Latest Entries

Cary Hospital Peach Inspired Farmers Market

WakeMed Cary Hospital will host a peach-inspired farmers market with local farmer Roger Ball and a representative from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.

Plan to get your grocery shopping done as you learn about the health benefits of tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, squash, carrots, green peppers and more.

11 am to 2 pm

WakeMed Cary Hospital – Points West Café (1900 Kildaire Farm Rd., Cary, NC 27518)

Wednesday, July 18


Vitamin D Exposed

Originally associated with the childhood disease rickets, vitamin D has reemerged as an important factor in health and disease prevention. The studies are so convincing, health organizations and our government are considering officially increasing the recommended daily requirement for vitamin D in the diet.  It is estimated that 75 percent of US teens and up to 60 percent of adults are deficient in vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is actually a type of steroid hormone that affects many cells and systems in the body.  We obtain vitamin D from the diet and from the sun striking unprotected skin. Unfortunately, getting adequate vitamin D from the diet is difficult.  Milk and oily fish are good sources but few other foods provide significant amounts.  Traditionally humans got all the vitamin D they needed from the sun.  When sun strikes skin, the body is able to make vitamin D. 

Levels typically plummet in winter when people spend more time covered up and indoors.  Our skin is more exposed in summer, but sunscreen blocks the skin from making Vitamin D.  Getting your vitamin D from the sun also poses a significant risk of skin cancer.  However, this issue is hotly debated as some experts recommend 10-15 minutes per day of sun exposure as the best way to keep levels up. In the case of vitamin D, supplements seem to be the best option.  Supplements are inexpensive and easily available in grocery stores and pharmacies. 

So why is this vitamin so important? 

Vitamin D is usually associated with bone health.  However, new research has found that vitamin D may be helpful in preventing certain cancers such as colorectal cancer.  Vitamin D also plays a role in the proper functioning of the immune system and may prevent the development of autoimmune diseases like Type 1 Diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.  People with Multiple Sclerosis are often vitamin D deficient.  In fact, the risk of MS is much higher the farther one lives from the equator.  Vitamin D is also believed to play a role in heart health, cholesterol levels, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes. 

Do I need more Vitamin D?

The first thing you should do is find out your vitamin D level with a simple blood test called a “25OH Vitamin D.”  A result of 32 ng/dl or above is considered adequate.  If your levels are very low, your physician may order Vitamin D once weekly with a recheck in 6-8 weeks.

How can I get more Vitamin D in my diet?

Most people do not need a prescription and can easily maintain adequate levels with vitamin D supplements found over the counter.  Taking 1000 IU of vitamin D daily along with a multivitamin that contains 200-400 IU during the spring and summer months should be enough.  More may be needed in winter.  Over this past winter I took a total of 2000 IU per day and my level was only 50ng/dl in May—a normal reading. 

Remember that everyone is different and you may require more or less. For this reason, working with your physician and getting levels checked regularly is important.  Be careful not to take mega doses without your doctor’s recommendation.  Vitamin D can be toxic in very high amounts, so more is not necessarily better.

Lori Stevens RD, LDN, CNSC, is a dietitian with WakeMed Cary Hospital.   The Outpatient Nutrition Services Department at WakeMed Cary Hospital offers nutrition counseling.  For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call or have your physician fax a referral. Phone: (919) 350-2358; Fax (919) 350-2319.


What’s the big whoop about whooping cough?

Whooping cough or pertussis is characterized by a cough where the infected person makes a loud “whoop” sound after coughing.  Whooping cough is generally known as “a disease of childhood” because children tend to (but do not always) make a distinguishable “whooping” sound when coughing.  But whooping cough affects adults and children alike.

So, what’s the big whoop about whooping cough?

Even though most of us are vaccinated in early childhood, whooping cough is still prevalent in our community and it is highly contagious.  In fact, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced recently that they have identified an outbreak of whooping cough in the Triad.

As an adult, whooping cough is typically just a cough and is not a huge deal.  The problem comes when infected adults expose infants and young children to the illness.  Pertussis can be deadly for infants and young children who have not been fully vaccinated.  Little babies with pertusis can get apnea where they cough, cough, cough, stop breathing, turn blue and potentially die.

Up until recently pertussis vaccines were given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, before kindergarten and then a booster was given in 6th grade.  Now, the recommendation is for adults to get a single pertussis booster to ensure immunity in an effort to protect the children around them.  Ask your doctor about getting a booster today.

Vaccinate Your Baby Today has more information.

