Latest Entries

NHTSA, parents spread awareness about hot cars

Yesterday WakeMed welcomed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland to discuss the danger of kids in hot cars. WTVD’s Alina Machado reports…


Wake Early College Students Work at WakeMed

Wake Early College student Kayla works in the WakeMed in the Chest Pain Unit.

A few ambitious Wake Early College of Health and Sciences students took advantage of the school’s partnership with WakeMed over the summer.  

Visit Wake County School’s blog to listen to Principal Teresa Pierrie and a student describe how the school and its partnership works to ready students for health care careers.

Click here to listen Early College Students Work at WakeMed


Disaster Preparedness For Those With Disabilities

North Carolina is watching its first hurricane threat for the 2011 season with Hurricane Irene. While we hope it is simply a gentle rain event, it’s important for everyone to be prepared – especially those with a disability or a family member with a disability.

Fortunately, there are several great resources to help those who have had a stroke, brain injury or spinal cord injury, or have physical, cognitive, visual, hearing and speech disabilities from other illnesses or injuries. These resources address their special needs when preparing their homes, families and pets for disasters.

The Triangle Area Chapter of the American Red Cross serves residents in need in Wake, Johnston, Franklin, Lee, Chatham and Warren counties and collaborates with neighboring chapters in Central North Carolina, Moore and Orange counties.

Phone numbers for local American Red Cross chapters are:
Raleigh (main location) – 919-231-1602
Smithfield – 919-934-8481
Sanford – 919-774-6857

The Red Cross booklet and other easy-to-follow helpful disaster preparedness resources are available on the following web pages:
Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and Other Special Needs Emergency Preparedness

Ready American Get a Kit

National Organization on Disability – Visit  and use search words “Disaster readiness”

Preparedness for pets and service animals

And, everyone, disabled or not needs an updated preparedness kit in case of a disaster.

This information was borrowed from the most recent edition of Reconnections, a publication of WakeMed Rehab Hospital.


WakeMed Patient used LifeVest to prevent sudden cardiac death

A new external defibrillator made by Zoll is worn like a vest is helping to save the lives of heart disease sufferers, according to Dr. Pavlo Netrebko, a cardiologist with Cary Cardiology, who recommends it to many patients.


Five-Finger and Rocker Shoes. Are they gimmicks?

Shoe gimmicks come and go.  Think the kangaroo pocket shoe, Reebok pumps, heelies, Nike Air, and more recently, the rocker and five-fingered shoes.  Is there any value to these most recent shoe gimmicks?  The answers might surprise you.

Rocker Shoe
Rocker shoes are marketed to tone your buttocks, thighs and calves as well as burn three times more energy and relieve joint pain.  The claims of toning and burning more energy may be true but is relatively insignificant when looking at number of calories burned every day during normal activities.  But, the joint pain relief is accurate for individuals with arthritic feet and ankles.  By rolling through a shoe, you are not bending your foot or joint as much, decreasing the stress across the ankle and foot by 20 to 30 percent. Looking for buns of steel?  Exercise in any shoe is going to help you reach that goal.

Five-fingered shoes
You’ve seen them out there; the glove-looking shoes worn to the park for walking or running.  The premise of these shoes is that people did not really start having foot issues until highly cushioned shoes became common.  The cushioned shoes are said to make you walk and run differently, causing weaker muscles and encouraging jarring heel strikes.  The five-fingered shoes cause you to walk or run softer, take shorter strides and have a flatter foot – as you would if you were barefoot.  In fact, it is as close to running barefoot as you can get while still having a sole thick enough to protect your foot from dangers like glass, nails, rocks, etc.  However, if you are not used to walking or running barefoot, then a quick transition to five-fingered shoes can put stress on parts of your foot you are not used to working and cause injury.  The best advice; transition gradually and give your body time to adjust.

Dr. Corey Thompson is a fellowship trained foot and ankle surgeon practicing with Wake Orthopaedics.


WakeMed Children’s Hospital Approved for Membership in the National Association of Children’s Hospitals

Dr. Mark Piehl examines a patient in the WakeMed Children's Hospital.

WakeMed Children’s Hospital has been accepted as an associate member of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI).

