June 1, 1999:

•Pikeville Medical Center publishes first edition of the Medical Leader as monthly 10-page, tabloid-sized newspaper covering hospital and community news. Staff work out of Pikeville Medical Center to write, edit and publish the paper.



Medical Leader begins publishing bi-weekly.



Medical Leader earns first place award for publications in the Kentucky Society for Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing.

Medical Leader begins publishing weekly, adding more community news from Pike County and expanding into a broadsheet newspaper form.



Medical Leader wins two editorial awards from the Kentucky Press Association.



Medical Leader expands into Floyd County.

Medical Leader wins six editorial awards from the Kentucky Press Association.



Medical Leader staff move offices from the hospital to Shelby Valley.

•Medical Leader expands into Letcher County.

Medical Leader begins offering full color on every page and begins publishing a sports page.

Medical Leader wins one editorial and nine advertising awards from the Kentucky Press Association.



Medical Leader moves to the former Walter P. Walters building, located at 116 Main Street, Pikeville, between the U.S. District Courthouse and the East Kentucky Exposition Center.

Medical Leader significantly expands its coverage of local sports and community news.

Medical Leader wins eight advertising awards from the Kentucky Press Association.



Medical Leader expands it coverage area to Mingo County in southern West Virginia.

Medical Leader launches its own website, http://medicalleader.org.

Medical Leader wins 14 editorial and 15 advertising awards from the Kentucky Press Association. It also wins first place in General Excellence for advertising.



Medical Leader wins 10 editorial and 29 awards from the Kentucky Press Association. It also earns second place for General Excellence in advertising.



Medical Leader launches its Facebook page and Twitter account.

Medical Leader wins 12 editorial and 21 advertising awards from the Kentucky Press Association. It also wins second place in General Excellence for advertising.



Medical Leader wins 14 editorial and 26 advertising awards from the Kentucky Press Association. It also earns third place in General Excellence for editorial and second place in General Excellence for advertising.



Medical Leader wins 16 editorial and 38 advertising awards from the Kentucky Press Association. It also earns third place in general excellence for editorial and first place in General excellence for advertising.



Medical Leader establishes its “Homepage,” a weekly page set aside specifically to highlight opinions, business news, health news and school news.

•Medical Leader wins 25 editorial and 40 advertising awards from the Kentucky Press Association. It also earns second place in general excellence for both editorial and advertising.



Medical Leader launches its new compact-size paper, which is easier to hold and read.

Friday, April 6, 2018

PIKEVILLE — Pikeville Medical Center (PMC), announces that the Medical Leader, a weekly newspaper published by the hospital, will cease operations on April 6, 2018. 

Established in 1999, the Medical Leader has evolved from its original 10-page tabloid into a vibrant and effective award-winning paper, providing readers with positive hospital and community news.

“The Medical Leader and its staff have been a voice for the region for quite some time,” said PMC CEO Donovan Blackburn.  “But PMC is at an important turning point in our marketing strategy, and with our brand as a whole.  We are evaluating every expense, including marketing, to make sure we are being effective and strategic with our message.”  

A new website expected to launch in early April is just one of the many pieces of PMC’s digital presence that is being given new life.  “Every aspect of your experience should leave you with an excellent impression of the world-class care that’s provided, and that includes your visit to our website.”   

With placing more emphasis on digital and social media PMC hopes to better connect with patients, their families and the region.

“Shifting our focus will allow us to continue to build a trusted relationship on a digital platform where it’s easier to connect directly with those we help and the region we serve,” said Blackburn.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Coman Gibson, 74, of Letcher County, was admitted to Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) on Feb. 6, after being referred for a foot issue.

“He got to where he couldn’t walk,” said Gibson’s son, Coman Ray Gibson. “We took him to several places, but nowhere could figure it out, so they recommended PMC. We brought him here and found that he had a blocked artery in his leg.”

Before the PMC heart team could proceed with treatment on Coman’s leg issue, they wanted to ensure his heart was strong enough.

