Medical Leader | FILE PHOTO
FASHION SHOW: Current Miss Kentucky Jessica Casebolt is shown above taking part in a previous  Heart Healthy Fashion Show at Pikeville Medical Center. This year’s event will be held on February 21 at Landmark-Mark II in Pikeville.

PIKEVILLE - Pikeville Medical Center’s (PMC) Heart and Vascular Institute invites the public to attend its fourth annual Heart Healthy Fashion Show and Awareness Day event on Thursday, February 21, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Landmark-Mark II in Pikeville.

The event, held in recognition of American Heart Month, will offer entertainment, health screenings and heart health education.

Attendees will hear from world-renowned PMC Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Bill Harris, and Miss Kentucky Jessica Casebolt will serve as master of ceremonies. Local women and children will model the most modern, heart-savvy fashions on the runway. 

“There is a misconception that heart disease only affects the elderly, but heart-related issues impact people of all ages,” said Casebolt. “It is important to put into place heart healthy skill sets at an early age. Being able to involve children in this event and having the opportunity to reach out to them will positively impact their lives and this community for years to come.”

As Miss Kentucky, Casebolt chose heart health awareness as her personal platform.

“My grandmother passing away from heart-related issues just over a year ago really made the importance of heart health hit home for me,” she said.

“You must take your health and your heart seriously; it’s urgent.”

PMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute physicians and staff, cardiac rehab staff and other experienced professionals will be on hand to answer any questions.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity, unlike any other in our community, for people to learn about the risk factors and symptoms of heart disease, and what measures they need to take in order to have a healthy heart,” said Dr. Harris.

Free blood pressure and blood sugar screenings will be available as well as free counseling with PMC dieticians.

Educational materials will be distributed concerning heart disease risk factors, symptoms, prevention and treatment measures.

Free refreshments will be served.

PMC extends a special thank you to event sponsors Signature Events, Unique Boutique, Mickey’s Menagerie, Maurice’s, Prince and Princess and Red Room Boutique.

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States.

To learn more about risk factors and how to prevent heart disease, please join PMC for this important event.

The Mark II is located at 190 South Mayo Trail in Pikeville.

For more information about the Heart Healthy Fashion Show and Awareness Day event, call PMC's Public Relations Department at 606-218-4509.

Medical Leader | JESSICA HOWARD
ROAD TO RECOVERY: Rose Johnson, a cardiac rehab patient at Pikeville Medical Center, praises the  cardiac rehab staff for their support.

PIKEVILLE - “Pikeville Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is amazing,” said Rose Johnson of Pikeville.

In January 2009, Johnson, a secretary in PMC’s Emergency Department, was diagnosed with a “widow maker,” a nickname used to described a clogged coronary artery in the heart. She underwent a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) to improve blood flow to her heart.

Johnson says she was fortunate to begin treatment at PMC’s cardiac rehab facility.

“Going through PMC’s cardiac rehab program really helped me through the recovery process,” she said. “After surgery, you are a little afraid to exercise or get out and do the things you used to do by yourself. You don’t know what your limits are and if you are overdoing it.”

The qualified staff closely monitors each of their patients to ensure they are okay.

“They make you feel so comfortable and safe,” she said. “If anything shows up on the monitors while you are exercising, they know it and are able to take care of you.”

Rehab also helped Johnson cope with depression.

“I think the reason I didn’t get as depressed as some people do is because I actively participated in the program,”  Johnson said. “Attending cardiac rehab made me feel like I was okay, that I could get back into the swing of things and live a normal life. I would definitely recommend PMC’s cardiac rehab to anyone. It made me feel wonderful.”

Prior to seeking medical attention, Johnson suffered abnormal symptoms for many months.

She assumed they were caused by getting too hot or sudden changes in blood sugar levels.

“Don’t ever ignore any type of symptom; it may be nothing but you don’t know until you check it out,” she warned.

“If something is happening to your body that is not normal, have it checked and find out what it is. It just might save your life.”

Johnson’s symptoms included episodes of nausea, feeling faint to the point of passing out, cold sweats, heart pounding and blacking out. When she felt this way, she would lie down for 10-15 minutes.

“I just overlooked these symptoms for several months and never said anything to anyone,” she said.

“I didn’t associate these symptoms with a heart problem. I had no idea.”

