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Pools Open: Water Safety

This weekend many pools around our area opened for the season.  Although its too cold for most parents, kids are jumping into the pool regardless of the temperature.  Atthe start of every swim season, it is important to remind children young and old about how important it is to swim safe.

Did you know? Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1 to 4. It is listed among the top three leading causes of death in children up to 18 years old.  Follow these tips to stay safe this summer.

Never leave a child alone in the water.

  • Utilize the touch rule by always being within arm’s reach when children are in the water.
  • Avoid distractions. Drowning often occurs silently.
  • Don’t dive in water less than 9 ft.
  • Teach your child to swim after age 4. Don’t overestimate your child’s ability to swim – knowing how to swim doesn’t prevent drowning.
  • Avoid inflatable toys. Children should wear an approved life vest.
  • Never let a child get in a pool or spa with a missing or broken drain cover.
  • Always tie hair up securely so it doesn’t catch in the drain.
  • Learn CPR. In the time it might take paramedics to arrive, CPR may save someone’s life.

WakeMed Children’s is dedicated to providing answers to common questions parents have about children’s health and wellbeing.   Learn more by subscribing to WakeMed’s Families First newsletter.  Have a specific question you would like answered?  Post a comment or email us directly.


WakeMed Submits Offer to Purchase Rex Healthcare

WakeMed Health & Hospitals today submitted an official offer to purchase Rex Healthcare (Rex) from the UNC system.  The offer, which has been under development by WakeMed for several months, was authorized by a unanimous vote of the WakeMed Board of Directors on May 3, 2011.  An offer letter from Board Chair Billie Redmond and President & CEO Bill Atkinson was submitted today to the President of The University of North Carolina Thomas Ross, offering $750 million toward the purchase of Rex Healthcare. 

There are numerous reasons for making this offer to purchase. First and foremost, health care consumers in the Triangle area would strongly benefit from this arrangement. The combination of the two systems would offer significant benefits to patients, physicians, taxpayers, the community-at-large and the State of North Carolina. 

 By eliminating duplication of services and combining the complementary strengths of both organizations, this purchase would allow patients to benefit from better continuity of care through a local integrated system, better access to care and a broader range of services. 

Additionally, if Rex is purchased for $750 million, the state of North Carolina and the UNC Health Care system would realize a significant percent return on investment.   This influx of cash will significantly, positively impact the state, and in return the university system and UNC Health Care.

Redmond and Atkinson explained in the letter delivered to President Ross that WakeMed and UNC Hospitals have a long history of working together for better healthcare in North Carolina.  They continued, “We strongly believe that the movement of Rex to the WakeMed system will greatly facilitate WakeMed’s mission of service to the citizens of our area while also decreasing costs and providing efficiencies that would further support UNC’s mission of providing academic-based patient care, research and teaching.”

In addition, WakeMed continues to welcome collaboration between it and UNC in the areas of academic research and improving the quality of care and WakeMed would continue to provide access to residents and UNC physicians within a combined WakeMed, Rex system.


NC Seasonal Sensation – Broccoli & Cabbage Recipes

It’s the eleventh of the month, and for our new readers, welcome to the North Carolina No-Diet Diet blog series. On the 11th of each month, we post fresh and healthy ideas on seasonal food favorites, all featuring North Carolina grown goods. For a recap on our past recipes showcasing N.C. favorites like sweet potatoes, lettuces and strawberries, look around in our archives (NC’s No Diet Diet, February Sweet Potato, March Lettuce, April Strawberries)

This month, let’s talk about the May’s most prevalent vegetables, broccoli and cabbage. Broccoli and cabbage are both extremely low in calories and high in vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium and fiber. With barbeques firing up in backyards across our state, I offer you a healthy take on a North Carolina staple found at nearly every cookout, picnic and potluck – coleslaw.

