Sara Grover Receives Rising Star Award for October

Sara Grover is the 4th family member to join the CCMH team. Her grandmother Leanne has been in the food and nutrition department for 20 years. She also has an aunt and her mother works here as well, making Sara a legacy!

Sara is a dynamic young lady with a heart of gold. She has so much compassion that it really shines through when she delivers meals to our patients. Sara greets everyone with a smile and a friendly hello. It was this very reason that Sara was nominated and won the Rising Star award. A resident needed some help and Sara was more than willing to help her and listen to the resident which in her words “blessed her”. She is a very hard worker and is always willing to help her peers or her leadership team.

Will Elderberry Prevent or Cure a Cold or the Flu?

Elderberry has been popular among natural remedy enthusiasts for centuries, although it has generated much conversation on the internet in recent years. As soon as autumn hits, you can find many people mixing up this ancient concoction for daily consumption in hopes of preventing the flu, cold and other ailments. As with many popular medications and remedies for cold and flu treatment, you may be skeptical if elderberry really works despite having and friend or two rave about the medicinal berry.

Skepticism of such natural remedies and medications is not unfounded with companies often producing misleading advertising during cold and flu season, a time we all tend to panic a bit and try as best we can to avoid these thriving germs. Airborne, the popular “cold fighting” drug of the early 2000’s, for example, settled a lawsuit over $20 million in 2008 for their false advertising claims as a “miracle cold buster.”1 You will still see the medication on the shelves now vaguely marketed as an “immune system booster.”

What are the facts about Elderberry?

So to cut through the hype, what are the facts about elderberry? Elderberries are produced by the European elder, a native tree to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa, but it can grow in parts of the United States as well. The tree produces a red variety of elderberries and a blue / black variety. Only the blue / black elderberry is used for medicinal purposes. Other parts of the tree including the leaves, bark, fruits, roots, and flowers, have long been used in traditional medicine, naming the herb as a “medicine chest” by Hippocrates.2

Elderberry can be used in wines, pies, teas and jams. When it is used for medicinal purposes, many individuals are making homemade elderberry syrup. The berries are typically boiled with honey and medicinal spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Elderberry can also be purchased in capsules, logenzes, tinctures, and other combination products. There is no standard dosage of elderberry, yet many adults consume a tablespoon or two a day in hopes of preventing a cold or the flu.

Uncooked elderberry can be dangerous, causing severe nausea, vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, weakness and need for hospitalization. Older records that cannot be verified report childhood deaths from consuming American black elderberry, a related berry to the European variety used medicinally.3 It is unknown exactly how much elderberry is safe for child consumption.

Can Elderberry really prevent or cure a cold or the flu?

Are you considering Elderberry to relieve your cold or flu symptoms? Well, for most people it is probably worth a try. Little is known about how the ancient remedy and if it truly works. The berry contains flavonoids, chemicals which are believed to aid in reducing inflammation.

Scientist who are funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) are studying the antioxidant effects of elderberry and if it is possible that the plant helps to cure infection. Currently, the NCCIH reports, “Although some preliminary research indicates that elderberry may relieve flu symptoms, the evidence is not strong enough to support its use for this purpose.”4

Israeli scientists may disagree. After studying the effects of an elderberry extract that is commercially available known as Sambucol®, Israeli research reported the growth of influenza viruses in lab dishes were suppressed when the elderberry extract was introduced. This research team also reported that patients with confirmed cases of avian flu, H5N1, who were given the extract recovered faster than those in the study’s placebo group.5

An Australian study from 2016 may also suggest that extract from the European elder may shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms. A group of 312 participants was divided into two groups, one taking a placebo and the other taking elderberry extract. The group given elderberry recorded a decrease of symptoms days sooner than the placebo group.6

Although the research presented seems promising, most health authorities will agree that more research is needed to confirm the health benefits of elderberry. Some studies suggest that combination products consisting of elderflower along with various herbs may be helpful for sinusitis. Due to the usage of multiple ingredients, the role elderflower plays in their effects, if any, is unknown.4

At this time there are no negative interactions reported between the usage of elderberry supplements combined with other medications.7 Unknown interactions could exist. You should always discuss the possible risks and benefits of supplemental usage with your doctor.

What are the best ways to avoid a cold or the flu?

To reduce the risk and spread of cold and flu, remember to follow the suggestions reiterated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for decades: avoid contact with those who are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after no longer having a fever controlled by medication, clean surfaces that may be contaminated, wash your hands often, and cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze.8 Also discuss the possibility of receiving a flu shot with your doctor.

Are you experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms and do not have a general practitioner? Visit to search for one of our providers.


