Trident Health

Trident Health is a 407-bed HCA hospital system comprised of two acute care hospitals- Trident Medical Center and Summerville Medical Center- as well as two free standing emergency departments- Centre Pointe Emergency and Moncks Corner Medical Center. The Joint Commission recently named Trident Health to their list of the nation’s top hospitals for quality and safety for the fourth year in a row.

What is Palliative Care?

By guest blogger Kitty Weaver

Have you or your loved one been diagnosed with a serious, or life-limiting illness?

Have you talked to your doctor about your wishes and what is important to you?

When you or a loved one is seriously ill, it affects many aspects of your life. The symptoms and progression of the illness can cause great distress for the patient, family, and caregivers. Palliative Care is an extra layer of supportive care that focuses on improving quality of life by managing suffering and illness burden for both patient and family, alongside the patient’s primary care physician and specialists.

This specialized care is provided by a team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, chaplains, social workers, and other specialists. Palliative care teams work in hospitals, as well as other community settings such as clinics, facilities, or making home visits. A patient can ask his/her doctor for a referral, or a doctor can request a referral for a palliative care consult at any stage of a patient’s illness and while a patient is continuing curative treatment. Many insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover all or part of palliative care services.

Palliative care can assist patients with advanced illness to be more engaged and informed, in order to make better decisions about the care they receive. Often times, there is a need for management of uncontrolled symptoms, as well as emotional and spiritual support for the patient and family. Palliative care treats the whole person and allows for the time needed to have conversations about goals of care, including advance directives.

To raise awareness during National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, Agape Senior will feature beautiful umbrella blooms at our Summerville and Trident campuses.

To see the blooms and receive more information, come to Summerville Medical Center Wednesday, November 25th from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. or Trident Medical Center Monday, November 30th from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Representatives from Agape Senior will be available to answer your questions about hospice and palliative care.

Get the Scoop on "The Sugar"

By guest blogger Megan McGill, Dietetic Intern

November recognizes a disease that the South has given its own nickname: “The Sugar”. Though you may or may not be familiar with the name “the sugar” in reference to diabetes, Trident Health is here to tell you the What, Why, Who, and How of this disease.


So, what is diabetes? In order to understand the importance of this disease, you must first be aware of the different types of diabetes and diagnoses.

Type 1 Diabetes :

  • Represents ~5-10% of diabetes diagnoses

  • Your body does not make insulin

  • Typically diagnosed in childhood

Type 2 Diabetes :

  • Represents ~90-95% of diabetes diagnoses

  • Your body makes insulin, but your body doesn’t use it well

  • Often occurs with obesity

  • Diagnosed by a fasting blood sugar greater than 126 mg/dL

  • Typically diagnosed later in life

Gestational Diabetes:

  • High blood sugar levels during pregnancy

  • Increases risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes

  • Diagnosed by a glucose challenge test. Glucose challenge testing involves drinking a syrupy sugar solution. If blood sugar is greater than 140 mg/dL after one hour, you have a higher risk for gestational diabetes. Repeat testing will be ordered by your doctor to determine final diagnosis


  • Typically diagnosed prior to Type 2 Diabetes

  • Fasting blood sugar of 100-125mg/dL and/or

  • Hemoglobin A1C between 5.7-6.4% (Normal is <5.7%)


Now that you are aware of the definition and diagnosis of the varying types of diabetes, we want to tell you why you should care.

South Carolina represents one of the leading states in diabetes as far as prevalence and severity. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) Burden of Diabetes Report 2012:

  • South Carolina has a diabetes prevalence 20% higher than the national rate

  • Diabetes represents the 7th leading cause of death in South Carolina.

  • 1 in 5 patients in a South Carolina hospital has diabetes

  • 1 in 10 visits to the ER is related to this disease

Specific to the Tri-county area, Berkeley and Charleston counties had a nearly 8% prevalence rate for adult self-reported diabetes lifetime prevalence in 2010, with Dorchester county reaching slightly over 9% at this time. These rates are likely higher now, with increasing prevalence of diabetes in the state and nation as whole since 2010.

These statistics are frightening; however, there are steps you can take to help with early detection of diabetes and ways to improve quality of life if you are already living with this disease.


The first step in taking action to prevent and treat diabetes is figuring out who is at risk?

Important risk factors for diabetes include:

  • Obesity

  • Physical inactivity

  • First-degree relative with diabetes

  • Members of a high-risk ethnic population (African-Americans, Hispanics, or Native American)

  • Hypertension

  • Elevated HDL cholesterol or triglyceride level

  • Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, history of cardiovascular disease or gestational diabetes

Testing is recommended for everyone starting at age 45, however, earlier testing can lead to earlier detection and possible prevention of diabetes


Now that you know the factors that put you at risk for diabetes, how can you lower your risk of developing this disease? Following these simple tips below is a good start!

According to the American Diabetes Association, you can lower your risk of developing diabetes by:

  1. Maintaining a healthy weight- Weight loss as low as 7% of your body weight can have a positive impact on blood sugar levels

  2. Eating a nutritious diet- Start with eliminating sugar sweetened beverages and reducing your intake of starchy, simple carbohydrates

  3. Being physically active- Work towards 150 minutes a week, which breaks down to 30 minutes, five times a week.

For more information on how to lower your risk for diabetes, and tips to manage living with diabetes if you have already been diagnosed, visit American Diabetes Association for a variety of helpful tools and resources.

