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.
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.
Flu season in Kentucky

Flu season in Kentucky has started. Here’s what you need to know.

Several cases of influenza have already been confirmed across the Commonwealth, marking the early arrival of flu season in Kentucky.

Here’s what you need to know about the flu this year.

Vaccines are necessary every year

Getting a flu shot every year is the single most effective way to prevent the flu. It’s safe and recommended for anyone 6 months or older.

Influenza viruses are constantly changing, which is why it’s important to get a shot at the start of every flu season. This year’s vaccine is updated to better protect against the flu viruses experts expect to circulate this season.

FluMist is no longer an option

Studies showed the nasal spray flu vaccine, or FluMist, was not effective in protecting against the flu last year, and it is no longer being produced. Although FluMist was often the preferred choice for children or those averse to needles, all individuals who can receive a flu shot should do so.

Help protect those around you

Receiving a flu vaccination helps keep those around you protected, too. If you live or care for infants too young to receive a vaccination, getting a flu shot will help protect them from the virus.

Encourage your loved ones to get vaccinated, and be conscious of those in your life who are more susceptible to the virus. They include people older than 65, those with chronic medical conditions like asthma or diabetes, and pregnant women.


Next steps:

  • Shots are available from primary care doctors and many pharmacies. Check out the CDC’s Flu Vaccine Finder to find a flu vaccine clinic near you.
  • Members of the UK community can get a flu shot as part of University Health Service’s Big Flu Madness. See the student and campus employee flu shot schedule here and the UK HealthCare employee schedule here.
The second installment of our Making the Rounds series, Dr. John D'Orazio talks about how he likes to spend his vacations, his favorite foods and more.

Dr. John D’Orazio takes us back to his first day of medical school

The second installment of Making the Rounds features Dr. John D’Orazio, a clinician and researcher at the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Making the Rounds is a Q&A series where you’ll get to know the providers at UK HealthCare and what they’re like outside the lab and clinic.

Making the RoundsDr. D’Orazio received his medical degree from University of Miami, School of Medicine, Miami, Fla. He then completed a Pediatrics residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. D’Orazio is of Italian descent, and he enjoys eating and cooking Italian food.

Dr. John D'Orazio

Dr. John D’Orazio

Where could someone find the most authentic Italian food in Lexington?

In Lexington? You’d have to come over to my house!

What do you like to cook yourself?

Well, the other night I made a good risotto. I make fresh pasta, and I make a sauce to go with it… Pizza – I do pizza a lot. The more toppings you can put on it and the less crust, the better for me!

Describe your ideal vacation.

So [my family and I] like nature. We like outdoors, we like hiking. I like photography. We’ve been three times up to the Yellowstone glacier. We’ve been a couple of times to Costa Rica – love it down there.

It would be a place like that, where you can just get away, you know. We like to rent a house for a week and just have a low-key time – go hiking, go fishing kind of a thing.

How would your friends describe you?

Optimistic, funny, kind.

Do you recall your first day of med school?

Yes. So I’m an MD, PhD – I’m a physician scientist. I did a kind of blended thing. But yes [I remember]. Just the great honor of sitting there and realizing that this is the beginning of a journey I followed my heart to.

You know, I’m the first person in my family to ever go to college, not even to mention med school. It was just a great honor, and I soaked it up like a sponge.


Watch this video to hear Dr. D’Orazio explain why making a connection with his patients is so important to him.


Next Steps

Dr. Carmel Wallace

UK Pediatrics chief honored by Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass (RMHC) recently honored Dr. Carmel Wallace, chair of the UK Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of Kentucky Children’s Hospital, with the 2016 Elizabeth Carey Nahra Legacy of Love Award.

The award recognizes an organization or individual whose exceptional contributions or projects have enabled the Ronald McDonald House of the Bluegrass to assist families of children hospitalized at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Wallace founded the Helping Hands Fund, which supplements family donations to cover the charity’s operational costs through scholarships. The fund contributes $20,000 annually to the RMHC.

“Many of our Kentucky Children’s Hospital families reside in Eastern Kentucky and travel long distances to receive the best care possible for their child,” Wallace said. “The Ronald McDonald House Charities have provided support so parents can stay close to their children and have a place to lay their head at night. Covering the operational cost to stay at RMHC was an opportunity for us to make life a bit easier for these families.”