“When they checked his heart, they found it was in bad shape,” added Coman Ray. “He had an infection on his heart valve, so they began to focus on his heart. They performed open heart surgery, did a bypass, and once they figured out his heart, his leg had gotten worse. They had to amputate his leg from above his knee.”

During Coman’s stay, he was a patient in many PMC departments including our Heart Institute, intensive care unit, an inpatient unit and our Inpatient Rehabilitation (IPR) hospital.

When asked how the PMC staff treated Coman and his family, Coman Ray replied, “We can’t go wrong bragging on any of them.”

Both, Coman and Coman Ray, stated PMC saved Coman’s life.

“They don’t know if the heart caused the infection or the leg, but if they hadn’t done the operation, he would have died,” said Coman Ray.

“They saved my life,” Coman added.

There was one unit in particular that Coman wanted to praise.

“They (IPR) bend over backwards to help me,” he said. “If you need anything, they’re right there for you. My stay here (IPR hospital) has been great and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else; everything is good around this place.”

During Coman’s IPR stay, PMC Occupational Therapist Rachelle Glass cared for him and commented on his condition when he was admitted to the unit in late February.

“On Coman’s first day in IPR, he had to be totally assisted with all functional skills including dressing, bathing and feeding himself due to weakness, bilateral hand incoordination, decreased arm strength and poor trunk control,” she said. “He was unable to sit on the edge of the mat in the gym without falling to the side or falling backwards. In bed, he could not roll side-to-side and was on sternal precautions due to a heart procedure that prevented him from pulling on the side rails of the bed to assist with turning or pushing himself on the wheelchair armrests to stand.”

But as time progressed, so did Coman’s health.

“After two and a half weeks of occupational and physical therapy, three hours a day, Coman headed home with his family,” Glass added. “He is dressing, bathing and feeding himself again. In a few short months, he’ll return for prosthetic training and, both, his occupational and physical therapists have no doubt he will succeed with walking once he gets his prosthesis and is off sternal precautions.” 

The Gibson’s wanted to say thank you to Glass.

“She pushes me,” said Coman. “She gets all she can and more out of me. There’s nothing to say about her, but good and she’s a wonderful woman.”

Glass states that Coman’s attitude was a big contribution to his amazing progress.

“Coman is one of the hardest working, self-driven individuals we have had the pleasure to work with,” she said. “IPR gives people their life back!”

Coman also wanted to add that his wife of 54 years, Mary, has helped him through this medical scare.

“When I first saw her, I said I was going to marry her and I did,” he said. “She has helped me, and I wouldn’t be here without her.”

Coman stated his family was an inspiration to his improvement.

“My goal is to get better and take my family to Walt Disney World,” said Coman. “If you want to get better, you have to be determined to get well and do your part too.”

In conclusion, Coman repeatedly stated, “If you want to get well, this (PMC) is the place to come.”

Coman and Mary have two children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

For more information on the rehabilitation services at PMC, call 606-218-3500.

Author Name: 
Melinda Goodson
Friday, April 6, 2018

Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) proudly announces the addition of Madhava T. Pally, M.D., General Cardiologist.

Dr. Pally received his Bachelor of Medicine degree from Gandhi Medical College in Hyderbad, India.  

He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, the Board of Cardiovascular Disease, the Board of Nuclear Cardiology, the Board of Critical Care Medicine and the National Board of Echocardiography.

He has served as Chief of Medical Staff at Lehigh Regional Medical Center in Lehigh Acres, FL and East Pasco Medical Center in Zephyrhills, FL and he was the Chief of Medicine at East Pasco Medical Center.

Dr. Pally specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

“I have always been fascinated with the heart,” said Dr. Pally. “I have always wanted to work with hearts, which is my passion.”

He says he will model his practice after his mentor, Dr. Hill, who made a life-long impression on Dr. Pally. 

“He was great. He taught me a great deal about medicine but I also learned how to interact with patients and develop my bedside manner,” said Dr. Pally. 

