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A Day in the Life: Surgical Technologist Lenae Scott

Lexington Medical Center employees are some of the finest health care professionals in the nation. In this new feature on our hospital blog, we’re going to showcase them and the great jobs they do taking care of the people of our community. We call it “A Day in the Life.”

Lenae Scott’s workday begins while many of us are still sleeping.

As a surgical technologist in the Surgery department at Lexington Medical Center, she arrives at work before sunrise at 6:30 a.m. Lenae plays an integral role on a top-notch surgical team that provides innovative, state-of-the-art treatments to patients each day.

LMC Surgical Technologist Lenae Scott

LMC Surgical Technologist Lenae Scott

“It’s very rewarding knowing you’re helping someone in their time of need,” Lenae said.

After a team huddle, Lenae receives her schedule of cases, usually three to four each day, and is dispatched to an operating room. On the day we visited with her, she was assigned to a hernia, carotid artery procedure, needle lumpectomy and an amputation.

surgery toolsHer responsibilities include setting up supplies for each case and ensuring all needed equipment is there, draping the patients, putting a gown and gloves on the doctor, passing instrumentation during the procedure and holding equipment including cameras or suction tools.

She’s happy to work at Lexington Medical Center, noting there’s a family-style atmosphere, coupled with outstanding facilities.

“The Surgery department here has so much space and the technology is state-of-the-art,” Lenae said. “Lexington Medical Center also has great benefits including state retirement and wonderful insurance.”

LSA_Harmon_Surgery_3The Surgery department inside the hospital has 23 operating rooms with at least two surgical technologists per case. The team embraces a culture of safety, collaboration, passion and respect.

Lenae, who is a Lexington native, decided to enter the surgical technologist field when she was still in high school.

“I was always interested in medicine. I’m also a very hands-on person, so I liked the idea of working with instruments and helping patients.”

She received her degree at Midlands Technical College. Today, she lives in West Columbia with her husband Kevin and 16-month-old daughter.

Her work day usually ends around 3:00 p.m. Lexington Medical Center is the only place she has worked as a surgical technologist, and she adds she never wants to leave.

Lexington Medical Center is hiring more certified surgical technologists! Apply online at

The Doctor Is In: Women and Heart Disease

From raising children to maintaining busy work schedules and keeping up with household chores, women’s lives are more hectic than ever. Women often put everyone else in their family first, but it’s important that they take time for their own health.

Dr. “Dee” Prastein, heart surgeon at Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, talks about women and heart disease, encouraging all of us to “Just Say Know.”

Prastein_Labcoat_Standing_ORWhat differences have you noticed between men and women with heart disease?
Women tend to delay things, living with heart disease longer and presenting later. We see women who go about their routine chores while having chest pain or chest discomfort, ignoring or dismissing it. Sometimes they live with symptoms until they become so tired that they physically can’t do anything. It’s only then that they see a doctor.

What do women tell you about why they didn’t see a doctor sooner?
They seem to be focused on everyone except them. They put their families first. We see wives encouraging their husbands to see a doctor, but women often live with symptoms until they can no longer hide them.

How can heart surgery be different for men and women?
Women do really well with heart surgery because they seem to tolerate pain better than men. Also, older patients often tolerate pain better than younger ones.

How does smoking affect our hearts?
Nicotine causes hardening of the blood vessels, making them more stiff and narrow. That hardening of the arteries makes blockages more apparent sooner. You could say nicotine is the opposite of nitroglycerin, which allows blood vessels to become bigger.

What about diabetes?
With diabetes, high levels of sugar in your bloodstream allow the buildup of plaque in every blood vessel in your body, including the arteries in your heart.

What message do you have for women about heart disease?
I want women to know that it’s not normal to have no energy or to have chest discomfort such as pain or burning. If you do, see your doctor. Women who smoke, have a family history of heart disease or have diabetes should be especially careful. Don’t ignore symptoms. We can treat them and prevent a major heart attack.

Back on the Farm After TAVR

For Joe Fields, life doesn’t get much better than when you’re enjoying the great outdoors – like working on his Midlands cattle farm or fishing on Lake Murray.
But a problem with his heart made that nearly impossible.

“With my symptoms, I could hardly do anything except sit down.”

The 72-year-old outdoorsman from Saluda had aortic stenosis. That’s a narrowing of the aortic valve, which is the valve that allows oxygenated blood out of the heart to the rest of the body. Patients with aortic stenosis have a valve that doesn’t open properly.

Joe’s aortic stenosis was so severe that it left him with shortness of breath and chest pain. Simply climbing onto his tractor made him breathless. Betty, his wife of 53 years, says he even had trouble walking to the mailbox.

And it was worse at night.

“Lying in bed, I’d have to concentrate on breathing hard to get enough air through to keep me going,” he said.

Aortic stenosis can be a serious problem. As the heart works harder to pump enough blood through the smaller opening in the valve, the heart eventually becomes weak. Over time, that can lead to life-threatening heart problems. In fact, the life expectancy for people with severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis is less than two years.

IMG_9991At Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia, Joe learned about transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR. This state-of-the-art cardiovascular technology allows doctors to replace the aortic valve with a catheter instead of performing open heart surgery. Lexington Medical Center began performing TAVR last spring.

Currently, TAVR is only for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are high-risk candidates for open heart surgery because of their age, history of heart disease or other health issues.

Joe, who underwent coronary artery bypass surgery twenty years ago and had stents placed in blocked arteries awhile back, met with a multi-disciplinary team of physicians at Lexington Medical Center who perform TAVR, including cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons at Lexington Cardiology and Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery. He underwent TAVR at the hospital in October 2014.

Joe spent three days at Lexington Medical Center for the procedure. Immediately after TAVR was complete, he noticed that he could breathe better.

“The next morning when they came in to check my breathing, they said, ‘Man, you’re moving some air today!”

Betty, who says she’s incredibly thankful that Lexington Medical Center now offers a comprehensive cardiovascular program, has noticed a difference in Joe, too. Before TAVR, she said her husband had trouble working on the farm at all. In fact, he had to hand off much of the work with the cattle to his son. Now, Joe is in the pasture from early morning until late afternoon with no chest pain, shortness of breath or fatigue.

“It’s a whole different life for me,” Joe said. “I can get out and do things again. TAVR is one of the best things I’ve ever done.”