When Ballard native Electa Anderson's husband Norm was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease in 1999 at the age of 56, she became aware firsthand of the misconceptions and lack of understanding associated with the disease.

"Something as simple as going to dinner and reading the menu for them and ordering for them and having the waiter looking at you like you are trying to run your husband's life," Anderson said.

She said people who do not have to deal directly with those suffering from Alzheimer's make wrong judgements about the situation. They see someone who still looks normal and healthy despite the loss of memory and body function, she said.

Anderson said the husband of a friend of hers was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when he was in his 40s. Eventually he had to have his driver's license taken away. He was still mentally aware enough to complain to friends, and they nearly sued his wife for guardianship because they were convinced she was mistreating her seemingly normal husband, Anderson said.

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Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Electa Anderson

Electa Anderson and her husband Norm pose at their daughter's wedding. Anderson is fighting to raise understanding of Alzheimer's after Norm passed away from the disease in 2006.

Nearly 300 pharmacists from across the country descended on Washington, D.C., to meet with their congressional and senatorial delegations as part of the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists' 16th annual Compounders on Capitol Hill conference and legislative event in June.

One of the pharmacists who made the trip was Debra Smith of Ballard Plaza Pharmacy, which is located inside the Ballard branch of Swedish Medical Center.

“This trip gave us a chance to speak directly to members of Congress and voice concerns that affect our patients, whose health relies on compounded medicines,” Smith said in a press release. “We may not have an army of lobbyists like the pharmaceutical giants, but we do help millions of patients every year, and that gives us a pretty loud voice on Capitol Hill.”

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

An employee of Ballard Plaza Pharmacy lobbied the U.S. Senate and Congress on behalf of compound medicines in June.

Republished from June 30.

For most people, Fourth of July means barbecues, flags and fireworks. For members of the medical community, it can also mean burns, facial injuries and amputations.

"I can share war stories because these are war-like injuries," said Dr. Raymond Jarris Jr., an emergency medical physician at Swedish Medical Center in Ballard.

He said fireworks that are not handled properly and with care can result in destroyed hands and faces, amputated tissue, injuries from flying debris, burns, loss of an eye, loss of hearing and tattooing, which occurs when powder or chemicals from fireworks get underneath the skin and cause discoloration.

Jarris said Ballard is fortunate in that it is a very responsible community, and Swedish/Ballard does not typically see a lot of injuries from fireworks, though they do occur.

Residents should focus on prevention and safety and let the medical community be there to cover the mishaps, Jarris said.

First, Fourth of July celebrators should stick to "safe and sane" fireworks, he said. Illegal fireworks particularly cause hand injuries that may require amputation.

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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Swedish Medical Center's new five-story, 90,000-square-foot Medical Office Building on its Ballard campus is taking shape and headed for an early-November grand opening.

Construction started on the Medical Office Building in September 2009. The building, located at the intersection of Market Street and Tallman Avenue Northwest, will house an expanded emergency department and medical imaging center, primary-care clinic and specialty physicians.

The Medical Office Building is part of a movement by Swedish/Ballard to revitalize its campus and meet the healthcare needs of the growing Ballard community into the future.

"The community now has visible evidence of a long-term commitment to Ballard, which was not the case before," said Dr. Rayburn Lewis, executive director and senior medical director of Swedish/Ballard during a June 23 tour of the half-completed Medical Office Building.

Highlights of the tour included:

  • A wall of windows that will light the main entry off Tallman Avenue.
Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Workers from Mortensen Construction work on the exterior of the Swedish/Ballard's new Medical Office Building, which will be opening in November. CLICK IMAGE FOR A TOUR OF THE NEW BUILDING.

West Seattle Alex's Lemonade Stand and Yard Sale will be going strong on Saturday June 12 at 49th Ave SW and Alaska Street from 9 AM-2PM This is a Multi-family yard sale, offering fresh lemonade, and baked goods.

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 charity that raises money and awareness for pediatric cancer causes, primarily research into new treatments and cures.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). Read more about Alex and other heroes fighting cancer.

West Seattle Junction Health Fair, Sunday, June 13

On Sunday June 13, 20 health and wellness providers located in the West Seattle Junction neighborhood are participating in the first annual Junction Health Fair as a way to educate West Seattleites on the wide range of health services in multiple disciplines available to them without having to cross the bridge. In addition to the array of physicians, dentists, massage therapists, fitness and yoga studios, pharmacies and vitamin stores, there will be healthful and interesting activities for the whole family to enjoy.