“Becoming a member of NACHRI is an important step for WakeMed Children’s,” commented Mark Piehl, MD, medical director of WakeMed Children’s Hospital.  “The ability to share information with peers who like us focus exclusively on children’s health care, is invaluable.  Additionally, our advocacy voice is much stronger in a group than it is alone.  We are very excited to be a part of this important national organization.”

WakeMed Children’s joins the foremost 242 children’s hospitals in the nation as a collective voice for health systems devoted to the well-being of children and their families.  Associate members of NACHRI are not-for-profit medical institutions with a pediatric graduate education program affiliated with a medical school, a minimum daily pediatric census of 45, and recognition as a pediatric referral center.

NACHRI provides members with a variety of opportunities to share best practices, benchmark performance, analyze data and collaborate/network with other members.  These collaborative opportunities can provide invaluable support to WakeMed as it continues to enhance and expand children’s services.  NACHRI also devotes significant resources to federal advocacy on issues that matter most to children’s hospitals throughout the United States.


NC’s Seasonal Sensation – Watermelon Recipes

With blistering temperatures scalding the Triangle Area, I’m left to wonder if there’s a cool day in sight. While we hazily dream about crisp fall weather, let’s take a break from the scorching heat with refreshing recipes sure to quench your thirst for cooler days. This month, I put my nutrition know-how to the test to create tasty and healthy recipes featuring August’s most abundant crop, the watermelon.

Water, Water Everywhere
No fruit says summer like the watermelon, and that’s probably because it’s nearly 92 percent water. In fact, a 1½ cup serving of watermelon provides practically an entire eight-ounce glass of water. And there’s more – watermelon offers tons of vitamin C (25 percent of your daily intake to be exact), vitamins A and B6, and is loaded in beta-carotene and lycopene, all important antioxidants known to cut the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce inflammation from conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer and arthritis.

Selecting the best melon
When choosing a watermelon, don’t just give it the tap test. That hollow thump doesn’t always indicate freshness. Be sure to select a melon with even sides and avoid flat or uneven varieties. Most likely, these guys sat in the back of the farm truck too long.  Also, go for the melon with a yellow bottom, not greenish white, and especially not one with a green stem attached.

Watermelon Recipes
This month’s NC No-Diet Diet recipes are just the beginning of what you can do with watermelons. From heart healthy watermelon soup, grilled watermelon with basil, roasted watermelon seeds, watermelon smoothies and parfaits, the USDA’s website lists tons of healthy recipes featuring this water-logged sensation. And be sure to try the recipes posted today – tomato and watermelon salad and watermelon lemonade, my favorite low cal beverage of the summer. Cheers to North Carolina’s Seasonal Sensation, the watermelon!

Watermelon Lemonade
Serves 4
Extra watermelon?  Use it for this recipe. Cube leftovers and freeze for this thirst-quenching take on classic lemonade. 
6 cups cubed seedless watermelon
¼ cup frozen light lemonade (concentrate)
1 cup seltzer water
Arrange watermelon on a baking sheet and freeze. Combine watermelon, lemonade and seltzer in a blender and blend until thick and smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and serve.
Per Serving:
65 calories; 0.2 g fat; 2 mg sodium; 12 g carbohydrates; 9.5 g sugar

Tomato & Watermelon Salad
Serves 5
When paired with the tomato, another seasonal sensation well known for its lycopene superpowers, the watermelon takes on a sweet and savory tang, like in this tomato, watermelon salad generously provided by the Urban Food Group in WakeMed’s 2008 Dish It Up Cookbook.
3 large tomatoes, diced into large pieces
1/2 baby watermelon, diced into large pieces
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 small red onions, julienne (chopped into long thin pieces)
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1/2 head flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (use more for added flavor)
1/4 cup honey (omit the honey to cut the amount of sugar and carbs)
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper 
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Per Serving: 254 calories; 10.8g fat; 1.5g saturated fat; 1.2g polyunsaturated fat; 8g monounsaturated fat; 0mg cholesterol; 14.6mg sodium; 69g carbohydrates; 3.5g fiber; 61g sugar; 3.4g protein

Amy Bowen, RD, LDN, is a clinical dietitian at WakeMed Cary Hospital


WakeMed Introduces Triangle’s First Consumer-Focused Hospital Smartphone App

 WakeMed’s app, created for iPhone and Android devices, enables users to find the closest WakeMed facilities and search more than 1,000 physicians, in addition to inputting personal health and insurance information and staying abreast of hospital news.

