Dec 182012

Conor Berry, The Republican

on December 16, 2012 at 8:20 PM, updated December 16, 2012 at 8:53 PM

NEWTOWN, Conn. — It was a long, agonizing ride home from college for Sarah Feinstein, who traveled from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., to Newtown on Saturday to be with her mother, a survivor of Friday’s school shooting here.

“It was brutal,” she said of the 570-plus-mile journey home, particularly since she knew she was returning to a town that would never quite be the same again.

“She was there,” Feinstein said of her mother, Laura Feinstein, a special education and reading teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza forced his way into the school and fatally shot 26 people, including 20 youngsters between the ages of six and seven.

“She lost six of her colleagues. She lost three of her students,” Sarah, 21, said of her mother, who was home Sunday trying to recover from the terror and tumult of the shooting.

“She’s just traumatized by it all,” Sarah said.

Laura Feinstein got lucky, and her daughter knows it.

The teacher called Barbara Halstead, a secretary in the school’s main office, after hearing a series of loud bangs. “I called the office and said, ‘Barb, is everything O.K.?’ and she said, ‘There is a shooter in the building,’ ” Laura Feinstein told the New York Times. “I heard gunshots going on and on and on.”

Shortly before 10 a.m., the gunfire finally stopped. All of the victims, including the 20 children, had been shot multiple times. Most of the gunfire took place inside two first-grade classrooms, with 14 students killed in one room and six in the other. Twelve of the young victims were girls, eight were boys.

Lanza delivered a final fatal shot to his head as first responders arrived at the school, according to law enforcement officials.

Sarah Feinstein reunited with some of her former classmates at Newtown High School on Sunday to raise money for shooting victims’ families. She was joined by Mark Scheunemann, 21, who said the shooting has left a permanent stain on the town of 27,000. The traumatic experience also has turned the normally joyous holiday season into a period of mourning and reflection.

“It really kills the spirit,” he said.

via Newtown, Connecticut: Daughter recalls mother’s near miss at Sandy Hook Elementary School |

Dec 182012

Published: Thu Dec 13, 2012

Mental health scars common after cardiac arrest

By Trevor Stokes

Reuters Health – A quarter of cardiac arrest survivors suffer long-term psychological problems such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, a new review of research estimates.

This additional stress on recovering patients is under-diagnosed, researchers say, and doctors have few standard methods for identifying who is at risk.

“Anxiety, depression and PTSD are major concerns after cardiac arrest,” said lead author Kathryn Wilder Schaaf, a postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University. “We have the tools to treat this, (so) it’s important to make sure that it’s identified,” she added.

Many long-term care issues for survivors are unknown, experts said, largely because only 10 percent of the 382,800 Americans who suffer cardiac arrest each year survive.

And that rate is higher than in the past. Cardiac arrest – when the heart stops beating suddenly and completely – is distinct from conditions often labeled as “heart attacks.” In cardiac arrest, if the heart is not re-started quickly, brain damage or death usually results.

Cold therapy, which can protect the brain for a time, and implanted defibrillator devices, which can re-start an arrested heart, have helped to lower the death toll from cardiac arrest, but little is known about what mental and emotional scars may linger among survivors.

Wilder Schaaf and colleagues reviewed 11 studies published between 1993 and 2011 that looked at mental health issues following cardiac arrests experienced outside of a hospital and found problems plaguing anywhere from 15 percent to 50 percent or more of patients.

Months to years after surviving cardiac arrest, about one-third of patients were depressed and nearly two-thirds were experiencing anxiety. Even PTSD symptoms were surprisingly common, afflicting 19 percent to 27 percent of survivors, the medical literature showed.

In reality, however, the long-term mental health state of many cardiac arrest survivors is not typically considered or assessed, the researchers write in their report, which appears in the journal Resuscitation.

But treating mental illnesses in other types of heart patients has been shown to increase long-term survival while decreasing costs, according to independent research.

In a study published in November, for example, researchers found that a depressed patient recovering from a heart attack treated with psychotherapy and antidepressants during a six-month trial incurred – on average – $1,857 in medical costs, whereas a depressed patient who received no psychological treatments cost an average of $2,797 over the same time period.

Other research suggests that mental health issues impact physical recovery, too. Over a five-year period, survivors of cardiac arrest and similar events who did not show signs of PTSD lived three and a half times longer than those with ongoing trauma, according to a 2008 study by Dr. Karl-Heinz Ladwig, an epidemiologist at the Helmholtz Zentrum München in Germany.

Stress can affect the nervous system and impact heart rates, as well as worsening chronic inflammation, which also hurts the heart Ladwig told Reuters Health.

“We have problems convincing cardiologists to understand that depression is a very relevant part of their clinical work,” Ladwig said.