As a nutritionist, I find this dish most promising when it comes to making it as healthy as it is tasty. Since traditional slaws bring on the Hellman’s, they’re typically loaded in fat and calories. Try trimming back using vinegar, freshly squeezed citrus juice or even Greek yogurt.

Yes I know, nothing can replace the delectable flavor of mayonnaise, but when it comes to eating healthy, a scoop of mayo isn’t exactly your best friend. Try replacing that mayo with fat-free Greek yogurt and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. I promise, the crisp and refreshing flavor of the slaws featured in these recipes will make you second-guess your fiend for the fat.

Slawppy Joe
Serves 4
A twist on the turkey Rueben, this Slawppy Joe perfectly marries a classic melt and Reuban sandwiches, sans the mayo. It’s even perfect for cookouts. Just throw a bun on the grill, pile on this hearty slaw, sliced turkey, a few tomatoes and finish it off with a slice of your favorite cheese. I recommend Swiss. Enjoy!

4 whole wheat or multigrain sandwich rolls or hamburger buns 4, 1-ounce slices of cheese
1 tomato, sliced
8-ounces sliced turkey breast, 2-ounces per sandwich
6 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 head cabbage, red or green
1 cup chopped broccoli
2 medium carrots, grated
½ red pepper, chopped
¼ cup onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed, or celery seed (optional) Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a large mixing bowl, wisk together the yogurt, mustard, vinegar and sugar until well combined. Add caraway or celery seed, if using. Add the cabbage, broccoli, carrots, red pepper and onion and toss well. Season the slaw with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat a grill, grill pan or griddle to medium heat. If using a charcoal grill, use the outside of the grate, away from the direct flame to avoid burning the rolls. Place the rolls face down on the hot surface and toast until golden brown.

Flip the rolls. On one half of the roll, add the turkey, about ½ cup of slaw and the tomato. Top with cheese and place the other half of the roll on top. Toast until the cheese is melted and serve.

Per serving: 310 calories; 11 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 1.3 g polyunsaturated fat, 2.0 g monounsaturated fat ); 42 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrates; 19 g protein; 5 g fiber; 350 mg sodium

Green Tea Poached Salmon Topped with Asian Veggie Slaw
From WakeMed’s HeartSmart Cooking Series
Serves 4

For the Poached Salmon
4, 4 oz skinless salmon filets
3 cups apple juice
1 ½ cups water
1 tsp black peppercorns
3 tbsp honey
3 green tea bags

In a large saucepan, combine the apple juice, water, peppercorns, honey and teabags and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Gently add the salmon to the saucepan. Cover the saucepan and poach the fish for approximately 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. When done, plate the salmon and top each filet with the Asian veggie slaw (recipe below).
Per serving: 299 calories; 12.3g fat; 2.5g saturated fat; 66mg cholesterol; 35g carbohydrates; 23.8g protein; 74g sodium

For the Veggie Slaw
1/4 head cabbage
½ yellow pepper, julienne
½ red pepper, julienne
1 cucumber, julienne
¼ cup frozen edamame beans cooked and cooled according to package directions ½ red onion, julienne ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine well.
Per serving: 52 calories, 1g fat, 8g carb, 2.7g fiber, 4.5g protein, 14 mg sodium

This post is part of the NC’s No Diet Diet series.  View previous posts here: February Sweet Potato, March Lettuce, April Strawberries

Tina Schwebach is a clinical dietitian at WakeMed Cary Hospital.


WakeMed Volunteers Past and Present Invited to 50th Anniverary Luncheon


WakeMed President & CEO Dr. Bill Atkinson cordially invites volunteers past and present to join him

in honoring the oustanding contributions of The Volunteers at WakeMed Raleigh Campus and

The Volunteers at WakeMed Cary Hospital throughout the history of our health system.

Tuesday, May 24
11:30 to 1:30 pm
North Ridge Country Club
6612 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh

11:30 am to Noon – Social
Noon – Luncheon

Free valet parking is available.
Please RSVP by calling 919-350-6073.

