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Discovering a Brain Aneurysm
last updated:
Thu, 11/04/2010 10:36 AM

Just ten or twenty years ago it was relatively rare to discover an aneurysm in someone’s brain before it caused a problem. The majority of the aneurysm patients that doctors saw were those whose aneurysms had ruptured. These days patients get CT or MRI scans for a variety of problems like headaches and sinus infections. Some of these scans show aneurysms that have nothing to do with the reason for the scan.

Since I am a neurosurgeon who specializes in the treatment of brain aneurysms, may be sent to see me. Most weeks I see several patients with incidentally discovered aneurysms. These patients are often frightened and in need of information and advice. There are a lot of physicians like me who do research to understand how best to treat you and also spend time on counseling and treating.

Aneurysms are weak spots on the sides of arteries underneath the brain. Imagine that you are buying a garden hose. When the manufacturer made this particular hose, they made a mistake and there is a spot on the side of the hose where the rubber is thinned. On this spot the rubber is as thin as a balloon instead of thick like the rubber on a hose should be. When you get the hose home and start using it, it works fine. Over time, however, as you turn the water pressure on and off repeatedly, that thin spot bulges so that there is a small water balloon on the side of the hose. We think that brain aneurysms form in a similar way. You may have been born with a thin spot on an artery but over time as blood has flown through the artery this spot has become a small, thin-walled sac hanging off of the side of the artery. We know that some drugs, like nicotine, can increase the risk of aneurysms growing or rupturing.

So if you or a friend has had an aneurysm discovered in your brain “incidentally,” or during a scan for something else, then you may be coming to see me or someone like me. I will probably talk to you about how important it is to stop smoking; the last thing you want to do is to increase the risk of the aneurysm growing or rupturing. We will review what factors might make this particular aneurysm more safe or more dangerous together. I might want better pictures of the aneurysm before giving you definitive advice about whether to treat it or not. Whatever you decide, make sure that you get good advice and understand your options so that you can get the best care possible.


Dr. Adam Arthur is the Director of Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery at the Methodist University Hospital Neuroscience Institute. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Call 888.777.5959 for more information.

Transplant Support Group in Memphis
last updated:
Tue, 10/12/2010 2:20 PM

Join us for Methodist’s own transplant support group, Living Kindly!

This group meets the second Thursday of each month at 3:30pm located on the Thomas Wing in Methodist University Hospital on the 10th Floor in the 10 Thomas Conference Room. Pre and Post Transplant Patients, Family Members and Caregivers are welcome!

If you or a family member is interested in learning more about transplant medications, please join us at 3:00 p.m. prior to each group.

ONLY THREE DATES LEFT THIS YEAR! This is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to learn more about transplantation.

  • Oct 14
  • Nov 11
  • Dec 9

Food and beverages are served and parking is free. Find out more about our transplant support group in Memphis, Tenn.


Melissa Moore is a transplant coordinator for the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information, contact the Transplant Institute at All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Locate a transplant surgeon in Tennessee or call 866.805.7710 for more information.

A City United by Lorenzen Wright
last updated:
Wed, 9/15/2010 10:43 AM

The majority of my television watching occurs at work. Mind you; I don’t watch a lot of TV, so this means mostly that I catch snippets of shows while I’m making rounds, seeing patients. Nine out of ten rooms I enter have the TV on—sometimes blaring, sometimes silent, but always attendant. Even in rooms where patients are unconscious, the programming continues, falling on deafened ears and blinded eyes. It is as if patients, families, and the hospital staff can’t abide a silent space, as the contemplation of the uncertainty of mortality might slip in. So we fill the void with white noise—a requiem for the ill (and dying) composed by Oprah, Judge Judy, and the Kardashians.

On any given day, I’m bemused or annoyed, and occasionally entertained. Recently, I was transfixed.  In every room I entered, the television set was tuned to the same program. Black, white, Hispanic; young, old; marginally ill or approaching death—every patient and every family watched. Not the crowning of a new singing superstar; not the unraveling of yet another Gotham murder. Not even a new fishing season in the Bering Straight. Everyone was watching the funeral of a young black man, taken too early from us, by violent death.

