Leapin’ Leprechauns – It’s Time to Sign Up for the 4th Annual Shamrock Shuffle

shamrock shuffle starting line
To mark the start of the spring season, the fourth annual Shamrock Shuffle is being held on Saturday, March 18, 2017, two days before the vernal equinox. 
 The days are getting longer, the flowers will be poking their heads out of the ground soon and there’s no time like the present to get up, get out and get moving at Speare Memorial Hospital’s family-friendly, 5K health walk/fun run.

Entertaining the crowd again during registration will be Irish step dancers from Féileacán Irish Dance Academy. They were a big hit at the event last year and really stepped the day off full of Irish cheer and good luck.

Put on your green and join us at the starting line at the Plymouth Regional High School on Saturday, March 18, 2017. Registration/Check-In begins at 8:00 a.m. and the starting gun will go off at 9:00 a.m. The race will wind its way through the streets of Plymouth, NH.

All registered runners and walkers receive a Speare Shamrock Shuffle t-shirt and a medal for finishing.

**Please Note** If you register in advance, you can check in and pick up your packets from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the Speare front lobby, on Friday, March 17th.

The event is not officially timed, as our focus is to encourage community members to take steps toward a more active lifestyle. Be sure to cheer on the participants as they pass by your home or business.

Thank you to our Pot ‘O Gold event sponsor, Medical Reimbursement Specialist for helping to make this community event possible

The registration fee is $10 per person. Children age 5 and under are free, but must be registered. Proceeds from the event will support Speare’s community outreach and health education programs.

Whether you are participating or cheering from the sidelines, it’s sure to be a fun morning full of Irish cheer in downtown Plymouth.

Click Here to Register Online through Eventbrite: 

(Please note, there is an additional small processing fee)

Click Here to Print a Registration Form

Printed forms may be returned in person to the hospital or mailed to:

Speare Memorial Hospital
Attn:  Kate Tarbox
16 Hospital Road
Plymouth, NH 03264


Due to construction along our original route, we’re working on some adjustments and will post the new route shortly.


Like our pages and join the conversation during the event.  Take and share photos and/or video of this super fun day!


Contact: Amy Lyn Kench (603) 238-2329 Email: akench@spearehospital.com

Speare Receives Teddy Bear Donation from PRHS Sophomore Class

teddy bear donation 2017 PRHS Freshman Class officers
PRHS Sophomore Class Officers (L-R) Jasmine Sanders (president), Arianna Mortenson, (vice president), Alex Boursican (treasurer) and Elsa Lauriat (secretary),

The Plymouth Regional High School sophomore class participated once again in the school’s annual ‘Operation Teddy Bear’ fundraiser. As a community service project, sophomore class officers sold colorful teddy bear cut-outs for one dollar each during school and special events. Students, teachers and staff wrote names on the bears and they were all displayed on a bulletin board to recognize everyone’s contributions.

The proceeds from the sale went to purchase stuffed bears the officers then donated to Speare Memorial Hospital to be given to young patients throughout the year. On Thursday, January 19, 2017, PRHS sophomore class officers, Jasmine Sanders (president), Arianna Mortenson, (vice president), Elsa Lauriat (secretary), Alex Boursican (treasurer) along with their class adviser, Ms. Denise McGlone, delivered the teddy bears to Speare.

Speare welcomes its first baby of 2017

Adam and Willow Caissie and baby Emma JeanSpeare Memorial Hospital congratulates the Caissie family of Ashland, New Hampshire, whose newest family member was the first baby born at the hospital in 2017.

Adam and Willow Caissie are the proud parents of Emma Jean Caissie who arrived at 8:01 a.m. on Tuesday, January 3, 2017, weighing exactly 9 pounds and measuring 20.5 inches long. Emma will join the couple’s one-year-old son Noah at home, who is very excited to be a big brother.

Health Tips for the Holiday Season

Health tips for the holiday season from Jean Baker and Janette Gaumer, Registered Dietitians and the Nutrition and Wellness Experts at Speare Memorial Hospital.

  1. Holiday BuffetEat like a kid. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re not.
  2. Don’t be a people pleaser. You decide what foods are worth eating and which you can ignore. Why waste calories—and carbs—on food that you do not enjoy?
  3. Try not to drink your calories. Try flavored sparking water if you are trying to away from high-calorie beverages like eggnog or mixed drinks.
  4. When you are hosting. Make sure there are low calorie and carb nibbles around. Bring them with you if eating at someone else’s house. Veggies and dip are obvious choices; you might also try seasoned popcorn, mixed nuts, or even better –nuts in the shell.
  5. Don’t hang out near the food. Find a comfortable spot across the room, and focus on people instead of eating.
  6. Say “NO” to the leftovers. It can be difficult to refuse food as people head out the door, so tell everyone now to bring food only for one meal and to be prepared to take the leftovers home with them.
  7. Weekly Menu Plan Free Printable3
    Weekly Menu Plan – Printable

    Plan ahead. Most of us plan our holiday celebrations around food, but don’t let questions about what to eat, how much to eat, and meal timing dampen your holiday. Plan in advance, so you can fully enjoy the day.

