Dr. Dana Johnson: Keeping Kids Safe Online

It is important that we understand what kids are doing and are aware of which sites they are visiting.

Originally published on July 9, 2014, in the Wisconsin State JournalDr. Johnson is a pediatrician practicing at the Meriter McKee clinic.

Dear Dr. Johnson: How do I keep my preteen safe on the Internet?

Dear Reader: The vast World Wide Web can be an amazing source of information, education and resources, readily accessible at our fingertips. Browsing, however, can lead to viewing of offensive, obscene, and violent information and images. The Internet can also lead to communicating with people who have malicious intentions. While I do not think it is reasonable to never allow a child on the Internet, I do believe we as parents have to take steps to protect our children.

Internet rules will vary based on a child’s age and family values, but the rules should be agreed upon and reiterated on a regular basis. It is important that children understand what Internet activities are considered appropriate and what areas are off limits. There are some contracts available online that parents and children can sign and post as a reminder. One such contract is available at www.safekids.com/contract.htm.

While children sometimes surpass us adults on their technology savvy and ability to manipulate electronic devices, it is important that we understand what kids are doing and are aware of which sites they are visiting. It is best to only allow online activities in a common area of the house where activities can be monitored. There is also tracking software available so you can monitor what is being viewed. Software can also be purchased to filter content. This software is not perfect, however, and may be too restrictive or not filter all inappropriate content.

Social media is popular with the young and old alike. It is important that we use it correctly. All too often people say things online that they wouldn’t say in person. Children need to understand the effect this can have on others. The Internet should not be used to be mean or make someone look or feel bad. They also need to understand that once something is put on the Internet, it can never be completely deleted.

The Internet can be an amazing place to meet and interact with people that we would never have the opportunity to interact with otherwise. This also has some risk. Personal information should never be shared unless a parent approves. This includes any identifying information such as name, address, phone number, age, school, family members or friends. Passwords should never be shared with anyone. A child should never agree to meet someone they have met online unless a parent approves, and a child should never go alone. If someone says something mean or hurtful to them online, they should not respond and instead should tell a parent or other trusted adult.

We can’t completely shield our children from the downsides of the Internet, but we can provide some safeguards. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers additional information on internet safety at http://safetynet.aap.org/.

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Your Children Can Become Meriter Mighty Kids

In an effort to encourage healthy and active lifestyles to our youth, Meriter–UnityPoint Health invites you to register your children to become Meriter Mighty Kids!

The 9 week program is FREE and meets once a week. It focuses on fun running activities that keep kids moving and prepare them for the Roo Run Run on Sunday, September 28. Kids (ages 5-14) that attend 6 of the 9 sessions will qualify for a free entry into the Roo Run Run (distances: ¼ mile, ½ mile or 1 mile).

Dates: Tuesdays from July 29-September 23
Times: 5:45-6:45 pm
Location: Edward Klief Park, 1200 Milton St, Madison
Attire: Running clothes and shoes

Sign up your kids today

Parents are welcome to stay and help with the activities. Please bring a water bottle for your child.

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Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes

Meriter and Physicians Plus team walkers at last year’s event.

Sunday, August 24, 2014
Location: Olin Park
Registration Time: 8:30 AM
Walk Time: 10:00 AM
Cost: FREE

Help us raise awareness and create a healthier community by joining Meriter and Physicians Plus in this year’s American Diabetes Association’s Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes. Participation in this event is part of our overall goal to reduce diabetes in our community, which was identified as a key issue in the community health needs assessment. 

The Meriter and Physicians Plus team will be led by Dr. Kenneth Felz, an internal medicine physician at the Meriter Middleton clinic. Our goal is to have at least 300 walkers on our team and raise $15,000 for the American Diabetes Association. 

All walk participants will receive fabulous prizes and t-shirts!  

  • Patients who register to be part of the Meriter Patient Striders team by July 18 will receive a free Meriter and Physicians Plus team shirt
  • Raise $100 or more by August 24 to get a free ADA Step Out shirt at the event
  • Prizes will be given to the Top 2 Meriter and Physicians Plus fundraising teams!

Learn more and register for free at diabetes.org/MeriterPhysiciansPlus.

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The Formula for Good Health

There’s more to living a healthy lifestyle than eating an apple a day. But it’s hard to know exactly what you should be doing to live healthier and prevent illness. Fortunately, the Formula for Good Health will help you get on track to maintain good health all year and life long. Just keep these 5 simple rules in mind on a daily basis:

  • 0 tobacco products
  • 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • 20 minutes of quiet time
  • Body mass index of 30 or less
  • 150 minutes of exercise per week

Keep in mind, everything you do today that was healthier than yesterday is a step towards good health.

