Miss America Visits Young Patients at Kadlec
By Michelle Dupler, Tri-City Herald
Gallery: Miss America Visits Kadlec
RICHLAND -- Miss America Teresa Scanlan knelt next to Jack Herrin's hospital bed at Kadlec Regional Medical Center on Friday and chatted with the 3-year-old about the assortment of plush toys collected next to him.
There was a big blue frog, a brown monkey and a knit green ball that Jack delighted in throwing to the end of the bed, showing off for the young woman who must have looked to him like a crowned princess.
"Watch this!" he said and pressed the buttons on his bed to show how it could go up and down.
Then he picked up a cardboard pirate mask and gleefully whacked Scanlan's face.
With the grace and poise one would expect from Miss America, Scanlan laughed it off and continued talking brightly to the little boy, who had been brought into the emergency room the night before with a tonsil problem doctors still were trying to diagnose by about noon Friday.
Minutes later, Jack was visibly disappointed when his new friend had to move on to the next room in Kadlec's pediatric unit.
Scanlan visited the hospital on Friday as an ambassador for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals -- a role she has played since being crowned in January at age 17.
Now 18, she's the youngest reigning Miss America since 1937, and the first to visit the Tri-Cities.
Her visit was arranged by local entrepreneur and philanthropist George Garlick, who said he has ties to the Miss America programs in Washington and Nebraska.
"It's once in a lifetime to have this turn of events," he said, referring to a reigning Miss America coming to the Tri-Cities.
Both Scanlan and Garlick are native Nebraskans, although Garlick has called Richland home for many years. Scanlan is the first Miss Nebraska to go on to win the Miss America title.
She told a gathered crowd of Kadlec staff, and the reigning Miss Tri-Cities and Miss Teen Tri-Cities, that at the time she was excited to have made it to the top five.
She described the moment as the fourth runner-up was named, and she thought she would be named third, then second, then first runner-up. She would have been happy with any of those, as she would have gone further in the contest than any Miss Nebraska before her.
"Being 17 and from Nebraska, if anyone had the odds stacked against them, it was me," she said.
But she won the title, and has dedicated her year as Miss America to causes related to children. It's work she said she plans to continue once she turns the crown over to the next Miss America on Jan. 14.
"I think there's no better way to invest in your future than to invest in children," she said. "I think that's what centers like this are doing. ... There's no more important work than the work these hospitals are doing."
KNRC Celebrates 30 Years
Tony Attwood, MD is Coming Again!
About Dr. Attwood
Dr. Tony Attwood is the world's foremost authority on the subject of Asperger's Syndrome - a developmental disorder generally defined as high-functioning autism.
Autism affects 1 child in 125 today.
Dr. Attwood-- a practicing clinical psychologist in Australia who has worked for the last three and a half decades with thousands of individuals with Asperger's, their families and professionals--will speak on improving social understanding and strategies to manage anxiety, anger, sadness, bullying, sexuality and being different, among other relevant subjects.
Dr. Attwood's common-sense approach, prodigious knowledge, and empathetic style combine to draw enthusiastic audiences wherever he lectures. He has drawn rave reviews because of his "practical and achievable strategies for intervention and education," according to Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry Journal, and his achievement of "describing the current state of scientific knowledge in accessible and understandable language."
Dr. Attwood has written numerous books and produced many DVDs on Asperger's that have sold well over half a million copies. His book, The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, is a top-seller in the field. His workbooks and DVD, Exploring Feelings: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy To Manage Anxiety, Sadness, and Anger involve subjects relevant to any child – whether on the autism spectrum or not.
