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As an integral part of UK HealthCare, Kentucky Children's Hospital consolidates our extensive array of comprehensive pediatric services under one roof.
At Kentucky Children's Hospital, it's the people that make our healing environment one-of-a-kind. Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals work as a team to treat and to heal this region's children. Since its inception, Kentucky Children's Hospital has greatly benefited from a community of generous donors. It's through their support that the children's hospital continues to grow and flourish.
But don't just take our word for it, experience it yourself by viewing the video below. And, thank you to our gracious donors for their unwavering support of Kentucky Children's Hospital.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2015) — A mother's embrace couldn't settle a fidgety Snayder Menendez Quinones for more than a few seconds in the Pavilion A lobby of the UK Chandler Hospital. But Maria Quinones was relieved to see her 3-year-old son return to his playful self after recovering from surgery at Kentucky Children's Hospital.
The timid and afraid boy who arrived at UK HealthCare on Sept. 23, 2014, was now gleeful and talkative. The sausage-like lesion on his lip was gone, replaced by a scar in the corner of his mouth. His mother was no longer afraid of his toddler tumbles, which could have resulted in major bleeding before the tumor was removed.
"I worry less about him getting hurt playing with other kids," she said. "He is starting school, and I was afraid he would get bullied."
In a tribal village bordering the Amazon jungle, Snayder was born with a small vascular tumor inside his mouth. As Snayder continued to grow and develop in his first year of life, the lesion also grew substantially in size. Eventually the lesion encompassed most of the inside of his cheek, the floor of his tongue and, most noticeably, a large portion of his lower lip. In addition to interfering with speech development and eating, the lesion weighed down Snayder's lower lip and caused frequent bleeding from the mouth. Because of the abnormality, he was ostracized in his community.
Snayder's family sought out help from local doctors, but none were willing to remove the lesion because of the high risk of complications, such as bleeding and scarring. According to UK HealthCare plastic surgeon Dr. Henry Vasconez, total removal of the lesion would have resulted in the loss of three-quarters of the child's face. His condition was more complex, requiring surgical intervention as well as steroids to stunt the growth of the lesion.
"The child was born with this at birth, but it was small," Vasconez said. "As is common with these type of congenital abnormalities, it continued to grow, and it would only get bigger until it became very large."
Dr. Thomas Young, a UK professor and director of the UK Shoulder to Shoulder Global program, met Snayder and his mother while serving in the program's year-round health clinic in Santa Domingo. He brought photos of Snayder's lesion to Vasconez, the William S. Farish Endowed Chair of Plastic Surgery at UK HealthCare, who is also a native of Ambato, Ecuador.
As a first step, Vasconez contacted a colleague in Quito, Ecuador, to inquire about the possibility of treating the lesion in Snayder's home country. After some deliberation about the complexities involved with Snayder's condition, Vasconez's colleague opted not to perform the necessary surgery. Vasconez and Young presented the case to officials at UK HealthCare and rallied support for Snayder and his mother to travel to Kentucky for treatment.
When Snayder came to UK HealthCare last September, Vasconez first examined the mass to determine the most effective course of action that would not further damage the child's appearance. He operated on the mass to remove the most abnormal parts. Through the surgery, he was able to remove 50 percent of the lesion and inject a sclerosing agent to stop growth in a remaining 25 percent. A few days after the surgery, Snayder was saying words, eating properly and showing good control of his mouth.
"It's quite satisfying to be able to help someone who would not otherwise receive care," Vasconez said. "This 3-year-old would be pretty much an outcast otherwise."
Vasconez received his medical degree in Ecuador but completed a residency and specialty training in pediatric surgery in the United States. He has worked at UK HealthCare for more than 27 years. In addition to helping with special cases identified through the Shoulder to Shoulder clinic, Vasconez has conducted outreach through his own charitable mission in Ecuador for more than 20 years. Every year, he organizes a group of 80 to 90 medical volunteers to conduct clinics and perform surgery in impoverished areas of the country.
While Vasconez said Ecuador is a beautiful country with many natural resources, it is also a very typical Third World country in need of support. Half of the population fall into a low income category and have little access to health care.
"Like this child, if they can't get something done in their community or village, they usually can't get anything done," Vasconez said. "If it was life-threatening or disfiguring, they would just have to live with it.
"This was a way for me to get back to that country and try to give back," he said.
Vasconez returns to Ecuador for a medical mission in February. Those interested in knowing more about the connections between Kentucky and Ecuador can learn more through the Kentucky Partners of the Americas at http://kentuckyecuadorpartners.org/.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 23, 2014) — Children treated in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Kentucky Children's Hospital are bombarded with scary sights, sounds and feelings.
"We use lots of scary things, and they go through scary procedures," Emily Turner, a nurse in the PICU, said. "Usually they are very sick while they are here."
