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Healthy Lifestyles Online – June 20 Edition

Posted on June 20, 2017

LeConte’s Healthy Lifestyles is a health and wellness publication printed monthly in local newspapers serving Sevier County and South Knoxville. And here online! We hope you find this information healthful.

Table of Contents

Bugs & Drugs
Save the Date!
Hospital Volunteers Present Scholarships for LeConte Family Members to Pursue Healthcare Careers
LeConte Celebrates Hospital Week
LeConte Medical Center Co-Sponsors “World’s Largest Swimming Lesson” at Dollywood’s Splash Country
WLSL Water Safety Tips
Join us for Water Safety Day!
Download this edition

Bugs & Drugs

LeConte Pharmacists Launch “Superbug” Initiative

LeConte Medical Center clinical pharmacist Missy Rutherford, pharmcacy manager Claudia Ogburn and clinical pharmacist Julie Masterson (L-R) are helping lead Covenant Health’s initiatives to assure appropriate use of antibiotics. Masterson and Rutherford have completed advanced training related to antibiotic resistance.
LeConte Medical Center clinical pharmacist Missy Rutherford, pharmcacy manager Claudia Ogburn and clinical pharmacist Julie Masterson (L-R) are helping lead Covenant Health’s initiatives to assure appropriate use of antibiotics. Masterson and Rutherford have completed advanced training related to antibiotic resistance.

Two LeConte Medical Center pharmacists have become the first at Covenant Health to complete a year-long training that culminated with an initiative to track, monitor and assure appropriate use of the antibiotic vancomycin in treating patients with pneumonia. 

Julie Masterson and Missy Rutherford, both doctors of pharmacy (Masterson is also board certified in pharmacotherapy), completed the Advanced MAD-ID (Making a Difference in Infectious Diseases) Antimicrobial Stewardship Training Program in 2016 in Champions Gate, Florida. Masterson and Rutherford then had a year to develop and implement a project related to antibiotic resistance.

The project they chose dealt with the diminishing effectiveness of vancomycin and its overuse empirically. Titled “MRSA Screen: An Appropriate Tool for De-escalation of Empiric Vancomycin in Pneumonia,” the project proposed using MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) PCR (polymerase chain reaction) screens to reduce the use of vancomycin in pneumonia patients at LeConte Medical Center.  The nasal swab screen has a rapid turnaround time and provides physicians with real time data to help them eliminate unnecessary antibiotic use.

“In a nutshell, we got a policy approved that allowed for early discontinuation of vancomycin used empirically for pneumonia based on MRSA screen,” said Rutherford. “We did this by developing the policy; presenting it to physicians and administration for approval; and data collection and education for our hospitalists, nurses, pharmacists, and stewardship team.

“This is significant because there isn’t a good way to pinpoint the organisms responsible for pneumonia infections. Prior to this initiative, patients would most often remain on vancomycin empirically for the length of their hospital stay.”

The project is now policy for LeConte’s antibiotic stewardship program and will soon be implemented throughout Covenant Health. The LeConte Antibiotic Stewardship Team was launched in 2013, four years before The Joint Commission made such task forces mandatory for all healthcare facilities.

Stewardship teams are now in place at all Covenant Health hospitals, with more pharmacists set to undergo similar training as Masterson and Rutherford. There is also a stewardship team called PhAST (Pharmacy Antimicrobial Stewardship Team) which is represented by pharmacists from several Covenant Health facilities.

“The Covenant Health stewardship team is a great platform to share ideas and make group decisions to help with system-wide antibiotic stewardship initiatives,” said Masterson, who represents LeConte Medical Center on the PhAST panel. “It has really helped us all pull together as a team and approach stewardship as a system.”

The groups work to guard against overuse of antibiotics, believed to be a major factor in infections mutating into “superbugs” such as MRSA, Clostridium difficile (C-Diff) and others resistant to two or more antibiotics.

System-wide, PhAST is tracking six specific broad-spectrum antibiotics with the goal of a 20 percent reduction of their use over the next year, Masterson said. “The goal is to make sure they are being used appropriately and not overused or misused.” 

Resistance to a growing list of antibiotics are considered such a threat to global public health that the Oxford Journal’s 2016 “Review on Antimicrobial Resistance” estimates the 700,000 annual deaths currently attributable to infections by drug-resistant pathogens will, if left unchecked, increase to 10 million by 2050.

“The danger is resistant organisms that we eventually will not have antibiotics to treat,” said Rutherford. “Resistance is expanding quicker than our ability to research and deploy new antibiotics. There hasn’t been a novel antibiotic developed in many years.”