Meriter-UnityPoint Health offers a variety of wellness programs to help you get on the right track! From weight loss to stress management to smoking cessation, we offer a program that can help you achieve your health goals. To learn more and how to join, please visit meriter.com/wellness.

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What to Know About the Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

It is important for new moms to know that if they experience the baby blues it is common and not a sign that something is wrong with them.

By: Dr. Carleen Hanson, Pediatrics

When you have a newborn, your life is a whirlwind — not only in regards to daily activities (When was the last time I ate sitting down or even ate at all? Yes, it’s 4:30 in the afternoon, and I am still in my pajamas), but also for your emotions. With the combination of recovering from the delivery, sleep deprivation and hormone surges, many new moms have mood swings that can catch them off guard. Some moms are surprised by having not only positive emotions, but also by feeling down and depressed. They often wonder if there is something wrong with them because of this – “I have this beautiful, healthy baby…why do I feel sad?”

Up to 80 percent of new moms experience the “baby blues,” which often starts a few days to a week after delivery and typically lasts no longer than two weeks. With the baby blues, women may find themselves suddenly in tears or feeling more anxious than usual. It’s also common to be very moody and to feel trapped or isolated. Sometimes the most frustrating symptom is having trouble sleeping, despite being exhausted.

The important thing for new moms to know if they experience the baby blues is that it’s common and not a sign that anything is wrong with them. For many new moms, the best thing to help with the baby blues is a little extra sleep, even a short nap is beneficial, and some extra help with household chores. Knowing that someone else is going to clean up the dishes and fold the laundry can be uplifting and help decrease feeling overwhelmed. Most of the time, the baby blues will go away on their own after 1-2 weeks.

For some women, the baby blues is something more. About 10-15 percent of new moms experience some degree of postpartum depression (PPD). In the first few weeks, it can be hard to distinguish between the blues and PPD as many of their symptoms overlap; although, typically the symptoms of PPD are more severe and last longer than 2 weeks. Some examples are:

  • Lack of interest in your baby or negative feelings about your baby
  • Significant loss of appetite
  • Inability to find pleasure in activities
  • Lack of motivation and energy
  • Lack of concern about yourself
  • Thoughts about death and suicide
  • Thoughts about harming your baby

Postpartum depression can improve on its own but untreated it can last months. Still, many new moms feel embarrassed to admit that they are having anything other than joyful emotions. If there is any concern about PPD, it’s important to be in touch with a health care provider because there is help and treatment available.

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Register for the Running Clinic

The racing season is in full swing now which is exactly when those nagging injuries tend to creep up.

If you are experiencing pain or injury that is limiting your running or just have questions about your running form sign up now for an appointment at the Meriter–UnityPoint Health Sports Medicine Running clinic.

You will meet one on one with one of our sports medicine therapists who will screen your flexibility, strength and running mechanics and help you establish a program to improve any limitations.

In addition, we will have access to our video analysis system to help identify problem areas within your running mechanics.

Date: July 16, 2014
Times: 5:30, 6:00, 6:30 or 7:00 PM
Location: Middleton Therapy Clinic
Cost: $35
Attire: Wear running clothes and have running shoes with you

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Dr. Dana Johnson: Plan Ahead to Stay Safe During Storms

Once you are prepared to receive the alerts, prepare yourself and your family for what to do when they go off. Have an emergency kit ready.

Originally published on June 25, 2014, in the Wisconsin State Journal. Dr. Dana Johnson is a pediatrician practicing at the Meriter McKee Clinic.

Dear Dr. Johnson: How do I prepare my family to be safe during severe weather?

Dear Reader: The recent storms have brought to the forefront the power and destruction of severe weather. Fortunately no one was seriously injured but just viewing pictures of the damage makes me very cognizant of the human injury that could have occurred. The best way to keep your child and yourself safe in severe weather is to plan ahead.

There are several ways to know strong weather is coming your way. When storms occur during the night they have even more potential for injury as people are sleeping and not as aware of what is going on outside. It makes it even more important to have a plan in place of how you will learn about the severe weather warnings.

