PRESTONSBURG — People who love music will flock to the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg this weekend.

The MAC is hosting concerts on Friday and Saturday.

Official there will kick off the MAC’s monthly Front Porch Pickin’ series at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 20.

Musicians are invited to play in an open concert on stage and audience members get free admission.

On Saturday, March 21, MAC officials will welcome Nathan Stanley, the grandson of Dr. Ralph Stanley, in concert.

Both the elder and younger Stanley will perform during the bluegrass concert, which will also feature appearances by T. Graham Brown and Ben “Cooter” Jones of the television series “The Dukes of Hazard.

Attendees may have their picture taken with the General Lee, the famous car from the television show, and those who purchase a Nathan Stanley CD receive a chance to win a free autographed guitar.

Stanley was influenced by his grandfather, a bluegrass music legend. His music debut was at age two when he went on stage with his grandfather at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.

At that time, he played the spoons. Now, he also sings and plays the mandolin and guitar. He spent much of his life touring the country on his grandfather’s tour bus.

Tickets are $36 at the door. For tickets, visit or call 606-889-9125.

PIKEVILLE — Pikeville Medical Center Neurosurgeons Dr. Duane Densler and Dr. Norman Mayer, along with the other members of the hospital’s trauma team, work together to treat all traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients who come through PMC’s Emergency Department (ED). 

Other members of PMC’s trauma team include two trauma surgeons and experienced professionals in the emergency department, orthopedic trauma, critical care, interventional radiology, plastic surgery and radiology.

Dr. Densler states that, “Unfortunately, TBI accounts for roughly 30 percent of all cases treated by PMC’s Neurosurgery Department.”

 “The type of treatment given for traumatic brain injury is determined by each patient’s individual situation,” said Dr. Densler. “The severity of the injury helps us decide our plan of action. It is always our goal to restore brain function back to 100 percent.”

Physicians use the Glasgow Coma Scale (3-15 point system) to help determine the severity of TBI. This numeric scale grades the patient’s ability to listen, speak, follow directions and move his/her body.

According to Mayo Clinic, answers to the following questions may also help determine severity:

•How did the injury occur?

•Did the person lose consciousness?

•How long was the person unconscious?

•Were other changes in alertness, speaking, coordination or other signs of injury observed?

•Where was the head or other parts of the body struck?

•Can any information about the force of the injury be provided? For example, what hit the person’s head, how far did he or she fall, or was the person thrown from a vehicle? Was the person’s body whipped around or severely jarred?

If it is determined that the injury is mild, treatment may include extra rest for the patient, over-the-counter pain relievers for a possible headache and close at-home monitoring for a few hours/days.

In more severe cases, surgery may be needed to reduce bleeding in the brain; remove potential blood clots; repair skull fractures and relieve increased pressure on the skull due to swollen brain tissue.

“If consciousness is lost after a traumatic brain injury, even if for a brief amount of time, the patient should go to the nearest Emergency Department for observation and diagnosis,” said Dr. Densler.

PMC’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) staff and Inpatient/Outpatient Rehabilitation personnel are also available to help TBI patients recover to their fullest potential.

See next week’s Medical Leader for information on how to best prevent TBI.


(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second story in a four-part series on Traumatic Brain Injury)

Medical Leader | Photo by TEDDY PAYNTER
RECOGNIZED: Pikeville Medical Center Pulmonary Health and Rehab Specialists Sonya Simpson (left) and Diana Smith help patients with chronic lung disease live healthier lives.

PIKEVILLE — Pikeville Medical Center’s (PMC) Pulmonary Health and Rehabilitation (Rehab) Specialists Sonya Simpson and Diana Smith have a passion for helping others in their time of need. During National Pulmonary Rehab Week, March 9-15, they want to share with the community the services they provide and the benefits of those services.

Simpson and Smith provide care for rehab patients suffering from chronic lung disease.

Chronic lung disease is defined as any symptom that causes shortness of breath and the reduction of the ability to perform daily activities.

“The wonderful thing about what we do is building a trusting relationship with our patients,” Simpson said.

“We see progress from those patients in our program,” said Simpson, who has been at the rehab center since its opening in 2012. “It’s such a pleasure to see how hard they work to better their lives.”

PMC’s program includes a patient-tailored exercise regimen.

