Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center
Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality of care while serving the communities of southwest Las Vegas.

When to seek medical care for gallbladder issues

The gallbladder is a small organ found in the upper right section of the abdomen. It’s responsible for storing bile, which plays a role in the digestion of fats. There are many problems that can affect the gallbladder, including gallstones. In some cases, patients are diagnosed with a gallbladder problem after seeing their family physician. Others seek emergency care at Southern Hills Hospital for severe symptoms. Our state-of-the-art hospital in Las Vegas is proud to feature sophisticated robotic surgery services, including minimally invasive gallbladder removal.

Seek emergency care for severe pain

Gallstones won’t always cause pain. Typically, symptoms occur when a gallstone blocks a bile duct. This can cause sudden pain that rapidly becomes worse.

Severe pain is always a good reason to seek emergency care, regardless of its potential cause. If the cause of the pain is gallstones, patients will feel it in the upper right area of the abdomen.

The pain might also extend to the center of the abdomen, right shoulder and between the shoulder blades. It may last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Some patients may experience nausea and vomiting.

Gallstones aren’t the only reason to seek emergency care, however. Acute cholecystitis, which is the sudden swelling of this organ, can cause the following symptoms:

  • Sharp or cramp-like upper belly pain
  • Fever
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes

Seek emergency care for possible gallstone complications

Acute cholecystitis often occurs as a complication of gallstones. Gallstones can also cause blockages of the common bile duct and pancreatic duct. Symptoms of a blocked bile duct can include the following:

  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes
  • Pale-colored stools
  • Itching
  • Upper right abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

See your doctor if minor symptoms don’t go away

Gallbladder problems aren’t always medical emergencies. When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a general surgeon at Southern Hills Hospital explain that minor symptoms can sometimes indicate gallbladder problems if they persist or recur. These include:

  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion

If you need emergency care in the Las Vegas area, please call 911 without delay. Southern Hills Hospital’s emergency care physicians and nurses are available around the clock to provide prompt and courteous medical care. For general questions about our patient-centered hospital services, you can contact a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023.

How occupational therapy can help you get your life back

After you’ve had acute stroke care, orthopedic surgery or been diagnosed with a disability, your doctor at Southern Hills Hospital may refer you to an occupational therapist. Occupational therapy is a uniquely patient-driven model of care because the therapist guides the patient in setting the course for the treatment. The goals of occupational therapy are not only to recover to the fullest extent possible, but also to let you get back to doing the things you love.

Dealing with chronic pain

Chronic pain can be baffling because it can persist even after the original injury has healed. Chronic pain touches virtually every area of a patient’s life—from emotional health to functional abilities. To help you learn how to better manage everyday activities and cope with limitations, an occupational therapist may do the following:

  • Identify triggers that worsen pain
  • Recommend pain-free alternatives
  • Decrease dependence on pain medications
  • Teach the use of adaptive equipment
  • Demonstrate alternative ways of performing activities

To get the most out of occupational therapy, you can openly communicate your goals, lifestyle desires and challenges. It’s the mission of your occupational therapist to help you enjoy good quality of life.

Recovering from a major surgery

Orthopedic surgeries such as joint replacements require extensive recovery and rehabilitation. Occupational therapists play a key role in the rehabilitation process. They can help patients with the following:

  • Getting around with a walker
  • Doing daily tasks without stressing the healing area
  • Positioning properly for sleep
  • Transferring in and out of the car

Restoring abilities after stroke

Stroke survivors often face life-altering challenges, including temporary or permanent paralysis, thinking difficulties and emotional upheaval. An occupational therapist can help with all of these difficulties to allow stroke survivors to live as independently as possible. Occupational therapy can benefit stroke survivors in the following ways:

  • Learn one-handed techniques for tasks
  • Use adaptive equipment
  • Improve safety in the home
  • Educate caregivers
  • Improve strength and endurance
  • Facilitate mobility in the community
  • Cope with memory and concentration problems

The newly updated orthopedic and spine unit at Southern Hills Hospital provides the latest in surgical technology, comfortable patient rooms and a fully equipped physical therapy gym. At our modern hospital in Las Vegas, we are committed to giving our patients the superior care they deserve. Call a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023 to request a referral to an orthopedic specialist.

Understanding the most common sources of stress

Some psychologists feel that chronic stress is so common that it’s becoming a public health crisis. People of all ages suffer from stress—from young children to adults to seniors—and virtually anything can be a stress trigger depending on how it’s perceived. Constant stress reduces enjoyment of life, but there is hope for a better life. Southern Hills Hospital specializes in treating the mental health disorders of geriatric patients. Recognizing the critical need for behavioral healthcare for younger patients, our hospital in Las Vegas recently announced plans to build a new mental healthcare facility.