But the welcoming grins of cartoon characters, a pleasant barnyard scene and sparkling princess carriages are happy and comforting images for children in the busy, intense PICU environment. Paintings of friendly childhood characters, figures and scenes adorn windows to seven patient rooms in the PICU. The colorful paintings provided by a group of UK art education students brighten the atmosphere for children and families going through a difficult time, as well as the nursing staff that cares for patients in critical situations.
"We just want it to be kid-friendly, appropriate, and to make them feel a little more joyous," Turner said.
The UK Art Education Student Chapter (AESC), a student organization that prepares its members for careers in art education, volunteered their time and artistic talents to paint child-friendly scenes and characters on the glass windows. The UK chapter is led by faculty adviser Beth Mosher Ettensohn. Turner, a member of the Culture Council at Kentucky Children's Hospital, and fellow nurses in the PICU took personal time to paint the windows last year. After convening with the Culture Council this summer, Turner reached out to students in the School of Art and Visual Studies requesting help with painting the PICU windows. The students started painting the windows in November and will continue to maintain the paintings throughout 2015.
Contributing art to the PICU was especially meaningful to Ettensohn, whose son fought and survived a rare form of cancer in 1998. Ettensohn recalls long stays in intensive care units, both at Kentucky Children's Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Ettensohn valued the support and encouragement of the KCH nursing staff who worked with her son.
"You could tell they were working as a team and every person cared about who they were treating," Ettensohn said of the nurses. "They would take that extra step to help families manage the insanity that comes with caregiving a critically ill child."
As the family member of a patient, the art professor appreciated seeing vitality and variety in hospital décor. She believes a positive visual environment is essential to everyone's health.
“What we see has a profound effect on what we do, how we feel, and who we are. An engaging visual environment is essential to our health,” Ettensohn said.
Ashley Worley, the vice president of the AESC, has noticed family members of patients looking over her shoulder as she paints. She said painting one scene on a window could take as long as two or three hours. Engaging future art educators in community service is part of the AESC's mission. Worley, who plans to become an art teacher, feels gratified sharing her artwork with families and medical workers in a challenging and sometimes dreary environment.
"The children are really sick, so even if one painting can make a child smile, then that makes a difference," Worley said.
The AESC is an official UK student organization sponsored by the UK School of Art and Visual Studies. Members are undergraduate and graduate art education students. Find out more at http://ukaesc.weebly.com/
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2014) – UK HealthCare has temporarily amended its inpatient hospital visitation policy to be proactive in helping protect the health and well-being of patients and health care workers during this flu season. Visitation restrictions are in effect as of 7 a.m. Monday, Dec. 22.
The measures include:
o No visitors under the age of 12
o No visitors with any symptoms of flu-like illness
o Only two visitors will be permitted in a patient’s room at one time
o Visitors may be issued masks or other protective clothing for use when visiting
o Additional restrictions may be in place in special care units such as women's and children’s units, critical care and oncology units.
o Compassionate visitation exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
"Due to an increasing number of flu cases in Kentucky, UK HealthCare will be instituting these procedures designed to help protect patients, visitors and staff from exposure to the flu and are in effect at all UK HealthCare inpatient units including University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children's Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Eastern State Hospital," said Kim Blanton, enterprise director for infection prevention and control at UK HealthCare.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the flu was widespread in 29 of the 54 states and territories that it tracks -- including Kentucky. This time last year, it was widespread in only four.
It is still recommended everyone six months of age and older who hasn't received a flu shot yet, receive one, Blanton said. "A flu vaccine is still the first and best way to prevent influenza," she said.
Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Flu antiviral drugs are available and work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk health condition or is very sick from the flu.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kristi Lopez, 859-806-0445 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 4, 2014) — More than a decade ago, Ruth Berry and Gail Carpenter retired from longtime careers practicing and teaching nursing to college students. But even in retirement, the two friends and former colleagues are drawn back to the health care setting where they continue to serve patients in meaningful ways.
Wearing the volunteer uniform of pale blue button-down shirts and navy blue slacks, the retirees sort through piles of mail, organize a cart full of cookies and help families navigate the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. During the Thursday morning shift they share at the UK HealthCare Volunteer Office, they deliver mail, bouquets of balloons and flower arrangements to patients throughout the hospital.
Often during deliveries, they will offer to open and read mail to incapacitated patients. As former nurses, they are well-versed on bedside manner and sensitive to the health care circumstances affecting each patient. Although their role today is on the periphery of medical care, they know a few moments to sit and listen could make a difference in the patient's life.
"Going into a room in pediatrics where a child is alone, and opening up the mail for them and spending a few moments with them — those are precious moments just to be able to talk to them," Berry said. "They might not have family member there all day."
