NEWS BLOG from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Archive for June, 2016

UPMC’s U.S. Open Medical Team Reminds Amateur Golfers to Warm Up Before Teeing Off

UPMC provides medical care for many sporting events in the region, including the 116th U.S. Open this week at Oakmont Country Club. Vonda Wright, M.D., medical director of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, will be at Oakmont to treat the pros, and she has some advice for the amateur golfers looking to get back on the course after a long winter and wet spring.

About 60 percent of pro golfers and about 40 percent of amateur golfers will have a golf injury during the season. It’s important to take the necessary precautions by doing a proper warm-up for about 10 minutes. Golfers should also take some easy practice swings to loosen the hips, core and shoulders before starting their day on the course.

Overuse causes most golf injuries, making moderation key.

”The terrible too’s of golf are too much, too soon, and too often with too little preparation,” Dr. Wright said. “Golfers should restrain themselves to four rounds of golf per week and 200 practice strokes to decrease overuse.”

Dr. Wright recommends staying hydrated and using ice on sore muscles, but a golfer should seek medical attention if the pain doesn’t subside within a day. If the pain is sharp, stabbing or anything more than a mild ache, it could be something more serious. Golf injuries can keep amateur golfers off the course for about 28 days, so it’s best to diagnose the injury as soon as possible.

For more information on sports-related injuries and services provided by UPMC Sports Medicine experts, visit the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex website. (more…)

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Celebration of Survival for Magee’s NICU Babies

Official 2016 reunion picture

More than 450 people celebrated at the Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) reunion on Sunday. Families, friends and hospital staff gathered at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium for the 13th annual event.

Among those in attendance was Susan Fancsali, who is Miss Allegheny County Collegiate and a NICU “graduate.” When she was born, her parents were told to start planning her funeral. Fast forward 24 years, and she is now a graduate student at California University of Pennsylvania.

The joy of life could be seen on the many faces as they gathered and reconnected, dancing to lively music, enjoying animal-themed face paintings and munching on picnic fare, all before heading off to enjoy their zoo adventures.

Funds raised from the event support activities of the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) to the Magee NICU.

“The parent group, composed largely of parents whose children were once NICU babies, focuses on education and comfort for current parents of NICU babies,” said Laura Witt, president, PAC, and the mother of NICU triplets — graduates all born at 1.5 pounds who are now 16 years old.

The event was presented by Giant Eagle. (more…)

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Brownie Troop Makes Sweet Donation to UPMC Mercy

Girl Scouts from the Pine-Richland area recently helped make the summer a little brighter for children receiving treatment at the UPMC Mercy Burn Center. Using the proceeds from their annual cookie sale, Brownie Troop 52483 purchased toys and clothes to donate to the unit.

Through their hard work, the Brownies sold more than 1,100 boxes of cookies. It was the girls’ own selfless decision to spend their earnings on the UPMC Mercy Burn Center after a troop member recently donated her birthday presents to the hospital.

Troop leader Shelley Brough said they were happy to use their cookie money for the hospital.

“It’s really important for them to give back to the community, and this was a great opportunity,” she said.

The state-of-art facility treats patients of all ages, but thanks to the Ladies Hospital Aid Society (LHAS) Enchanted Forest play area, the unit is better equipped for treating pediatric patients. Both outpatient and inpatient burn victims are treated at the UPMC Mercy Burn Center, and recovery from burns is often a long, painful process.

According to Melissa Shiring, a child life specialist at UPMC Mercy, the hospital does not receive many pediatric donations, so the troop’s gift was especially helpful.

The Enchanted Forest not only provides entertainment for the patients, but therapy as well, creating a welcome diversion from the pain and trauma associated with burns.

“New toys are great for the patients,” Shiring said. “Toys get worn out and broken very fast, and new ones will provide a great distraction. Toys give the children incentive to get up and be active.”

Patients in the unit are already enjoying the troop’s gift, as several children picked out toys from the girls’ shopping bags. The troop also painted a mural to hang in a patient’s room within the UPMC Mercy Burn Center.

Each troop member received $15 to spend on gifts, and they picked everything out on their own.

“I chose this shirt because it has the word brave on the front,” one girl said, “and the kids here are very brave.”

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Look Good Feel Better: A Makeover for the Spirit


In honor of National Cancer Survivors Day, when thousands gather across the globe to honor cancer survivors and to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding and even inspiring, a program whose mission is to improve the self-esteem and quality of life for women undergoing cancer treatment is highlighted here.

Cancer can rob a woman of her energy, appetite and strength, but it doesn’t have to take away her self-confidence. The Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) program is a nonmedical, brand-neutral public service program that teaches beauty techniques to women in active cancer treatment to help them manage the appearance-related side effects of treatment, providing an opportunity for them to see that they can take control of their appearance, improve their self-esteem and approach their disease and treatment with greater confidence.

During the group workshops, volunteer beauty professionals teach simple techniques to women in active treatment to help them cope with skin and nail changes and hair loss. Participants also receive a free makeup kit valued at $200, but most of all, participants share laughter and camaraderie as only women going through the cancer journey can.

The LGFB program is in collaboration with the American Cancer Society, the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, and the Professional Beauty Association. Workshops are hosted at 24 locations throughout the UPMC system, as well as many other host locations (search by zip code, choose LGFB program in drop-down menu) throughout the area.

“The Look Good Feel Better program is one of the best things that I can offer my female patients as they adjust to their new role as ‘survivors,’” said Carol Burgman, M.Ed., M.S.W., L.S.W., clinical social worker, UPMC CancerCenter at UPMC McKeesport. “The camaraderie that develops is inspiring. Friends are made; thoughts and emotions are shared. Attendees have mentioned that they feel more like themselves again. They are encouraged by knowing they are not alone in their journey, and that changing appearances are not frivolous concerns, but worthy of being addressed.”

Women interested in the program can have someone from their health care facility — physician, social worker, nurse — refer them by submitting, after indicating class preference, the American Cancer Society patient referral form or by calling 1-800-227-2345.

For additional questions, please contact Kacie Jankoski in the Pittsburgh office of the American Cancer Society at 412-919-1100. (more…)

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