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Playing it Straight: Chest & Spine Issues in Teens

The teen years can be tough. Scoliosis or a chest wall deformity can make them even tougher. But the symptoms should not be ignored.

Diagnosing Scoliosis

All spines have a natural curve that extends from the neck to the base of the spine, helping the body maintain balance and alignment. Too much side-to-side or lateral curve in the spinal column results in scoliosis. Here are some red flags that your child might have scoliosis:
• Shoulders are asymmetrical, with one shoulder blade protruding out more than the other
• Head is not centered above the pelvis
• One hip appears to be raised
• Rib cages are different heights
• Waist is uneven
• Skin covering the spine shows changes in appearance or texture (dimples, discoloration or excessive hair)

Diagnosing a Chest Wall Deformity

Chest wall deformities – pectus excavatum (sunken chest) or pectus carinatum (pigeon chest) – most commonly occur in teenagers. Patients can experience symptoms such as:
• Exercise intolerance
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Embarrassment over body image
• Cannot keep up with peers while playing sports.

Spine Camp

To educate children and parents about scoliosis, chest wall deformities and treatment options, WakeMed Rehab and Children’s Surgical Services, along with Raleigh Orthopaedics, are hosting a half-day spine camp.

Saturday, October 29 – 9 am to Noon
WakeMed Raleigh CampusRehab Health Park

Learn more and register online at or by calling 919-350-4179.


After Being Paralyzed for 10 Years, WakeMed Rehab Patient Begins Walking

WRAL reports on a paralyzed WakeMed Rehab patient who begins walking again near the 10 year anniversary of her injury.


North Carolina Seasonal Sensation – Pumpkin Recipes

Fall is finally here! And that means it’s time to snuggle up with warm, comforting foods as good for the body as they are for the soul. Here in North Carolina,  pumpkins are grown more than any other veggie in the month of October. And as a dietitian, I couldn’t be more excited.

Pumpkins are loaded with vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system, promote healthy vision and eye function and reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease. Both the pumpkin’s flesh and its seeds are rich in alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, zinc and vitamin A. So eat those pumpkins, but be wary of the delectable treats the pumpkin is deliciously know for.

Usually found in pie, cake, bread, muffins and cookies, pumpkin can quickly go from a healthy choice to one that piles on those unwanted pounds. But don’t worry; there are tons of pumpkin dishes ready for the making and as healthy as they are delicious. Let’s start with savory wild rice and pumpkin cakes and hearty pumpkin soup.

In honor of this month’s seasonal sensation, here are deliciously healthy pumpkin recipes straight from WakeMed’s Heart Smart Cooking Series and the chefs at the WakeMed Raleigh Campus cafeteria, Cafe 3000.

Wild Rice and Pumpkin Cakes
From WakeMed’s Heart Smart Cooking Series
Serves 6

1 cup wild rice blend, cooked and cooled
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried apricots, diced small
1/3 cup carrots, diced small
½ cup toasted pecans, chopped
¼ cup part-skim milk mozzarella, shredded
1 cup pumpkin puree
olive oil or cooking spray
Mesclun greens

Cook rice according to the directions on package. Fold in cranberries, apricots and carrots for the last 10 minutes of the cooking time. (You just want to cook the carrots and plump up the cranberries and apricots.) Gently fold in pecans, cheese and pumpkin. Divide rice into 10 balls, flatten each into a cake, and place on an oiled, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 35, or just to heat through, serve over a handful of mesclun greens.
Per serving (one patty): 200 calories; 8 g fat; 27 g carbohydrates; 79 mg sodium; 3 g fiber

Pumpkin Soup
From Jennifer Lagrand and Chris Zebney, WakeMed’s Café 3000 Chefs, WakeMed Food & Nutrition Services
Serves 8, 1 cup per serving
3 lbs pumpkin, peeled and cubed
4 shallots, minced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 stems fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 large bunch fresh sage leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 to 3 tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds. Using a knife or fork, poke several holes through the pumpkin’s skin. Drizzle olive oil over the flesh of the pumpkin and season very lightly with salt and cracked pepper. Lay the pumpkin on a baking sheet with the flesh facing down. Roast until the pumpkin is soft and a fork passes through smoothly – about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and shallots. Let the shallots sweat for 5 minutes, stirring until they start to caramelize. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the ginger.
Scrape the pumpkin away from the skin and add it to the pot. Add the stock, cider and thyme. Bring the ingredients to a simmer, then cover and cook until the pumpkin is very tender.

