Rosary Hall offering a free educational session on addiction

by Editor Thursday, December 22, 2016

Does a loved one use heroin, pain pills, marijuana, alcohol or other drugs? If so, there is help and there is hope. If you are concerned, plan to attend our FREE educational sessions held the second and fourth Saturday of the month, beginning January 14, 2017.

Addiction is a brain disease that can be treated. Our educational sessions, held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Rosary Hall, located on the second floor of the West Administration Building on the St. Vincent Charity campus, will help families better understand addiction.

Complimentary parking is available. Lunch is NOT included, but is available in the hospital cafeteria.

Registration is required. Please call Joyce Pleasant at 216-363-2609 or 216-363-2580 ext. 4 to register. You can also email


Dr. Rob McLain discusses spinal fusion: What is it and when is the right choice?

by Editor Friday, May 22, 2015

Patients with spinal problems that result from “wear and tear” of the spine may experience back pain, leg pain, or a combination of the two.  Many patients experience back pain as their primary symptom. Sometimes this pain is severe and disabling, sometimes dull and constant, and most times it’s aggravated by activity. Less frequently, but still pretty often, patients experience leg pain, a burning or tingling sensation running down the thigh or calf towards the foot, sometimes associated with muscular weakness. Some patients are unlucky enough to have both. 

Which of these pain patterns a patient has determines more about their evaluation, treatment, and prognosis for recovery than does any other aspect of care. So, the most important question your doctor will ask you really is, “Where does it hurt?”

The Causes of Back Pain

The type of pain that any individual experiences is determined by the cause of the pain, and the location of the pain generator – the actual structure or tissue that is generating pain signals.

Back pain often results from several things happening at once. Often there is an underlying level of “wear and tear” that has been worsening for years. The disc may have degenerated, or the small facet joints may have become arthritic. Perhaps there was a direct injury to the back resulting in fracture or ligament injury. On top of these issues, the back muscles may have gotten out of shape, and can no longer do their job without going into spasm. And all of these issues are made worse by inflammation.

Now imagine trying to provide one simple treatment that will fix all of those problems at the same time. 

There isn’t one. And fusion certainly won’t cover all of these bases. If used for the wrong problem a fusion won’t help and may even hurt. So the first important rule is that fusion will only be really effective if it is used in just the right circumstances.

Which fusion is right for you?

Fusion is the cornerstone to surgical treatment of back pain. Fusion allows us to correct alignment of degenerated segments and stop abnormal motion that can trigger pain and muscle spasm. Fusion is very effective at reducing back pain if that pain is caused by deformity, disc degeneration or instability. However, (second rule), even in cases of instability fusion is never the first thing we try.

In fusion, the surgeon tries to confuse the body’s normal repair process: by removing the outer shell of bone (the cortex) and exposing the inner portion (the cancellous bone) the body is convinced that the spinal elements have been fractured. The normal healing response is triggered as the body seeks to heal the “fractured” parts.

A posterolateral lumbar fusion – an approach from behind - has been used to treat thoracolumbar and lumbar instability caused by fractures, disc degeneration, or spondylolisthesis, and has been used successfully in treating lumbar disc disease and disc-related pain. 

An anterior interbody fusion – an approach through the front - involves growing bone from one vertebral body to the next, around or through a cage placed between the two. There are several variations on these themes. So (third rule) not all fusions are the same: the approach selected depends on what your underlying problem is and what your surgeon hopes to accomplish.

The important point is that, if back pain arises from mechanical instability or specific disc-related problems, a carefully planned and performed fusion can be the best solution for you.

Hear more from Dr. Rob McLain and sign up to receive more information from our Spine and Orthopedic Institute at



St. Vincent Charity gets 4-star rating from CMS

by Editor Friday, April 24, 2015

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its first-ever hospital ratings and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center was one of a handful in Northeast Ohio to achieve a 4-star rating. The highest possible rating is 5 stars, but only 251 of the nation's 3,500 hospitals achieved the highest possible rating, none of those were in Northeast Ohio.

The Hospital Compare star ratings relate to patients’ experience of care at almost 3,500 Medicare-certified acute care hospitals. The ratings are based on data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (HCAHPS) measures that are included in Hospital Compare. HCAHPS has been in use since 2006 to measure patients’ perspectives of hospital care, and includes topics like:

•           How well nurses and doctors communicated with patients

•           How responsive hospital staff were to patient needs

•           How clean and quiet hospital environments were

•           How well patients were prepared for post-hospital settings

“The patient experience Star Ratings will make it easier for consumers to use the information on the Hospital Compare website and spotlight excellence in health care quality,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator for CMS and Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality. “These star ratings also encourage hospitals and clinicians to strive to continuously improve the patient experience and quality of care delivered to all patients.”

Modern Healthcare magazine reports on the results in its latest issue. "This speaks to the tremendous effort our caregivers and physicians deliver daily to our patients," said David F. Perse, MD, president and CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. "We are proud that our patient satisfaction scores consistently rank above the 80th percentile. That success is built on the efforts of everyone involved in the patient experience."

Helpful tips for sticking with your New Year's resolution

by Editor Friday, January 09, 2015


The St. Vincent Charity Wellness Committee is focused on helping everyone keep their New Year’s resolutions. Each week we will be sharing helpful tips for sticking with some of the more common New Year’s resolutions. Up this week is the ever popular – weight loss! Here are a few basic facts and tips to get 2015 started on a healthy note.

