Medical Leader | FILE PHOTO
RAISING AWARENESS: Pikeville Medical Center Medical Director of Stroke Services Dr. Naveed Ahmed will serve as guest speaker during the hospital’s annual stroke awareness event set for May 22 at the Expo Plaza. The public is encouraged to attend. Free health screenings and lunch will be provided.

PIKEVILLE – In recognition of Stroke Awareness Month, Pikeville Medical Center will host a free Stroke Awareness Day event on Wednesday, May 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the East Kentucky Expo Center Plaza, located on Main Street in Pikeville.

The public is encouraged to attend.

The event will include a free lunch, entertainment and various health screenings including: blood sugar, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and total cholesterol.

Dr. Naveed Ahmed, Medical Director of Stroke Services, will share valuable information pertaining to the signs, symptoms, treatment and prevention of stroke.

The National Stroke Association created National Stroke Awareness Month to further its mission to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

Nearly 795,000 people in the United States will have a stroke this year.

While many strokes are preventable, most people cannot identify the warning signs or risk factors of stroke. 

FAST is the acronym created to help one remember the warning signs of a stroke:

Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Prevention is often known as the best medicine.

There are many steps one can take to lower his/her risk for stroke, such as: 

•Keeping your blood pressure in check

•If diagnosed with atrial fibrillation or any circulation problems, following your doctor’s orders and managing carefully

•Not smoking

•Limiting alcohol intake

•Controlling cholesterol levels

•Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day

•Limiting sodium intake


PIKEVILLE - Pikeville Medical Center is celebrating National Hospital Week, May 12-18.

This observance was established in 1921 to honor health care’s history, technology and dedicated professionals.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) states, “A hospital is more than a place where people go to heal, it is a part of the community that fosters health and represents hope. From providing treatment and comfort to the sick, to welcoming new life into the world, hospitals are central to a healthy and optimistic community.”

“During National Hospital Week, Pikeville Medical Center’s Board of Directors, Senior Management and I want to personally thank the more than 2,300 dedicated employees who work hard every day to provide our community quality, regional health care in a Christian environment,” said President/CEO Walter E. May.

Over the past 88 years, PMC has continued to grow by expanding services, offering state-of-the-art technology and recruiting top-notch employees and physicians.

Below are comments from some long-term employees:

Title: Outpatient Rehabilitation Technician

Years worked at PMC: 33

From: Pikeville

Why did you choose to work at PMC?

“I chose to work at Pikeville Medical Center because I really enjoy helping people. I love working in a field where I can make a difference.”

Why do you choose to stay at PMC?

“My 33 years of service in the same department speaks volumes about how much I like my job.

I love seeing patients reach their goals, and it is very rewarding to know that, in some way, I helped them accomplish those goals.”

Title: Home Health Secretary

Years worked at PMC: 35

From: Allen

Why did you choose to work at PMC?

“I chose to work at Pikeville Medical Center because working here gives me the chance to help others.”

Why do you choose to stay at PMC?

“I really enjoy what I do and Pikeville Medical Center is a great place to work. They understand the importance of a work/life balance and really try to work with you when something unexpected happens. They offer excellent benefits, and it’s nice to be thanked by administration through quarterly bonuses and special gifts at Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Title: Central Sterile Technician

Years worked at PMC: 34

From: Pikeville

Why did you choose to work at PMC?

I started working at PMC as a nurse aid, because I enjoy taking care of people. There is not a floor in this hospital I haven’t worked on. I was employed 13 years as a nurse aid and now, 21 years as a central sterile technician.

Why do you choose to stay at PMC?

“Through my years at PMC I’ve been treated really well, and even though the hospital has grown a lot it is still like a family. I can remember many times, when I or someone else in my department has gone through hardships. During those times, everyone seems to pull together and go out of their way to make sure the one suffering is okay. That means a lot. I really enjoy my job here and over the years have recommended many people, including my family, to join PMC.”

Title: Pulmonary Diagnostic Supervisor

Years worked at PMC: 34

From: Pikeville

Why did you choose to work at PMC?

