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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 email@example.com OR Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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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.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 21, 2014) — Two Kentucky Children's Hospital critical care doctors are contributing a series of expert articles addressing best practices for transporting pediatric patients to an international trade publication.
Pediatric critical care specialists Dr. Scottie Day and Dr. Asha Shenoi recently published their first article titled, Pediatric Airways: Children are Not Small Adults, in AirRescue Magazine, a publication that contains relevant information for emergency air rescue and air ambulance professionals. In the first of three articles, Day and Shenoi identified the anatomical and physiological differences in child and adult airways, and advised colleagues on how to manage pediatric airways during air transport. Although pediatric emergencies are not as common as adult emergencies, many critical care providers aren't aware of age-specific considerations for administering emergency care to a child.
"A lot of people assume pediatric patients are small adults, and that's wrong," said Day, who serves as the director of pediatric critical care and director of the pediatric/neonatal transport team known as Kentucky Kids Crew at Kentucky Children's Hospital. Co-author Shenoi is an assistant professor of pediatric critical care at UK and a national leader in pediatric critical care education.
Day was approached by magazine editors after speaking on the topic at the 2013 Air Medical Transport Conference. The publication is dispersed to air rescue professionals as well as policy makers around the world and covers areas including medical care, air transport technologies and maintenance, and transport policies. Day and Shenoi are pediatric consultants to the magazine.
"It's great for not only our division, but for Kentucky Childrens Hospital," Day said. "We're shaping the context by which air medical professionals are trained to take care of critically ill children all over the world. It's fun and an honor to do — you know you are teaching skills to possibly save a child’s life.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 23, 2014) — University of Kentucky medical residents, fellows and faculty members packed into a classroom next to the medical center library on July 16 to practice fundamental newborn resuscitation maneuvers on baby mannequins.
The Helping Babies Breathe training didn't teach these pediatric professionals anything new — they were all familiar with the process of drying, suctioning and ventilating a newborn with breathing problems. The purpose of the session was to take doctors through a step-by-step curriculum so they could become effective teachers of life-saving newborn resuscitation skills.
With these afterhours training sessions, the number of health professionals trained through the Helping Babies Breathe program is growing exponentially at University of Kentucky. Residents on the UK Global Health Track are sharing the curriculum with fellow residents, faculty pediatricians and nurses who volunteer as health professionals in developing countries where medical resources are limited. The Helping Babies Breathe curriculum, an initiative of the American Academy of Pediatrics, emphasizes a basic skill set that includes temperature support, breathing stimulation and assisted ventilation as needed during the critical "golden minute," the one-minute period immediately after birth.
After an initial group of residents received Helping Babies Breathe training at the University of Cincinnati in January, residents brought the curriculum back to UK. While medical professionals who complete the training do not receive an official certificate, they are listed as instructors on the Helping Babies Breathe website and encouraged to pass their training on to others in their profession. A group of residents and two faculty members received the peer-administered training at UK before traveling to Ecuador in May through UK Shoulder to Shoulder Global, a medical brigade that seeks opportunities to improve health of underserved communities around the world. There, the team used their training at a UK-supported health clinic to teach birthing attendants necessary measures to ensure babies are breathing at birth. A total of 36 residents, nurses and faculty members at UK have received the training to date.
Dr. Thomas Young, a professor of pediatrics at UK, helps coordinate international service trips for residents and faculty. A group of faculty and residents will hold training sessions in Ecuador next month and two medical residents are taking the curriculum to Zambia in January 2015. He said UK residents have joined a movement to spread a life-saving skill set across the world, and are enhancing their own medical expertise while doing it.
"This was a really exciting concept in getting our learners involved in teaching others," Young said. "The ultimate goal is to reach all those who deliver babies. There are a lot of parts in the world that don't have hospitals, and a lot of hospitals do not have skill set to do basic resuscitation."
Rachel Thomas, a third-year resident on the Global Health Track who conducted a training in Ecuador, said many of the birthing attendants were excited to learn new skills through the curriculum. She worked with a nurse who served as the only birthing attendant for an entire village. Even with her experience position, the nurse struggled to place a ventilation mask on the mannequin baby during the training.
"It was interesting to see she was the only nurse in the town, and she couldn’t do a simple task like that," Thomas said. "After working with her, she did well and she was so excited."
Joelle Paulozzi, the chief resident at UK, was also involved in the training of 24 birthing attendants in Ecuador. She said while most births go well, the residents are helping with the one case out of 10 when the baby experiences breathing complications. Paulozzi said spreading knowledge and watching trainees master important skills was a rewarding experience.