No notification system is perfect in all scenarios so it is best to utilize more than one. Sirens are designed to warn people outside so not the best alert when in your home and especially at night while asleep. They may not be loud enough. You can purchase your own personal siren in a weather radio. For me, a phone call at midnight from Dane County’s Emergency Warning System was what woke us up and resulted in my family seeking safety in our basement last week. We don’t have a home phone so I had subscribed to the free service. You can register your cell phone to receive alerts at http://dane.alertingsolutions.net We have a weather radio but it recently broke so no longer makes a noise louder than a whisper. It is now a priority to replace.

If you realize that the weather is worsening, you can also turn on the radio, television or use a weather app or website.

Once you are prepared to receive the alerts, prepare yourself and your family for what to do when they go off. Have an emergency kit ready. A list of items it should include can be found at http://www.ready.gov/kids/build-a-kit.

It is important to understand the difference between a “Watch” and a “Warning.” A watch means the conditions are favorable for severe weather and you should monitor weather alerts closely. A warning means severe weather is occurring or imminent and you should take action to protect yourself.

Talk with children at an age appropriate level about the dangers of storms. Keep them safe while trying to avoid making them overly anxious when storms do occur. Teach children to come inside when they see lightning or hear thunder. You can teach older children to use the 30/30 rule for lightning. Go indoors if you see lightning and cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay inside for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder. For tornadoes, determine the safe place in your home. This is usually a basement or an interior room. Avoid corners, windows, doors and outside walls.

It is also a good idea for adults and older children to know basic first aid. This can be done through a class with the Red Cross or area health organization.

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Meriter–UnityPoint Health, UW Hospital and Clinics to Strengthen Mother/Baby Partnership

Meriter–UnityPoint Health and UW Hospital and Clinics plan to expand their tradition of collaborating to improve care for women and infants.

Leaders of both entities have signed a nonbinding letter of intent to strengthen their cooperative relationship around mother and baby health. This is the first step toward a potential joint operating agreement, a more formal partnership than the current women’s health affiliation agreement between the two organizations.

“We’ve successfully worked together to provide women and infant health care since the 1950s when medical students trained at Madison General,” said Dr. Geoff Priest, Meriter–UnityPoint Health’s Chief Medical Officer and Interim President. “Coming together with a joint operating agreement will help us better to coordinate the care we provide our patients and the community, truly putting the patient at the center of everything we do.”

“The University of Wisconsin Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has enjoyed decades of collaboration with Meriter Hospital, providing the mothers and babies of Dane County and the region with the very highest quality of health care,” said Dr. Laurel Rice, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at UW School of Medicine and Public Health and member of the Meriter Hospital Medical Staff. “This agreement will further enhance our partnership, all to the benefit of the community we serve.”

“UW Health has a years-long commitment to serve the community without the duplication of health care services,” said Jeff Poltawsky, senior vice president of American Family Children’s Hospital. “We look forward to enhancing our collaboration to improve the quality, access, cost effectiveness and outcomes of health services for mothers and babies in the communities we serve.”

Meriter–UnityPoint Health and UW Health already partner to provide care in the Meriter Birthing Center, Meriter Hospital Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Center for Perinatal Care, Generations Fertility Care and OB/GYN services in three Meriter primary care clinics. UW Health also offers obstetric and gynecological care at six other clinics. This year UW Health’s American Family Children’s Hospital also added a Level IV NICU.

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Healthy Dishes That Will Cause a Bang at Your Celebration

July is a perfect time to take advantage of local, healthy options for your holiday party. Try these recipes at your 4th of July celebration!

By: Krista Kohls, Clinical Dietitian

What comes to mind when someone says “4th of July”? Do you picture an American flag or fireworks or hanging out with family and friends in warm weather? How about grilling and sipping on a cold beverage? For me, the 4th of July brings to mind all these good memories, but instead of picturing hot dogs and burgers on the grill, I usually imagine healthier fare. July is a perfect time to take advantage of local, healthy options for your holiday party as there are plenty delicious summer fruits and veggies available this time of year!

If you will be grilling for the Fourth think lean proteins (chicken, fish, lean red meat) or you could try something vegetarian. Black bean burgers are not only easy and delicious but healthy as well! For dessert, try grilling peaches or pineapple for a sweet treat!

If you’ve been asked to bring over a side dish for a get together try bringing a lettuce or fruit salad instead of high fat potato salad or baked beans. Adding strawberries to a lettuce salad with walnuts and some Parmesan cheese is a fresh and easy way to take advantage of the seasons’ delicious produce. Or simply bringing a fruit salad (or melon kebabs) with fresh squeezed lime juice and chopped mint to add a twist to a sweet summer side dish. Including fresh, healthy foods this holiday season will not only help your waistline – you will feel good too!

