The Heat Is On

Keeping your child safe from the heat both on and off the field.

Nothing says fall like a high school football game under Friday night lights. However, with practices for most school sports underway, soaring temperatures remind us we’re still in the dog days of summer. The average high temperature in Louisville remains in the 80s through September, meaning dangerously high heat indices—and the threat of heat exhaustion or heatstroke—remain a concern well into the season.

Taylor Zuberer, MS, LAT, ATC with Frazier Rehab Sports Medicine, is also an athletic trainer at DuPont Manual High School, said it’s important to take heat exhaustion seriously—on or off the field. 

“Once heatstroke begins, you only have about 30 minutes or so before brain damage can set in,” said Zuberer. “It’s important to know the signs and symptoms and to catch it early.”

To keep their students safe Zuberer and her colleagues start by measuring the heat index every 30 minutes during practice using a hydrometer placed in the middle of the playing field or gym. They then refer to the Kentucky Heat Index Chart  provided by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association to determine if it’s safe to hold practice. Heat indices under 95 are generally considered safe, while indices over 99 call for special precautions including practicing without heavy equipment like padding, providing cold towels to players, and requiring 10-minute water breaks every 30 minutes. If the heat index reaches 104, practice will be called off.

“A temperature in the 90s with 50 percent humidity can easily get to a heat index of 104,” said Zuberer. And while most smart phones are equipped with a hydrometer, Zuberer said they can be very inaccurate.

While Zuberer and her colleagues are trained to quickly identify and treat signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke during athletic practice, there are also things parents can do to help keep their children safe at home.

First, know what to look for. Heat exhaustion is usually accompanied by a fever lower than 104 degrees Fahrenheit, excessive thirst, nausea, fainting, muscle aches, cool and clammy skin, weakness and dizziness. If any of these symptoms are present, children should be sheltered from the heat, provided with water, and given cold towels or ice packs to the back of the neck, knees, and groin area. 

Heatstroke may set in if heat exhaustion is not treated, and is marked by many the same symptoms listed above, but also accompanied by hot and dry skin, rapid heart rate, and shortness of breath. “If they stop sweating, call 911 immediately,” advises Zuberer.

Even if a child doesn’t experience heat exhaustion or heatstroke, parents should be on the lookout for signs of dehydration and help their child recover following practice. First, divide a child’s weight in pounds by two to determine the amount of water in ounces they should be consuming daily. Zuberer says parents can also weigh their children before and after practice to measure how much fluid weight needs to be regained. 

Also, Zuberer reminds parents that sweating means the body is losing electrolytes that need to be replenished—PediaLyte, Gatorade, mustard packets, and even pickle juice are all effective ways of restoring the body’s nutrients. 

Most importantly, Zuberer recommends having your child complete a thorough, annual physical (required for most school sports) with a family physician and establishing a good relationship with that doctor. She says those with blood pressure issues or heart murmurs may be especially susceptible to heat exhaustion, and that some medications, like those often used to treat ADHD, can exacerbate signs of heat exhaustion. 

“It’s crucial for student athletes and their parents to have a strong relationship with a family physician who knows their medical history well and can help them play safe,” said Zuberer.

To schedule your child’s annual physical, or to find a primary care physician, call 502-589-3027.    

Best Workout Practices with Dr. Edwards

The key to a healthy lifestyle is keeping physically active. It’s a commitment that comes with the need to overhaul your diet, begin an exercise program, and start going to sleep at a reasonable hour again. 

Now that it’s officially summer, many people will start getting active but may not understand that although moderate physical activity is safe for most people, that may not be the case for everyone. KentuckyOne Health suggests talking to your primary care physician before starting a new exercise program, if any of the following apply:

  • You have heart, kidney, or cardiovascular disease, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, OR if you have symptoms related to any of these serious diseases.
  • You are being treated for cancer, or you’ve recently completed cancer treatment.
  • You have not exercised within the last few months or are over the age of 40.

“Exercise is the cheapest prescription that a doctor can write for a patient, and it comes at no cost,” said Traci M. Edwards, MD, KentuckyOne Health Primary Care Associates. “I constantly remind my patients to move something EVERY DAY, whether you go for a walk, dance with friends, take a Zumba class, or swim laps.”