"Things like this build your confidence and make you feel better about what you do every day," she said.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, 859-323-2394; email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2014) — An array of motorized eye candy will be on display for automotive lifestyle enthusiasts this weekend during the 10th anniversary of the Keeneland Concours d'Elegance, an annual fundraiser for Kentucky Children's Hospital.
Located at Keeneland race course, the event will showcase about 130 immortalized vintage models, flashy foreign racers, rare collector's cars and other legendary motorized vehicles, including trucks, mini cars and motorcycles. In addition to the Concours d'Elegance competition on July 19, the four-day event schedule includes a bourbon tour, a hangar bash, a silent auction and a Tour d'Elegance across the Bluegrass.
On July 19, automobiles will be judged for historical accuracy, presentation and cleanliness during the Concours d'Elegance. To celebrate its 10th year running, this year the Concours will feature the Winners' Circle Reunion, a display of winning vehicles from the past 10 years. Iconic makes like Maserati, Duesenberg, Stutz, Maxwell, Pierce-Arrow, Porsche, Lincoln, and Ferrari will be on exhibit. At a special exhibit, visitors can meet with Margaret Dunning, whose 1930 Packard 740 was the first car to win 100 points in the Classic Car Club of America.
"We have an exquisite collection of automobiles that span from the earliest years of the motorcar to future classics," Connie Jones, co-chairman of the event, said. "And every aspect of this event raises funds to help the patients at Kentucky Children's Hospital. It's our mission — and our passion — to help improve health care for Kentucky's children."
Since its debut in 2004, the event has raised $625,000 for Kentucky Children's Hospital. Judging begins and doors open to the public at 9 a.m. July 19. Admission for adults at the gate is $20 and free for children ages 12 and younger. For more information about the event, visit www.keenelandconcours.com.
Video Produced by UK Public Relations & Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 11, 2014) — Named one of TIME magazine's top-10 heroic animals in history, the therapy horse Magic visited the Kentucky Children's Hospital for the first time Thursday, July 10. In the video above, Jorge Garcia-Bengochea, executive director of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses, explains why Magic is such a special horse.
VIDEO CONTACT: Amy Jones-Timoney, 859-257-2940, firstname.lastname@example.org
This column first appeared in the June 29 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 2, 2014) -- The Fourth of July is a time for fireworks, festivals and fun - but the holiday also marks the most fatal day of the year for teen drivers. The National Safety Council identifies the 100-day period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the most deadly time of year for teen drivers. Nearly 1,000 fatalities occurred on the roadways during this time period in 2012, and more than half of those killed were teens.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for all teens, and Kentucky has one of the nation's highest rates of teen crashes. Teens constitute 6 percent of Kentucky drivers but are involved in more than 20 percent of traffic crashes and 18 percent of fatal crashes. Kentucky's Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) law helps make sure a new driver teen comes home safe and alive. But parents and guardians are the most important link making sure this happens.
1. There is no substitute for driving experience. Inexperience is a major crash risk for all teens, even responsible drivers. Long before a teen drives, they need adult role models who don't speed, wear seatbelts and anticipate moves of other cars. A new driver with a permit should spend at least 50 hours driving with an adult in the passenger's seat in a variety of conditions - on country roads and major highways, in clear and stormy weather, in rain and snow, in daytime and in darkness.
2. Wear your seat belt. More than half of teens killed in car crashes were not wearing theirs.
3. No teen passengers for new drivers. Teens who carry a single teen passenger are 44 percent more likely to be involved in a crash, and the risk increases exponentially for every extra passenger added. Passengers can be as distracting as electronics. Kentucky legally permits family passengers, but being a family member doesn’t reduce the risk.
4. Limit night driving. Crash risk increases after 9 p.m.
5. Ban distractions while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 18 percent of fatal crashes were caused by driver distraction in 2010. Prohibit cellphone use (for calling or texting) while a teen is driving.
6. No tired or hurried driving. Today, teens are busy with school, sports, jobs and social activities. Discourage driving when teens are rushed or running late. Offer them a ride.
6. Set teens up for success. If you give your teen driver an old clunker, be sure the tires, wipers, brakes and headlights are in good condition. It's not realistic to give teens a fast sports car and expect them not to use its speed. Less speedy cars are safer, especially on Kentucky's unforgiving rural roads.
Dr. Susan Pollack is the director of pediatric and adolescent injury prevention at the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center and a pediatrician at Kentucky Children's Hospital.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 1, 2014) – UK HealthCare has been recognized by America’s Essential Hospitals for a patient safety initiative that has resulted in a significant decrease in mortality at the hospital compared with the general population.
