Annual Walk to Remember set for Oct. 1 at UK Arboretum

This Sunday, Oct. 1, UK HealthCare’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Labor and Delivery Unit will host the Walk to Remember at 4 p.m. at The Arboretum at the University of Kentucky.

Each year, about 100 families gather to mourn a loss from miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. The ceremony – open to all families who have suffered loss whether or not affiliated with UK – is a chance to remember and to ensure those children are never forgotten.

“This service provides a way for families to honor and remember their child and to let them know they are not alone in their grief,” said Michelle Steele, chair of the NICU/Labor and Delivery Bereavement Committee. “Many families didn’t have a funeral or service when their infant died through miscarriage or an early loss, and this is a way to help provide that closure and outlet for their grief.”

The event also reunites families with healthcare providers and staff members who provided compassionate care for their child. The walk occurs on Oct. 1 because October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

The Walk to Remember includes a craft table for children, a tree planting that includes an engraved memorial plaque, special readings and music, a balloon release, and the walk through The Arboretum.

Families who wish to can write a message to their baby and plant the message with the tree. The tree also includes an inscription and bronze plaque provided by UK HealthCare administration that reads, “In memory of your baby’s life, gone but still cherished. Your baby will always be remembered.”

“The walk has become an important annual event, and some families now come year after year and bring their children they have had since their loss so they can also remember and honor their lost sibling,” said Sandra Mojesky, divisional charge nurse in Labor and Delivery and a longtime committee member. “It is really meant as a time for healing and remembrance, and we hope anyone in the community who has suffered an infant loss will feel welcomed to attend.”

It is not necessary to register for the walk, but those who need additional information may contact the UK Pastoral Care Office at 859-323-5301.


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Making the Rounds with Dr. Ryan Muchow

Dr. Ryan Muchow on the ‘amazing’ field of pediatric orthopaedics

Making the RoundsWe caught up with pediatric orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Ryan Muchow for our latest Making the Rounds conversation. Dr. Muchow works at Kentucky Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center – Lexington, where he specializes in hip surgery and hip preservation treatments. 

What conditions do you treat?

We treat the entirety of pediatric orthopaedics, from birth to the young adult years. We take care of all kinds of musculoskeletal injury and conditions.

We see kids at both the Shriners Hospital as well as the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Most of the kiddos that we work with at KCH are kids that come in in an urgent or emergent basis with an acute injury. We’re able to take care of them at a time of great need as they’ve broken bones or have been involved in a serious accident.

Most of those kids at Shriners were either born with a condition or have developed a condition. They’ve been living with it for some time, and it’s not necessarily an acute or urgent setting. But we get to meet them and help them through their journey with whatever condition they have.

What makes pediatric orthopaedics so enjoyable?

It’s this amazing field where we have the opportunity to restore activity to kids. One of the top motivations for a child is to be able to play, to be able to run around and do things carefree. And we have the ability and opportunity to come in at a special time of their life and provide that service or need to get them to a point where they can do that activity.

Why did you decide to pursue medicine as a career?

Medicine in some ways chose me. I was thinking about other interests in high school, and someone recommended to me that I look at medicine. I got involved in a program that led me into medical school. After that, it was kind of affirmation after affirmation of, “Hey, being with people is awesome, getting to do the sciences is awesome.” And so it all kind of came together in medicine.

Describe your ideal weekend.

I’d come home Friday night after work and make pizza with my wife and kids. We’d put the kids to bed and then watch a movie.

Saturday morning, I’d get up and go for a run with the family, pushing the kids and running with my wife. We’d go get donuts, and then we love to do things outside – hiking, running around and doing crazy kid stuff.

What’s your favorite food?

If I can have two favorite foods, I’d say I like pizza a lot and I also like steak a lot. Those are two completely different foods, but those are where I’d go.

Steak if I could have a nice meal out and pizza if I could do something every day of the week.


Check out our video interview with Dr. Muchow, where he tells us more about the comprehensive orthopaedic care provided by Shriners and KCH.


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You should know about the dangers of childhood concussions.

Know the signs of childhood concussions

Does a child in your family play sports? If so, there are things you should know about the risks and dangers of childhood concussions.

Concussions are serious, traumatic brain injuries that get worse each time they happen. A second concussion can even be fatal to anyone not yet recovered from the first, a condition called second impact syndrome (SIS).

