain during aggressive activities and only 2-3% of patients have no improvement.

Tennis elbow is a very common and disabling problem. It is one of the most common conditions I see in my practice, and can sometimes be the most frustrating because of the persistence or recurrence of symptoms. Thankfully, only a small percentage of patients go on to need surgery. However, until the pain is under control, it can greatly curtail your active lifestyle.

Christopher R. Sforzo, M.D. is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in disorders of the hand, wrist, shoulder, and elbow. Dr. Sforzo is also a member of Florida Medical Retreat. For more information call: (941) 504-9543 or visit www.floridamedicalretreat.com

Air Canada serves Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport

Florida Medical Retreat located in Sarasota, Florida is easily accessed from Toronto and Montreal with direct flights on Air Canada. Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport offers convenient access to FMR physicians, hospitals, luxury accommodations and premiere rehab facilities. Airport transfers arranged or rental car special rates available.

For more information, call (941) 504-9543 or  visit www.floridamedicalretreat.com


No Vacancy: Ontario Health Coalition Finds Hospital Overcrowding at Untenable Levels

A new report, “No Vacancy: Hospital Overcrowding in Ontario, Impact on Patient Safety and Access to Care” released on July 21, 2011 finds that Ontario has the fewest hospital beds per person of all provinces in Canada. The result is serious hospital overcrowding that puts patients at risk.

Among the report’s key findings:

§ More than 18,500 hospital beds have been closed since 1990.

§ Ontario’s hospital occupancy rate is 97.8%, compared to average occupancy rates of 75% in the OECD and 68.2% in the United States.

§ Ontario has the fewest hospital beds per person of any province in Canada.

§ Ontario is fourth last in the OECD in numbers of hospital beds per person, followed only by Turkey, Chile and Mexico. In fact, Ontario has half the number of hospital beds per person compared to the OECD average. (Ontario is at 2.5 hospital beds per 1,000 population. OECD average excluding Canada is 5.2 hospital beds per 1000 population.)

§ Hospital bed cuts have not been offset by increases in care outside of hospitals. Approximately 10,000 people are on wait lists for home care in Ontario and more than 23,000 people are on wait lists for long term care homes.

§ Alternate Level of Care patients number 4,093 across Ontario, but 911 of these patients are waiting for care in hospital. Of the 3,182 waiting for care outside of hospital, 2,271 are waiting for a space in a long term care home and 196 are waiting for home care. Even if all Alternate Level of Care patients were discharged, Ontario would still have hospital occupancy rates far higher than other comparable jurisdictions.


The consequences of overcrowded hospitals include

o Overcrowded emergency departments

o Cancelled surgeries

o Coercive tactics used to force patients out of hospital against their choice

o Inappropriate staffing ratios

o Increased hospital-acquired infections

o Poorer health outcomes and increased mortality rates


“Ontario’s hospital occupancy levels are at untenable levels, far above other comparable jurisdictions. For patients, this means a higher risk of hospital infections, cancelled surgeries, backlogged ERs, not enough staff, and patients waiting on stretchers for hours or even days,” said Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “Yet Ontario has not done a systematic study to assess hospital occupancy and determine the appropriate number of hospital beds needed.”

Florida Medical Retreat offers solutions to those looking to have immediate attention for their medical needs. Our Board Certified physicians offer state of the art medical care. Our award winning hospitals and rehabilitation facilities provide first-class medical attention. For a full list of specialties and to speak to your personal Patient Care Coordinator call Florida Medical Retreat. (941) 504-9543 or visit www.floridamedicalretreat.com.

Original post: Ontario Health Coalition, July 21, 2011

Florida Medical Retreat Radiation Oncologist Dr. Sylvester appointed to US Radiation Oncololy Board

Dr. John Sylvester, Radiation Oncologist, and member of Florida Medical Retreat, will be attending the  the 53rd annual American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) conference this coming week.