Dr. Pally says his patients can expect an office environment that will be welcoming and comfortable from the time they step in until they leave.

“I want my patients to be comfortable and free to express their concerns,” said Dr. Pally.

He said part of his move to Pikeville was a desire to live in a small town.  He lived in Florida for several years and says he is happy to move to an area with cooler temperatures.

Dr. Pally said, “Pikeville is very welcoming. The hospital is well-organized, I like the administration and the doctors are very cordial.”

He says he enjoys spending his free time reading, fishing and traveling.

Dr. Pally joins General Cardiologists, Pramesh Dhakal, M.D. and Rodney Handshoe, M.D.; Interventional Cardiologist Muhammad Ahmad, M.D.; Electrophysiologists Michael Antimisiaris, M.D. and Chase Reynolds, M.D. in the PMC Heart and Vascular Institute. He will be practicing in the Pikeville Medical Center Specialty Clinic in Grundy, VA. 

To schedule an appointment call 276-935-1640 or visit www.pikevillehospital.org.

Author Name: 
Carol Casebolt
Friday, April 6, 2018

I remember the first day I arrived here at the Medical Leader on Nov. 26, 2007.

Then Public Relations Director Keith Bridges and longtime-friend and co-worker Josh Ball took me around and introduced me to other members of the staff.

Much has happened since those early days when the newspaper was seeking a new direction. I’m proud to say I’ve been a major factor in its development.

An old-school reporter taking on a challenge of bringing “good news” to then the people of Pike County. Later reaching out to Floyd, Letcher and Mingo. It grew into even more.

The internet is changing the face of how we receive our news. Sadly, it’s becoming the downfall of print media.

For a guy who has been involved in newspaper for 43 years I haven’t let change — change me.

I love and care for the student athletes and the people of our region. I’ve made so many friends over the past 11 years doing it the only way I know how — giving my heart and soul to each edition.

From the very first game I covered in August of 1975 as a reporter in Logan, W.Va., to this past weekend’s softball game between Shelby Valley and Pikeville on the new turf at Myers Fields, it’s been a beautiful ride.

Is it over? I hope and pray it’s not.

But one thing is certain — this chapter closes the book on the Medical Leader. Today’s edition is our last.

The staff could have just packed it in and said let’s just fill it with stories from the past. But we didn’t. We made this edition like all the others. We gave you one more week of “good news.”

See old sports guys like me are like coaches — the love for what we do runs much deeper than what you see on the outside. It burns inside; It drives you; It’s a part of you that it hard to leave behind; It possesses you; It controls you; It places such a big burden on your family.

My wife, Lisa, has been my biggest fan and supporter. She has sacrificed so much to allow me to continue my life-long dream. Together, we have given up more than anyone will ever know. She is my rock.

I want to thank you the coaches, fans, players, families and people from all across the region for allowing me to share your stories.

I want to wish the best to my co-workers — Abigail Gibson, Ellen Blackburn, Stacey Walters, April Coleman and Jordan Compton. Your dedication was first class. Ellen and I have both been on a long path together, going back to our days in Williamson, W.Va.

To the extended family in public relations — Carol Casebolt, Amanda Jo Lawson, Melinda Goodson, Kathy Atkins, Amy Charles and Katie Ray — carry the torch high.

The list goes on with Mike Patrick, Amy Dean, Tiffany Grimm and Patty Thompson. Thank you for your support.

I couldn’t end without thanking God. He blessed me with a talent a long time ago and I took it and ran with it.

Yes, today — I exit stage left!



Author Name: 
Teddy Paynter
Friday, April 6, 2018

This is the last time I will write for the Medical Leader.

Yes, these are my final words as a staff writer.

For the past year and a half, I have had the pleasure of writing good community news stories and relaying those to you, our readers. My time with the Medical Leader has given me great memories, friendships and strong connections within the community.

