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Writing and Photography by Lee and Connie Rand
MANY FAST-BREAKING LOCAL NEWS STORIES CAN BE FOLLOWED IN REAL TIME ON OUR "WELCOME TO LINCOLN, MAINE" FACEBOOK PAGE OR ON TWITTER @LINCOLNMAINEUS. *
Breaking news will be posted here. *
February 27 - Two firefighters, Capt. John Herlihy of Lowell and Terry Upcott of Lincoln were injured today fighting a fire at 121 Lee Road. Both men are expected to make a full recovery. The fire began early this morning, and was reported by a passerby. The cause of the fire is undetermined, and the building is a total loss. Some tenants were home at the time of the fire, but escaped unharmed. Traffic was rerouted around the area while firefighters worked to extenguish the fire. The building will be demolished as soon as possible.
New police officer
January 20 - Officer Joshua McKechnie (front) started his law enforcement career with Lincoln Police in April of 2014 as a reserve officer and has now been hired as the town's newest, full-time patrol officer. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Lincoln)
Influenza widespread in Maine
by Sherry McCafferty, RN
JANUARY 19 - Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses and can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with chronic conditions are at high risk for serious flu complications, including:
· People with asthma
· People with diabetes
· People with heart disease and those who have had strokes
· Adults 65 years of age and older
· Pregnant women
· People who have HIV or AIDS
· Children younger than 5 but especially children younger than 2
Most people who get the flu will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs, and will recover in less than two weeks. Some people, however, are more likely to get flu complications that result in being hospitalized and occasionally result in death. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications.
The flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may experience a worsening of this condition that is triggered by the flu.
Influenza symptoms include fever, cough, body aches, headache, chills, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Some people with the flu may not have a fever.
Influenza is spread mainly by droplets made when people cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Or a person may get the flu from touching something that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own nose, mouth or eyes. People with the flu can shed the virus and infect others from one day before getting sick to five to seven days after.
The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. Other methods of preventing the flu include:
1. Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
2. Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
3. Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
4. Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
6. Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
If you have a high risk condition and you get the flu, early treatment with flu antiviral medications is important. Antiviral drugs are prescription medications that can be used to treat the flu. Swift treatment with antiviral drugs in someone with a high risk condition can mean the difference between experiencing mild symptoms at home instead of suffering a very severe illness that could result in a hospital stay. Studies show that these drugs work best when they are started within 2 days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk health condition or is very sick from the flu.
Antiviral medications are not a substitute for vaccination. Annual flu vaccination is the first and best way to prevent the flu, but if you do get sick with the flu, antiviral medications are a second line of defense to treat the flu. Antiviral medicines can be prescribed by a physician to help make flu illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. Antiviral drugs may prevent serious flu complications. If you have a high risk medical condition and develop flu-like symptoms, check with your physician promptly.
PVH does request patients that may be coming in to the hospital or healthcare providers’ offices with a fever and cough to please wear a mask to help contain the virus; masks are available at each entrance and registration desk. Let’s all commit to practicing good hand hygiene and masking to help prevent the spread of the flu this season.
Governor LePage speaks at Chamber dinner
January 17 - The Lincoln Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce held its annual dinner today at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Guest speaker was Governor Paul LePage. A lifetime achievement award was presented to Hervey Clay. The dinner was catered by wives of K of C members. The tables were beautifully decorated, as you can see by our photos below.
Lincoln town clerk resigns
Lincoln Town Clerk Shelly Crosby, pictured here at a recent Homecoming, has submitted her resignation and will be going to Orono. No further information is available....
Lincoln police officer/firefighter resigns
January 7 - Lincoln police officer and on-call firefighter Anthony Redmond resigned from both his positions on Monday.
He worked his last shift as a police officer on Friday night. No reason has been given.
BREAKING NEWS: HAN & PVH Make a Difficult Decision to Close Obstetrics Service
After many months of careful deliberation, the Boards at both Health Access Network and Penobscot Valley Hospital have made the difficult decision to discontinue labor and delivery services at the Lincoln hospital. The obstetrical service will close effective May 1, 2015.
This decision was made after extensive review of area demographics, obstetrical volumes, cost and staffing. With less than 70 babies delivered at PVH in 2013, an aging population, the negative financial position of the OB service, and changes in physician practices, the organizations recognized there was no other feasible option but to discontinue this service.
“This decision was not made lightly,” notes PVH Chief Executive Officer Gary Poquette. “Multidisciplinary committees and consultants have reviewed the labor and delivery service, and our community just doesn’t have a sufficient number of newborns to sustain this service. That fact, combined with the recent physician decisions, leaves us no other choice.”
PVH is one of only a dozen Critical Access Hospitals in the state still currently providing labor and delivery services. Many have exited the business for similar reasons, attributing their decisions to financial constraints, decreased demand, and difficulty recruiting and maintaining clinical staff.
Penobscot Valley Hospital will likely never get out of the baby business entirely. “Some babies just can’t wait,” states PVH Chief of Emergency Medicine and Chief Medical Officer David Dumont, MD. “Their moms present to the emergency department [ED] in the final stages of labor. Although not ideal, our ED is trained to perform deliveries in emergent situations and will maintain equipment on-hand to provide initial care for a newborn and the mother.”
“Childbirth itself is a very small part of the overall pregnancy experience. Our family practice providers at Health Access Network will continue to provide comprehensive prenatal and postnatal care to patients in our area and will work closely with the provider who will be performing delivery,” adds HAN Chief Executive Officer Bill Diggins, RN.
The two organizations would like the community to know:
Health Access Network physicians are personally contacting all current OB patients to discuss their options for prenatal care and delivery.
Health Access Network will continue to provide prenatal care to women through their family practice physicians.
Penobscot Valley Hospital will continue to conduct prenatal testing in the laboratory and ultrasounds in the imaging department.
Health Access Network and Penobscot Valley Hospital are working resolutely with area facilities including Eastern Maine Medical Center to enhance access to their OB providers and ensure a smooth transition of care for all local women.
Mr. Poquette reiterated that “the hospital is committed to provide local access to quality care for the residents of the Lincoln Lakes Region. We hope to be able to continue providing seamless care for OB patients, who can receive excellent prenatal care locally and an excellent delivery experience at EMMC.”
“Our obstetrical, family medicine, surgical and pediatric providers as well as clinical staff have all given outstanding care to the community since the hospital opened,” adds Dumont.
The public is welcome to attend a Community Forum on Wednesday, December 3 at 6:00pm in the Mattanawcook Academy Cafeteria. Representatives from both Health Access Network and Penobscot Valley Hospital will be on-hand to address the community’s concerns on the obstetrical service closure and provide information to patients on the transition of care. For more information, contact Penobscot Valley Hospital Administration at (207) 794-3321.