The Safe Kids Car Seat Inspection Station will be held on the second Wednesday of each month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at CarMax Lexington, located at 105 Sand Lake Drive. Call to make an appointment at 859-323-1153. Click here to view the flyer.
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Provided below is a mix of national health and safety news, local safety events and milestones and product recalls. Use us as your resource to stay educated on what is happening nationally and in your local community.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 15, 2014) - The rough ride of cancer treatment hasn't thrown Drew Shryock out of the saddle. Hanging his ever-present cowboy hat on IV poles, the 6-year-old patient at the DanceBlue Kentucky Children's Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic faces his treatment with the grit of John Wayne.
"We can either cowboy up, or sit and cry in the truck," Drew's mom Rebecca Shryock has said to him throughout treatment. The motto has carried Drew and his family through a battle with Leukemia that began two years ago.
Motivated by her son's resilience, Shryock founded the nonprofit 'Cowboy Up for a Cure' in 2013 to support families fighting childhood cancer. Funds raised are contributed to the DanceBlue Kentucky Children's Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic where Drew receives treatment. In March, Cowboy Up for a Cure donated $50,000 to the clinic, which was matched by a donation through the University of Kentucky student-run DanceBlue event.
On April 17-18, Cowboy Up for a Cure will team up with the UK rodeo team, the Farmhouse fraternity and the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority for the inaugural Cowboy Up for a Cure Rodeo. Big Hat Rodeo Company will bring western-style entertainment from barrel racing to bull rides to rodeo clowns to the Alltech Arena in the Kentucky Horse Park from 7-9 p.m. each night. All proceeds from admission will be donated to Cowboy Up for a Cure.
Shryock, an alumnus of UK and the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, her sons Jackson, Drew and Colt, and husband Jeremy raise beef cattle on their Central Kentucky farm. After a trip showing cattle in July of 2012, Shryock noticed Drew was experiencing a strange cough. Shryock suspected a case of bronchitis, but test results revealed Drew had rapidly progressing form of Leukemia, which had led to a malignant mass forming near his heart.
An oncology team at Kentucky Children's Hospital led by Dr. Tom Badgett mapped out an aggressive three-year plan for treatment. Drew underwent an emergency surgery to remove malignant fluid around his heart right away. Drew's course so far has included a series of eight whole-brain radiation treatments, numerous chemotherapy infusions, spinal injections, transfusions, steroids, pain medications, occupational therapy, weekly visits to the clinic and more than 20 hospitalizations.
Shryock, a former nurse, said members of Drew's oncology team have become close as friends through the process. The level of care, compassion and professionalism she's experienced at Kentucky Children's Hospital prompted her decision to use Cowboy Up for a Cure's fundraising to establish new resources at the clinic.
"I feel so confident and comfortable with every single one of them there," Shryock said of the team at the pediatric cancer clinic. "They were the only people besides me and my husband that were able to give my son the gift of life - we owe them everything."
Dr. Badgett and the oncology team encountered a few unexpected complications through Drew's treatment, including a case of appendicitis and a hypotensive event. He said like many children fighting cancer, Drew has handled painful and fearful situations with grace and courage.
"Drew and his family are remarkable in that they just keep trucking, rolling right over the bumps in the road that many of us would call mountains," Dr. Badgett said. "Drew doesn’t let his illness or the treatments slow him down. He continues to be an active and engaging kid."
Today, Drew is attending his first year of kindergarten and playing in a tee-ball league. Now in the maintenance phase of his treatment plan, he still receives daily chemotherapy treatment but is scheduled to complete his treatment in October 2015. Shryock often refers to a quote from John Wayne: "Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway." She said this sentiment sums up how tough children like Drew show grace and strength through tragedy.
"We've gotten to see what it really means to 'cowboy up,'"Shryock said. "(Drew's) never once complained. He's never been the child to say 'I can't; I won't.' He's been the child to pull himself up from the bootstraps."
To purchase $10 advance tickets to the Cowboy Up for a Cure Rodeo or for more information, visit http://www.cowboyupforacure.org. Tickets are $12 at the door.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 31, 2014) — Arriving about 17 weeks before her due date and weighing less than a pound, Nyla Jo-el Blessing Doyle was given a 10 percent chance of survival.