First, to my team — Ellen Blackburn, Teddy Paynter, April Clevenger, Jordan Compton and Stacey Walters.  Thank you for allowing me to become part of your family and letting me grow on a professional  level. It has been a pleasure to work alongside such strong and independent journalists and sales representatives such as yourselves, and I cannot thank you enough for everything you have given me. I want to wish you all the best.

To my mentor, my coach and my friend, Teddy. Thank you for guiding me, helping me blossom and teaching me your ways. It was refreshing to meet such an inspired writer and photographer, and it was really the relationship that we have built that has made a career like this exciting. We became the closest friends and that is something I will always appreciate. Your talent level is unmatched.

Last, but certainly not the least, to you our readers. It’s people like you that motivated me to be the best I could be at getting your stories out there.

While this may be the end of The Medical Leader, I am glad I inspired people to pick up a newspaper or check out the website.

A special thanks to all those who called, text and emailed me during my time here. I am humbled and thankful.

Author Name: 
Abigail Gibson
Friday, April 6, 2018

Medicare is mailing new Medicare cards starting now.

Here are 10 things to know about your new Medicare card:

Mailing takes time: Your card may arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s.

Destroy your old Medicare card: Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away.

Guard your card: Only give your new Medicare number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.

Your Medicare Number is unique: Your card has a new number instead of your Social Security number. This new number is unique to you.

Your new card is paper: Paper cards are easier for many providers to use and copy, and they save taxpayers a lot of money. Plus, you can print your own replacement card if you need one.

Keep your new card with you: Carry your new card and show it to your health care providers when you need care.

Your doctor knows it’s coming: Doctors, other health care facilities and providers will ask for your new Medicare card when you need care.

You can find your number: If you forget your new card, your doctor or other health care provider may be able to look up your Medicare number online.

Keep your Medicare Advantage Card: If you’re in a Medicare Advancement Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare – you should still keep use it whenever you need care. However, you also may be asked to show your new Medicare card, so you should carry this card too.

Help is available: If you don’t get your new Medicare card by April 2019, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.

Friday, April 6, 2018


Brantley Cooper Tackett, son of Kayla and James Tackett, born March 29; weight: 8 lbs., 5 oz.


Dallas Dean May, son of Rebecca Scott and Jerry May, born March 28; weight: 6 lbs., 10 oz.


Kainon James Sincell, son of Paige Dotson and James Sincell, born March 28; weight: 7 lbs., 14 oz.


Cash Montgomery McKinney, son of Kayla and Joshua McKinney, born March 28; weight: 7 lbs., 1 oz.


Noah Asher Huff, son of Makenzie Tackett, born March 28; weight: 5 lbs., 15 oz.


Dawson Maverick Mullins, son of Madelyn Hamilton and Gage Michael Mullins, born March 28; weight: 6 lbs., 9 oz.


Amelia Rose York, daughter of Amanda and Ben York, born March 27; weight: 8 lbs., 10 oz.


Hayden Boone Sammons, son of Andrea and Brian Sammons, born March 27; weight: 7 lbs., 5.7 oz.


Adalie Cate Adkins, daughter of Amber and Colby Adkins, born March 27; weight: 6 lbs., 7.3 oz.


Coen Wilson Smith, son of Stephanie and Adam Smith, born March 27; weight: 8 lbs., 9.1 oz.


Easton Douglas Greene, son of Desiree and Kyle Greene, born March 26; weight: 7 lbs., 12 oz.


Harper Rae Maynard, daughter of Alisha and Raymond Maynard, born March 25; weight: 8 lbs., 7 oz.


Ian Michael Caudill, son of Tiffany and Michael Caudill, born March 25; weight: 8 lbs., 7 oz.


Barrett Kade Justice, son of Kristaa and Barry Justice, born March 24; weight: 8 lbs., 7 oz.


Lincoln Jett Collins, son of Kristin and Gage Collins, born March 24; weight: 6 lbs., 1 oz.


Benjamin Zade Saylor, son of Bethanie and Daniel Saylor, born March 23; weight: 4 lbs., 1 oz.