Dr. Sylvester has been invited to (and accepted) the U.S. Radiation Oncology Advisory Board to discuss the newest radio-isotope – Alpharadin. In a new study from the U.K. it has shown an improvement in overall survival in patients with metastatic prostate cancer. Side effects are minimal. It is being fast-tracked by the FDA. Many experts feel this is a “game changer” for metastatic prostate cancer.

Over the past 2 decades Dr. Sylvester has performed over 3,500 prostate brachytherapy procedures. He has developed, and assisted in the development, of several technical improvements in the procedure, including how to better visualize the urethra during the procedure and how to optimally uitlize R.A.P.I.D. strand.

For more information please contact Florida Medical Retreat.


Are you caring for a spouse or partner with Alzheimer’s disease?

Are you caring for a spouse or partner with Alzheimer’s disease? You are not alone. It is estimated that in Sarasota County, 1 in 18 people is impacted by dementia. The Memory Disorder Clinic at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Jewish Family and Children’s Services are involved in a research project funded through a federal grant from the Administration on Aging called the Sarasota Caregiver Counseling and Support Program (SCCSP).

SCCSP is a project targeting the needs of those caring for a spouse or partner with Alzheimer’s disease. The goals of the SCCSP Program are to reduce caregiver stress and increase coping skills through individual and family meetings, connections to local resources, and free respite.

Participation in the SCCSP Program is open to Sarasota and Manatee County residents who are caring for a spouse or partner with Alzheimer’s Disease.  For more information about this free program, contact Sarasota Memorial’s Memory Disorder Clinic at 917-7197.

National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week

What: An estimated three-quarters of a million Americans carry an inherited BRCA (breast/ovarian cancer) genetic mutation, but nearly 90 percent of these individuals don’t know about their risk. Today is National Previvor Day – established last year during the first ever National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Week – to help change that. HBOC Week marks the transition between National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and recognizes anyone affected by hereditary breast or ovarian cancer, including women and men with BRCA mutations, people with a family history of cancer, breast and ovarian cancer survivors, and previvors, individuals who carry a strong predisposition to cancer but have not developed the disease.   

When: HBOC Week runs Sept. 25-Oct. 2 /  Previvor Day is Sept. 28

Program information: If you are a woman and have a sister, mother, or aunt who died from breast or ovarian cancer, chances are you have thought to yourself ‘am I at risk?’  Although just 5-10 percent of all cancers are hereditary, experts agree that certain patterns of family history or genetic alterations passed from generation to generation can be important flags to take your cancer risk more seriously.
Genetic Counseling
Taking a closer look at your family history is the first step to assessing your hereditary cancer risk and can be done with or without genetic testing. Sarasota Memorial Hospital offers the only hospital-based Genetic Education Program in the region. It’s board-certified genetic counselor (a master’s degree level clinician with special training in genetics) can help you review your family medical history, complete a personal cancer risk assessment and provide the most current research on hereditary cancers.

Genetic Testing
During your appointment, genetic counselors also will discuss the benefits, risks, limitations and costs of genetic testing. Sometimes genetic testing can help further define an individual’s hereditary cancer risk. Testing typically involves a blood test. Results are used to quantify your risks, develop cancer screening options, evaluate possible participation in optional clinical trials/research studies and make referrals to specialists and services that may be of help to you and your family.

“Knowing your cancer risk – and doing everything you can to lower it – could make a big difference for you, your family and your future healthcare decisions,” Cristi Radford, said Sarasota Memorial s Genetic Education Program Coordinator Cristi Radford, the only certified genetic counselor specializing in oncology between Tampa and Fort Myers. “If you are at risk for hereditary cancer, you and your doctor can take steps to reduce it, detect cancer in its most treatable stages – or better yet, possibly prevent it from occurring at all.”