It takes 10 years and $1.3 billion to bring a new drug to the market. “There are not a lot of antibiotics in the pipeline right now,” said Claudia Ogburn, pharmacy manager at LeConte Medical Center.  “The Centers for Disease Control says that the number of new antibiotics entering the market now has been reduced to a trickle, and some of these may be a decade away from actually being on the market.

“This is an extremely serious situation,” Ogburn said. “Right now, we’re trying to slow down this resistance pattern so that new antibiotics can get ahead of the game.

“People expect to get a prescription for an antibiotic when they go to the doctor,”  she continued. “We all say, ‘It’s just me. How’s that going to affect the resistance pattern in the United States?’ But you multiply that by millions…. People think antibiotics are innocuous but they’re not.”

Ogburn said it boils down to a race between medicine and Mother Nature. “There is always going to be antibiotic resistance because there’s going to be genetic mutation,” she said. “The volume of use is one cause of increasing resistance. When the organisms are exposed so much more frequently to these antibiotics, they just develop that resistance sooner. It’s a normal process – we can’t stop Mother Nature from what she does. But we can slow it down.”

In the meantime, Ogburn is beaming with pride over Rutherford’s and Masterson’s achievements. “I am really proud of Missy and Julie,” she said. “They are so self-motivated and so committed to excellence, and LeConte is accomplishing things that are critically important. I’m very proud of them.”


Save the Date!

Standing Ovation Benefit Sale

June 28 & 29 | 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

This fundraising sale hosted by the hospital volunteers features sterling silver jewelry, fashion accessories and gifts. The sale will be held in the hospital classrooms, and convenient parking is available in Lot A.

Christmas in July Sale

July 17 | 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

This volunteer sale features gift shop clearance merchandise, including holiday décor. Everyone is invited to attend this special fundraising sale in the hospital classrooms. Convenient parking is available in Lot A.


Hospital Volunteers Present Scholarships for LeConte Family Members to Pursue Healthcare Careers

Each year the volunteers at LeConte Medical Center are honored to offer scholarships to members of the LeConte Medical Center family who are interested in furthering or pursuing their healthcare careers. Hospital employees, volunteers and dependent children of employees are eligible for scholarship consideration.

This year the scholarship committee presented the following awards:

Lisa Byrd, Med/Surg department, received $1000 to continue her studies toward her nursing degree at Western Governors University.     

Bethany Gianelloni, Lab, received $1000 to continue her studies toward her medical lab tech degree from Walters State Community College.

Kara Duff, junior volunteer, received $500. She graduated from Northview Academy and will attend the University of Tennessee in the fall. She hopes to become a trauma surgeon.

Carah McClurg, junior volunteer, received $500. She graduated from Seymour High School and will attend UT in the fall. She hopes to become an anesthesiologist.

Sydney McKay, junior volunteer, received $500. She graduated from Gatlinburg-Pittman High School and will attend UT in the fall. She hopes to become a neurosurgeon.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients!


LeConte Celebrates Hospital Week

LeConte Medical Center celebrated National Hospital Week with a picnic and t-shirts for employees. THANK YOU to all our employees for the care you provide to area residents and visitors all year long!

LeConte Medical Center celebrated National Hospital Week with a picnic and t-shirts for employees. THANK YOU to all our employees for the care you provide to area residents and visitors all year long!


LeConte Medical Center Co-Sponsors “World’s Largest Swimming Lesson” at Dollywood’s Splash Country

It just might be the “splash heard around the world” – a goal to reach more than one billion people by 2019 with the message Swimming Lessons Save Lives™.

Participants will be jumping in with both feet at Dollywood’s Splash Country at 10 a.m., Thursday, June 22, joining thousands of kids and adults at aquatic facilities around the world as they attempt to set yet another Guinness World RecordTM for The World’s Largest Swimming LessonTM.

The event is sponsored locally by Dollywood’s Splash Country, LeConte Medical Center and The Doctor Robert F. Thomas Foundation, along with radio station Star 102.1 and WVLT-TV.

This is the eighth year for the global event and organizers have set their sights on a new goal. Local WLSL events are set for more than 600 locations in more than 20 different countries on five continents over the course of 24 hours. The purpose of the event? To provide children and parents exposure to life-saving water safety skills and build awareness about the vital importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning.