The WakeMed app is GPS enabled, providing real-time identification of the nearest WakeMed Emergency Department or facility.  Turn-by-turn GPS directions are automatically generated from your current location and touch-to-call phone numbers are listed for every facility.  For the convenience of patients and visitors, the app includes hospital floor plans and campus maps for easier navigation.

The Doctor Finder feature allows users to search more than 1,000 physicians representing nearly every specialty and subspecialty.  Health Profile and My Insurance sub-sections offer users the ability to store physician phone numbers, medications, photo of insurance cards and other personal health information.

The app also enables users to keep up to date on upcoming hospital events, news and current events by following the hospital’s blog,, and Facebook feeds.

Emergency Department wait times for the system’s five, soon to be six, emergency departments across Wake County will be added in the near future.

To download the app, visit the Android Market, iTunes Store or visit


Band Students Could Benefit from a Physical Before They Play

WakeMed Emergency Department Physician Robert Park suggests that members of high school bands practicing in extreme heat could benefit from a physical - as is standard for most high school sports.


Bariatric Surgery: A Two Month Reflection

About two months out from bariatric surgery, and as promised here is an update on my progress. 

My surgery, which took place at WakeMed Cary Hospital on May 20 was performed by Dr. Brandon Roy and went very well.  Surgery went off without complications, and I was able to go home the next day and back to work after about two weeks. 

I had very little pain with surgery, and since it was completed using minimally invasive techniques, I have only four small incisions and one slightly larger incision.  The larger incision did have some soreness as it healed, but it no longer bothers me at all.

My biggest red flag for people considering bariatric surgery is the liquid diet you are required to follow for the first 10 to 14 days after surgery. I was surprised with my body’s reaction to the liquid diet, even thinking, “oh my, what have I done?” It does not feel natural to only drink liquids, and I became quite tired of protein shakes.  If you decide to have bariatric surgery, do not fret while in this stage of recovery.  It too passes, and you are slowly allowed to eat soft foods and eventually return to eating regular foods in smaller portions. 

Contrary to popular belief, you still have to follow a diet after bariatric surgery and you cannot eat whatever you want in reduced portions as many people think.  Bariatric surgery is not the easy way out.  My diet must now focus on protein and nutrient rich foods eaten at regular intervals in smaller portions.  For example, this year on the 4th of July I was more than satisfied with one half of a bunless hamburger.   I also eat my smaller meals on a bread and butter sized plate, to help me not feel deprived.

My biggest surprise after having bariatric surgery is that I feel pretty much the same as I did prior to surgery.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the changes are coming gradually in the forms of weight loss, decreased appetite and increased energy. I’m still exercising and eating many of the same foods I ate before surgery, slightly modified and in much smaller portions. 

Our family meals are the same today as they were a year ago, except a smaller quantity of food goes much further, especially since both my daughter and myself have had bariatric surgery.  If we eat too much, we will not feel well.  In fact, neither of us can eat more than one cup of food at a time.  And, I am having to retrain myself to cook smaller portions.

So, the bottom line is so far, so good.  I have lost 20 pounds, and have not had to shop for clothes just yet, but am looking forward to it in the near future.

Debra Dupree is a 30-year tenured nurse on WakeMed Raleigh Campus.  Debra’s daughter had bariatric surgery on December 29, 2010, and because of her daughter’s success, she had bariatric surgery on May 20, 2011. Read Debra’s previous posts about Getting Ready for Bariatric Surgery and her unique perspective as a nurse and a mother of bariatric surgery patient .

Dr. Brandon Roy, surgeon with Wake Specialty Physicians, has information sessions scheduled on Wednesday, August 3 at WakeMed North Healthplex and WakeMed Raleigh Campus.  Click here to register.  Interested in determining if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, click here.