Halloween safety

12 tips for a fun, safe Halloween

Twice as many children are killed or injured while walking on Halloween than on any other day of the year. But Halloween doesn’t have to be the scariest night of the year for parents, kids or drivers.

Here are Safe Kids Fayette County’s top tips to help make this year’s Halloween fun and safe.

For parents and kids:

1. Emphasize safe pedestrian behaviors to kids before they go trick-or-treating.
2. Cross the street safely at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Walk, don’t run, across the street.
3. Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct  routes with the fewest street crossings.
4. Slow down and stay alert. Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up, and never dart out into the street or cross between parked  cars.
5. Costumes can be both creative and safe. Decorate your children’s costumes with reflective materials and, if possible, choose light colors that can be seen in the dark. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, so choose nontoxic face paint, makeup and wigs instead.
6. Carry flashlights or glow sticks. These will help trick-or-treaters see and be seen by drivers.
7. While pedestrian safety is a main concern on Halloween, parents and kids should also be careful when dealing with candy. Remind children to only eat treats in original and unopened wrappers.

Top tips for Halloween safety

For drivers:

8. Slow down in residential neighborhoods and school zones.
9. Be sure to turn your full headlights on between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m., the most popular trick-or- treating hours.
10. Be especially alert and take extra time to look  for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
11. Slowly and carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
12. Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.


Next steps:

Carlee with Dr. Jessica Lee

Advanced medicine saved her life. This is how she said thank you.

Courtney Wilson’s life very nearly ended in 2013. She credits Dr. Jessica Lee and the stroke team at UK HealthCare with saving her.

The 30-year-old preschool teacher’s assistant from Russell County awoke one morning “feeling awful,” she said. She dropped her 2-year-old off at daycare and took her 5-year-old to school, then popped into the school nurse’s office for advice.

“All I could tell her was that I felt really bad and that my balance was off,” said Courtney.  “The nurse drove me to the Emergency Room right away.”

At Russell County Hospital, emergency room doctors examined her carefully but could find no other symptoms to explain Courtney’s troubles.  They consulted with Dr. Lee, director of UK HealthCare’s Stroke Center, who advised them to administer the clot-buster drug called TPA and send Courtney immediately to UK Chandler Hospital.

Lee and her team from UK’s Kentucky Neuroscience Institute were similarly confused by Courtney’s mysterious lack of neurological deficits.  But Comprehensive Stroke Centers like the one at UK HealthCare follow specific procedures when evaluating possible stroke patients. So, as part of UK’s routine screening process, Lee ordered a CT angiogram, which provides doctors with images of the vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain.

“When we pulled her scan up on the screen, it was shocking news,” Lee says. “We were stunned.”

Courtney had a thrombus — a blood clot — in what’s called “the artery of life.” This artery is the superhighway of arteries, serving areas of the brain that control heartbeat and breathing. Courtney was on the precipice of a massive stroke.

“I literally ran to her hospital room,” remembers Lee, “and sure enough, she was deteriorating before my eyes.  We absolutely scrambled from there.”

UK is fortunate to have a “dream team” trained to handle emergencies like this one.  Dr. Abdulnasser Alhajeri is an interventional neuroradiologist — one of only about 300 in the U.S. — and Dr. Justin Fraser is an endovascular neurosurgeon. Both doctors are able to navigate tools such as tiny catheters, wires and other devices through blood vessels to diagnose and treat illnesses of the spinal cord and brain — also known as the central nervous system. Because this requires only a tiny incision in the groin instead of the larger incision necessary for open surgery, hospital stays and recovery times are faster, complications are less likely, and patients can return home to their families more quickly.

But, in what Lee describes as “the perfect storm,” both Drs. Fraser and Alhajeri were in other operating rooms on separate cases.

Time for Plan B.

Lee assembled a second surgical team to perform the preliminary phases of the procedure. “I didn’t even wait for transport to come get Courtney,” says Lee.  “Our Stroke Unit senior staff and I took her to the surgical suite ourselves.”

Then, as if choreographed, Dr. Alhajeri stepped from one room to the next and began to work on Courtney. Using high-tech precision imaging to watch its progress, Alhajeri positioned the catheter in Courtney’s brain, attached a large syringe-like device and sucked the clot out, reopening the vessel in just 15 minutes. “It was like watching the pneumatic tube at the bank drive-in,” said Dr. Lee.  “Whoosh!  It was gone.”

