IU Health Tipton Hospital Offering Free Prostate Cancer Screening

IU Health Tipton Hospital is announcing a Free Prostate Cancer Screening Program scheduled for Friday, Sept. 14 from 3:30 – 5 pm. Location of the screening will be in the Cancer Service Area on the north side of the IU Health Tipton Hospital entrance 4. Participants must pre-register by calling the IU Health Tipton Hospital Cancer Service Department at 765.675.8397.

We ask that you have blood work completed before the physical exam on Sept. 14.

The PSA blood work can be done the week of Sept. 10 from 7 am – 5 pm through the outpatient lab draw area. Please enter the south lobby to register at the patient service desk of the IU Health Tipton Hospital and tell them you are there for the Prostate Cancer Screening blood draw.

Your PSA blood sample results will be available at the time of your screening appointment on Sept. 14. 

Dr. Sandra McCabe, Urologist, will be providing her expertise in the physical examination portion of the screening. 

Who should participate?

Prostate Cancer Screening guidelines state that all men 55-69 years old should talk with their physician about having an annual digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test to help detect early prostate cancer. If you are not sure if you should participate, consult your physician.

Risk factors for prostate cancer include:

  • Age: More than 75 percent of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over 65.
  • Race: Death rates from prostate cancer for African-American men are more than twice that of Caucasian men.
  • Family History: Individuals with a family history of prostate cancer experience a 2.5 fold increase in risk; 5-10 percent of prostate cancers may be inherited.
  • Nutrition: There is a significant evidence indicating that a high-fat diet is linked to an increase cancer risk).

Prevention, Screening and Early Detection

Lifestyle strategies that an individual adopts may reduce prostate cancer risk. Decrease animal fats in your diet and increase consumption of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

The PSA test measures blood levels of protein made by the prostate. The higher the PSA level the more likely that prostate cancer is present. The PSA test alone does not provide a definitive diagnosis for or against prostate cancer. The DRE (digital rectal exam), allows the physician to feel for irregular or abnormally firm area on the prostate gland that might be cancer. The PSA and DRE are only screening tools. With any abnormal test findings the patient is advised to consult with their family physician.

To participate in the free Prostate Cancer Screening, please schedule with the IU Health Tipton Hospital Cancer Service Department at 765.675.8397.  

50 Years Of Experience: Nurse Keeps Precious Cargo Safe

She’s the fourth generation of nurses in her family and Terri Jones has found her niche in the healthcare profession. In honor of her son who was killed in a car accident, she dedicates her life to securing babies in car seats. 

Terri Jones reviews a spreadsheet of progress and says her whole life is about numbers. One big number sticks out among the others – 10,000. That’s how many car seats Jones and her team at IU Health Arnett Hospital has checked since May of 2009. More than 3,000 new car seats have been provided through the program.  

“The only numbers that really count are the 31 babies who were in a wreck and weren’t hurt because they were in a car seat,” said Jones, who turns 70 in October. She is also celebrating her 50th year of nursing. She’s received quite a bit of attention from co-workers and Lafayette media outlets for her dedication to nursing and the car seat program. But hitting a milestone number – both personally and professionally – means more about the path to learning than it does about the hoopla.

“I look at the education as being far reaching. Maybe something I taught one person they taught someone else. I tell the nurses ‘keep telling the patients to have the infant car seat rear facing,’ because maybe if they didn’t get it the first time they’ll get it the next time. Learning is cumulative,” said Jones, who was hired at IU Health as a nurse educator in 2008. She came in with 35 years of nursing experience in OB and surgery and a year after joining IU Health she initiated the car seat safety program.

“I started seeing a lot of newborns who didn’t have car seats to go home in. It got me thinking about how we could change that and help keep them safe,” said Jones. When she began reviewing crash testing something clicked like a seat buckle and it made her think of her son.

Jason Jones, the fourth oldest of Jones’ five children was killed in a car accident on Sept. 11, 1990. He was a senior at Harrison High School. From the hospital windows she can see the country road – the scene of the fatal crash.

“You don’t ever get over that. I know of 31 kids that we checked their car seats and they were later in an accident and never hurt. I believe a seatbelt would have saved my son’s life,” said Jones. As part of the car seat safety program Jones and her team members, who have been trained in car seat fitting, meet families in the emergency room and provide car seats for the precious cargo leaving the hospital.