With an involved parent and follow-up care at the Kentucky Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Graduate Clinic, today the bright-eyed 1-year-old crawls, babbles and pulls herself up. Members of a multidisciplinary team, which includes a doctor, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech language pathologist, a registered dietician, a social worker and nurses, are encouraged with Nyla's progress in just a year. Still, they will continue to monitor her development for short- and long-term risks associated with premature birth in the months ahead.
"I look at her pictures now and cry just thinking how far she has come," Katherine Bennett, Nyla's mom, said. "She's a fighter — she has unbelievable strength."
Just short of 23 weeks into her pregnancy, Bennett delivered Nyla at the UK HealthCare Chandler Hospital, and Nyla was admitted to the UK NICU March 14, 2013. At 2 months old, Nyla underwent heart surgery for patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA, a common heart condition in premature babies. She came off a ventilator May 30 and received her first bottle of mother's milk in June. Surgeons corrected Nyla's retinopathy, a condition in which the retina of the eyes are sensitive to light, with laser eye surgery in early July. Still breathing with an oxygen tank and attached to a heart monitor, Nyla finally went home in late July. In August, she attended her first appointment at the NICU Graduate Clinic.
Dr. Nirmala Desai, who founded the clinic nearly 40 years ago, said babies born as early as Nyla are at high-risk for developmental delays, which is why it's important they receive follow-up care at the NICU Graduate Clinic located in the Family Care Center at Red Mile Place. NICU graduates are seen in the clinic at the ages of 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and 3 years. The follow-up appointments give the multidisciplinary team the opportunity to catch developmental disorders and advise parents on how to intervene.
"When babies are premature, they tend to have unique problems," Desai said.
In the first year of development, the team monitors head circumference to check for proper brain growth and body proportions. They also monitor the child's nutrition, asking if the baby has difficulty eating certain types of foods, and motor development. In the second year, Desai said they will look for speech and language development, as well as red flags in behavioral development. The team makes sure the baby is starting to exhibit the ability to think, function and respond.
Another of Desai's roles in the NICU Graduate Clinic is counseling parents on preventive measures and creating healthy environments for children. She provides education regarding immunizations for children and discourages family members' smoking around children. She said the parents have the ability to help reverse the complications of premature birth by simply being involved.
"The biggest predictor of how well these babies do is their parenting," Desai said. "It's the parents' involvement that makes a world of difference, and that's why we encourage participation. We can have a sophisticated NICU — but we cannot substitute Nyla's mom."
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 28, 2014) — With school out for Spring Break in Fayette County next week, many families are packing their bags for the beach, the campground, the theme park or another out-of-town location. But even for families enjoying a low-key "stay-cation," Kentucky Children's Hospital Safe Kids nurse Zinnia Robinson recommends the following safety considerations for an accident-free week.
Traveling to Your Location
Long drives in the car can be taxing on the kids. Before getting on the road, make sure children are buckled up properly and young children are securely fastened in an appropriate child safety seat. More than 300 children were saved due to the use of a restraining device in 2009 alone. It's also important to remember that children younger than 13 years of age should always be seated in the backseat of the car.
When driving a long way to a vacation destination, plan for frequent breaks and stops along the way. A child's body warms three to five times faster than an adult's body, so parents should monitor the heat in the car and never leave children alone in a car. Drivers should receive adequate sleep before hitting the road, and parents should think twice before allowing an inexperienced driver to take the wheel. Teens ages 15‐19 years old made up 74 percent of motor vehicle occupant or driver fatalities in 2012.
Protecting Your Skin
Many Spring Break-bound families are headed for sunny skies and white sand beaches. But even on a cloudy day at the beach, the sun can have damaging effects on skin. The sun produces two types of ultraviolet radiation — UVA, which causes sunburn, and UVB, which has a lasting impact on the skin and increases the risk of skin cancer. Applying a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher can help protect against the harmful UVB rays.
An extended period in the sun requires frequent reapplication of sunscreen. Be sure to reapply immediately after getting in the water, sweating while playing a sport or drying off with a towel. Also, wear hats and sunglasses for extra protection and take frequent breaks indoors.
Robinson said a good rule of thumb in hot climates is to provide a water bottle for every member of the family. When active, children around 88 pounds should drink 5 ounces of water every 20 minutes and adolescents around 132 pounds should drink 9 ounces of water every 20 minutes. Severe dehydration can be a life-threatening condition, especially in children. Symptoms include cramping, faintness or dizziness, nausea, emotional instability and high body temperature.