Ladwig suggested that doctors can gauge trauma through screening questions that are, “easy to put in a normal discussion.”

“This is a brand new area that is going to require thoughtful scientists, vigilant family members and an awareness from patients,” said Dr. Karina Davidson, director of the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, who was not involved in the new study.

Nightmares plus an avoidance of doctors, medications or follow-up appointments are all signs that a recovering heart patient should seek mental health help, Davidson said.

Psychological recovery includes the patient developing feelings of safety and believing the future will be prosperous, said Samuel Sears, a professor at East Carolina University who studies the psychological effects of cardiac trauma.

A range of tools can help patients achieve that goal, including peer support groups such as the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivors Association and smart-phone apps such as ICD Coach (in which Sears has a financial interest), he noted.

Sears said he is optimistic that an understanding of the connection between head and heart will eventually reach the doctor’s office.

Dec 182012

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill smiles as he talks about the Pirates' upcoming bowl game.   (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill smiles as he talks about the Pirates’ upcoming bowl game. (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)

By Nathan Summers

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The crowd, or at least crowd noise, was deafening at the final home East Carolina football practice of the season.

Monday was one last chance for the Pirates (8-4) to simulate a few game sequences for what head coach Ruffin McNeill said he believes will be a raucous New Orleans Bowl on Saturday inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The third-year coach has said for the last couple of weeks he expects half of the dome’s nearly 75,000 seats to be packed with Pirate fans for the noon EST showdown against defending bowl champ Louisiana. Last year, the Ragin Cajuns brought better than 30,000 to the dome for their victory over San Diego State.

“We expect that and probably more,” McNeill said of the non-stop simulated crowd noise that accompanied Monday’s brief workout, which he described as mostly a game rehearsal with no contact and limited special teams work. “They’ve sold out and we’ve done some research. They’ll be loud.”

This morning the 8-4 Pirates are on their way to New Orleans, and they won’t get much time to cool their heels.

They’ve got a 3 p.m. practice scheduled at the New Orleans Saints facility in nearby Metairie, and McNeill said his team is officially in game mode from this point forward.

After a long layoff in between the end of the regular season and Saturday’s game, the coach said his players are ready for an opponent.

“They got their travel sweats (Monday), and there are a lot of things going on with them, so I think they’re excited about it,” McNeill said of the team’s final preparations on Monday. “I think they got a little tired of hitting each other, but I think we’ll have a lively practice (today) in New Orleans.”

The setup

The Pirates will practice at the Saints facility again at 3 p.m. on Wednesday before a 6 p.m. welcome party for the team to be held at Rock ’N Bowl.

On Thursday, the team will practice inside the dome at 1 p.m., after which selected players will visit the city’s Ochsner Hospital.

On Friday, players from both teams will attend an awards luncheon at the New Orleans Marriott.

Contact Nathan Summers at or 252-329-9595.

via The Daily Reflector.

Dec 182012

By Wesley Brown

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When the East Carolina University football team takes the field Saturday inside the Louisiana Superdome, they will be fighting for more than a bowl championship trophy.

A possible helping of jambalaya and a bald cypress tree will be on the line, as well as Greenville city pride during the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

To mark the competition in the Pirates’ post-season contest against the Ragin’ Cajuns of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas and Lafayette, La., Mayor Joey Durel have agreed to a friendly wager to benefit each of the cities.

Under the terms of the challenge, the “winning” mayor will receive some home cooking and a native tree from the “losing” city.

“As an alumnus of East Carolina and mayor of Greenville, I planned to be at the game cheering for the Pirates,” said Thomas, who initiated the bet. “I thought this would be a fun way to add to the festivities and build some camaraderie between our communities.”

If UL Lafayette wins, Thomas said Billy Parker, owner of Parkers Barbecue, has agreed to ship a plate of one of his signature dishes to Durel, who also will receive a crepe myrtle tree, which features the official flower of the city of Greenville.

If ECU wins, Durel will treat Thomas to some of southern Louisiana’s famous Cajun cuisine — expected to be jambalaya — and send the city of Greenville a bald cypress, a tree indigenous to the Gulf Coast and one of Durel’s favorites.

The friendly challenge began two weeks ago when Thomas called Durel to congratulate the Louisiana mayor on his city and Alma Mater earning its second trip in a row to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

Thomas said Durel was appreciative of the gesture and that the two mayors talked at length about their communities, which they found were very similar, each being two large rural-based cities that are seen as innovators in higher education, technology and health care.

They agreed to share ideas on economic development and possibly work together on some projects, before negotiating the terms of their wager.