“Every time I come in to do a car seat fitting after a wreck I say ‘thank goodness they survived.’” The majority of the car seat checks are with newborns at the hospital. The first year of the program, the hospital offered 404 free checks and last year technicians provided 1,201 checks. They average about 100 a month.

On a recent week day afternoon, Jones met patient Sandy Amador who had just given birth to a beautiful girl named Elianna. As Amador and Elianna’s father, Salvador Reynoso were preparing to leave the hospital for their 45-minute drive home, they looked to Jones to help secure the car seat before transporting their newborn. She checked the model number to be sure there was no recall and then checked the base tightly situated in the back seat.

“This is our first child so this is all new to us. She’s so little and this is such a big responsibility. I just want to make sure we’re doing everything right,” said Amador, who road in the backseat with the precious bundle. Jones explained that the baby should not be wrapped in a blanket when placed in the car seat and demonstrated how the straps should be secured over her shoulders like a pair of overalls.

“She needs to be rear facing up to two-years-old. This car seat goes up to 35 pounds and then she will need a new front-facing seat,” she said, adding that the couple could call or return to the hospital if they had any questions. Jones has been known to purchase car seats from her own funds when she meets a patient who needs a special size.

“Terri has done a truly wonderful job in building the car seat program at IU Arnett.  She took on this role with quite a passion, and has helped build a really strong and skilled team of car seat technicians who do a fantastic job serving our community and keeping babies and children as safe in their vehicles as they can be,” said Selina McNulty, manager of labor & delivery, mother baby at Arnett. Jones also spends time training technicians at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

One of the best parts of her job she says is meeting new parents and talking about the babies. She doesn’t hesitate to change little Elianna’s diaper before sitting her in the new car seat. All the while, talking to the parents about keeping their daughter safe during travels.

“I can’t imagine not doing this,” said Jones, who has 12 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. “It’s an integral part of me. You don’t choose your passion; your passion chooses you.”

More about Jones:

  • She is the oldest of six children born to the Lois Taylor and the late Walter Taylor.
  • She can’t remember ever wanting to be anything but a nurse. Her mom was a nurse, her great aunt was a nurse, her sister is a nurse, and she has two nieces and a daughter who are nurses.
  • She is a graduate of Purdue University.
  • She lives on six acres and enjoys gardening and spending time with her grandchildren at the lake and on Disney vacations.
  • She spends many weekends transporting rescue dogs to shelters across the state.

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.

Transplant Patients Bring Home Medals

Two IU Health patients recently returned from the Transplant Games of America with medals to show for their athletic competitions. 

Smiles. That’s what they are wearing. Never mind the medals around their necks. They are grinning from ear to ear.

Standing atop a winner’s podium, posing with fellow athletes, and celebrating living donors at opening ceremonies – Brook Zander and Dylan Deem were all smiles at the recent Transplant Games of America in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“I’ve had the honor and absolute pleasure to meet incredibly courageous people, and create memorable still frames of times I’ll cherish forever in my soul,” wrote Deem. At the age of four he was diagnosed with Synovial Cell sarcoma and was treated with a partial left leg amputation and high doses of chemotherapy. He has received two heart transplants at IU Health. Zander received a double lung transplant at IU Health in 2015.

Both patients have prepared for months to participate in the 2018 Transplant Games – competing in bowling and track and field events. The games are an opportunity to show the world that transplantation is a treatment that works to help restore health. Over the years, it has grown to an event that brings together patients and donor families.

“I didn’t have medaling finishes in either bowling doubles or mixed doubles, but I met a few awesome heart recipients who are 27-years post-transplant which is an amazing feat,” said Deem, who scored a bronze finish in discus.

The Transplant Games of America, the producer of the Donate Life Transplant Games reports 116,425 patients in the United States are awaiting organ donation. Of those, 96,483 are awaiting a new kidney; 14,245 are awaiting a liver transplant; and 3,992 are awaiting a heart transplant. Donate Life reports another person is added to the waiting list for organ transplantation every ten minutes and 22 people die each day because the organ they need is not donated in time. Organ, eye, and tissue donors can register at the Donate Life website.