Don’t be discouraged if you find it difficult to stick to some form of exercise, or don’t know where to start. Which is easy with Dr. Edwards 7 Steps to Keeping Active: 

  1. Start slowly, don’t go from zero exercise to a 5K.
  2. Make sure to always warm-up and stretch.
  3. Hydrate before, during, and after your workout.
  4. Exercise indoors during extreme weather.
  5. Invest in a GOOD pair of workout tennis shoes.
  6. Diabetics check blood sugar before beginning a workout
  7. Be patient, results don’t happen overnight!

Whatever you do, move something. Any little increment of physical activity will be a great boost to weight loss and feeling better. By working with your doctor ahead of time, you can plan the exercise program that’s right for you. And that’s a good first step on your path to physical fitness.

Jewish Hospital Celebrates more than 50 CardioMEMS implantations

Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, last month held a celebration for its 50th CardioMEMS HF System implantation, a revolutionary wireless monitoring sensor that has been proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions when used by physicians to manage heart failure. Jewish Hospital has performed more of these implantations than any other provider in the state, with a total of 53 procedures completed since 2018.

The CardioMEMS HF System features a sensor that is implanted in the pulmonary artery (PA) during a non-surgical procedure to directly measure PA pressure. Increased PA pressures appear before weight and blood pressure changes, which are often used as indirect measures of worsening heart failure. The new system allows patients to transmit daily sensor readings from their homes to their health care providers, allowing for personalized and proactive management to reduce the likelihood of hospitalization.

“Traditional methods to prevent heart failure admissions, such as monitoring daily weights and fluid intake, have proven largely ineffective at keeping patients out of the hospital. With CardioMEMS we now have the technology to monitor patients so intensively that we can identify the onset of heart failure before symptoms even begin,” said Dr. Chandhiran Rangaswamy, MD, one of two KentuckyOne Health cardiologists who perform this procedure. “With an 80 percent reduction in heart failure admissions, the CardioMEMS program at Jewish Hospital has transformed heart failure management.” 

Dr. Amir Piracha, MD, reports that one of his patients was once admitted to the hospital three consecutive weeks in a row with congestive heart failure. “But since we deployed CardioMEMS in October 2018, he has had no hospital admissions for heart failure. CardioMEMS has proven to remarkably improve his quality of life, as well as that of so many other patients.”

According to the American Heart Association, more than 6 million Americans are currently living with heart failure, and that number is expected to increase by 46 percent over the next 15 years. Today, heart failure costs Americans about $30 billion each year, and the costs are expected to rise to almost $70 billion by 2030. 

Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital Rolls out First Bilingual Weight Loss Support Program in the Country

Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital lanza el primer programa bilingüe para perder peso en el país.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky has the fifth-highest rate of obesity in the country, while the Hispanic population has the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity at 47 percent.

Según los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, Kentucky tiene la quinta tasa más alta de obesidad en el país, mientras que la población hispana tiene la mayor prevalencia de obesidad ajustada por edad con un 47 por ciento. 

In an effort to help address these devastating statistics, Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, has created a bilingual weight loss support program for Spanish-speaking patients seeking bariatric surgery, specifically the Lap Band System. It is the first program of its kind in the country.

En un esfuerzo por ayudar a enfrentar estas estadísticas devastadoras, Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, parte de KentuckyOne Health, ha creado un programa bilingüe de apoyo a la pérdida de peso para pacientes hispanohablantes que buscan cirugía bariátrica, específicamente el sistema de banda gástrica. Es el primer programa de este tipo en el país.

Over the past several years, we noticed more and more Hispanic patients reaching out to us via our Facebook page, using the translating feature to communicate,” said Amber Sims, RN, MSN, who has served as a Bariatric Program Coordinator at Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital for five years. “It became clear that there is a large population that would benefit from our services and we needed to ensure these patients had access to our program.”

Durante los últimos años, notamos que más y más pacientes hispanos se acercaban a nosotros a través de nuestra página de Facebook, usando la función de traducción para comunicarse,” dijo Amber Sims, RN, MSN, quien ha servido como Coordinadora del Programa Bariátrico en el Hospital Sts. Mary & Elizabeth durante cinco años. “Quedó claro que hay una gran población que se beneficiaría de nuestros servicios y necesitábamos asegurarnos de que estos pacientes tuvieran acceso a nuestro programa”.

Obesity can have a devastating effect on one’s long-term health, contributing to a host of dangerous conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, and much more. Many patients find success through a procedure called the Lap-Band® System, during which a smaller gastric pouch is created by implanting an inflatable ring around the stomach, creating a comfortable feeling of fullness for the patient with a smaller amount of food.