Be able to recognize concussion symptoms

It’s important to know the warning signs when you may be dealing with something as serious as brain trauma. A few concussion symptoms include:

  • Headache, vomiting or nausea.
  • Trouble thinking normally.
  • Memory problems.
  • Fatigue and trouble walking.
  • Dizziness and vision problems.
  • Changes in sleep patterns.

These symptoms can occur right away, but may not start for weeks or even months. If your child has any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately.

Don’t forget a helmet

Helmets are a required standard in team sports like football, but even backyard activities like riding a bicycle and skating call for protection.

Keep coaches in the know

If your child is playing team sports and has or may have had a concussion, be sure the coaches know. Continuing to play is not worth the risk of a second concussion, so when in doubt, sit them out.

Know your head injury ABCs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you know your ABCs. That means you will Assess the situation, Be alert for the signs and symptoms, and Contact a healthcare provider when there is a head injury.


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Pediatric patients play ball with UK athletes at No Limits camp

Don’t miss the video at the end of this post to see highlights from this year’s camp!

Patients from Kentucky Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center Lexington learned there are no limits to what they can do at the No Limits Baseball and Softball Camps this past Saturday.

After moving to the UK medical campus on South Limestone earlier this year, Shriners needed a new venue for the annual No Limits event. UK Athletics stepped up to the plate, offering Cliff Hagan Stadium and John Cropp Stadium as well as some help from the members of the UK Baseball and UK Softball teams, including head coaches Rachel Lawson and Nick Mingione.

Throughout the day, patients had a chance to practice and develop their baseball and softball skills with drills in batting, catching, throwing and nutrition. A member of UK Baseball or UK Softball accompanied their “buddy” to each of the stations to help them one-on-one.

Fun on the field for patients and parents

JP David, who has participated in the No Limits Camp in previous years, was able to get in on the fun once again. For 12 years, David has seen physicians at Shriners and KCH to receive care for cerebral palsy. David’s mother accompanied him to the camp, as she’s done in previous years. She appreciates that Shriners gives patients the opportunity to have typical childhood experiences.

“He would love to just keep going but his body won’t let him,” she said. “But when they host events like this, he realizes he’s not the only one and he feels like a normal kid.”

For the first time, patients at KCH were also invited to participate in the camps. Jaxon Russell, a big fan of UK Baseball, was glad to be at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Russell has undergone two open-heart surgeries in the first five years of his life. He is also being treated for pulmonary atresia. His parents, Shannon and Miranda, were excited to be a part of the big day.

“For a program like this to take time out of their days to make these kids smile and have a memorable moment is tremendous,” Miranda said. “It’s something that they’ll never forget.”

After Jaxon’s diagnosis, Shannon and Miranda founded a nonprofit organization that helps other children diagnosed with heart conditions enjoy the game of baseball.

Long-lasting benefits

Illness can often take away the opportunity for young patients to have the same experiences as other children or their siblings. Sometimes things that happen outside of a clinical setting can be incredibly beneficial for health and wellness, said Dr. Scottie Day, physician-in-chief at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

“The opportunity for a child to attend this camp gives them an experience that proves to have a long-lasting effect on psychosocial development, including self-esteem, peer relationships, independence, leadership, values and willingness to try new things,” he said.

Three patients who attended the camp also will have the opportunity to represent Kentucky in the 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic next year in Houston, where they will serve as Kentucky’s batgirls/batboys during the tournament.


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breastfeeding latch

Breastfeeding? Try these tips for getting a perfect latch

Breastfeeding is a healthy choice for both you and your newborn, but learning how to do it successfully can be challenging.

One important aspect of successful breastfeeding is getting the proper latch. Here’s how to do it:

  • While holding your baby belly-to-belly, line them up nose-to-nipple and wait for them to open their mouth wide before attaching.
  • The latch should be deep enough that your nipple reaches to their soft palette. This will keep you from experiencing pain while nursing.
  • Your baby’s chin should touch your breast first. Their head will then tilt back.
  • Their lower lip will turn outward when they’re correctly attached.

