Pictured: Michael Faulkner, MD, Nicholas Lopez, MD, Martin Rains, MD, and Austin Ward, MD
In a press release on Monday, October 19, Baptist Health Paducah called a team of physicians 'a new generation of heart doctors'.
Last year, three Paducah doctors performed the first TAVR (Transcatheter aortic valve replacement) procedure in the area. Structural interventional cardiologists Martin Rains, MD and Micheal Faulkner MD, along with cardiothoracic surgeon Nicholas Lopez, MD carried out the successful surgery on a Ballard County man in his 80's on October 22, 2019.
Before Baptist Health started the TAVR program, patients would travel long distances to have this type of procedure. It's a milestone achievement and a big step for the patients in the region.
The innovative procedure for cardiac patients offers a minimally-invasive approach to the traditional open-heart surgery. The new generation of physicians are continuing the hospital's rich heritage as a leader in cardiovascular services. Baptist Health Paducah was the first in our area to offer open-heart surgery as well as several other 'firsts' in cardiac care.
In addition to the Dr. Martin, Dr. Faulkner, and Dr. Lopez, the team has added cardiovascular surgeon Austin Ward, M.D. In September, Dr. Ward performed the regions first TAVR procedure through the carotid artery.
Dr. Ward is native of Paducah, Kentucky and is very excited to be back in his hometown practicing medicine. “I feel like I hit the jackpot with the chance to come back to my hometown and do what I love every day,” Dr. Ward said. “I love that every patient presents a new challenge or problem to solve. This is where I have the opportunity to use my hands to influence physiology and outcomes every day. It is an honor and privilege to be trusted with the cardiothoracic surgical care of patients and I am thankful for the opportunity to provide world-class care without patients having to travel out of our community.”
Protect the vulnerable and do your part always.
Does the flu vaccine affect my chances of getting COVID-19?
The flu vaccine protects you from seasonal influenza, not the coronavirus — but avoiding the flu is especially important this year.
Health officials and medical groups are urging people to get either the flu shot or nasal spray, so that doctors and hospitals don’t face the extra strain of having to treat influenza in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Not to mention the confusion factor: The illnesses have such similar early symptoms that people who get the flu may mistakenly think they have COVID-19, said Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic.
Only a test can tell the two apart.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the flu vaccine for everyone starting at 6 months of age, and suggests getting it by the end of October.
The CDC says the vaccine will not cause you to fall ill with the flu, and that the protection it provides takes about two weeks to kick in. And the flu vaccine isn’t perfect but studies show if the vaccinated get sick, they don’t get as severely ill.
A few flawed studies over the years have attempted to link the flu vaccine to increased risk of other respiratory infections, but experts say there is no evidence that’s true.
Coronavirus restrictions are taking effect in the Netherlands, the U.K., the Czech Republic and other parts of Europe on Wednesday as nations try to reverse an alarming wave in new cases. The continent is now seeing more new coronavirus cases – an average of 100,000 daily — than at any other time during the pandemic.
Bars, restaurants and schools are being shut down or sharply limited, and officials are working to bolster hospital capacity, to accommodate an expected influx of new COVID-19 patients.
Numbers that showed signs of taking off in late August and September are now skyrocketing. Europe reported more than 700,000 new coronavirus cases last week – a surge representing a 36% weekly increase, as NPR's Reese Oxner recently reported.
Europe's infection rate "has been increasing for 77 days," the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in its most recent weekly report for the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom.
Here, a sampling of the situation in Europe:
In France, President Emmanuel Macron used a nationally televised interview Wednesday night to announce the start of nightly curfews in Paris and eight other densely populated areas in an effort to control the coronavirus in what are deemed "health emergency zones."
The curfews will run from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the next four weeks, starting on Saturday. Anyone who violates the curfew would face a fine of 135 euros (nearly $160) for the first offense. A second offense would bring a far steeper fine of 1,500 euros — around $1,760.
"I'm not talking about infantilizing people," Macron said, according to France24, "we're taking measures that are proportionate."
Italy reported its largest one-day total of new cases Wednesday, with more than 7,300 – easily surpassing the terrible heights the country reached in March. The rise comes one day after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree putting new limits on gatherings, sports and school activities. Bars and restaurants are still allowed to operate until midnight, but only if they offer table service.
In Spain, the regional government of Catalonia is ordering all bars and restaurants to close their on-premises operations, saying they can only sell to-go items for the next 15 days. Shopping areas, theaters and gyms will have to operate at reduced capacity. It's the only way to avert an even deeper shutdown, officials say.
"We are facing difficult times; we must act today to avoid a lockdown in the coming weeks," Catalan Vice President Pere Aragonès said, adding that the region's health statistics "are very worrying."