“When I started at PMC, I wanted to become a nurse and was accepted into the hospital’s first nurse aid training class. I was then trained in respiratory therapy and received my CRT and RRT license. In the beginning everyone at PMC knew everyone else, we were just like family and I liked that.”

Why do you choose to stay at PMC?

“Even though the hospital has grown, PMC still feels like family to me. It truly is a great place to work, and is close to home. I have found something that I really like to do and I love being able to help others.”

Title: Director of Infection Control and Employee Health

Years worked at PMC: 32

From: Pikeville

Why did you choose to work at PMC?

“When I first came to PMC, I wanted to be a medical technologist and this hospital had one of the oldest, most prestigious and most advanced medical technology program/ internship in the state. I was accepted into the program, and after completing the program I was asked if I wanted to stay here as an employee.”

Why do you choose to stay at PMC?

“PMC is a great place to work, offering employees the opportunity to better themselves and advance internally.  The hospital has always been, and continues to be very progressive, offering the most advanced equipment and best care possible.”


PIKEVILLE - During the month of May, Pikeville Medical Center staff recognizes National Better Hearing and Speech Month.

Since 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has celebrated this month each May to raise public awareness concerning the speech and language disorders that affect 14 million Americans.

Speech and language disorders can take many forms and can limit academic achievement, social adjustment and career advancement.

“Fortunately, most people with speech and language problems can be helped,” said Speech Therapist Camilla Damron. “Even when the problem cannot be eliminated, we teach patients the strategies they need to cope.  All patients may not fully regain their capacity to speak and understand, but with proper treatment they can live more independently.”

Myra Stephens, Inpatient Physical Rehabilitation Assistant Director, said, “Speech therapy is a very important part of our department’s services. In our unit, we treat many patients who have suffered from a stroke, or whose speech has been affected in some way. The treatment our speech therapists provide helps improve our patients’ quality of life.”

As people age, normal changes occur in hearing, speech, language, memory and swallowing. Once an individual turns 55, his or her chances of having hearing loss, suffering from a stroke, or developing dementia/Parkinson’s disease increases, which can lead to related communication disorders.

Warning signs of speech, language, and hearing problems include:

•Sudden trouble talking, thinking, or moving parts of your body-this could be a sign of a stroke

•Turning the TV louder or asking people to repeat themselves

•Trouble remembering appointments or how to do familiar tasks

•A hoarse voice or easily losing your voice

•Trouble speaking clearly, which gets worse over time

Tips for preventing communication disorders:

•Reduce your risk for stroke-stop smoking, control your blood pressure, exercise regularly

•Use helmets and seat belts to prevent brain injury

•Get regular checkups, including hearing tests, to stay in top form

•Protect your voice-don’t yell or talk in noisy places, drink plenty of water and avoid smoking

•Turn down the TV or radio when you talk with others

•Keep your mind sharp by working puzzles, reading and keeping up with current events

•Stay active and social-do things with friends and get involved in your community

PMC offers speech therapy through inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation and Home Health.

For more information, call 606-218-3507.

TOP NURSES: Pikeville Medical Center has named its top nurses for 2013. They are: Tabitha Hamilton (CTVU), Florina Bailey (6E Cardiac), Keith Sayers (Dialysis Unit), Rebekah Hall (Emergency Department), Donna Bates (OB/Gyn), Tondra Blevins (Labor and Delivery), Jackie Caudill (Trauma Department), Samantha Abshire (Oncology Unit), Natasha Triplett (Medical Unit 7B), Jennifer Miller (Medical Unit 7A), Victoria Phillips (Medical Unit 5E), Linda Robinson (Surgical Unit), Ashley Newman (4E/Pediatrics), Joy Bartley (Newborn Nursery), Aimee Stacey (Neonatal ICU), Nina Anufriyev (IPR), Vickie Bryant (Critical Care), Mary Ramey (Physician Practice), Samantha Sifers (OR Surgery), Lisa Slone (PAT/Pre-Op/PACU), Kristy Ratliff (Endoscopy) and Bridget McCoy (Cardiac Services).