Watersports and Drowning
Riding jet skis and boating might seem like great family activities. But without the proper certifications, equipment and, most importantly, adult supervision, these sports pose risks to youth and children. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, sports and recreational activities contribute to about 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children and adolescents. Robinson said children and youth should always wear lifejackets on the water — no matter their age or swimming ability. It's also a good idea to do some prior research on state laws regarding the operation of watersport vehicles.
"The nice thing about our kids is they are so active and they love to explore their environment, and we don't want to stifle that," Robinson said. "We want them to explore their world, but with appropriate supervision."
According to Safe Kids, on average more than 1,000 kids die every year from drowning. Drowning accounted for 70 percent of boating accident fatalities in 2011 and is the leading cause of injury-related death for children between ages 1 and 4. While it might be too late for swimming lessons before vacation, Robinson stresses that it's critical for children who are going to be around water to learn how to swim. For older children, make sure everyone has a swimming buddy and that children are obeying the signage around pools and beaches. Robinson emphasized that no safety measure can replace adult supervision.
On big family vacations and visits to theme parks, it's important to have protocol in place to help everyone to stay connected. Before entering a theme park, mall or busy public beach, discuss an emergency separation plan with the family and designate a meeting place. Parents should make sure children know where to go and who to trust if they are separated in a crowd. Cellular devices readied with emergency numbers can also help keep families safe.
Staying at Home
For families staying home on Spring Break, safety risks exist when children are left alone at home. A parent required to leave children at home during the workday should make sure an adult checks on their children from time to time. It's also a good idea to establish a family password so children can discern whether someone at the door or a caller can be trusted. Ultimately, parents must use good judgment when leaving children at home alone. Discussing safety hazards around the house and having an emergency response plan for children is essential.
For more information about safety for children, visit www.safekidsfayettecounty.com or call Safe Kids Fayette County at UK Children's Hospital at 859-323-1153.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 27, 2014) – Kohl's Department Stores, through the Kohl's Cares® cause merchandise program, has donated $69,699 to UK HealthCare Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The donations were collected from Kohl’s stores located in the Lexington area. Kohl’s has donated more than $1,149,815 to KCH since 2001.
Kentucky Children’s Hospital is hosting a Read To Your Baby party from 5 to 6:30 p.m. today at Hallis School, 915 Murray Drive in Lexington, to celebrate the donation and to help build excitement for learning and reading for parents and preschoolers. The event is open to the public.
“The earlier you start reading to your children, the greater the effect on their language skills,” said Dr. Donna Grigsby, Chief of General Pediatrics at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. “Many different studies have shown the long-term benefits of listening to stories for babies in language development, brain development and relationship building.” This event launches the Kohl’s Read to Your Baby program, which will have events and a media campaign across Kentucky throughout the year.
Clifford the Big Red Dog, Scratch (UK Wildcats mascot) and Stitches (Kentucky Children’s Hospital mascot) will give out books and pose in pictures at the Read To Your Baby party. There will also be crafts, food, drinks, reading activities and the opportunity for each child to receive a book.
Kohl's commitment to Kentucky Children’s Hospital of Lexington is made possible through the Kohl's Cares cause merchandise program. Through this initiative, Kohl’s sells $5 books and plush toys, with 100 percent of net profit benefiting children’s health and education programs nationwide, including hospital partnerships like this one.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 24, 2014) — Your vote could help improve integrative cancer care here at UK HealthCare — the University of Kentucky Music Therapy Program is currently a finalist in competition for a major music therapy grant through the LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project.
The grant is awarded through the Jeffrey Frank Wacks Music Therapy Program, one of the longest-running programs of its kind in the country and a key component of the Morristown Medical Center's Carol G. Simon Cancer Center in New Jersey. The program's overarching goal is to facilitate relaxation, decrease anxiety and stress, enhance wellness, improve pain management, and provide comfort and support for cancer patients and their caregivers. The LIVESTRONG Foundation has partnered with Morristown Medical Center to replicate this program across the U.S., offering 13 grants of $15,600, along with a year of paid consulting services to awarded sites.
The grant pays for a board-certified music therapist and consulting services to provide clinical services on an inpatient and outpatient basis for cancer patients. Adult and pediatric patients at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and Kentucky Children's Hospital would benefit from these services. Music therapy is proven to reduce stress and pain levels associated with illness and hospitalization. For many patients, the simple act of listening to music provides a therapeutic release, promoting healing and overall well-being.
