PIKEVILLE - On Thursday, Jan. 17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pikeville Medical Center hosted the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s fourth Leadership Southeast Kentucky (LSEK) session for the class of 2013.

The event focused on health care and allowed local business leaders to receive free health screenings.

Speakers consisted of several community leaders, including Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford, Pikeville City Manager Donovan Blackburn, Pikeville Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Juanita Deskins, Kentucky Power Company’s Manager of External Affairs Brad Hall and Appalachian Pregnancy Center President Kay Hammond.

Deskins welcomed those in attendance and shared PMC’s recent successes, goals and plans for the future. 

She recapped the many awards received by PMC during 2012, as a result of the organization’s commitment to live out its mission “to provide quality regional health care in a Christian environment.”

“With much excitement on the horizon, Pikeville Medical Center expects 2013 to be an even more successful year than previous years,” Deskins said.

Deskins recognized PMC President and CEO Walter E. May as the visionary behind the hospital’s growth and success.

She ended by saying, ”Pikeville Medical Center will never rest on its laurels...PMC is the organization to which many of you and your families turn for health care, and we strive every day to do our part in making sure they receive the best care possible.”

PMC Pharmacist Cassee Jones and Gynecological Oncologist Dr. Holly Gallion also spoke during the session, educating the audience on their specific health care specialties.

LSEK is a training and technical assistance program that builds teams of emerging leaders from throughout the region who have assumed leadership roles in their communities, but may not hold established positions.

Participants in the program attend a two-day opening session and eight day-long training seminars during a nine-month period.  

The academy curriculum weaves together topics crucial to the development of community such as education, economic development, health care, energy, tourism, government, and banking/finance.  

Key leadership skills are integrated into each session.

Participants are encouraged to apply their previous and newly acquired skills throughout the program.

LSEK is the continuation of Leadership Pike County program which has been in existence since 2003.

Source: Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Medical Leader | FILE PHOTO
FLU PREVENTION: Washing your hands is one way to prevent the spread of germs during flu season.

PIKEVILLE - Flu season started earlier than usual this year. So far the leading strain, known as H3N2, has accounted for more than 98 percent of cases and tends to hit young children and the elderly the hardest.

Those most at-risk for severe flu complications, such as pneumonia, include the elderly and people who suffer from heart disease, are pregnant, have compromised immune systems or who are severely obese.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported a total of 22,048 flu cases from Sept. 30 to Dec. 31, 2012.

That is 26 times more flu cases than during the same time period in 2011.

“Kentucky has had widespread flu activity for five weeks,” said Dr. Kraig Humaugh, Kentucky’s sepidemiologist for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

According to the CDC, widespread flu activity is defined as increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in a state along with laboratory evidence of the flu.

In a Modern Healthcare Magazine article, Dr. Thomas Freiden, CDC Director, said, “It’s likely that influenza will continue for several more weeks.”

Getting a flu vaccination is the best protection, and even though it is almost February it is not too late to get one. “Better late than never,” said Frieden.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises that “everyone six months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu.”

Typical flu symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. The common cold and flu share many of the same symptoms, but these symptoms are typically more intense with the flu.

“It is very important for symptomatic individuals to seek early evaluation from a health care provider, since the treatment for flu is most effective if initiated within the first 48 hours of symptom onset,” said Dr. Maleshea Dunning, Pikeville Medical Center Medical Education and Residency Program Director.

Seek immediate emergency care if any of these symptoms are present:

•Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath

•Purple/blue discoloration of the lips

•Pain/pressure in chest or abdomen

•Sudden dizziness


•Severe/persistent vomiting


•Flu-like symptoms that improve and return again with a fever and worse cough

In addition to getting a flu vaccine, these other steps can help prevent the spread of the flu:

•Wash hands often with soap and water/alcohol-based hand sanitizer

•Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

•Avoid close contact with people who are sick

•Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing/sneezing, and then throw the tissue away

•See a physician immediately if you have flu-like symptoms and stay home at least 24 hours after your fever is gone

•Get plenty of sleep and exercise

•Try to manage stress

•Drink plenty of fluids

•Eat healthy

“In addition to hand washing and obtaining the flu vaccine, the best way to prevent spreading the virus is to avoid contact with sick individuals,” said Dr. Dunning.

“Individuals who have symptoms should wear masks when out in public areas and should stay at home if at all possible.  Limiting contact with others helps prevent a secondary infection in people with the flu, as well as protects those not affected.”

Sources: http://cdc.gov; http://abcnews.go.com; http://modernhealthcare.com; http://kyhealthnews.bogspot.com; http://flu.gov;

http://healthalerts.ky.gov; http://www.kentucky.com

Medical Leader | FILE PHOTO
AQUATIC POOL: Pikeville Medical Center patients are able to rehab in the Outpatient Rehabilitation Center’s HydroWorx 2000 therapy pool. PMC has offered the service to patients for the past six years.