Medical Leader | TORIE FOWLER

Medical Leader | JESSICA HOWARD
AND THEY’RE OFF: Runners leave the start line during the first-ever Reclaim Your Life 5K run and one-mile run/walk held on May 4 in downtown Pikeville. Below are Tony Whited (left) and Shelly Francis (right), the top male and female finishers. Whited crossed the finish line in 18:55 to finish as the top runner.

PIKEVILLE - On Saturday, May 4, nearly 130 people participated in Pikeville Medical Weight Loss Surgery Center’s (WLSC) first Reclaim Your Life 5K run and one mile fun run/walk.

The outpouring of support from runners, walkers and event sponsors allowed the WLSC to raise more than $6,000.

The proceeds raised will help underinsured WLSC patients who are in need of extensive nutritional counseling after surgery.

After the race, placement medals were awarded to the first three males and first three females to cross the finish line. The top finishers were:

Tony Whited, Joshua Martin, Randall Watts, Shelley Francis, Kari Corbin and Larrin Thompson. Everyone who crossed the finish line received a finisher’s medal for all their hard work.

Several successful PMC weight loss surgery patients participated in the event. Among these, Tiffany Fronto and Nate Green addressed the crowd and spoke of their positive life transformation post surgery.

Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Amy Johnson thanked everyone for attending and supporting the fight against obesity.

Representatives from several community organizations volunteered their time to help make the event a success. Some of these included the City of Pikeville Police Department, City of Pikeville Fire Department, The Pike County Youth Leadership Team and the Johns Creek AAU cheerleading squad.

Race sponsors included: Alpha Natural Resources, Food City, Texas Roadhouse, The Medical Leader, Rogers Petroleum, Pig in a Poke, Rogers Gun and Pawn, U.S. Bank, National College, Coca-Cola, Custom Signs and Awnings, BB&T, Kellogg’s, Pepsi, Shurtleff’s Dry Cleaning and Laundry, Signature Events, Jones Oil Petroleum and Jones Oil Company Inc., Total Pharmacy Care, Velocity Market and Mr. Gatti’s.

PIKEVILLE - Monday, May 6 marked Pikeville Medical Center’s first nursing awards ceremony. Twenty two nurses, representing different specialties throughout the hospital, were awarded as their department’s 2013 Nurse of the Year.

Each nurse honored as a PMC Nurse of the Year was selected by their peers for exceeding certain criteria that represents a model nurse. These standards include: always going above and beyond when providing patient care, setting a superior example for co-workers and being known as someone you would want to care for your family.

“The Nurse of the Year award winners were chosen because they go above and beyond by providing exemplary care, day after day.” said Mary Ellen Smith, Senior AVP/Assistant Chief Nursing Officer. “They are the best of the best, and we are happy and proud to have this opportunity to recognize them.”

Tondra Blevins, RN, is a Nurse of the year award winner, and has been with PMC for 22 years. She said, “I love what I do and I am completely honored that my co-workers think so highly of me that they awarded me Nurse of the Year for the Labor and Delivery Unit.”

“The nurses of the year were selected by their co-workers and supervisors as the nurse they would choose to take care of their own families; what a compliment. Our nurses are caring, compassionate and dedicated to their patients, and we appreciate their hard work and loyalty,” said Kathy Khoshreza, AVP/Assistant Chief Nursing Officer.

PMC’s 2013 nurses of the year are:

•Tabitha Hamilton, Cardio Thoracic Vascular Unit

•Florina Bailey, Cardiac Unit 6E

•Keith Sayers, Dialysis Unit

•Rebekah Hall, Emergency Department

•Donna Bates, Obstetrics and Gynecology

•Tondra Blevins, Labor and Delivery

•Jackie Caudill, Trauma Department

•Samantha Abshire, Oncology Unit

•Natasha Triplett, Medical Unit 7B

•Jennifer Miller, Medical Unit 7A

•Victoria Phillips, Medical Unit 5E

•Linda Robinson, Surgical Unit

•Ashley Newman, Pediatrics 4E

•Joy Bartley, Newborn Nursery

•Aimee Stacey, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

•Nina Anufriyev, Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital

•Vickie Bryant, Critical Care

•Mary Ramey, Physician Practice

•Samantha Sifers, Operation Room Surgery

•Lisa Slone, Pre-admission Testing/Pre-Operation/Post Anesthesia Care Unit

•Kristy Ratliff, Endoscopy

•Bridget McCoy, Cardiac Services

PIKEVILLE  - Pikeville Medical Center will host a free colorectal cancer screening on  Saturday, May 18, from 8 a.m. – noon at the Pikeville Medical Leonard Lawson Cancer Center, located beside the Landmark at 127 South Mayo Trail, Pikeville.

