2700 SE Stratus Ave • McMinnville, OR 97128 • Main Switchboard: 503.472.6131

In The News

New Nephrologist Joins Medical Staff

Welcome Amy Hackett, MD- Nephrologist Dr. Amy Hackett, board certified Nephrologist has joined the Willamette Valley Medical Center’s (WVMC) Medical Staff. She

Laugh Your Way Through Labor

Since the mid-1800s, Nitrous Oxide or “laughing gas” as it is more commonly referred to, has been used for pain relief, but

The Longest Day

Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time,

Our Bloggers


Zac Woodruff, WVMC Voices

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KendraKendra Lindell, Mommy & Me

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CarlyCarly Dunn,
Notes From Your Nutritionist

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My Weight-Loss Surgery

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Amazing Care Stories

Why I Chose the Orbera Balloon

Why I Chose the Orbera Balloon for MY Weight Loss Journey by Heidi Henry- Patient Testimonial from current

WVMC has Special Visitors

Dayton Elementary D.A.S.H. Students Come to Visit   It’s not every day that our hospital gets inundated

NEW Nationally Certified Center

WVMC Weight Loss Surgery Achieves National Accreditation from the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement


Child Preparation Series – All Day Class @ Birthing Center Classroom
Jul 22 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Prepare for your baby’s arrival with calm and confidence in this 6 week course. Learn about the many choices you can consider as you near the end of your pregnancy: nutrition, comfort during late pregnancy, physical and emotional experiences of labor for mothers and partners, comfort techniques (breathing, relaxation, massage, etc) for labor and birth, medications and medical procedures, postpartum care for mother and baby, and so much more! Class includes a full class dedicated to breastfeeding and one to newborn care. Also a birthing center tour, videos and handouts will be provided.

Alcoholics Anonymous- Sunday Gratitude Meeting @ WVMC Classrooms (1st floor, across from cafeteria)
Jul 23 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

We now have a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous every Sunday. This is an open meeting for all who are interested in recovery from alcoholism through the 12 Step program, including ambulatory patients and staff. For more information, call Robert (H) 503-835-1042 or (C) 971-259-9145.

Post-Op Bariatric Support Group @ WVMC Classrooms
Jul 23 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Have you had Bariatric surgery and looking for a little support? Join our group lead by a Registered Dietitian, Lindsay Obermeyer. Our group meets weekly in the Willamette Valley Medical Center Classrooms on the first floor across from the cafeteria. We discuss everything  from diet and recipe ideas, grocery shopping and eating out tips, to society pressures and internal struggles. It is a warm, inviting group that has one mission: to support one another through the good and the bad obstacles of weight loss surgery in order to succeed. We hope you will join us!

Breastfeeding Support Group @ Birthing Center Classroom
Jul 25 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

The breastfeeding support group is a place to receive advice, support and a place for new moms to gather. Sherry Green, RN has been a nurse for more than 15 years and will be able to answer your questions and help both you and your baby get better at breastfeeding.


Why I Chose the Orbera Balloon for MY Weight Loss Journey

Testimonial written by Heidi Henry- current patient of Willamette Valley Medical Center Weight Loss Surgery

For the past two years I have been watching the Orbera Balloon FDA trial outcomes in the US. For years, I have tried exercise and special diets to lose weight, but its always been an up and down battle. Recently, I took a position as Executive Director for a NW Nonprofit; keeping me in more meetings and not moving as much. The weight continued to creep on until I hit my max and had the harsh reality of needing to lose 50 pounds. Not only for myself, but for my health and to feel better.

After the initial consultation with Dr. Higa and his very competent staff at Willamette Valley Medical Center Weight Loss and McMinnville Surgical Associates, I talked to my family. It was a unanimous decision; I decided to take the leap.

Why the Orbera Balloon you might ask? Why not traditional weight loss surgery? A good portion of my interest in the balloon was that it was NON-SURGICAL and taken out in six months. Although I swim four days a week and lift weights twice a week, I just couldn’t get my metabolism going – well, that’s what happens at about 60 years of age. Or does it? Part of the program with the Orbera Balloon is that I have my very own dietitian that has taught me how and what to eat not just to lose weight but to keep my metabolism burning calories 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. THAT’S A WIN!

I don’t want to sugar coat anything , the first four days of the balloon were hard – some vomiting and nausea. However, in a few days I did learn to eat and stop before I felt full, and four small meals a day seemed to work.

