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September 29, 2011 Volume 1, Issue 10


Caregivers Voice Emotions of Working with Victims of Violence at Schwartz Rounds

Joe, a 20-year-old man, is admitted to Boston Medical Center’s Emergency Department with a gunshot wound to the head. By the next morning, he is dead. His family, who are present at the hospital, are devastated.

How do his caregivers feel?

On a recent Tuesday morning they spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about the emotions they experienced surrounding the young man’s death.

“I learned that this man’s family lived eight houses away from me,” said the nurse who cared for Joe. “That was tough. I realized I may have seen them. But to do my job, I had to look past that and focus on the care.”

“You grieve with the patient and family when they first arrive,” said Suresh Agarwal, MD, Chief, Surgical Critical Care. “But sometimes grief gets in the way of providing the best care possible and you have to separate it and move forward.”

Schwartz Rounds panelists
Schwartz Rounds panelists

Members of the patient’s care team were panelists at the Schwartz Center Rounds, a forum where BMC caregivers from multiple hospital disciplines come together to discuss the emotional impact and challenges of patient care based on an actual case. The rounds, held in more than 200 facilities in 32 states, commemorate Kenneth Schwartz, a Massachusetts health-care lawyer diagnosed with lung cancer in 1994 who believed in nurturing the compassion in medicine.

Panelists included members of BMC’s Violence Intervention Advocacy Program (VIAP), which helps victims of violence recover from physical and emotional trauma, and Public Safety officers who worked on the case. Thea James, MD, Director, VIAP, and an emergency medicine attending physician, presented an overview of the program and shared her thoughts on caring for victims.

“I think about the difference between myself and the patient and its opportunity,” said James. “This man lost his life and it’s a lost opportunity for society to benefit from what he had to contribute.”

The rounds ended with questions and thoughts from the audience.

“I worry that we have become desensitized to the violence,” said an attendee. “I don’t know how we continue to care with compassion and ensure patients aren’t just another statistic. How do we do it?”

“I think the key is to humanize the victim,” responded James. “That’s what makes him not just another statistic.”

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Staff Pedal for Pediatrics in Rodman Ride

This weekend, 22 BMC staffers will pedal their bikes 25, 50 or 100 miles around Massachusetts to raise funds for the hospital’s pediatric programs through the Rodman Ride for Kids.

The Rodman Ride for Kids is an umbrella matching gift charity that raises funds for youth-focused social-service agencies that support at-risk children in the Commonwealth. All funds raised by the ride go directly to charities, including BMC. Rodman Ride provides a 10 percent match to the total raised.

This is BMC’s third year participating in the ride and each rider commits to raising $1,500, with an overall goal of raising $100,000 for BMC’s Child Witness to Violence program, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the Autism clinic and more.

Team BMC 

“I ride because I am proud to work here and want to support the great work we do,” says JoseAlberto Betances, MD, Assistant Division Chief of Primary Care, Pediatrics, and a three-time Rodman Ride participant. “My fundraising supports the Pediatric Team Kids Fund that we use to help our patients with basic needs, such as a crib or stroller for a homeless mother, as well as things like camp scholarships.”

Betances is captain of Team Kids, a subgroup of Team BMC. The group of 14 BMC staff and residents are riding to raise $15,000 for the Team Kids Fund.

Rodman Ride starts and ends in Foxboro, one mile south of Gillette Stadium. Cyclists loop through the flat, scenic back roads of Southeastern Massachusetts and enjoy a barbeque and raffle when they’re done.

“I ride for the SPARK Center, which is an amazing program that benefits many of Boston’s most vulnerable children,” says Trysha Ahern, Section Administrator, Pediatric Infectious Disease. “Due to serious cutbacks from all levels over the last few years, I am dedicated to raising much needed funds for this program.”

BMC staff participating in the 2011 Rodman Ride are:

  • Trysha Ahern
  • Tom Battin
  • JoseAlberto Betances
  • William DeBassio
  • Laurie Douglass
  • Errol Fields
  • Ruane Fisher
  • Crista Graves
  • Marissa Hauptman
  • Jonathan Hausmann
  • Hank Kells
  • Alan Meyers
  • Timothy Murphy
  • Andrey Ostrovsky
  • Dana Rubin
  • Jodi Santosuosso
  • Robert Sege
  • Natalie Stavas
  • Norman Stein
  • Selin Tuysuzoglu Sagalowsky
  • Bob Vinci
  • Monica Wojcik

Learn more about Rodman Ride and support a BMC cyclist.

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Study Finds Aggressive Glycemic Control in Diabetic CABG Patients Does Not Improve Survival

BMC surgeons have found that in diabetic patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, aggressive glycemic control does not result in any significant improvement of clinical outcomes as compared with moderate control. The findings, which appear in this month’s issue of Annals of Surgery, also found the incidence of hypoglycemic events increased with aggressive glycemic control.

Harold Lazar, MD
Harold Lazar, MD

Currently 40 percent of all patients undergoing CABG suffer from diabetes, and this number is quickly rising. Traditionally these patients have more complications following surgery, including greater risk of heart attacks, more wound infections and reduced long-term survival.

Eighty-two diabetic patients undergoing CABG were prospectively randomized to receive either aggressive glycemic control or moderate glycemic control using continuous intravenous insulin solutions beginning at anesthesia and continuing for 18 hours after surgery.

