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Thank You, First Responders!

On Friday, Sept. 19, the Greater Raleigh Chamber will recognize and celebrate Wake County first responders by hosting the sixth annual Greater Raleigh Chamber/Wells Fargo First Responders Appreciation Breakfast. In light of this event, WakeMed would also like to recognize and thank the courageous men and women who selflessly dedicate their lives to helping make our community a safer place.

Several local businesses, known as Friends of the First Responders, have also decided to honor our local first responders by offering special discounts to those who are either in uniform or who have identification. If you are a first responder, remember to take advantage of these great deals any time you are out and about.


National Environmental Services & Housekeeping Week

This week, Sept. 14-20, WakeMed recognizes National Environmental Services & Housekeeping Week and the important contributions made to our organization each and every day by our environmental services and housekeeping professionals. These dedicated employees play a huge role in helping to deliver high-quality and safe patient care, and they continue to enhance satisfaction and infection control practices for the benefit of our patients, physicians and other employees.

Additionally, WakeMed’s “Saving Lives: One Room at a Time” initiative has allowed many Environmental Services employees to be honored for scoring a 100 percent on their daily cleaning efforts after being audited by our Infection Prevention team.  This week, we honor their efforts and thank them for all their hard work.

Many WakeMed Environmental Services employees are honored for their 100 percent cleaning scores.



New WakeMed Class Helps Make Home a Safer Place

Home is supposed to be the safest place for your entire family. However, household injuries are one of the top reasons children under the age of 3 visit the emergency room ( With a new class geared toward safety and first aid techniques, WakeMed wants to help you identify potential hazards within your home and be prepared to treat and handle common household emergencies if they should occur.

“Safety First Aid for the Entire Family” is open to all community residents and is especially appropriate for the parents and caregivers of toddlers and preschoolers who wish to better ensure the safety of their homes and their ability to handle unexpected incidents and injuries. Even adults with older children or no children can benefit from the sound advice and important safety tips offered through this class.

“Caregivers working in pre-schools or daycare centers will also find this class incredibly helpful,” added Debbie McClamroch, a Birth & Parent Education specialist with WakeMed. “Our mission, like theirs, is to help ensure the safety and well-being of the children throughout our community.”
By the end of the class, participants will earn American Heart Association first aid certification and gain a plethora of safety and first aid advice from experienced instructors who are also parents themselves. Topics include:

  • How to identify and remove choking hazards in the home
  • How to child-proof all areas of your home, including the toilet and doorknobs
  • How to avoid heat stroke in infants, children and adults
  • How to care for cuts and scrapes
  • How to handle a loose or lost tooth
  • How to identify and remove dangerous “lookalikes,” such as poison or medicine that may look like candy or food
  • How to handle a fire-related emergency
  • How to identify any other potential hazards within the home, such as furniture that could tip over
  • How to help prevent dangers before they occur

The cost is $30 per person. Dates, times and locations for this class and a wide collection of other WakeMed Birth & Parent Education classes can be found on our website.

“At WakeMed, we want to be a resource for safety and injury prevention for the entire family,” added Danielle Cooke, also a Birth & Parent Education specialist with WakeMed . “We hope ‘Safety First Aid for the Entire Family’ will help many parents and caregivers learn how to prevent and manage accidents and injuries, especially those that are closest to home.”

Birth & Parent Education Classes to Be Offered at the New North Hospital in 2015
Next year, WakeMed’s Birth & Parent Education classes will also be offered at our brand new North Hospital, the first and only women’s hospital in this area which is scheduled to open in May 2015 in north Raleigh. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months!


WakeMed Program Featured for Mending Hearts

A WakeMed cardiac nurse and Mended Hearts volunteer

Along with the medical implications of suffering from a heart condition can come stress, worry and fear. This not only pertains to cardiac patients and survivors, but to their loved ones as well. For many people in this situation, it is comforting to know that they are not alone. 

Mended Hearts of the Triangle is a national organization with a local WakeMed chapter. It’s a support group that meets monthly to offer camaraderie and provide education and activities for cardiac survivors, their family members and medical professionals in the cardiology field.

Recently, the Midtown Raleigh News and the North Raleigh News featured a piece on WakeMed’s Mended Hearts chapter, including interviews with group members, for their “Faith in Focus” section. We appreciated these publications helping us spread the word about Mended Hearts and its availability to local cardiac patients who might be looking for extra support. Learn more about Mended Hearts.


Images from the North Campus Drying In

Weren’t able to attend the North Campus drying in event yesterday? See a few fun pictures of the event. Learn more about the new WakeMed Women’s Hospital opening in May 2015.


What Parents Need to Know About Human Enterovirus

We asked Dr. Mark Piehl, medical director of the WakeMed Children’s Hospital, what parents need to know about Human Enterovirus 68, a respiratory virus affecting children in the Midwest.  He shared the following information with us and several reporters including Time Warner News.