Elydia Darlene Bland, daughter of Kaitlyn Asbury and John Bland IV, born March 23; weight: 7 lbs., 8 oz.


Oakley Jordyn Coleman, daughter of Destiny Smith and Ricky Coleman, born March 23; weight: 8 lbs., 2 oz.


Kyndall Grae Stalker, daughter of Lauren Newsome and Michael Stalker, born March 22; weight: 7 lbs., 1 oz.


Kooper Dalton Hurley, son of Brittany Stacy and Dalton Hurley, born March 22; weight: 6 lbs., 6 oz.


Lucas Blake Mills, son of Melissa and Michael Mills, born March 22; weight: 7 lbs., 8 oz.


Jasmine Fay Ann Miller, daughter of Leanna Blackburn and Malachi Miller, born March 22; weight: 6 lbs., 13 oz.


Brynlee Addison Fields, daughter of Shaina Hamilton and Kevin Fields, born March 20; weight: 6 lbs., 4 oz.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Opal Smith Layne, 89, of Pikeville, passed away April 2. Funeral, April 5. Burial, Smith and Layne Cemetery.


Judy C. James, 68, of Borderland, passed away April 2. Funeral, April 5, Canada Freewill Baptist Church, Canada. Burial, Mountain View Memory Gardens, Maher, W.Va.


Verna Johnson, 84, of Virgie, passed away March 28. Graveside services, March 31, United Memorial Garden, Dalton, Ga.


Patricia Ann Johnson, 71, of Virgie, passed away March 27. Funeral, March 31, Speight Church of Christ. Burial, Amil Little Memorial Cemetery, Long Fork.


Roger Lee Shepherd, 72, of Printer, passed away April 2. Funeral, April 5. Burial, Shepherd Family Cemetery, Printer.


Anna Colleen Reffett, 77, of Hippo, passed away April 1. Funeral, April 4. Burial, East Gate Memorial Gardens, Eastern.


Samuel Howard Keathley, 86, of Allen, passed away March 29. Funeral, April 4. Burial, Harris Family Cemetery, Allen.


Lois Eugene “Gene” Frasure, 87, of Langley, passed away March 29. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran, having served during the Korean War. Funeral, April 2. Burial, Leonard Allen Cemetery, Langley.


Berchie Spurlock Case, 95, of Martin, passed away March 27. Funeral, March 31. Burial, Spurlock Family Cemetery, Printer.


Vaughn Watson, 70, of Dana, passed away March 27. Funeral, March 30, Little Salem Old Regular Baptist Church, Dana. Burial, family cemetery, Betsy Layne.


Nancy Reynolds Mayo, 62, of Martin, passed away March 26. Funeral, March 29. Burial, Mayo Cemetery, Martin.

Danny Zack Adkins, 53, of Shelbiana, passed away April 2. Funeral, April 4. Burial, Dan Adkins Cemetery, Fords Branch.


John Earl Miller, 50, of Prestonsburg, passed away April 1. Funeral, March 4.


Wendy Nicole Mullins, 24, of Pikeville, passed away March 30. Funeral, April 3. Burial, family cemetery.


Doris Carlene Allen, 87, of Phyllis, passed away March 28. Funeral, March 31. Burial, Annie E. Young Cemetery, Shelbiana.


Shird “Tick” Robinson, 86, of Elkhorn City, passed away March 27. Funeral, March 30. Burial, Rissie Branham Cemetery.


Mildred Thornsbury, 74, of Pikeville, passed away March 27. Funeral, March 31. Burial, Potter Cemetery.

Charlie “Bobo” Scott, 70, of Pikeville, passed away March 28. Funeral, March 30. Interment, Mountain Valley Memorial Park, Big Rock, Va.

Joette Pauley, 82, of Ypsilanti, Mich., passed away March 26. Funeral, March 30, Bowling Fork Freewill Baptist Church. Burial, Bowling Fork Cemetery.