La obesidad puede tener un efecto devastador en la salud a largo plazo, contribuyendo a una serie de condiciones peligrosas que incluyen enfermedades del corazón, diabetes tipo 2, presión arterial alta, ciertos tipos de cáncer y mucho más. Muchos pacientes encuentran éxito a través de un procedimiento llamado Sistema Lap-Band, durante el cual se crea una bolsa gástrica más pequeña mediante la implantación de un anillo inflable alrededor del estómago, lo que crea una sensación de plenitud cómoda para el paciente con una menor cantidad de comida.

Though it’s considered the safest weight loss operation available, the Lap-Band® System carries the same risks as any other surgical procedure and requires a lifetime commitment to maintaining a healthier lifestyle to minimize complications. Though Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital offers its patients several resources including informational seminars, frequently asked questions and answers from the bariatric surgeons and online support groups before and following the procedure, until recently, those resources were only available in English.

Aunque se considera la operación de pérdida de peso más segura disponible, el sistema Lap-Band System conlleva los mismos riesgos que cualquier otro procedimiento quirúrgico y requiere un compromiso de por vida para mantener un estilo de vida más saludable y minimizar las complicaciones. Aunque el Hospital de sts. Mary & Elizabeth ofrece a sus pacientes varios recursos, que incluyen seminarios informativos, preguntas frecuentes y respuestas de los cirujanos bariátricos y grupos de apoyo en línea antes y después del procedimiento; hasta hace poco, esos recursos solo estaban disponibles en inglés.

“All patients have a fundamental right to fully understand the procedures and treatments recommended to them, and to be supported throughout their weight loss journey,” said Dr. Vincent Lusco III, general surgeon at Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital. “By offering all of our support services in Spanish, we are able to reach a broader population on their journey toward better health.”

Todos los pacientes tienen el derecho fundamental de comprender completamente los procedimientos y tratamientos recomendados para ellos, y recibir apoyo durante su travesia hacia la pérdida de peso”, dijo el Dr. Vincent Lusco III, cirujano general de Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital. “Al ofrecer todos nuestros servicios de apoyo en español, podemos llegar a una población más amplia y alludarlos en su travesia hacia una mejor salud”.

A key component of this effort is the addition of a Bilingual Bariatric Care Navigator. Paola Mott, LPN, a native of the Dominican Republic who speaks Spanish as her first language, has six years of nursing experience, and earned a certificate as a medial interpreter from Catholic Charities. In her new role, Mott will serve as a liaison between Spanish-speaking patients and their surgical team. She will also translate informational patient resources into Spanish and facilitate support groups for Spanish speakers.

Un componente clave de este esfuerzo es la adición de un navegador bilingüe de atención bariátrica. Paola Mott, LPN, nativa de la República Dominicana que habla español como su primer idioma, tiene seis años de experiencia en enfermería y obtuvo un certificado como intérprete medico de Catholic Charities. En su nuevo papel, Mott servirá de enlace entre los pacientes de habla hispana y su equipo quirúrgico. También traducirá al español los recursos informativos para pacientes y facilitará los grupos de apoyo para los hispanohablantes.

“Undergoing any medical procedure can be scary, and a language barrier can contribute to that apprehension,” said Mott.  “I’m passionate about improving the health of the Hispanic community in Kentucky, and helping our patients feel confident and supported along the way.”

Someterse a cualquier procedimiento médico puede ser aterrador, y lo es aun mas cuando el idioma es una barrera”, dijo Mott. “Me apasiona mejorar la salud de la comunidad hispana en Kentucky y ayudar a nuestros pacientes a sentirse seguros y apoyados en el camino”.

The bariatric team at Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital have placed more than 3500 LapBand Systems®, and the facility is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Society Center for Excellence. Services are available at Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital and Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Medical Plaza I in Southwest Louisville, and at Jewish Hospital East. For more information, please visit

El equipo bariátrico del Hospial Sts. Mary & Elizabeth ha colocado más de 3500 LapBand Systems. El Centro Bariatrico es miembro del Centro para la Excelencia de la Sociedad Americana para la Sociedad Metabólica y Bariátrica. Los servicios están disponibles en el Hospital Sts. Mary & Elizabeth y Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Medical Plaza I en Southwest Louisville, y en Jewish Hospital East. Para mas informacion por favor visite nuestra pagina web

Frazier Rehab Sports Medicine Offers FREE Urban Bourbon Half Marathon Training Program

Frazier Rehab Sports Medicine, part of KentuckyOne Health, is proud to once again be the official training partner of the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon, presented by the Louisville Sports Commission.