A native of Eastern Kentucky, Wallace has worked to ensure Eastern Kentucky families receive access to advanced pediatric care available at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Through Wallace’s leadership, Kentucky Children’s Hospital has extended its presence in Eastern Kentucky by providing specialists and clinical services in rural communities.

Wallace accepted the award during the charity’s annual McDazzle Gala on Sept. 10. Recipients of the award are selected by the family of Elizabeth Carey Nahra, an advocate and former director of the Ronald McDonald House who passed away in 2015. Past recipients include Kentucky Children’s Hospital, Children’s Charity Fund of the Bluegrass and UK neonatologist Dr. Nirmala Desai.


Next steps:

  • When your child is sick or hurt, you want the best care possible, close to home. That’s exactly what you get at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Learn more about our services.
  • KCH patients and their families share their stories. Read them here.
A mother using a fine-toothed comb to get rid of her daughter's head lice.

Head lice: How to spot them and what to do

Elementary schools are notorious for spreading lice – tiny insects that live in human hair. Lice spread primarily through hair-to-hair contact but can move through shared items like hats and combs, too. While they aren’t dangerous, they are contagious and irritating. If you have young children in school, you should know the signs of head lice and how to treat them.

The signs of head lice

If your child displays one or more of these signs, seek treatment quickly.

  • Adult lice or nymphs. Nymphs, or baby lice, become adults one to two weeks after they hatch. An adult louse (the singular of lice) is pale to dark brown.
  • Nits. Lice eggs, called nits, are small dots that resemble dandruff usually found at the base of the hair shaft.
  • Itching. Lice and their nits cause scalp irritation, which leads to head scratching.
  • Red bumps or sores. Too much scratching can lead to a painful rash or even bacterial infection.

How to treat head lice

Should lice wind up in your child’s hair, there are a number of treatment options available.

  • Shampoo, cream rinse or lotion. These may be available either over-the-counter or by prescription. Your doctor can recommend one that’s right for your child.
  • Oral medication. For lice that are resistant to some treatments, your doctor may prescribe an oral medication to take care of them.
  • Fine-toothed combs. If your child is 2 months or younger and has lice, do not use medication. Instead, wet and condition your child’s hair, and use a fine-toothed comb to get rid of the insects.
  • Wash hats and personal items. Remember to wash any hats, scarves or hair accessories your child uses. You should clean their pillow cases and bedding, too.

Next Steps

Better quality of sleep has obvious health benefits, like improved attention and memory. So how much sleep should your child be getting? It varies by age.

For children, how much sleep is enough?

Better quality of sleep has obvious health benefits, like improved attention and memory, but this is particularly important for children. So how much sleep should your child be getting? Doctors agree that the right amount of sleep for children varies by age:

  • Infants. Babies that are 4 to 12 months old should be sleeping for 12 to 16 hours a day, including naps.
  • Young children. If your child is around 1 to 2 years old, they need 11 to 14 hours of sleep each day, plus naps.
  • Toddlers. 3- to 5-year-olds require 10 to 13 hours of sleep each day including naps.
  • Older children. Children between 6 and 12 should aim to sleep between nine and 12 hours a day.
  • Teenagers. Teens – age 13 to 18 – should get eight to 10 hours of sleep per day.

Getting the right amount of sleep is as important for children as nutrition and exercise. Sufficient sleep not only improves mood, it can lower your child’s chances of becoming overweight, of developing diabetes and of having attention or learning problems.


Next Steps

Make sure to dispose of expired medications

Written by Dr. Amy Meadows, assistant professor of pediatrics and psychiatry in UK’s College of Medicine.

Dr. Amy Meadows

Dr. Amy Meadows

When was the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet? Unlike a messy refrigerator, there’s nothing in your medicine cabinet to send a scented reminder that you need to throw out old bottles of ibuprofen and pain killers from your oral surgery two years ago.

Not only is this unsafe because medications should not be consumed past their expiration date, but they also have the potential for abuse. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the most commonly abused medications are opiates and other pain relievers, which is consistent with information from other sources.

Many medications have the potential to be misused, which includes both prescribed and over-the-counter medications. There are multiple ways drugs can be used incorrectly, or in some cases, illegally: they can be misused (used in ways other than recommended), abused (used for nonmedical reasons) or diverted (given/sold/bartered to people other than the intended patients).