“The program is designed to fit the patient’s ability and level of activity,” Smith added. “Our classes teach patients how to properly do aerobic exercises, stretching and weightlifting.”

Simpson says rehab isn’t a cure for the patient’s disease, but it sets them on road to recovery.

“Our patients just want to get their lives back to normal,” Simpson said. “We are here to help that happen for them.”

The classes offered at PMC educate patients on various topics, including understanding lung disease and medications.

Other topics covered are:

•Relaxation and stress reduction techniques

•Early recognition of infection

•When to call a physician

•How to conserve energy

•Traveling with oxygen


•Home exercise

PMC Medical Director of Pulmonary Rehab Dr. Obaeda Harfoush said the program is a benefit to his patients.

“The patients who participate see a drastic change in their lives,” he said. “Our staff does such a wonderful job of taking care of them and making sure they regain much of their normal livelihood again.”

For patients to qualify, they must be non-smokers or be willing to participate in smoking cessation classes. They must also have a signed referral from their family physician and be able to undergo a physical examination and diagnostic testing.

For more information about services offered at PMC, call 606-218-3500. To schedule a physician appointment, call 218-1000.

ALLEN — The Allen Volunteer Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of its own this week.

The Kentucky Fire Commission reported on March 10 that Allen Volunteer Fire Department Chief Billy Ray Jarvis died from a heart attack that he suffered on March 4 while responding to a call.

Allen VFD Firefighter/EMT Charles Blackman reported that Jarvis was driving to respond to a structure fire on March 4 when he was overcome with severe chest pains and shortness of breath.

His son, who is a captain at the department, took over as driver and rushed him to a hospital.

Local fire departments have expressed sympathy and sought prayers for Jarvis’ family on their Facebook pages.

Jarvis served for 36 years with the department. He started working with the Allen VFD on Feb. 16, 1979. He held the assistant chief position for several years and was elected by his peers in January to become the chief.

Prior to his service with the department, he also worked as a police officer in Allen.

“What we’d really like the community to know is the fact that Chief Billy Jarvis was more than just a firefighter. Before he came to the fire department, he also worked as part of the law enforcement community here in Allen,” Blackman said.

“He has devoted his entire life on both sides of public safety to protect the folks who live in the Allen fire protection district.”

He described Jarvis as the type of individual who “never got wound up” and always worked to help others.

“Billy was the type of individual that younger people needed to strive to be,” he said.

Jarvis’ death marked the second time in a matter of months that the Allen VFD said goodbye to one of its own.

In December, the department lost its former assistant chief Larry Castle.

“This department has taken a very hard hit,” Blackman said.

Jarvis celebrated his 54th birthday on Jan. 23.

He is survived by his wife Vivian Irene Powers Jarvis, his son Jason Ray Jarvis, two daughters: Tabatha R. Jarvis and Brittany Noel Woods, his grandmother Rhoda Jarvis, several siblings, four grandchildren and other family members and friends.

His funeral will be held at noon on Friday, March 13, at the Highland Avenue Freewill Baptist Church in Prestonsburg. He will be buried with full honors at the Powers Cemetery in Calf Creek under the direction of Nelson Frazier Funeral Home.

Katrina Underwood started working at PMC on August 21, 1989 as a Radiography/Mammography Technologist.  After two years, she was promoted to an Ultrasound/Nuclear Medicine Special Procedures Technologist. Today, she works as a Special Procedures Technologist in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) in the Diagnostic Center.

“I love the people I work with,” said Underwood. “They are like family to me and are truly some of the best people I know. I feel very blessed to be able to work with such wonderful people.”

Underwood stated, “Through my job, I have also had the opportunity to meet and treat so many sweet patients.  I get to see most of the patients that I treat on a regular basis and when I am not here they ask for me by name. They are so thoughtful. Many of them have brought me home baked foods and candy to show their appreciation. These small gifts of gratitude mean so much to me.”

She continued, “I am very proud to be able to say that I work for an organization whose employees and administration place so much emphasis on compassion and quality patient care. The hospital’s continued growth and expansion to try to offer the best in medicine to everyone in our region means so much to someone like me who was born and raised in Pike County.”

