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Top 5 Weight Loss Surgery Questions Answered

WakeMed Cary Hospital is a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, and we have helped many people and their families decide if weight loss surgery is for them.  Most often, the exploratory process starts with online research and then an information session.  The top 5 questions asked during these information sessions include:
1.       Do I have enough extra weight to qualify for surgery?

Many people are surprised to find out a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above qualifies them for weight loss surgery.  The BMI threshold is only 35 if extra weight is coupled with an obesity-related disease like diabetes or sleep apnea makes them qualified for weight loss surgery.  Bariatric surgery is a permanent weight loss solution for many people who have struggled to lose weight for years. 
2.       Will I still be able to enjoy life and eat real food after surgery?

Life immediately after surgery will require you to retrain your brain.  You will have to maintain a strict diet, eating small meals and drinking only a little bit at a time.  This strict diet will prevent the surgery site from becoming injured.  After the surgery site has had a chance to completely heal, you will again be able to eat tasty good food in smaller quantities.  You will also be able to enjoy celebrations that include food, including Christmas, birthdays, etc.
3.       When will I be able to resume normal activities after surgery?

The recovery period after bariatric surgery is pretty short.  Most people stay in the hospital for one or possibly two days.  Then, they are usually back to work within two weeks, assuming their jobs are not excessively physically demanding.
4.       Will I be in a lot of pain after surgery?

Believe it or not, bariatric surgery does not typically cause a significant amount of pain.  Of course, it is surgery so there will be some discomfort, but most patients find that the restrictive eating plan immediately following surgery is more difficult than handling the surgical pain.
5.       There are multiple different options for bariatric surgery, which one should I choose?

The best way to decide between banding, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass is to carefully review the pros and cons for each procedure and discuss the options your physician.

Committing to losing excess weight through bariatric surgery is a big decision.  At WakeMed, we offer patients a team approach to care, offering access to a surgeon, psychologist, nutritionist and physical fitness expert.  We are committed to help patients make the right decision about surgery and then supporting them after the procedure is complete.  We even have a bariatric surgery support group that meets regularly at the Cary Hospital.  All of our patients lose weight, and most realize other weight loss benefits as well, including less depression, lower blood pressure, improved blood sugar and generally better overall health. 

Sign up to attend an information session today to learn more. 
Dr. Brandon Roy is a board certified general surgeon who specializes in bariatric surgery.


Back to School – Stock Your Pantry

Parul Kharod, a WakeMed dietitian, now has her very own column in the News & Observer.  Her first topic is stocking your pantry for back to school.

Of course, we’ve know  for years that Parul R-O-C-K-S.  She has been a frequent contributor to this blog on many different nutrition topics for years, including:

Inspiration for Packing a Healthy Lunch

Aronia Beries the Super Food of the Day

Safeguarding Your Gluten Free Diet

When One Child Needs to Lose and One Needs to Gain  

Kitchen Makeover How to Flavor Your Food

So Does Anybody Really Observer Meatless Mondays

Kitchen Makeover Top 10 Foods For Your Pantry

Kitchen Makeover Appliances for a Healthy Kitchen

Debunking Myths About Vegetarian Eating

Combatting Rising Health Care Costs With Nutrition

Eat a Rainbow

D-A-S-H Your Way to Better Health


Last Market of the Season – Today 10 am – 2 pm

The Raleigh Campus Farmers’ Market is now open for business in the courtyard.  This is the last market of the season.  Please be sure to come out to enjoy the beautiful weather, thank all of our dedicated vendors who were key to making the market a success and stock up on non-perishable pantry items.  

Additionally, the market could not have happened without assistance from Campus Police and Public Safety, Facility Services, Food & Nutrition Services, Environmental Services and the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.  Thank you all for helping to make the inaugural Raleigh Campus Farmers’ Market season a great success.

Features Today Include:

Mr. Roger Ball

  • Shelled purple hull peas & butterbeans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, sweet potatoes, onions & garlic
  • Peaches, apples, watermelon

Grocers on Wheels

  • Kale, grapes, okra, green beans, honey and more

Moore Farms

  • Herbs: 5 kinds of basil, cilantro parsley, sage, mint, oregano, rosemary & thyme
  • Tomatoes
  • Beautiful cut flowers

Natural Choice

  • Homemade Dijon & German mustard
  • Strawberry, pear, apricot and fig preserves

JAM Catering

  • 14 different kinds of pickles, including watermelon rind, hot pepper and chow, chow
  • Baked goods including cakes, Neiman Marcus bars, butterscotch brownies and more

Gluten Free With Sarah B

  • Cinnamon pumpkin donuts, brownie bites & blueberry muffins

Connie Burns

  • Wrist purses, glasses cases, cell phone cases, heat wraps, lavender eye pillows

Allvecia Soaps

  • Scrubs, soaps & mango butter

Prabath Gunwardane

  • Artwork
  • Live plants including aloe, ferns, gomphrena and charmed wine

WakeMed Nurse Named to Great 100 Nurses of N.C.