“This contest is a perfect example of what a strong university and a strong athletic program can do to highlight a community,” Durel said. “Our two cities don’t know a lot about each other, but the football game will give us an opportunity to share our culture and joie de vivre with another thriving community in the Southeast.”

As for the challenge, Thomas has already named ECU, which will be playing in its sixth bowl appearance in the last seven years, as the victor.

Thomas said he cannot wait to show off the bald cypress next to the Oklahoma red bud tree Greenville won a few years ago for topping Tulsa in the Conference USA championship.

“Greenville has been a Tree City USA community for nearly a quarter of a century now and I wanted to make sure that when the Pirates win, we can add another tree to our special collection at City Hall,” Thomas said. “I figured that Mayor Durel would be interested since Lafayette has also been a Tree City USA community for more than 20 years.”

Contact Wesley Brown at 252-329-9579 or Follow him on Twitter @CityWatchdog.

via The Daily Reflector.

Dec 172012

Published Fri, Dec 14, 2012 07:05 PM

By Jane Stancill –

A fifth review has been launched in UNC-Chapel Hill’s saga of academic fraud involving athletes.

This week, the university’s accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, said it would review UNC-CH’s handling of the academic irregularities in the African and Afro-American Studies department.

Chancellor Holden Thorp was notified in a telephone call, he wrote in a memo to trustees.

“It is not surprising that a respected accrediting agency like SACS would want to take a closer look at the University’s response,” Thorp’s memo said.

Belle Wheelan, president of the SACS Commission on Colleges, said the board asked the university for a monitoring report and will send a special committee to campus sometime in the spring.

“We’re just trying to make sure they’re following up with the stuff they said they were going to do,” Wheelan said of UNC-CH.

The SACS review is just the latest. Several other probes are progressing, including one by the State Bureau of Investigation and another by a UNC system Board of Governors panel. Next week, university trustees will receive a long-awaited report from former Gov. Jim Martin, who has spent months conducting an independent review of the situation along with a consulting firm, Baker-Tilly.

Martin is trying to determine whether the academic fraud is more extensive than has already been revealed. An internal university investigation found 54 classes with little or no instruction over a four-year period, along with dozens more dubious independent study courses. Nearly two-thirds of the enrollments in the no-show classes were athletes.

Wheelan said she was not privy to the board’s discussion of UNC-CH but said it centered on a possible lack of rigor and adequate work by student athletes who took courses in the African studies department.

“Usually when an institution is not put on sanction but some kind of report is followed, it is the belief that they’re working in the right direction, and we want to give them the benefit of the doubt,” she said. “If after the committee goes in, they find that things are still a little discombobulated, then a sanction is possible.”

Twice a year, the Commission on Colleges meets to decide whether to levy sanctions on universities and colleges around the region. The agency can put colleges on warning or probation. A revocation of accreditation – only done in rare circumstances – is disastrous because it leads to a loss of federal funds.

Thorp emphasized in his memo that SACS did not sanction UNC-CH.

“The University is proudly a founding member of SACS,” he wrote. “The peer-guided accreditation process is an important measure of accountability in the higher education community to maintain high academic standards. We appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate for SACS the reforms that we have put into place to ensure that these academic irregularities never occur again.”

Wheelan said the commission’s board would probably receive the findings of the review committee before its meeting in June of next year.

“They’re taking steps,” she said of UNC-CH, “and so we’re very hopeful it will all be over and resolved and everything will be OK by June.”

Stancill: 919-829-4559

via Accrediting agency to review academic procedures at UNC-Chapel Hill – Education –

Dec 172012

Sunday, December 16, 2012


In a Nov. 27 letter in The Daily Reflector’s Public Forum, Andrew Morehead stated that the goal of the new University Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative was to create a model in the university area to take to other neighborhoods. This is simply not true.

The university neighborhood is and always will be a unique neighborhood and unlike any other in Greeville. A major university with 26,000 students sitting literally feet away from the neighborhood sets it apart in a major way. What other neighborhood sits adjacent to a major institution in Greenville? Near PCC? Near Vidant? Near the ECU School of Medicine? None of these do.

This neighborhood is one of a kind and deserves one-of-a-kind attention. Hats off to council members who recognize this need and voted for this initiative.



via The Daily Reflector.

Dec 172012

The Daily Reflector

Rob Taylor/The Daily Reflector / The Daily Reflector

Cindy Winstead, a clinical nursing instructor, places a pin on the graduation gown of her daughter, Iva, an ECU College of Nursing graduate, following Fall Commencement exercises at Minges Coliseum on Friday.

By Ginger Livingston

Saturday, December 15, 2012

An East Carolina University instructor is welcoming her daughter to the nursing profession today.

Cindy Winstead, a clinical nursing instructor, will present her nursing pin to her daughter, Iva, during the College of Nursing’s pinning ceremony being held at noon. Iva was one of nearly 2,200 students who graduated on Friday.