Black Bean Burgers
4 servings

1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs


  1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
  3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
  5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
  6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

Per burger: 162 calories, 0.5 g sat fat, 28 g carb, 9 g protein
Recipe compliments of Allrecipes.com

Lettuce Salad with Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
Lettuce – spring mix or red leaf or spinach
¼ – 1/2 cup walnuts*
1/2-1 cup strawberries*
1/8 – 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese*
Dressing (makes enough for more than one salad)
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. onion
2/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

*Adjust ingredients based on size of salad.*

  1. For the dressing, put all ingredients (except poppy seeds) in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add in poppy seeds after food processing is done.
  2. Combine lettuce, walnuts, strawberries, grated Parmesan and toss with enough salad dressing to coat the lettuce (the dressing recipe makes enough for more than one salad – keep leftovers in a jar in the fridge).

Melon Salad with Lime and Mint
Makes at least 8 servings

1 cantalope – halved, seeded, peeled, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 honeydew melon – halved, seeded, peeled, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1/2 watermelon – halved, peeled, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. grated lime peel

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until the lime and mint have coated the melon.

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The ABCs of Infant Safe Sleep

By: Dr. Nicole Baumann-Blackmore, Pediatric Hospital Medicine

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), defined as the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation, is the leading cause of death among infants aged 1 to 12 months in the United States. This staggering statistic, along with the infant deaths that are able to be attributed to accidental strangulation or suffocation in bed, demonstrate the continued need to provide safe sleep information to parents and caregivers of infants. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its recommendations for a safe sleep environment for infants. Here are some of the key recommendations that should be used consistently for all infants up to 12 months of age:

1.) Back to sleep for every sleep – Infants should be placed in the supine position (completely on their back) for every sleep by every caregiver until 12 months of age. Once a baby is able to roll over, they should still be placed to sleep on their back but then allowed to stay in whatever position they assume during sleep.
2.) Use a firm sleep surface – A firm crib mattress, covered with a fitted sheet, is the preferred sleeping surface. All cribs, bassinets or portable cribs used should conform to the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
3.) Room-sharing without bed-sharing – Some studies have shown that this sleep arrangement may decrease the risk of SIDS by up to 50%, and it makes nighttime feedings and diaper changes more convenient!
4.) Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib – No pillows, stuffed animals, toys, bumper pads, sleep positioning devices, etc.
5.) Avoid smoking, alcohol use and illicit drug use both during pregnancy and after birth. Avoiding second hand smoke exposure is also important.
6.) Breastfeeding is recommended. If possible, mothers should exclusively breastfeed or feed expressed breast milk until 6 months of age. The protective effect of breastfeeding increases with exclusivity. However, any breastfeeding has been shown to be more protective against SIDS than no breastfeeding.
7.) Consider offering a pacifier at naptime and bedtime once breastfeeding has been well established, usually 3-4 weeks. The pacifier does not need to be replaced if it falls out. Do not attach the pacifier to the baby’s clothing, hang it around their neck or attach it to a stuffed toy.
8.) Avoid overheating – Infants should be dressed appropriately for their environment with no more than one layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable in that environment.

These are just some of the important recommendations provided by the AAP. To learn more, speak with your child’s primary care physician or visit any of the following websites:


Please help keep your baby safe and reduce the incidence of infant death due to unsafe sleep environments. Follow and teach others the ABCs of safe sleep!

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Why Men Should Have PSA Screenings

Roughly 8 out of 10 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, and Dr. Andrew Jahoda recommends patients have a routine PSA screening for prostate cancer diagnosis.

By: Dr. Andrew Jahoda, Urology

Prostate cancer is relatively common, occurring in roughly 8 out of 10 men. According to the latest data, approximately 1,000 men need to undergo Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) screening to benefit one man’s length of survival. Recent research suggesting PSA screening does not improve the longevity of a man’s life has sparked new widespread interest in PSA testing. Unfortunately, the message distilled from that research is that PSA testing is inaccurate and useless, and it suggests that men should forego PSA screening. The media has not discussed that the PSA screening is a controversial test, and it is not everyone’s opinion that men should not get a PSA test.

PSA testing spawned in the early 1980s, and the course of prostate cancer has changed dramatically as a result. While hospitals once dedicated entire floors to patients who were paralyzed from prostate cancer that spread to the backbone, now a typical urologist rarely sees any sign of metastatic prostate cancer. Additionally, when patients undergo surgery to remove the prostate, surgeons are now finding much less local spread of cancer and better odds of removing all of the cancer rendering a patient a complete cure when compared to surgery before PSA testing. Rarely does a patient die from prostate cancer nowadays, which is very different from prostate cancer outcomes historically.