When taken as directed and in the recommended amounts, over-the-counter medicines are generally very safe. However, those same medications can present a significant danger in overdose. Even over-the-counter analgesics like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) can cause organ damage or even death in some situations. It’s incredibly important that medications are taken as directed on labels or by a physician.

Children are especially at risk for abusing medications, either because they do not recognize medication as a danger or because of the impulsivity and risk-taking common in adolescents. It is recommended that medications be stored out of reach, such as in a medication lock box, to reduce to risk of misuse.

Medications should not, under any circumstance, be saved and used for future issues or ailments. This can be especially dangerous for antibiotics, which should be taken as directed until the full course of medication is completed. Other medications can become ineffective or potentially dangerous after their expiration. It is far safer to be evaluated by a medical professional to diagnose and treat a newly occurring issue rather than relying on old or expired medications.

Everyone can and should periodically dispose of old, unused and expired medications. In Lexington there are several options for safe disposal, including units at the Lexington Police Department and Fayette County Sheriff’s Office or on medication take-back days. Some pharmacies are also able to offer safe disposal of unused medication. Alternatively, if people are unable to access medication take-back programs, it is recommended that medications be placed in a sealable container or bag and mixed with kitty litter, dirt or coffee grounds before being thrown away.


Next steps:

JC and Max Middleton.

Family confronts diabetes with help from UK

A natural instinct for a mother is to protect her children by keeping them healthy and safe. But what do you do when your spouse and not just one, but both of your children are diagnosed with a chronic illness like diabetes, all within a relatively short amount of time? That’s the challenge Lisa Middleton, her husband and two young children faced.

With the help of the University of Kentucky’s Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center, the Middletons are confronting diabetes, ready to meet that challenge head-on, all day, every day.

The first diagnosis

James and Lisa Middleton look like the couple next door. Lisa, an energetic and personable young woman, received her doctorate degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy and later was a research assistant professor in the College of Medicine. She is currently a lecturer at Eastern Kentucky University.

James “JC” Middleton is an avid long-distance cyclist and a software engineer at Valvoline. It was quite a shock when, 12 years ago at age 29, he was diagnosed with diabetes. JC suddenly dropped 20 pounds from his already slim physique. He was constantly tired, stayed thirsty and drank more than usual. That caused him to use the bathroom more frequently, even throughout the night. Weight loss, excessive thirst and frequent urination are common symptoms of diabetes.

Lisa was puzzled by her husband’s initial diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes sometimes referred to as adult-onset or non-insulin dependent diabetes because he didn’t completely fit the profile. Type 2 diabetes typically occurs in older adults and can be aggravated by unhealthy eating habits, inactivity and obesity. None of these traits describe JC. Following a visit to the endocrinologist, JC’s diagnosis was changed to Type 1, and that day he began insulin therapy.

Lisa describes her husband as “independent and incredibly smart.” He was immediately able to learn carbohydrate counting and quickly did the math to calculate his insulin doses. Although the diagnosis presented a huge change in JC’s life, she said “he just handled it.”

Barnstable Brown supports the family

The Middletons have two children, Kara, a lively and self-confident 7-year-old who loves horses and wants to be a famous singer, and Max, an active and strong-willed 2-year-old who likes to run, jump and climb.

About a year ago, the Middletons noticed something unusual about baby Max. He stopped gaining weight and produced a lot more wet diapers. Late one evening while JC was testing his blood glucose level, he decided to test Max’s glucose level on a whim. He couldn’t believe his eyes.

“It was off the charts; it simply registered high,” JC said.

The next day, Max’s pediatrician strongly suspected that at age 20 months, the Middletons’ youngest child had Type 1 diabetes, and their world seemingly turned upside down.

“It crushes you,” JC said. “We were all but on the floor crying.”

Their pediatrician immediately directed the Middletons to UK’s Kentucky Children’s Hospital where Max was hospitalized. The first night, as Max was sleeping, Lisa took out her smart phone and read everything she could on diabetes, including the latest on clinical trials and advances in research.