“Courtney is a lucky young woman for many reasons,” says Alhajeri. “The doctor in the Russell County Hospital ER had the foresight to call our stroke team despite Courtney’s lack of major symptoms.  The TPA they gave her delayed her decline and bought us some time to perform the thrombectomy.”

“She is also fortunate that UK has the resources to treat her. The next closest center that might have been able to treat her was an additional 90 minutes away.  She didn’t have 90 minutes to spare.”

Since her illness has an 80-90 percent mortality rate, the mere fact that Courtney is alive today is a wonder.  But the best part?

“The very few who survive this devastating event typically are left with substantial impairments, such as vision problems, the inability to speak or swallow, or complete paralysis,” says Lee. “But Courtney’s only residual deficit is some double vision on her far left gaze. We’re truly thrilled with her outcome.”

After Courtney’s close call, the Wilsons brought son Jaylynn into their family through adoption.

And now, just three years later, Courtney has yet another reason to feel blessed. On Sept. 1 of this year, she gave birth to a baby girl, who came into the world measuring 6 pounds, 11 ounces and  19.5 inches long.

Her name? Carlee.

“We are forever grateful for Dr. Lee and her medical staff,” wrote Courtney and her husband, Paul. “We wanted to honor her by naming our daughter Carlee.”


Next steps:

On Nov. 5, video gamers of all levels and categories will unite to save the lives of children treated at KCH as part of the Extra Life Game Day fundraiser.

Support Kentucky Children’s Hospital on Extra Life Game Day

Local video gamers of all levels and categories — from consoles and mobile apps to PCs and tabletops — will unite on Nov. 5 to save and improve the lives of children treated at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

Extra Life, a Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) hospitals fundraising program, provides game lovers a fun way to support Kentucky Children’s Hospital, our local CMN Hospital.

Participants can sign up for the 24-hour gaming marathon and invite friends, family and fans to make a donation to Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The official Game Day is Nov. 5, but participants may complete their 24 hours of play whenever and however they like: all in one day or one hour a day for 24 days. Players may also participate solo or on teams.

Last year’s event raised $10,595 for the hospital and helped support sick and injured Kentucky kids and their families. Funds support patient services, music and art therapy, research, pediatric programs, and specialized equipment.

The virtual marathon is expected to involve 65,000 gamers fundraising for 170 CMN hospitals across North America. The 2015 event raised more than $1 million on Game Day, contributing to the year’s total of $8.3 million. Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $22 million for member hospitals. The secure donations fund the selected hospital’s greatest needs, often including pediatric medical equipment, research, therapy programs and charitable care.

Interested participants can register at Extra-Life.org, select Kentucky Children’s Hospital as their preferred CMN Hospital, set a fundraising goal and collect donations throughout the year for patients in need.


Next steps:

  • Participating in Extra Life Game Day for Kentucky Children’s Hospital? Snap a photo and tag us on Twitter (@UK_HealthCare) or Facebook (@UKHealthCare).
  • Not into gaming but still want to support KCH? Visit www.givetokch.org.
UK CCTS

$19.8 million award puts UK among nation’s ‘elite’ health research sites

The UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) announced Wednesday that it has received a four-year, $19.8 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Center for Advancing Clinical and Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The mission of UK CCTS is to accelerate the process of translating scientific discoveries into tangible applications for individual and community health, with particular focus on health disparities in Kentucky and Appalachia. CTSA grants promote this mission by supporting innovative solutions to improve the efficiency, quality and impact of scientific discoveries that can improve the health of individuals and communities.

UK officials were joined by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Congressman Andy Barr for the announcement.

This is the second CTSA grant that the UK CCTS has competed for and received. In 2011, the CCTS received a five-year, $20 million award. These grants are extremely competitive and place UK in elite company. Other institutions funded in this round include Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Rockefeller University and UCLA. Additionally, UK is one of only 21 institutions in the country with federally designated research centers in translational science, aging and cancer.

“While this trifecta of competitive grants positions us to recruit the brightest scientific minds of our generation and host potentially transformational clinical trials, it is the impact on community that is the heart of the CTSA and, indeed, our work as a University for Kentucky,” UK President Eli Capilouto said.

“Our capacity to engage at the intersection of research disciplines – which we translate from the cellular level to the community and to the Commonwealth – will be emboldened by this highly competitive award.”

A “disease agnostic” center, the CCTS does not focus on one particular disease but supports research on an array of diseases across the lifespan in order to quicken the process of moving new science, treatments and tools to the patient bedside or into communities.