Positions for breastfeeding

There are several positions you can use to feed your baby:

  • Laid back: This is similar to the skin-to-skin position. Lay back and use pillows to support you. Place your baby face-down between your breasts and allow them to move into position to attach. This is an easy first feeding position.
  • Cross-cradle: Place your baby on a pillow in your lap so they are at breast level. Place them tummy-to-tummy with you and line their nose up with your nipple. Support their head with your hand at the base of their skull. Form a C with your thumb and forefinger around your breast but away from your nipple. Once your baby latches on, you can release your breast and use this hand to help cradle your baby.
  • Football hold: This is position is great if you have had a Cesarean section, because it keeps pressure off your incision. Place your baby on a pillow at your side with their legs under your arm. Support their head and neck with your hand by sliding your hand under your baby’s back.
  • Side-lying: Lie on your side with pillows supporting you. Turn your baby toward you on their side facing your nipple. You may need to place your arm behind them for support. Line them up, nose-to-nipple.

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sports injuries in kids

Coaches and parents, help your kids avoid sports injuries this year

For many families across Kentucky, the start of the school year also means the start of the fall sports season.

Almost three out of every four families with school-aged kids have at least one child who plays organized sports. That’s great! Sports provide physical, emotional and social benefits for kids of all ages. But with sports unfortunately also comes the risk of injury.

The good news is, as parents and coaches, there are lots of simple things you can do to prevent injuries and keep kids playing the sports they love.

Use proper equipment

Make sure young athletes are wearing appropriate and well-fitted safety equipment. This includes:

  • Helmets, for sports like football and lacrosse.
  • Mouth guards, which are inexpensive and can help reduce injury to the mouth, teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue.
  • Sunscreen for outdoor sports.
  • Properly fitting shoes or cleats.

Be aware of heat-related illness

Compared to adults, children are at an increased risk of suffering heat-related illness because they have a lower sweating capacity and produce more metabolic heat during physical activities.

  • Kids just getting back into sports shape after a summer off are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness. Keep an eye on those children in particular.
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of heat illness, which include nausea, dizziness and elevated body temperature.
  • Reduce the risk of heat illness by making sure young athletes stay hydrated. That means drinking water before, during and after all activities.

Avoid overuse

Nearly half of all sports injuries are from overuse or overexertion and can be easily avoided with proper rest.

  • Plan at least one day off per week to allow a child to rest and recuperate.
  • Coaches, rest players during practice and games to avoid overuse.
  • Children who play multiple sports that use the same body part (like swimming and baseball, for example) are at a higher risk of overuse injuries and should be extra careful.
  • Kids should take two to three months off from each sport every year to avoid overuse.

Be smart when it comes to head injuries

Concussions are serious, traumatic brain injuries that get worse each time they happen. It’s important to know the warning signs of something as serious as brain trauma. Concussion symptoms include:

  • Headache, vomiting or nausea.
  • Trouble thinking normally.
  • Memory problems.
  • Fatigue and trouble walking.
  • Dizziness and vision problems.
  • Changes in sleep patterns.

These symptoms can occur right away, but may not start for weeks or even months. If your child or athlete has any of these symptoms, contact a doctor immediately.


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healthy school lunches

Tips for packing a delicious, nutritious school lunch

Parents, the school year is here – what’s your plan for packing school lunches?

By putting some thought into your children’s lunches, you can help keep them full and able to focus on learning throughout the school day. Here’s how:

Rethink the sandwich

Sandwiches are a staple of school lunches, but they don’t have to be boring or unhealthy.

  • Choose bread that is made from whole grains (terms like “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain” should be listed first on the ingredients list). Whole grains have nutrients like fiber and can help lower the risk for diabetes.
  • Instead of cheese or mayonnaise, try healthier options like avocado and hummus.
  • Put sliced apple or pear on a turkey sandwich for an extra serving of fruit.
  • Introduce some variety by using whole-wheat tortillas or whole-wheat pita in place of bread.

Make fruits and vegetables fun

Kids need three to four servings of vegetables and two to three servings of fruit each day. Make sure you’re loading up your kids’ lunch boxes with a variety of each.