Now that she is better, Johnson says she has a lot to live for.

“God gave me a second chance and it’s up to me what I do with it,” she said.

“I’m definitely going to take care of myself, because He has me here for a reason and isn’t done with me yet.”

Now, four years later, Johnson receives follow-up care from Pikeville Medical Center Heart and Vascular Institute’s Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Muhammad Ahmad.

“I thank God for the physicians and everyone here at PMC,” she said.

“For many years, patients had to leave this area to receive treatment, and now we have it all right here...we are very blessed to have this hospital and everything we need to take care of us. Pikeville Medical Center has grown so much and offers the best in medical technology.  There is no reason to go anywhere else.”

For more information, call Cardiac Rehab at 606-218-4925.

Medical Leader | SUBMITTED PHOTO

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third story in a series about heart health.)

PIKEVILLE - Nearly one in three adults over the age of 20 who live in the United States (76.4 million Americans) has high blood pressure (HBP), also known as hypertension.

Like high cholesterol, high blood pressure is sometimes called a “silent killer”, since it is usually not accompanied by any signs or symptoms. 

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), “blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls.”

Recorded as two different numbers, blood pressure is written in the following format: 112/75. The top or first number is called the systolic blood pressure and is the pressure when the heart beats. The bottom number is referred to as diastolic blood pressure and is the pressure when the heart is at rest. 

If left untreated, high blood pressure may lead to a stroke, heart attack, angina, heart failure, kidney failure or peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Since there are no symptoms, the only way to confirm blood pressure levels is to have it regularly monitored by a physician.

There are several factors that can lead to high blood pressure, or cause someone’s risk to be greater. Some of these factors include: genetics, age, body weight, physical activity, salt and alcohol consumption, a diagnosis of diabetes, gout or kidney disease and pregnancy.

While some of these factors are uncontrollable, there are many things you can do to prevent high blood pressure, such as:

•Maintain a healthy weight

•Eat healthy meals low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt and added sugar

•Limit alcohol intake (no more than 1 drink/day for women  or 2 drinks/day for men)

•Be physically active (150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minute of high intensity/week)

•Take any medicines as instructed by your physician

Sources: American Heart Association

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


PIKEVILLE - Dudley Hilton, head football coach for the University of Pikeville, knows firsthand the importance of listening to your body and seeing a physician if something doesn’t feel quite right.

Hilton has always tried to serve as a good example for his team and take care of his health.

“I’ve always tried to walk three to four miles every day,  eat properly and stay away from the things that are not good for you, such as drinking and smoking,” he said.

In fall 2012, Hilton noticed numbness and tingling in his ring and pinky fingers on his left hand. “It was like my fingers were asleep,” he said.

This reminded Hilton of some friends he had recently lost to heart attacks. He wondered if they had experienced signs and ignored them.

Hilton also noticed he was becoming increasingly tired earlier in the day and had experienced abnormal shortness of breath with exertion. “I just thought it was my age,” said Hilton.

During the middle of football season, Hilton visited Dr. Chad Carroll at Pikeville Medical Center’s Family Practice Clinic. As a follow up to his visit, Dr. Carroll ordered several different tests.

After receiving his results, Hilton was shocked to learn he had major blockages in his heart and required emergency quintuplet (5) bypass surgery.

“When I was told I needed open heart surgery, I cried like a baby,” said Hilton. “I know I’m not as big as I think I am, but I’ve always felt like I’m a big, tough guy. Having open heart surgery was for everyone else, not a big-time football coach. This experience brought me down to my knees and made me very humble. I thank God for my family support and all the answered prayers.”

After the surgery, Hilton struggled with depression.

“My days were long,” he said “I just sat on the bed or couch watching TV hour after hour.”

He credits Pikeville Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program for bringing him through the ordeal.

“I thank God for my therapy,” he said. “They helped me get over my depression and they slowed me down some. The ladies there, Maggie Belcher, Staff RN, and Brigetta Collins, Cardiac Rehab Coordinator, are warriors.”

Hilton started therapy on Dec. 20, 2012 and attends sessions three times a week.

“Every time I walk into therapy, I’m greeted by other patients, saying, ‘Hey coach, how are you doing?’” he said. “Just having the opportunity to meet new people has sparked me up.”