  8. Think about the timing of your meal. Many families eat large meals at odd times on holidays, when dinner may be served in the middle of the afternoon. Plan in advance for how you will handle making changes if your meal does not line up with your regular meal schedule.

  9. Be physically active!
    The best way to compensate for eating a little more than usual is to be active. Start a new tradition that involves moving around away from the food. Start by taking a walk with the whole family or playing Frisbee, soccer, or touch football with your children, grandchildren, or the neighborhood kids.
  10. Have foods to nibble on while you are cooking or waiting to eat. Bring a platter of raw or blanched veggies with your favorite low-calorie dip or have a few small pieces of low-fat cheese. Don’t indulge on high-calorie or fried appetizers.
  11. Make selective food choices! Many traditional Holiday foods are high in carbohydrates: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and other desserts. Don’t feel like you have to sample everything on the table.
  12. Portion ControlPortions do count! Have a reasonable portion of your favorites and pass on the rest. For example, if stuffing is your favorite, pass on rolls. Choose either sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes. If you really want to try everything, make your portions smaller.
  13. Eat smaller portions. Because high carbohydrate foods are plentiful at many parties, watch your portion sizes. If you can’t decide on one or two carbohydrate foods to eat, take very small portions or “samples” of several dishes.
  14. VegetablesEat your vegetables. Unfortunately, the vegetable selection on holiday menus is usually limited. We all want to dress up the table with tempting treats. Why not add some colorful vegetable dishes? Veggies come in all colors and are very nutritious. Offer to bring a green salad or a side of steamed veggies that have been seasoned. Non-starchy veggies are low in carbs and calories. They will help fill you up and keep you from overeating other high-calorie and high-fat foods on the table.
  15. Exercise early in the day. If you know you are going to a gathering later in the day. Don’t wait, start your day off with a walk or even more. This way you are on your way to a good start.
  16. Grab a small plate. Grab a sandwich plate or dessert plate instead of using the large plates and you will not be able to load up your plate with as many calories.
  17. Don’t Skip Meals. Skipping meals prior to going to a gather may not be the best choice. If you eat healthy prior to your party, you will make better decisions. If you go without eating and wait, you may not make the best decisions.

Jean Baker and Janette Gaumer are both Registered Dietitians and are a wealth of knowledge. They are here to assist you in making healthy choices whether you are pre-diabetic, diabetic, overweight, have gluten intolerance or just want to learn how to eat healthy for life. Your visits can be covered by your health insurance with a doctor’s referral. Please call 603-238-2244 or 603-238-6472 to schedule an appointment.

Join us at our 5th Annual Men’s Health Event – From Top…To Bottom

It's A Guy Thing Title
On Wednesday, November 16, 2016, Speare Memorial Hospital will host its fifth annual ‘It’s a Guy Thing’.
 The event will be held at Speare Memorial at Boulder Point, located at 103 Boulder Point Drive, just off Tenney Mountain Highway in Plymouth, New Hampshire. The theme for this year’s event is ‘From Top to Bottom’ and the evening begins at 5:00 p.m. with a soup and sandwich buffet catered by Biederman’s Deli.

3 Doc Ad

Starting at the top, the first topic will be ‘In the Eyes of Men – Protecting Your Vision’ with Dr. Paul Musco, Board Certified Ophthalmologist from White Mountain Eye Care & Optical. According to Dr. Musco, “Most potentially blinding eye conditions increase in incidence with age. Fortunately, early detection and treatment are available.”

Next up will be ‘A Common Problem – The Ins & Outs of Hernias’ with Dr. E. James Hanowell, Surgeon, Plymouth General Surgery who has significant experience in complex hernia repair.

The evening will end with ‘Digestive Problems & A Medical Breakthrough’ with Dr. Joseph Casey, Surgeon, Plymouth General Surgery. “A breakthrough technology only available at Speare in New Hampshire, doesn’t just allow us to better detect colon cancer,” says Dr. Joseph Casey, “it allows us to better prevent it in the first place.”

This event sold out last year and advanced ticket purchase is strongly recommended. Tickets are $10 each and are available at the Speare Memorial Hospital front lobby or Click Here to order online.