“During my time with PMC, I have learned so much,” stated Underwood. “One of my most memorable mentors was and still is Melisa Wallace, former Radiology Director and current Special Procedures Technologist. She gave me my first promotion within the department, and taught me ‘the sky’s the limit through hard work and quality performance’.”

While at PMC, Underwood has won several perfect attendance and service awards. In addition to working the Radiology Department, she is a certified Group Fitness Instructor and teaches free aerobics classes to employees in PMC’s TLC Fitness center.

During her time away from work, Underwood enjoys running and spending time with her family. She is a member of the Big Sandy Road Runners Club, and last year she represented Pike County runners by running in the New York Marathon.

She lives with her husband of 23 years, Tom Underwood, and is a proud mother to her daughter Ashley.

Pike County resident Sandra Lynn Reed came to work at Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) more than two decades ago because she wanted to help people.

As a unit secretary in the hospital’s busy Emergency Department, she now gets to do that every day.

Reed was hired in September 1994 — nearly 21 years ago — in that same position.

She spent some time working in pediatric urgent care and, later, in urgent care, but she has always worked in the fast-paced environment of the hospital’s Emergency Department.

Being able to help her coworkers and patients is what she loves most about her job.

“This job is rewarding,” she said. “It can be stressful at times, especially after we started offering trauma services, but it is still rewarding. You know everybody you work with and everybody gets along really well. We just help each other. This job requires teamwork.”

She said when life-threatening emergencies arise, Emergency Department staff pull together and help each other care for patients.

“That way, no one feels overwhelmed,” she said. “It’s really nice to have that kind of teamwork, where everyone is working to help. It’s stressful at times, but it is nice.”

She appreciates all Emergency Department staff — from fellow unit secretaries, to nurses, to physicians and physician assistants. She said all of them play a vital role in caring for patients in the Emergency Room.

She explained that their willingness to work together is one of the ways PMC fulfills its Christian mission.

Reed has witnessed many changes since she started working at the hospital in 1994, including the addition of a new Emergency Department in 2010.

“Lots of things have changed in the Emergency Department,” she said. “It’s gotten a lot bigger and we’re treating more people. When I first started, there were 13 rooms in the old Emergency Department,.”

There are now 36 rooms. Additionally, the hospital now accepts trauma patients — a service that was not available 20 years ago.

Reed lives in Shelbiana near her parents, Sammy and Bethel Coleman. She has two children, William Reed and Andrea Williams, and three grandchildren.

Spiritual lessons are scattered all around us. The other night I prepared a squash for dinner.

Gazing at the outside took me back to the garden as a boy.  The shape and color alone brought to me a flood of memories.

There was the planting of that little seed and the many offspring it would produce from all that vine.

It came from a seed. As I cut that squash and scraped out those seeds a spiritual lesson unfolded too.

Christian Scripture says we are like seeds. Wow, the potential in a squash seed had nearly overwhelmed me.

If given an opportunity to grow, consider the awesome potential that lies within each human to flourish.

As we connect to our spiritual selves and the universe’s creator, like that squash seed, may we grow to be a blessing too many.

PMC Chaplain Randy Johnson may be reached at 606-218-3915 or via e-mail at

Medical Leader | Photo courtesy of WYMT/ERIC THOMAS
Under water: Flooding waters seeped into businesses and homes in Martin on March 5. This was one of numerous eastern Kentucky communities impacted by the snow storm last week.

PIKEVILLE — The Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce pledged to help its members and their businesses to recover from flooding that impacted eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia this month.

“The most recent round of severe weather and flooding has impacted communities across eastern Kentucky. In some places, the flooding has caused unprecedented damage to homes and businesses,” Jacob Colley, president/CEO of the Chamber said in a press release. “Many of our members and their businesses have experienced extreme and devastating losses. Our Chamber stands committed to doing everything possible to assist our members in helping them through this disaster and recovery from it. We are currently creating a plan to ensure our disaster-impacted organizations have access to the proper resources to begin the process of recovery and re-opening.”

This week, the Chamber released a list of resources that are available to help its business members who are recovering from flooding.

The Chamber is offering the use of its offices in Pikeville, basic office supplies, computers and Wi-Fi services to allow business owners to work if their office is under repair due to the disaster.

Businesses affected by the storms are encouraged to call 606-432-5504 and inform the Chamber that they need assistance. Chamber officials will connect those businesses to resource agencies, programs and other tools that can be of help.