After attending the tribute to organ donors, Deem said: “These donors make the gift of life possible for those of us with transplants. I was humbled, and inspired hearing their stories. I have been fortunate with a renewed life thanks to organ donation.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.

“It Felt Like Someone Kicked Me In The Groin”

Noah Tolan, 22, recently completed his last round of chemo after a diagnosis of testicular cancer.

A red 2002 Ford Ranger comes to mind when Noah Tolan, 22, describes life before cancer. He was 16 and the first mechanical job he ever did in his life was put a new muffler on that truck. From that point on, he was hooked.

As a student at Southport High School he competed in free style and breaststroke on the swim team and played bass guitar in the jazz band. After high school he did what came naturally – he became a diesel mechanic working on semis and school busses.

Life was good for the only child of Candice and Danny Combs. One night he was out singing karaoke with friends and met someone special – her name was Melissa. She was the one.

In February he proposed to Melissa. It was about the same time that he broke down and went to see his family physician.

“I had a lot of pain on left side especially while walking and sitting or driving. If felt like someone kicked me in the groin. I let it go and let it go because I was too stubborn to go to the doctor,” said Tolan, of Greenwood. But after a three-hour plane ride for a work-related trip to Massachusetts he knew he could no longer ignore the pain.

“It was worse when I sat for a long time. I just thought it was some kind of infection,” said Tolan. By March, he knew it was something more than an infection. An ultrasound showed testicular cancer. He was referred to IU Health Simon Cancer Center oncologist Dr. Lawrence Einhorn; known for successful treatment of testicular cancer – germ cell tumors – using a mix of high does chemotherapies and peripheral stem cell transplant.

“Hands down, Dr. Einhorn was the one to go to. I’m lucky I live so close because people come from all over the world to be treated by him,” said Tolan.

On April 6, Tolan was admitted for surgery and on June 6 he began chemotherapy. As he recently finished up his final round, Tolan wrote on a chalkboard the message: “Never Give up Fighting and Never Fight Alone.”

Oncology nurses Rhonda Weinzapfel, Julie McGugan, and Debra Newhouse, cheered Tolan on as he rang the bell three times, signaling the end to active treatment.  He will return to IU Health Simon Cancer Center in August for surgery to remove infected lymph nodes around his kidney.

“I’m not bashful about telling people to check themselves and if they think something is wrong, go see a doctor,” said Tolan. “I put it off a couple months and maybe I would have avoided surgery if I’d gone sooner.”

He’s continued to work repairing vehicles during his treatment and has spent a lot of time resting. He’s also spent some time in the kitchen.

“I make great biscuits and gravy but I can’t eat it because it’s too spicy,” said Tolan. “Cooking has helped me do something normal, something day-to-day and has taken my mind off of the cancer.” He looks forward to having enough energy to go canoeing, camping and working out again.

The six months of treatment has given him plenty of time to reflect on friends, family, and his future.

“Before cancer, I don’t think I would have considered myself an exceptionally good person before but I think everything happens for a reason. If there’s a reason in this then make it a good one. I think people should live every day like they have cancer – don’t be bitter and blame God or the universe. Forgive people and ask them to forgive you.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes

Vaginitis – What Women Need To Know About The “V” Word

Dr. Chemen Neal, an OB/GYN with IU Health Coleman Center for Women at University Hospital talks about what patients fear and what they need to know about one of the most common diagnoses among women.

Vaginitis – The very word can cause raised eyebrows and whispers among girlfriends. Patients are reluctant to discuss their condition for fear of embarrassment.

Yet it is a common condition – most women will have vaginitis at least once in their lives.

So what is it? 

Vaginitis is a name for abnormal vaginal symptoms such as swelling, itching, or burning that can be caused by several different germs. The most common causes of vaginitis are bacterial vaginosis (BV), a yeast infection, and trichomonas (a sexually transmitted disease). Other symptoms can include a discolored discharge, pain during intercourse or urination, or strong fishy odor. 