I watched, too. I watched the seemingly endless line of well-wishers, mourners, and shell-shocked family members. I saw the ornate casket.  I tried to remember the flashing smile, the graceful athleticism, the seven-foot frame standing at the top of the key, hands raised almost to heaven to stop the entry pass in the zone defense. But all I could think about was how he must have looked at that last moment:  one hand on his cell phone, desperately calling for a help that would come a week too late, another outstretched toward the impossible task of stopping a hail of bullets.

Lorenzen Wright was one of us. Like Icarus, he slipped the bonds of earth for a sunward flight. We reveled in that trajectory, inspired by how talent and discipline could lift a man above poverty, violence, and want. When he fell, we fell too. United in disbelief and mourning, we all watched his eulogy. As in life, he united the city in his death.

One day, this city will be known for more than infant mortality, foreclosures, and capital crime. We will rally around urban renewal, biotech creativity, and spiritual rebirth. For now, though, we are united through the pride and exhilaration of sport. Rest well, our Icarus.  Men weren’t made to fly. But for a few fleeting moments, you made us all lift our eyes.


Dr. Clay Jackson is the medical director for Methodist Hospice & Palliative Services team. For more information about Hospice & Palliative Care Services in Memphis, Tenn., call 901.516.1616 or 800.726.2559. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice.

Effective Communication
last updated:
Tue, 9/07/2010 1:20 PM

“Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness.” Margaret Miller

Have you been in settings when one person dominates the conversation? How about on a date with a person who enjoys talking about their interests but never asks about yours? Have you presented in front of a group of people when it seems their eyes have glazed over? These scenarios all have one thing in common – someone is talking and someone isn’t listening. It has been said that there is all the difference in the world between having something to say and having to say something.

The goal of effective communication is two fold – to clearly convey your message and to receive information from others with as little distortion as possible. Tuning in to what you and others are thinking, feeling and saying takes effort. This process can be fraught with miscommunication and confusion. Communication is only successful when both the sender and the receiver understand the same information from the communicated message.

There are several steps to maximize the likelihood that your message comes across as intended. Understand the audience – whether it is your spouse, child or department – it is helpful to know their diverse backgrounds, attitudes and expectations. For example, your spouse may have given you numerous clues that they prefer concise information. They do not want the back story – just the conclusion. It does no good to continue to communicate the whole story because they stopped listening by the time you reached the third sentence!

  • Decide what method is best to convey the message. It can be a memo, an email, face to face meeting, presentation, hand-written note or a private chat on facebook. Knowing your audience and the complexity of the message will help determine the method.
  • Welcome and seek verbal and non-verbal feedback. This will help to understand if the message was heard as intended as well as give opportunity for back and forth, productive conversation.

You can increase your communication skills in your personal or professional life, call the Methodist Healthcare Employee Assistance Program in Memphis, Tennessee and make an appointment today.


Donna Tosches, is the Director of the Methodist Healthcare EAP. To contact Donna or another EAP counselor, call 901.683.5658 or 800.880.5658. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice.

Family Grief Camp Helps Kids Cope
last updated:
Thu, 5/13/2010 8:34 AM

Death is hard to deal with. It can be even harder for the young ones around us who do not yet understand all of life’s ups and downs.

Why did this person die? Why does it hurt so much? Could I have done something to help them? Is it ok to cry? Will I ever stop hurting? These are some questions that kids may ask themselves when dealing with the loss of a loved one. Fortunately, Methodist Hospice provides children and their families with grief guidance through the annual Camp BraveHearts Family Grief Camp in Memphis, Tenn. The camp, held at St. Columba Episcopal Center, is a safe place where feelings of grief can be expressed without having to worry about the reactions of others. Trained professionals and volunteers help kids and their families explore issues related to grief, walking beside them as they take the steps needed to heal. By sharing their grief with others, kids and adults begin to let go.

Who is Camp BraveHearts for?
Children ages 6-16 who have experienced the death of a family member or friend within the past two years. A complete program is also available for parents and caregivers of the children attending camp. This family grief camp is open to the community and free of charge for campers.

What will my child do at Camp BraveHearts?
At the family grief camp, your child will work through grief by participating in arts and crafts, creative learning, games, counseling and building friendships.