Amy Griffin, MD, is the medical director, of the WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department


WakeMed Treats 200 Fireworks Injuries Per Year

Every year, WakeMed treats nearly 200 patients for burns from fireworks.  Please keep yourself and your family safe this Fourth of July by following these guidelines provided by Safe Kids Wake County.

  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch them at a community event where professionals handle them.
  • Kids should never play with fireworks or sparklers. Sparklers are designed to throw off showers of hot sparks.  These sparks can reach 1,200° Fahrenheit- hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Do not allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
  • Fireworks, including sparklers and flares, can cause serious burns as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing.
  • Teach your children how to call 911 in an emergency.  Also teach them what to do if their clothing catches on fire – stop, drop and roll.
  • Where permitted by law, fireworks should be handled and used in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and all warning labels.

Most importantly, Safe Kids urges families to not use fireworks and to view professional, public fireworks displays instead.

Safe Kids Wake County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death to children in the U.S. Safe Kids Wake County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to providing parents proven and practical resources to protect kids from preventable injuries. Safe Kids Wake County was founded in 1996 and is led by WakeMed Health & Hospitals.


WakeMed Cary Hospital Gallery Honors Local Artist

Art by Roxanna Alexander is currently on display in the WakeMed Cary Hospital Reflection Gallery

WakeMed Cary Hospital patients and visitors can now enjoy works by local artists.  Made possible through a partnership with Cary Visual Art, Inc., and a donation by the family and friends of Sandy Lappin, The Reflection Gallery features approximately ten works of art by local artists that will rotate on a quarterly basis.

Ms. Lappin was a frequent patient at WakeMed Cary Hospital who passed away last year. A local artist, Ms. Lappin enjoyed sharing her joy of the arts with the nursing staff that cared for her. Her family felt it was fitting to provide a donation that would not only thank the Cary Hospital staff for their care, but leave a positive impression on all who view the gallery.


Health Care and the Human Connection

Frequently, in the pages of the newspaper you hear about the business side of health care; which new facilities are opening, financial results or hardships, among other things.  These stories miss the most important driving force behind health care. 

Today, The News & Observer’s Deputy Editorial Page Editor Jim Jenkins eloquently brought the conversation back to what really matters in health care – the human connection.


Quality Matters

Meera Kelley, MD, is WakeMed's vice president of quality and patient safety

The Leapfrog Group is the most recent quality-rating agency to release a report grading each hospital in America.  The vast majority of hospitals received a B or C, including WakeMed Cary Hospital, WakeMed Raleigh Campus, the Cleveland Clinic, New York Mount Sinai Medical Center, among many others.

The idea behind these quality measures is for top performance to become the norm and not the exception. I agree with this position even though measuring quality and safety has unfortunately become a profit-driven industry. (With the exception of the publicly reported data on key clinical measures and satisfaction compiled by the U.S. Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services.)

In fact, the proliferation of potentially substandard, difficult-to-understand quality rankings makes me think we may need a quality ranking report for our publicly available quality rankings.

Regardless, I could spend time poking holes in the methodology used to calculate quality and safety for each of these reports grading America’s hospitals, but I would prefer to reiterate that quality and safety do matter.  In fact, nothing we do across the entire healthcare system has value if we don’t provide services that are of high quality and are delivered in a safe and patient/family-centered manner.

B and C grades may be considered “passing” in our overall troubled education system, but people trust hospitals with the health of themselves and their families.  At WakeMed, we are committed to meeting or beating patient’s expectations for quality and safety without exception.  It is top of mind day in and day out for our 8,000 employees, 1,200 medical staff members and 1,000 volunteers.  We are committed to getting right and will continue to implement solutions to continually improve quality and patient safety.

Meera Kelley, MD, is WakeMed’s vice president of quality and patient safety.


Diagnostic Center Open Off New Bern Ave.

This week, WakeMed opened a new Diagnostic Center on the first floor of the WakeMed Raleigh Medical Park located near the corner of New Bern Ave. and Sunnybrook Rd.   The Diagnostic Center offers outpatient imaging and lab services as well as pre-anesthesia testing in a location adjacent to the WakeMed Raleigh Campus.

In addition to the Diagnostic Center, the WakeMed Raleigh Medical Park will soon be home to the Capital City Surgery Center. Scheduled to open in July, the Capital City Surgery Center is a 30,000 square-foot ambulatory surgery center (ASC) which is a joint venture between WakeMed and community surgeons.