Let the the pumpkin cool for several minutes then, working in batches scoop the mixture into a blender or food processor, being very careful not to overflow the container. Once you transfer the mixture to the blender, allow it to cool a few additional minutes, then puree until smooth. Transfer pureed pumpkin soup into another pot and keep warm on the stove. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds, cracked pepper and a few shavings of Romano parmigiano cheese.
Per serving: 148 calories; 6.5 g fat; 330 mg sodium; 23 g carbohydrate; 1.7 g protein

This post is part of the NC’s No Diet Diet series.  View previous posts here: February Sweet Potato, March Lettuce, April Strawberries, May Broccoli and Cabbage, June Peaches, July Vegetables, August Watermelon, September Muscadine Grapes

Tina Schwebach is a clinical dietitian at WakeMed Cary Hospital.


WakeMed Breaks Ground on North Hospital

WakeMed North Hospital Rendering

Today, WakeMed broke ground on WakeMed North Hospital, Wake County’s fifth hospital and the county’s first women’s focused hospital.

The groundbreaking took place during the Ladies Day event, where women throughout the community attended seminars, got health information and participated in screenings.

“As the northern Wake County community continues to grow, there is an increase in the demand for our services. The increased patient volumes we are seeing at WakeMed North Healthplex more than supports the development of a hospital at this location,” explained Carolyn Knaup, vice president, WakeMed ambulatory services. “While we fully expect WakeMed North Hospital to eventually expand into a full-service hospital, serving men, women and children, the immediate need is for women’s services.”

With an anticipated opening date of fall 2014, WakeMed North Hospital will be a 61-bed acute care hospital with a focus on inpatient women’s specialty services, offering a full range of obstetric and gynecological services, including comprehensive preventive, diagnostic, surgery, and therapeutic care.

The addition of a women’s focused-hospital further complements WakeMed’s dedication to women’s services across the system. This month, WakeMed also opened a newly renovated and expanded Women’s Pavilion and Birthplace on the Raleigh Campus. This renovation/expansion was made possible when the pediatric care unit was vacated last year due to the opening of the WakeMed Children’s Hospital on the Raleigh Campus.

The changes will allow for the renovation and expansion of Wake County’s only level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This expansion is the second phase of the WakeMed Foundation’s Just For Kids Kampaign.


Clayton Fear Farmer’s Unique Way of Giving Thanks

Why I photographed a cornfield from the air

Glenn Boyette will tell you that he has been farming for all of his 59 years. With 100 acres in Johnston County, he has worked his farm 11 hours a day, seven days a week.

That changed after one of Boyette’s rare trips away from the farm. While vacationing in the Outer Banks, he and his wife Bonnie decided to climb the 268 steps to the top of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, but severe chest pain cut their ascent short.

Upon his return to Raleigh, a nuclear stress test revealed that three of the arteries leading to Boyette’s heart were blocked and that he needed triple bypass surgery. Cardiothoracic surgeon Robert Peyton, MD, performed Boyette’s procedure at the WakeMed Heart Center.  His cardiologist Matthew Hook, MD, and the highly skilled WakeMed Heart Center staff cared for him after the procedure.

Once home, Boyette thought about the incredible care and caring he received as a patient at the WakeMed Heart Center and wanted to find a way to properly thank the staff and physicians for all they did to save his life. 

It just so happens that Boyette is the founder of one of the most successful Halloween attractions in the area, The Clayton Fear Farm.  Each year, the Boyettes create a massive corn maze with more than two miles of trails.  He thought, “What better way to say thank you than to carve the WakeMed Heart Center logo out of corn?”

A beautiful day

A few months later I climbed aboard Air Mobile, WakeMed’s helicopter for a fuel run to Johnston County.  Air Mobile must fly over the cornfield each time it refuels. 

The pilot and I didn’t know the exact location of Clayton Fear Farm, so I looked it up on my smartphone.  The pilot and crew checked of their pre-flight list, doors shut, seatbelts fastened. We donned helmets and headsets for communication, and to seal out the roar of spinning rotors.