UK’s research enterprise has benefited from many CCTS efforts. The CCTS pilot funding program, which supports innovative, early-stage research, has provided $4 million in awards that have yielded $38.5 million in competitive extramural research funding at UK — a return on investment of more than 8 to 1. These pilot awards support diverse research studies from new treatments for Parkinson’s disease to increasing lung cancer screening in Appalachia.


Next steps:

  • Learn more about the groundbreaking translational research happening at UK CCTS.
  • Researchers are working hard to identify new treatments and strategies to improve health, but they need healthy participants and those with medical conditions to participate in clinical studies. Find out how you can participate in clinical research at UK HealthCare.
Tips to beat election season stress.

Feeling election season stress? You’re not alone. [Infographic]

Are you stressed out about this year’s election? It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, Democrat or Republican – chances are the answer is yes.

According to new research from the American Psychological Association, more than 50 percent of American adults say this year’s election is a significant source of stress in their lives. Uncertainty about the future combined with a constant barrage of political conversation online, on TV, and with family and friends has many people anticipating Election Day with tension and anxiety.

Although it might seem minor, election season stress can lead to health-related side effects, including fatigue, headaches, upset stomach and tightness in your chest.

Check out our infographic below for tips on how keep your stress in check this election season, and be sure to share it with friends and family members.

Election season stress infographic


Next steps:

  • Looking for more ways to feel less stressed? Check out our tips to help you relax.
  • If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety, depression or another mental health concern that is affecting daily life, UK Psychiatry may be able to help. Learn more about our services today.
Your eyes are sensitive and important organs. If you wear contact lenses, protect your eyes by taking care of your contacts.

Could your contact lens habits put your eyes at risk?

Written by Dr. Shaista Vally, OD, as part of an ongoing series about eye care.

Dr. Shaista Vally

Dr. Shaista Vally

We all love the freedom of contact lenses: They don’t fog up if we step outside, they don’t slide off our noses when we bend over and they don’t need constant adjusting. But like all freedoms, lenses come with responsibility. They can pose a serious health risk if they’re not worn properly.

What are the health risks of contact lenses?

The biggest risk to your eye from using contact lenses is infection, which can lead to a scar-forming ulcer and in turn to an irreversible loss of vision. Other possible risks include new blood vessel growth and inflammation and swelling of exposed surfaces (under eyelids, cornea, conjunctiva). With correct care and management, these risks can be greatly lowered and prevented.

General rules to follow

Infections and other health risks can usually be avoided by properly caring for your contacts:

  • Wash your hands prior to handling your lenses.
  • Never wear torn or ripped lenses.
  • Don’t sleep in your lenses.
  • Don’t wear lenses longer than 10-12 hours.
  • Never expose the lens to water.
  • Replace lens cases every 2-3 months.
  • Use fresh disinfectant solution every night.
  • Clean and air dry cases during the day.
  • Contact your eye doctor if you have signs of eye redness, irritation, a change in vision, light sensitivity or pain.

Your eyes are sensitive and important organs. For contact lens wearers, protect your eyes by taking care of your contacts.


Next Steps

Dr. Matthew Bush

Dr. Matthew Bush: Giving the gift of hearing, here and around the world

Making the RoundsDr. Matthew Bush, a clinician and researcher UK Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, sat down with us for the latest installment of Making the Rounds, a blog series where you’ll get to know more about our providers.

Dr. Bush sees patients of all ages who have hearing loss. He specializes in cochlear implants, small electronic devices that can help provide a sense of sound to people who are profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.

Describe your ideal weekend

My ideal weekend would typically start by making pancakes for my five children, one of whom is a baby who doesn’t eat solid food yet. But her four brothers certainly eat for five and maybe even 10.

The weekends are all about family time. It’s about playing soccer and football in the backyard with the kids. It’s about reconnecting with them having been gone most of the week. We’re also usually active in our church on Sundays.

What’s do you enjoy most about being a dad?

The closeness of our relationship and the things that we can do together. Just seeing them becoming young adults and being able to mentor them, whether it’s playing basketball or soccer, or it’s working on Latin, or something like that.

They’re just really great kids.

What’s the last movie you saw?

Probably Fletch, the 1980s Chevy Chase movie. It’s my favorite movie of all time. I’ve watched it thousands of times.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I’m actively involved in humanitarian mission work. Twice a year I go to Nairobi, Kenya, for 10-14 days. I’m involved in teaching at the University of Nairobi in their ear, nose and throat surgery department and engaging in some research activities with them as well as caring for patients who otherwise don’t have access to specialty care.