Rehab patients participate in workout schedules customized to meet their individual needs. Hilton’s hour-long sessions consist of 20 minutes on the bike, 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes on the ergometer (a device used to work the arms).

“During my workout, the girls make sure to closely monitor me and take my blood pressure every 10 – 15 minutes, making sure everything is ticking well and going good,” said Hilton.

According to Collins, “We provide our patients a safe and comfortable environment to work out in.”

Hilton attested, “When I’m finished exercising and get off the walker, I like to be wringing wet, but those girls make me slow down and leisurely walk. I needed that.”

The program has also provided Hilton with valuable information that, if put into practice, may help reduce future heart problems.

“As part of the Cardiac Rehab program, we educate our patients on how to identify and modify risk factors for heart disease,” Collins explained. “Some of the things we discuss include portion control and the importance of a diet low in sodium and fat. We also encourage daily physical activity.”

Looking back prior to having his surgery, Hilton recalls dodging several bullets that could have led to a heart attack. “Until something happens to you, it is easy to take your heart for granted,” he said.

“You have to take care of yourself,” Hilton continued. “It is important to take time out to exercise and get yourself on a schedule. If you put it off all day long, you end up not doing it.”

More importantly, Hilton encourages others to “take time to listen to your signs.”

He warns, “If something is not right, don’t put it off. Go and get it checked out.”

For more information about Pikeville Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, call 606-218-4925.

PIKEVILLE - High cholesterol increases one’s risk of developing heart disease, which is the “number one killer in the United States and in the world,” according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

As stated in the AHA “Life’s Simple 7” public education initiative, controlling cholesterol is one of seven key health factors/behaviors that can “keep your heart healthy, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, and improve your quality of life.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines cholesterol as a waxy, fat-like substance made by the body’s liver.

Found throughout the body, cholesterol plays a vital role by making hormones, helping food digestion, and supporting the body’s cells.

There are two types of cholesterol, good (HDL) and bad (LDL). Bad cholesterol can build up in artery walls, while good cholesterol helps remove cholesterol from arteries. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the following as desirable cholesterol levels:

•Total cholesterol        Less than 200 mg/dL

•LDL (bad cholesterol) Less than 100 mg/dL

•HDL (good cholesterol)        40 mg/dL or higher

According to the CDC, “71 million American adults have high LDL (bad cholesterol).”

Since there are no signs/symptoms that indicate high cholesterol, it is important to have cholesterol levels evaluated by a physician.

There are several things one can do to keep cholesterol levels in check. They include eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and not smoking.

However, some risk factors, such as increasing age and whether the patient has diabetes, are not controllable.

To find out your cholesterol levels, consult with your primary care provider.


American Heart Association; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health

PIKEVILLE - U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) recently announced the approval of a $45 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Rural Development (USDA-RD) for a much needed expansion project at Pikeville Medical Center.

“The Pikeville Medical Center is rapidly outgrowing its facilities and this loan will fast-track the hospital’s expansion project,” said Rogers.

“Our rural region suffers from some of the highest health disparities in the nation, but I commend PMC President/CEO Walter May for his vision and commitment to changing those statistics and diligently working to relieve our families from health care burdens. I also applaud the USDA-Rural Development office for recognizing the direct impact its funding support will have in improving medical services for the thousands of families who rely on health care at the Pikeville Medical Center.”

The loan will be used to construct two additional floors to the parking garage and convert the top three floors of the Clinic into physician exam rooms.

“We appreciate everything Hal Rogers does for his district,” said CEO Walter E. May. “The additional funding means a great deal to the hospital’s expansion project and will greatly benefit our patients.”

In 2010, the medical center was awarded a $44.6 million Community Facility Direct loan to construct the Clinic.

This additional funding is vital to meet the hospital’s dramatic growth since construction began on the original project.

“Pikeville Medical Center is grateful to receive the USDA-RD funding, which is crucial to our growth,” stated PMC Chief Operating Officer Juanita Deskins. “Congressman Rogers understands the health care issues faced by his constituents, and this additional funding is a great example of his commitment our region.”

Pikeville Medical Center is a regional facility, providing health care services to a rural population of nearly 69,000 in eastern Kentucky and portions of Virginia and West Virginia.

Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981.

With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents.