Today, Max wears an insulin pump connected to a strap around his waist that delivers constant short-acting insulin through a catheter placed under the skin. The pump offers freedom from multiple injections and can be programmed based on what Max eats throughout the day and his activity level. A continuous glucose monitor, called a Dexcom, is attached to Max’s upper arm. This allows JC and Lisa to continuously monitor his glucose levels every five minutes, 24 hours a day. If his glucose level reads too low or too high, the Dexcom will send an alarm to JC’s and Lisa’s smart phones to warn them, which is especially important throughout the night.

“He handles his diabetes like a rockstar,” Lisa said. “Once you see your 2-year-old handling their diabetes better than you are, you have to get over it and move forward.”

About six weeks ago, while on a family vacation in Lisa’s home state of Michigan, Lisa noticed Kara had wet the bed during the night and thought she had a possible urinary tract infection.

“I think it was always in the back of my mind that diabetes could also happen to Kara, but honestly, I thought we were in the clear with her. We had one child with diabetes, surely we wouldn’t have another,” Lisa said. “My mom had some urine test strips and I tested Kara. Her urine was full of sugar.”

Kara was taken to a hospital in Michigan and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She began treatment that day. The Middletons then contacted UK to consult with Max’s pediatric endocrinology team about Kara’s treatments. The team includes Dr. Alba Morales, associate professor of pediatric endocrinology and Barnstable Brown faculty member and diabetes educator Angela Hepner.

“They were incredibly helpful, supportive and confirmed treatments,” Lisa said. “As soon as we returned home to Kentucky, Kara was seen at Barnstable Brown immediately.”

Kara is currently taking four to six shots every day and checking her blood sugar by herself six to 10 times per day. She also will be starting on an insulin pump and Dexcom next week thanks to the quick work of the staff and doctors at Barnstable Brown.

Dealing with diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, there is a 3-5 percent chance siblings will develop diabetes. Hepner said UK is seeing more sibling sets with diabetes as well as several families where one parent has Type 1.

“Our team is committed to making families like the Middletons have as positive an experience with diabetes as possible,” Hepner said. “For our younger children, we focus our educational efforts toward the parents, and also emphasize to the kids that diabetes should never stop them from doing what they love.”

Morales says it is a huge challenge to manage children with diabetes because they are changing and growing on a daily basis and their management has to evolve with them.

“The mother has been wonderful in the way she manages her children’s diabetes on a daily basis. It is more difficult than anyone can imagine,” Morales said. “She is really good at keeping us informed here so that we can all work as a team.”

While the Middletons say they are fortunate because both their children were diagnosed early before they got extremely sick, their biggest challenge is managing their worry.

“Like all parents, we want the best for our children and want them to lead as normal a life as possible, and a diagnosis of diabetes is just a detour in the road,” JC said. “I try not to blame myself for my kids’ diabetes because in all likelihood, I passed it on to them. There are so many potential things that may cause diabetes, you can’t blame it all on genetics.”

Morales says that the reason there is no cure for diabetes yet is because the disease’s causes are still unknown.

“It’s a combination of factors and genetics is only one. We believe there are undiscovered environmental factors as well,” she said. “Diabetes is impossible to predict in children, even if both parents have diabetes.”

Lisa said JC knows the seriousness of the disease and is involved in every aspect of their children’s care, but as the mother and the only non-diabetic in the family, she worries about them all.

“I worry whose blood sugar is up and whose is down. I have to keep track of checking glucose levels and who ate what and when, and if they got their insulin. Now that Kara is in the mix, it’s even more worrisome. I have to work every day to keep my family alive,” she said. “Worrying can consume all of the energy I have that I could be putting somewhere else; so I have to push nervousness to the back of my mind and focus.

“Diabetes is an invisible disease. My kids are not obviously diabetic. They are normal and active. We can easily hide the monitors and pumps with clothes but the seriousness of the disease is always present.”

JC adds, “there is light at the end of the tunnel. You can live a normal healthy life with diabetes. Hopefully our children will see a cure for Type 1 diabetes in their lifetime.”

Dr. John Fowlkes, director of the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center, said the clinical team is about much more than just seeing patients and prescribing treatment.

“Diabetes doesn’t just impact the individual, it can potentially impact the entire family whether there is one diabetic or several,” he said. “We strive to educate our patients on how to live a full and healthy life with diabetes, and serve as a medical home that addresses all their needs.”