When asked why they volunteer, Carpenter and Berry say their roles keep them connected to the health care profession, but they also enjoy the camaraderie of the volunteer office. Both women retired from faculty positions in the UK College of Nursing and at Lexington Community College (now known as Bluegrass Community and Technical College) and are now members of the hospital's auxiliary board of directors. Berry and Carpenter first became acquainted as colleagues from their involvement in the university community and professional organizations. Carpenter, who retired in 1997, helped recruit Berry to the volunteer office after she retired in 2000.
Carpenter's interest in a profession in nursing started in high school when she learned of a friend's sister who was completing a nursing program in New York City. She was attracted to a profession caring for people and was fascinated by the science of nursing. She accepted a position teaching fundamental courses and pediatric nursing at Lexington Community College in 1976 and eventually become coordinator of LCC's nursing program, retiring in 1997.
Berry, whose mother was a neonatal nurse who emigrated from Germany, read the popular Sue Barton series of youth novels when she was young, which sparked her interest in a nursing career. At the age of 14, she started working as a nurse's aide in a local hospital. While she originally intended to study chemistry in college, she chose to study nursing at the collegiate level. She joined the faculty of the UK College of Nursing in the Department of Public Health Nursing in 1965, and after a period of time away from the profession, returned to the department in 1986. During her time at UK, she established a health clinic for the homeless and a parish nursing program, retiring from her role in 2000.
"I always liked helping and being with folks," Berry said.
When she first started volunteering, Carpenter was assigned to assist with a health clinic run by Berry, who was still working as a faculty member. Berry was thrilled to have Carpenter, a former nurse, as a volunteer in her clinic. Carpenter also volunteered as a patient liaison in the surgery department for several years before she changed roles to delivering mail and flowers. After her retirement, Berry decided to join Carpenter as a UK HealthCare volunteer on Thursdays. She also works in the auxiliary gift shop, which is primarily staffed by volunteers, on Mondays.
In addition to serving together at on a weekly basis, the women fill their schedules with volunteer roles for the Lexington Public Library, God's Pantry and the Department of Veteran's Affairs hospital. They are members of the same theater club, which meets several times a year. Outside of the volunteer office, Berry said Carpenter is a reliable friend. Carpenter has helped Berry through periods of hospitalization, picking her up for appointments at 5 a.m.
"(Volunteering) is more enjoyable when I know we can be there together and we can catch up at some of our other events," Berry said of Carpenter. "If we have concern about something, we can share it with each other."
As volunteers, Berry and Carpenter have heard many stories and met many interesting people of all ages. They have developed a sense of community and purpose within the hospital through their involvement. They are always encouraging others to become new volunteers at UK HealthCare as help is constantly needed for patients and visitors.
"We get to see how the medical center really works," Carpenter said of volunteers. "We have a way of helping people navigate them through this physical maze at the medical center — it's enjoyable to do."
To learn more about volunteering, visit http://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/volunteer.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 3, 2014) — The UK HealthCare Birthing Center at Kentucky Children's Hospital recently scored among the nation's top birthing facilities for implementing best practices related to breastfeeding and infant nutrition.
In results from a Centers for Disease Control survey, the UK HealthCare Birthing Center ranked in the 83rd percentile nationally and in the 97th percentile in the state. The Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) is a national survey of maternity care practices and policies conducted every two years. The survey obtains information about birthing center services and practices, including breastfeeding assistance, infant nutrition, skin-to-skin bonding, postpartum care, patient discharge procedures and more. UK HealthCare was among the 82 percent of 2,666 birthing facilities surveyed nationally that responded to the self-reported survey in 2013, with results recently released in 2014.
In 2007, the year the mPINC survey was introduced, UK HealthCare's Birthing Center scored in the 13th percentile nationally. The department raised its score to rank in the 45th percentile in 2011.
Gwen Moreland, interim assistant chief nurse executive at Kentucky Children's Hospital, attributed the department's improvement to a team of doctors and nurses committed to evidence-based practices in maternal care services. The Birthing Center has adopted practices and procedures scientifically proven to be beneficial for mother and baby.
Nurses and doctors facilitate skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, transfer mother and baby as a couplet to the mother and baby unit, limit the amount of time a baby is away from his or her mother, and provided lactation specialists to help mother and baby adjust to breastfeeding. In addition, leaders within the department have introduced annual training sessions on up-to-date maternal care policies and procedures for nurses and doctors.
"I think it really validates the hard work and dedication of the nursing and physician staff," Moreland said of the CDC ranking. "We are more focused on quality outcomes and evidence-based care."
UK HealthCare is currently making strides toward a Baby-Friendly accreditation from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). American hospitals can achieve this accreditation by offering an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding.
While working toward this goal, the birthing department was one of 92 birthing centers in the nation, and the only in Kentucky, to receive the Best Fed Beginnings Grant from the National Institute for Children's Health Quality in 2012. UK HealthCare follows the 10 Steps to Successful Breast Feeding outlined by the Baby-Friendly Initiative and provides patients with breastfeeding support at its Mommy and Me Clinic.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 13, 2014) — The Kentucky Children's Hospital's Division of Adolescent Medicine has launched a pilot program that will offer school-based health services to teenagers in Harrison County.