America's Essential Hospitals, a national organization representing hospitals committed to high-quality care for all people, including the vulnerable, awarded UK HealthCare a 2014 Gage Award honorable mention for improving quality. The association made the award June 26, at its annual conference, in San Antonio.
“UK HealthCare’s patient safety initiative stands out among the innovative approaches our hospitals take to avoid harm and improve the quality of care,” said America’s Essential Hospitals President and CEO Dr. Bruce Siegel.
The Gage Awards, named after association founder Larry Gage, honor and share successful and creative programs that improve patient care and meet community needs. The Gage Award for improving quality recognizes activities that improve the quality of care delivered, or reduce or eliminate harmful events to individual patients or groups of patients.
"UK HealthCare is continuously working to improve, driven by our high standards and our commitment to serve the people of the Commonwealth and beyond and the Gage Award represents national recognition of this work," said UK HealthCare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bernard Boulanger. "It is recognition of our team’s relentless, rigorous approach to improving patient care, in a manner that directly benefits our patients"
UK HealthCare received the award for the development of an internal process called SWARMING to help the hospital improve overall patient safety. A SWARM is initiated shortly after the occurrence of an adverse incident or undesirable event, and the people directly involved are empowered to "stop the line" when they observe a problem. Since instituting SWARMs in 2009, the hospital has experienced an overall reduction in the observed to expected mortality ratio from 1.5 to 0.7, as reported in December 2013.
"The SWARM process has been a remarkable and successful team effort throughout the UK HealthCare enterprise and everyone should be commended for their role in what has become one of our best tools in improving patient safety," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "This award is another example of our commitment to excellence in patient care and patient safety and in keeping our promise to Kentuckians that they can get the very best care right here regardless of the complexity or care needed."
MEDIA CONTACT: Kristi Lopez, email@example.com, 859-806-0445
Lexington, June, 20, 2014 -- Keeneland Concours d’Elegance will host a Maserati Mingle
5:30 p.m.- 9.p.m., June 20, 2014, at the Court House Square, 120 and 150 N. Limestone, in Lexington.
Sponsored by Maserati of Cincinnati, event admission is free to the public and will feature a variety of exotic automobiles, including vintage models from Maserati, Ferrari, and Porsche. Food and beverages will be available on site and there will be a featured display of artwork from invited Concours artists.
“This will be a fun, memorable event with well over 50 classic cars on display at downtown Lexington’s Court House Square,” said Connie Jones, Concours co-chair. “It serves as a warm-up for the upcoming Keeneland Concours d’Elegance, July 17-20, and all proceeds will benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital. This is the 10th anniversary Keeneland Concours d'Elegance and this year we have invited back previous winning cars for a Winners Circle Reunion, on Saturday, July 19.”
Supporting sponsors for the Maserati Mingle event include the UK Federal Credit Union, WEKU, and Harp Enterprises.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance showcases the
finest in automobiles and the attractions of central Kentucky as each year more than 100 exquisite examples of automotive history gather on the lust grounds of the Keeneland Race Course. The event draws thousands for this one-of-a-kind experience unmatched in the collector car community. Activities include a Bourbon Tour, Hangar Bash and the Tour d’Elegance of scenic Kentucky back roads. Proceeds benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital to help bring better healthcare to the children of Kentucky. For more information, visit www.keenelandconcours.com
PERRYVILLE, Ky. (June 17, 2014) -- Children from the Kentucky Children's Hospital High BMI Diagnostic Clinic were too busy swimming, shooting hoops, paddling and grilling out last week to miss playing video games.
But the group of obese and overweight patients didn't weigh in or count calories as part of their camp experience either. According to Dr. Aurelia Radulescu, the clinic's retreat to Camp Horsin’ Around in Perryville wasn't necessarily about weight - it was about healthy living.
"The idea was for the kids to have fun while learning to make healthy choices," said Radulescu, a pediatrician in the clinic.
About 25 children who receive treatment at the clinic traveled to the camp from June 11-13 for three consecutive days of fun physical activity and nutrition education. The free camp included swimming, a climbing wall, zumba classes, fishing, paddle boating, nature walks and more.
In addition to games and activities, the camp featured special presentations on eating well from UK dietetics students and a UK cooperative extension agent. Children learned how to create an "edible rainbow" on their plate and sampled foods that are both healthy and delicious. They also learned how to flavor their water with fresh fruit.
