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Riverside Center Celebrates First Year in Service

Lifeguard 10 was a big hit outside the Riverside Center.

Now a year old, Carilon’s Riverside Center celebrated its anniversary with “Another Cup of Jazz” last Saturday, an open house that showed off the diagnostic services and state of the art equipment available at the South Jefferson Street campus. In addition to the live music and free food, visitors could meet physicians, visit the various departments housed on site and check out the Lifeguard 10 helicopter outside; they also attended forums on topics like breast cancer and sports concussions, and many tried their hand at using the daVinci Robotic Surgical System.

Senior Director of Operations Beth Linville said opening Riverside Center has meant Carilion patients can see a physician, then often stay in the same building if specialists are required or tests are needed – no more hop scotching around town for services. In some cases, said Linville, satellite facilities have been closed, although others have actually expanded their scope.

“We have any number of medical and surgical specialties [here]. Anywhere from internal medicine to [outpatient] neurosurgery,” said Linville. Riverside departments also promote wellness “and can quickly … take care of the problem.” It’s not uncommon to have a patient see several physicians “the same day,” said Linville, “instead of waiting for 5 – 6 weeks. That’s what we strive to do.”

Riverside also offers a wide array of imaging services that allows for a speedy diagnosis – often on the same day. Medical specialists “talking to each other, working with the patients,” has been the biggest benefit at Riverside Center said Linville, “making the patient the center of the care. The patients really like the campus. It’s really the future of health care – doing the right thing at the right time.”

Concussion Forum: Dr. Thomas Miller, a former athlete who also works the sidelines at VMI football games, offered several sessions last Saturday on concussion management in sports, a hot topic these days. Miller noted that the information available on concussions and how to prevent them from reoccurring changes rapidly. “It’s an evolving process,” said Miller.

Carilion Clinic is distributing information sheets to local schools and parents, packets that describe the warning signs of concussion. Sports terms, especially in football, like ding, bell rung and clock cleaned “minimizes what we’re worried about,” said Miller, who suffered through sports concussions in his youth.

At this time, in recreation and scholastic sports, “anybody with the first symptom of a concussion is out [of the game].”  Confusion, vomiting and irritability are among the  signs that an athlete has sustained a concussion – and they do not have to black out.

Concussions are chemical shifts in the brain, and are not “one of those things you can put your finger on,” said Miller, who has also worked with the USA Olympic hockey program in the past. The lack of certified medical technicians on the sidelines at all recreation league games is a financial reality, so it’s up to parents and coaches to know the warning signs of concussion.

Recovery requires rest, perhaps up to a year or more. “Some things cannot be rushed,” noted Miller. Along with their “Cup of Jazz last Saturday,” those involved with youth football and other potentially violent sports were offered up a dose of reality on a subject that is being taken more and more seriously at all levels.

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