Modeled after similar programs initiated by the division in Lincoln and Boyle counties, the Harrison County program is designed to connect students with an in-school health care provider who can address issues including suicide, sexual activity, depression, violence, drugs and social pressures. Through the program, a doctor from UK Adolescent Medicine will see students during school hours twice a month and a UK adolescent counselor will visit with students once a week.
Dr. Hatim Omar, chief of the division, gave a presentation on teen health during a forum in Harrison County last year. The forum was held in response to three consecutive suicides committed by Harrison County High School students. Since the forum, Omar has worked with school board officials and Passport Health insurance company to start up a school-based health program.
As part of the program, school officials will conduct a health screening of the entire student population to identify at-risk teens and inform students that help is available at school. With this program, students won't have to miss school or travel long distances to receive attention from a UK health care provider.
"We at UK HealthCare are really committed to people who want to help the state as a whole," Omar said. "We’ve been advocating school-based centers since I came to this state – and we continue to find ways to do it."
On Oct. 31, Omar led a training session in Harrison County for teachers and volunteers who will meet with students one-on-one to screen for health risks. The screening will take place throughout the month of November. The screening will be repeated at the beginning of every school year to measure health risks and the progress of the program. Omar said through this program, the Harrison County community has invested in the development and well-being of their youth.
"They're the same issues you see in teens anywhere in the state," Omar said of Harrison County. "To make a change in any place, we need healthy well-adapted kids. We help teens to be more resilient, which make them more likely to succeed."
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2014) — As the last point of contact in the process of purchasing a car at the Lexus Store of Lexington, business manager Tonja King works with customers on financing options.
Before all the paperwork is complete, King offers customers the chance to drive away with another brand new car through Lexus for the Little Ones, a car raffle sponsored by her employer that raises funds for Kentucky Children's Hospital (KCH). For King, a mother whose 1-year-old daughter underwent surgery at KCH in 2006, selling the raffle tickets is a way of giving back to the nurses, doctors and staff who treated her daughter with care and compassion during a stressful time.
In 2005, King's daughter Sydney was born with a lesion the size of a quarter on the back of her head. The lesion was an accumulation of skin cells and glands that had formed while Sydney was developing in the womb. King's Lexington pediatrician recommended pediatric surgeon Dr. Henry Vasconez at KCH perform a surgery to remove the lesion, which would reduce the risk of cancer and correct a cosmetic problem that prohibited hair growth in the area.
At the age of 1, Sydney was admitted to KCH for the surgery. King recalls the nurses keeping Sydney distracted from the surgery by pushing her around in a little racecar.
"She spent enough time with them that she thought they were the greatest and funniest things ever," King said of the KCH nursing staff.
King recalls her daughter, who was attached to her mother, trusting the nurses as the elevator doors closed on the way down to surgery. For King, it was an emotional time made easier on her family by a caring group of nurses. Now, at age 10, Sydney wears a ponytail in the spot of the lesion.
One raffle ticket holder will win a brand new 2014 Lexus ES 350 from The Lexus Store of Lexington. But every raffle ticket purchased for Lexus for the Little Ones contributes to improving facilities for children receiving treatment at KCH.
Owners of The Lexus Store of Lexington hope to raise more than $300,000 for hospital renovations in the next few years through Lexus for the Little Ones. In its inaugural year, the raffle raised $100,000 for KCH, which prompted The Lexus Store of Lexington to sponsor the new Ocean Pod, a section of aquatic-themed patient rooms that is currently under renovation.
“Giving back to the community has always been an important part of our business, and who better to support than KCH, the pediatric care center that takes care of Kentucky’s kids,” said Lexington businessman Rick Avare, co-owner of The Lexus Store of Lexington.
Raffle tickets are $100 each and can be purchased online at www.givetokch.org/lexus, in person by visiting the Lexus dealership on 1264 E. New Circle Road, or by contacting the KCH Development office at (859) 257-1179. There is no limit on the number of tickets purchased, and ticket holders do not have to be present to win. The drawing will be held at 1 p.m. in Pavilion A of the UK Chandler Hospital on Nov. 20.
“Community partners like The Lexus Store of Lexington support KCH in its commitment to providing top-notch facilities for our patients,” Dr. Carmel Wallace, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at KCH, said. “Thanks to the fundraising success of Lexus for the Little Ones, we are in the process of upgrading patient rooms. We are grateful for The Lexus Store’s efforts, and to everyone who buys a tickets to benefit Kentucky’s kids.”
