Carbon monoxide poisoning is a scary reality for so many people during the wintertime more than any other time of the year. Why? Because vents are blocked with snow and ice! In fact, the CDC reports that carbon monoxide sends over 15,000 Americans to the ED each year and 439 fatalities on average.

On average, men among women are often at a higher risk for carbon monoxide poisoning as men, more often deal with motorized appliances and machinery that exhaust carbon monoxide. Use the tips below to protect yourself against poisoning by carbon monoxide.

Know the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Persistent, severe headaches and dizziness (usually affecting more than one person in an enclosed area)
  • Nausea, vomiting and fatigue
  • The disappearance of symptoms when individuals leave the structure.

Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Every year you should have a professional technician assess your heating systems, water heaters, and other gas-, oil- or coal-burning appliances.
  • Install either electric or battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors in homes. If battery operated, be sure to change the batteries twice a year when you change the clocks for daylight-saving time (DST).
  • Never use generators, camp stoves, charcoal grills or any other gas- or oil-burning device inside the home.  Never use these devices outside the home near a window
  • Never run a motor vehicle inside the garage, even if the garage door is open
  • Never burn anything in a fireplace or stove that is not vented to the outside
  • Never heat your house with a gas oven
  • Throughout the winter, check to make sure outdoor vents are clear and accessible
  • Make sure to avoid parking your vehicle’s rear end in or near a snow bank.

How is carbon monoxide poisoning treated?

If exposed to carbon monoxide please get into fresh air immediately and call 911 for emergency medical help.  Symptoms of someone with carbon monoxide poisoning may include headache, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, weakness and confusion.

Once you arrive at the hospital, treatment may involve:

  • Breathing pure oxygen. In the emergency department, you may breathe pure oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth. This will help oxygen reach organs and tissues. If you’re unable to breathe on your own, a ventilator will breathe for you
  • Time in a pressurized oxygen chamber. In many cases, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is recommended. This therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a chamber in which the air pressure is about two to three times higher than normal. This process increases the speed by which oxygen in your blood replaces the carbon monoxide in it
    • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is often used in cases of severe carbon monoxide poisoning. This therapy helps protect heart and brain tissue, which are particularly at risk of injury from carbon monoxide poisoning. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also a great treatment alternative for pregnant women as unborn babies are highly susceptible to damage from carbon monoxide poisoning.

How to prepare for your appointment

As soon as you arrive, hospital staff will need information about the carbon monoxide exposure. On the way to the hospital, try to prepare to answer questions which may address:

  • Sources of the carbon monoxide exposure
  • Your symptoms, and when they started
  • If you are experiencing mental impairment such as confusion or memory problems
  • If you’ve experienced any loss of consciousness
  • Other diagnosed medical conditions, including pregnancy
  • Your use of tobacco products.

Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) is the first in New York State to receive accreditation of its cardiac cathererization by the American College of Cardiology (ACC). This accreditation recognizes MVHS’s demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients who come to the Cardiac Cath Lab for care.

MVHS was awarded the Cardiac Cath Lab Accreditation based on a rigorous onsite evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who come to the Cardiac Cath Lab. Hospitals that have proven exceptional competency in treating patients who require cardiac catheterization have standardized their assessment process for patients before undergoing catheterization to ensure quality and patient safety. They ensure that care in the procedure room for sedation, infection control, radiation safety, universal protocol and time out procedures is fully coordinated. They have mastered the appropriate transfer to a cath recovery unit to better monitor and track complications, enhance physician-to-patient communication, patient family communication, discharge instructions and follow-up information.

“MVHS has demonstrated its commitment to providing the Mohawk Valley with excellent heart care,” said Phillip D. Levy, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC Accreditation Management Board. “ACC Accreditation Services is proud to award MVHS with Cardiac Cath Lab Accreditation.”