"It's the first time one of Spain's autonomous regions has taken such drastic measures to combat the pandemic since the state of emergency ended mid-June and control of the health care system went back to the regional governments," Lucia Benavides reported for NPR from Barcelona. "Under Spain's new health ministry rules, all municipalities with more than 100,000 residents that meet certain criteria must be confined. None of Catalonia's cities fall under that category – but they're not far off, and Catalan leaders say they want to prevent another lockdown."
The Czech Republic, hard hit by the new coronavirus wave, has closed schools as of Wednesday. Restaurants and bars are closed for everything except takeout orders – and they can only operate until 8 p.m., according to Radio Prague International.
"With Europe's highest number of infections per capita, the Czech Republic is also canceling nonessential medical procedures to maximize hospital capacity," Esme Nicholson reported for NPR from Berlin. "The Czech Republic was quick to impose its first lockdown in March and was an early adopter of the face mask, measures which previously helped to flatten the curve."
Making matters worse, the coronavirus has infected nearly 5,000 health care workers – and in that vital sector, the number of ill staff is doubling every 10 days, Radio Prague International says.
The Netherlands is enacting a partial lockdown because of a rise in new cases. The government declared on Tuesday, "The coronavirus has been given too much room to spread again."
The restrictions close all food and drink establishments, except for carryout orders. No more than four people from different households can gather, indoors or outside.
Schools and public transportation will continue to operate, but everyone over 13 must wear a face mask in indoor areas and on public transport.
The U.K. instituted a three-tier alert system on Wednesday that will group different regions of England under restrictions in an effort to avoid repeating a national lockdown. So far, the only region under a "very high" alert is Liverpool – where people took advantage of the last few hours before the restrictions to party in the streets.
"These pictures Shame our City," Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said via Twitter, responding to photos of the large number of people gathering in the interim between the 10 p.m. closure of pubs and the midnight onset of the new restrictions.
Noting that some people in the crowd had attacked a police car, Anderson called the violence "unacceptable."
"There is a reason our city is in Tier 3 for #Covid19," Anderson said later Wednesday. "The level of infection is at very high levels and beginning to impact on our hospitals — both for the virus and other illnesses like Cancer."
Shana Spence says she's an "eat-anything" dietitian: She encourages her clients to eat what they actually enjoy. When it comes to food, she says to focus on what nourishes your body, fills you up and doesn't break the bank.
Life Kit consulted Spence for advice on how to cut back costs on food while still eating nutritious meals.
Foods labeled "organic" and "non-GMO" are often viewed as the "top shelf" or "name brand" healthy food – and they're priced that way, too. But, there are lots of affordable and wholesome alternatives (hello frozen veggies).
Minding your budget while eating the foods that nourish you takes a little planning — but it's possible. Here are some of Spence's tips to help you shop and keep your fridge stocked:
Embrace frugality. From personal experience and working with clients, Spence says many people are self-conscious about not being able to afford fancy brands of healthy food.
There's no shame in knowing your budget and living within your means. Spence encourages budget-conscious diners to say goodbye to that embarrassment — because healthy eating exists at every price point. "It's fine if you can't afford it or just don't feel the need to shell out big bucks," she says. "It doesn't mean that you're not healthy."
Buzzwords such as organic, non-genetically modified organism, low sugar and low fat adorn a lot of healthy food products. These descriptions may be useful to some customers, but they're also marketing terms that can paint an inaccurate picture that some foods are substantially healthier than others.
"Organic is fine if that's what you want to buy, but for someone who is [budget-conscious], that's not necessary," Spence says. Eating greens is still good for you, for example, whether you buy them organic at a local farmer's market or frozen at a convenience shop around the block.
If you shop based on labels alone, it's easier to wind up paying more and not necessarily eating any healthier. Assess products for what's inside them, not by words and phrases that have recently become trendy. Figure out what nutrients you need and look for them in your food.
Don't forget coupons
If you want to go old school, take a flyer from the front of a store's door and check out its weekly sales. If you're regularly shopping at the same store, become a part of its member program to get further discounts. You can even do your homework ahead of time and come with store and manufacturer coupons you've clipped from a newspaper, magazine or some other resource.
If cutting coupons isn't your thing, it might be worthwhile to download the store's app to check for discounts before you head there or at least before you check out. Some apps are easier to use than others, but you can regularly save a couple of dollars each shopping trip if you pay attention to existing discounts.
Add, don't subtract. Spence's philosophy of dieting is simple: Diets don't work! She says food should not be an awards system where you either "win" or "lose" the right to eat certain dishes. And you shouldn't have to spend money on a pricey cleanse or meal prep system.
This perspective is so counter to diet culture that Spence says her clients are often shocked she doesn't ask them to eliminate their favorite foods, even if it's instant ramen, boxed mac and cheese or pizza.