As part of this partnership, Frazier Rehab’s Sports Medicine team will host a free marathon training program to help novice and seasoned runners alike prepare for the big race on October 19.

“The Urban Bourbon Half Marathon presented by Jim Beam® has become a staple to the fall Louisville running calendar,” said Karl Schmitt, President and CEO of Louisville Sports Commission. “We are excited to work with our partners at KentuckyOne Health to assist individuals with their training. Whether it’s your first half marathon or your fiftieth, this training plan can propel you to the finish line on October 19.”

The program will kick off on Wednesday, July 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Medical Center Jewish Northeast, located at 2401 Terra Crossing Blvd. in Louisville. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with the Sports Medicine team, tour the facility, enjoy refreshments, and take part in an optional two-mile run. Those who register for the program kick-off online will receive a free running shirt while supplies last. 

As part of the training program kick-off, attendees will receive a booklet containing 12 weeks of workouts, plus important tips for preparing for a distance run. They’ll also learn about personalized training through Frazier Rehab’s ongoing Runner’s Edge performance training program.

“Preparing for a running a race such as the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon can be wonderful exercise, but it can also be daunting,” said Jon Holland, Frazier Rehab Sports Medicine. “Our sports medicine specialists are excited to meet with this year’s runners and help give them the confidence they need to find success in their training process.”

About Frazier Rehab Institute 

Frazier Rehab Institute, part of KentuckyOne Health Louisville Region, has been setting the standard of excellence in rehab medicine. Through an expansive network of inpatient and outpatient facilities across Kentucky and southern Indiana, Frazier Rehab offers a wide array of services based on a common goal – helping people of all ages with disabilities reach their fullest potential in physical and cognitive functioning. Frazier Rehab services include nationally recognized brain injury, spinal cord, pediatric and stroke recovery rehab programs. The hospital is the lead center for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network, working to cure spinal cord injury. In collaboration with the University of Louisville, Frazier Rehab received a National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) grant to establish a Spinal Cord Injury Model System. Frazier Rehab continues to be on the cutting edge with many other rehabilitation services, such as a Minimally Disorders of Consciousness Program called EMERGE, designed to help patients with severe traumatic brain injuries who are at low levels of consciousness.

About Louisville Sports Commission
The Louisville Sports Commission (LSC) is a Louisville, Kentucky-based 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to create a legacy of economic and social vitality through sports. The LSC attracts and hosts sporting events and activities that have a positive economic impact on Louisville, enhance the area’s image as a premier sports destination, promote active lifestyles and improve the quality of life for community members of all ages, and connect local businesses with student-athletes for future job opportunities. More information is available online at

Age and Driving: Frazier Rehab Institute’s Driver’s Education and Training Program

The ability to drive is a crucial component of a person’s independence. However, driving often seems an unattainable goal for those who are limited by illness, injury, psychological, and the physiological changes associated with aging.

The Frazier Rehab Institute’s comprehensive Driver Education and Training Program provides an opportunity for individuals to gain back their independence in driving. Within the program, occupational therapy professionals, certified as driver rehab specialists, work closely with physicians to review the participant’s medical and driving history, perform a pre-driving and vehicle evaluation, behind-the-wheel evaluation and, if necessary, training and equipment recommendations.

“Our main goal is to get you back to driving and get back your independence,” Suzanne F. Farnan-Maddux, OTR/L, CDRS, Frazier Rehab Institute – Newburg, said while discussing the main goal for the program. “We understand the importance of remaining in control of your life and we are determined to do everything we can to help return our clients to independent driving, even on a limited/restricted basis if they have the skills to drive.”