“Studies show 70 percent of women report having a yeast infection at least once in their lifetime and 20 percent of women with vaginitis will be diagnosed with a yeast infection; 40 percent will be diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis; and another 15 percent will be diagnosed with trichomoniasis,” said Dr. Chemen Neal, an OB/GYN with IU Health Coleman Center for Women at University Hospital.

Vaginitis is diagnosed by taking a small cotton swab sample from the vagina and testing it under a microscope. Typical treatment can include a topical antifungal cream and/or antibiotics.

What’s tricky is that many women go undiagnosed for fear of having “the difficult conversation” with their partner, family members, or medical provider.

“I have women who have had it for five years and call the doctor every month for medication. They take medication but symptoms come back, and I have women who won’t get married and won’t have sex because they feel embarrassed,” said Dr. Neal, one of the only physicians in the state who specializes in chronic vaginitis and vulvar diseases. “Unfortunately, we don’t understand what is the initiating event – the imbalance. We know the problem is the good bacteria in the vagina are gone (they produce acid that keeps bad bacteria away and maintain the PH balance). Something happens that makes the good bacteria go away and results in vaginitis.”

Here are some things doctors do know:

  • Douching can increase the risk of vaginitis by wiping out the normal bacteria in the vagina.
  • There is some research that indicates people with impaired immune systems – such as patients with HIV, organ transplants, and diabetes – have an increase in yeast infections.
  • Menopausal women with low estrogen are also susceptible to vaginitis.
  • Eleven percent of people with trichomoniasis are women 40 or over.
  • Bacterial vaginosis is less common in women who use condoms during sexual intercourse and is more common among women with multiple sexual partners.

“If you think you are having abnormal vaginal symptoms you should see your gynecologist,” said Neal. “Symptoms can be confusing but women should also know that they aren’t always something benign. Some forms of vaginitis can lead to more serious issues such as pre-term and low weight births in pregnant women, and increased transmission of HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.

Combating A Crisis: Methodist Launches Narcotic-Free Surgery

Concern over the opioid epidemic prompted an IU Health Methodist team to do what it could to incite change. It is the first in the U.S. to publish a study showing the positive effects of cutting narcotics out of ureteroscopy.

In a groundbreaking move, surgeons at IU Health Methodist Hospital decided to stop prescribing oxycodone and hydrocodone for kidney stone procedures and, instead, gave patients an anti-inflammatory drug.

The mission: see how patients responded to narcotic-free surgery in hopes of combating the opioid crisis by inciting a move to fewer prescribed painkillers.

“It was a big leap to do this,” says Amy Krambeck, M.D., a urologist at Methodist who helped lead the study. “It was kind of going out on a limb.”

From February to May, 51 patients who underwent a ureteroscopy — the most common procedure to treat kidney stones in which a small scope is inserted into the bladder and ureter — were given the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac, rather than narcotics.

The biggest concern, says Dr. Krambeck, was that the lack of painkillers would generate more phone calls for nurses and staff, more return trips to the emergency room and that the patients’ pain wouldn’t be controlled. Ureteroscopies can cause intense cramping and discomfort post surgery. 

But when patients in the study were compared to those treated during prior ureteroscopies when narcotics were used, there were fewer phone calls to staff and return trips to the ER actually decreased, she says.

Even more hopeful, patients who had undergone previous kidney stone procedures told Dr. Krambeck they preferred the non-narcotic version.  

“Anecdotally, they have said this was the best stone surgery they’ve had,” says Dr. Krambeck. “They felt like the narcotics just masked the pain. With this, we are treating the inflammation.”

During the study, nearly 1,400 fewer hydrocodone tablets were prescribed, says Tim Large, M.D., a urologist and endourology fellow at Methodist.

The results from the first-of-its-kind study in the United States were recently published in the “Journal of Endourology.”

The conclusion read: “Narcotic-free ureteroscopy is achievable, based on this study, with pre-operative counseling, a zero tolerance for providing narcotics, and support from ancillary and supporting staff. By managing patient expectations, along with their pain, and being honest about the unnecessary use of opioids in endoscopic surgery, there appears to be minimal need for narcotic prescriptions after uncomplicated ureteroscopy.”

“We are the first to put it out there,” says Dr. Large. “The first in the clinical ship.”

Dr. Krambeck performs as many as 300 ureteroscopies each year. She says doing them without narcotics is now her standard.