Screening physicians will include Pikeville Medical Center General Surgeons Dr. Oon Leedhanachoke, Dr. Grady Stephens and Dr. Timothy Wright.

To pre-register for PMC’s free colorectal cancer screening, or for more information, contact 606-218-4742. Walk-ins are welcome.

Colorectal Cancer is defined as a cancer that begins in either the colon or rectum.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates about 102,480 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in 2013.

The ACS also predicts about 50,830 people will die due to this disease.

With a one in 20 risk of developing colorectal cancer, it is considered the third most common cancer in men and women in the United States.

Colorectal cancer usually develops slowly, and in its early stages normally does not cause any symptoms.

Symptoms generally appear during the later stages, when cancer is more difficult to treat.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

•Belly pain

•Bloody or very dark stools

•Change in bowel habits


•Unexplained weight loss (in rare cases)

The symptoms someone experiences are influenced by where the cancer is located in the colon.

One of the best ways to help prevent colorectal cancer is through regular screenings and testing.

Colorectal cancer screenings can help find suspicious growths or cancer in people who do not have any known symptoms. These screenings are able to detect the disease in its earliest stages, when there is a better chance of recovery.

The ACS recommends screenings for colorectal cancer should generally begin at age 50. 

The age each individual should be screened may vary depending on personal health and family history.

Someone may be at a higher risk for developing colorectal cancer  if they are 50 years of age or older, have type 2 diabetes, have been previously diagnosed with colorectal cancer, have a history of bowel disease or a family history of colorectal cancer.

Several behaviors that can help reduce one’s risk include:

•Regular physical activity

•Limiting the intake of red or processed meats

•Getting the recommended daily amount of calcium and vitamin D

•Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables

•Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding weight gain around the midsection

•Decreasing alcohol intake


Medical Leader | LAURA DAMRON
DANGERS OF DRUNK DRIVING:  Pikeville Medical Center, with the help of several local agencies, organized a mock vehicle accident at Shelby Valley High School on May 3 to encourage safe driving.

DRIVING WITH INTELLIGENCE: Pikeville Medical Center emergency services staff resuscitate a crash victim during the mock vehicle accident.

PIKEVILLE - In an effort to educate students on the dangers of drunk driving, Pikeville Medical Center worked with several local agencies to organize a mock fatal vehicle accident at Shelby Valley High School on May 3, one day prior to the school’s prom. 

“Driving with Intelligence” gave Shelby Valley juniors and seniors a realistic picture of the devastating effects that driving under the influence can have on an entire community.

The mock scenario, which began outside the school, involved a drunk driver transporting his daughter and her friend colliding head-on with a vehicle containing two students going to prom. The driver of that vehicle was texting.

The drunk driver was unharmed while his daughter was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other passenger had multiple lacerations.  The two students going to prom had to be extracted from their vehicle and flown from the scene due to significant traumatic injuries.

Hundreds of students watched as several of their peers acting as patients were pulled from cars covered in “blood” while screaming. Pikeville Medical Center’s emergency department staff, first responders, law enforcement officials, the Pike County Coroner and a helicopter transport service completed the realistic reenactment. 

Following the accident, students gathered in the school’s gymnasium to witness the aftermath of a drunk driving accident. PMC’s emergency services team reenacted a trauma scene in which they successfully resuscitated a patient from the accident. Emergency Services Medical Director Dr. Brandon Smallwood educated students on the real-life consequences of driving under the influence.

The hospital’s physical therapy staff was on hand to demonstrate and discuss the intense rehabilitation one undergoes as a result of severe injuries. 

