NICU Alum and Her Friends Raise Cash for Kids

Eleven years ago, Michelle and Josh Keeler held their breath while their newborn daughter, Emma, spent eight days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Arnot Ogden Medical Center. Last month, Emma and her friends – along with their younger sisters – decided to give back.

Michelle says she knew the kids were planning a series of yard games one day in late June, but was completely surprised at what came next. They emerged from their play area with a plan to host a neighborhood “Fun Fair,” complete with games, live entertainment, and a petting zoo featuring the family dog, Cooper. Their plan was to invite everyone in the neighborhood and raise money to support healthcare services for infants in the NICU – where Emma had been helped so many hears ago.

Once the games were set, they got right to work making flyers and going door-to-door to promote the event. Some neighbors who couldn’t make it donated cash instead.

In the end, Emma and her sister, Riley, as well as Kaitlyn and Jenna DiNardo and neighbor Whitney Smith raised a total of $115 for the NICU.

Arnot Health Foundation Annual Fund Manager Angela May accepted the gift last week from the girls. She talked with them at Arnot Ogden Medical Center about how much gifts like theirs mean to the organization. NICU Unit Director Kimberlee Bliek was also on hand to express thanks on behalf of the organization.

So, will there be a “Fun Fair” version 2.0? The girls say they’re already planning a bigger and better event that will raise even more money next year.

Thanks so much to Emma, Riley, Kaitlyn, Jenna, and Whitney for their selflessness and generosity!

Kids plan

BACK, L to R: Kimberlee Bliek, Arnot Ogden Medical Center NICU Unit Director, Emma Keeler (11), Kaitlyn DiNardo (12), Arnot Health Annual Fund Manager Angela May. FRONT, L to R: Riley Keeler (8) and Jenna DiNardo (9). NOT PICTURED: Whitney Smith (8).

Why is it important to walk after knee or hip surgery?

If you are undergoing a knee or hip replacement procedure, we want you to be aware of the entire process, including what to expect before, during, and after your surgical procedure. Patients are often shocked to hear their physician ask, just hours post-surgery, for them to get out of bed and take a walk. This, I assure you, is for a very good reason, and that reason is the prevention of blood clots.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), or the formation of a blood clot, is a serious post-surgery complication. Blood clots can form in the lower extremities due to excess swelling, debris in the veins, and immobilization- basically all things that occur with hip or knee replacement surgery. Blood clots can block the flow of blood to the immediate and surrounding areas causing local damage or, they can dislodge travelling to other parts of the body including the heart or lungs causing very serious complications including heart attack, stroke, or death.

How Does this Effect You and Your Post-Surgery Experience?
Following your hip or knee replacement surgery, ensuring that blood continue to flow properly returning it quickly and effectively back to the heart is essential in the prevention of blood clots. You can expect your physician to take one or more of the following steps to reduce your risk including:

  • Mechanical prophylaxis: a pneumatic pump to compress the foot and/or leg aiding in blood return
  • Chemical prophylaxis: Xarelto, Aspirin, etc. to thin the blood
  • Getting you out of bed, on your feet, and walking

Understanding Your Risk:
While anyone can develop a post-surgery blood clot, there are certain risk factors which may increase the possibility of developing a clot such as:

  • Advanced age
  • Varicose veins
  • Smoking
  • Estrogen therapy
  • Cancer
  • Factor 5 deficiency
  • Genetic predisposition

It may seem counter intuitive, or even downright cruel, to get you on your feet following these particular procedures, however, we assure you it is for your benefit. Blood clots are a very real, and very serious, post-surgical risk. Once you develop a blood clot, you are more likely to develop them again in the future; taking proper measures to prevent them now can have an impact on your present and future health. Your healthcare team is committed to your safety, and that means getting you moving as soon as possible post-surgery.

DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis is the formation of a post-surgery blood clot

DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), or the formation of a blood clot, is a serious post-surgery complication.

11-Year-Old Girl Hopes to be a Surgeon; Writes Letter to Arnot Health

Andrea is 11 years old, she lives in Elmira, and she wants to be a surgeon when she grows up. While others her age are just starting to think about their career paths, or perhaps haven’t even considered the options, Andrea is already beginning to research her chosen field. This past summer, she sent a letter to Arnot Health expressing her desire for information.

Andrea meets with Drs. Sadhasivam and Kopicky“I want to be a surgeon when I get older and would like some facts about that,” she wrote.

Well, rather than simply providing some basic information that may otherwise be found on the Internet, two of our staff agreed to meet with Andrea and her mom at Arnot Ogden Medical Center. Dr. Subramanian Sadhasivam, a General Surgeon, and Dr. Lauren Kopicky, a Surgical Resident, gave them a tour of the hospital, focusing on the Operating Room area to show Andrea where surgeons do much of their work. Andrea got a chance to talk with both doctors about their education and experience, including what it takes to train and become a surgeon.