The data clearly demonstrate that PSA screening has transformed prostate cancer from a diagnosis that is potentially devastating or life threatening to something that is more a nuisance. The controversy of PSA screening lies in the fact that many men will develop prostate cancer and would live their entire lives without ever knowing about it if it weren’t for PSA screening, which leads to overtreatment of the disease.

So, how do I sift through this information and fit it into my practice? It only takes meeting one patient who has metastatic cancer from a very preventable disease to become frustrated with a blanket statement that PSA screening is not beneficial. Doctors need to have a discussion with their patients about the risks and benefits of PSA screening.

The biggest impact these studies have had on my practice is the way I manage prostate cancer, rather than the way I diagnose it. What has been born out of PSA research is that we can be comfortable observing much more prostate cancer than we were previously. I still recommend routine PSA screening for prostate cancer diagnosis. It is a simple blood test with little direct risk. It may lead to a biopsy, but then a patient will know if he can be safe on observation or whether he would benefit from intervention. Without that, people are rolling the dice and declining cheap easy information that may be useful.

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Welcome Dr. Mohammed Saghir to Meriter Wisconsin Heart

Dr. Mohammed Saghir, Cardiologist

Meriter-UnityPoint Health welcomes cardiologist Mohammed Saghir, MD, FASE, FACC to Meriter Wisconsin Heart, located at 2601 W. Beltline Hwy, Suite 200, Madison, WI 53713. We are pleased to have him join the Heart & Vascular Care Team.

Although Dr. Saghir specializes in cardiac imaging, he ardently believes the best diagnostic tool is listening to his patients tell their story. He never wants his patients to feel rushed and believes in empowering them to become active partners in their care. He takes the time to teach his patients about their medical conditions and treatment options. It’s his goal to have his patients feel comfortable, informed and in-charge of their health.

Clinically, Dr. Saghir has special interests in valvular heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease. Dr. Saghir is also trained and is interested in cardiovascular imaging, including cardiac MRI and CT, echocardiography, vascular ultrasound and nuclear cardiology.

During his free time, Dr. Saghir and his wife enjoy biking riding on Madison’s numerous scenic bike paths. He also enjoys traveling, hiking and jogging.

Please join Meriter in welcoming Dr. Saghir!

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Dr. Dana Johnson: Fractures Can be a Common Childhood Injury

Fortunately, fractures in children do not usually require surgery. Usually all that is required for treatment is immobilization, which generally is done with a cast made of fiberglass or plaster.

Originally published on June 11, 2014, in the Wisconsin State JournalDr. Johnson is a pediatrician practicing at the Meriter McKee clinic.

Dear Dr. Johnson: My 4-year-old is a “daredevil” and constantly getting hurt. Fortunately just bumps and bruises at this point but how would I know if he broke a bone?

Dear Reader: Broken bones (also called fractures) are the fourth most common injury in children under age 6 — so pretty common. They can occur from various types of injuries but are most commonly associated with falls. Major or severe fractures in children are most commonly a result of car crashes. Fractures can occur from falls from high places but can also occur from more minor falls and landing wrong.

The types of fractures that occur in kids are different than fractures in adults because children’s bones are more flexible and still growing. One of the common types of fractures in kids are greenstick where the bone bends and only one side of the bone breaks. Torus fractures are another type of common fracture in children. In torus fractures, the bone is twisted or buckled and weakened. Children can also suffer from other types of fractures including those that go completely though the bone.

Because children’s bones are still growing, there are growth plates at the end of the bones from which new bone length comes. Fractures can involve these growth plates causing damage and resulting in the bone growing at an angle or slower than the other bones in the body. Therefore, fractures that affect the growth plate may need to be followed for 12-18 months after the injury as it can take awhile for abnormal growth to become apparent.

Fortunately, fractures in children do not usually require surgery. Their bones tend to heal rapidly and well. Usually all that is required for treatment is immobilization, which generally is done with a cast made of fiberglass or plaster. Sometimes, more minor fractures are placed in a removable splint. If there is a significant angle between the two sides of the fracture or the edges don’t align, a reduction to realign the bones may be needed. This is usually only done after the child is given pain medication, sedation medications and/or full general anesthesia.