“Music therapy can have a significant impact on the quality of life of cancer patients, and this grant will allow us to provide much needed services for Markey Cancer patients and their families," said Lori Gooding, director of the UK Music Therapy Program. "Because music is such an important part of Kentucky culture, I cannot think of a better way to provide support for our patients as they move through their cancer treatment.”
Voting begins at 11 a.m. EST Monday, March 24, and ends at 6 p.m. EST Friday, April 11, and voters may cast up to three votes — via email, Facebook, and/or Twitter. To cast your vote, visit http://vote.livestrong.org/applicant/35-university/.
For a transcript of this video, click here.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 12, 2014) - To offer comprehensive health care for teenagers, doctors are required to have a broad range of expertise on topics from nutrition to sexual health to psychological intervention. Dr. Hatim Omar, chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics, is working to publish a book about all topics related to adolescent health.
Omar has served as an editor of more than 15 books about adolescent health published in the past five years. He has acted as an editor and author for books addressing obesity, chronic illness, sexual health, sports medicine, ambulatory medicine, neurodevelopmental disabilities, pharmacological treatments and other topics specific to the adolescent population. This month alone, Omar published four books: "Children, Violence and Bullying: International Perspectives;" "Playing with Fire: Children, Adolescents and Fire-Setting;" "Adolescence and Sexuality: International Perspectives;" and "School, Adolescence and Health Issues (Pediatrics, Child and Adolescent Health)."
With experience in the fields of gynecology, physiology, pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology, Omar developed a passion for working with adolescents during a residency followed by a fellowship at West Virginia University. He has served as the chief of the division of adolescent medicine at UK since 1998. He has published more than 150 articles in peer reviewed journals. Currently, Omar is working on a book that provides the thoughts and voices of real teenagers from his practice. Omar hopes to publish the book later in 2014.
"I think people should hear what the kids are saying," Omar said of his latest project. "That’s what adults are missing - they aren’t listening to the teens and they don’t know what they're going through."
UK's division of adolescent medicine comprises a team of physicians, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, and psychologists who have expertise in a wide range of adolescent concerns. For more information, visit http://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/adolescent-medicine.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 20, 2014) — Doctors and nurses flocked from every corner of Kentucky Children's Hospital to give 1-year-old Connor Thompson birthday squeezes and kisses.
They noticed two tiny bottom teeth that would come in handy later that day for eating birthday cake. They called him handsome as he revealed those new teeth while smiling for pictures. With so many adoring friends in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), it's no wonder the miracle baby was showing off with giggles, stomps and grins.
"If he's not smiling, then you know something's wrong," Misty Thompson, Connor's mom, said.
One year earlier, little Connor made his debut in this world at 1 pound 10 ounces and about the length of a writing pen. During her pregnancy, Thompson, an obstetrician and gynecologist based at the UK HealthCare clinic in Hazard, Ky., diagnosed herself with preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition affecting the mother's blood pressure that occurs in 5-8 percent of pregnant women. On Feb. 19, 2013, Thompson knew her condition was worsening and that Connor would need to be delivered soon, and it would have to be at the NICU at UK HealthCare. There, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition known as HELLP syndrome. The next morning Thompson's own boss, Dr. Wendy Hansen, delivered Connor by cesarian section.
Connor's birth at 27 weeks premature was the beginning of a string of medical challenges in his early weeks of life. At 6 days old, Connor was diagnosed with a bowel obstruction created by a twist in his lower intestine. UK HealthCare' s Dr. Joseph Iocono surgically corrected the obstruction. After the operation, Connor was attached to an ostomy bag larger than his infant body.
Three weeks later, Connor was diagnosed with patent ductus arteriosus, a heart defect that required another surgery March 16. He received multiple blood transfusions and suffered from pulmonary hemorrhaging. After 74 days in the NICU, Connor was released from the hospital in May 2013. He underwent three more bowel surgeries and was attached to a temporary ostomy bag until October 2013.
Being in the position of a new mom in a critical situation made Thompson realize the importance of having a compassionate team of doctors and nurses on her side. She said the experience has helped her to become a more sympathetic obstetrician.
"I look at things totally different now," Thompson said. "I now know what it's like to be a scared mom."
Crystal Ferrell, the primary care nurse who chose to work with the Thompsons through Connor's NICU stay, made a special trip off-the-clock to UK Children's Hospital to celebrate Connor's birthday. When Connor was born, he was one of the tiniest babies Ferrell had ever seen. Ferrell, Thompson and Thompson's husband Steven worked together as a team committed to the best outcome for Connor. Ferrell said Thompson entrusted her baby with the nurses and doctors, despite having medical credentials behind her name.