Don’t Take the Flu on Vacation With You

Flu Season AheadDon’t give or get the “gift that keeps on giving” this holiday season. If you’re traveling to celebrate with friends and relatives festively wrapped gifts aren’t the only thing you can bring back from your travels. A  nasty cold or even the flu could be “hitching a ride” with you back home. Wondering why?

Coming into contact with more people than usual, deviating from your normal exercise and sleep routines, can leave you susceptible to germs because you’re coming into contact with more people than usual.




Mary Rupert,RN, BSN, CIC, Infection Prevention Coordinator at Speare Memorial Hospital, offers the tips listed below to help fend off the flu and colds as you travel.

Before you leave:

  • Get a Flu Shot at least two weeks before your trip –  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly encourages everyone,  especially young kids, pregnant women, those over 65, and anyone with a chronic illness, to have annual immunizations. It takes two weeks for antibodies to develop to provide the protection your body needs to fight the flu.
    • Speare is hosting a series of flu clinics at the hospital and out in the community. Click here to visit our event calendar for dates, times and locations.
  • Give your immune system a boost with dietary supplements like Emergen-C or Airborne

While traveling:

  • Pack in your carry-on – antibacterial hand sanitizer, tissues, eye drops, nasal spray, and lip balm. It’s tempting to rub dry lips and eyes. Saline spray can help dried out noses. And share tissues if needed. The flu is transmitted by tiny droplets that can travel up to three feet during a sneeze.
  • Practice common-sense habits – Don’t touch your face—especially your eyes, nose and mouth. And, avoid people who are visibly sick. If you’re next to someone on the airplane who’s coughing and could be contagious, ask for a different seat. It may not be possible if you’re on a crowded flight, but it’s worth a try.
  • HandwashingWash your hands regularly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds (sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice). If warm water and soap aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Use disinfecting wipes to clean the airplane’s seatback tray and armrests before using.
  • Hydrate yourself with plenty of water. Dehydration leads to headaches, drowsiness and an immune system that can quickly become overloaded.
  • Bring your own pillow. Bring your own pillowcase too!

If you get the flu while traveling:

 Get medical attention quickly if you’re at high risk: Be vigilant about symptoms and seek medical attention. High-risk individuals are those with compromised immune systems and/or chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, organ transplants, asthma and neurological conditions, those 65+, pregnant women, and young children

•  Take antiviral flu medications: Antiviral medications, available by prescription, can be used to treat influenza. They may lessen symptoms and shorten the time you’re sick. Also, they can help prevent serious complications, like pneumonia. For those at high risk, antiviral treatment may mean the difference between a milder illness instead of very serious ‘bout that could result in a hospital stay.

Reason Enough To Get VACCINATED!
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine.

Need health coverage? Come to Health Insurance 101

Health Insurance 101

Navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace can be a daunting task when you’re not sure what all the terminology means, and what coverage you should choose that will fit your budget and meet your needs.  Whether you’re uninsured, or just want to explore your choices, Speare Memorial Hospital can help you find coverage through the Marketplace that’s right for you and your family.

Health Insurance QuestionsOn Wednesday, October 12, 2016 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Speare Hospital Café annex, Carrie Mason, Certified Application Counselor, will offer Health Insurance 101. She will explain different terms used on the Marketplace, and include examples of what different plan levels cover. Ms. Mason will do her best to answer questions and give advice. To help educate the public on the resources available in the community, representatives from Mid-State Health Center will join Carrie to assist attendees in evaluating health insurance options.

This is an open forum for asking general questions. Those people who have specific questions about their health coverage needs or those who would like assistance with enrollment are welcome to make appointments for one on one help.

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

The Marketplace is designed to help you find health insurance that meets your needs and fits your budget. The Marketplace offers “one-stop shopping” to find and compare private health insurance options. You may also be eligible for a new kind of tax credit that lowers your monthly premium right away. Open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the Marketplace begins November 1.  the sooner you enroll the sooner you get covered!

For more information, contact Carrie Mason, Patient Access Coordinator at (603) 238-6489 or cmason@spearehospital.com

Speare Memorial Hospital Now Offering State-of-the-Art, 3D Mammography


IMG 2239

Detects 41% more invasive breast cancers

Speare Memorial Hospital is excited to offer Genius™ 3D Mammography™, a breakthrough in the early detection of breast cancer.

“Early breast cancer detection saves lives for women screened annually, beginning at age 40,” says Rebecca Zuurbier, MD, Director of Breast Imaging at Speare Memorial Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. “Advanced 3-D tomosynthesis mammography, like that now available at Speare, is a significant technological leap forward in this process because important breast cancers can be found even earlier. This saves lives while helping women avoid disfiguring surgeries and debilitating chemotherapy treatments. This technology detects 41% more invasive breast cancers and results in fewer recalls for additional views from screening mammograms, compared to 2D mammography.”