She hopes to begin cutting narcotics out of percutaneous stone removal procedures, as well.

“We are trying to get completely away from narcotics as much as possible,” she says. “I hope this will be adopted for other procedures. Narcotics have been overprescribed in the United States for a long time.”

— By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Benbow via email dbenbow@iuhealth.org or on Twitter @danabenbow.

IU Health Medical Center Ranked Among Nation’s Top Hospitals For 21st Consecutive Year

U.S. News rates eight clinical programs, including cancer and cardiology, in top 50 in the nation

U.S. News & World Report has released its 2018-2019 ‘Best Hospitals’ rankings that name Indiana University Health Medical Center among the nation’s top hospitals for the 21st consecutive year. According to the U.S. News rankings, IU Health Medical Center is the No. 1 ranked hospital in Indiana and Indianapolis and the only nationally ranked adult hospital in the state.

“IU Health Medical Center is honored to be recognized as the top destination in Indiana, demonstrating our team’s strong commitment to delivering the best care to every patient we see,” said Jonathan Gottlieb, MD, executive vice president and chief medical executive of IU Health. “Patients, families and other healthcare professionals have many choices when seeking care. Respected rankings like these provide an important guide with the potential to inform these important decisions.”

To create the rankings U.S. News evaluated more than 4,500 medical centers nationwide in 25 specialties, procedures and conditions. Fewer than 4 percent of hospitals received national rankings in one or more clinical specialty programs. IU Health Medical Center stands among an elite group of only 35 hospitals to earn national rankings in eight or more clinical specialties.

For 2018-19, IU Health Medical Center achieved national rankings in the following eight clinical specialty areas for adults (ranking out of top 50 hospitals):

  • Cancer—46th
  • Cardiology & Heart Surgery—46th
  • Diabetes & Endocrinology ­—30th  
  • Gastroenterology—22nd
  • Geriatrics—28th
  • Nephrology—23rd  
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery—27th
  • Pulmonology—39th

Additionally, IU Health Medical Center is rated high performing in four of nine adult procedures or conditions included in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals ratings. Those include COPD, colon cancer surgery, heart failure and knee replacement.

The annual rankings, now in their 29th year, are designed to assist patients and their doctors in making informed decisions about where to receive care for challenging health conditions or for common elective procedures.

The full list of U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings is available at health.usnews.com/best-hospitals. This year’s rankings, produced by U.S. News with North Carolina-based research organization RTI International will also be published in the U.S. News “Best Hospitals 2019” guidebook. 

Methodist Masters: They’re Training Doctors Of The World

The International Scholars Training Program launched at Methodist Hospital to educate physicians on heart failure, but quickly expanded to other areas of expertise. “If you build it,” says Dr. I-Wen Wang, “they will come.”  

It started as a niche, a very specific niche – teaching physicians and surgeons from China the advanced management of heart failure patients using left ventricular assist devices (LVADs).

IU Health Methodist Hospital welcomed that first group of scholars in January of 2014 — cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and an ICU nurse manager.

“China is in a unique position in that they have a large, growing heart failure population like the U.S.,” says I-Wen Wang, M.D., a Methodist cardiovascular surgeon specializing in thoracic and transplant surgery. “But they do not have LVAD.”

China is a country with 1.4 billion people, roughly four times the population of the U.S. – yet they perform just 350 heart transplants a year, less than a third of heart transplants in the U.S., says Dr. Wang.

“Our goal, initially, was to provide a way for us to help educate them on the management of LVAD with a goal of preparing major hospitals to become clinical trial sites,” says Dr. Wang. 

But that goal soon expanded.

Since that first group came to Methodist in 2014, the IU Health International Scholars Program has trained 58 scholars, as of the end of 2017.

It is on target to train 20 more this year.

The program’s reach has grown to other countries – and other specialties. Scholars are being trained in orthopedics, interventional radiology, gastrointestinal, pediatric oncology, neurology, emergency medicine, ICU, nursing and more. 

They are flying with LifeLine for organ procurement. They are shadowing physicians at other IU Health locations — Riley Hospital for Children, IU Health Saxony Hospital and others.  

“It has really diversified from just this very narrow niche we started,” says Dr. Wang.