Hospitals receiving Cardiac Cath Lab Accreditation from the ACC must take part in a multi-faceted clinical process that involves completing a gap analysis, examining variances of care, developing an action plan, a rigorous onsite review and monitoring for sustained success. Improved methods and strategies of caring for patients include streamlining processes, implementing guidelines and standards and adopting best practices in the care of cath lab patients. Facilities that achieve accreditation meet or exceed an array of stringent criteria and have organized a team of doctors, nurses, clinicians and other administrative staff that earnestly support the efforts leading to improved patient outcomes.

The ACC offers the United States and international hospitals such as MVHS access to a comprehensive suite of cardiac accreditation services designed to optimize patient outcomes and improve hospital financial performance. These services are focused on all aspects of cardiac care, including the cath lab.

About the American College of Cardiology

The American College of Cardiology envisions a world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes. As the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team, the mission of the College and its more than 52,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC bestows credentials upon cardiovascular professionals who meet stringent qualifications and leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College also provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research through its world-renowned JACC Journals, operates national registries to measure and improve care, and offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions. For more, visit For more information about ACC Accreditation Services, visit, or call toll-free 1- 877-271-4176. 

Hearts are on the mind in February but rarely are they the hearts that should be.

Heart health – like many other health-related issues can be improved with a good nutritious diet and consistent exercise. In addition to improving your diet and exercise regimen here are a few other tips for lessening your risk of heart related diseases in the future:

Give yourself a starting point by assessing your current risk for heart related diseases. You can do this by accessing the American Heart Association’s Check. Change. Control. Calculator. You can find it here.  

Adjust your diet by eliminating processed foods, especially those with added sugars, refined carbohydrates, sodium and saturated and trans fats. You might find yourself feeling hungry and craving carbs and sugars but instead try to replace them with veggies, protein and whole grains.

Increase your physical activity. Whether you’re relatively active or live a sedentary lifestyle, increased activity will only have a positive outcome on your heart-related health risks.

Eliminate use of tobacco products. Tobacco cessation isn’t a simple thing, but it is necessary to avoid a variety of health risks and diseases. MVHS regularly offers smoking cessation classes at our St. Luke’s campus. Learn more by visiting the events section of website or our Facebook page!

According to John Hopkins Medicine a daily dosage of aspirin can help decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and those with narrowing arteries. Before attempting this please consult with your primary care provider (PCP).

Pay close attention to your risk of diabetes. Diabetes, if left untreated can lead to heart disease, stroke and more, and where diet and exercise play a big role in reducing your risk for diabetes they do the same for heart disease and stroke!

Improve your dental hygiene and oral health. Although not confirmed there is a trending link between gum disease and heart disease. While maintaining good oral health is important for other reasons this link is yet another reason to increase your flossing and visit your dentist more frequently.

 Join a fitness focused event like the American Heart Association’s Heart Run-Walk. MVHS puts together a team each year to run or walk together and raise money for the American Heart Association. Join us or consider donating to our team to help us reach our goal. We participate in America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk in Utica, NY which kicks off on Champlin Avenue right near our St. Luke’s Campus and continues down Burrstone Road past several of our office locations. We’d love for you to join us in March!  



The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) is entering into a new partnership that will expand the residency programs and put MVHS on the path to becoming a major teaching clinical campus. MVHS is partnering with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), Elmira, to be a clinical campus for their medical school, providing clinical rotations for third and fourth year students.

This partnership didn’t just happen. For several years Mark Warfel, DO, program director at St. Elizabeth Family Medicine Residency Program, has been an advocate for expanding Undergraduate Clinical Medical Education and Graduate Medical Education in Central New York. Working with other senior leaders, Dr. Warfel led a process to issue Requests for Proposals (RFP). After reviewing written responses, finalists were selected which were interviewed by senior staff and medical staff leaders. For many reasons, LECOM was chosen as our partner.

What does this partnership mean for MVHS and the Central New York Region?