“It’s hard work,” both doctors agreed, “and it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance.” At only 11 years old, Andrea has a chance to get a head start on that hard work. “If you set your goals now and keep your grades up,” the surgeons told her, “you’ll have the option of pursuing a career in surgical medicine when the time comes.”

We wish Andrea and her family all the best and we’re thankful for the opportunity to respond to her letter. See below for the original letter from Andrea and its full contents.

Letter to surgeons from 11-year-old AndreaDear Arnot:

Hi, I’m Andrea and I’m 11 years old. I am writing to you because you are the best people who save lives. I’m also writing to you because I want to be a surgeon when I get older and would like some facts about that. I hope you can honor my request. Thank you for your time.



The Backpack: Dispelling Myths and Finding the Right Fit

At the start of a new school year, every so often I hear a rumor begin to circulate that a heavy, ill-fitting backpack can cause scoliosis. Scoliosis can be described as a condition in which there is a horizontal curvature of the spine, typically occurring during a child’s growth spurt just before puberty. While the cause of most scoliosis cases is unknown, it is generally agreed upon by physicians that the backpack is not a likely culprit.

Now that we’ve put that rumor to rest, there are still many reasons a well-fitting backpack is important. A poor-fitting, ill-constructed, overloaded backpack can cause unnecessary stress and vertical pressure on the shoulders and back taxing core muscles and bowing out the spine, which, in addition to being uncomfortable, can be harmful. Choosing the right backpack may not seem like a difficult task until you hit the store or on-line retailer of your choice and find yourself faced with every size, shape, style, and color imaginable. So what makes for a good fit?

Safe Backpacks for Children

To start, the size of the backpack should be no larger than your child’s actual back- roughly from the outer edges of the shoulder blades for the width and from shoulder line to a few inches below the waistline for the height. Selecting the right size will assist in making sure the weight of the bag is distributed evenly throughout and ensure the straps hit in just the right spot (about half way between the neck and the shoulder joint).

Second, and speaking of straps, you want to choose a bag with two, well-padded straps. When wearing, make sure the straps are nice and tight. This will protect the shoulders and again help to distribute the weight evenly. One-shoulder, or messenger style, bags may look studious but unless your child is packing lightly I wouldn’t recommend them. To the coffee shop with a light laptop perhaps, but not from the house to the school locker hauling every text book imaginable … for that I’d stick with the standard two straps for sure. Finally, try to find a backpack with a padded back panel to cushion the spine. Furthermore, you may also want to find one with a waist strap to further secure the bag keeping it and it’s contents from bumping and jostling around. You may get a not-so-enthusiastic look from your pre-teen, but I’ll let you handle any ensuing style disagreements.

If you start to notice your child complaining of back pain, numbness, or tingling in their arms, there may be an issue. Try repacking the bag, putting the heaviest objects low and in the center, and encourage them to take only what they need for the day. Leave the bowling ball collection at home.

If the fit is correct but it’s a struggle to pick up or they appear to be to be one soft breeze away from toppling over backward, it still might just be too heavy, even without the bowling balls. In this case, you may want to consider a rolling bag in lieu a traditional backpack. They’ll be prepared for school and their next trip to the airport. It’s a win-win.

If you’d like more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Beth Dollinger, click here to find her contact information listed in our provider directory.

Orchids & Candlelight: How to Get Involved

Get involved with this charitable event!

Get involved with this charitable event!

Have you had an Orchids and Candlelight party in the past? Have you thought about having one? We want to hear from you! Our new goal is to raise another million dollars, and you can help!

How can you participate? Plan a party! It does not need to be elaborate. It can be at home or in a restaurant; it can be for brunch, lunch, or dinner. You could go bowling, plan a picnic, play bridge, celebrate a birthday – whatever you want it to be. The date is flexible: parties can be held any time you choose, generally between March and September. Plus, all expenses for the host are tax deductible.

Invite your friends! There have been parties with only 2 guests and others with 100. Your guests are asked to donate a minimum of $25 per person. If you think about it, it is difficult to go out to eat for less than that. In addition, there is a spectacular reception for all hosts and guests, which will be held at the Elmira Country Club on April 12, 2014.

How does it work? First, contact Alene Goodman of the Auxiliary at (607) 737-7007 x3791, and let her know that you would like to host a party. Details and a guest list form will then be sent to you. Next, fill out this form with the date, time, and place for the party, along with your guest list. The Auxiliary mails the invitations to the guests, receives their responses, and then informs you of who will be attending. The guests send their donations to the Arnot Ogden Medical Center Auxiliary, and these donations may be eligible for matching funds and a portion may be tax deductible.

Why participate? Money that is raised helps purchase equipment and fund services to help patients and families who go to the Falck Cancer Center for care. So, all of the money stays right here, to help people we know and love. In essence, it’s a good feeling, helping a cause that helps so many.