  • Keep it colorful. Incorporate fruits and vegetables of different colors, such as red apples, oranges, blueberries and dark leafy greens.
  • Encourage kids to play with their food by packing healthy dips. Hummus is great with vegetables such as green peppers and carrots, while low-fat plain yogurt is a healthy option for fruit like apples and strawberries.
  • Feeling creative? Try “bugs on a log.” Use celery sticks or carrots as the “logs” and load them with peanut butter. Then sprinkle your choice of “bugs” – dried cherries, cranberries or raisins – on top to create a fun and tasty snack. Look online for other creative, healthy snack options.
  • Ask your kids what they like. Find out which fruits and veggies are their favorites and be sure to include those more frequently.

Don’t forget about beverages

An otherwise-nutritious lunch can be undone if a child washes it down with an unhealthy beverage.

  • Encourage your children to drink water throughout the day. Drinking water is essential for good health, and it’s a great habit to build early in life.
  • Choose low-fat or non-fat milk. Children get the same calcium and nutrients from these but without the added saturated fat and calories.
  • Avoid sugary drinks such as soda, sports beverages and even juice (especially if it’s not 100-percent juice). They’re often loaded with extra sugar and calories and contain little nutritional benefit.

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back-to-school safety

Back-to-school safety basics

Kids across Kentucky are heading back to the classroom this week. From backpacks to buses, here’s what you need to know to keep the little ones in your life safe and happy as they return to school.

School bus safety

School buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children to and from school, but injuries can occur if kids are not careful when getting on and off the bus.

Tell your children to:

  • Stand at least three giant steps from the curb while waiting for the bus.
  • Use the handrails while boarding and exiting the bus.
  • Be careful of straps or drawstrings that could get caught in the door.
  • Instead of standing up or moving, tell the bus driver if they drop something.
  • After exiting the bus, take five giant steps in front of the bus and make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing the street.

For drivers, remember to:

  • Follow speed limits and slow down in bus loading/unloading areas.
  • Stay alert for kids walking to and from buses.
  • Stop when driving near a bus that is flashing yellow or red lights.

Backpack safety

When used incorrectly, backpacks can injure your child’s muscles and joints, which can lead to severe pain and other problems. When selecting a backpack, look for the following features:

  • Two wide, padded shoulder straps. A single strap does not distribute weight evenly.
  • Lighter bags decrease the total load weight on the back.
  • Rolling backpack. A good choice for students who must tote a heavy load.

Here are some other tips to help prevent injury:

  • Always use both shoulder straps to distribute weight evenly and decrease muscle strain.
  • Tighten the straps so that the pack is close to the body and two inches above the waist.
  • Pack light. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of the student’s total body weight.
  • Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back.
  • Use school lockers to store books between classes.
  • Bend using both knees. Do not bend over at the waist when wearing or lifting a heavy backpack.

Pedestrian safety, especially for older kids

Did you know that pedestrian death and injury rate among older children and teenagers is now twice that of younger children? Unsurprisingly, that increase is believed to be related to distractions caused by the use of cellphones and other electronic devices.

To prevent accidents and injuries, tell your children to avoid these dangerous behaviors while walking:

  • Talking on the phone.
  • Texting.
  • Playing handheld gaming devices.
  • Using ear buds or headphones.

Other tips for pedestrians:

  • Always stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Remind children of all ages the basics of pedestrian safety:
    • Cross only at crosswalks and obey traffic signals.
    • Look both ways and listen, before stepping off the curb.
    • Walk, don’t run while crossing the street.

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Diagnosing eye cancer early preserves girl’s sight

When Kenley Overton’s parents took their infant daughter in for her four-month wellness checkup, they didn’t know much about retinoblastoma, the rare form of eye cancer that most commonly affects children. But that quickly changed.

Kenley was born Aug. 24, 2010, to Jason and Kendra Overton. When Kenley was a few weeks old, her parents noticed that her right eye would cross frequently. They brought it up to their local pediatrician during a wellness checkup and were told that it wasn’t abnormal for newborns.

However, when the Overtons brought Kenley in for her four-month wellness checkup, her right eye was still crossing. The pediatrician suggested Kenley see an eye doctor as it was likely she would need glasses to fix the issue.

In a whirlwind of appointments, Kenley first saw an optometrist who believed she had a detached retina. She was then referred to Dr. Peter J. Blackburn at UK Advanced Eye Care. After some testing, Blackburn diagnosed Kenley with retinoblastoma – a form of eye cancer that begins in the retina. Thirteen days after her wellness check, Kenley was scheduled for surgery with Blackburn to evaluate the situation and decide on a plan moving forward.

