The (Future) Doctor Is In – Meet Chris Pothering, a Medical Student Returning Home

Christian Pothering

Lehigh Valley native Christian Pothering is part of the first class of medical students with SELECT, Lehigh Valley Health Network’s partnership with University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine.

A basketball player at Allentown Central Catholic High School and Muhlenberg College, Chris Pothering lived for hoops. Yet when he took a break to receive care for a knee condition, Pothering’s course changed.

“I had surgery from a local orthopedic surgeon,” says Pothering of Thomas DiBenedetto, MD, with Lehigh Valley Health Network. “His work was so interesting to me that he let me shadow him.”

So began Pothering’s interest in becoming a doctor. The Allentown native earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Muhlenberg, and then a master’s degree in anatomy at Penn State’s College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa. Now age 28, he’s completing second-year studies in SELECT, the health network’s medical school partnership with University of South Florida’s (USF) Morsani College of Medicine. Read More »

Robotic Surgery Strikes Out Cancer for High School Baseball Umpire

Randy Seltzer, high school baseball umpire

“When I first heard ‘cancer’ I wasn’t sure I’d make it back onto the field,” says Randy Seltzer, 55, of Macungie, Pa. “Returning to being an umpire feels great, because it’s something I really enjoy.”

When 55-year-old Randy Seltzer was diagnosed with bladder cancer last fall, he feared he wouldn’t return to the baseball field, where the former minor league pitcher has been umpiring high school games for eight years. But he’s back in his uniform, after having robotic surgery that paved the way for a speedy recovery.

Seltzer, of Macungie, Pa., had his bladder and prostate gland removed – a procedure called a cystoprostatectomy – using the da Vinci® Robotic Surgery System. He was discharged from the hospital after just four days and back to his full-time job three-and-a-half weeks later.

“We had step-by-step guidance the entire way,” says his wife, Deb. “The team answered all our questions in great detail and helped us make informed decisions.”

Read about Seltzer’s experience, and learn more about our men’s health and cancer services.

Bethlehem Heart Care Forum to Introduce Cardiac Doctors, Treatment Options

Anthony Urbano, MD; Sanjay Mehta, MD; Deborah Sundlof, DO; Hari Joshi, MD

Presenters at the forum include, clockwise from top left, Anthony Urbano, MD; Sanjay Mehta, MD; Deborah Sundlof, DO; and Hari Joshi, MD.

A forum next week at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg offers a chance to learn about the advanced heart treatments that are available right here in Bethlehem.

Cardiac Forum: Innovations in Health Care will feature presentations by four Lehigh Valley Health Network doctors. They will discuss:

  • the latest in heart surgery
  • treatments for abnormal heart rhythms
  • high-quality and fast care for heart attacks
  • updates in women’s heart health

Presenters will include Hari Joshi, MD; Deborah Sundlof, DO; and Anthony Urbano, MD – providers with Lehigh Valley Cardiology Associates – and Sanjay Mehta, MD, with Lehigh Valley Heart and Lung Surgeons.

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8-Year-Old Creates CHEMO Bags for Cancer Patients

Michelle Walia as a superhero

“My mommy is brave and strong,” Michelle Walia says. “I want to help other cancer patients be strong, too.”

Michelle Walia of Hanover Township can’t leap over tall buildings. Nor can she stop a speeding bullet. But make no mistake: the bubbly 8-year-old is a real-life superhero to patients receiving chemotherapy in the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg infusion center.

She recently surprised the patients by delivering 48 CHEMO (Caring, Helping, Encouraging, Motivating, Others) bags filled with goodies to help them pass the time and be more comfortable during their treatments. “It made me really happy,” she says.

The entire project – including the acronym – was the second grader’s idea. Her mom, Leah, has been receiving treatment for breast cancer at the hospital the past year. Inspired when she saw similar bags on TV, Michelle decided to make her own – and give them away.

“My mommy is brave and strong,” she says. “I want to help other cancer patients be strong, too.”

With assistance from her mom and dad, Alan, she recruited friends to knit hats and lap blankets. Thanks to donations from area businesses, the bags also include items such as neck pillows, puzzles and pens, bottled water, gum and mints, and hand sanitizer. Even the bags themselves were donated.

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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy May Help Your Healing

turtle with bandaid for wound healing graphic

You have a wound that is taking a long time to heal. Maybe blood flow to that area is poor, or your tissues were damaged by radiation therapy. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy at Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Wound Healing Center may be the perfect solution to your problem.

“There are many medical conditions and wounds that are very hard to heal under normal circumstances,” says plastic surgeon Robert X. Murphy Jr., MD.  “Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a natural way to help augment the body’s natural healing process.”

Hyperbaric oxygen treatments are provided in pressurized chambers designed specifically to deliver 100 percent oxygen at a pressure higher than sea level for a designated period of time.  It will increase the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream two to three times the normal amount, which can make a major difference in the healing of wounds and damaged body tissues.

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