The KCH Development Office welcomes groups or individuals who would like to sell raffle tickets to family, friends and colleagues. If your group is interested, please contact Chloe Hurley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 16, 2014) — Children will dive into classic storybooks like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Charlotte’s Web during A Cat’s Tale Storybook Festival on Oct. 17 and 18 at the University of Kentucky Arboretum.
As they walk around the scenic Arboretum, children will engage in fun games, arts and crafts, and other activities at storybook-themed stations. During the first annual festival, children can also listen to a storyteller and have their books signed by local children’s authors. Many books will be available for purchase during the festival. Children are invited to come out in costume and collect free treats during the festival.
A Cat’s Tale will be open to the public from 2 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 17. On Oct. 18, the festival is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $5 per child, and children younger than 2 are free.
All proceeds from the event will support Child Advocacy Today, an alliance of medical and legal professionals who work to improve child welfare in Kentucky by addressing the social and environment determinants of health. The organization, which partners with Kentucky Children’s Hospital, provides assistance to income-eligible families confronted with issues affecting the health of children.
For more information about A Cat’s Tale, visit www.childadvocacytoday.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2014) – UK HealthCare will host a special symposium to mark a major anniversary: 50 years of transplantation on Friday, Oct. 24,
The UK Transplant Center is celebrating its five decades of transplant innovation, expertise and patient-centered compassionate care at UK with presentations by some of the top transplant specialist in the country.
The following featured speakers will give presentations:
Presenters will be joined by speakers from the UK medical staff including Dr. Roberto Gedaly, chief of abdominal transplant surgery; Dr. Charles Hoopes, director of the Transplant Center; and Dr. Jay Zwischenberger, chair of the Department of Surgery.
The symposium begins at 7:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast and concludes at noon. All remarks will be held in the Pavilion A auditorium of UK Chandler Hospital.
This event is free, but registration is required. To register, please contact Debbie Cruse at email@example.com or call (859) 218-4021 for more information.
LEXINGTON, KY. (Oct.13, 2014) -- If you're a parent of a young child, the next time you and your child sit down to read a simple book like Goodnight Moon,or Pat the Bunny, consider the value you are adding to your child's life.
Reading to young children helps improve school performance in both reading and math. According to the National Education Association, young children who are read to frequently are more likely than their peers to count to 20, write their own names and actually read. Studies show that children who read for fun perform better in school and achieve higher reading scores. Literacy is also linked to financial and professional success later in life.
However, many American children aren't getting early exposure to reading. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that only 53 percent of children ages 3 to 5 are read to daily by a family member. Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are even less likely to be read to every day.
Illiteracy hinders productivity and health in adulthood. One study from the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that low literacy skills are associated with poor physical and mental health in adults. According to a survey from the U.S. Department of Education, 14 percent of American adults cannot read and 21 percent of American adults read below the fifth grade reading level. Even more startling, 19 percent of high school graduates cannot read.
As a pediatrician at Kentucky Children's Hospital, I am especially interested in the link between poor health outcomes and low reading levels. A child's brain goes through its most critical period of development and growth during the first five years of life. Pediatricians are now championing early reading because we know it impacts social and language skills. Providers at UK HealthCare and across Kentucky are handing out books to children ages 6 months to 5 years old at their Well Child Visits through the Reach Out and Read program.
Still, parents and caregivers have the most influence on a child when it comes to early reading. Parents should encourage daily reading time and make it a fun activity. Talk about pictures and let your child turn the pages of a book. Choose books about things your child can relate to, like visiting the doctor, petting a puppy or going to preschool. Ask your child questions about the story.
Parents and children are invited to A Cat's Tale Storybook Festival at the University of Kentucky Arboretum from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 17 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 18. Children will engage in storybook-themed activities as well as book signings from local children's authors. The cost is $5 per child and all proceeds support child advocacy and justice efforts. For more information, visit www.childadvocacytoday.org.
For more tips, visit www.reachoutandread.org.
Dr. Kimberly Northrip is a pediatrician at Kentucky Children's Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Kentucky.
This column appeared in the Oct. 12, 2014, edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 2, 2014) — After Cony Puac delivered her daughter Evany, birthing attendants placed the newborn in her arms and cleared the room.
Born in a remote Guatemalan village surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes, even in the first moments of life, children born with facial clefts are ostracized from society. Evany was diagnosed with a severe midline cleft palate by an orthodontist in her community. An opening at the center of her face spanned from her bottom lip to the space between her eyes. On either side of the opening, her eyes were separated by 38 centimeters — 20 centimeters wider than that of an average child's. Evany's nostrils were pushed to the left side of her face in cluster of tissue. At the crown of her head, Evany suffered from several holes in the cranium bone beneath the skin.