  1. Human Enterovirus 68 is rare, but has been known to cause outbreaks of respiratory illness.
  2. The virus usually causes cold symptoms, including runny nose, cough, and fever.
  3. For the vast majority of people, including children, the symptoms will resolve without medical intervention just like most colds and respiratory viruses.
  4. WakeMed Children’s Hospital has seen more patients with respiratory illnesses than usual for this time of year, particularly wheezing and asthma.
  5. Although colds and upper respiratory infections seem to be hitting earlier this year in our area, no cases of Human Enterovirus 68 have been reported at WakeMed.
  6. Human Enterovirus 68 can cause more severe symptoms if your child has any pre-existing respiratory problems, such as asthma.
  7. If your child has difficulty breathing or is wheezing and is not responding to usual treatment, see your doctor or visit the emergency department.
  8. The best defense against any virus is good hand washing! 

Back to school frequently brings colds and flu.  We’ll be sure to keep you posted on what we are seeing in our physician practices, Children’s Emergency Department and Children’s Hospital as the season progresses.

Watch this simple video produced by the CDC showing proper hand washing techniques.


WakeMed Offers New Parenting Class for Grandparents

If you are a soon-to-be grandparent, it has probably been a while since you’ve taken care of an infant. And as your grandchild gets older, you might be curious about your role in his or her life. Of course you want to be active and involved, but what boundaries might need to be observed?  How do you ensure you are enhancing your grandchild’s upbringing without stepping on any toes?

In an effort to help you navigate these unknown “grandparent waters,” WakeMed’s Birth & Parent Education team introduces a new class called “Grandbabies.”  It is designed specifically for grandparents and can even be beneficial for aunts and uncles. Taught by instructors who are certified in Basic Life Support (BLS) and who are grandparents themselves, this class helps grandparents learn how to help, not hinder, when it comes to raising a family’s newest members.

Using a fun and interactive format, “Grandbabies” is centered around feedback and questions from the participants themselves. Topics that will be addressed include childcare basics, safety and first-aid, how to best communicate with a grandchild’s parents and tips to avoiding conflict. For example, learn how to change a diaper all over again, gain insight on the proper way to discipline without interfering, and get advice on how to avoid overindulging a child when it comes to food and other treats.  Additionally, participants will learn how to perform CPR on an infant and how to rescue an infant who is choking.

Costing only $15 per participant, this class is open to any member of the community, not just the grandparents of children born at WakeMed.  For times and dates, visit our webpage and register online.

Sneak a Peek of WakeMed North Hospital
Next year, WakeMed’s Birth & Parent Education classes will also be offered at our brand new North Hospital, the first and only women’s hospital in this area which is scheduled to open in May 2015 in north Raleigh. To learn more about our new hospital, attend our Sneak Peek event on Tuesday, Sept. 9. Take  tour, learn about the wide range of women’s services that the hospital will offer and meet our physicians. You and your children can even help add a personal artistic touch to our hospital murals!


Diaper Area MRSA

Community-acquired MRSA infections have been steadily increasing over the past couple of years.  The vast majority of these infections resolve themselves without medical intervention.  Some, however, progress and have to be treated in the hospital.

Babies seem to be especially prone to developing serious MRSA infections requiring hospitalization in their diaper areas.  Even just a mild case of diaper rash can create the tiny breach in the skin needed for MRSA to enter.

Parents, if you notice something that looks like a pimple that starts to get bigger and look angry, it is a good idea to get the area checked by a physician sooner than later. 

Most MRSA infections, can be managed by your pediatrician and the sooner treatment begins, the less likely you are to end up in the hospital.  Your physician may drain the “pimple” and prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection.

MRSA Truths

  • Many parents who notice a pimple in the diaper area assume it is a spider bite.  It is highly unlikely that a spider ended up in your child’s diaper.
  • There is not much you can do to prevent a MRSA infection.  Keeping the skin cut and blemish free will prevent MRSA from being able to enter.  Unless your baby lives in a bubble, this is not possible.
  • MRSA infections in the diaper area do not occur because baby was left for extended periods of time in a dirty diaper.  Even babies whose diapers are changed frequently sometimes develop diaper rash and can get a MRSA infection.
  • If other members of the family have had a MRSA infection it likely means others in the family are carriers of MRSA as well.
  • MRSA does not always need to be treated by a doctor.  You need to see a doctor if you notice the area getting bigger and redder.
  • Children who have had a MRSA infection are more likely to have subsequent infections, but once they are out of diapers the risk of a skin breach in the diaper area becomes much less likely.  As a result, MRSA infections requiring hospitalization occur less frequently.
  • In a typical week, there are at least five children hospitalized at WakeMed Children’s Hospital for MRSA infections.

MRSA is everywhere. Being aware of signs and symptoms of a serious MRSA infection is your best defense.  Prompt treatment will keep you and your family well and out of the hospital.

Karen Chilton, MD, is a pediatric hospitalist in the WakeMed Children’s Hospital


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