BMC Cardiothoracic Surgeon Harold Lazar, MD, author of the presentation, says there was no difference in the incidence of major adverse effects between the two groups.

“Aggressive glycemic control did not result in any significant improvement of clinical outcomes than can be achieved with moderate control,” says Lazar. “Although aggressive glycemic control did increase the incidence of hypoglycemic events, it did not result in an increased incidence of neurological events.”

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What Do You Do, Jean Figaro?

Name: Jean Figaro
Title: Research Assistant/Asthma Educator
Department: Pediatrics
Years at BMC: 2

Jean Figaro
Jean Figaro

What brought you to BMC?
Three years ago, I was working at Boston University School of Medicine on the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine through grant funding. When the grant ended, I joined BMC’s asthma program. I knew I wanted to work for BMC because of the organization’s dedication to helping people improve their lives.

What do you do here?
As an asthma educator, I work with young asthma patients and their families as part of a BMC pilot program funded by a federal grant. I meet with families in their homes to educate them about asthma treatment and prevention. The pilot consists of five home visits; on the first visit I speak with parents about the basics of asthma – what it is, how it affects the lungs, etc. On the second visit I walk through their homes looking for “triggers” – factors that can contribute to their child’s asthma, such as tobacco smoke, pets, cleaning products like bleach and pests. On the third visit I provide them with vacuums and natural cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda. On subsequent visits, I review their child’s medications with them, showing parents how to administer them and for how long. Often our patients’ families don’t speak English and it’s a matter of explaining how to give the drug in their native language.

Do you see the results of your work?
Yes. We have 75 patients enrolled in the program and many of them were in the Emergency Department once a week with some staying overnight. Now we have patients who may go three to six months without any asthma symptoms. It’s amazing.

What do you like about your job?
The change I can affect in many lives. By giving parents tools and information, we empower them to make healthy changes in their home environment and they in turn can help treat their children. It’s testimony to what we are able to achieve.

Do you know a staff member who should be profiled? Send your suggestions to communications@bmc.org.

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In Their Words

Patients share their BMC experience

I want to take a few minutes of your time to tell you about an exceptional patient care experience my wife and I had with the birth of our baby.

Letter writing 

My wife decided to have our baby at BMC not only because it was convenient (both my wife and I work here) but also because of the countless times we have witnessed first-hand exceptional care without exception. Our physicians treated us with kindness and respect and took the time to explain to us what was happening and the nurses in Labor and Delivery and the Mother/Baby Unit were nothing short of exceptional!

Last Friday my wife delivered a happy and healthy baby boy, and we cannot thank the staff of Boston Medical Center enough for all that they did for us - and for all that they do every day for patients in need of care.

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News of Note

Jarod Mayo

Bowling for BMC
Patriots linebacker Jarod Mayo traded in the football for a bowling ball Sept. 19 when he hosted the second annual Mayo Bowl at King’s Dedham to benefit BMC. The event attracted 20 Patriots players, including receiver Chad Ochocinco, defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, and kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The Mayo Bowl raised $32,000 for BMC.

BMC receives Radiology ultrasound accreditation
BMC’s Radiology ultrasound service has received accreditation renewal from the American College of Radiology (ACR). ACR awards three-year accreditation to institutions that meet its requirements for equipment, clinical and phantom image quality, radiation doses, continuing education and personnel. BMC’s receipt of the accreditation demonstrates its commitment to delivering high-quality imaging services.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Saltalamacchia lends name to coffee for BMC
Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has teamed up with Boston Common Coffee Company to create a new coffee drink: The Saltalamocchia or “The Salty” for short. The drink, which is made with espresso, dark chocolate and sea salt ganache, caramel, and steamed milk, is available indefinitely on Boston Common Coffee Company’s menu, and 50 percent of the sale proceeds benefit BMC’s Grow Clinic for Children. Boston Common Coffee Company has three locations in Boston: 515 Washington St. in Downtown Crossing, 10 High St. in the Financial District and 97 Salem St. in the North End.

Saltalamacchia visited the Downtown Crossing location Sept. 21. to kick-off sales of the drink and meet and greet fans.
View the photo gallery.

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Awards and Accolades

The Boston Medical Center (BMC) HealthNet Plan, the largest Medicaid health plan in Massachusetts, earned the No. 3 ranking among Medicaid plans in the nation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) in its Medicaid Health Insurance Plan Rankings, 2011–2012.

The ranking is based on its score in quality performance reviews conducted by NCQA. BMC HealthNet Plan also earned an Excellent Accreditation, NCQA’s highest possible accreditation status, for its Medicaid (MassHealth) plan, a distinction it has achieved continuously since 2008.

“We are extremely pleased with the consistently high results of this independent review of our health care quality performance,” says Tom Traylor, Vice President of BMC HealthNet Plan. “Earning this high rank is the result of an extraordinary and ongoing collaboration on the part of our health care providers and our health plan staff in support of our members who received the medical visits, tests, immunizations, lab work and other services they need in order to become or remain as healthy as possible.”

BMC HealthNet Plan currently serves 194,000 Medicaid members through 58 hospitals and 15,000 healthcare providers across Massachusetts. BMC HealthNet Plan counts 238,000 members overall including 45,000 members in Commonwealth Care, a subsidized state insurance program.

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