Watauga Medical Center

D’Artagnan’s Gifts Help Pediatric Patients at Watauga Medical Center

Three years ago, at age eight, D’Artagnan (Tanion) McCoy came to the conclusion that he had too many toys – more than he needed. So in June 2012, he decided that he wanted to give someone else the toys he would get for his birthday. He and his parents spoke with Jessica Powell, Development Officer at Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation, and she suggested that the toys could be donated to the pediatric patients at Watauga Medical Center.

D'Artagnan McCoy with the toys for pediatric patients

D’Artagnan McCoy with the toys for pediatric patients

Tanion, now age eleven, is the son of Doc and Trina McCoy, owners of Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine, a local business who has been a huge supporter of the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center.  Since 2012, more than 5,300 pediatric patients have been able to enjoy Tanion’s gift.

By hosting events and raffle drawings, the McCoy’s have donated more than $19,000 to the cancer patient emergency fund. Each year in October Doc’s Rocks hosts Mining for the Cure, an event in which 100% of the proceeds are donated to the Cancer Center.  October 10th will be the 6th year of this event. The McCoy’s also serve on the Cancer Resource Alliance Board and donate pink gems for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s annual Pink Day event raffle – also held in October.

To continue the tradition this year, Tanion had a pool party with more than 25 guests – all bringing presents for the pediatric patients at Watauga Medical Center.

“Tanion is a different child; he is special.  He has an old soul in a young body, shared his grandmother, Marsha DeWeese.  “He has a compassion for others that not many have, especially at his age.”

When asked why he keeps giving, Tanion stated, “It’s just a good thing to do.”
For more information about how you can help patients in the hospital, call (828) 262-4391.

Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers

Did you know:baby

  • Breastfeeding decreases the possibility that babies will get ear infections, diarrhea, and a variety of infectious diseases?
  • Children who were breastfed have lower rates of obesity and higher intelligence scores?
  • Moms who breastfeed return to their postpartum weight faster?
  • Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of ovarian cancer?

For these and other reasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics supports breastfeeding and provides education to help new mothers and give them the resources they need.

At Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, we also provide resources and support for breastfeeding moms through our Marchese Birthing Center at Watauga Medical Center. Our lactation consultants and lactation educators are available during the hospital stay and even after mom and baby go home. They can be contacted by calling (828) 262-4285.

This week, August 1-7, is World Breastfeeding Week, a time set aside to promote breastfeeding and provide education. Efforts like this and promotions from other organizations have definitely helped spread the word. According to the CDC, breastfeeding rates continue to rise, and in 2011, 79 percent of newborn infants started to breastfeed. Yet in many cases, breastfeeding doesn’t continue for as long as recommended. Of infants born in 2011, 49 percent were breastfeeding at 6 months, and 27 percent at 12 months.

This decline is part of what inspired this year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week, “Let’s Make it Work.” Some of the objectives of this year’s initiatives include helping making workplaces more family friendly and to encourage employers to actively facilitate and support employed women who continue to breastfeed once they return to work.

There are many different reasons why women might not continue to breast feed longer than the first few weeks or months of their baby’s life. Sometimes it is a painful process, or the baby has problems latching on. Sometimes the mother simply doesn’t produce enough milk. And in some cases, it is just too hard to find a way to pump at work. We are supportive of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week initiative, because we know how important it is to breastfeeding mothers to have an encouraging environment at work. ARHS has a nursing mother’s room for employees at Watauga Medical Center, Cannon Memorial Hospital and Blowing Rock Rehabilitation that provides a private, comfortable setting for a lactating mother to express breast milk for her nursing child. Breast pumps are available in each room and pumping kit supplies can be ordered for employees at cost. A cooler for storing the expressed milk is provided free of charge.

Our society has come a long way in supporting breastfeeding, but we still have a long way to go. We encourage all new mothers to take advantage of the resources available at the Marchese Birthing Center. The support we give continues long after you and your baby are discharged, and having a good support network during breastfeeding can make a big difference in how long new moms continue their efforts.