Jerry Lee Campanella, 71, of Freeburn, passed away March 25. He was a U.S. Army veteran, having served during the Vietnam War. Funeral, March 30, Gooslin Bottom Pentecostal Church. Burial, Daniels Cemetery, Lynn, W.Va.

Betty Jane Holbrook, 75, of Bevinsville, passed away April 1. Funeral, April 5, Rebecca Old Regular Baptist Church, Kite. Burial, Holbrook Cemetery, Kite.


Janet Sue Burke, 65, of Bevinsville, passed away March 31. Funeral, April 4, Little Rock Old Regular Baptist Church, Bevinsville. Burial, Burke Family Cemetery, Bevinsville.


Cathy Lynn Younce, 50, of Melvin, passed away March 31. Funeral, April 4, Joppa Old Regular Baptist Church, Melvin. Burial, James Hall Cemetery, Melvin.


Paul Wayne Goble, 66, of Prestonsburg, passed away March 29. Funeral, April 2. Burial, Gethsemane Gardens, Prestonsburg.

Betty Jean Mullins, 86, of Wheelwright, passed away March 28. Funeral, April 2, Wheelwright Freewill Baptist Church, Bypro. Burial, Buckingham Cemetery, Bevinsville.


Timmy Evans, 49, of Grethel, passed away March 28. Funeral, April 1. Burial, Evans Family Cemetery, Grethel.


Joyce Ann Bryant Adkins, 75, Hi Hat, passed away on March 28. Funeral, March 31, Little Nancy Old Regular Baptist Church, Price. Burial, Newman Cemetery, Hi Hat.


Janice Lynn Bowling, 58, of Elkhorn City, passed away March 28. Funeral, March 31. Burial, Bowling Cemetery, Elkhorn City.


Marie Hall, 96, of Harold, passed away March 27. Funeral, March 30. Burial, Bruce and Rose Hall Cemetery, Harold.


Roger Hiram “Mutt” Hall, 78, of Wheelwright, passed away March 27. Funeral, March 30, Wheelwright Freewill Baptist Church, Bypro. Burial, Buckingham Cemetery, Bevinsville.


David Henderdson, 53, of Melvin, passed away March 26. Funeral, March 30, Joppa Old Regular Baptist Church, Melvin. Burial, Johnson Family Cemetery, Melvin.


Sammy Slusher, 68, of Nancy, passed away March 24. Funeral, March 30. Burial, Martin Cemetery, Martin.

Peggy Chapman, 84, of Canada, formerly of McVeigh, passed away March 29. Funeral, April 3, Belfry Freewill Baptist Church.

Friday, April 6, 2018

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (Ecc 3:1)

My involvement with this column began more than 700 weeks ago.  Since then, it has grown to be over 3,500 column inches in length (about the length of a football field).  The Chaplain’s Corner has been a place where we could reminisce of days gone by and lessons learned.

It was a place where we could share our great epiphanies and hope it would strike a chord within you.

Your Pikeville Medical Center chaplains have found God’s presence in what others would describe as mundane, in a garden; under a truck; mowing the lawn; writing a letter; working in the fields or countless other everyday places and situations.

We have considered some of life’s great “rites of passage” such as getting your driver’s license, graduation, marriage…birth, death and everything in-between. Story telling can be a risky business, particularly when the stories are personal.

We have risked telling those stories to inspire and move us to a deeper more thoughtful relationship with God. We have enjoyed exploring our faith and hope you found joy in the reading. We will miss this chance to explore our faith with you.

I must thank Teddy Paynter for his help over the years. The Medical Leader staff has made concessions, included photographs and stretched the limits more than a few times.

For everything, there is a beginning and there is an end…and we are at the end for this column. 

Thanks for the journey. May you continue to explore the divine in your everyday world and then share it with others. God bless and keep you both now and forever.


PMC Chaplain Randy Johnson may be reached at 606-218-3915 or via e-mail at randy.johnson@pikevillehospital.org.

Friday, April 6, 2018