For more information, visit

PIKEVILLE - Quite a bit of progress has been made on Pikeville Medical Center’s expansion project, an 11-story Clinic and 10-story parking garage being constructed adjacent to the hospital on 911 Bypass Road in Pikeville.

Pikeville Medical Center officials joined state and local leaders to break ground on the project in 2010, and it is expected to be completed in 2014.     

The $150 million expansion will enlarge the hospital’s main facility by more than 630,000 square feet, with the parking garage totaling nearly 395,000 square feet and the Clinic totaling more than 235,000 square feet.

The parking structure will accommodate 1,162 vehicles and the Clinic will house outpatient surgery suites, exams rooms and offices for primary and specialty physicians.

The facility will enable PMC to house all physician offices in one location, giving patients easy access to physician offices and the main hospital.

Several floors of the parking garage were opened to the hospital’s valet services department in September, and construction of the rest of the facility will continue throughout the year.

Ralph Lomma, construction coordinator for the project, reported this week that the construction is approximately 70 percent complete.

“We’re on schedule,” he said. “They are shooting to be done by the end of the year.”

Medical Leader | CAROL CASEBOLT
GIFT FROM GOD: Joshua and Erie Coleman welcomed their first child, Racheal, on January 1. They are pictured with Diana Boggs, clinical manager of PMC’s Obstetrics Unit.

PIKEVILLE - Joshua and Erie Coleman of Pikeville recently experienced a miracle when their four-week-old daughter – the first baby born in 2013 at Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) – surpassed all odds.

On January 1 at 7:15 a.m., Dr. Erin Mullins, PMC OB-GYN, delivered Racheal Coleman. She weighed 7 lbs., 14 oz. and was 20 ½ inches long.

The following day, Joshua and Erie were informed Racheal had a possible respiratory infection, and she was placed in PMC’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  While there, PMC Neonatologist Dr. Todd Hambleton ordered an emergency computed tomography (CT) scan and noticed a bleed on her brain that was making it difficult for her to breathe.

The newborn was immediately flown to the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital where specialists performed emergency brain surgery to remove the blood.

“The day after surgery, the bleeding was just as bad as the day before,” Joshua said. 

The parents were informed the bleeding would not stop.

A few days later, electroencephalogram (EEG) results showed that Racheal was experiencing 20-25 seizures per hour. Caregivers informed Joshua and Erie that she was having so many seizures it was causing her brain to scar and die.

 â€œWe were told even if she made it through this, there would probably be no hope for her...she would be a living vegetable,” Joshua said.

 Finally, after several days, hospital staff noticed Racheal was starting to improve. They weaned her off her support systems and kept her on one of her seizure medications.

“The next day when she woke up, she was alert and looking/moving around,” Joshua said. “We were told she was a thousand times better than they ever expected.”

Racheal is now at home with her parents.

“We are great and very relieved,” Erie said. “This is amazing; it feels so good to have her home.”

“Without the support of our family and friends, I don’t know how we would have made it,” said Joshua. “I want to give special thanks to everyone at my work place, McCoy Elkhorn, for everything they have done.”

Erie applauded the care they received at PMC.

“The staff was wonderful and all of our nurses were amazing,” she said. “They made sure to always keep us informed about everything. When she was placed in the NICU, Dr. Hambleton always let us know what was happening, and his decision to perform an emergency CT scan was excellent. I think if he would not have ordered the scan and found the bleeding, she may not have made it.”

Erie continued, “And...she is here. We have been so blessed. Without God, she would not be here today.”

Racheal now weighs 8lbs, 12.5 oz., and gains around 4 oz. a day.

“This is a very sweet and very blessed family,” said Dr. Hambleton.  “Racheal’s turnaround has been such a blessing from God. We never want to see a sick baby, but when we do, the staff of Pikeville Medical Center’s NICU is happy to help by getting them the treatment they need.”

Since the 1960s, East Kentucky Broadcasting (EKB) has worked with PMC and the University of Pikeville to recognize and honor PMC’s first baby of the new year.

Baby Racheal will receive gifts from EKB, a one-year scholarship to the University of Pikeville, as well as generous donations from other local sponsors including, Double Quick, Care More Pharmacy, Kids Stuff, Prince and Princess and Nova Pharmacy.

PMC and Dr. Mullins will waive charges not covered by the family’s insurance plan.

“All of us at East Kentucky Broadcasting were praying for Racheal and her parents,” said Cindy May Johnson, President of EKB.