Evany also lacked an upper lip, which she needed to receive nourishment early in life through breastfeeding. In order to feed Evany, her parents obtained special bottles designed for children with severe cleft palates from a charity called Evelyn's Baskets of Love and Life. Adapting to her condition, Evany learned to feed herself without a palate by mashing solid foods with her fist and the inside of her mouth. As she continued to grow in her first year, the facial cleft impeded Evany's speech development. Only able to form sounds in the back of her throat, she replaced the word "Papa" with the sound of "a-a."
University of Kentucky pediatric reconstructive plastic surgeon Dr. James Liau said children born with craniofacial cleft palates in countries with limited medical resources are deprived of the chance to live a normal life. Facial clefts and cleft palates are widely misunderstood abnormalities that affect babies across countries and cultures, although environmental conditions and hereditary factors could contribute to the condition. At the University of Kentucky, Liau helps counsel families that have severe facial clefts while babies are still in the womb, and he intervenes as soon as possible after birth. In Guatemala, most rural populations don't have access to surgical experts who can correct these facial abnormalities in children.
"I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to do what I can do," Liau said. "In Guatemala, that's it. Your child dies, or you try to find someone overseas that can help you. It's sad, but it's an unfortunate fact of life."
Liau travels to Guatemala once a year with the Children of the Americas, a nonprofit dedicated to providing medical and surgical services to women and children in rural Guatemala. Liau packs a small surgical kit to perform cleft lip and palate surgeries during his volunteer trips in conjunction with other medical professionals. When he encountered Evany and her family during a trip in January 2014, he knew that correcting Evany's condition would require a major procedure that couldn't safely be performed in Guatemala.
"Her case was pretty severe and pretty dramatic," Liau said of Evany's facial cleft. "It's probably one of the most exotic facial clefts that you'll ever see."
Working with a national network of doctors and volunteers, Children of the Americas, arranged for Evany and her mother to travel to the UK Chandler Hospital for the first, and the most intensive, of three reconstructive surgeries. Evany's craniofacial surgery involved a team of UK HealthCare specialists representing the divisions of anesthesiology, pediatric neurosurgery and pediatric plastic surgery.
Cony Puac and 18-month-old Evany arrived in Kentucky on May 12 and visited the UK Chandler Hospital for a pre-surgery cat scan on May 23. While in the waiting room, the new walker clanged a tambourine and grinned while playing games, oblivious to the impending surgery. Puac, 19, quietly sat with translator Jennifer Christmann, who is also interim director of facilties planning and development at UK HealthCare and volunteers with Children of the Americas.
Puac traveled away from her husband and 3-year-old son in Guatemala to accompany Evany through the surgery. A volunteer family based in New Albany, Indiana, hosted the Guatemalan mother and daughter for several weeks before and after the surgery. While Puac's host family treated her to shoe shopping and Culver's cheeseburgers, she said she missed her home and family.
"She knows she is here for a purpose," Christmann said.
On May 30, Evany underwent a cranial vault reconstruction at the UK Chandler Hospital to bring the orbits of her eyes closer together. Liau worked with UK HealthCare pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Thomas Pittman to correct Evany's cranial bone structure, laying the groundwork for future soft tissue surgeries. During the surgery, Liau and the plastic surgery team removed a part of her skull, and then united the facial bones at the location where they plan to reconstruct Evany's nose. Evany was held in the pediatric intensive care unit for a few days as part of post-operative protocol.
Walking with more confidence in an examination room two weeks after surgery, Evany recovered with her same playful and sweet spirit as before, which Liau said was a good sign. Her hair would eventually cover a scar left from a line of stitches marking the incision made at the crown of her head. With the adjustments to the orbits of her eyes, Evany was now seeing straight ahead. She inspected Liau as he held her in his lap, speaking in Spanish and calling her "sweet pea." Mom, Cony Puac, was overwhelmed with gratitude to Liau and the surgical team.
"It’s a big change, and I am very happy that she’s changed." Puac said of her daughter through a translator. "I am very happy (Liau) did such a good job. I am very appreciative and very thankful to him."
Liau said moving the cranial and facial bones into place was the hardest step in Evany's journey. The next two surgeries, which will be performed by Liau in Guatemala, will involve reconstructing the soft tissue features of Evany's face. Liau will use existing tissue to construct Evany's nose and upper lip during the second surgery in January. He will return the following year to perform a procedure that will rebuild the palate. Through the course of two years and three surgeries, Liau hopes to achieve the closest semblance to "normal" for Evany. He believes all children deserve a chance to live a normal life.
"A cleft palate should not keep you from having a healthy, normal, productive life," Liau said. "We are at a stage in cleft care when you should just continue on with what you're supposed to be doing, which is to be happy and have a family and have a life. The ability to do that either here in Kentucky or overseas is something I'm really happy to have."
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 24, 2014) — There is a phone call Point of Care Ultrasound Director and Assistant Emergency Medicine Program Director Dr. Matthew Dawson will never forget.