Participants must possess a valid driver’s license or permit, be physically and medically stable, seizure-free for three months, and possess endurance to tolerate a two-hour evaluation. Candidates for the Frazier Rehab Institute Driver Training and Education Program include:

  • Individuals with physical impairments interested in returning to driving
  • Individuals with physical or cognitive limitations who are unaware of their potential to drive.
  • Individuals with physical or psychosocial deficits (ADHD, Spina Bifida, CP, or Multiple Sclerosis) interested in beginning to drive.
  • Anyone needing information on driving issues concerning the following:
    • Visual impairments*
    • Diabetes
    • Older drivers
    • Arthritis
    • Congenital disabilities
    • Cardiac, orthopedic or spinal conditions, illnesses or injuries
    • Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related syndromes and neurological impairments

Frazier’s comprehensive driving program provides pre-driving evaluation, behind-the wheel evaluation, individualized driving training, and vehicle and equipment evaluation. All participants are given every opportunity to maximize their driving potential before completing the program. Occasionally, an individual can initiate or return to driving only under certain restrictions, such as daytime driving only. The program will also make these recommendations on an individual basis. To learn more about the comprehensive program details, click here.

To learn more about Frazier Rehab Institute’s comprehensive Driver Evaluation and Training Program and costs, please contact Frazier Rehab Institute Newburg at 502.451.6886.

*Individuals with visual disturbances or visual field cut will be given a form to present to an ophthalmologist prior to the evaluation. To learn more about driving for the visually impaired, click here

World’s Most Successful Hand Transplant Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Matthew Scott was just 24 years old in 1985 when an accident involving fireworks robbed him of his left hand. Though a prosthesis helped him resume many normal activities, Matthew wanted more.

In 1999, he received a hand transplant at Jewish Hospital by surgeons from the Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center and Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery. The procedure gained worldwide attention, and in March we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the World’s Most Successful Hand Transplant.

Learn more about this revolutionary procedure below, and be safe this holiday weekend!

Summer, Fun, and Fireworks Safety

Whether you enjoy barbeques, pool days, or traveling, summertime is meant for having fun and relaxing. Not a time for stress and worry because of firework-related injuries. This Fireworks Safety Month, KentuckyOne Health wants to remind everyone to be cautious while using fireworks by following proper safety precautions, so you can spend all your time focusing on summer fun!

“As the fourth of July approaches, and fireworks start taking over the retail shelves, I like to remind parents that no one is immune to firework-related injuries,” said Elkin Galvis, MD, Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center. “The best way to prevent them is by discussing safety precautions prior to the fourth of July holiday.”

In 2017, there was an increase across the United States in fireworks-related injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Fireworks Annual Report. An estimated 12,900 people were injured and treated in the hospital, averaging to about 280 people sent to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month of July.

In addition to bodily injuries, fireworks can also be damaging to property. Each year, fireworks cause an average of 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 17,000 other fires, resulting in an estimated $21 million in direct property damage.

To help prevent injuries and damage this fourth of July season, KentuckyOne Health recommends the following tips:

  1. Follow all laws. Make sure you aware of the laws surrounding fireworks in your area.
  2. Supervise children. AT ALL TIMES. Safety precautions should be explained carefully prior to use and children that are viewing the fireworks should be kept at least 20 feet away from the activities to avoid injury.
  3. Practice caution when lighting fireworks.
    1. DO: Back at least 20-feet away to view once they are lit, read/follow directions on labels, and use eye protection.
    2. DON’T: Place your body over fireworks when lighting the fuse, point or throw a people/houses/cars/brush, ignite more than one at a time, try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully, make or use homemade products, or launch fireworks from glass or metal containers.
  4. Protect your pet. If you know your pet is easily stressed and doesn’t like loud noises, keep them indoors so they don’t run out into the street, knock things over, or injure themselves.
  5. Keep water nearby. To properly dispose of fireworks after they have taken off, douse them with water. In case of emergency, use the water to clean wounds before seeking medical attention and put out fires.

Emergencies happen when you least expect them, but KentuckyOne Health is always ready to respond. Each of our 6 ERs is staffed 24/7, including the Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center. Kleinert Kutz is world renowned for offering unmatched expertise in orthopedic, plastic, and general surgery, with more than five decades of experience. Learn more about our Emergency Care services.

If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 immediately or go to your nearest emergency room.

1.4 Million Americans Experience Traumatic Brain Injury Each Year

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Studies show that 1.4 million Americans will experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) this year, leading to 275,000 hospitalizations and 52,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. These injuries may be mild to serious, and can lead to permanent mental damage and even death.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and Frazier Rehab Institute is working to increase awareness across the Commonwealth of the signs and symptoms of a brain injury.