PIKEVILLE - Patients unable to tolerate physical therapy due to discomfort or pain have an alternative at Pikeville Medical Center’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center, thanks to the HydroWorx 2000 aquatic therapy pool.

This state-of-the-art system, offering the most advanced water-based physical therapy, is also used by Cleveland Clinic, numerous state universities and professional sports teams.

The second nearest facility in Kentucky to offer the HydroWorx 2000 is in Lexington.

Aquatic therapy is covered by most insurance companies and is used for a variety of reasons, including: total joint replacement rehabilitation, fibromyalgia, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, as well as orthopedic, neurologic and neuromuscular conditions.

“For nearly six years we have had the opportunity to offer aquatic therapy to those who are unable to participate in land-based physical therapy treatments, due to extreme pain or discomfort,” said Linda Derossett, Pikeville Medical Center Director of Rehabilitation Therapy Services. 

“This is a wonderful service to our community and has proved successful for many of our patients.”

The HydroWorx 2000 features a large treadmill capable of holding four to six people at one time. However, Pikeville Medical Center respects patient privacy and prefers to provide individualized treatment.

Therapy sessions usually are conducted twice a week for four to six weeks.  Sessions generally begin at 15 to 30 minutes and can progress up to an hour.

After undergoing aquatic therapy, patients have reported improved mobility, increased flexibility and strength, an increased range of motion, and improved walking patterns.

A study by Utah State University’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department reports that “patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis may receive the same aerobic conditioning with less joint pain and greater improvements in mobility by using underwater treadmills as opposed to land treadmills.”

Some of the unique aspects of the HydroWorx 2000 are:

•An adjustable floor, allowing patients to enter the pool at deck level and then be lowered to various depths (6-foot maximum)

•A large underwater treadmill with different speeds

•An underwater camera and monitoring system that allow physical therapists to diagnose patients’ walking patterns and record treatment sessions/progress

•Resistance therapy jets

Physical therapists also use devices such as dumbbells and aerobic steps to assist in therapy and increase resistance.

Not everyone may be a candidate for aquatic therapy, including those who have an open wound, any type of incontinence or a fear of water.

A physician’s referral is required for a patient to receive aquatic therapy.

To see PMC’s HydroWorx 2000 or to learn more about aquatic therapy, call Pikeville Medical Center’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center at 606-218-3507.

Source: http://hydroworx.com

PIKEVILLE - January is National Thyroid Awareness Month. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, as many as 30 million Americans may be affected by thyroid disorders, with half remaining undiagnosed.

The thyroid is a small gland located at the bottom of the neck, directly below the Adam’s apple.  Its function is to take iodine from a person’s diet and create thyroid hormone.  Thyroid hormone affects physical energy, temperature, body weight and mood.

Keeping the thyroid gland healthy is very important since it influences the function of many organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin.

Thyroid disorders occur more commonly in the elderly and females and are usually caused by abnormal function and/or growth in the gland.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are different symptoms of abnormal thyroid function, depending on if there is too little or too much thyroid hormone. Below are some symptoms.

Not enough thyroid hormone:

Depression/feeling blue

Trouble concentrating


Dry skin and hair

Weight gain

Feeling cold all the time

Too much thyroid hormone:


Weight loss

Tremor (shaking)

Fast, irregular pulse


Feeling hot all the time

Some factors may increase the chance of having a thyroid disorder. They include family medical history, certain prescription medications and any previous radiation therapy to the head/neck.

Pikeville Medical Endocrinology Physician Practice and the offices of Dr. Chih Chang and Dr. Reem Kheetan are located in the Adam’s Plaza at 140 Adams Lane, Suite 600 & 700, Pikeville.

The office of Dr. Arlette Soros and PMC’s Pediatric Endocrinology Physician Practice is also located in Adams Plaza in Suite 300.

For more information about endocrinology services, contact 606-218-4793 or for pediatric endocrinology call 606-218-6225.

Dr. Jody Brown

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following testimonial letter was received from Pikeville resident Carol Willis Huber)

For years there has been no help for macular degeneration.

In May 2011, I began to notice a change in my vision.

At first the change was slow and I really didn’t think too much about it.

But on Mother’s Day weekend I became really concerned; everything straight looked wavy, especially the lines on the highway.

I do a lot of office work and I noticed when I looked at the computer’s keyboard and the typewriter it was like looking under water. I felt very hopeless until my first visit with Dr. Jody Brown.

I was referred to Dr. Brown by Dr. Regina Coleman Compton. When he tested my eyes, he told me I had macular degeneration.

I felt a deep pain of fear, but he assured me he would be able to help with injections given in the eyes.

I later learned that had it been 10 years ago, those injections would not have existed and I would have lost my vision.