Significant life changes

In addition to everyday stress, people can experience dramatic spikes in stress levels due to significant life events. These can include:

  • Death in the family
  • Death of a pet
  • Divorce
  • Major illness or surgery
  • Job loss
  • Eviction
  • Incarceration

Psychologists note that a major life change doesn’t have to be negative to cause a sudden spike in stress. Stress levels can peak even when the life change is welcomed. It can take some time to adjust to the following new circumstances:

  • Marriage
  • New baby
  • New job
  • New house
  • High school or college graduation

Financial issues

Personal finances can create stress in anyone, regardless of his or her resources. Low-income individuals may worry about getting the bills paid, building a rainy day fund and handling unexpected expenses. High-earners may fret about the state of their investments, the volatile stock market or keeping up with the Joneses.

Time constraints

Time is one of life’s most precious commodities, and it seems that there is never enough of it. A few time-related sources of stress include:

  • Running late for work
  • Rushing to get errands done
  • Providing caregiving services for a loved one

Excessive connectivity

Technology has made the world seem smaller than ever before, but connectivity might not always be a good thing. Some psychologists have suggested that excessive social media use and heightened awareness of world events may be contributing to the stress and anxiety of some individuals. The technology may not be going away, but it may be worth the effort to unplug every now and then.

From our mental health program to our maternity services, our dedication to superior patient experiences is evident in all that we do. Southern Hills Hospital is here to help families throughout Las Vegas live healthier, happier and more productive lives. If you are interested in learning more about our psychiatry services, you can call our nurse referral line at (702) 916-5023.

Steps to take to become an organ donor

Emergency care physicians, organ disease specialists and surgeons do everything they can to save lives, but sometimes, they need help from people like you. Well over a hundred thousand patients around the country are in desperate need of donor organs, including kidneys, livers, lungs and hearts. Without selfless gifts from prospective organ donors like you, patients on the organ transplant waiting list have little hope of a future. Here at Southern Hills Hospital, our emergency care team encourages our neighbors throughout Las Vegas to join the organ donor registry during National Donate Life Month this April.

Become a registered donor at the DMV

If you’re just getting your driver’s license, getting your license renewed or changing your address, you can use this opportunity to join the state organ donor registry. Your status as a registered organ donor will be designated on your driver’s license.

Sign up on Donate Life Nevada

Each state maintains its own organ donor registry. If you don’t have a driver’s license or prefer to register as an organ donor online, you can do so at the Donate Life Nevada website. The simple form takes just a couple of minutes to complete.

Spread the word about organ donation

Some people feel inspired to do more to help people waiting for life-saving organ transplants. You can help spread the word by encouraging your family and friends to sign up during National Donate Life Month.

After registering at the DMV, you’ll be asked if you wish to donate to the Nevada Gift of Life Education Fund. This charitable entity funds educational programs about organ transplants and it provides financial assistance to organ transplant recipients.

You could also purchase the specialty organ donor license plate available in Nevada. A portion of the initial purchase and the annual renewal fee benefits the Gift of Life Education Fund.

As an HCA-affiliate, Southern Hills Hospital maintains its firm commitment to uncompromising patient care. Our state-of-the-art hospital in Las Vegas invests in the latest medical technology to give our patients the best possible outcome—from our stroke care to our orthopedic surgery to our maternity healthcare. Call our nurse referral line at (702) 916-5023.

Why are spine injuries so common?

Your spine has a big job to do. It protects the delicate spinal cord, maintains the upright position of the body and allows the flexibility necessary for movement. The spine is subject to considerable stress every day, which can lead to damage from wear and tear over time. The delicate structures of the back can also sustain injuries from traumatic events, such as car accidents and sports collisions. If your spine injury lands you in the Emergency Room at Southern Hills Hospital, you can count on our sophisticated Orthopedic and Spine Program to give you the superior care you deserve.

Spine injuries caused by wear and tear

One of the reasons why spine injuries are so common is that they can occur from the cumulative effects of years of micro-damage. Most often, degeneration of the spinal structures affect the top of the spine, known as the cervical region, and the bottom region of the spine, which is the lumbar region.

Watch this featured video to hear a neurosurgeon at Southern Hills Hospital discuss spine injuries in these areas. He notes that most of the mobility of the spine stems from these two regions, which subjects them to more strain. The following are some of the most common risk factors of spine injuries caused by wear and tear:

  • Poor posture
  • Being overweight/obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Aging
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Job-related hazards

If mild to moderate back pain doesn’t go away in a few days, consider making a visit to the hospital.

Spine injuries caused by sudden trauma

When it appears that the spine has sustained sudden, severe trauma, emergency care is required. The emergency care doctor will consider the possibility that the spinal cord has been injured, which could cause permanent paralysis. Some of the possible causes of spinal cord injuries include:

  • Falling from an elevated position
  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Sports collision
  • Diving accident
  • Act of violence

It’s important not to move someone who might have injured the neck or back. Let the emergency responders handle this task.

Southern Hills Hospital has earned a reputation for unparalleled dedication to our patients in Las Vegas, which is one reason why our hospital attracts top orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons. Patients receive a continuum of care at our Orthopedic and Spine Program—from accurate diagnostics to minimally invasive spine surgery. Call 911 for emergency care or call a nurse at (702) 916-5023 to request a referral.

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