Duke Children’s and WakeMed Children’s Specialty Services will also open offices in the WakeMed Raleigh Medical Park this fall, bringing nationally recognized pediatric sub-specialist faculty from Duke to WakeMed.  The Duke practice includes 25 physicians, plus an additional 34 clinical and administrative staff. Duke will lease approximately 20,000 square feet in the medical office building and will complement WakeMed’s existing pediatric specialties.

“Southeast Raleigh has long been home to WakeMed Raleigh Campus, our flagship tertiary care hospital, but the neighborhood lacked convenient access to ambulatory and outpatient services,” commented Carolyn Knaup, vice president of ambulatory services.  “The addition of the WakeMed Raleigh Medical Park with the diagnostic center, pediatric specialty physicians and ambulatory surgery center will greatly expand access to medical services and increase convenience for patients in this area.”


WakeMed Brier Creek Healthplex Attains LEED Certification

Medical buildings are known to have at least double the energy requirements of standard buildings due to their 24/7 operations, high water usage and strict regulation over air quality. Yet, the WakeMed Brier Creek Healthplex achieved LEED certification with a 12 percent improvement in energy efficiency over standard buildings. Some of the building’s exceptional green features include:

■ Improved insulation in the walls, roof and windows

■ Energy-conserving interior and exterior light fixtures

■ A condensing heater that uses 96 percent of its fuel energy to heat domestic water

■ An adjustable, sub-metering monitoring system to hold each tenant accountable for appropriate electricity consumption

■ The building was constructed with 10 percent recycled materials from regional and local sources

■ Half of the wood used in the building is from certified, responsibly managed forests

■ Between 80 percent and 90 percent of construction waste was recycled

■ Water efficient systems have reduced interior water use by 22 percent and exterior use by 50 percent

■ A combination of regionally appropriate landscaping and drip irrigation significantly conserves water

The building was evaluated using the LEED Core and Shell (LEED-CS v2009) scorecard, which is a building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that evaluates six different areas of environmental and energy significance: sustainable sites; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; materials and resources; indoor environmental quality; and innovation in design.  The WakeMed Brier Creek Healthplex is a 48,314-square-foot medical facility that is developed, financed, leased, managed and owned by Indianapolis-based Duke Realty.


Trauma Season is Here. 10 Injury Prevention Tips

According to Safe Kids USA, children ages 14 and under will be rushed to emergency rooms nearly 3 million times for serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes, drownings, bike crashes, pedestrian incidents, falls and other hazards this summer.

In the injury prevention community, summer is also known as ‘trauma season’ because of the dramatic increase in the number of children injured from May through August.

Parents and caregivers should keep these ten tips in mind so safety stays a top priority this summer:

  • Actively supervise your child when engaging in summertime activities, such as swimming and playing on playgrounds and backyards.
  • Use the appropriate safety gear for your child’s activities, such as a helmet for wheeled sports and sporting activities, a car seat or booster seat as appropriate, and a life jacket for open water swimming and boating.  
  • Role model proper safety behavior. Children are more likely to follow safety rules when they see their parents doing so.
  • If you have a pool or a spa, it should be surrounded on all four sides by a fence at least four feet high with self-closing, self-latching gates, and it should be equipped with an anti-entrapment drain cover and safety vacuum release system. An inflatable pool needs to be surrounded by a fence, just like any other pool, and parents need to empty these pools when not in use.
  • Make sure your home playground is safe. Keep 12 inches safe surfacing, such as mulch, shredded rubber or fine sand, extending at least six feet in all directions around the equipment. Remove hood and neck drawstrings from your child’s clothing.
  • Keep children away from the grill area while preheating and cooking, and while the grill is cooling.
  • Remove potential poisons from your yard, including poisonous plants, pesticides and pool chemicals.
  • Walk all the way around a parked vehicle to check for children before entering a car and starting the motor.  Don’t let children play in driveways, streets, parking lots or unfenced yards adjacent to busy streets.
  • Apply sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher to your child’s exposed skin 15 to 30 minutes before going out, and reapply frequently.
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of water. A child who seems tired or achy should rest in the shade or go inside for a while. Get immediate medical help any time a child’s skin is hot to the touch (with or without perspiration), if a child has a seizure, or if they become disoriented in hot weather.

Siobhan Davis is a WakeMed injury prevention representative and coordinator for Safe Kids Wake County.  Safe Kids Wake County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Wake County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Wake County was founded in 1996 and is led by WakeMed Health & Hospitals.