Chamber officials will also connect local businesses to local banks and organizations, as well as the U.S. Small Business Administration, to begin the process of seeking loans and funding that could help them rebuild.

The Chamber has also made available a list of government resources, such as the Small Business Association’s disaster loan program (, educational material from the Federal Emergency Management Agency about the steps to take after a business is damaged (, the Internal Revenue Service’s disaster assistance program ( and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Help Desk (

The Chamber also has multiple planning guides to help its members learn how to prepare an office or business in the event of a natural disaster.

Colley thanked first responders, local officials and various organizations like the Red Cross who responded to help community members and businesses impacted by the severe storm, which blanketed the region in flood water, snow and ice.

“It is their actions, even more than the extreme weather that will be remembered for years to come” he said. “I ask all Chamber partners to keep the affected businesses along with all the residents of Eastern Kentucky in your prayers and please be safe.”

Please contact Jacob Colley for any questions or comments at or 606-794-0764.

PIKEVILLE — March has been designated to bring awareness to the third most common cancer in men and women in the United States and the third leading cause of cancer death – colorectal cancer.  During Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the Pikeville Medical Leonard Lawson Cancer Center is educating the region about the deadly disease and how to prevent it.

Mayo Clinic defines colon cancer as cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of the digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon. Colorectal cancer is a term used to describe both types of cancer.

While a small portion of colorectal cancers result from an inherited gene mutation, the cause is unclear in most cases.  The disease often begins as clumps of precancerous cells (polyps) on the inside lining of the colon.

Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:

•A change in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation, or a change in the consistency of stool

•Rectal bleeding or blood in stool

•Persistent abdominal discomfort such as cramps, gas or pain

•A feeling that the bowel doesn’t empty completely

•Weakness or fatigue

•Unexplained weight loss

Being over 50 or having undergone radiation therapy directed at the abdomen to treat previous cancers can increase the risk for colorectal cancer.  Other risk factors include:

•Family history of colon cancer and colon polyps

•Inherited syndromes that increase colon cancer risk

•A personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps

•Inflammatory intestinal conditions

•African-American race

•Low-fiber, high-fat diet

•A sedentary lifestyle





“It’s important to not ignore the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Lilian Thomas, Hematologist/Oncologist at Pikeville Medical Leonard Lawson Cancer Center. “Report rectal bleeding as well as black stool to your physician. Sometimes it may just be abdominal cramping and pain or change in your bowel habits, but having a colonoscopy can save your life.”

Colorectal cancer is commonly diagnosed through a colonoscopy, a procedure in which a flexible, slender tube attached to a video camera is used to view the entire colon and rectum.

People with an average risk of colon cancer can consider screening at age 50. Those with an increased risk should consider screening sooner, and African-Americans and American Indians may consider screening beginning at age 45, according to Mayo Clinic.

The American Cancer Society reports that the death rate for colorectal cancer cases has decreased in men and women over the last 20 years. This drop is largely due to polyps being detected through screenings and removed before they become cancerous, earlier detection and advances in treatment.

Colorectal cancer may be prevented by making lifestyle changes such as eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains; drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all; stopping smoking; exercising most days of the week; and maintaining a healthy weight.

For more information about services offered at Pikeville Medical Center and the Pikeville Medical Leonard Lawson Cancer Center, call 606-218-3500. To schedule a physician appointment, call 606-218-1000.

Sources: Mayo Clinic and American Cancer Society

LOUISVILLE — Students from throughout eastern Kentucky are traveling to Louisville this weekend to compete in the state’s premier academic event.

The Governor’s Cup State Finals will be open to qualifying middle and high school students at the Galt House in Louisville on March 14-16.

The annual competition begins at the district level, where students compete against other students from schools in their district. Winners in the district competition move on to regional competition, and students who achieve the highest scores are selected to compete at state.

The competition is fierce, with more than 20,000 students at 1,200 schools competing each year and thousands of coaches, administrators, parents and community members working to organize competitions and help students achieve Governor’s Cup honors.

The students compete in eight events, which include five written assessments in math, science, social studies, language arts and arts and humanities, a composition, or on-demand writing event, and competitions for quick recall and future problem solving teams at each school.