Registration at Splash Country will be from 9-9:45 a.m. At 10 a.m., participants will attempt to set the world record for a swim lesson in the Wave Pool. Paid park admission is required and those interested in taking part in the lesson can sign up as they enter the park. Anyone in the park that day can participate in the activities, education and giveaways from the vendor booths. The booths are open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

In addition to the swimming lesson, it promises to be a day of fun in the sun at Dollywood’s Splash Country, as all park-goers can learn about:

  • Water safety
  • Skin cancer prevention
  • Emergency first aid
  • Child safety
  • Recognizing signs of stroke

Organizers are working to connect the dots between the real risk of childhood drowning and the need for basic water competency skills and crucial parental supervision to keep kids safe in and around the water. Research shows:

It just might be the “splash heard around the world” – a goal to reach more than one billion people by 2019 with the message Swimming Lessons Save Lives™. The problem is life-threatening for children: According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning remains the leading cause of unintended injury-related death for U.S. children ages 1-4, and the second leading cause for children under 14. Drowning is an even greater threat in other countries around the world.

Many lack basic swimming skills: In 2014, a survey completed by the American Red Cross found more than half of all Americans (54 percent) either can’t swim or don’t have all of the basic swimming skills.

Parents don’t recognize that supervision is key: According to a 2016 Safe Kids Worldwide report, despite the fact that lack of supervision played a role in the majority of drowning deaths, less than half of parents (49 percent) indicate they remain within arms’ reach of their child in the water.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that nearly 400 children under the age of 15 drown in a pool or spa each year, with 75 percent of those incidents involving children younger than 5.

In the U.S., more drowning and near-drowning accidents take place in June than any other month of the year. The July 4th holiday also traditionally sees an increase in drowning accidents compared to an average week during the rest of the summer.

Last year 40,298 people at 641 facilities in 24 countries worked to raise awareness about the importance of teaching children to swim. Since its inception, more than 195,000 children and adults have participated in WLSL lessons.


WLSL Water Safety Tips

Learn to swim: Swimming Lessons Save Lives™ — The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around water is to learn to swim. This includes both adults and children. The American Academy of Pediatrics now supports swimming classes after the age of 1 if the child is emotionally and developmentally ready.

Never leave children unattended: Parents are the first line of defense in keeping kids safe in the water. Never leave children unattended near water, not even for a minute. If your child’s in the water, you should be, too! Constant, careful supervision and barriers such as pool fencing are necessary even when children have completed swimming classes.

Read all posted signs: Follow posted safety rules and warnings. Teach kids that being safe in and around the water is a personal responsibility – yours and theirs.

Never swim alone or in unsupervised places: Teach your children to always swim with a buddy.

Wear a life jacket: If you or a family member is a weak or non-swimmer, wear a life vest. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about and many facilities provide them at no charge.

Look for lifeguards: It is always best to swim in an area supervised by lifeguards, but remember, lifeguards are the last line of defense when all other layers of protection fail.

Don’t drink alcohol: Avoid alcoholic beverages before or during swimming, boating or engaging in other water-related activities. Never drink alcohol while supervising children around water. Teach teenagers about the danger of drinking alcohol while swimming.

Spit it out: Teach kids not to drink pool water. To prevent choking, never chew gum or eat while swimming, diving or playing in water.

Avoid water wings: Do not use air-filled swimming aids (such as “water wings”) in place of life jackets or life preservers. Air-filled swimming aids can give parents and children a false sense of security. These items are toys and are not designed to be personal flotation devices.

Watch out for the dangerous “toos” and don’t take risks: Don’t get too tired, too cold, too far from safety, exposed to too much sun or do too much strenuous activity. Don’t take chances by overestimating your swimming skills. Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.

Use sunscreen: Apply sunscreen on all exposed skin to ensure maximum skin protection. Hats, visors and shirts are recommended to prevent overexposure.

Keep toddlers in shallow play areas: Zero-depth entry pools have water games, sprays and fountains with no appreciable water depth.

Follow age and height instructions as well as health restrictions: Restrictions apply to many rides and attractions at pools and waterparks. Size and coordination are critical to safety in water flumes. Guests with neck or back problems, heart conditions, pregnancy or prevalence toward motion sickness should not ride high-speed or rapid-descent rides.

Use plastic swim diapers: Many pools require them. Note where changing areas are located and use these designated, sanitized changing spots.


Join us for Water Safety Day!
Thursday, June 22 | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Dollywood’s Splash Country

Join us for a day of fun in the sun and learn all about summer safety including:

  • Water Safety
  • Skin Cancer Prevention
  • Emergency First Aid
  • Child Safety
  • Recognizing Signs of Stroke
  • And much more!

9 – 9:45 a.m.: Register for The World’s Largest Swimming LessonTM

10 a.m.: Participate in the record-breaking World’s Largest Swimming Lesson in the Wave Pool at Dollywood’s Splash Country.

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Water Safety Day booths open. Complete your “Splash Pass” by visiting all of the safety booths, and be entered into a grand prize drawing.

Presenting Sponsors:

Dollywood’s Splash Country will be open 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Paid park admission is required to participate in Water Safety Day activities.