Schedule - October 19, 2011:
7:30 am Registration
8:30 Dr. Tony Attwood
10:30 Dr. Tony Attwood continues
12:00 pm Lunch on your own
1:00 Dr. Tony Attwood continues
3:00 Dr. Tony Attwood continues
4:30 Conference Adjourns
*We do have a limited amount of scholarships available for those who are low income and affected by a neurological disorder. We can stretch our scholarship dollars to more attendees if you could afford to contribute anything towards your scholarship. Please send written request to:
712 Swift Blvd, Suite 1
Richland WA, 99352
Kennewick Man Raises $23,800 for Kadlec Cancer Patients
By Michelle Dupler, Herald staff writer
Chris Pumroy had every intention of finishing the Furnace Creek 508 race in Death Valley this year.
The former Marine from Kennewick trained and planned ways to stay nourished and hydrated along the remote, desolate race course, which he planned to bike to raise money for pediatric cancer patients at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.
But what he couldn't plan for was a heat wave that brought temperatures upward of 110 degrees in early October.
"I kept thinking, 'Is this a faulty thermometer?' " Pumroy said. "It was reading 111. The forecast was saying 101 or 102 in some spots."
The brutal heat ultimately did him in, and Pumroy passed out from dehydration somewhere past the halfway mark.
But he succeeded in raising $23,797 as of Wednesday, with donations still trickling in, said Rozanne Tucker, philanthropy director for the foundation.
"That's why we went down there and did that race -- so I could raise money," Pumroy said. "The athlete and competitor in me wishes I could have finished, but that would have been a secondary victory."
Pumroy was inspired to enter the race after hearing the heart-wrenching stories of pediatric cancer patients and their families at the University of Washington Medical Center, where his mother was undergoing treatment for leukemia prior to her death.
He talked to parents who were struggling to make ends meet while their children were dying -- some were being hounded by creditors and were on the verge of bankruptcy.
As a tough combat veteran who served in Iraq, he wanted to put his physical endurance to the test on behalf of pediatric patients and their families.
He decided to raise money by entering endurance races because he believed that honored the exper-iences of children battling lengthy illnesses such as cancer.
The Furnace Creek 508 was his greatest test to date, and he's proud of his performance in the race, which takes riders on a torturous 508-mile journey over three days that includes a 35,000-foot gain in elevation.
"Needless to say, it was tough," Pumroy said. "I went down as prepared as I thought I could be. A lot of times it takes two or three tries to complete it. There are a lot of variables you can't train for."
Pumroy thinks he made two crucial mistakes in the race -- first, he pushed too fast in the early stages instead of pacing himself as well as he should have.
"In the first 180 miles of the race, (I) was in the top 50, even the top 30 at one point," he said. "That should have been a red flag for me."
The race included 200 invited participants.
His second mistake was to overhydrate because of the heat. He had planned to run on liquid fuel that would keep him hydrated and keep his electrolytes up.
He worked with a nutrition planner and calculated he'd need 240 calories per hour, which meant drinking two 24-ounce bottles an hour in temperatures less than 75 degrees. He'd add a third bottle of electrolyte-containing fluids if the thermometer climbed over 75, and a fourth if it rose above 85.
That plan had him consuming 116 ounces of fluid every hour, which ended up being too much and caused a condition called hyponatremia, or low blood sodium.
"I was drinking so much fluid the electrolytes were not sticking," he said.
He had instructed his crew that when he became exhausted from the heat, to keep pushing fluids to keep him going.
"I got sick. My body started rejecting the fluids. I started showing classic signs of dehydration," Pumroy said.
He passed out and wrecked his bike at Furnace Creek, 252 miles into the race.
A physician's assistant who was part of his crew examined him and said he was in danger of heat stroke. Pumroy tried to take more fluids, but couldn't keep them down.
He got back on his bike and rode another 20 or so miles before he wrecked again and his team insisted he quit the race.
But Pumroy wanted to keep pushing on, to push himself to the absolute limit.
"I was pretty pissed off when they tried to make that decision," he said. "I didn't promise anybody I'd finish, but I did promise I wouldn't quit as long as I was within my ability to continue. I promised I'd suffer a tremendous amount of pain, and I did."
