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Former Piedmont mayor recovering after car falls on him

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Former Piedmont Mayor George Fina poses in front of his 1950 Oldsmobile 88 Friday afternoon, showing the torso brace he recently got to take off after his accident.

By Matt Montgomery

When the 1964 Chevrolet Impala fell off its 10-inch blocks, trapping former Piedmont Mayor George Fina under it, Fina, a confirmed and diligent Italian Catholic, said these words out loud, “My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen.”

Fina said the Act of Contrition out loud when the car fell on him, because he thought that moment was going to be his last moment alive. But, thanks to fast response times from the Piedmont fire department and EMSA responders, Fina is alive and recovering from his injuries. He is still rehabbing at Mercy Hospital and recovering from this traumatic event, but he was able to take his torso brace off recently.

When the Impala, which weighs about 3,500 pounds, fell on Fina, it crushed eight of his ribs and fractured a vertebra. He spent five days in the trauma ward at OU Medical Center, then subsequently went to Mercy Hospital for rehabbing. Fina spent seven days at Mercy. Read more →

Local woman gives birth to quadruplets

Jessie and Joel Lekites hold their newly-born quadruplets in Jessie’s parents’ home in Piedmont. She gave birth in April to three girls and one boy, all born one minute apart from each other. The babies (left to right) are Jaclyn, Jamison, June and Joseph Lekites. The Lekites were living in Houston, Texas, where Joel was working, but since the birth of their quadruplets, they have moved into Jessie’s parents’ home until they find a permanent home here in Piedmont. Joel designs homes and works from home now, while he and Jessie and their parents take care of their four newborns.

By Matt Montgomery

New Piedmont residents Jessie and Joel Lekites are now the proud parents of quadruplets. Lekites gave birth to three girls and one boy in April at Mercy Hospital.

But, due to some complications and health issues, the babies weren’t cleared to leave the hospital until just recently.

The babies were born one minute apart from each other. The new Lekites are June, Jaclyn, Jamison and Joseph. Joseph had a shunt in his head to release fluid built up around the brain and some of the other babies had some oxygen issues. The Lekites’ babies were spread out in different hospitals, from OU Medical Center to Mercy. From the time Lekites was admitted to the hospital in March, it was 142 days before all the babies were home.

The babies were born at exactly 27 weeks. The girls all weighed around 1 pound each–Jamison weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces; June weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces; Jaclyn weighed 1 pound, 14 ounces; Joseph weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces.

The odds of having three girls and one boy in a quadruplet birth are very small, according to the specialist Lekites saw during her pregnancy. He told her that with the treatment she was on, there was only about a 2 to 3 percent chance they would end up with quadruplets.

Because the babies were born three months early, they had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital, on ventilators for some time.
“That in itself was unbelievable,” Jessie said. “You don’t realize the world of NIC U … and I’m a nurse, but I don’t do pediatrics or any of that. It’s hard because you don’t get to take your babies home.”

The babies were in the intensive care unit for 62 days. Joseph and Jaclyn were released from the hospital in June. June was released in July and Jaclyn just came home a few weeks ago.

Read more →

Councilman’s wife undergoes heart surgery; Coffman postpones campaign bid for mayor

By Matt Montgomery

Charles and Angela Coffman

Piedmont City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Charles Coffman’s wife Angela Coffman recently underwent heart surgery to repair a hole in her heart.

Angela Coffman has had the hole in her heart since birth, but it had no affect on her until she recently underwent surgery to repair her rotator cuff, and had a reaction to the pain medicine she was prescribed.

Coffman, who was planning a campaign bid to run for mayor of Piedmont in next April’s election, said those plans are off and he is concentrating on being with his wife while she recovers.

Even though Coffman’s chances of being Piedmont’s next mayor have been put on the back burner, he still looks forward to continue to serve as a Piedmont city councilman and mayor pro tem in Ward 4.

“I am looking forward to continue to serve Piedmont,” Coffman said. “I believe there are exciting times ahead. I’m really glad to see the road repair projects scheduled this year.”

The Coffmans were very active for many years, climbing most of the 10 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado, running marathons and half marathons and biking. Coffman said Angela was a premature baby, born at three and one-half months. She spent four months in an incubator. She had a dime-size hole in her heart that went diagnosed.

She underwent a Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) operation. Coffman said the ASD closure procedure was necessary because her right ventricle was enlarged because of the hole and would have eventually led to heart failure.

“The doctors said that the heart defect was one of the reasons many athletes collapse and die during things such as marathons; they were diagnosed until it got bad enough to cause a stroke or failure,” Coffman said. “She was very lucky that it was found after she had a reaction to pain medicine following her recent rotator cuff surgery. She was rushed to the emergency room and the doctors at Mercy wanted to check in the heart. After weeks of tests, they concluded she had an enlarged right ventricle and a large hole. Just goes to show that sometimes good does come from bad.”