So the answer to your question as to how you would know if your child has a fracture, is that you can’t always tell without getting an X-ray. The most obvious sign of a fracture would be visible deformity of bone. More subtle signs would be a young child refusing to walk or move an extremity for a period of time after an injury. Tenderness in one specific spot over a bone can be concerning for a fracture. Being able to move the arm or leg does not exclude the bone being fractured. If you suspect your child could have a fracture they should be examined by a doctor in the clinic, urgent care or emergency room depending on the time of day and severity of the injury.

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Meriter Hospital Farmstand

Stop on by Madison’s newest farmers’ market, located outside the main entrance of Meriter Hospital*. Come get fresh, delicious produce from Madison’s multi-cultural farm incubator, the Farley Center, which supports new local farmers using sustainable practices! They grow healthy vegetables, herbs and fruit without the use of chemicals. Be well and eat well from summer into fall!

Location: Meriter Hospital, 202 S. Park Street, Madison, WI 53715
Dates: Thursdays starting June 12 till October 30
Time: 2pm – 5:30pm

*In case of bad weather, the farmers’ market will be moved inside

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Meriter-UnityPoint Health Clinics Honored as Best in the Nation

Congratulations to Inpatient Rehabilitation (3N), Deming Way Pediatrics, General Surgery Clinic, Orthopedic Trauma Clinic, Home Health Agency and NewStart Outpatient for achieving NRC Best!

Our Inpatient Rehabilitation unit achieved NRC’s Best in the Nation for controlling their patient’s pain.

Our Deming Way Pediatrics, General Surgery Clinic and Orthopedic Trauma Clinic achieved NRC’s Best in the Nation for our patient’s being able to get an appointment as soon as they needed and getting answers to their medical questions the same day.

Our Home Health Agency achieved NRC’s Best in the Nation for our patient’s being able to get help when needed.

Our NewStart Outpatient group achieved NRC’s Best in the Nation for our patient’s being able to get an appointment as soon as they needed.

Thank you to all of our STAR employees for their dedication to extraordinary customer service!

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Dr. Dana Johnson: Lacerations are Common Summertime Injuries

Cuts or gashes are some of the most common injuries your children may encounter this summer.

Originally published on June 4, 2014, in the Wisconsin State JournalDr. Johnson is a pediatrician practicing at the Meriter McKee clinic.

Dear Dr. Johnson: How do I know if a cut requires stitches?

Dear Reader: As kids become more active during the warmer spring and summer months, the number of trauma-related injuries increases. Lacerations (cuts or gashes) are some of the most common injuries.

Lacerations are cuts that extend into tissues below the skin surface. They can come from numerous types of falls, bumps, or other sharp objects. The first step after an injury occurs is to try to remain calm and to apply direct pressure to the wound to control bleeding. Firm pressure over the wound in most cases will stop the bleeding. This can be done with gauze or a clean cloth. If the wound is large or severe, immediate medical attention should be sought in the emergency room or by calling 911.

For less severe wounds, it must be determined if they require further medical care. A general rule of thumb for when lacerations should be seen by a physician is if they are deep and over a half-inch in length, gaping in that the two edges don’t stay together on their own, the bleeding does not stop after direct pressure is applied for 5 minutes, or the wound penetrated deep into the tissue. When in doubt, it is best to call your child’s physician or have the child seen as the extent of a laceration in an upset child can be somewhat difficult to determine.

A wound can be closed with various techniques to minimize risk of infection, speed healing, and decrease scar formation. Some ways of closing wounds are sutures (stitches), staples, steristrips (tape), or my personal favorite — glue. Which technique is used depends on the location and extent of the injury. If the wound requires closure, it is best if this is done as soon as possible. Most wounds should not be closed more than six hours after the injury as the risk of infection greatly increases.

If you determine that the laceration does not require stitches or other closure, make sure it is well cleansed. One of the best ways to do this is with running tap water in a sink or bathtub. Don’t soak the area but instead run warm water across the wound. It is not recommended that alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or iodine be used. These can increase discomfort and aren’t necessary. After the area is thoroughly washed, antibiotic ointment can be applied and covered with a sterile dressing (gauze or bandage). Butterfly bandages can also be used to hold the cut edges closed while healing.

All lacerations should be monitored for signs of infection. Increasing redness, swelling or pain can be signs of infection. Other symptoms may include pus drainage, fever or red streaking from the wound. If your child develops any of these, they should be examined so that if an infection has developed, it can be treated.

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Let Your Voice Be Heard

It’s important that you receive the care and service you want and deserve. It’s why we’re currently recruiting members for a new online community where your ideas and opinions will directly shape the future of health care in Dane County.