  • Laugh
  • Cry
  • Talk
  • Remember
  • Make friends
  • Learn to let it go

When is the camp?
June 10th-12th (Thursday & Friday 8:30 am - 4:00 pm and Saturday 8:30 - 12:30)

How do I sign my child up?
Please call 901.516.1744 and ask to speak with a family grief camp intake person.

10 Reasons to Visit the Minor Med
last updated:
Mon, 4/26/2010 9:07 AM
  1. No appointments necessary
  2. Open 7 days a week, including holidays
  3. Four convenient locations (Hacks Cross, Cordova, Union Ave., & Olive Branch)
  4. Avoid long waits at the ER for minor injuries
  5. Quick turn around time
  6. Friendly, courteous, and knowledgeable staff
  7. Treatments for:
    Colds & Flu
    Ear Aches
    Sprains / Strains
    Minor Cuts and Burns
  8. Services, such as:
    Lab tests (including but not limited to: strep, flu, urinalysis, mono, accuchecks, and CBCs)
    Pregnancy tests
    Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines
    Worker's Compensation and Occupational Medicine
  9. Referrals made within the Methodist System
  10. Patient & Family-Centered Care - both patient and family are welcome in our facilities

So, the next time you can't get in to see your primary care physician, please stop in and see us at one of our Minor Med locations. You will find prompt friendly service and look forward to assisting you with your healthcare needs.


Gale Dering is the clinic manager at the Methodist Minor Medical Center on Hacks Cross. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice.

Transplants in Memphis Tennessee
last updated:
Thu, 4/01/2010 1:01 PM

The Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute has had a presence in Memphis for quite sometime and has been evolving at a rapid pace in recent years to meet the needs of our patients. To introduce ourselves today I wanted to share a few facts about why I am so proud to call the Transplant Institute home.

  • Patients have come to Methodist from across the United States for their transplant care. Recently, we have transplanted patients from as far and wide as Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, and Maryland, just to name a few. For those patients, we have overnight guest rooms available for their families.

  • The Transplant Institute is ranked as one of the top ten liver transplant centers in the United States

  •  The Transplant Institute has successfully performed over 420 living donor kidney transplants. Our living donor liver transplant program is currently being revitilized. 

  •  Any patient who has a transplant has more than 15 different health care workers who all contribute the transplant process. This includes surgeons, medical doctors, nurses, social workers, financial case managers, pharmacists and many others.

  • Since we began, the Transplant Institute has performed over 3300 solid organ transplants. In 2009, the transplant institute had a record year, performing 129 liver transplants, 122 kidney transplants, 2 pancreas transplants and 6 combined kidney-pancreas transplants.

  • A little history: The first kidney transplant was performed in 1970 at the UT Bowld hospital. The Bowld was the sixth kidney transplant program in the country. In 1984, the first liver transplant was performed, making UT the 3rd liver transplant program nationwide. In 2004, after many successful years, the Transplant Institute relocated to our new home at Methodist University Hospital. As you can see, the Transplant Institute is a busy place. We spend our time dedicated to ensuring every patient is given the best care during every aspect of their transplant experience.


Amanda Dean is a Nurse Practitioner at the Pre-Transplant Clinic. For more information contact the Transplant Institute at All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Locate a transplant surgeon in Tennessee or call 866.805.7710 for more information.

Taking Charge of My Health
last updated:
Thu, 4/01/2010 11:28 AM

What can I do about my health? Don't wait until 2011 to make a new year's resolution. Today is the best day to start! Taking charge of your health is the best way to live the healthy life you want. Know your options. Pay attention to your body. And, communicate with your healthcare provider. That’s us. We’ve brought together physicians from our hospitals and outpatient locations to share information with you about how you can be prepared and informed for any experience with us at Methodist Healthcare.

We want to work with you and your family to provide the best quality of care. Our specialty areas, The Neuroscience Institute, The Transplant Institute, The Cancer Center and The Cardiovascular Institute, help us provide superior quality healthcare to Memphis, Tennessee and the Mid-South. But, if you have questions about any other health topics or services we offer, just let us know! This is a place for you to be able to say, "Hey, it's My Health we're talking about here!"


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Methodist Healthcare is an integrated health care delivery system, dedicated to the art of healing through our faith-based commitment to minister to the whole person. 1211 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 • (901) 516-7000