Robin Pritchett, RN, of the WakeMed Raleigh Campus Chest Pain Unit, was named one of The Great 100 Nurses in North Carolina by The Great 100, Inc., an organization that recognizes nursing excellence and provides scholarships to nursing students statewide. Pritchett, along with 99 other registered nurses, was selected on the basis of outstanding professional ability and commitment to improving health care.

Pritchett has over 30 years of experience, including 14 years at WakeMed. She has spent the past four years as a staff nurse in the Chest Pain Unit and has served on several hospital-wide and nursing unit committees.

“I knew I had been nominated, but I was just stunned when I heard that I’d been selected. It’s a great honor,” said Pritchett, who passed on her love of nursing to her daughter, who is also a WakeMed nurse!

Great 100 honorees are nominated by peers and chosen following a lengthy selection process that includes education, experience, professional and community service activities and achievements. Pritchett will be honored along with the other Great 100 recipients at a gala this October in Greensboro.


WakeMed Investing in Women’s Care

In addition to opening Wake County’s first women’s hospital next year, WakeMed also recently unveiled plans for a significant remodel and expansion of the Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace at the Raleigh Campus slated to be finished in the of summer 2015. 

This expansion is a direct result of WakeMed’s patient- and family-centered approach to care, which encourages rooming-in, allowing families to stay together throughout the celebration of new life and making it easier for mothers to have privacy.

The new family-centered design on Raleigh Campus will include:

  • 15 spacious Labor and Delivery Suites, ensuring privacy and comfort
  • 3 state-of-the-art Surgical Suites for C-section and special needs deliveries
  • A new Antepartum High-Risk Unit specifically designed for the complex needs of high-risk pregnancies, featuring 8 private rooms with advanced technology
  • 2,400-square-foot expansion
  • A comprehensive program of services and staff to protect both mother and child during pregnancy and immediately after birth

This expansion further complements WakeMed’s dedication to women’s services across the system as well as our tiniest patients and their families. Earlier this year, we opened our expanded our Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – the only one of its kind in Wake County – and introduced private rooms along with a beautiful new design and state-of-the-art upgrades. The new birthplace will maintain its vital proximity to the NICU, ensuring our most fragile newborns receive immediate special attention and care. 

In North Raleigh, WakeMed’s new, 61-bed, full-service women’s hospital – designed with the unique needs of women in mind – will open on Mother’s Day 2015. WakeMed North Hospital will feature amenities tailored to our patients and offer women of every age throughout northern Wake County and the surrounding communities access to a wide variety of exceptional health services.

After the new hospital opening and the Raleigh Campus renovation, all three WakeMed birthing centers will feature a family-centered environment along with the most advanced technology in maternal care.  WakeMed delivers more babies than any other health system in Wake County, and has an expert team of obstetricians, neonatologists, maternal-fetal specialists, nurses and other professionals. 

The WakeMed Foundation has committed to raise $2.5 million through its Labor of Love campaign to support the Raleigh Campus renovation. To learn more or to donate, please visit

Learn more about the Raleigh Campus expansion in this Triangle Business Journal story.


Happy First Birthday, WakeMed Garner Healthplex!

One year ago today (August 19, 2013), WakeMed Garner Healthplex opened its doors, offering a full-service emergency department, comprehesive imaging services and on-site laboratory services to the Garner community. 

In its first year, the Garner Healthplex Emergency Department saw close to 22,000 patients, including more than 17,00 adults and 4,000+ children. The facility saw upwards of 2,000 patients each month for the last five months (March through July), with numbers continuing to grow.  

At the WakeMed Garner Healthplex Emergency Department, services for children and adults are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including : 

  • 10 private treatment rooms
  • X-ray, CT scan and ultrasound testing
  • An ambulance receiving area
  • A dedicated patient reception and waiting room
  • Pediatric emergency services backed by WakeMed Children’s

The facility is staffed by the same, board-certified emergency physicians that care for patients in WakeMed’s Level I Trauma Center on WakeMed Raleigh Campus. Additionally, Garner Healthplex provides comprehensive imaging services for adults and children, including MRI, CT scan, X-ray and ultrasound, as well as an on-site laboratory offering specimen collection for a variety of tests.