He ended up with numb hands and feet for two days following the race, as well as blisters and road rash from crashing his bike. And he spent $6,500 of his own money on the trip, equipment and entrance fees.
Nonetheless, he said he would do it again to raise money for children with cancer.
"I would love to do it again, one, because it turned out to be a very successful fundraiser," Pumroy said. "And I'd like to finish that race from a personal standpoint."
Kadlec Talks to Specialists Via Video
By Sara Schilling, Herald staff writer
RICHLAND -- Apollo Muse squirmed in his isolette as a cardiac sonographer performed a test on the 2-week-old infant's heart.
Another baby -- Apollo's neighbor in the neonatal intensive care unit at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland -- let out a wail.
Dr. Mark Lewin, the pediatric cardiologist consulting on the exam, smiled. "Is that Baby Apollo?" he asked.
Lewin couldn't tell who was making the noise because he wasn't actually in the room. He was at Seattle Children's Hospital, and was talking with the sonographer and Apollo's parents via a mobile video conference system.
The system -- known at Kadlec as "Johnny 5," likely a nod to the character from the 1980s film Short Circuit -- allows Lewin and specialists like him to help care for patients in smaller hospitals hundreds of miles away.
It's one of the ways Kadlec and other hospitals are harnessing technology to improve patient care.
Sometimes patients in smaller hospitals need a specialist but don't have access to one, Lewin said. "The solution is providing other ways to provide care," he said.
Officials demonstrated the video conferencing system Friday while Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski was visiting Seattle Children's. He was promoting an FCC proposal to improve broadband connectivity in rural medical facilities.
Seattle Children's uses video conferencing to work with hospitals from Richland to Alaska. The technology debuted at Kadlec a couple of years ago and is used primarily in the NICU.
Apollo's parents, Jake and Misha Muse of Kennewick, sat next to his isolette Friday during the demonstration. The baby weighed 2 pounds, 15 ounces when he was born premature last month, but he's been gaining weight steadily and now is 3 pounds, 4 ounces.
His parents have been told he should be able to come home in September.
They've been at his side every day since he was born. Misha Muse said she is grateful Kadlec has video conferencing capability so her family doesn't have to trek to Seattle for a consultation with a pediatric cardiologist.
"It's pretty cool that we don't have to travel up there to do it all," she said.
Johnny 5 isn't Kadlec's only video conferencing system. The hospital also has robotic video conference systems, which are mobile devices similar to Johnny 5 that can be remotely controlled. They're so sophisticated that doctors can examine wounds and skin through the screens.
One of them is onsite in Richland and the other is in Dayton, allowing physicians there to consult with specialists at Kadlec.
The Richland hospital plans to get more in the coming months.
Eventually, "they're going to become as commonplace as telephones," said Dave Roach, Kadlec's vice president of information systems.
Kadlec Recognized Nationally as a “Best in Class” Employer
Kadlec Health System has learned it is being nationally recognized for the high level of job satisfaction among its workforce. HR Solutions, a company the conducts employee surveys and is endorsed by the American Hospital Association, has awarded Kadlec a “Best in Class” seal for its high ratings in worker satisfaction.
Kadlec scored in the top 10% of attracting, engaging and empowering employees. That translates into motivated employees providing optimum care for patients.
“We’re gratified to earn this honor,” said Rand Wortman, president and chief executive officer of Kadlec Health System. “We’re extremely proud of our 2,200 employees, and the recognition validates the tremendous work they do every day.”
Kadlec has nearly tripled its workforce between 2000 and 2010. In just the past year alone, Kadlec has hired more than 400 new employees.
State Approves Kadlec Newborn ICU Expansion Plan
Kadlec Regional Medical Center has learned that its plan to expand its highly regarded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has been approved by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).
Kadlec last year applied to the state for a Certificate of Need to designate 15 beds in its NICU for Level III care, allowing it space to care for most all critically ill infants. The state approval also gives Kadlec authorization to use 12 beds for Level II intermediate nursery care. Kadlec is one of only two Level III units in Eastern Washington.