The Medical Leader printed a list of all district and regional middle school and high school winners on its Facebook page in February. The full list of students is also available online at

This list of state-bound winners include dozens of eastern Kentucky students who will compete in Louisville this weekend in one or more individual categories and/or with a quick recall or future problem solving team. These honored students include:

Floyd County Middle School winners

•Allen Central Middle School Quick Recall Team members Natalie Lester, Kade Scott, Preston Crase, Adam Hutchinson, Ryan Sword, Jacob Morris, Dalton Gearheart, Andrew Martin and Jacob Martin.

•Allen Central students Preston Crase, Adam Hutchinson, Natalie Lester and Kade Scott.

•South Floyd student Kaylie Edwards.

•Adams Middle students Sierra Crawford and Tabitha Mitchell.

•Allen student Caleb Johnson.

•Betsy Layne student Grace Orsborne.

Floyd County High School winners

•Prestonsburg High School Future Problem Solving Team members Angel Thornsbury, Faith Thornsbury, Billy Patton and Dalton Goble.

•Betsy Layne student Brody Coleman.

•Allen Central students Jordan Pack and Tyler Price.

Pikeville Junior High winners

•Pikeville Future Problem Solving Team members Leen Alnajjar, Tiffany Lin, Maddhu Ammisetty and Adam Swofford.

•Pikeville Quick Recall Team members Lindsey Lockhart, Jared Green, Hunter Ford, Cami Gaunt, Jackson Holland, William Fleniken, Jason Lin, Isaiah Huffman and Adam Swofford.

•Pikeville Jr. High students Jason Lin, Jared Green, Jackson Holland, Hunter Ford, Cami Gaunt, Sarah Belcher and Leen Alnajjar.

Pikeville High School winners

•Pikeville Quick Recall Team members Noor Ali, Haseeb Ahmad, Michael Gaunt, Emily Keaton, Cameron Lane, Ammad Mansoor and Jake Padgett.

•Pikeville High students Ammad Mansoor, Emily Keaton, Noor Ali, and Michael Gaunt.

Pike County Middle School winners

•Belfry Middle Future Problem Solving team members Ally Stanley, Jalyn Hackney, Jada Gauze and Lindsey Scaggs.

•Belfry Middle Quick Recall team members J.T. Mills, Jessica Hackney, Ashley Edwards, Katie Brumfield and Nate Helton.

•Valley students Abby Johnson, Andrew Johnson, Shelby Cline and Olivia Thornsbury.

•Phelps student Dalton Rife.

•Mullins student Dexter Kidd.

•Belfry students J.T. “Jon” Mills, Jessica Vickers, Ashley Edwards, Katie Brumfield and Lindsey Scaggs.

•Johns Creek students Matthew Chevalier and Nicholas Chevalier.

•Elkhorn City student Lorrie Moore.

Pike County High School winners

•Belfry students Eashwar Soma and Madison Fillinger.

•Shelby Valley students Ricky Mullins and Whitney Barber.

•Pike Central student Connor Varney.

•East Ridge student Brady Spradlin.

Letcher County High School winners

•Letcher Central Quick Recall Team members Cameron Wright, Keisten Collins, Marcus Baker and Noah Blair.

•Letcher Central students Cameron Wright, Keisten Collins and Rebecca Stanifer.

Letcher County Middle School winners

•Letcher Middle Future Problem Solving Team members Madison Caudill, Nikole Lee, James Slone and Tekoa Henrikson.

•Fleming Neon Quick Recall Team members Annie Conder, Logan Blair, Jacob Polly, Randi Wampler, Quaydenn Fleming, Bella Back, Drew Richardson, Sarah McAuley, Luke Goins, Ethan Day and Gracie Duncan.

•Fleming Neon students Jacob Polly, Randi Wampler, Quaydenn Fleming, Bella Back, Drew Richardson, Sarah McAuley, Luke Goins, Ethan Day, Gracie Duncan, Annie Conder and Logan Blair.

•Whitesburg students Jonathan Little, Sam Mullins and Jessica Boggs.

•Cowan student Hannah Caudill.

•Letcher student Elli Eldridge.

Private High School winners

Piarist students Trevor Blevins, Subhash Gutti and Victoria Dennison.

Attention Academic Coaches: The Medical Leader would love to publicize photos of these students at the state competition. Email photos of these students and teams at the Governor’s Cup to