Personal & Confidential
Deciding to pursue genetic testing is a personal decision and may have implications for your entire family. All visits, family information, results and counseling remains confidential. A physician referral is not required to participate in the program, but some insurance companies may require a referral in order to cover the cost of the service. For more information, call Sarasota Memorial’s Genetic Counseling Program at 917-2005.

Doctor's Hospital of Sarasota takes home Greeen to Gold Award!

Congratulations to Doctor's Hospital of Sarasota for winning the Green To Gold Award at the 2011 Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County's Hall of Fame Award! It was a fantastic event which showcased Industry Awards for: Innovation, Creativity, Green to Gold, Entrepreneurship and Manufacturing. For a full list of winners visit www.edcsarasotacounty.com.



Dr. Edward Stolarski appointment to Chief of Orthopedics and Vice Chair of Surgery at Doctors Hospital

Florida Medical Retreat is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Edward Stolarski of Kennedy-White Orthopaedic Center to Chief of Orthpedics and Vice Chair of Surgery at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota. 

Dr. Edward Stolarski is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, ACGME accredited Adult Reconstruction Fellowship trained, National and International surgeon educator on Anterior total hip and revision surgery. Dr. Stolarski has published several articles and textbook chapters in orthopedic literature.

For more information on Dr. Stolarski please contact Florida Medical Retreat.


Dinner with the Doctor at Doctor Hospital of Sarasota

Dr. Edward Stolarski will be speaking on the exciting developments in Hip and Knee Replacement Surgery on Thursday, September 22nd from 5:30-6:30pm. The seminar will be held at the Medical Office Building, Auditorium. 5741 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL 34233.

Dinner will be served and the seminar is free. Seating is limited.

Call 1-888-685-1596 to make your reservation.

Project to Harmonize Health Research Guidelines

A Project to harmonize health research guidelines has been launched by the Health Improvement Institute (HII) in partnership with the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC).

"Over the years, different authors have been concerned about the quality of the medical literature, and hence, of health research. These concerns encompass the accessibility, relevance, and validity of research results. But, to date, there has been little effort to assure the quality of research designs and even less effort to measure studies' success," said Dr. Peter G. Goldschmidt, president of HII. "We believe that the time is now right for a project to establish a sustainable mechanism 1) to harmonize worldwide guidelines for health research, and 2) to promote their use in policy decision-making, practice, education, and research itself."

Project objectives are: 1) to establish an arrangements development committee, 2) to institute a sustainable mechanism to achieve the plan's purpose, 3) to create a map to define the scope of potential harmonization, 4) to inventory guidelines' elements, and 5) to develop consensus-based guidelines for guidelines.

To chart the way forward, an initial meeting of the arrangements development committee will be held in November, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. Its objectives are 1) to facilitate reaching agreement on organizational arrangements for a sustainable mechanism to harmonize health research guidelines, such as establishing a guideline harmonization organization, 2) to identity governance & funding of such mechanism, 3) to create resources that are needed to harmonize and to maintain worldwide guidelines for health research, 4) to establish a database of relevant guidelines and metrics, and 5) to promote marketing and uptake of health research guidelines. Experts -- representing every relevant aspect of the research enterprise, including guidelines developers, guidelines users (such as biopharmaceutical companies, academic researchers), and guideline use-facilitators (such as regulatory agencies and accrediting organizations) -- will be invited to participate in this initial meeting.

For more information about Project/meeting, please contact the Project Coordinator at 301-320-0965 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Health Improvement Institute (HII) is a non-profit, tax exempt, 501(c)3, charitable organization dedicated to improving the quality and productivity of America's health care. The Institute conducts workshops and sponsors national awards programs to recognize excellence, including the Aesculapius Award (for health communications) and Award for Excellence in Human Research Protection. For more information, visit http://www.hii.org.

Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) is a global, open, multidisciplinary, non-profit organization that develops and supports global, platform-independent data standards that enable information system interoperability to improve medical research and related areas of healthcare. The CDISC vision is "informing patient care and safety through higher quality medical research."



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