The event will run from 10 AM to 2PM in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot, 4314 SW Alaska Street.

Some of what you can do there: Give blood at the blood drive and save 3 lives – Meet Junction fire fighters and police officers – Brush up on disaster preparedness with experts - Enjoy the West Seattle Farmers Market demonstrating healthy cooking with fresh, local produce – Enter a free raffle for healthy prizes including yoga, massage and skin care . The blood drive is sponsored by the Puget Sound Blood Center.


This month, Swedish Medical Center launches the Employer Medical Assistance program designed specifically for companies in heavy manufacturing, construction, marine services, fishing, transportation, firefighting, aviation and related industries. It is the first of its kind in the region.

Located on the Swedish/Ballard campus at 5300 Tallman Ave. N.W., the new service is a logical outgrowth of the nonprofit health system’s Maritime Medical Management practice, which started in the summer of 2009.

The Employer Medical Assistance program incorporates specialty care, diagnostics, emergency services and needed medical solutions for a broader range of injured or ill workers – all tied to the recently updated Swedish Business Health Link employee drug/alcohol testing service and a soon-to-be-added occupational health component.

“Through EMA, employers can get expedited access to the extensive Swedish provider network and have their key people back to work quicker and healthier than in the past,” Rayburn Lewis, executive director of Swedish/Ballard, said in a press release.


Residents and employees at Ballard Care and Rehabilitation Center came together May 7 to speak our against budget cuts to nursing homes at the state and national level and to sign a petition urging Washington's congressional delegation to fight against further cuts.

Gary Weeks, president and CEO of the Washington Health Care Association, said nursing homes were hit hard in the latest legislative sessions, with $15 million being cut to Medicaid at the state level and $14.5 billion being cut to Medicare at the national level.

There are 10,200 residents in nursing homes in the state, and that number is growing, Weeks said. He said the money being cut is needed to keep a great staff, up-to-date facilities and a high-quality of life for residents.

Sabine von Prevss-Friedman, long-term care medical director at Ballard Care, said margins are not large for nursing homes – any budget cuts are cuts in staff and necessary services.

Ballard Care administrator Angie Davis called the cuts dangerous and unacceptable.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Ballard Care and Rehabilitation Center resident Nancy Barberis signs a petition urging Washington's congressional delegation to fight against further cuts to Medicaid and Medicare as Washington Health Care Association President Gary Weeks looks on.

For the past 24 years, longtime Ballard resident Faye Cluckey has been battling cancer within her family in one form or another. On May 9, the Seattle Mariners will honor her commitment to raising awareness about breast cancer in a pregame ceremony.

In 1986, Cluckey's younger sister was diagnosed with cancer. Later, Cluckey's dog Tinker Bell was diagnosed with breast cancer and successfully treated. Last year, Tinker Bell's incessant pawing at Cluckey's chest led her to get a mammogram. She was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer and treated.

"That dog would not leave my breasts alone," Cluckey said. "She lived so she could help me live."

She said a strong faith and the ability to smile through life's bumps has kept her going through the difficult times.

"I believe in prayer," Cluckey said. "If I didn't know I had the Lord with me, I couldn't keep going."

Since her sister's first experience with cancer, Cluckey has dedicated herself to raising awareness about breast cancer.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Faye Cluckey, at work at The Family Pet in Ballard, is being honored by the Seattle Mariners for her work fighting breast cancer.

To the editor:

This is an open letter to Mr. Rob McKenna.

I am a small business owner in West Seattle. Recently, our elected Attorney General, Rob McKenna, has subjected Washington State to the lawsuit involving universal health care. I am at a loss as to why he would waste taxpayers dollars on such a law suit. I understand that he believes the Federal Government doesn't have the right to require companies and individuals to purchase this coverage.

Now, I ask in this open letter as to why I have to purchase Workers' Compensation Insurance Coverage from Labor & Industry and am not allowed to purchase this coverage in the private market where there is competition. I have worked in other states and have found that competition protects the consumer. Here in Washington State, all employers, except the very largest who can manage a self insured retention, have no choice but to buy from the state monopoly.

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