Archive | August, 2014

Understanding the Disease Behind the “Ice Bucket Challenge”

The “Ice Bucket Challenge” has become a phenomenon on social media. It raises money for ALS research. But what exactly is ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease? Dr. Donald Schmechel, LMC neurologist, was on WIS-TV this week to talk about it. Check out what he said in the video below.

An Evening of Honor

Congressional Medal of Honor recipients Kyle Carpenter, Michael Thornton and James Livingston will be special guests and speakers at “An Evening of Honor” hosted by the Lexington Medical Center Foundation at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. The dinner and program will honor these three extraordinary men who have called South Carolina home for their extraordinary patriotism and courage in valor. The event, held during the anniversary week of the September 11th terrorist attacks, will also feature tributes to first responders and military service members.

Created in 1861, the Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest medal for valor in combat that can be given to a person serving in the Armed Services of the United States. The President of the United States presents the recipient with the award in the name of Congress.

KyleCarpenterCpl. Kyle Carpenter of Lexington County was serving in the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan in 2010 when insurgents threw a hand grenade at him and a fellow Marine. Jumping on the grenade to shield his friend, Carpenter suffered devastating injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, the loss of his right eye, a broken nose, severe lacerations to his face, critical injury to the carotid artery on the right side of his neck, and 30 fractures to his right arm. He actually died three times on the MedEvac and was considered “expired” when he arrived at the hospital in Afghanistan. He spent the next two and a half years in a hospital, requiring nearly 40 surgeries. President Barack Obama presented Carpenter with the Medal of Honor in June of this year. Carpenter, now age 24, is currently a student at the University of South Carolina.

James Livingston

James Livingston

Maj. Gen. James Livingston served with the United States Marine Corps during Vietnam. As a Commanding Officer in 1968, he led his Marines and directed combat operations through fierce battle – forcing the enemy to retreat. He was wounded three times during the firefight, but continued to lead his command and supervise the evacuation of casualties. Only after the safety of all his men was assured did he allow himself to be evacuated. Today, Livingston lives in Charleston.

Michael Thornton

Michael Thornton

South Carolina native Lt. Michael Thornton served as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam. In 1972, Thornton acted courageously to remove his seriously wounded senior naval officer from the middle of the fighting, inflated his life jacket and towed him seaward for approximately two hours until support craft picked them up. Thornton saved the life of his superior officer and enabled the safe exit of all patrol members. Today, Thornton resides in Texas.

“An Evening of Honor” will take place on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Lincoln Street in downtown Columbia. Tickets are $75 each. There will be a Founders and Sponsor Reception at 6:00 p.m. Dinner and the program begin at 7:00 p.m. Sponsorships are available, including the opportunity to honor our heroes by sponsoring a table for local military members and first responders. For tickets and sponsorships, visit or call the Lexington Medical Center Foundation at (803) 791-2540. Proceeds benefit the Lexington Medical Center Foundation.

Guests are asked to dress for the event in patriotic colors.

For more information on the Lexington Medical Center Foundation, visit

Back-to-School Immunizations

With guest blogger, Dr. Brandon Emery of Lexington Pediatric Practice, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice

This time of year makes us think of new backpacks, freshly sharpened pencils and stylish pairs of bright sneakers. But before you send your child back to school, be sure they’re up to date on important vaccinations.

Dr. Brandon Emery

Dr. Brandon Emery

Children ages 10 to 11 should receive a whooping cough (pertussis) booster through the Tdap vaccine. Whooping cough is bacterial infection with violent coughing fits marked by a “whoop” sound while gasping for breath. Children are usually vaccinated for whooping cough as young children. The vaccine provides excellent immunity but decreases over time. That makes older children, teenagers and adults more likely to contract whooping cough and spread it to others.

Around age 11, children should also receive a vaccine for meningitis. Meningitis is an infection of the protective membrane around the brain and spinal cord. While the disease is rare, it can be deadly. Symptoms of meningitis are a high fever, severe headaches, and neck stiffness along with altered mental status, sensitivity to light, and vomiting. Teenagers should receive a meningitis booster again between the ages of 16 and 18, before attending college. The disease is known to spread among individuals who live close to each other, such as in a college dorm.

circle of handsAdditionally, children who are 11 can receive a hepatitis A vaccine. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease. Patients catch it when they come in contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by an infected person.

Finally, parents of school-age children should also make sure that their children have had two rounds of the chicken pox vaccine or have immunity. Boys and girls during adolescence should receive an HPV vaccine to prevent several forms of cancer.

For more information about these vaccines, call your doctor or Lexington Pediatric Practice at (803) 359 – 8855.