A special note: If you know of a former volunteer with whom WakeMed has lost touch, please invite

him/her to this event and provide all the event details, including the RSVP phone number, above.


Fundamental Differences Between Adult and Infant CPR

WakeMed Heart Center trained more than 500 members of the community in compression only CPR during the month of February.  At these events, we were consistently asked to offer classes on infant in the community, and as a result are currently in the planning process to offer these classes. In the meantime, we thought it would be helpful to explain the differences in infant and adult CPR, so we asked Dr. Amy Griffin, medical director of the Children’s Emergency Department, to share information about infant CPR.  Here is her contribution:

There are fundamental differences between when adults and infants or children need CPR.  Adults usually have a cardiac arrest because of a heart attack.  If a child requires CPR, it is more likely as a result of a respiratory issue that then leads to a cardiac arrest.  For an adult suffering cardiac arrest, their best and often only hope is to be shocked by an AED.  For a child, they are most in need of oxygen.

With infants, especially babies that are teething and frequently putting things in their mouth, airway obstruction is a real danger.  A penny or peanut found on the floor can cause the baby to choke, have respiratory arrest, and as a result go into cardiac arrest.

This is a parent’s worst nightmare, and unfortunately it can and does happen.  This is why it is critical that all parents and caregivers know how to react in the event a child has cardiac or respiratory arrest.  Knowing what to do can literally be the difference between life and death.

If this happens, open your child’s mouth and remove the item if you can.  And contrary to previous recommendations, caregivers should NOT blindly do a finger sweep because there is a chance that if there is something in the airway that they can actually push the item further down.

If you find an infant less than 1 year old that is unresponsive:

  1. Tap on their heel or on their chest – something that irritates them enough so they wake up.
  2. If they do not respond and are not breathing (or only taking gasps), then check for a pulse.  If no pulse can be identified, then start chest compressions. It is often difficult to identify a pulse, so if in doubt, start compressions.
  3. Chest compressions should be done with two fingers at the level of the nipple.  The rate should be 100/minute.  After 30 compressions, stop to give two breaths. The depth of compressions should be  1.5 – 2inches.
  4. When giving breaths to an infant, you should cover their nose and mouth with your mouth. (If you are giving breaths to a child, you should just cover their mouth with your mouth and pinch their nose.)
  5. Continue giving compressions and breaths at a ratio of 30:2 until help arrives.
  6. If you are alone, you should provide 2 minutes of CPR prior to calling for help.

Put CPR on the list of things to learn because it could save your baby’s life, make sure your babysitter has CPR certification, and remember for infants and children, think respiratory first.

The American Heart Association has an infant specific CPR Anytime for Friends & Family.  Purchase one by clicking here.

WakeMed Children’s is dedicated to providing answers to common questions parents have about children’s health and wellbeing.   Learn more by subscribing to WakeMed’s Families First newsletter.  Have a specific question you would like answered?  Post a comment or email us directly.


WakeMed in the Community This Weekend

Spring has sprung and there are many fun events planned in next few weeks in and around Raleigh.  So, if you have some free time and are looking for great family friendly events, here are a few worth checking into this weekend:

WakeMed is the title sponsor of the Apex PeakFest.  Come join us from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, May 7 in Historic Downtown Apex.

WakeMed is a participant in Wake Forest Chamber’s annual Meet in the Street in downtown Wake Forest.  Look for us from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, May 7.

WakeMed is also participating in the Target & Blue Public Safety Day being held in the parking lot of the Brier Creek Target from 10 am to 1 pm.  The event allows emergency agencies to display equipment they use on a daily basis to save lives, and offer educational tips to the citizens of the community.  A WakeMed Mobile Critical Care truck will be onsite for tours.


Bike Helmet Use Could Prevent 45,000 Head Injuries to Kids

Kudos to this little girl for wearing a helmet, but notice that her helmet is not adjusted correctly. See below for proper helmet adjustment guidelines.