And it’s grown organically. Word of mouth. Reputation. IU Health has a great program.

“It’s the field of dreams,” says Dr. Wang. “If you build it, they will come.”

While being trained, the scholars spend anywhere from one month up to a year for training, says Amy Hoene, director of cardiovascular services at Methodist, who oversees the program she helped launch with Dr. Wang.  

They come to observe in all areas, operating room, clinic, rounding, ICU, animal labs and more. 

The people being trained at IU Health go back and quickly rise inside their hospitals, getting promoted and being recognized for their knowledge, expertise and great work.

“It certainly establishes our brand,” says Dr. Wang. “They go back and that translates to, ‘Maybe we should send other people.’ We’ve been able to create the IU Health brand there that wasn’t there before.” 


Inside Methodist, a group of scholars sit talking with Hoene and Dr. Wang about this program that brought them to the United States.

Amy Liu is a cardiac anesthesiologist who has been doing research at the Krannert Institute of Cardiology.

Yang Yang is a cardiac surgeon training at Methodist and doing research. He is also married to Liu; the two came as a team.

“I’ve learned best concepts from my mentors,” Dr. Yang says. “I’ve done several pig experiments. I’m very interested in that. I can’t do that in our hospitals. It is so exciting.”

Yan just graduated from medical school and is applying to be a resident in cardiac surgery in the U.S. He is here to visit for two months doing observation. 

“I am reaching out for opportunity to observe more, get clinic experience,” he says. “To see how you guys practice here, how you treat patients, how you communicate with the patients.”

Wi Yang came to train at Methodist in interventional neuroradiology. “I’ve learned a lot,” he says.

But more is gained beyond the medical expertise, says Hoene.

“These relationships develop between the scholars and those at IU Health,” she says. “These unplanned friendships develop that end up lasting.”

— By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.

   Reach Benbow via email dbenbow@iuhealth.org or on Twitter @danabenbow

One-Year Post Transplant And He Feels 10 Years Younger

Family friends Jeff Stephen and Jenny DeBoo share something more than friendship. Last year, DeBoo donated her kidney to Stephen.

A year ago, Jason DeBoo and his two teenage daughters paced the halls of IU Health University Hospital – awaiting word that all was well. Their wife and mother, Jenny DeBoo was in surgery with Dr. John Powelson, donating a kidney to her friend Jeff Stephen.

Jason and his daughters – Kaylee, and Kenzy, wore bright green t-shirts supporting Jenny’s decision. The girls’ shirts read: “I knew mom when she had two kidneys. I knew Jeff when he had junk kidneys.” Jason’s shirt read: “I have her heart but Jeff has her kidney.”

Jenny DeBoo met Stephen three years ago when her daughter and Jeff’s niece played softball together. It was at the softball field where Jenny learned of Jeff’s diagnosis – polycystic kidney disease (PKD). The inherited disease causes clusters of cysts to form in the kidneys. Stephen was diagnosed in 1997. The disease progressed and in November of 2015 he began hemodialysis.

“I was so interested in the fact that living donation was a thing and I was excited to learn more about it,” said DeBoo. “I was like many, many others and just wasn’t educated on it.” Over time, the DeBoo family spent more time with Jeff, his wife, J’la and their son Jett.

“We became closer and they became members of our ‘camping crew.’ Through camping and every day life they became part of our family,” said Stephen. And as his disease progressed, Stephen began having heart issues. He needed a new kidney. Different family and community members were tested but there was no match. There are than 100,000 people in the United States are awaiting a kidney transplant. There are more people awaiting a kidney than there are donors.

“I decided I wanted to try, not knowing my blood type or anything, except that I felt completely healthy,” said DeBoo, from New Paris, Ohio. “I discussed it with my husband and two daughters and put serious thought, prayer, and discussion into it. My family was 100% supportive and I was hooked and determined to donate to our sweet friend, Jeff,” said DeBoo who worked with IU Health transplant coordinator Kelly Coffey.

“The first time I spoke to Kelly she was so patient, kind, positive and made sure I knew she was 100% on my side and an advocate for my well-being and health,” said DeBoo. The life expectancy of a patient receiving a kidney transplant more than doubles. A living kidney donor helps reduce the time a patient is on the transplant wait list; a living kidney is typically healthier than one transplanted from a deceased donor.