There is no one perfect way to lose weight.  What works for one person may not work for another.  But there are some common practices that have helped people successfully lost weight and kept it off.

  • 78% eat breakfast daily
  • 75% weigh themselves at least once a week
  • 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV a week
  • 90% exercise on average at least 60 minutes a day

When these same people were asked how they lost weight almost everyone (95%) said that they modified their food intake and increased their activity level. The most common activity was walking! Basically, they ate less, or healthier, and were more active. 

Plan and Set Goals

To be successful you need to have a plan of how you are going to accomplish your goal. Goal setting is important –people who set goals were more likely to lose weight. Make the goal measurable and realistic. Support is an important weight loss tool as well. Support could be teaming up with a friend or family member, or letting those around you know your plan so they can be supportive and encouraging. 

Make good choices

  • Eat regular meals and eat at home as much as possible.  Our bodies like to be fed every 3-4 hours. This keeps your metabolism running at its best.  When you eat at home you know what you are eating and how it was prepared. Restaurant food is notoriously high in calories and fat.
  •  Track what you are eating. It is so easy to over eat in our supersized world. Keeping a food diary can help you get a handle on what and how much you are eating so you know what needs to be changed. This is easy to do with apps that are available on smart phones.A great, free app to try is My Fitness Pal. 
  •  Limit your intake of processed foods. Read the label – if you can’t pronounce the ingredients put it back! If your grandparents wouldn’t recognize it as food you probably shouldn’t be eating it. 
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They provide a lot of nutrients and are low in calories.
  • Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses. This can work! Many studies have proven that people will eat less if given smaller plates. They will also drink less out of tall, skinny glass rather than a short, wide glass.



Area hospitals and public health team up to Focus on Flu

by Editor Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 30, 2014, Cleveland: At a time when Americans are fixated on the speculative threat of Ebola, Cleveland’s healthcare community wants to remind people to protect themselves against a tangible threat that kills 3,000 to 49,000 Americans annually – influenza.

The Focus On Flu campaign is supported by The City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Department of Public Health, Cleveland Clinic, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, The MetroHealth System, the Sisters of Charity Health System, and University Hospitals (UH). It is designed to inform residents about the real dangers of influenza, the importance of flu vaccinations and where to find flu shots or the nasal spray vaccine.

“We are all walking through a very difficult time and we know that Ebola is a very dangerous disease. However, there are many other infectious diseases and these are treatable and preventable. That is why I am asking each of you, if you have not yet, go and get your flu shot today,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. “Do your part!”

The best protection against the flu is vaccination. The CDC recommends an annual flu shot for everyone six months of age and older.

“Getting a flu shot is one of the best things that you can do for your health,” said Michael Anderson, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of University Hospitals Case Medical Center.  “It not only offers personal protection to an individual, it also helps stop the spread of the flu to other people – family members, friends, co-workers.  I cannot stress enough the importance of getting a flu shot.”


The Focus On Flu website ( will list local flu clinics being provided by each of the campaign’s partners, including free and reduced-cost vaccinations, in addition to important links and information about influenza.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity is still low for the 2014-2015 flu season, but flu cases often begin to increase in October and November, peaking in December, January and February. While each flu season is different and difficult to predict, over the last 30 years flu-associated deaths in the U.S. ranged from 3,000 to 49,000 people. The 2009-10 flu season, which included an outbreak of the H1N1 strain, resulted in 54,000 deaths from flu and pneumonia.

“Nearly 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year because of the flu and less than half of all Americans get vaccinated. We need to protect our community against the highly contagious influenza virus,” said Toby Cosgrove, M.D., president and CEO, Cleveland Clinic. “As we prepare for a possible, but unlikely Ebola outbreak, we need to prevent the flu and flu-like symptoms, which will go a long way toward reducing public concern.

In addition to getting vaccinated, preventive actions also can reduce the spread of influenza: Wash your hands often. Avoid close contact with sick people. Stay home from work or school if you are sick with the flu. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

“We need everyone in our community to help prevent the spread of flu,” said Akram Boutros, M.D., president and CEO of The MetroHealth System. “Coughing into your sleeve and constantly washing your hands helps, but the best way to avoid getting flu is to get flu vaccine now. We’d like to see the winter of 2014-15 become the healthiest on record.”

Terry Allan, Health Commissioner at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, added, “High flu vaccination rates reduce worker absenteeism and missed school days. So getting vaccinated helps to sustain the productivity of our community. Get your flu shot today and be part of the solution.”

As of mid-August, the CDC reported that seven influenza vaccine manufacturers are projecting that as many as 151 million to 156 million doses of influenza vaccine will be available for use in the United States during the 2014-2015 influenza season. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

“Flu viruses are constantly changing. Each flu season, different flu viruses can spread, and they can affect people differently based on differences in the immune system. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu,” said Terrence P. Kessler, president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System. “Join us in sharing the Focus On Flu message with your friends, family and neighbors. Help make sure all Clevelanders understand the dangers of influenza and the importance of flu vaccinations and frequent handwashing!”

ColdvsFlu_Infographic.pdf (1.73 mb)