“Traumatic brain injuries result from a bump, blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain,” said Darryl Kaelin, MD, Frazier Rehab Institute Medical Director, and Physical Medical and Rehabilitation Division Chief at University of Louisville Physicians. “They have become increasingly common in adults and children, so it’s important to understand how to determine if a person is at risk for, or suffering from, a head injury.”

There are many causes of TBI, with falls proving to be the most common. Falls disproportionately affect the youngest and oldest age groups. Other leading causes include an unintentional blunt trauma, like being hit by an object, and motor vehicle accidents.

TBIs are classified as mild, moderate or severe. Victims can display a wide variety of physical, cognitive and sensory symptoms, which can help classify the severity of the injury. About 75 percent of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Concussions can appear right away or days or months after the injury.

Adults or children experiencing a concussion typically display loss of consciousness for seconds to a few minutes, a state of being dazed or confused, headache, nausea or vomiting, drowsiness or difficulty sleeping, dizziness and loss of balance. These victims may also experience blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell. They can show signs of mood swings, depression or anxious behavior.

Severe to moderate brain injuries include symptoms such as loss of consciousness for several minutes to hours, severe headaches, repeated vomiting, convulsions or seizures, pupil dilation, fluids draining from the nose and eyes, weakness or numbness in fingers and toes and loss of coordination. Victims may display profound confusion, slurred speech, agitation or combativeness, and in extreme cases, they will become comatose.

Individuals with severe TBIs will likely require hospitalization. Severe TBIs can result in coma or amnesia after injury. These injuries can lead to death or lasting brain damage. Approximately 5.3 million Americans live with a TBI-related disability.

“Traumatic brain injuries can affect all aspects of the patient’s life, and the lives of their friends and family,” said Dr. Kaelin. “Disabilities that develop from traumatic brain injuries can inhibit the victim’s ability to drive, complete household tasks, maintain employment and even uphold relationships. Our goal is to provide customized treatment and help restore patients to their fullest potential of independence.”  

If you or someone in your care experiences a blow to the head, it is important to see a doctor right away. Do not wait for traumatic brain injury symptoms to occur.

If you or a loved one has a concussion or think you may, call the Frazier Rehab Brain Injury Program at 502.582.7476.

Jewish Hospital Lung Transplant Recipient Thankful for Gift of Organ Donation During Holiday Season

William Justice

William Justice had worked as a coal miner in Eastern Kentucky for more than 32 years, when black lung disease nearly took his life.

Justice had never been a smoker. He suffered from coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung disease, which is caused by long-term exposure to coal dust, common among coal miners. Justice spent months very ill, in-and-out of the hospital with lung problems.

“My lungs were so bad that even little things would get me down,” said Justice. “The doctors told me that I didn’t have much time left.”

Finally, his doctors recommended that Justice visit Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky for an evaluation. At that time, he began pre-testing for a lung transplant. His heart was strong, but his doctors asked that he meet correct body mass index (BMI) and weight requirements before he would be eligible for a transplant. Justice worked hard to meet the requirements. On Valentine’s Day in 2017, he was placed on the list to receive a lung transplant.

“I knew that a transplant was risky, but I felt like it was my only hope,” said Justice. “The doctors were confident that they could save my life, if an organ donation became available.”

Justice continued treatment while he waited for a lifesaving organ donation. He traveled to Louisville for a visit at the Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center on November 20, 2017. He thought never expected it would be more than a check-up.

“That day, one of the coordinators came and found me, and she was crying,” he said. “She told me, ‘we found you a set of new lungs, and you’re receiving a transplant.”

Justice underwent a lung transplant on November 22, 2017. It was a 10-hour procedure, and he spent around six-weeks recovering in the hospital. He was released on January 3, 2018, ready to slowly ease into his new, healthy life.

This Thanksgiving, Justice says he is most thankful for his organ donor and the donor’s family. He has never met his donor’s family, but he wants them to know how thankful he is for the gift of life. Although his medications prevent him from doing so, he wishes that he could register as an organ donor himself and help others in need, just as he received a lifesaving organ donation.

“There are good people out there who make this possible,” he said. “I understand that with the good, comes the bad. A family lost their loved one for me to continue my life. For that, I am beyond grateful. I hope my story is eye-opening, and encourages others to register as donors.”

Justice still attends pulmonary rehabilitation three times per week in his hometown of Phyllis, Kentucky. He recently spoke to a Donate Life group in his area about the importance of organ donation.