It takes about three or four months to prepare for each trip, so it becomes a year-long hobby, even though it’s only two weeks at a time. I go on my own time and on my own dime, but it’s worth more to me than anything. It’s really an important part of my life.

What’s your favorite place to visit in Kenya?

One of my favorite places on the planet is a little town called Nanyuki, Kenya. And Nanyuki is right at the base of Mt. Kenya, which is Africa’s second-highest peak behind Kilimanjaro. It just is one of my happy places.


Next steps:

  • Bush supports the Songs for Sound concert event, which raises funds and awareness for UK Otolaryngology and the Lexington Hearing & Speech Center. This year’s event is Nov. 6. Visit the Songs for Sound website or call 917-796-1636 for tickets.
  • Learn more about cochlear implants, including who is a candidate for the device and how they’re different from hearing aids.
Songs for Sound Hear the Music

Songs for Sound event benefits UK Cochlear Implant Program

For the third year, the UK Cochlear Implant Program and the Lexington Hearing and Speech Center are partnering with Songs for Sound, a program dedicated to improving the quality of life for those who have profound hearing loss.

Songs for Sound will host its Hear the Music event in Lexington, bringing some of country music’s most elite songwriters to share their music and the stories behind the lyrics. All proceeds benefit the UK Cochlear Implant Program and the Lexington Hearing and Speech Center. This year’s event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6 at the Manchester Music Hall.

Dr. Matthew Bush

Dr. Matthew Bush

“Songs for Sound Hear the Music event is such an important event for our patients, the University of Kentucky and our region” said Dr. Matthew Bush, a clinician and researcher at UK Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery and leader of the UK Cochlear Implant Program.

“It represents a collaborative effort among dedicated clinicians, amazing patients and the generous Songs for Sound team. Our cochlear implant program has grown progressively over the past 20 years and this event will enable us to expand our research and extent our reach to provide the absolute best hearing healthcare for patient throughout Kentucky and beyond. This will be a fantastic event that will highlight top country artists and patients who, in spite of their hearing loss, have regained the ability to hear the music.”

Songs for Sound was founded by Jamie and Kevin Vernon of Nashville, parents of Lexi, who at 1 1/2 years old, was diagnosed with profound hearing loss. The Vernons learned that Lexi was eligible for a cochlear implant  a small electronic device implanted just behind the ear  which brought sound into their daughter’s life and allowed her to blossom into an active, speaking and hearing child.

Songs for Sound travels across the country hosting Hear the Music events with the help of friends from Nashville’s music industry, in an effort to raise awareness of profound hearing loss. The organization provides free hearing screenings and access to needed resources, such as the resources found at UK, the primary cochlear implant center of Central and Eastern Kentucky since 1989.


Next steps:

  • Interested in attending this year’s Songs for Sound event? Sponsorship tickets for the event start at $30 per ticket or $50 for two. General admission tickets can be purchased for $10. To purchase tickets, visit Songs for Sound online or call 917-796-1636.
  • Learn more about cochlear implants, including who is a candidate for the device and how they’re different from hearing aids.
Tomosynthesis at UK HealthCare

Advanced technology for breast cancer screening

Is it time for your annual breast cancer screening? Do you need diagnostic imaging? Here’s something to consider.

The Comprehensive Breast Care Center (CBCC) at the UK Markey Cancer Center offers state-of-the-art digital tomosynthesis for breast cancer screening and diagnostic services. UK HealthCare is one of only a few medical centers in the state to offer this new technology.

Tomosynthesis is 3-D technology that allows radiologists to see individual breast structures without overlapping tissue. In addition to providing the traditional top and side images of the breasts taken during a regular 2-D mammogram, tomosynthesis allows the technologist to take X-ray pictures of each breast from many angles. A computer then combines all this information into one 3-D image, making it possible to find much smaller and earlier-stage cancers. A tomosynthesis exam will feel no different from a usual mammogram, except that it takes just four seconds longer.

Dr. Margaret Szabunio, associate medical director of the CBCC and division chief of women’s radiology at UK HealthCare, along with her team of dedicated breast radiologists, specialize in using tomosynthesis for the early detection of breast cancer.

“Tomosynthesis produces images in tiny 1 millimeter slices that can be reconstructed into a 3-D image of the tissue, similar to the way a CT scan works,” Szabunio said. “It allows us to look at breast tissue in a way we’ve never been able to before.”

Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center, says the technology, along with Szabunio and her team’s expertise, have a significant impact on patients.