“Patients receiving a kidney from a living donor have a better one-year kidney survival than those receiving a kidney from a deceased donor,” said Dr. Powelson.  Any healthy adult 18 or older who is mentally and socially capable can be a living kidney donor. They may give directly to someone they know or through non-directed donation. DeBoo was a perfect match for Stephen.

As DeBoo’s family waited for her surgery, Stephen’s family waited for updates on his transplant. On June 14, 2017, Stephen received one of DeBoo’s kidneys in a surgery performed by Dr. William Goggins.

“The whole transplant staff was amazing. The doctors were just incredible and caring,” said Stephen. “I’m pretty sure the transplant nurses are angels straight from heaven. We could never thank them enough.”

A year after the transplant as DeBoo and Stephen posed for pictures with transplant coordinator Coffey, they wore their own green t-shirts. DeBoo’s read: “Jason has my heart but Jeff has my kidney.” Stephen’s read: “Jason may have her heart by I have her kidney.”

Stephen had another message too: “I feel 10 years younger. I couldn’t be more grateful to my friend.”

And DeBoo’s message: “Before this experience, I wasn’t even a donor on my license. Living donation has changed my life in so many positive ways. I always tell my friends, family and even strangers that ask how I’m doing, that if I had 10 kidneys I’d give them all away and I don’t have a single regret from making this life-changing choice. Seeing Jeff so happy, healthy, being able to just chug a bottle of water, or even coach his 5-year-old son’s t-ball team makes my heart so happy.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
 T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.

Healthcare In The Comfort Of Home Sweet Home

Not all patients receive infusion treatments in the hospital. Some choose to administer the treatments from the comfort of their home.

She wanted to see her grandbaby born and she didn’t want to be in a hospital or hospice. She wanted to be home and available to take part in welcoming her grandchild into the world. This grandmother chose home infusion.

A young mom wanted to care for her baby who needed infusions to help with digestive complications. She chose to give the infant treatments at home.

“There really isn’t a specific age of our patients. They range from infants to the elderly,” said Benjamin Meyer, IU Health pharmacy coordinator for Home Health Care. Every day, compounds are mixed, inspected, packed and shipped to patient’s homes throughout Indiana. A visiting nurse assists with the general instruction on starting the infusions and follows up as needed. A call center is readily available to answer patient questions; Meyer is part of that team.

Questions may range from, “I’m thinking of taking another medication. Can I still take my infusion?” to “I’m feeling extra tired after infusion. Is that normal?”

“Pharmacists have been one of the most trusted professions. Part of that means me trusting my patients to take care of themselves at home – that they can safely infuse their medications,” said Meyer, a graduate of Butler University’s College of Pharmacy. He has been with IU Health for 14 years. “This provides a personalized plan of care for patients. We treat them as individuals; not numbers.”

Patients who opt to administer infusions at home are treated at IU Health for a variety of conditions including malnutrition, pain management, immune deficiencies, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and complicated infections.

“Their primary goal is to get better and some conditions tend to heal better at home,” said Meyer.

One patient diagnosed with an immune deficiency started infusion treatments at IU Health Simon Cancer Center. Days of work were missed to spend time at the hospital. Some days meant negotiating inclement winter weather – driving, parking, and walking – when the patient didn’t have the energy to leave home.

After eight months, the patient’s hematologist/oncologist ordered home care.

Writing about the home infusions, the patient said: “What a wonderful way to get care. It’s convenient, and there is some flexibility on what day I do it. Believe me, it’s so much better to be at home.  It’s faster and I don’t have to worry about being exposed to other patients. It’s also easier mentally.”

The evening of the patient’s treatments are spent on a couch, curled up with a favorite blanket and often falling asleep watching a movie with a spouse nearby.

“We have some patients call frequently for assistance and others who just take off and it becomes a way of life,” said Meyer, adding the transfusions are generally administered intravenously through the chest or arm. “These are patients who are vested in their own health care and want to be in the comfort of their own home, with their family and the lifestyle they are accustomed to. It makes it more convenient, especially if you are dealing with long-term treatment or care.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.