Increase Physician Count in the Area
First, it expands the number of future new physicians in our community. More than 60 third and four year medical students will rotate through MVHS facilities and also have the opportunity to work with other community physicians. 

Ability to Expand Residency Programs
Secondly, it provides a solid framework upon which MVHS will expand its residency programs beyond the current Family Medicine and Dental residencies. Additional Family Medicine residency slots and new residency programs in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine and General Surgery will all expand over several years. The overriding goal is to meet the need for physicians in our community in the future. In addition to recruiting physicians from outside the region, this new program helps us “grow our own” new physicians right here in the Mohawk Valley.

Impact of Educational Environment on Our Services
The other significant advantage to us, and the patients we serve, is the impact an educational environment has on our services. When a medical center takes on the responsibility of training future physicians (or any care provider for that matter), the dedication to providing higher level education in a teaching environment raises the bar of the services we provide.

This is all part of our strategy to transform healthcare in our region. We are working to ensure that graduates from schools training future healthcare professionals, such as the St. Elizabeth College of Nursing and our residency program, especially those who train in our facilities, stay in our area after graduation and help to strengthen the healthcare workforce in order to meet our community’s needs. It is yet one more exciting initiative as we transform from excellent to exceptional.

The rapid spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) throughout the world has had a tremendous impact not only on those who were infected, but on a great many individuals and especially on the healthcare system.

Our main goals as physicians and urologists during this pandemic are to prevent our patients from getting COVID-19, to continue to deliver optimal urologic care, and to protect ourselves as healthcare professionals, so that we can continue to uninterruptedly provide the needed care for our community throughout this health crisis.

Urologic telemedicine can decrease patient contact in order to make patients feel more comfortable receiving care.

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine, also referred to as telehealth, is an application used in the diagnosis and treatment of disease including videoconferencing software, mobile applications, wearable devices and monitors. The concept of telemedicine was originally initiated in the late 1990s in the financial realm with incorporation of online banking, trading and bill. Nowadays, telemedicine is incorporated in many healthcare facilities, including virtual practices and hospitals. The utilization of this important tool has exponentially increased in the time of COVID-19 pandemic.

We, at Upstate Urology at MVHS, began initiating telemedicine services to all our patients early on, recognizing the urgent need for this practical and “safe” service during these critical times. In fact, more than 90 percent of our patients are currently receiving care virtually.

Is it still private?

We are using a secure, confidential, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) compliant connection with each individual patient, every day, 5 days a week.

Although physical contact with patients can never be replaced, currently, urologic telemedicine enables an optimal alternative to see and listen to patients, examine them visually, and diagnose and treat them expeditiously and discretely at the convenience of their own home.

Will this always be an option?

Like many others, we also believe that telemedicine, despite its obvious limitations, is here to stay in some form, perhaps even after the anticipated demise of COVID-19 from our precious planet. This type of healthcare modality has significant advantages in keeping patients at risk safe, and avoiding the hassles and logistics of transportation and commute to the clinic, especially in older and more comorbid patients (Please see additional links below).

As we deal with COVID-19 worldwide, we as physicians and urologists strongly feel that it is our responsibility to provide excellent evidence-based medicine urological care in any way possible, using all technological applications in our disposal. In this ever-changing dynamic world, where health crisis can sweep the world and change our way of life as we know it, telemedicine is the appropriate move in the right direction, enabling continuation of optimized patient care, while keeping all patients and healthcare staff SAFE.

Dr. Hanan Goldberg contributed this article.

More from Dr. Goldberg can be found here:

The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) Stroke Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®– Stroke Gold Plus with Honor Roll quality achievement award for the 10th consecutive year. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

MVHS earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“MVHS is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said Varun Reddy, MBBS, MVHS Stroke Program director. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

This year, the program also received the Association’s Target: Type 2 DiabetesSM Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed with more than 90 percent of compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.”

“We are pleased to recognize MVHS for its commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

About Get With The Guidelines

Get With The Guidelines is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 9 million patients since 2001.