While he was a medical resident in Utah, his father Stewart Dawson, then the chaplain for the Lexington Fire Department, called to ask him about a bispectral index monitor – more commonly called a BIS monitor.
His father had helped to organize Lexington’s “Race to Remember” as a tribute to those lost in the Sept. 11 attacks. The money raised in the event would go to meet the needs of Kentucky Children's Hospital (KCH), and that monitor was on their wish list.
The firefighters ended up donating money to go toward the monitors, which help anesthetists and caregivers measure an indication of patients' consciousness while under anesthesia. UKNow reported on the donations back in 2010.
Dr. Dawson hadn’t heard of the piece of equipment and says he really didn’t give the conversation any more thought.
Fast forward a couple of years later, when Matthew Dawson, and his wife, Dr. Kristin Dawson, and their two children are living in Lexington.
When their daughter Avery was an infant, she suddenly became very ill and was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at KCH.
“She was ventilated for six days before we knew exactly what was wrong with her,” said Kristin Dawson, who most recently completed her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at UK. “It was an incredibly scary and difficult time for our family.”
As little Avery fought an eventual diagnosis of infant botulism, the staff at KCH utilized a piece of equipment that Matthew Dawson had never seen before. But he immediately recalled hearing about it.
“I remembered that conversation with my father, and I never thought I would hear about it again, until the day they brought it into Avery’s room,” Matthew Dawson said.
The BIS monitor, that same piece of equipment his own father had been so interested in, was now being used to treat the Dawsons' daughter.
Watch the video above to discover how an act of philanthropy spearheaded by a grandfather would end up directly helping his own granddaughter at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
The Lexington Fire Department still holds the race each September in its efforts to give back to children being treated at KCH.
For more information on the race and its history of giving back, visit:
For more information about giving to Kentucky Children’s Hospital, visit: http://www.givetokch.org/home/.
This video feature is a “Big Blue Family” follow up to a story UKNow first published in May about the Dawsons, who you may remember are a couple who met at the William T. Young Library and married while attending the UK College of Medicine.
This story is part of a special new series (see video below) produced by UKNow focusing on families who help make up the University of Kentucky community. There are many couples, brothers and sisters, mothers and sons and fathers and daughters who serve at UK in various fields. The idea is to show how UK is part of so many families’ lives and how so many families are focused on helping the university succeed each and everyday.
Since the "Big Blue Family" series is a monthly feature on UKNow, we invite you to submit future ideas. If you know of a family who you think should be featured, please email us. Who knows? We might just choose your suggestion for our next feature!
VIDEO CONTACTS: Amy Jones,-Timoney, 859-257-1754 firstname.lastname@example.org OR Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2014) — Every year, car crashes are a major cause of death for Kentucky children of all ages and the leading cause of death in children older than 4. So far this year, 13 Kentucky children younger than 16 have died in crashes, and at least 17 in this age group died in 2013. Booster seats and car seats are the most effective tools for protecting children from injury and death during a crash.
During National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 14-20, pediatric experts at UK HealthCare are driving home the message about the importance of buckling children into age-appropriate safety seats. While car seats and boosters have helped reduce the rate of child deaths during the past decade, pediatrician Dr. Susan Pollack said many more deaths and injuries could be prevented if caregivers take the time to secure their young passengers correctly on every ride.
"We know that many children are saved every year, even in serious crashes, by being properly restrained and protected," Susan Pollack, who is also the director of pediatric and adolescent injury prevention at the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, a joint effort of UK and the Kentucky Department for Public Health. "The knowledge and the equipment exists to save almost all the children who die in crashes, but only with the help of parents, guardians and other caregivers can we really make this happen."
Children ages 2 to 6 in a car seat are 28 percent less likely to be killed in a motor vehicle crash than if they were only wearing an adult seat belt. Children ages 4 to 7 are 59 percent less likely to be injured in a crash if they are in a belt-positioning booster seat rather than just a seatbelt.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommend rear-facing travel for passengers younger than the age of 2. After 2, a child will be best protected in a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness. When a child outgrows a car seat, a booster seat is the next step. Booster seats simply boost a child to the height at which an adult seat belt will fit properly. Booster seats must be used with lap-shoulder belts, not with lap belts alone. Putting a shoulder belt behind the arm or back creates a lap-only belt, leaving the wearer with no upper body protection. Head and spinal cord injuries can result in an accident, leading to paralysis or death.
New AAP recommendations caution parents for best safety to stay at each stage until a child’s growth makes a move to the next step necessary. Kentucky law currently requires booster seats for children up to age 7 and between 40-50 inches in height (3-foot 4-inches to 4-foot 2-inches), but the national standard for safety requires booster seat use until a child reaches 4-foot 9-inches, which usually occurs between ages 8 and 12. Every state surrounding Kentucky requires that a booster seat be used until age 8 or 4-foot 9-inches. After graduating from a booster seat, using seat belts properly on every ride is the best protection for children and teens.