“Dr. Szabunio’s experience with tomosynthesis digital breast imaging is of great benefit to our patients when it comes to detecting breast cancer in its early stages,” Evers said. “The earlier a cancer is detected, the higher a patient’s chances are for a full recovery. This technology has the potential to save many, many lives.”

The CBCC uses tomosynthesis as a regular screening tool for all women, women who are at a high risk for breast cancer or for women that need diagnostic follow-up for a mammogram that shows an abnormality.

Make an appointment with the CBCC by calling 859-323-2222 or visiting our online appointment request form.


Next steps:

  • Confused about when to get a mammogram? Check out our Q&A with Dr. Szabunio, who tells us why mammograms are so important and what she recommends when it comes to screening.
  • Our latest Making the Rounds blog featured breast cancer specialist Dr. Aju Mathew. He tells us about his newest hobby and which historical figure he most admires. Check it out.
UK College of Health Sciences celebrates its 50th anniversary

UK College of Health Sciences celebrates its 50th anniversary

The UK College of Health Sciences celebrated its 50th anniversary and honored two individuals, including UK HealthCare’s Dr. Michael Karpf, who have made a difference in the college’s growth in both size and reputation.

In 1966, Congress passed The Allied Health Professions Personnel Training Act to foster the development of “dynamic educational programs … that will attract able students and prepare them for satisfying careers” in the wide array of health care professions beyond medicine, dentistry and nursing.

The UK College of Health Sciences, originally called the College of Allied Health Professions, was one of the first 13 colleges formed as a result of that legislation, with the late Joseph Hamburg serving as its first dean.

The college currently enrolls more than 1,100 students in nine different disciplines such as athletic training, communication sciences and disorders, physical therapy and physician assistant studies.

“For 50 years, the UK College of Health Sciences has educated nearly 8,000 health care professionals who provide outstanding service. Our faculty and alumni are recognized by their peers as top-notch clinicians, educators, researchers and leaders. Our students make us proud with their service, research and academic success. And our staff and supporters provide the essential framework to make these successes possible,” said Dr. Scott M. Lephart, dean of the UK College of Health Sciences. “We’re proud of these achievements, and this was an appropriate opportunity to honor them.”

Two honorees

The college also acknowledged two men whose contributions helped grow the college in both size and stature.

Karpf, the UK executive vice president for health affairs, was the first honoree, receiving the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his leadership in collaborations with the college and others for the benefit of all Kentuckians.

Lephart said Karpf’s leadership in establishing the Kentucky Health Collaborative was a huge factor in his selection for the award. The KHC was launched earlier this year by 10 major health care systems in Kentucky to combat the state’s poor health outcomes by sharing best practices and reducing the costs of care.

Also recognized was Michael P. Thornton, JD, who, along with his family, was given the Philanthropic Appreciation Award for creating the Paul A. Thornton Distinguished Professorship and Fellowship in honor of his father. Dr. Paul A. Thornton was the first director of the Clinical Nutrition program at UK, which became a part of the College of Health Sciences in 1968.

His teaching had a profound effect on many of his students, including Dr. Geza Bruckner, clinical nutrition director and professor and the first Dr. Paul A. Thornton Distinguished Professor recipient.

“It’s a great honor to be awarded this professorship,” Bruckner said. “His influence on his students – including me – was exemplary. Dr. Thornton was truly an educator of the first class, and I’m thrilled to carry on the message he instilled in me as a young student.”

Continuing legacy

Fifty years after its creation, the UK College of Health Sciences continues to innovate in key areas of education, research and service.

The college was one of the first at UK to offer a complete distance learning degree program, educating physical therapy students at the Center of Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard in 1992 and physician assistant students in Morehead in 1996. More recently, the Medical Laboratory Science Program was re-established to educate students at the Center of Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard.

Research is also a fundamental part of the educational experience at the college, as students have the opportunity to be involved in ongoing research projects. The college also maintains a thriving undergraduate research program, which nurtures student curiosity by offering opportunities for mentored, self-directed work.

“The common thread among our programs and our people is our mission,” Lephart said. “We are driven by the desire to help people attain the highest level of health possible. The key is to help unlock the potential for optimal health in each individual we affect, indirectly or directly, through providing patient care, educating future health sciences professionals, and engaging in research aimed at the prevention of injury and disability.”


Next steps:

  • The UK College of Health Sciences promotes research, education and service across nine health care degree programs. Learn more about what we’re doing to improve the health and well-being of people across Kentucky.
  • After more than 13 years of leadership at UK HealthCare, Dr. Michael Karpf announced in September his decision to retire in 2017. Read more about his announcement and highlights from his career at UK.