When I began to take the injections, it took a few weeks before I could really notice any change.

Now, I can honestly say I am thrilled with the results I have received in my vision. Dr. Brown and his staff are awesome people! They are so kind at each visit, and are only too happy to be of service to their patients.

We are so blessed to have Dr. Brown and his services in our area. Without him and his staff, I would have to drive away from my home to receive this treatment.

The injections do not hurt.

Approximately 45 minutes to one hour before treatment, they numb your eyes to ensure there is no pain.

When I receive injections, I don’t feel a thing.

I am and always will be very thankful for those who did the research and found this medication for macular degeneration.

Without this treatment, so many people, including myself, would have lost their vision.

I am so blessed.

I highly recommend if you are experiencing a problem with your eyes, and are debating whether or not to see a doctor, do not wait; the sooner you receive help the better.

Every day, I thank God for restoring my vision through the hands of Dr. Brown and his wonderful staff.

Medical Leader | FILE PHOTO
EYE EXAMINATION: Retinal Ophthalmologist Dr. Jody Brown examines a patient at his office in the Grace Call Building on South Mayo Trail in Pikeville.  Dr. Brown treats macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy as well as other eye diseases.

Dr. Keith Ison

Having good general health may help lower the risk for eye disease. The AAO points out specific measures one can take to decrease the chance of developing eye disease:

•Exercise regularly, which gives eyes optimal blood circulation and oxygen intake

•Use protective eye wear when in the sun and enjoying recreational activities

•Get adequate sleep, which gives eyes lubrication and the ability to clear out irritants that have accumulated during the day

•Avoid smoking, which can lead to cardiovascular disease directly influencing the eye’s health

•Avoid using decorative contact lenses without a prescription

•Always have contact lenses properly fitted  and commit to proper contact lens care

PIKEVILLE - Pikeville Medical Center Ophthalmologist Dr. Keith Ison and Retinal Ophthalmologist Dr. Jody Brown provide comprehensive eye care to the people of the region.

Both are board certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Ophthalmology.

Some of Dr. Ison’s services include comprehensive eye exams, LASIK eye surgery, cataract surgery, glaucoma diagnosis and treatment, cosmetic eyelid lift and brow lift.

Dr. Brown treats macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal tears and detachments, vitreous hemorrhages, macular holes and other conditions.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), an ophthalmologist is a physician who specializes in all aspects of eye care, including the diagnoses, management, and surgery of ocular diseases and disorders.

Individuals having any of the following signs/risk factors should see an ophthalmologist:

•Decreased or distorted vision

•Black strings, specks or flashes of light

•A curtain or veil blocking vision

•Halos (colored circles around light)

•Injury or pain




•Double vision

•Loss of side vision

•Excess tearing

•Eyelid abnormalities

To make an appointment with a Pikeville Medical Center ophthalmologist, contact:

•Dr. Keith Ison, Ophthalmologist

Grace Call Building

1098 South Mayo Trail, Suite 203



•Dr. Jody Brown, Retinal Ophthalmologist

Grace Call Building

1098 South Mayo Trail, Suite 305



Source: The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Dr. Johnson

PIKEVILLE - Now in full swing, the new year has brought changes to Pikeville Medical Weight Loss Surgery Center.

Pikeville Medical Weight Loss Surgery Center and Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Amy Johnson moved to a new location on Monday, Jan. 7.

The office is now located in Suite 103 on the first floor of the Grace Call Building at 1098 South Mayo Trail, Pikeville.

Specializing in various weight loss surgery procedures, Dr. Johnson and her staff offer customized treatment to fit each patient’s individual needs, goals and lifestyles.

Weight loss surgeries offered at PMC include: laparoscopic gastric banding, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, laparoscopic biliopancreatic diversion, laparoscopic gastric bypass and revisional weight loss surgery.

“Over the past year, I have fallen in love with this community,” said Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Amy Johnson. “The opportunity to help patients improve their health and change their life is such a privilege, and I look forward to seeing what the new year brings to Pikeville Medical Weight Loss Surgery Center.”

Individuals who have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater, and who suffer from a serious medical condition or lifestyle impediment because of their weight may be a candidate for surgery. Individuals with a BMI of greater than 40 may qualify for surgery regardless of other medical problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines BMI as a number calculated from a person’s weight and height.

Before weight loss surgery, candidates:

•Have tried to lose weight and have been unsuccessful

•Are unable to physically perform daily activities due to their weight

•Understand the benefits and risks of weight loss surgery (these are explained by PMC’s Weight Loss Surgery Center)

•Are motivated to make long-term lifestyle changes by eating well, exercising regularly and taking supplements

•Are not smoking or are quitting smoking

•Are not suffering from untreated psychological illnesses

•Are not addicted to alcohol and/or drugs

•Are not trying to get pregnant, and do not want to be pregnant for at least 12 months.