Faux PatientIn conventional 2D mammography, overlapping tissue is a leading reason why small breast cancers may be missed and normal tissue may appear abnormal, leading to unnecessary callbacks. A Genius exam at Speare includes a three-dimensional method of imaging that can greatly reduce the tissue overlap effect.

Speare’s mammograms now include both 2D images and 3D tomosynthesis scans. During the tomosynthesis-DIMENSIONAL portion of the exam, an X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple images. A computer then converts the images into a stack of thin layers, allowing Dr. Zuurbier to review the breast tissue one layer at a time. The exam requires no additional compression and takes just a few seconds longer than a conventional 2D breast cancer screening exam.

Speare Memorial Hospital has a dedicated and experienced team of mammography staff. Appointments can be made from 8am to 4 pm Monday through Friday. Late afternoon appointments are also available.

3D Mammography team at Speare memorial Hospital

Speare Memorial Hospital —a 24-hour, acute care, non-profit community hospital and health care provider serving Plymouth and the communities of central New Hampshire—is nationally ranked as a HealthStrongTM: Top 100 Critical Access Hospital and a Becker’s Top 50 Critical Access Hospitals to know in 2016. Visit online at http://www.spearehospital.com and join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fueling Your Future: Diet & Exercise to Help Fuel Everyday Life

Dr. Mike Watto
Dr. Mike Watto

“Everything is connected, you can’t separate the parts,” says Dr. Michael Watto, a family physician at Speare Primary Care. “Your positive or negative mental outlook can affect sleep, which can impact your diet and how much you exercise — all of which are underlying factors in your overall health, including weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.”

Dr. Watto believes that this is where his relationship with patients is critical as he helps to make a difference in each individual’s health.

“I consider myself a medical advisor/expert,” he says. “It is my job to help people make the right choices. As a primary care provider,I like to develop a relationship with my patients so we can see the big picture and pull it all together for the healthiest future.”

Watto’s Words on Nutrition

The US Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture have experts reporting to them on the most recent body of scientific evidence regarding diet, nutrition, health, and physical activity.

Dietary guidelines have evolved since 1980 and are worth noting. This chart shows what changes have been made over the decades, with Dr. Watto’s take home message about the evolution.

Watto Words On Dietary Guidelines

Watto’s Words on Activity Guidelines

To improve or maintain your overall health, or to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, you should exercise according to the chart below.

Watto Words On Overall Health

Dr. Michael Watto is a family physician at Speare Primary Care at Boulder Point in Plymouth. He is accepting new patients ages 13 and older. To make an appointment, call Speare Primary Care at (603) 536-1881.


Aromatherapy… it makes scents

Exhale as completely as you can. Open our specialty bottle near your nose, inhale deeply. Hold your breath for as long as it is comfortable, and then breathe normally. That may not trigger anything as you read this, but it just may enhance your wellness and comfort when you are at Speare Memorial Hospital.

Aromatherapy Best Photo

With the help of generous donors, Speare is now offering aromatherapy, at no charge, to any patient whose caregiver feels that aromatic oils may aid in managing symptoms.

Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils — pure, natural, chemical-free substances extracted from plants — to improve mind, body, and mood.

“It’s great to help our patients find relief from troubling symptoms without adding another pill to their medication list,” says Jennifer Hennessy, registered nurse at Speare, who has introduced the service.

Essential oils have long been recognized for their physical and psychological benefits. It was as long as 2,500 years ago that Hippocrates, considered the father of modern medicine, upheld that “the key to good health rests on having a daily aromatic bath and scented massage.” Several of the scented oils used by ancient cultures are still regarded as valid today and are used by many
hospitals, clinics, and hospices to help manage discomforts.

The essential oils offered at Speare are:


Tent Card Offerings Only

The scientific theory behind aromatherapy is that when inhaled, aromatic molecules enter the nasal passages, sending chemical messages to the part of the brain that affects moods and emotions. Studies have shown that essential oils have sedative and stimulant effects as well as positive effects on behavior and the immune system.

“The Birthing Suite at Speare is very pleased to offer alternative care treatments that complement traditional medicine,” says Jennifer. “We are using aromatherapy to help prevent and treat nausea, anxiety, discomfort, insomnia, and stress while promoting relaxation, wellness, and a sense of well-being”

Tent Card Leaf SideThe feedback from patients and staff is that aromatherapy is easy to self-administer and pleasant. Many people have reported that it is calming, soothing, and uplifting, and they felt relief from headache, anxiety, and nausea after using aromatherapy. For more information about aromatherapy at Speare, call (603) 238-2213.