"For some of those kids, it was the first time they tried new foods like whole wheat bread, pita pockets, snap peas or chia pudding," Radulescu said. "And they realized that healthy food can be tasty."
Radulescu encouraged children to share healthy living tips with friends and members of their families. She hopes lessons learned at camp will become healthy habits at home.
The Kentucky Children's Hospital High BMI Diagnostic Clinic treats children ages 2 to 18 whose BMI, or body mass index, is above the 85th percentile for their age and gender. The camp was funded by a donation from the Calipari Foundation. Students from UK College of Medicine also volunteered their time as instructors for the camp.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 13, 2014) -- Classical music streaming through the UK Chandler Hospital drew awe-inspired patients, visitors and hospital workers to a Yamaha piano in the Pavilion A lobby.
With his fingers sputtering across the black and white keys, the young performer soothed the hospital atmosphere with the melodies of Mozart and familiar tunes from the musical Phantom of the Opera. The 18-year-old has never had a piano lesson in his life. And, without sheet music as a guide, he relies on memorization to play complex pieces of composition.
Self-taught pianist Kennedy Wickers returned to Kentucky Children's Hospital May 29 to give a special reunion performance for the doctor who cared for him in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). When Kennedy was born 26 weeks premature in October of 1995, he was given a 50 percent chance of survival. He suffered from severe bleeding in his brain and other complications at birth, including a heart condition called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Because of the high-grade bleeding in his brain, UK pediatrician Dr. Nirmala Desai told Kennedy's family that he might never walk, talk or develop normally.
After a lunch hour performance in Pavilion A, mother Heather Wickers, grandmother Rachelle Chattin and now 6-foot-tall Kennedy, reunited with Desai. Heather Wickers, who wiped away tears after embracing Desai, recalled the moment the UK pediatrician entered her hospital room 18 years ago. She said Desai held her hand while she explained Kennedy's condition.
"(Dr. Desai) came in and told me he had the bleeds in his brain - a Grade 4 and Grade 3 - and I thought that meant he was going to be a vegetable," Wickers said. "And then she came up and grabbed my hand, and told me not to worry about it - that time was going to tell. I remember her calming me down."
After two months in the NICU, baby Kennedy went home to Frankfort with his family. A few weeks later, Kennedy endured another health scare when he was diagnosed with a life-threatening respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. He was sent back to the pediatric intensive care unit at UK for a second time. Heather Wickers remembers receiving a visit from a hospital chaplain during her second trip to UK. She said it was a miracle her son survived.
"There was a chapel lady who came in and prayed - and then in less than a week, he was going home," Wickers said. "I guess the prayer worked. I didn't know much about prayer, but I started liking it after that."
Moved to tears by Kennedy's soulful performance in Pavilion A, Desai said watching Kennedy play the piano was a gratifying experience that brought more meaning to her work in the NICU. While she couldn't have predicted that a baby born into the world with severe brain bleeding would develop a remarkable musical talent, she always hopes for the best outcome for her patients. She was also impressed with how tall Kennedy had grown - babies who have a complicated neonatal course often experience stunted growth.
"I am glad I didn't have a crystal ball, because I would have been wrong," Desai said of Kennedy. "It's sort of a validation of what you do. The way his music touched my heart gave me goose bumps."
Desai credits an involved family for providing a supportive home environment that gave Kennedy the best chances for cognitive and physical development. Kennedy's brain bleeds as a baby put him at high risk for cerebral palsy. Kennedy was diagnosed with the pediatric brain disorder colpocephaly at the age of 16, and although he struggles with academics, the condition hasn't interfered with his musical pursuits.
Heather Wickers said Kennedy's first exposure to classical music must have occurred in his first few hours of life - in an incubator at the neonatal intensive care unit at Kentucky Children's Hospital. At the time Kennedy was born, nurses played classical music in the NICU to help relax the babies.
From the time he could walk, Kennedy was dabbling in music and dancing to the rhythm of the dryer. He started playing with a small keyboard that he received as a gift when he was 10 years old. At age 15, Kennedy stunned his entire family by performing a song by pop band Coldplay during a home school talent show.
"I've always been drawn to it, and I can't help it," Kennedy said of music. "It's like food."
With no formal training, Kennedy has relied on the Internet and YouTube to teach himself how to play the keyboard. In addition to learning classical piano, Kennedy has taught himself to sing opera and popular musical numbers. An enthusiastic fan of the Mozart's temperate style and lesser known composers like Ysaÿe, Kennedy said he dreams of one day playing piano in a traveling orchestra. He also wants to learn how to play the violin. Kennedy graduated from his home school high school program on May 30.