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

PIKEVILLE - Pikeville Medical Center has received the Women’s Choice Award from WomenCertified® distinguishing it as one of the 2013 Best Hospitals for Patient Experience in Obstetrics.

 The award is based on robust criteria that include female patient satisfaction measurements as well as clinical excellence considerations.  WomenCertified represents the collective voice of female consumers and is a trusted referral source for top businesses and brands identified as meeting the needs and preferences of women.

“Pikeville Medical Center is focused on improving obstetrical care for the women in our region,” Walter E. May, President/CEO of Pikeville Medical Center.  “Winning the Best Hospital for Patient Experience in Obstetrics award from WomenCertified affirms our commitment to providing top-quality women’s services.”

Women make or influence more than 90 percent of healthcare decisions for themselves and their families, according to a study published by the American Academy of Family Physicians. 

The Women’s Choice Award signals that a hospital meets high standards regarding a woman’s preferences, and the distinction allows expecting mothers to make an informed decision about where to go for their birthing and maternity care needs.

“Pikeville Medical Center’s selection by WomenCertified as one of the Best Hospitals for Patient Experience in Obstetrics differentiates it from other choices in the area,” explains Delia Passi, CEO and founder of WomenCertified, and former publisher of Working Woman and Working Mother magazines.

“Women have many choices when it comes to maternity care and they set the standard for customer service.  Women’s Choice Award recipients have demonstrated extraordinary service in meeting the needs of women and their families, and represent the smart choice for women.”

Hospitals qualify for this highly selective annual list based on an in-depth proprietary scoring process. 

The scoring incorporates a national, standardized survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) and an analysis that weighs criteria identified as the most important to women for patient satisfaction.

Additionally, the scoring incorporates WomenCertified’s in-depth research on customer satisfaction among women, including a joint study on customer satisfaction by gender conducted with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Hospitals were also screened based on clinical criteria.

“Recognizing the best hospitals for obstetrics nationwide that are women-friendly and align with women’s identified preferences is important to our mission at WomenCertified, where women help other women with tough, consumer decisions,” Passi concludes.

“Most importantly, when a woman sees the Women’s Choice Award at her local hospital, she’ll know the hospital values her experience as a critical component of her and her loved one’s care.”

Helpful tips...

Taking 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, before and during pregnancy, may help prevent birth defects.

Where is folic acid found?

Daily vitamins

Enriched/fortified foods such as flours, breads, cereal and pasta

Beans: lentils, pinto beans and black beans

Leafy green vegetables: spinach and romaine lettuce




Citrus fruits: oranges, grapefruit

Orange juice (from concentrate is best)


National Council on Folic Acid

PIKEVILLE - January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. About one in every 33 babies, or one baby every 4.5 minutes, is born with a birth defect.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Major birth defects are conditions present at birth that cause structural changes in one or more parts of the body. They can have a serious, adverse effect on health, development or functional ability.”

“Birth defects can be devastating. Ranging from simple to severe, they can cause disabilities or even death,” said PMC OB-GYN Rebecca McCowan. “Since some birth defects are preventable, awareness and education are crucial. Through the help of blood testing and sonography, Pikeville Medical Center is able to identify some birth defects early, allowing for the most optimal treatment.”

Birth defects usually occur in the first three months of pregnancy and sometimes even before a woman knows she is pregnant. They may be caused by factors such as genetics, behavior and environment.

Unfortunately, the cause of many birth defects is unknown and not all birth defects can be prevented.

However, here are some steps a woman can take before and during pregnancy to increase the chance of having a healthy baby:

•Take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day

•Do not drink alcohol during pregnancy

•Do not smoke, and avoid being around those who do

•Do not use illegal or “street” drugs

•Discuss all medications you are taking during pregnancy, even if they are prescribed, with your OB-GYN

•Try to prevent infections

•Talk to your physician before taking any vaccinations during pregnancy

•If diabetic, keep blood sugar levels under control

•Maintain a healthy weight

•See a health care provider on a regular basis

PMC provides complete gynecological and obstetrical care for women before and after pregnancy. With office locations in Pikeville and Harold, PMC’s experienced team of OB-GYNs treats patients from Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin, Mingo and Letcher counties.

Available services include: annual exams, comprehensive pregnancy and postpartum care, family planning ovarian screenings, bone density and STD testing, laparoscopic hysterectomies, and treatment for polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, pelvic pain, infertility, incontinence and menopause.

Below is the contact information for PMC’s OB-GYN Physician Practices:

•Pikeville Medical Women’s Care Center

Drs. Crum, McClellan, McCowan, McGuire and Mullins

Professional Associates Building, 419 Town Mountain Road, Suite 206, Pikeville


•Harold Family Physicians and Women’s Health Services

Dr Maggard

246 KY RT. 979, Harold