"She was amazing," Ferrell said of Thompson. "She never was intimidating. She said, 'Tell me what you think?' She was the mommy at the bedside, not the doctor."
After saying hello to the many NICU doctors and nurses who worked on his case, Connor joined family and friends for an all-star themed first birthday party Feb. 19. Everyone at UK HealthCare agreed the party's theme was fitting for a healthy, happy little boy who had fully recovered from a hard start in life.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 4, 2014) - A day as a fighter pilot, a swim with dolphins and a trip to the Big Apple are only a few of the wishes Rachel O'Farrell has helped the Make-A-Wish Foundation grant for children battling cancer.
O’Farrell received a special moment of her own Feb. 27 when the Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana staff surprised her with the chapter’s 2013 Medical Professional of the Year honor. The UK HealthCare social worker is a referral source for Make-A-Wish, an organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Make-A-Wish arranged a surprise reception to present the award to O'Farrell at the Kentucky Clinic. She was congratulated by her co-workers in the DanceBlue Kentucky Children's Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic and Make-A-Wish chapter staff. Special guests Brendan, O'Farrell's husband, and their 8-month-old son Finn also attended the party.
O'Farrell has gone over-and-above to help create magical experiences for as many as 30 young cancer patients at UK pediatric hematology/oncology clinic. Make-A-Wish staff members were especially impressed with O'Farrell's recent efforts to help one ailing patient and her family. The patient couldn't decide on a wish and the family didn't own cellphones, so communication was an additional challenge for Make-A-Wish coordinators. O'Farrell served as the point of contact for the family and helped the teen communicate her wish - a family trip to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.
"Rachel fully embodied our mission with this wish by approaching every situation with the frame of mind of, 'how can we make this happen for the child?'" Kim Pettingell, senior medical outreach manager for the local Make-A-Wish chapter said. "We were able to make this wish come true because of Rachel's assistance and sincere dedication to seeing her patient experience the power of a wish.”
Typically, Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana honors its Medical Professional of the Year during its annual BIG Wish Gala held in August. O'Farrell was unable to attend last year's gala because she was on maternity leave. She is the first medical professional in Kentucky to receive the honor from Make-A-Wish.
As part of the award, O'Farrell received a photo album containing pictures of the many children she has referred to Make-A-Wish. A social worker at UK for nearly four years, O'Farrell said many children and families "latch on" to the Make-A-Wish experience. She presents the opportunity to all of the patient cases she manages and takes time to listen to each family's unique story.
"I was just doing what anyone in my position would do," O'Farrell said. "I take a lot of meaning from the work I do. I am constantly inspired by the resilience of these families and these kids. The way they make meaning out of their experience is rejuvenating."
For more information about referring a child to Make-A-Wish, contact Kim Pettingell at 877-206-9474 or visit www.md.wish.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 3, 2014) — UK Women's Health Obstetrics & Gynecology has added an oncofertility specialist to its team. Dr. Leslie A. Appiah joins UK HealthCare as a board-certified gynecologist with expertise in oncofertility and fellowship training in pediatric and adolescent gynecology. Dr. Appiah brings five years of experience from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she served as director of oncofertility and fellowship director of pediatric and adolescent gynecology.
Appiah will serve as director of oncofertility at UK. She will work closely with subspecialists in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, the Markey Cancer Center and Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Appiah and her team will collaborate to preserve the fertility and reproductive health of pediatric, adolescent and adult cancer and blood disorder patients of all genders.
Dr. Appiah attended medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She completed her residency in OB-GYN at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and a clinical fellowship in pediatric and adolescent gynecology at Texas Children’s Hospital. She has received several teaching awards including the Johns Hopkins Excellence in Teaching Award.
Dr. Appiah’s interests include fertility preservation, minimally invasive surgery, congenital anomalies of the reproductive tract, hormone replacement therapy and endometriosis.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 20, 2014) -- More than 100 UK HealthCare physicians affiliated with University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children's Hospital and UK HealthCare Good Samaritan Hospital appear on the Best Doctors in America® List for 2014 -- more than any other hospital in Kentucky. Only five percent of doctors in America earn this prestigious honor, decided by impartial peer review.