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This column first appeared in the June 8 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2014) - Children who suffer from obesity carry a burden of premature death into adulthood. Obese children have more than double the risk of mortality in their 30s and 40s compared to children who begin life with a healthy body mass index (BMI).
In addition to being more likely to remain obese as adults, obese children are at a higher risk of developing a number of health conditions, including stroke, diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. Today, 30 percent of American children are overweight, 20 percent are considered obese and 5 percent are considered morbidly obese. Kentucky has one of the nation's highest rates of obesity. Because childhood obesity is a complex problem linked to diet, genetics and metabolism, researchers are interested in understanding how pediatric obesity impacts body systems long-term - and what pediatricians can do to intervene.
Our research team at the University of Kentucky has recently begun using advanced MRI technology to examine the cardiovascular ramifications of pediatric obesity. Our initial findings have shown that obese children have significant signs of heart disease, which include a thickening (or hypertrophy) of the muscle in the heart, large deposits of fat around the heart and impaired muscle contraction. The muscle contraction is required to efficiently eject blood from the heart, and both the impaired contraction and heart thickening are strongly linked to mortality in adults. These findings therefore suggest the association between pediatric obesity and premature mortality in adulthood, and further underscore the importance of finding ways to reverse this epidemic.
In order to better understand these changes in the hearts of obese children, our team has studied mouse models that become obese after being fed a high-fat diet. Our advanced MRI technology enables us to examine images of the live mouse heart without harming the animal. This is particularly challenging since the mouse heart beats 600 times per minute and is approximately the size of Lincoln’s forehead on a penny. However, this technology has demonstrated changes in the heart that correlate with the disease we have detected in the hearts of obese children: abnormal thickening, large deposits of fat around the heart and impaired contraction. These similarities between the obese child’s heart and the obese mouse’s heart will hopefully help us use mouse models to better understand the development and treatments for heart disease in obese children.
Our research provides evidence that obesity is causing heart disease in young children, and it likely continues into adulthood. These changes might be related to the premature death that obese children suffer from decades later. Ultimately, our research will address whether certain therapies, like targeted diet and exercise interventions, are helpful in reversing cardiovascular disease in obese children. Further research will be required to better understand the precise causes of this heart disease, whether it can be corrected, and whether treating it can prevent early mortality.
Dr. Brandon Fornwalt is an assistant professor and researcher in the Departments of Pediatrics, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Physiology and Cardiology at the University of Kentucky.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 29, 2014) — There are many families across campus, around the state and throughout the world that share deep University of Kentucky connections.
Point of Care Ultrasound Director and Assistant Emergency Medicine Program Director Dr. Matthew Dawson and his wife Dr. Kristin Dawson, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow, are no exception. The couple met at the William T. Young Library and married while attending the UK College of Medicine.
But their connections run deeper still. Watch the “Big Blue Family” video above to discover how their ties to UK were strengthened when their infant daughter Avery battled a sudden illness at Kentucky Children's Hospital and why they both have renewed motivation to serve their fellow Kentuckians.
This video feature is part of a special new series 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 now 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, 859-257-1754, ext. 257, firstname.lastname@example.org OR Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2014) -- Facebook users can help Kentucky Children's Hospital win as much as $20,000 through a social media contest honoring brave young patients from Children's Miracle Network hospitals around the nation.
Through the Battle of the Brave contest presented by the Children's Miracle Network, Speedway and Dr. Pepper/Snapple, voters can log onto Facebook to read the stories of courageous children and cast a for their favorite children's hospital or child. The hospital receiving the most votes at the end of the month of May will receive a $20,000 award. In addition, Speedway will contribute $10,000 to the runner-up hospital and Dr. Pepper/Snapple will contribute $5,000 to the third-place hospital.
Harry Hilton, who represents Kentucky Children's Hospital at UK HealthCare in the contest, was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder called Kawaski Disease at only 9 weeks old. Kawasaki Disease causes blood vessels throughout the body to become inflamed and impacts many organ systems, potentially causing a heart attack. Harry received a quick diagnosis and life-saving treatments correcting the "bubble" on his heart at Kentucky Children's Hospital. Harry's case was especially challenging as he relapsed twice after his initial treatments.
Today, Harry's heart has fully recovered, although he'll receive follow-up care for years to come. Harry is a kind and compassionate child who loves music and superheroes. He was honored as the Children's Miracle Network Champion last fall.
To cast a vote for Harry on Facebook, click here. Voters can vote once per day. Voting ends May 31.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
800-333-8874 (toll free)
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