In the Summerville area, the YMCA recently began offering a Diabetes Prevention Program, designed to help individuals prevent the progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes. The 16 week program includes a one year membership to the Summerville Family YMCA! A new session kicks off in January 2016. Contact Amanda Metzger at 843-871-9622 ext. 202 for information on how to enroll.

If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes you can schedule an appointment with our Diabetes Education Department. A physician referral is required for initial assessment. Call Cathy Reinhart, RN, CDE at 843-847-5000 ext. 1.

Give Thanks for Cancer Screening Coverage

The need for cancer awareness continues into November, the month dedicated to the 2nd most common cancer found in men and women: lung cancer. Though lung cancer does not receive as much attention as breast and prostate cancer (which are the leading killers among women and men, respectively), the American Cancer Society estimates lung cancer accounts for 13% of all new cancer diagnoses. What’s more, lung cancer will be the cause of more than 25% of cancer deaths this year.

Lung cancer is primarily caused by smoking. Exposure to second hand smoke or certain hazardous materials also increases your risk. Lung cancer is most commonly diagnosed in those older than 60, as it takes time for the disease to develop.

Early detection is important, so it’s good to be aware of screening opportunities near you. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began covering the cost of this important screening in 2015. Private insurers are also required to cover these costs under the Affordable Care Act.

Lung cancer screening is not necessary for everyone, but is encouraged for those who meet specific criteria. According to the US Preventive Services Task Force, the following individuals are appropriate for lung cancer screening:

  • Ages 55 to 77

  • Have a 30 pack-year or greater smoking history. Pack year is calculated by multiplying the number of packs per day times number of years smoked

  • Either currently smoke OR have quit within the past 15 years

Trident Health provides low-dose CT lung cancer screening, a painless, effective way to detect lung cancer. PET/CT technician Joel Childress estimates the hospital conducts 5 – 10 screenings per month. That number is increasing monthly, now that insurance covers the cost of this important screening procedure.

For more information on lung cancer, visit American Cancer Society. If you feel you or a loved one may benefit from low-dose CT screening call the Trident Medical Center Medical Imaging Scheduling line at 843-797-8854 to make an appointment with the PET/CT department.

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to reduce your cancer risk. Smoke Free Lowcountry is gearing up to offer the Quit and Win contest early next year. Call 843-364-2635 to find the program near you.

Halloween the Healthy Way

Brought to you by H2U

It’s undeniable that fall is full of seasonal treats. Pumpkin flavored beverages and Halloween candy seem to appear right after Labor Day! While such sights are exciting for the kids, they can encourage the intake of more added sugars than we need.

While there hasn’t been a formal guideline as to how much added sugar Americans should eat daily, the World Health Organization recently recommended that adults limit their intake of added sugars to 10% of daily calories. That means a person consuming 2,000 calories is advised to limit sugar intake to 200 calories, or 50 grams per day. The American Heart Association takes a more specific approach, recommending a max of 150 calories, or 37.5 grams of added sugars for men and 100 calories, or 25 grams, of added sugars for women.

This information is not the most exciting with Halloween a few days away. However, November kicks off Diabetes Awareness Month, and managing carbohydrate intake, particularly from added sugars, is of the utmost importance.

Despite these guidelines, you don’t have to deprive your family of all things sweet! Halloween is an opportunity to encourage healthy behaviors. “Halloween is a great time of year to teach your family about moderation and portion size,” says Jillian Butt, Registered Dietitian at Trident Medical Center. “Discussing portion size and a pre-determined guideline for consuming candy prior to Halloween will ensure your child gets to indulge in their goodies without going overboard.”

Another alternative is to offer healthier treats. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests the following:

  • Pretzels

  • Sugar-free gum

  • Fruit leathers or raisins

  • Animal crackers

  • Cheese crackers

You could also offer non-food treats, like:

  • Jelly bracelets

  • Bubbles

  • Pencil erasers

  • Jump ropes

  • Bouncy Balls

Interested in speaking one-on-one with a Registered Dietitian? Schedule an outpatient nutrition counseling appointment at Trident Medical Center. Instruct your physician’s office to fax a referral to the dietitian to 1-877-609-9754.

Meet the Doctor - Margaret MacDowell, MD

Medical School: Medical University of South Carolina
Residency: Medical University of South Carolina

While she always wanted to be a doctor, she first provided care as a nurse, and some of her early experiences helping cancer patients encouraged her to specialize in radiation oncology as a physician. Dr. Margaret MacDowell has been with Trident Health for the past 20 years since her residency, often teaming up with patients who are battling breast cancer. “I like having more of an ongoing conversation with patients, rather than me telling them what they need to do. I want them to be comfortable, and I want them to be able to say anything they want to me.”

Dr. MacDowell works from Trident Cancer Center through Radiation Oncology Associates of Charleston. Through the years, she has seen encouraging advances in radiation oncology and radiotherapy. “There are less side effects of treatment and less tissue damage because we can treat smaller margins.”

Blog by: Susan Hill Smith

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