The Best Doctors in America® List, assembled by Best Doctors, Inc. and audited and certified by Gallup®, results from exhaustive polling of over 45,000 physicians in the United States. Doctors in over 40 specialties and 400 subspecialties of medicine appear on this year’s List.
In a confidential review, current physician listees answer the question, “If you or a loved one needed a doctor in your specialty, to whom would you refer?” Best Doctors, Inc. evaluates the review results, and verifies all additional information to meet detailed inclusion criteria.
In bringing together the best medical minds in the world, Best Doctors works with expert physicians from its Best Doctors in America® List to help its 30 million members worldwide get the right diagnosis and right treatment.
The experts who are part of the Best Doctors in America® database provide the most advanced medical expertise and knowledge to patients with serious conditions – often saving lives in the process by finding the right diagnosis and right treatment.
The 2014 Best Doctors in America® from UK HealthCare and their specialty are:
About Best Doctors, Inc.:
Best Doctors works with the best five percent of doctors, ranked by impartial peer review, to help people get the right diagnosis and right treatment. The company’s innovative, peer-to-peer consultation service offers a convenient new way for physicians to collaborate with other physicians to ensure patients receive the best care. The global health solutions company, which has grown to over 30 million members worldwide, uses state-of-the-art technology capabilities to deliver improved health outcomes while reducing costs. Gallup® has audited and certified Best Doctors’ database of physicians, and its companion Best Doctors in America® List, as using the highest industry standards survey methodology and processes. Founded in 1989 by Harvard Medical School physicians, Best Doctors seamlessly integrates its trusted health services with Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 employers, insurers and other groups in every major region of the world. The company also designs and implements international insurance programs that help people be sure they get the right health solutions.
For further information, visit Best Doctors at http://www.bestdoctors.com, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or call (800) 223-5003.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 21, 2014) — For most of us, vacation days are used for relaxing, traveling, sight-seeing, or even just doing nothing.
For some University of Kentucky employees, however, those vacation days are put to use serving those who are less fortunate and in need of good medical care.
Recently, pediatric critical care physician Dr. Scottie Day led one such effort to help bring basic medical care to children in Haiti. Day, along with UK nurse practitioner Vicki Stringfellow, PICU nurses Johnna Forman and Kristyn Mickley, and Chief Compliance Officer Brett Short, joined a network of Lexington health care providers and community members to help open the first true children's medical center in Northern Haiti. The new medical center under a medical advisory board from Southland Christian Church is funded through Danita's Children, an organization that provides spiritual, physical, and emotional care and education for orphaned children in Haiti.
Pediatric medical care is severely lacking in Haiti. The country holds the distinction of having the highest infant mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, and 74 percent of births occur outside a hospital setting with little to no medical support. Malnutrition is a huge problem, with 10 percent of children considered "acutely" malnourished and 20 percent of children considered underweight.
During the mission, the Lexington group split into teams of three to provide care for the incoming children, working 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or later each day. All children who came in received a basic physical, a dental exam, an eye exam, and spiritual counseling.
"It went really well," Day said. "The beauty of it was how we were able to encompass all aspects of care. You saw such an integration of specialties under one roof so that these kids got the care they needed."
Just a few weeks prior to Day's trip, another group of medical providers went to Haiti to assist in the opening of the medical center. Over the course of these two trips, Day estimates that the groups saw 400-500 young patients, many of whom had never had a physical or simple medical evaluation. Many of the health problems they encountered were fixed with what most Americans would consider very simple, obvious solutions, such as nourishment or antibiotics.
"Some of these kids had never even been plotted on a growth chart," Day said. "And a lot of what we provided was just very simple nutritional care — the kind of thing we take for granted here."
Though the care for the Haitian children remained fairly basic this time around, Day says that the organization has plans to expand and specialize. They are in the process of forming pediatric specialty teams — orthopaedics, cardiology, neurology, and physical and occupational therapy — who will travel to Haiti to provide services for those who need it. And down the road, the organization looks to open a full-scale children's hospital with a surgical center, inpatient care, and more.
But as any missionaries will say, it's not just the children of Haiti — and beyond — who benefit from their work. Those who attend these trips say they've been profoundly changed by the experience.
"I think everyone comes back different," said Day, who has now been to Haiti on multiple missions.
Nurse practitioner Vicki Stringfellow is also no stranger to mission trips. Prior to the Haiti excursion, she had participated in a mission to Honduras. She says that the trips help refuel her passion for caring for others.