I thought of my then-five year old daughter’s description of takeoff on her first flight as the helicopter lifted from the pad: “I feel joy in my stomach!”

We made a beeline to the farm. It was a perfect time of the day to make photographs. In fact, photographers call it “the golden hour,” when the light is most beautiful, about an hour before sunset.  “Great time to get fuel,” I thought.

I took out my smartphone from one of the many pockets of my flight suit, using the onscreen map as a guide. The gps locator that represented the aircraft blipped toward our destination. We were close now, so we began to look for the maze.

Tom Parker, our pilot, saw it first. “That is PRET-TY cool,” he said. It took me another 15 seconds to spot it. It was a thing of beauty. The corn maze looked like a huge green welcome mat, and it was greeting us. On closer observation it looked like each stalk of corn was a pixel on a computer screen.

Cut paths formed the logo for the WakeMed Heart Center, with more paths cut around it to create a complex picture frame surrounding the logo centerpiece. The maze was exquisitely executed, precise and clean.

“I would not like to get lost in this maze,” I thought.

I opened a small hatch in the door, and stuck the camera lens out of the hole, and started pressing the shutter button, taking pictures in rapid succession as the aircraft circled the maze. The emerald green patch of crops fit in the context of the patchwork of the surrounding farmland.

Glenn Boyette and his family had found a most unique way a farmer could to say thanks for the gift of health regained.

Patients who experience above-and-beyond service and care at a WakeMed facility show their appreciation to physicians and staff in many ways.  But only one has ever displayed his thanks in five acres of corn.  I witnessed his appreciation from a height where it is best understood. I am honored to share with you what I saw that day.

Julie Macie is a graphic design architect with WakeMed.  One of the roles she fills at WakeMed is that of photographer. She makes photographs all over our health care system, from employee portraits, to heart surgeries; from documenting employees in action in our emergency department, to capturing teaching sessions in our medical simulation laboratory.  Suffice it to say, that Julie was quite surprised when she was asked to make an aerial photograph of the Clayton Fear Farm corn maze.


Count Down to the Scrub Run and Fun Fest

We’re only two days away from the first WakeMed Scrub Run and Fun Fest.  And, there is still time to register and to plan to come out for the fun!

WakeMed’s Scrub Run offers events for both running enthusiasts and families. Featuring competitive 5K and 10K races that accommodate both runners and walkers, along with a 100-Yard Kids Dash, this event is designed to involve our entire community.

Scrub Run Start Times & Entry Fees
• 10K – Starts at 8:30 am – $30
• 100-Yard Kids Dash – Starts at 9:45 am – $5
• 5K – Starts at 10 am – $25

Awards will be presented to the Top Three Overall Men & Women, the Top Three Masters Male & Female, and Top Three in male & female age divisions. Course maps are online at or

Race packet & shirt pick-up
• Friday, September 30 from 4 to 6 pm at Marbles IMAX Theatre, 201 E. Hargett Street, Raleigh
• Saturday, October 1 from 7 to 9 am at Moore Square

Register Today!
Register online at By entering one of the Scrub Run races, you will support WakeMed Children’s and the children of our community.

Fun Fest – 9 am to 2 pm
In addition to the race, WakeMed and its community partners will continue the celebration with a free Fun Fest event in Moore Square. Racers, their family and friends, and all members of the community will enjoy a variety of activities, including:

• Games & activities
• Live music from Bull City Syndicate
• Entertainment
• Face painting
• Arts & crafts
• Mascots, including Twinkle, WakeMed Children’s mascot

Come help us celebrate our 50th year of service to the community!


Raleigh Campus and Cary Hospital Awarded New Beds

Yesterday, we received word from the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation Certificate of Need (CON) Section that WakeMed has been awarded 29 new beds of the 79 requested for Raleigh Campus and all of the 22 new beds requested for Cary Hospital.  Together, these CON awards account for 51 of the 101 new beds available in the 2011 State Medical Facilities Plan. 

Want more information about the decision? Visit the Triangle Business Journal or News & Observer web sites.


Ladies Day Coming to North Healthplex

You are the architect, builder and designer of your life. Are you ready for a healthy renovation?