“This is great news for our community and region,” said Anthony Hadeed, MD, medical director of Kadlec’s NICU. “We have seen our patient demand grow significantly. The state’s decision will give us much needed ability to grow to meet the needs of our patients.”
Kadlec has highly skilled neonatologists and nurses available around the clock for any newborn needing special medical care. Babies in the NICU weigh from 1 to 12 pounds and the average length of stay ranges from a few hours to more than 3 months. The NICU accommodates up to 15 babies at any given time, plus houses advanced medical equipment used to treat “preemies” and other fragile young patients. The unit also has a parent room for quiet time and consultations with physicians and a twin isolette, especially designed to keep the twins together.
Kadlec’s NICU operated at more than 80% capacity, based on 2008 statistics. It was also at 80% occupancy in 2007. Both figures are significantly higher than the state’s target of 65%. Patient days are growing every year. In summary, Kadlec’s NICU is full today. And the state has agreed that it should expand.
As a regional referral center, Kadlec has close ties with all the hospitals in southeast Washington and northeast Oregon. Nearly one-fourth of Kadlec’s NICU patient days are from babies from outside Benton and Franklin counties. For the past 3 years, Kadlec has had an increasingly close affiliation with Seattle Children’s Hospital, the region’s premier pediatrics center. Kadlec and Children’s collaborate on treatment and training protocols and Kadlec’s neonatologists are members of the medical staff at Seattle Children’s.
“We are offering more and more children’s services that allow patients to stay close to home for their care,” said Kelly Harper, RN, Kadlec maternal child services manager. “The state’s approval is a validation of the work done in the NICU by our dedicated team of professionals.”
With an expanded NICU, families will be able to have their infants treated locally – instead of having to travel to Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma or Portland during an extremely trying time. The state’s approval paves the way for the next steps in planning for construction of a new NICU at Kadlec.
Kadlec Unveils New Care Unit
By Michelle Dupler, Herald staff writer
RICHLAND -- Chaplain Tom Becraft blushed as someone told him to speak up while delivering a blessing at Kadlec Regional Medical Center on Monday.
Becraft is more often called upon to comfort patients or families whose loved ones face serious or even terminal illnesses, and that kind of work calls for hushed tones, he said.
But Monday's event was a more joyous occasion -- a ceremony marking the opening of a new 29-bed acute care unit in the Richland hospital's River Pavilion tower -- where a raised voice was appropriate to carry Becraft's message to the gathering of about 70 Kadlec officials, employees and supporters.
"May this new sixth floor be a homelike sanctuary of wisdom and grace where people say, 'I care' and truly mean it," Becraft said. "May this new sixth floor provide space for brokenness to be healed, especially that brokenness that lies beyond the touch of ointments, pills and other treatments."
The new unit, which opens to patients on Wednesday, marks the completion of the originally planned six floors of the River Pavilion tower -- a building that eventually will rise to 10 stories, making it the tallest building in Richland.
Kadlec initially constructed four floors, which opened in June 2008 with an intermediate care unit, clinical decision unit and 10 new operating rooms. The fifth and sixth floors were built as shells for future expansion that was expected to be years away, but high demand for health care led the hospital to open a $7.4 million pediatric unit on the fifth floor in November.
Construction of the 29 patient rooms, plus offices, nursing stations and staff lounge, on the sixth floor started 18 months ago and finished in May.
The tower was designed so that Kadlec could add four more floors, and plans are under way to begin that expansion if the hospital gets permission from the state to add beds.
"Nowhere in our wildest dreams did we anticipate in a couple of years we'd need the capacity this tower provides," Kadlec President Lane Savitch said during the ceremony Monday.
Todd Eppich, Kadlec's medical unit manager, said as he strolled through the new unit conducting tours that the sixth floor expansion doesn't add to Kadlec's overall bed count but allows the hospital to spread the beds out into more space so that every room in the hospital can be private for the first time in its history.