Learn more about WakeMed Garner Healthplex, located at 400 U.S. Highway 70 East (across from Agri Supply) in Garner. We wish the facility and staff a happy first birthday and many more to come!


Chef’s Station: Shrimp & Grits

WakeMed Café 3000 Chef Antonio Alano was featured in this month’s issue of Foodservice Director magazine.  In the issue, Chef Antonio shared his revamped recipe for shrimp and grits.  Chef Antonio proves it is possible to make healthy food taste great! 


Cafe 3000 Chefs Rob Newmeyer (R) and Antonio Alano (L) make healthy food taste great every day.

Chef’s Station Signature Dish – Shrimp & Grits

Chef Antonio F. Alano

Servings – 4

2 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp.  garlic, minced
1.5 cups nonfat milk
8 oz. quick grits
½ cup water (if needed)
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz. Andouille sausage, thinly sliced
4oz real bacon bits
¼ cup julienned vegetable blend (red onion, green, yellow bell peppers)
¼ tsp. kosher salt
12 oz. raw 31-40 shrimp, peeled & deveined
4 oz tomato, diced
1 cup fresh spinach

Poaching liquid for shrimp
4 cups water
1 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. thyme
1 tbsp. oregano

1. Heat a nonstick pan on medium-high.   Add butter and allow to melt.  Add diced onion; sauté until translucent.  Add garlic and sauté lightly.
2. Add milk and incorporate into mix.  Lower heat to medium and add grits slowly, stirring constantly.  Add water if needed.
3. When grits are cooked thoroughly, add cheese and stir.
4. Heat separate pan on medium-high.  Add oil and sausage.  Add bacon bits and stir.  Add vegetable blend and stir; then add salt.
5. In medium pot, mix poaching liquid ingredients together and bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer; add shrimp and poach until pink and tender.
6. Spoon grits into bowl.  Place fresh spinach on top of grits.  Top with shrimp, tomatoes and bacon bits/sausage/vegetable blend mixture.


WakeMed’s Garner Primary Care Now Offers Dedicated Pediatric Services

WakeMed Physician Practices – Garner Primary Care is now offering a full range of dedicated pediatric services for babies and children, age newborn and up. This includes newborn hospital follow-up visits, well checks, sick visits, immunizations/vaccinations and more. 

The team at Garner Primary Care is comprised of physicians who are board certified in pediatrics and/or family medicine. They recognize that newborns, babies, young children and teens all have different health care needs, and they enjoy providing a wide range of pediatric care and services while helping you and your family navigate the health care landscape on behalf of your child. 

In addition to pediatric services, Garner Primary Care provides:

Garner Family Medicine Services
With four dedicated physicians, the team at Garner Primary Care offers expertise in caring for patients in various stages of life through wellness, prevention and the treatment of a wide range of medical issues. With clinical interests in a wide variety of areas, their physicians provide a broad range of wellness services and preventive care options, while also assisting with the management of chronic health conditions.  

Garner Internal Medicine Services
Garner Primary Care’s internal medicine physicians are experts in caring for adults, managing chronic health conditions, and promoting health and wellness. Whether you suffer from diabetes, hypertension, heart disease or other chronic health problems – or are just looking to take better proactive care of your health – their talented physicians want to help.

WakeMed Physician Practices – Garner Primary Care
WakeMed Garner Healthplex
400 U.S. Highway 70 East, Suite 202
Garner, NC 27529
Office: 919-235-6400
Map & Directions


Stomach Pain in Kids – Could it be Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a relatively common condition for children ages 8 to 18 and also young adults. It happens within the appendix, a small out-pouching of the large intestine (the colon) that is located on the right side of the abdomen near the pelvis. About the size of a pinkie finger, the appendix doesn’t really have any important function within the human body, which is ironic because it can cause a lot of trouble if it gets inflamed and infected – also called appendicitis.

What Causes Appendicitis?
Almost all the time, food travels normally through the intestine.  But over months, or even years, small pieces of food can get “off track” and build up to create a plug in the appendix. This plug is called a fecalith and is probably the most common cause of appendicitis.