The best-case scenario

Retinoblastoma is a rare disease; only 200 to 300 children are diagnosed with it each year in the U.S. About three out of four children with retinoblastoma have a tumor in only one eye. Overall, more than 90 percent of children with retinoblastoma are cured, but the outlook is not nearly as good if the cancer has spread outside the eye.

Blackburn says that although there are no known avoidable risk factors for retinoblastoma, some gene changes that put a child at high risk for the condition can be passed on from a parent. Children born to a parent with a history of retinoblastoma should be screened for this cancer starting shortly after birth because early detection greatly improves the chance for successful treatment.

When Blackburn came out of surgery, he told the Overton family that Kenley’s cancer was only in her right eye – the best-case scenario.

He was pleasantly surprised because at Kenley’s young age, he had suspected the cancer might have been in both of her eyes. The decision was made to remove Kenley’s right eye that day.

In the years following her surgery, Kenley was regularly monitored to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread to her left eye. As Kenley continued to grow and show no signs of the retinoblastoma in her left eye, Blackburn became more confident that the cancer was limited to Kenley’s right eye.

Compassionate care at UK

Kendra Overton looks back on this difficult time in Kenley’s life and remembers how tough it was on her family. While taking care of Kenley, she and Jason also had to care for their older daughter, Jaylen, who was 4 years old at the time. But through the stress, she remembers Blackburn and the care he provided for Kenley.

“Dr. Blackburn was a very confident in the information he delivered about Kenley and her treatment plan, and he had a wonderful bedside manner,” she said.

She said Blackburn even took the time to pray with her family before Kenley’s surgery.

“At a time when we were falling apart, we really needed that and you don’t normally hear of doctors doing that,” she said.

Kenley is now a thriving 6-year-old. Kendra describes her daughter as naturally funny and someone who never meets a stranger. She just has a love for people, her mother says.

“Everyone who comes in contact with her says she is just so amazing,” Kendra said.


Next steps:

  • Learn more about UK Advanced Eye Care, which provides comprehensive care for patients of all ages  from routine eye exams to treatment for the most complex ophthalmic issues.
  • Earlier this year, UK Advanced Eye Care moved into a new state-of-the-art clinic that will allow us to provide even better care for our patients. Find out more about our new location.
benefits of breastfeeding

Breastfeeding gives your baby the best possible start

Did you know that breastfeeding is a healthy choice for both mom and baby?

Celebrate National Breastfeeding Month by learning more about breastfeeding’s benefits. Breastfeeding provides warmth and closeness, and the physical contact helps create a special bond between you and your newborn.

Benefits for babies

  • Breast milk is easier for your baby to digest.
  • It doesn’t need to be prepared.
  • It’s always available.
  • It has all the nutrients, calories and fluids your baby needs to be healthy.
  • It has growth factors that ensure the best development of your baby’s organs.
  • It has many substances that formulas don’t have that protect your baby from diseases and infections. In fact, breastfed babies are less likely to have:
    • Ear infections.
    • Diarrhea.
    • Pneumonia, wheezing and bronchiolitis.
    • Other bacterial and viral infections, such as meningitis.
  • Research also suggests that breastfeeding may help to protect against obesity, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, eczema, colitis and some cancers.

Benefits for mothers

  • Breastfeeding releases hormones in your body that promote mothering behavior.
  • It returns your uterus to the size it was before pregnancy more quickly.
  • It burns more calories, which may help you lose the weight you gained during pregnancy.
  • It delays the return of your menstrual period to help keep iron in your body.
  • It provides contraception, but only if these three conditions are met:
    • You are exclusively breastfeeding and not giving your baby any other supplements.
    • It is within the first six months after birth.
    • Your period has not returned.
  • It reduces your risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
  • It keeps your bones strong, which helps protect against bone fractures in older age.

UK HealthCare is Baby-Friendly

At UK HealthCare, we’re committed to ensuring a happy, healthy start for newborns and their mothers. In fact, we’re a Baby-Friendly USA® hospital, which is a prestigious acknowledgment of the top-notch care that we provide.

Baby-Friendly USA is a global initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages hospitals to provide breastfeeding mothers with information, confidence, support and skills necessary to initiate and continue breastfeeding.

Find out more about the Baby-Friendly initiative.


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