"Many of our teen traffic deaths could be prevented by the use of seat belts," Pollack said. "Together, we can make a difference for the safety of our children."
UK HealthCare pediatric professionals will be involved this week at two community car seat checks. Dr. Pollack will assist Bracken and Lewis County health departments with a free car seat check at the Lewis County Health Department on Thursday, Sept. 18, from 3 to 6 p.m. She serves as coordinator for Kentucky State Safe Kids, a program supported by the Department for Public Health/Division of Maternal and Child Health through its Injury Center contract to assist local health departments in their injury prevention efforts.
Fayette County Safe Kids, coordinated by Sherri Hannan and supported by Kentucky Children's Hospital, will hold a car seat check at Buy Buy Baby at Hamburg on Monday, Sept. 15, from 1 to 3 p.m. Pollack and Hannan work together to educate the public about child passenger safety.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 3, 2014) — Experts from the University of Kentucky Center on Children and Trauma are transforming the way judges, social workers, attorneys and other officials around the state handle cases involving children exposed to trauma and violence.
The center will host 20 trauma-informed care training sessions for interdisciplinary groups of professionals, including judicial, legal, administrative and child advocacy workers. The trauma-informed care curriculum addresses how violence impacts a child's brain, opportunities for professional intervention, integration of the trauma-care framework in the judicial system and making recommendations based on a child's trauma history.
The center received a $230,000 grant from the Children's Justice Act to disseminate this valuable training to professionals who provide a variety of services to children and families exposed to trauma.
The Children’s Justice Act Taskforce, chaired by attorney Perry Arnold, oversees the project.
The statewide series kicks off with the first training on Sept. 3 at General Butler State Park in Carrollton, Kentucky. The training will instruct 80 professionals from Trimble, Shelby, Oldham and surrounding counties to apply the trauma-informed care principles to their roles working with children.
Trainings will be assigned to clusters of counties around the state for the next two years and are open to any professional working with maltreated children. Organizers said the program will reach more than 1,000 child service professionals in Kentucky by the end of 2015. Trainings will be led by UK child trauma specialists and include case analyses and a participant evaluation.
Based on a Centers for Disease Control study, an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE), or instance of neglect, abuse or maltreatment, correlates with a multitude of psychology, behavioral and health problems later in life. Ginny Sprang, principal investigator on the grant and executive director of the Center on Trauma and Children, said many judicial, legislative and administrative professionals don't understand the impact of a traumatic experience on a child's life. Trauma-informed care is necessary because traditional service approaches can exacerbate the traumatic experience in a child's memory, causing further harm. Applying the trauma framework to cases will improve the level of care for children around the state.
"Children and adults who have dealt with abuse begin to frame their lives around avoiding memories of the event," Sprang said. "Their lives become consumed with managing the way they feel. Until you understand that, it's hard to make decisions if you are a judge or a child abuse professional."
Sprang said the training will show professionals how violence or maltreatment can alter the course of a child's life. In Kentucky, reports of child abuse have risen by more than 25,000 in the past five years. According to a report from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, in fiscal year 2013, more than 17,800 children were victims of abuse or neglect. Many open cases of abuse affect children living below the poverty line and with an adult family member with a history of abuse or trauma.
"Right now, the way the system looks at kids who are involved in everything from child protection services to juvenile justice is, 'What is wrong with this kid?'" Sprang said. "We are trying to shift perspectives. Instead of people saying, 'What is wrong with you?' we want people to say, what has happened to you?"
The UK Center on Children and Trauma is dedicated to the enhancement of the health and well-being of children and their families through research, service and the dissemination of information.
For more information about the training, visit www.uky.edu/CTAC.
Kentucky Children's Hospital | Driving Directions >UK Albert B. Chandler HospitalPavilion H, Fourth Floor800 Rose St.Lexington KY 40536Phone: 859-323-5000
Kentucky Clinic | Driving Directions >Second Floor740 S. LimestoneLexington KY 40536Phone: 859-323-5625
Twilight Clinic (after-hours clinic) | Driving Directions >Kentucky ClinicSecond Floor, Wing D740 S. LimestoneLexington KY 40536-0284Phone: 859-257-6730Hours: Mon - Fri, 5:00-9:00 p.m., weekends and holidays, noon-5 p.m.
UK Pediatrics @ MaxwellUK Good Samaritan Hospital Professional Arts Center | Driving Directions >135 E. Maxwell St., Suite 200 Lexington KY 40508
To protect the health of the babies we serve this flu season, UK HealthCare has made temporary changes to Neonatal ICU visitation policies. Read more »
Para proteger la salud, de los bebés que cuidamos, durante la temporada de influenza, UK HealthCare ha hecho cambios temporales a los reglamentos de visitas en “NICU.” Más »
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