The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.
Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.
While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at


1 CNNMoney. 4 March 2008. Airborne settles lawsuit for $23.3 million.
2 Jaret, Peter. 29 February 2016. Health. Immunity Boosters for Cold and Flu Season.
3 Center for Disease Control (CDC). 6 April 1984. Poisoning from Elderberry Juice — California.
4 National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). September 2016. European Elder.
5 Blackburn, Nicky.Isreal 21C. 29 January 2006. Study shows Israeli elderberry extract effective against avian flu.
6 Tiralongo, Wee & Lee. 8 April 2016. Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.
7 C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. 4 June 2016. Elderberry.
8 Center for Disease Control (CDC). 1 August 2018. CDC Says “Take 3” Actions to Fight the Flu.

Faster Diagnostic Testing for Breast Cancer

Faster Diagnostic Testing for Breast Cancer

October is breast cancer awareness month and Comanche County Memorial Hospital, is the only hospital to offer the fastest testing for breast cancer in southwest Oklahoma.

In the past when a patient had a mammogram and a lump was found, the tissue taken from the biopsy would be sent out of state for pathologists to examine. That could take up to a week. But if the patient needed additional testing, it could take even longer.

Now CCMH offers this type of testing on site. Patients can have the diagnosis of cancer within 24 – 48 hours.

Dr. Carol Dittmann is the Chief of Pathology at Comanche County Memorial Hospital. She says decreasing the time they inform the patient of a diagnosis of cancer is crucial.

“From the point the patient has an abnormal mammogram to the point of seeing the oncologist and making treatment plans and decisions, we aim for that to be less than a week,” Dr. Dittmann said. “With this new technology in house, we are able to achieve that.”

Dr. Dittmann wants to remind people that breast cancer can happen to both men and women, and that this new technology can help everyone in the community. She says to keep up with your yearly mammograms and to get checked out if you feel a lump in your breasts.

To schedule an appointment to get a mammogram, you can call the McMahon Center for Breast Health at 580-250-5856.

Is the Keto Diet a Safe Way to Lose Weight?

Every time you turn around, there seems to be a new fad diet that is all the buzz leading Americans to fuel a weight loss industry worth $66 billion.1 With so much for this industry to gain, it is wise for one to consider if a fad diet is really in his or her best interest before beginning on a new path of cutting carbs, eating only raw fruits and vegetables or whatever the diet’s rules may be.You may be shocked to learn of some of the unsafe methods to weight loss that actually caught on in past decades. With individuals willing to consume sedatives to sleep more and avoid eating or consuming tapeworm eggs to decrease the amount of calories absorbed by the body, it is obvious that the nearly 3 in 4 overweight American adults1 are desperate for that quick and magical cure to better manage their weight.  Be sure to consult with your physician and ensure the results of a new diet plan do not produce new health concerns.

What is the Ketogenic diet?

If you have enjoyed the bacon loving craze in recent years, you may have been excited to learn of the Ketogenic (Keto) diet. Historically, Keto has been a successful means of controlling drug- resistant epilepsy and seizures in children since the early 20th century. Although, recently it has caught on as a new means to weight loss.

Keto is a high fat and very low carb diet. It encourages its followers to consume fewer than 50 grams of carbs a day (less than four slices of bread). Normally, the body burns carbs to produce energy. Since the body has few carbs available for energy when following a Keto diet, the body is forced into a state called ketosis and burns fat. Using ketosis to amp up weight loss is not a new concept.  Atkins, the popular diet of the early 2000’s, is another method which consists of a period of ketosis.

What are the benefits or side effects of the Keto diet?

As with any popular diet, research of the benefits and side effects of following the Keto diet are sure to continue for years to come. Although, such research is often difficult to conduct since many individuals will not stick to the diet long term. Current research by the Mayo Clinic reports that there is little evidence to show that this type of eating is safe or effective long term unless the benefits of preventing epilepsy or seizures is a factor.2 Patients of kidney disease in particular are discouraged from following this diet as it may worsen their condition. Very low carb diets also have higher rates of side effects such as headaches, constipation and bad breath as well as vomiting, tiredness when beginning the diet, and difficulty sleeping.3 To meet Keto’s requirements, many healthy foods are eliminated such as root vegetables, fruits, and legumes, making it difficult to meet daily nutritional needs.

It will be interesting to see if the ketogenic diet is a common alternative to treat certain medical conditions in the future. Generally, the diet is not recommended by practitioners as it is hard to follow and heavy on notoriously unhealthy foods such as red meat, fatty, processed, and salt-filled foods. Until a quick and magical alternative emerges that is also healthy, the same rules for weight loss apply that practitioners have been recommending for decades. To lose weight, individuals should consume a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and lots of water while exercising regularly. This seems to be the best tried and true method to maintain a healthy lifestyle while controlling weight.

If you’re struggling to manage your weight, we want to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle. You can find out more information at You may also call Dr. Sawyer’s office at (580) 510-7042 to learn if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery.