"It broadens your perspective compared to what you see here," Stringfellow said. "Your entire focus is just the pure care you're providing. You come back home with new energy."
Day agrees. "It rejuvenates you and reminds you why you went into this profession. You come back with this positive spirit — it changes you."
Though the Lexington team was in the country for only a few days, Day notes that over the course of the two weeks they were there, the mission teams helped train and left a local team in place to continue to provide health care for the Haitian children. Ultimately, these mission trips will help build up Haiti's pediatric medical programs so that they are better able to provide necessary care for their own.
In a global economy, that sort of regular engagement benefits us all, says Day. He notes that as the world and its economies become increasingly globalized, it becomes more necessary to think about health in that context.
"The health and well-being of other countries provides stability for the U.S.," Day said. "Haiti is our next-door neighbor and it's important to engage with them."
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2013) – Join two UK HealthCare experts for a free lecture and information session on hip preservation techniques on Saturday, Jan. 25.
UK orthopaedic surgeons Dr. Stephen Duncan and Dr. Ryan Muchow will discuss new hip preservation treatment options. These techniques may be used to treat many conditions including femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), hip labral tears, hip dysplasia, perthes, SCFE and hip arthritis. Patients of all ages can benefit from these treatments.
The lecture will be held in the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital Pavilion A auditorium on Jan. 25 at 9:30 a.m. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Parking is available at the UK Chandler Hospital parking garage, 110 Transcript Avenue, directly across South Limestone from the hospital.
This event is free and open to the public. To reserve your spot, call 800-333-8874.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2013) – Though she acknowledges that “ambitious” is a valid descriptor, UK HealthCare Chief Administrative Officer Ann Smith says there’s a different term she’d use to describe how she’s developed her career path.
“I call myself ‘chronically curious,’” Smith said. “The word ‘ambitious’ sometimes carries a negative connotation – so I prefer ‘curious.’”
It’s her innate curiosity – and a willingness to try just about anything new – that took Smith from working as a hematology lab tech to one of the top administrative positions for UK HealthCare.
Originally from Tennessee, Smith’s family moved to Winchester when she was a teenager, and upon graduating from George Rogers Clark High School, she came to UK and majored in medical technology.
Technically, Smith says she began her UK career 40 years ago, when she served as a babysitter for a UK personnel director. From there, she started a more official form of temporary employment, working in the hospital’s human resources department during the summer of her junior year of college.
After earning her bachelor’s degree, Smith said she had worked out a plan: work in a lab at UK for three years to garner experience, then move back to her hometown of Chattanooga, Tenn.
“And then,” she says with a laugh, “I would slowly but surely move closer to the beach!”
However, she found herself staying in Lexington and taking on new challenges in the lab – even after being told by a supervisor that there would be no higher career path for her at UK. Whenever a new opportunity arose, Smith said she was always willing to jump in, whether it was trying a task she’d never done before, or simply offering a suggestion.
“I was always right there, ready to go,” she said. “I was always willing to give things a shot.”
She moved up from a lab tech to the medical plaza’s lab supervisor, then on to lab administrative manager. Meanwhile, as UK’s medical center grew, new positions popped up. After then-CEO Joe Claypool created service line areas for the medical center, Smith took on the role of Director of Diagnostic Services, which involved overseeing the lab, radiology and special diagnostics areas and technology – just before the Y2K scare of 2000.
When her boss retired in 2001, he suggested that she should apply for his job. Smith was put off by the academic requirements of the position, which would require her to go back to school to earn a graduate degree. But she was prodded into action by one simple statement.
“He said, ‘Ann, not everyone chooses to limit themselves,” she said. “And so I started back to school a month later.”
Over the next five years – and two babies – Smith earned a masters degree in public administration with a concentration of classes in health care management. She moved up on the ladder again, accepting the role of Associate Hospital Director.
Then, as the plans for Pavilion A began in earnest, Smith says she was called into the office of Dr. Richard Lofgren, who was chief clinical officer at the time. With so much administrative focus on Pavilion A, another new position had been created, one with a senior-level focus on the day to day operations of the existing UK Chandler Hospital and Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
Smith accepted the job, becoming the interim Chief Administrative Officer in 2008 and formalizing the position in early 2009. Since then, her concentration has been on ways to keep the daily hospital operations running efficiently while still maintaining a personal touch in regards to patient care. In 2012, UK Good Samaritan Hospital was added to her responsibilities.