“It really is hard to put into words all the emotions I have, but I feel it’s a symbolic passing of the torch to a new generation,” said Cindy, who earned her nursing pin 24 years ago. “I’m toward the end of my career, but we are at the beginning of hers.”

The pinning ceremony is a symbolic welcome to the nursing profession. It began when nursing programs were operated by hospitals and not universities, Cindy said. The pin, which identifies which school a nurse attended, was the equivalent of a diploma.

“It’s a significant milestone, that she is ready to go out and begin her career,” Cindy said.

“In my age group, we don’t wear our pins as much but I’m going to wear mine,” Iva said. “I am very, very excited. It really means a lot to me. I also have my mom’s class ring. I didn’t get one of my own because I wear hers.”

Iva said she has always wanted a career in the medical field.

“I always loved hearing mom’s stories,” she said. While in high school, Iva took an allied health sciences class that required the students to observe the work of various departments.

“When I had my rotation on the floor with one of the nurses, I thoroughly enjoyed it and that’s when I finalized my decision that this is what I wanted to do,” Iva said.

When Iva told her mother, they talked a long time about the pros and cons.

“I told her how difficult it would be and it would be a big commitment on her part,” Cindy said. “I have always encouraged her to be all she can be, and I always told her that she could accomplish whatever she wanted if she put her mind to it. I am proud of all of her accomplishments.”

Iva said she knew she was meant to be a nurse this summer while interning with Vidant Health Center’s medical intermediate unit. Iva said the internship gave her a chance to work in other areas and she found herself drawn to the postpartum ward, where she will be caring for new mothers who are keeping their babies in their rooms.

Cindy also is an obstetrical nurse.

“When she came home and told me the things that she enjoyed about it, the feeling that she got when she helped a patient. That is something that never goes away when you are in nursing,” Cindy said.

Contact Ginger Livingston at or 252-329-9570.

via The Daily Reflector.

Dec 172012

ECU degree candidates wait patiently as festivities get under way at Minges Coliseum Friday morning during Fall Commencement exercises.

Rob Taylor/The Daily Reflector

ECU degree candidates wait patiently as festivities get under way at Minges Coliseum Friday morning during Fall Commencement exercises.

By Ginger Livingston

Saturday, December 15, 2012

With encouragement to use their education to make a difference, nearly 2,200 students turned their tassels at Friday’s 104th fall commencement ceremony at East Carolina University.

The College of Nursing led the celebration, setting off confetti cannons and Silly String when its 205 members stood for recognition. The audience cheered with approval. The audience earlier chanted “purple-gold” as the graduates entered Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

“I was full of joy for them, said Cindy Winstead, a clinical nursing instructor whose daughter was among the graduates. “I know what they’ve been through, how hard they studied and prepared and I fully understood their elation. It’s a tradition for the nursing students at East Carolina.”

Yvonne Upshut, who received her master’s degree in nursing said Friday was an amazing experience.

“This was a personal goal. You have to continue improving and giving your clients the best you can,” she said.

“I’m excited but I’m also nervous. I’ve never not had classes in January,” Ryan McFeeters, who graduated summa cum laude with a chemistry degree, said. “But I’m excited to start the next chapter.” McFeeters said he plans to return to school next year to become a physician’s assistant.

Commencement speaker Ravi Paul encouraged the graduates to live the lives of leaders and people who make a difference. He is a College of Business professor and a recipient of the UNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award.

“Let me encourage you to pursue excellence and serve others with undaunted vision as you go out from ECU,” Paul said. “When you do, you not only make a difference in someone’s life, but also inspire others to follow your example.”

Forty-two individuals received their doctoral degrees at this year’s event, a record for the university.

Benjamin Rockett of Wilmington earned his doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology.

Rockett said he pursued an advanced degree because he loves science. He one day hopes to establish his own company for conducting clinical trials.

“I think I am good at solving problems and I want to take my scientific skills to the business world and apply it to something that can possibly help someone,” he said.

The university also awarded an honorary doctorate to Dave McRae, the recently retired chief executive officer of Vidant Health, formerly University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina.

McRae was honored for “unwavering devotion to eastern North Carolina,” Chancellor Steve Ballard said. He led Pitt County Memorial Hospital from a 209-bed facility to a health system with 10 hospitals and centers that serve 1.4 million, Ballard said.

“It took me 37 years to get here,” McRae joked with the graduates, congratulating them on reaching their goals in a shorter period of time.

“I have been able to live my passion, my belief in health care, my belief in a better quality of life,” McRae said.

Contact Ginger Livingston at or 252-329-9570.

via The Daily Reflector.