“We were so thrilled when we got the call that she had improved enough to go home.  To have the opportunity to present the family with all their gifts and prizes for having the First Baby of the Year was a little sweeter this year, knowing how desperately sick Racheal was. Our congratulations go out to the whole family, and we look forward to watching Racheal grow up.”

Racheal is the grand-daughter of Jeffery and Janie Coleman of Pikeville and Jerry and Melinda Adkins of Pikeville.

LOUISVILLE - The Medical Leader’s editorial staff garnered a record total of 18 awards – including four first-place – during the 2013 Kentucky Press Association Winter Convention held at Louisville’s historic Brown Hotel, Jan. 24-26.

“I am very proud of the Medical Leader staff and their recent accomplishments,” said Walter E. May, Pikeville Medical Center President/CEO. “They should be proud as well.

Medical Leader has greatly evolved since it was first published in 1999, and it continues to improve each year.”

This exceeds the number of awards last year by two.

Digital entries, dated from Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012, were submitted by newspapers across the Commonwealth for the judging.

The Medical Leader earned third-place General Excellence for the second consecutive year. The award is based on total accumulation of points from the number of first, second and third-place awards.

Staff Writer Teddy Paynter received three first-place awards for local sports coverage in the categories of Best Sports Page, Best Sports Section and Best Sports Picture Essay.

The winning Best Sports Section featured high school football teams from the coverage areas of Pike, Floyd, Letcher and Mingo (W.Va.) counties.

One judge commented: “This might be my favorite of all the sports special section entries I’ve looked at today. Very nicely done. Good graphics and good layout.”

Paynter also received two second-place awards for Best Sports Column and Best Sports Story. He received third place for Best Sports Picture Essay.

In addition, an honorable mention was received for Best Front Page and Best Sports Feature Story.

Staff Writer Mary Meadows received first-place for Best Spot News Coverage for her reports on the March 2012 tornado.

Judges said: “Good, old-fashioned reporting: Get someone to scene and let the people tell their own stories.”

Meadows received second place for Best Feature Picture, as well as third place honors for Best Spot News Picture, Best General News Picture, Best Lifestyles Page and Best On-Going/Extended Coverage Story.

She received an honorable mention for Best Spot News Picture.

The staff was honored for Best Picture Essay, which featured Hillbilly Days in downtown Pikeville.

The Medical Leader’s website earned third-place honors as well.

“I’m honored to work with such a wonderful staff at Medical Leader,” said PMC Director of Public Relations Laura Damron. “Every week, I watch them put their heart and soul into the publication. They are well-deserving of these awards and are already making improvements to receive even more accolades next year.”

PIKEVILLE - Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Kentucky for 2013. 

This is the sixth year PMC has been honored with this esteemed award. 

PMC will be recognized at the ninth annual Best Places to Work in Kentucky awards dinner on Tuesday, April 16 at the Lexington Convention Center.  Final rankings will be announced at the event.

The awards program was created in 2005 and is a project of the Kentucky Society for Human Resources Management (KYSHRM), the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, SHRM Council and Best Companies Group. 

“Our employees work as a team, striving for nothing but the best,” said Juanita Deskins, Chief Operating Officer.

“This award further confirms their commitment to provide quality regional health care in a Christian environment.”

This statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Kentucky.

Seventy-two winners across the state have been selected in two different categories: small/medium employer (25-249 U.S. employees) and large-sized (250 or more U.S. employees).  With more than 2,300 employees, PMC is among 39 other Kentucky companies in the large-sized employer category. 

The selection process, managed by Best Companies Group, is based on an assessment of the company’s employee policies and procedures and the results of an internal employee survey. 

The Best Places to Work in Kentucky initiative is based on FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” list.

To be considered, companies must fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

•Have at least 25 full-time/part-time employees working in Kentucky

•Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business or government entity

•Be a publicly or privately held business

•Have a facility in the state of Kentucky; and

•Be in business a minimum of 1 year

Melissa Coleman, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources at PMC and Chairman of the Hospital’s Employer of Choice Team, said, “Pikeville Medical Center’s employees are the reason we continue to be recognized among Kentucky’s best places to work.  Through their compassionate dedication and teamwork, PMC stands out among the competitors and is able to receive this esteemed distinction.”