Spring has arrived and families are gearing up to enjoy the outdoors on their bikes.  While inflating the tires and checking the brakes are important – a helmet is essential.  Safe Kids Wake County urges parents, caregivers, and children to use their helmet each time they ride their bike – no matter how long or short the distance traveled.

Each year, approximately 135 children die from bicycle-related injuries and more than 267,000 nonfatal bicycle injuries occur. Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent; however, only 15 to 25 percent of children 14 and under usually wear a bicycle helmet. In Raleigh, children under age 16 are required by law to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.

A bike helmet is essential safety gear. Helmets could prevent an estimated 75 percent of fatal head injuries and up to 45,000 head injuries to children who ride bikes each year.

Sometimes children mistakenly believe that they don’t need to wear helmets when they’re riding near home. Unfortunately, about 53 percent of vehicle-related bike deaths to children happen on minor roads and residential streets. Teach kids to obey traffic signs and the rules of the road. Kids should not ride without supervision until they have demonstrated that they always follow the rules.

Safe Kids Wake County also reminds parents and caregivers to:

Make sure the helmet fits and your kids know how to put it on correctly. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, and should not rock forward and backward or side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled, but not too tightly. Safe Kids recommends the “Eyes, Ears and Mouth” test:

  • EYES: Position the helmet on your head.  Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
  • EARS:  Make sure the straps of the helmet form a “V” under your ears when buckled.  The strap should be snug but comfortable.
  • MOUTH:  Open your mouth as wide as you can.  Do you feel the helmet hug your head?  If not, tighten those straps and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.

Make sure the bike is the right size for the child. There should be about 1-inch of clearance between the bike frame and the child’s groin when the child’s feet are flat on the ground. Also, make sure the bike is in good repair — reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly, and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.

Remember, bike helmets are for biking. Kids should not wear bike helmets on the playground (where the straps can get caught on equipment and cause injury) or for activities that require specialized helmets (such as skiing or football).

Model and teach proper bicyclist behavior. Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stop lights.

When in doubt, get help. The sales staff at any bicycle shop or outdoor recreation store should be able to provide expert advice on fitting and adjusting bikes and helmets.

The single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes is a helmet. For more information about bicycle safety, visit Safe Kids web site or the League of American Bicyclists

Angie Bullock is manager of WakeMed’s Trauma Program and serves as the Safe Kids Wake County Coalition Coordinator.


WakeMed Pursuing Baby Friendly Hospital Designation

WakeMed Discontinuing Pacifier Availability and Formula Sample Distribution on Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day, Sunday, WakeMed Women’s Pavilion & Birthplaces – Raleigh and Cary are taking major steps to become a Baby Friendly hospital as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  WakeMed is the first hospital in the region to pursue this designation, and conform to the standards outlined in the Ten Steps to Breastfeeding.

One of the first steps in the journey to encourage breastfeeding is to discontinue the distribution of the formula samples and diaper bags provided for free by the formula companies. While WakeMed will provide formula to infants for feeding when it is requested by the parent or guardian, the hospital will no longer distribute formula samples. WakeMed will also no longer have pacifiers available on demand in the Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace. These changes will go in to effect on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8.

By reviewing where the hospital stands and adapting these ten steps, WakeMed is confirming its belief that breast milk is the best form of nutrition for infants. Currently, the Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace – Cary has a 98 percent breastfeeding rate, and the Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace – Raleigh has a 72 percent breastfeeding rate, both of which are well above the national average. With the ten step process, the hospital can continue to improve these rates, and give mothers the support and confidence they need to commit to breastfeeding,

“The staffs at both WakeMed Raleigh Campus and Cary Hospital are working closely with the lactation consultants so they can offer new mothers the information and support they need. Our hope is that mothers leave WakeMed with the confidence and knowledge they need to continue breastfeeding their babies,” commented Elizabeth Rice, director, Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace.  “Of course, we will continue to provide support and education equally to those who chose to bottle feed their newborns.”

Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
7. Practice rooming-in — allow mothers and infants to remain together – 24 hours a day.
8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.
10. Foster the establishment of breast-feeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

Click here if you would like additional information on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.


Help WakeMed ENERGIZE! be Nationally Recognized

ENERGIZE!, WakeMed’s community-based fitness and nutritional education program for teens and pre-teens, has been selected as one of three programs nationwide to qualify for recognition by the Department of Health & Human Services.  We need your help to win this high-profile recognition.  Please visit this web site to vote for ENERGIZE! Voters can only vote for a submission once between now and May 31.

ENERGIZE! Is a community based healthy lifestyle program for children and adolescents.  ENERGIZE! participants are referred to the program by their physician if they have four of five risk factors for developing pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.  And, the program, which has helped almost 600 children, adolescents, and their families achieve and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle in our community is free for participants.  Want to learn more about ENERGIZE! or think your child might be a good candidate for the program? Please click here to learn more.  And, don’t forget to vote for ENERGIZE! to win national recognition.


Tornado Watch or Warning – When do you seek shelter?

Meteorologists are getting much more accurate predicting when conditions are right for violent storms and tornadoes.  But, what do you do if your area is under a warning or a watch?  The answers are not as simple as you might think, and as we learned during the recent tornadoes there were a lot of questions.  The basic guidelines are as follows:


If your area is under a tornado WATCH, this means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop and you need to WATCH out for them.  And, when a tornado WATCH is issued for your area, like it is for ours today, it is a good time to prepare your safe place in your home; Gather items like water, weather radio with extra batteries, snacks, blankets, and flashlights.   Keep a radio or TV on tuned to a local station, so you will have access to the most up-to-date storm information.

If you live in a mobile home and a tornado WATCH is issued for your area, seek shelter in a more permanent structure immediately.

Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable during bad storms, and any time there is a tornado watch and you are in a mobile home, you and your family need to seek shelter in a more stable building like a neighbor’s stick-built home, hospital, library, bank, fire department, rest stop, or government building.  (Note that strip malls, big box stores, and fast food restaurants are not typically safe places to ride out a storm because of the type of construction). 

Additionally, it is important to limit travel during a tornado watch.  One of the most dangerous places you can be during a tornado is in your car.


WARNING means that a funnel cloud has been spotted in your area.  Go to your safe place immediately.  Do not hesitate.  If possible, bring your smart phone or laptop with you, so you can track the storm’s progress and direction.  Stay in your safe place until the storm passes. 

Even if the storm looks like it will barely miss your area, it is a good idea to go to your safe place anyway.  Meteorologists are quite good at predicting storm paths today thanks to advances in technology, but this is not a perfect science and there is still a margin of error.  Additionally, even if you are not in the funnel cloud’s direct path, flying debris and falling trees can be very dangerous or even deadly. 

Cars are inherently dangerous places to be during a tornado. Restrict travel during a tornado WATCH and get to a safe place like a bank, hospital or fire department if a tornado WARNING is issued for your area.

If you are in your car, and you hear that there is a tornado near you, or you spot a funnel cloud, do not try to out run the tornado, seek shelter in a stable, brick building like a hospital, library, bank, fire department, rest stop, or government building.  Avoid seeking shelter in strip malls, big box stores, and fast food restaurants are not typically safe places to ride out a storm because of the type of construction.  Quickly get to an interior space away from windows and glass. Do not seek shelter under an overpass or bridge because they can collapse upon you.  If you have no other choice, get out of your vehicle and into a low lying ditch.

The most important thing we can learn about tornado preparedness is for everyone to have an advance plan and to take both tornado WATCHES and WARNINGS seriously.   Tornados, although they do not affect our area often, are very dangerous and it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Barb Bisset is the director of the WakeMed Emergency Services Institute.