For more information, call (828) 262-4285.



Hospitals to conduct Emergency Preparedness Exercise

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) will conduct an emergency preparedness exercise at Cannon Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, April 14 and at Watauga Medical Center on Wednesday, April 15.

The exercise is intended to improve the local response and collaborative decision-making ability of the hospitals, local fire departments and local emergency services.

Emergency Sign

The emergency exercise scenarios at both hospitals will be caused by a plausible yet fictitious fire on campus. There will not be an actual fire during either exercise, however, the public may witness smoke rising from Cannon Memorial Hospital on August 14 and from Watauga Medical Center on August 15.

The exercise will take place in unoccupied patient units and will utilize staff not assigned to work that day. Patients at both facilities will not be affected or at risk at any time during the exercise. All services and scheduled procedures will continue as normal. The exercise time will not been made public to preserve the integrity of the event.

The annual emergency preparedness exercises are another way that ARHS and local emergency agencies partner to make life better and safer in the High Country.

For more information contact Gillian Baker, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, at 828-262-8958.

Keep Your Blood Flowing with Healthy Arteries

Think of your heart as a central traffic hub, and your arteries are the freeways that allow things to keep moving. No one wants a traffic jam in their bodies. When blood can’t flow through at the rate it’s supposed to, it puts us at a higher risk for blood clots, stroke or a heart attack.

February is Heart Month, and we’re celebrating in many ways. Maybe you attended our Heart Shape event, or you’re wearing red to bring attention to the incidence of heart disease in women.

We also have another event that will help you find out just how much of your arteries are clogged, and whether the freeways in your body are running smoothly or are starting to look like a 5:00 traffic jam in Atlanta.

On Tuesday, February 24, Watauga Medical Center is offering an AngioScreen® vascular screening, for $20. The screening is a simple procedure that provides you with information about your heart rhythm, neck and leg arteries and your circulation, giving you a sense of your own risk for heart disease and stroke.

Healthy ArteryKnowing your AngioScreen® score is helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but there are other ways to help prevent clogged arteries as well. One way to help prevent clogged arteries is by controlling your cholesterol levels through diet. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables while staying away from saturated fats is the best way to keep your cholesterol levels in check. That means meals with broccoli, leafy greens, zucchini and peppers. For proteins, switch out red meat for fish, turkey or chicken for a lighter, lower cholesterol option.

It’s also important to limit your sodium intake. The average American eats 3,600 mg of sodium a day, but the American Heart Association says we should aim for no more than 1,500 mg per day. Eating fewer processed foods, limiting the amount of salt you use when you cook, and buying low or no-salt versions of canned foods are all simple ways to decrease your sodium intake.

And of course, regular exercise is an important part of warding off cardiovascular disease. Get yourself moving by walking your dog, riding your bike, or running with a friend, and your heart will thank you!

To reserve your appointment time for a vascular screening, call (828) 268-8960.

Give the Gift of Life: Give Blood

The slogan used by the American Red Cross has become familiar to us over the years, but don’t let its familiarity weaken its impact. What they’re saying is true. Every time you donate blood, you’re giving the gift of life to another person. And what better time to do that then now, during the holidays when gift-giving season is upon us?

blood dropBlood donations typically fall during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is understandable as so many of us are busy with parties, shopping trips, baking special treats and spending time with extended family. But taking an hour or so out of just one day to help keep the blood banks filled can make a big difference in someone’s life.

What is your blood used for? Blood transfusions are used in many different ways to treat people, including:

  • Cancer patients
  • Burn patients
  • Premature babies
  • Victims of traumatic injuries
  • People undergoing various forms of surgery

In addition to helping others, taking time to donate blood can also be helpful for you. Before you can be stuck with the needle, someone will take your blood pressure, check your pulse and record your hemoglobin, so it’s like a free health screening!

The American Red Cross makes it easy to find a blood drive near you with their Locate a Blood Drive page, and there are quite a few in our area during the month of December, including one at Watauga Medical Center on December 29. See you there!