Fostering an environment that builds camaraderie between staff and respect and humanity between the patients and caregivers is very high on her list of priorities. She embraces change, especially any changes that may have a positive effect on patient care.
“The challenge is to not get stuck thinking, ‘It’s always been this way,’” she says, noting that she and her staff talk with colleagues at other major medical centers all across the country to share ideas.
Much has changed around campus in Smith’s time at UK – when she began her career, the UK medical center landscape looked very different. The UK Markey Cancer Center didn’t yet exist, nor did the Kentucky Clinic. There was no critical care tower at Chandler, and the VA hospital was only a few years old.
Looking forward, Smith said she’s eager to open up new floors of Pavilion A for patient care. As for what’s next in her own career path, Smith said she always keeps her mind open.
“Whenever I’ve been ready for an opportunity, UK has always provided one,’” she said. “That said, there are opportunities everywhere. One just needs a bit of curiosity!”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 30, 2013) — UK HealthCare and the Safe Kids Fayette County Coalition want to pass along some important safety tips to keep in mind as children and parents are participating in Halloween fun.
On a night when many children spend hours in close proximity to cars as they navigate through neighborhoods gathering candy, pedestrian safety should be a top priority for both drivers and parents. On average, twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year.
"Halloween is a fun and exciting night for kids but it is also one of the most dangerous," said Sherri Hannan, Safe Kids Fayette County coordinator.
"Make sure that your evening of tricks and treats is a safe one. Be seen to be safe and take extra care when crossing streets. Slow down in neighborhoods if you are driving from location to location, and stay in areas that are well-lit and familiar," said Hannan.
Tips to keep in mind:
For more tips on how to help kids become safer pedestrians on Halloween, as well as throughout the year, visit www.usa.safekids.org/wtw/halloween2009.html.
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, email@example.com or 859-323-6363
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 29, 2013) -- It is one of the most devastating events that can happen to a family and in Kentucky it happens at a rate nearly double the rest of the U.S. Suffocation is the leading injury-related cause of death in infants in Kentucky but it can be prevented by utilizing safe sleeping practices.
At the Kentucky Children's Hospital, a new initiative is teaching and demonstrating risk-reduction strategies for Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) to parents of infants one year and younger before their discharge from the hospital.
Although Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is an unexplained death of an infant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends a broader category referred to as Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) which includes infant deaths that after investigation are determined to be suffocation or causes from an unsafe sleeping environment.
"Too many infants are dying from an unsafe sleep environment making Safe Sleeping a prevention priority in Kentucky," said Amy Brassfield, pediatric clinical nurse specialist at Kentucky Children's Hospital. "Even though about half of infant deaths in the SUID category are attributed to classic SIDS -- meaning the sudden death cannot be explained -- the focus for Kentucky Children's Hospital is to teach and model a safe sleeping environment and reduce the number of infant deaths where suffocation is preventable."
In a study by the Kentucky Maternal and Child Health team, nearly 88 percent of infant deaths due to SIDS, accidental suffocations or where the cause could not be determined, there was documentation of sleep-related risk factors. "This means that in Kentucky, at least 8 out of 10 of these infant deaths might have been prevented if the infant was in a safe sleep environment -- meaning sleeping alone, on their back, in a crib, without soft pillows, blankets or toys, and on a firm mattress," according to the report.
Characteristics of a sleep environment that can attribute to infant deaths include soft pillows, mattresses or mattress coverings in the crib, bed sharing or co-sleeping, use of an adult bed and couch sleeping.
To further modeling of safe sleeping, the use of HALO® Sleep Sack Swaddles -- a wearable blanket that replaces the use of loose blankets in the crib that can cover your baby's face and interfere with breathing -- are being used in the neonatal intensive care unit, the newborn nursery and throughout Kentucky Children's Hospital for all infants under one year of age.
In addition, signage about safe sleep practices has been placed on every crib and bassinette throughout the hospital reinforcing the teaching of parents and caregivers by the nursing staff.
"It is important for us as health care providers to do what we can do to help prevent infant suffocation deaths in Kentucky," added Lisa McGee, clinical nurse specialist at the Kentucky Children's Hospital neonatal intensive care unit. "By teaching and demonstrating these measures that provide a safe sleeping environment we hope to bring more awareness to this issue and reduce the number of preventable deaths."
Safe Sleeping Tips
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, 859-806-0445, firstname.lastname@example.org
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