The Kentucky State Police and Pike County Sheriff’s Department set up a “jail cell” in which the drunk driver was contained.  KSP walked students through the legal repercussions of drunk driving. 

Pike County Coroner Russell Roberts stood in front of a fake morgue holding the body of the deceased student as he encouraged the crowd not to drink and drive.

PMC Chaplain Randy Johnson conducted a mock funeral for the student who perished in the accident.

PMC Trauma Program Manger Sandy Tackett and Outreach Coordinator Jackie Caudill coordinated the event.

“Our goal was to reach out to young individuals and make them aware of what can happen when driving under the influence,” said Tackett. “We want them to understand that this could happen to anyone, including themselves. We hope the event left a major impact on the students.”

PIKEVILLE - “I feel awesome,” said 30- year-old Erica Smith of Belfry.

On March 28, 2012, at 254 lbs., Smith underwent gastric by-pass weight loss surgery at Pikeville Medical Center, under the direction of Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Amy Johnson.

Since then, Smith has lost 120 lbs. and 39 inches from her body.

Before surgery she was at risk for a multitude of health problems including sleep apnea, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure. Today, all her levels are normal.

“It’s like I lost a whole person,” she said. “Now, when my little boy looks at pictures of me from before he says, ‘that’s not you mom’.... and I think, that has been me your whole life.”

When asked about her surgery experience at PMC, Smith stated, “It is the best decision I have ever made. It seems like everyone wants to talk about the bad when it comes to weight loss surgery, but I have only good things to say about my experience. I love Dr. Johnson. I think she is so amazing, so intelligent and so confident in herself and what she does that I completely trust her.”

Smith continues, “I am so thankful for what weight loss surgery has given to me. Now, I can play soccer in the yard with my little boy. It’s the little things, too, like shaving your legs or painting your toe nails...things that people take for granted.”

Before surgery, she stayed in the house and avoided others as much as possible. Today, she makes it a priority to live a healthier life for herself and her family. She participates in aerobics classes twice a week and works out with her son in the living room.

In the beginning, exercising wasn’t easy but she stuck with it.“I started working out the day I came home from surgery,” said Smith. “At first it was just one lap around the neighborhood; I worked my way up from there.”

Smith loves sharing her story with others and wants to be a patient advocate for PMC’s Weight Loss Surgery Center.

“I want to help,” said Smith. “So many people have asked me questions about my experience, so I created a weight loss surgery support group on Facebook. The group is closed to only those who have had, or are interested in having weight loss surgery and now has more than 90 members. In the group, members encourage one another by sharing tips, personal experiences, hardships, successes, etc.”

Smith also says PMC’s Reclaim Your Life weight loss surgery support group has helped her tremendously. “I attend every month and it helps me stay on track. At each meeting, Dr. Johnson and her staff discuss a different topic, so I’m continuously gaining new, helpful information.  It’s also a great place to meet new people who are on the same journey I am.”

For more information about Pikeville Medical Weight Loss Surgery Center, please call 606-218-4811.

PIKEVILLE - Beginning Sunday, May 12, Pikeville Medical Center, along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, will celebrate National Women’s Health Week 2013.

During National Women’s Health Week, women are encouraged to receive regular checkups, participate in preventive screenings, get active, eat healthy, manage stress, get enough sleep and avoid unhealthy behaviors.

To kick off the observance, PMC is hosting a free Ladies Night Out event on Monday, May 13 from 6 p.m.  - 8 p.m.  at the Mark V, located at 190 South Mayo Trail in Pikeville.

Women will have the opportunity to meet PMC physicians as well as have their health-related questions answered, enjoy free appetizers, take part in free health screenings and visit with local health and wellness vendors. Attendees will also be eligible to win door prizes. 

PMC invites everyone to come out and take part in this special event.

“Women are often the caregivers for their families and, as a result, forget to make their own health a priority,” said Peggy Justice, Vice President of Physician Practice Administration. “PMC’s Ladies Night Out will offer women a special night, just for them, where they can unwind, have questions answered by health care professionals and gain valuable information on how to live a healthier lifestyle.”

For more information about Ladies Night Out, please call  606-218-4509.

Visit for more information concerning National Women’s Health Week.