Signs & Symptoms
Many cases of appendicitis begin with stomach pain that is first located around the belly button and then moves to the right side of the stomach. The pain is usually constant and persistent – it does not come and go. It is exacerbated by movement, for example a bumpy car ride. A child who is experiencing appendicitis might be expected to moan in pain and won’t be able to jump up and down. He or she also might hunch over when trying to walk. Other symptoms could include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting (one to three times, usually not much more)
  • Low-grade fever (100 to 100.5 degrees F)

When to See a Doctor
If you think your child is exhibiting symptoms of appendicitis, you should immediately call your child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor. If the case is severe enough, you might be advised to go to a children’s emergency room, such as the WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department. There is great value in going to a place where the nurses, doctors and other care providers see children all the time and are also familiar with seeing kids who are suffering from a condition like appendicitis.

In about 90 percent of cases where bad abdominal pain is the concern, a viral illness or something similar that doesn’t require emergency intervention,  is the culprit. However, if appendicitis is the diagnosis, IV antibiotics will be administered immediately.

Most cases will then involve a laparoscopic appendectomy, or a minimally invasive procedure for appendix removal. In only about  two percent of cases is traditional “open surgery” for appendix removal still necessary.

Both procedures include the use of general anesthesia which is very safe for children. In extreme cases, the appendix may rupture, which can be life-threatening.

Early acute appendicitis usually involves an overnight hospital stay and, in five to seven days, the child can go back at school. Gradually, he or she can return to normal activities. More complicated cases can involve a five- to six-day hospital stay. 

By the Numbers
There are usually no long-term effects of having your appendix removed. In fact:

  • Appendectomy is the single most common emergency abdominal surgery for kids in the United States.
  • One out of 13 Americans will have an appendectomy in their lifetime. 
  • 70,000 to 80,000 kids in our country have appendectomies every year, making it extremely common.

The most important thing to remember: If your child’s symptoms are concerning, call your pediatrician or primary care doctor right away and describe what’s going on.  He or she can help guide you on what to do next.

J. Duncan Phillips, MD, FACS, FAAP, is surgeon-in-chief of the WakeMed Children’s Hospital and director of Pediatric Surgery.


Preparing for Ebola

If you watch the news, you have definitely heard that Ebola is a highly contagious deadly virus affecting hundreds in Africa.  Often with these types of highly contagious diseases, it is only a matter of time before it enters the United States.  Public health officials at the state, county and hospital level track and prepare for contagious diseases long before the death toll reaches the point that media starts to pay attention.

WakeMed staff are trained and well prepared to care for patients with highly contagious diseases.  In fact in years past, we have cared for patients with suspected SARS and those infected with H1N1 flu.

Ensuring the safety of all patients, visitors and staff in the event of a serious infectious disease requires knowledge, forethought and careful attention to protocol.  WakeMed has a robust Infection Prevention & Control team that implements every precaution to protect the safety and well-being of our employees, patients and visitors.
In light of the recent Ebola outbreak, WakeMed has implemented – with guidance from the CDC and the local health departments – specific screening questions which are currently active in all of WakeMed’s seven emergency departments.

In the event a patient meets the Ebola screening guidelines during triage, an immediate, internal response plan is put in place for the safe, rapid isolation of the patient and the continued safety of all other patients, visitors and staff. The key principle driving rapid isolation is to prevent transmission of disease.  As part of this plan, a WakeMed Infection Prevention & Control Professional serves as a 24/7 education and support contact for isolation, patient transport, transport of lab specimens, and is a key link in communicating with public health officials.

Isolation units are identified and set up in collaboration with the CDC and local health departments. Signage and monitors would be placed outside of the isolation room to ensure access is limited to clinical staff providing care to the patient.  Any staff treating a patient with a serious infectious disease will not treat any other patients and wears fully-protective, head-to-toe equipment.  Protective clothing such as fluid resistant gowns, aprons, gloves, head coverings, eyewear and more is worn whenever potential exposure to blood or body fluids is anticipated.  Staff is instructed on how to put on and remove protective garments and equipment without contaminating oneself.

Following the treatment or transport of an isolation patient, strict guidelines are in place to decontaminate an isolation room or unit. WakeMed’s Environmental Services staff also coordinates the best method for cleaning and decontamination with Infection Prevention & Control, including the use of specialized portable UV machines that completely eradicate bacteria, viruses and molds.

It’s our job to help keep our community healthy and safe, and it is a job we take very seriously – especially when it comes to highly contagious diseases.