Instead, Spence looks for ways to make favorite foods more fulfilling and nutrient dense. She calls this "bulking up." Including protein or fiber-rich add-ons to your favorite foods can help make these dishes more nourishing and filling. For protein, beans, tofu and chicken are tasty, healthy additions. For fiber, carrots or peppers are easy toppings to a lot of dishes.
That way, you don't have to cut something out of your life completely. "It's the best of both worlds," Spence says.
Don't snub canned or frozen foods. Depending on where you get your health tips, you may think that vegetables are only good if they come in a bottle of cold-pressed juice. Of course, different variations may matter to people who want to support certain businesses or have different tastes. But vegetables are vegetables, no matter what. Anyone who tries to tell you something different is probably selling something.
So, if you're hoping to stock up your pantry or fridge with usable vegetables that you can easily add to your meal, don't overlook fruits and vegetables in the canned or frozen section. "I'm the freezer's biggest cheerleader," Spence says. Canned and frozen vegetables last longer than fresh produce so you don't have to worry about them going bad. "You can just freeze it, and then you will have it for next time." Be sure to check the ingredients list for any unwelcome additives, but they're great if you need a cheap healthy boost in your meal.
Plan ahead and make a list. Most dietitians will tell you not to go to the grocery store while you're hungry. But you also shouldn't go without a list.
When you shop without a plan, it's really easy to buy more food than you need, or purchase ingredients you already have, leading to waste. Plus, you'll inevitably forget things you do need. Developing a routine to eat healthy and maintain a budget will be easier if you come to the store with an idea of what you're getting and generally how much it will cost.
Spence says that "once you start writing things down, especially the foods that you're rebuying constantly...you can kind of see what your tally is going to be at the supermarket." So a list doesn't just help you plan, but it lets you keep track of what you're really eating and how much you're spending.
Graph showing the escalation of positive COVID-19 cases in Kentucky
The White House report of counties in Kentucky in the red zone
The White House report on counties in Kentucky in the yellow zone
In today's COVID-19 report, Governor Andy Beshear discussed the need for tighter restrictions on businesses that don't comply with the mask mandate. As Kentucky continues to see escalations in positive COVID-19 cases, Beshear said that we're getting too relaxed on wearing masks and social distancing.
The Governor discussed possible consequences to businesses that didn't mandate wearing masks in restaurants/bars and all other businesses. He said Inspectors of Labor and the ABC will issue fines, shutdown businesses or simply have a heart-to-heart conversation with business owners that disobey the mask mandate. The Governor said, "It may make you mad, but you can blame it on me and the state of Kentucky."
Beshear said that the White House along with federal officials are all in favor of wearing masks when inside any building and limiting the number of people at social gatherings. "We need this to happen because of the positive case trajectory," said Beshear. "If we don't mask up, there won't be customers."
Other discussions during today's briefing included the White House release of counties in Kentucky that are in the red or yellow zone. Marshall and Calloway Counties are in the red zone. McCracken County is currently in the yellow zone. Red zone means there are too many positive cases and the yellow zone means cases are on the rise.
A member of the Kentucky's Unemployment Insurance branch of government spoke regarding unpaid claims, the backlog of disputed claims, and the possibility of opening a few of the local unemployment offices. If you've tried to get an appointment with the UI office in Frankfort, that won't happen until 2021. All appointments are booked through the end of the year.
Dr. Stack presented some statistics. The main emphasis was on the rise in cases and how Kentucky needs to do better. October 6 reports 764 confirmed cases, 13 deaths, and 306 recovered.
Kentucky hits weekly record high for CoV-2 positive cases and local health department plans pop up testing sites
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear gave an update two days ago on the state’s continuing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Two days ago, he reported the highest-ever daily total and the highest-ever weekly total of new COVID-19 cases in the commonwealth.
“I know it’s been a tough couple of days, seeing the President, the First Lady, U.S. Senators, Cam Newton and others test positive for COVID-19. But right here in the commonwealth, we now have 1,275 new cases announced on Saturday, meaning 1,275 Kentuckians have just tested positive,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is our highest number of cases ever. This is the highest number of cases per week ever and we have one more day that will add to the count, and it shows that we have to do better.”
The Purchase District Health Department in Paducah is expanding testing for COVID-19 today, October 5. The health department is one of four sites chosen across the state to pilot this program and will be conducting pop up testing sites at PDHD clinics and at community events and locations.
Testing will be available at the Purchase District Health Department from today through October 9 from 9 am to 4 pm. Testing will take places in the parking lot behind the building located at 916 Kentucky Avenue.
Testing is free and the results will be available within a few days and you will be contacted with your results by phone or text. If you have events, PDHD is looking to coordinate testing with pop up testing.