The hospital next will spend $300,000 to remodel a third-floor unit to convert semi-private rooms to private ones. The remodel will be done in groups of five rooms at a time so patients will still have access to the beds, Eppich said.
Kadlec staff worked with architects to design the new acute care unit with a homelike feel that will make patients more at ease in the hospital.
Each room includes a pull-out sofa bed so family members can stay in the room with the patient, plus a wall-mounted flat-screen TV that airs educational programs to help patients care for themselves when they return home.
The rooms are painted in muted earthtones and contain nature-themed artwork intended to be soothing. Eppich pointed to spots on one wall needing a fresh coat of paint marking where a picture had been taken down because it was judged not relaxing enough for patients.
Each room has computerized monitors to track patients' vital signs, plus a computer terminal tucked in the corner of each room so that nurses or other health care providers can check electronic medical records without leaving a patient's side, Eppich said.
The unit will have the capacity to house patients who just came out of intensive care, down to those who have recuperated and are ready to be discharged. Previously, patients would have been transferred from unit to unit as their condition improved, he said.
Concussion Managment Launched in the Tri-Cities
By Michelle Dupler, Herald staff writer
Two students won't be playing football for Richland High this year -- or likely ever -- because of lingering problems related to concussions.
It's part of increasingly aggressive efforts to make sure that young athletes aren't permanently affected by the common brain injury.
Dr. Rich Jacobs of Northwest Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine in Richland said sometimes after a concussion an athlete can appear to be OK physically, but still have healing to do at the cellular level inside his or her brain.
And if an athlete is cleared to play before the brain is fully healed, problems with memory, reaction time and focus mean the player is more likely to get injured again -- perhaps permanently.
"It's estimated 10 percent of football players will sustain a concussion over a year," Jacobs said. "We have learned over time when a person returns to activity and sport before the concussion is healed, they are more likely to re-injure and to have lasting injuries."
He hopes a new computerized testing tool he's brought to the Tri-Cities will ensure that doesn't happen.
Jacobs joined Northwest Orthopaedic on Aug. 2 after having practiced sports medicine at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.
At Notre Dame, he used a computer test designed to evaluate athletes' cognitive abilities before and after a head injury to help determine when they're really ready to return to sports.
Athletes are tested on reaction time, memory skills and learning before a sports season starts -- when they're normal and healthy -- to get a baseline for comparison later.
Then when a player sustains a concussion or head injury, he or she is tested again after all physical symptoms have disappeared to make sure brain function is back to normal before being allowed to play again.
Jacobs said the point of the test is that physical symptoms and cognitive symptoms don't always perfectly align. Someone can appear outwardly to be healed but still struggling with things like memory and focus.
"We need the test to tell us when the brain has really healed," he said.
A concussion is an injury at the cellular level in the brain that doesn't show up on an MRI or other type of scan, he explained. So the best way to determine whether a concussion has healed is to test brain functions.
It also prevents a situation when an athlete may tell a coach or trainer he or she is OK to get back into the game even though not fully healed, Jacobs said.
"Sometimes they want to play so badly they're willing to tell a little fib or they're willing to deny those symptoms," he said. "If they take the test and don't pass ... we can with some objectivity say even though they're feeling better they're not fully healed."
Ensuring a player is fully healed isn't just a matter of good medical practice -- it's Washington state law.
The Zackery Lystedt Law was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2009 and requires that young athletes from high school football stars to Little League baseball players be removed from play if a concussion is even suspected. They can't return until they get written clearance from a licensed health care provider.
The law was named for a Maple Valley boy who sustained a brain injury in 2006 as a middle-school football player. Lystedt sat out for a short while, but then was let back into the same game and hit again -- this time sustaining life-threatening injuries.
Mike Neidhold, head football coach for Richland High School, said the computerized testing offered by Northwest Orthopaedic gives him another tool to keep his players safe.