Coffman said Angela should be good as new in a few months and while she might not be doing half marathons, she will be back to spin classes.

“I hope everyone takes some time to get checked out, and if they find something, go forward with the tests because even something as big as a dime-sized hole can be fixed,” he said.

Angela is a the library media specialist at Westfield Elementary in Edmond. She also is a mentor at White Fields here in Piedmont.

Angela Coffman will return to work in Edmond once she is cleared and able.

Area addiction medicine doctor prescribes NA, safe medicine

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Dr. Charles J. Shaw holds up a Narcotics Anonymous handbook in his office.

By Matt Montgomery

Oklahoma City addiction medicine doctor Charles J. Shaw, M.D., has been treating addicts with an effective and non-addictive drug called Subutex and requiring his patients to attend Narcotics Anonymous, both at a fraction of the cost of inpatient treatment.

Shaw, who operates out of an office in northwest Oklahoma City and who has been a doctor for more than 50 years in Oklahoma, says his patients who follow his treatment plan are far more likely to succeed and have their names added to his wall of stars who have celebrated one year of sobriety than those who check into a high-priced inpatient facility, often times paying more than $30,000 for treatment.

Shaw, now in his 80s, is passionate about helping his patients recover from pain pill addiction. He’s helped thousands recover their lives by prescribing them the safe, but effective, opiate antagonist drug, Subutex, and by assigning them to go to 90 Narcotics Anonymous meeting in 90 days and complete the 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous.

“Almost every day, I see or talk to people about their addiction – most are younger people between 20 and 40 years old,” Shaw said. “They seek my help as a specialist in addiction medicine – many in utter desperation from their addiction to pain pills.”
Most of Shaw’s patients began their road down addiction using hydrocodone as a teenager to party or use with others usually in their age group. Read more →

Ambulance response times to increase

By Robert Flippo


EMSA, Emergency Medical Services Authority, which Piedmont relies on for ambulance service, has increased the allotted time for ambulances responding to emergencies. The change increases the response time from eight minutes and 59 seconds to ten minutes and 59 seconds.

This move came at the recommendation of an independent report conducted by the OU School of Community Medicine.

According to the study mortality rates are most affected by patient care starting within the first five minutes of the call, which is the responsibility of the first responders. Increasing the response time is meant to ensure the safety of ambulance drivers.

EMSA will be classifying calls into two categories: Priority 1 and Priority 2. Priority 1 calls are “critical situations, such as heart attacks, strokes, drownings and traumatic motor vehicle collisions” and Priority 2 calls are “nonlife-threatening situations such as, falls, broken limbs and minor injury motor vehicle collisions.”

For Priority 1 calls, ambulances will drive with their lights and sirens on.

For Priority 2 calls, ambulances will not run their lights and sirens and will be obeying normal traffic laws. This is also meant to increase ambulance safety by limiting the amount of time ambulances spend driving with lights and sirens on. The study showed 74 percent of all crashes involving ambulances occurred when the ambulance had its lights and sirens on.

These new changes will start November 1 and the big question is how will this effect Piedmont.

“We’re really concerned about it,” Andy Logan, Piedmont Fire Chief, said.

The ambulance response time for Piedmont is already long. The average response time is around 18, a full eten minutes longer than EMSA’s current target response time and eight minutes longer than the new target response time. Read more →

State health officials stress caution during spring cleanup activities

DiGangi Deermouse

DiGangi Deermouse

For the first time since 2001, Oklahoma has recorded a death from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, or hantavirus. The death occurred in a Texas County resident and is the third case confirmed in the state since hantavirus was first recognized in the U.S. in 1993.

Hantavirus is carried by wild rodents, particularly deer mice in Oklahoma. Infected rodents do not show signs of illness but shed the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva. The virus is transmitted to people when they breathe in air contaminated with the virus, usually when dried rodent urine, droppings or nesting materials are stirred up and tiny droplets or particles containing the virus become airborne. Breathing in the virus is the most common way of becoming infected.  However, people can also become infected with hantavirus by touching the mouth or nose after handling contaminated materials, or through a bite from an infected rodent.

As the weather warms and persons begin cleaning out vacant cabins or other dwellings, barns and outbuildings, they may disturb rodent infestations, putting them at risk for hantavirus. Symptoms usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus, but can appear as early as three days to as late as six weeks after infection. Early symptoms include fever, chills, headache, cough, and body aches. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also be present. As the disease progresses, the lungs fill with fluid, making breathing very difficult. Any person involved in the activities described above and experiencing these symptoms, should contact their health care provider. Read more →

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