WakeMed North Healthplex is hosting a special day just for women in our community on Thursday, October 6, 2011.

• Attend free health seminars on osteoporosis, sinus headaches, urinary issues, weight loss, heart disease, and understanding the tween years.

• Participate in a wide variety of free health screenings, including cholesterol, bone density, blood pressure, hearing, balance and posture.

• Meet with health care professionals to discuss diabetes, heart health, breast health, stroke education, and other issues of concern to you.

• Pamper yourself at our Ladies Day spa, featuring chair massages, mini manicures and relaxation techniques.

Plus, join us for a special kickoff to Ladies Day as we host the groundbreaking ceremony for the new WakeMed North Hospital, a 61-bed full-service hospital focused on women’s care. (7:30 to 9 am – On the front lawn)

Ladies Day
Thursday, October 6, 2011
WakeMed North Healthplex
10000 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh
Register by calling 919-350-7827 or visiting


Stand By Your Man – Men’s Health Event

Chances are if you’re a woman with a special man in your life, you’ve heard his excuses before. Let’s face it, when it comes to his health, taking charge isn’t always his priority. So, what can you do? Join WakeMed for a special men’s health event! We’ll have FREE seminars, screenings and lots of health information for him AND for you!

September 2 1
4 to 8 pm
WakeMed Cary Hospital
1900 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary

Seminars (Seating is limited. Pre-registration required)
4:30 pm – All About Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery – John Buttram, MD, Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic
5:30 pm – Understanding Your Prostate Health – Kevin Perry, MD, Cary Urology
6:30 pm – Minimally Invasive Treatment Options for Treating Hemorrhoids – A Kinder Gentler Method – David Zeiler, MD, Triangle Surgical Associates
7:30 pm – Getting to the Heart of Heart Disease – Bhavani Balaravi, MD, WakeMed Faculty Physicians – Raleigh Cardiology Associates

Screenings (Pre-registration required for the following screenings)
• Prostate Screening/PSA Test – (for age 50+ or age 45+ with risk factors)
• Total and HDL Cholesterol Check
• Vascular Screenings – (for age 50+)

Free screenings on a walk-in basis; first-come, first-served.
• Blood Pressure Checks and Stroke Risk Assessments
• Skin Cancer Spot Checks, 5:30 to 7 pm – courtesy of Cary Dermatology
• Hearing Screening – courtesy of Mann ENT

Health Education
• Think FAST – Stroke Education
• Thriving with Heart Failure
• Chest Pain – When Do You Know If It’s Real
• Understanding Pre-Diabetes
• Breast Health Education
• Ask the Dietitian
• Ask the Pharmacist
• Sleep Disorders
• Invasive Cardiology Diagnosis & Treatments

Register today at, or for questions call 350-7827.


Flu Season is Here

In a typical year, approximately 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the seasonal flu. For most people, the flu is a passing virus that makes you feel terrible for several days, but for some it can be more serious and require hospitalization. In fact, earlier this year a Cary High School student died of complications from the flu

The good news is you have three primary defenses against the flu that are very effective.
1. Avoid People Who Are Sick
2. Wash Your Hands
3. Get the Flu Vaccine

This year, the flu vaccine is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older, with a particular emphasis on healthcare workers, school-aged children, teachers, daycare workers and pregnant women.  Getting vaccinated is as much about protecting yourself as it is about protecting those around you.  Parent vaccination helps to protect children; healthcare worker vaccination protects patients; teacher vaccination protects students, etc.

This year the U.S. seasonal influenza vaccine virus strains are identical to those contained in the 2010-11 vaccine. (These include A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like, A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like, and B/Brisbane/60/2008-like antigens.)

If you got the vaccine last year, it is still very important to get the vaccine this year to maintain optimal protection against flu.  Your body does retain some protection for a lifetime after a flu vaccine, but immunity wanes.  This means that if you do not get the vaccine again this year, your body won’t be as equipped to fight off the virus.  If you got the flu vaccine last year, think of this year’s vaccine as a booster.

The flu vaccine is available now, and now is a great time of year to start building your immunity.  Remember, it takes about two weeks to develop immunity after receiving the shot.

Robin Carver is director of WakeMed Raleigh Campus infection control.