"My one charge as head coach is player safety," Neidhold said. "When they do get a concussion -- in the old days we'd ask, 'Are you OK?' and they'd say 'Yes,' and go back to the game. Now we're finding kids get hurt (again). ... With the test we know they are OK. It will take some of the mystery out of this."
Jacobs wants parents to know they shouldn't be afraid to let their children play sports.
"Sport is safe," Jacobs said. "In fact, I encourage people to participate rather than not participate. We are just trying to make sport safer. That is really the point of using the test."
Richland, Hanford, Pasco, Chiawana and Tri-Cities Prep high schools all are using the test to measure their football players' cognitive skills and create a baseline going into the fall season.
Kadlec Regional Medical Center is funding the cost of testing.
Iraq War Veteran's Extreme Ride to Aid Kadlec Pediatric Center
By Michelle Dupler, Herald staff writer
Chris Pumroy served two tours of duty in Iraq and lost his mother to cancer in 2006, but the most physical struggle of his life may be yet to come when he tackles a nonstop 48-hour, 508-mile bike race through the brutal terrain of Death Valley, Calif.
He has never entered a race like the Furnace Creek 508, and he's anxious about the notorious Death Valley heat, the 35,000-foot elevation gain during 10 mountain climbs and staying fueled and hydrated on the desolate route, but he's willing to take the pain to benefit a good cause.
Pumroy, of Kennewick, is making the extreme ride to raise money for Kadlec Regional Medical Center's Don & Lori Watts Pediatric Center.
He became inspired to raise money to help pediatric patients while visiting his mother at the University of Washington Medical Center while she underwent treatment for leukemia prior to her death.
He said he'd walk past children with cancer and his heart would break.
"I think the worst thing -- even harder than seeing my mom sick -- was seeing kids that were sick up there," Pumroy said.
He'd talk to their parents, who were struggling to keep up with the bills while their children were dying. Some were being hounded by creditors and were on the verge of bankruptcy.
"It was like adding insult to injury," he said. "I always wanted to do something to give back."
But at the time, Pumroy not only was coping with his mother's illness but also was between tours in Iraq with the Marine Corps First Light Armor Reconnaissance Battalion and wasn't in a position to start a charity.
After he left the Marines, he came to the Tri-Cities, where he enrolled in college and took a job at Energy Northwest. Then he started thinking about what he could do to help the kinds of children who had tugged at his heart in Seattle.
"I wanted to raise money and make a really big impact," Pumroy said. "I looked at traditional methods -- golf tournaments and car washes. They didn't fit my personality. I thought there had to be a better way."
He decided to enter raise money by entering endurance races, because that seemed to honor the experiences of children battling lengthy illnesses such as cancer.
"Cancer is a painful disease, a painful process, and the outcome is uncertain," he said. "You have to have a lot of heart to go through that battle. I think endurance events are similar. They're painful and take a lot of commitment to train and a lot of pain when you do it. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you don't know how it will turn out."
Pumroy entered the Furnace Creek 508 with a goal to raise $10,000, and met that in one donation when Steve Anderson, vice president and chief operating officer for HAPO Credit Union, heard his story.
"He has a pretty compelling story," Anderson said. "It's pretty hard not to be moved by it. When he gave his talk last Thursday, I had to fight back the tears."
Anderson said it took about 15 seconds for him to decide that HAPO would make a donation.
Pumroy now has set a new goal to raise $75,000. All money goes directly to the Kadlec Foundation for the pediatric center, he said.
"I don't touch a penny of the donations," he said.
The race is Oct. 4-6. Donors can donate per mile or a fixed amount. Donations can be made at kadlecfoundation.org or by calling 942-2661.
- Seattle Children's Cancer Care
- Columbia Basin Hematology & Oncology
- American Cancer Society
- Tri-City Cancer Center
- Seattle Cancer Center Alliance