1 Time Magazine. 5 June 2017. The Weight Loss Trap: Why Your Diet Isn’t Working.

2 Mayo Clinic. 8 March 2018. The truth behind the most popular diet trends of the moment.

3 Harvard Health Publishing. 6 July 2018. Ketogenic diet: Is the ultimate low-carb diet good for you?



The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Image

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Although there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, no one is immune from this disease. The McMahon Center for Breast Health, at Comanche County Memorial Hospital, is the first and only comprehensive breast cancer program in Southwest Oklahoma, providing a multidisiplinary approach to preventing, detecting, treating and ultimately beating cancer. The key to survival is early detection and access to state-of-the-art technology and treatment.

The McMahon Center for Breast Health features the most advanced diagnostic tools to include: 3D mammography, breast MRI and the only fellowship trained breast cancer radiologist in the region, giving our patients the greatest chance of early detection and survival. During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, take the first step to survival and schedule your mammogram today by calling 580.250.5846

CCMH Recertified as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center

CCMH Recertified as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center

We have been an Advanced Primary Stroke Center (PSC) through The Joint Commission since 2016. Although the foundation to achieve and provide better stroke care started years earlier with Debbie Cofer, RN, BSN, CPHQ; Debra Schultz, RN and an assembled stroke team of various areas. As an Advanced Primary Stroke Center we must report on several metrics to improve the overall quality of stroke care. We concurrently track and report measures set by CMS and Get With The Guidelines. This program has enabled our facility’s stroke care to continuously improve and enhance the overall stroke system of care here in Southwest Oklahoma. Not only is it a goal to improve stroke care, but to also raise awareness in regards to stroke signs and symptoms. Community education in raising awareness is a key factor in prevention and earlier treatment of stroke. There are many requirements that we must fullfill as an organization to be a PSC. It is a true team effort! We have a stroke team that meets on a monthly basis and they continually help come up with solutions and ideas to overcome obstacles that challenge us from time to time. It is because of the dedication of our stroke team, ED nurses, physicians & residents, pharmacy, lab, and CT that we have achieved over the National Average in giving tPA within 45 minutes. It is also because of our incredible team with addition of unit nurses from all units, physicians, hospitalists, therapy, neurologists, and education that we were awarded the American Heart Association Bronze Award in 2018. This year one of our goals is to achieve the AHA Silver Award and we are on track.

Summer Weeks Jim Thorpe VIP

Summer Weeks is Recognized as the Jim Thorpe V.I.P

Congratulations to Summer Weeks as she has been recognized as the Jim Thorpe V.I.P.

Summer’s achievement is the result of hard work, dedication, and her continued support for the Rehab Team. She was nominated by her peers for her ability to give great advice and tips for success as well as her willingness to help out when needed. She is praised by her patients as being “really great and helpful.”

Summer is recognized by leadership for her hard work and positive attitude. She completes tasks asked of her without hesitation while maintaining a positive attitude. Summer helps rehab therapy stay organized by setting the daily board schedule, which is a huge help to the whole team.

Thank you Summer for contributing your time and talent to the best rehab team.

National Suicide Prevention Month Image

September is Suicide Prevention Month

In the healthcare setting it’s easier to think about the patients who might be at risk of suicide than about our peers who might be at risk. But suicidal thoughts effect all groups and occupations. As co-workers, we are in a good position to notice changes that may suggest a team member is contemplating suicide.

Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more of the following warning signs.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or obtaining a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

These warning signs indicate a serious risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new or has increased or is related to a recent, painful event such as a break-up, financial set-back, family disruption or trauma. If you spot one or more warning signs, don’t wait for someone else to act.

The BeThe1To campaign suggests five action steps you can take:

  1. Ask your co-worker, “Are you thinking about suicide?” then listen without judgement.
  2. Keep them safe. If the person has a plan or if they have immediate access to means and intend to take their life, they are in immediate danger and need emergency services.
  3. Be there. Whether in person or on the phone, being there increases connectedness and shows support.
  4. Help them connect, for example, by calling the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), referring to a mental health provider, reaching out to a counselor or other community or workplace resources.
  5. Follow up. Giving them a call, sending a text, and other forms of contact are an important part of showing support and preventing suicide.

Patients are not the only ones who may be at risk. Our peers in healthcare may be at risk, too. We can help prevent suicide by being aware of these warning signs and by our willingness to act.

Man Walking Through Field Header

Organ Donation Helps Save Lives Through LifeShare

On August 17, 2018, a 20 year old man passed away, and his family chose to make his final gift, the gift of organ donation. He was able to donate his left kidney to a recipient in Oklahoma, his liver to a recipient in Oklahoma and right kidney and pancreas to a recipient in Maryland. Because of this act of generosity and kindness, three lives were saved. LifeShare depends on hospital partners like CCMH to help save these lives.

On behalf of these recipients and the donor family, these miracles would not be possible. Year-to-date, Comanche County Memorial Hospital has helped save eight lives!

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