It’s called My Health Matters: Your voice @ Meriter and Physicians Plus.You tell us a little about yourself, and we’ll send you a couple of interactive surveys each month, catered directly to your needs and interests. 

  • Be Involved! Tell us your ideas for ways to improve your hospital, clinics and service
  • Be heard! Weigh in on decisions we’re considering
  • Be in the know! Receive inside information about happenings at Meriter and Physicians Plus

You’ll also receive regular updates on how your input affected decisions at Meriter and Physicians Plus, and, as a ‘Thank You,’ you’ll be entered to win Amazon gift cards just for becoming a member and participating throughout the year.

Click here to see if you qualify.

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President & CEO Jim Woodward Announces Resignation

Meriter-UnityPoint Health announced today that Meriter President and CEO Jim Woodward has given his resignation. Woodward accepted a new position as CEO of Elliot Health System in Manchester, NH.

“I am honored to have had the opportunity to be part of the Meriter family for nearly eight years,” said Woodward. “There’s no doubt that Meriter, and health care systems throughout the country, is experiencing a lot of change, but I’m resolute in our decision to affiliate with a strong and vibrant partner like UnityPoint Health. I’m leaving Meriter confident that they are set up for future success.”

“Jim has a commitment for impeccable quality and outstanding service – always putting the patient at the center of what we do,” said Meriter-UnityPoint Health Board Chair Ginny Graves. “I sincerely appreciate Jim’s amazing vision and owe him a great debt of gratitude for the road of success he’s led us down. He will be sincerely missed, although we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”

During his tenure, Woodward’s accomplishments include the growth and development of the Meriter Medical Group, being twice recognized as one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Thompson Reuters, receiving Most Wired Hospital awards and receiving the American Hospital Association’s Quest for Quality award.

Woodward’s last day at Meriter is June 30, 2014. Transition and succession plans are currently being implemented.

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Pediatric After-Hours Clinic Closed on 6/5

The Meriter Pediatric After-Hours Clinic will be closed on Thursday, June 5. Please contact your clinic to schedule an alternative appointment.

If you believe your child is in need of immediate emergency care, dial 911 or take your child directly to the emergency department. Meriter’s Emergency Department is located at 202 S. Park St.

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A Former Olympic Gymnast Overcomes Adversity

Dr. Marie Roethlisberger, a hearing impaired former Olympic gymnast, shares her story about overcoming adversity.

From the 1984 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team to family medicine at Meriter McKee, Dr. Marie Roethlisberger shares her story about overcoming adversity in this recent Channel 3000 interview.

After losing hearing in her left ear and having almost none in her right, she embraced her hearing loss as a part of who she is giving her self-confidence and self-esteem. She carried that confidence into gymnastic competitions and continues to carry it with her as a family medicine doctor.

Watch the video and learn more about Dr. Roethlisberger’s story.

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Healthy Graduation Party Snack Ideas

By: Michelle Gullickson, Manager of Green Bush Garden Bistro

Looking for something that will please the taste buds of everyone, but with a health twist? Try these helpful hints and recipes at your graduation party!

Give up chips and dip for a homemade hummus.

Quick Homemade Hummus
1 clove of  garlic
1 (19 oz) can of garbanzo beans
4 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of tahini
1 teaspoon of salt
Black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Put everything into a blender and puree adding more ingredients to taste. You can dallop the hummus on top of a thickly sliced cucumber and garnish with a whole garbanzo bean, a sprig of parsley and a little paprika. You can also serve this as a dip for a variety of veggies and/or pita chips.

Fresh Quina Salad
Make quinoa as directed, I add a little veggie base and fresh garlic to the water to boil it in. Once this is prepared refrigerate until chilled completely.

Slice fresh yellow, red and orange bell peppers into thin strips
Slice grape heirloom tomatoes
Peel and slice zucchini
Remove excess water from frozen spinach

Lightly saute peppers, spinach, zucchini and tomatoes in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then, chill completely.

Mix the chilled quinoa and chilled veggies together and top with feta cheese. Serve cold.

Remember, you can add any veggies you would like to this salad. I think diced sweet potatoes would be a great addition as well. Get creative!

Infused Water
Try infused water instead of punch or soda. This is one of my favorites at any party or get together! Here are a few of my favorite combinations.


  • Cucumber mint: Gently rub the mint leave before putting them in the water because it will really get the flavor out!
  • Fresh berries: Mix fresh berries with fresh basil
  • Citrus: Lemon, limes and oranges can be squeezed and then added to ice water.