Today, 8 weeks later, I have lost about 30 pounds. I know the next three months will be telling as to if I have been able to change my eating habits enough to keep food portions reasonable. My plan is to lose another 30 or so by the time the balloon comes out in November. Having the supportive team of Dr. Higa’s beside me through this journey has been invaluable. With their help, I know I’ll be successful!

For more information visit www.wvmcweightloss.com or contact Kristi Amerson at (503) 435-6432
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My Ears Are Ringing!
By Zac Woodruff, RN

The other day, my friend called me up and he sounded upset. He could barely slow down his speech enough for me to understand what he was talking about before I finally picked up "ringing... ringing!"

I asked him to slow down and tell me what was going on and after a few moments he gathered his thoughts and said, "my ears have been ringing non-stop for a few days, this has never happened to me before, and it's driving me crazy!"

For a moment, I thought to myself that it was no big deal, just a little ringing, but as I thought about it more, I realized that this could be a major problem for my friend.

The ringing he is talking about is called tinnitus and it affects as many as 1 in 5 people at some point during their lives. It's actually not a condition, but a symptom of an underlying cause or condition.

Tinnitus involves the annoying sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. Tinnitus symptoms include these types of phantom noises in your ears; typically ringing, but you may also experience buzzing, roaring, clicking, and/or hissing (MayoClinic, 2016).

The most common cause of tinnitus involves damage to the inner ear cells. We all have millions of tiny ear hairs that sense sound waves and send signals to our brains. When these tiny hairs are damaged, they can send incorrect signals to your brain that cause the tinnitus.

Also, when you get older, your hearing also declines. As the hairs further breakdown with age, there is increased risk for developing tinnitus.

Even something as simple as earwax buildup can cause tinnitus. So keep your ears clean!

Medications are also often attributed to causing tinnitus. There is one medication in particular, an antibiotic called vancomycin that we administer here at WVMC that is often associated with tinnitus. We monitor our patients closely for this exact symptom when they are receiving vancomycin infusions.

There are other antibiotics that are also associated with causing tinnitus, as well as certain cancer medications, diuretics, quinine medications, and antidepressants.

The point is, there are many different causes that can lead to your ears ringing.

Now as far as my friend was concerned, he attended a rock concert 4 days prior and most likely the ringing was a result of damage caused at the concert. Turns out he was right near the side of the stage, standing in front of mile high speakers that were booming and blasting his eardrums the entire night.

Usually, tinnitus caused by loud noise exposure resolves and is only a short-term problem, but when it persists it’s important that you see a doctor.

Enjoy those loud concerts, but consider protecting them with earplugs and also maybe not standing right next to the speakers. Bottom line is, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and they don’t resolve after a few days, go see your doctor.

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Can’t Sleep?
By Zac Woodruff, RN BS

Have you ever had a night where you just couldn’t fall asleep? No matter what you did, your brain just wouldn’t turn off. You toss, you turn, you just can’t fall asleep.

Now can you imagine this being your reality, every night? You wonder whether or not you are even going to fall asleep. You worry about how this will impact your day tomorrow. You stress over how bad you feel and you feel bad so you stress. It’s a vicious cycle that repeats itself over and over.

Millions of Americans have difficulty falling and staying asleep every single night (anywhere from 20-40% of our population). This is called insomnia and it is characterized by an inability to initiate or maintain sleep. It may also take the form of early morning awakening in which the individual awakens several hours early and is unable to resume sleeping (CDC, 2014).

According to the National Sleep Foundation (2017), psychiatric and medical conditions, unhealthy sleep habits, specific substances, and/or certain biological factors can cause insomnia.

It is important to try to identify the root cause of your insomnia in order to treat it. Is it related to a side effect of a medication you are taking? Is it related to GERD? Maybe it’s related to depression or anxiety.

The point is, insomnia is often the effect, not the cause.

Proper sleep is an essential element of your overall health, and if you have repeated trouble sleeping you should really speak to your doctor about it.

Aside from insomnia, other sleep disorders include sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome and even snoring. Your doctor can help you identify what disorders you suffer from and may even have you perform a sleep study.

Personally, I have always been an excellent sleeper, and it’s only the occasional night that I have difficulty falling asleep, but I can understand how much insomnia could impact someone’s life. Here are some easy tips to helping you achieve a better night’s rest:

• Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
• Avoid large meals before bedtime.
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
• Avoid nicotine.

We must all strive for regular, uninterrupted, quality sleep. Again, you should absolutely talk to your doctor if you are having problems sleeping. There are strategies and tools you can use to help you get a better night’s sleep and improve your overall health.

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