National Health Center Week
Healthcare Hero of the Year

 

Congratulations to Dr. Amy Marsteller for being voted the people’s choice for Healthcare Hero of the Year 2018!

Quality

Amy Marsteller, MD
Family Medicine

Dr. Amy Marsteller’s quick diagnosis is the reason her patient is still here today.


Matt is a 43-year-old patient who established care with Dr. Amy Marsteller at the Valley Health – East Huntington location. Matt’s decision to see Dr. Marsteller was predicated by the loss of over 20 pounds in a three week period and approximately 50 pounds total. Food would often get stuck in Matt’s throat causing frequent incidences of choking, gagging and vomiting.

Knowing that these symptoms could range from a mild to serious condition, Dr. Marsteller ordered a routine assessment panel. It would have been reasonable for her at this point to have provided orders, prescribed medication, and scheduled a follow up if symptoms persisted. But, Dr. Marsteller took the time to listen to Matt’s primary complaint and made the decision to make an immediate referral to a gastroenterologist. She recommended an EGD, which is a scope of the esophagus and stomach. As a result of the EGD, Matt was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. A tumor was blocking a significant portion of his lower esophagus and opening into his stomach. On the day of his scope, Dr. Marsteller met with him to explain the diagnosis, answer his questions and discuss treatment options even though it was her day off.

Since the diagnosis was made, Dr. Marsteller has continued to participate in Matt’s care and follow his journey for treatment at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The staff at Valley Health – East Huntington also continues the battle with Matt and surprised him at a recent office visit by purchasing and wearing tee-shirts labeled “Gang Greene” in support of his treatment. As a leader in quality care, Dr. Marsteller’s thorough evaluation helped guide Matt to the treatment he’s currently receiving. If the condition had not been diagnosed in such a timely fashion, Matt doesn’t know if he would still be here today.

Teamwork

David Whitmore, DO
Family Medicine

Dr. David Whitmore’s thorough evaluation of a commonly seen illness puts the patient on track to treatment.


Ciara is a 27-year-old QuickCare walk-in patient of Dr. David Whitmore at Valley Health – Huntington. She was complaining of a sore throat, sinus pain and runny nose that she had been experiencing for approximately one week. The case seemed routine and could have been easily dismissed as one of a variety of common throat and upper respiratory infections. However, during the physical exam, Dr. Whitmore noticed what appeared to be a lump on the lower front area of her neck and was suspicious that it might be related to a thyroid problem. Instead of referring Ciara back to a primary care doctor or rescheduling her for an additional workup, he treated her presenting complaint and also ordered an ultrasound of her thyroid to further assess the lump.

Soon after Ciara had the ultrasound, Dr. Whitmore received a concerning report that she had suspicious masses on both sides of her thyroid gland that would need to be biopsied. Ciara was immediately referred to the ear, nose, and throat surgeons at Valley Health – ENT for further evaluation. She was unable to make the subsequent follow-up appointment. Knowing that follow-up treatment for Ciara was highly important, the offices of Valley Health – Huntington and Valley Health – ENT were diligent. They sent a total of nine correspondences to Ciara until she was finally seen at Valley Health – ENT. A biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Ciara had surgery to successfully remove the cancerous tumors from her thyroid gland. With chemotherapy treatments and thyroid replacement medication, she is doing well today and has a good prognosis.

In the case of Ciara, the situation could have easily gone undetected if not for the attention provided by Dr. Whitmore at her walk-in sick visit during QuickCare hours. Furthermore, without the persistence of the staff at both Valley Health – Huntington and Valley Health – ENT, the patient may have slipped through the cracks, causing her condition to progress to a point where serious long-term health consequences would have been unavoidable. She is a testament to the teamwork provided by Valley Health.

Advocacy

Alvin Ginier, OD
Optometry

Dr. Alvin Ginier and the optometry team advocate for access to advanced eye care for a young patient.


Joshie is a nine-year-old patient who presented for an eye exam with Dr. Alvin Ginier at Valley Health – East Huntington. Joshie’s mother had concerns about his eye looking different at times. He was also experiencing blurred vision and visual disturbances. Upon examining Joshie, Dr. Ginier observed decreased eye motion as well as a large lesion in the affected eye after dilation. The immediate concern was for a condition known as retinoblastoma, which would require urgent intervention and likely cause surgical removal of the eye to preserve the child’s health.

Due to the family’s insurance plan, Dr. Ginier was struggling to locate an eye surgeon who would accept Joshie as a patient. He did locate another eye care professional to provide a second clinical opinion, and that provider also agreed with Dr. Ginier’s suspicion of a retinoblastoma. Dr. Ginier was unable to locate an eye surgeon anywhere in the region who could help in this case. The Valley Health team continued to search on behalf of the patient and came across the team at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Joshie was referred to St. Jude’s, and the initial assessment also concluded that the patient had a retinoblastoma. However, the day before he was scheduled to have his eye surgically removed, four members of the pediatric ophthalmology team conducted one last detailed exam. As a result, the diagnosis was changed from a retinoblastoma to toxoplasmosis, a condition predicated by a parasitic infection.

After treatment at St. Jude’s, Joshie and his mother were able to return home and continue routine care and treatment with Dr. Ginier. The access to such high quality care is largely due to the advocacy displayed by Dr. Ginier and his eye care team. As a group, they went above and beyond not only to identify a serious health problem, but to search a multi-state area to find world-class treatment and specialists to address Joshie’s condition – ultimately without surgery. Joshie’s mother referred to Dr. Ginier as a Godsend, and even reported that he and his team went so far as to provide money out of their own pockets to assist with travel and expenses. Valley Health is fortunate to have providers who truly put patients first.