Trail Mix
Try your own trail mix! Have separate bowls with an assortment of nuts (I like going unsalted), dried fruits and dark chocolate bites. People love to build their own snacks and be in charge of what they are eating and how much. This is a great snack to be interactive with as well as filling healthy alternative to chips and creamy salads. Have small disposable bowls or cups that guests can fill.

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Attend Therapy Central’s Open House on June 11

Meriter–UnityPoint Health is very excited to announce that our new Therapy Central clinic is complete at 1414 S. Park Street, Madison.

The clinic will start treating patients on May 29. This new facility combines:
• Orthopedic physical and occupational therapy
• Neuro physical, occupational and speech therapy
• Specialty services: hand therapy, pelvic floor therapy, and treatment for lymphedema, balance and falls, concussion, vestibular issues and mobility assessment services.

We invite you to join us on Wednesday, June 11 from 4-6 pm for an open house to tour the new location, meet the therapy staff, enter to win a fitness prize and enjoy refreshments.

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Super Foods for Super Kids Event

Have trouble getting your little one to eat right? Join Meriter–UnityPoint Health dietitians and pediatricians for a kid-friendly afternoon with a super hero twist! You’ll learn about the benefits of adding super foods into your family’s diet, watch a demonstration on how to make a yummy blueberry salsa and get tips for picky eaters. Your kids will have a chance to try some healthy snacks and make super hero crafts.

Register ahead of time, or just stop by the DreamBank, located right on the Capitol Square, during your trip to the Dane County Farmer’s Market on Saturday.

Location: DreamBank (1 North Pinckney)

Date and time: May 31 from 10am-1pm

Cost: Free!

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Dr. Dana Johnson: Get Kids Engaged With the Outdoors

There are several wonderful state parks that are just a short drive from Madison, and some activities you can enjoy at these parks are hiking, fishing, biking, picnicking and canoeing.

Originally published on May 14, 2014, in the Wisconsin State Journal. Dr. Johnson is a pediatrician practicing at the Meriter McKee clinic.

Dear Dr. Johnson: What is the best way to get children active outdoors?

Dear Reader: For most young children, the best way to get them to be active outside is to simply take them there. Some older children may take a bit of coaxing but will often enjoy themselves once there.

I feel that many children (and adults) are nature deprived. So many of our daily activities are done inside and our lives can become so busy that getting outdoors and just playing is not always a high priority. Fresh air and exploring the world around us can be so beneficial to children and adults alike. We also tend to be more physically active when outdoors than indoors.

The National Park Trust has designated May 17, 2014 as “Kids to Parks Day.” “The goal is to engage kids across the country with parks and public lands to promote environmental stewardship and healthy outdoor living.” Thousands of families have already pledged to go to a park on May 17. More information about this event can be found at www.kidstoparks.org

If you haven’t already explored them, there are several wonderful state parks that are just a short drive from Madison. Some that my family has explored are Devil’s Lake, Blue Mound and Kettle Moraine. Some activities we have enjoyed at these parks are hiking, fishing, biking, picnicking and canoeing. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources offers the Wisconsin Explorer program where children can complete a booklet while at state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas and earn a patch. Just stop at the ranger station for more information or go to http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/getoutdoors/we.html. A list of park locations, activities and other information about Wisconsin State Parks can be found at www.wiparks.net.

If you have a bit more time for a drive, the national parks are a great destination. They also offer activities for children to earn patches or badges through the Junior Ranger program. My son has enjoyed filling his National Park passport book with stamps from the various national parks we have visited.

If driving to a state or national park isn’t a possibility for this weekend, don’t forget that in Madison we are fortunate to have many great area parks and lakes. Some offer nature trails. Small children love playing on playground equipment. Older children might enjoy shooting some hoops with a basketball or playing catch.

Don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray. Also wear appropriate shoes for walking and bring water to keep hydrated. But most importantly, get out and enjoy the great outdoors!

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Mammography Now Offers Extended Hours


For your convenience, we are now offering evening hours for our mammography services at Meriter Monona. Mammography is currently the most effective way to detect breast cancer early – when it is most treatable. In fact, mammograms show changes in the breast up to two years before a woman and her physician can feel them.

Our professional technologists will tailor the mammogram to fit your individual needs. We want to provide you with a positive mammography experience.

Bone density scans are also available at Meriter Monona, you can save time by scheduling your mammogram and bone density scan during the same visit.   

Mammography saves lives, call to schedule your screening mammogram
and bone density scan today (608) 417-6288.

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