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May 14, 2013 Volume 2, Issue 9

BMC Strong: A Program of Hope and Healing

In the weeks following the Boston Marathon tragedy, BMC staff have begun to heal and move forward in their own ways. On May 1, the community came together to heal as one and celebrate its collective strength at “BMC Strong: A Program of Hope and Healing.” As staff filtered into Bakst Auditorium for the event, they were given Boston Strong bracelets as their own words of strength lit up the room on the presentation screen.

BMC Strong

BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh was the first to speak, and shared how country music star Kenny Chesney is donating proceeds from his new reggae-style single, “Spread the Love” to a fund for Marathon patients established at BMC. Walsh acknowledged the long road ahead not only for the victims, but also for the BMC community as well.

“No one could ever say that there was a silver lining to this terrible event. But I do know it has brought us closer together as a hospital community,” said Walsh. “We are justifiably proud of how we came together that day and in the days that followed. We never lost our focus and we never did less than give our all for our patients and their families. In every corner of this hospital, no job was too big or too small.”

Chaplain Sam Lowe then gave a blessing with the reading of a poem adapted from the late Irish Catholic philosopher John O’Donohue that focused on physical, mental and spiritual well-being and initiated a moment of silence to reflect upon self-healing.

Randi Cutler, a member of the BMC Board of Trustees, followed.

“You should know that your entire board stands in awe of you,” Cutler said. “We are truly honored to be able to support your work, your goals and your hospital. Thank you very much.”

The final program speaker was JP Craven, a 25-year-old patient who was treated at BMC for injuries sustained from the blast at the finish line, where he was waiting to congratulate his father who was a runner. Craven was treated for five days at BMC, and expressed his gratitude for the care he received here.

“Throughout the week, my medical care was exceptional,” he said. “To have so many people looking out for me and caring for me truly made me feel like I was going to make a full recovery and get better.”

Following the speaking portion of the program, the audience viewed the video, BMC Strong: BMC Responds to Boston Marathon Tragedy, produced by Erlyn Ordinario of Clinical Operations. In the video, staff reflected on their experiences caring for the victims and their families.

In an uplifting finish, the crowd joined the BUMC Band in song as it, performed “Amazing Grace” and “Sweet Caroline.” Band members included Rafael Ortega, MD, Anand Devaiah, MD, Jim Holsapple, MD, Andrew Simon, Dina Alexander and Caroline Apovian, MD.

For those staff who were unable to attend, a recording of BMC Strong: A Program of Hope and Healing and a link to BMC Responds to the Boston Marathon Tragedy are available for viewing on the homepage of the intranet.

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Inaugural Be Exceptional Awards Celebrate the Best of BMC

Colleagues, family and friends packed Bakst Auditorium May 8 to honor the 20 inaugural Be Exceptional Awards winners. The recipients who come from all corners of the hospital were chosen from more than 200 nominations by a committee of staff from around the hospital. The winners were selected for their exceptional performance, initiative and teamwork, and for embodying BMC’s RESPECT behavioral attributes.

Be Exceptional Award Winners
Be Exceptional Award winners

“The Be Exceptional Awards recognize the best of the best at BMC,” President and CEO Kate Walsh told the crowd. “The winners come from all over BMC, but they share a deep commitment to BMC and to our patients. And they share the tremendous admiration of their colleagues.”

Walsh called each winner up to the stage where she read excerpts from their peer nominations, presented each with a certificate and Be Exceptional pin, and congratulated them for the contributions they make to BMC every day.

“I am so proud of each of you,” said Walsh. “Thank you for everything you do. You are truly exceptional.”

The following BMC employees are the inaugural Be Exceptional Award winners:

Congratulations to all the Be Exceptional winners!

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A Celebration of Dedication, Excellence in Nursing

National Nurses Week, celebrated May 6-12, marked the 15th Annual Nursing in Excellence Awards at BMC. The ceremony held May 7 in Bakst Auditorium honored 13 nurses who were chosen for the passion, dedication and care they provide to patients and colleagues. With the tragic Boston Marathon events still fresh in people’s memories, Lisa O’Connor, RN, BSN, MS, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations, observed that the timeliness of the recognition event could not be more perfect.

Nursing Awards
BMC honors its nurses

“Recognition for the work that nurses do here has become very clear over the years,” said O’Connor. “The events that unfolded on April 15 showcased our nurses and reinforced in magnitudes the important work that they do here every day.”

The winners of Nursing Excellence awards included:

The Friends of Nursing award also was presented. The award, established in 2012, recognizes individuals or departments who contribute to the nursing community at BMC. Due to the remarkable response across all departments in response to the Boston Marathon tragedy, the award will go to every department who stood up to help that day and in the days that followed.

“Starting in the Emergency Department where the patients landed, we would like this award to roam around the hospital over the next year,” said Mary Jo Pedulla, RNC, BSN, MS, Director of Nursing, Maternal Child Health. “It will go to the SICU, it will go to Nutrition, it will go to Housekeeping. It will go to every department that stood to help our patients and their families.”

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BMC Gala Raises $2.4 million

The 17th annual BMC Gala, held May 4 at the Seaport World Trade Center, raised more than $2.4 million for the programs and services BMC provides to the Greater Boston community.

BMC Gala
BMC staff at the Gala

Heather Unruh of WCVB-TV/Channel 5 served as mistress of ceremonies for the event attended by 1,150 supporters of BMC. Respective CEOs Joe Almeida of Covidien, Andrew Dreyfus of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and David Long of Liberty Mutual co-chaired the event. Each company supported at the $100,000 level joining BMC Board of Trustees Chair Ted English of Bob’s Discount Furniture, BMC Philanthropic Trust Chair Randi Cutler and her husband Joel, Natixis Global Asset Management and Ocean State Job Lots. The evening included remarks from Mayor Thomas M. Menino, whose vision created BMC 17 years ago, and BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh.

BMC’s commitment to exceptional care, without exception was highlighted in a video featuring three patient stories. The Gala also paid tribute to all who were affected by the Marathon tragedy – the first responders, the medical personnel, non-medical personnel who were on duty that day and pitched in to help the injured and their families, and the victims themselves, 23 of whom were treated at BMC. The program included a video produced by WHDH-TV/Channel 7, BMC’s partner in the upcoming Health and Fitness Expo next month, that highlighted BMC’s role in caring for the victims of the Marathon bombings.

“We are grateful to our Gala sponsors who were very generous in donating their tables back to BMC so more than 150 members could attend this special event,” says Norman Stein, Vice President, Development. “The spirit throughout the evening was very uplifting for all.”

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Nursing Narrative

In celebration of National Nurses Week May 6-12, the BMC Brief is running the following narrative written by Nanette Elia on behalf of the entire Nursing staff of the 5West ICU about their patient, Bessie.

Someone once told me that our lives are like a tapestry being woven. If one looks on the underside, only short threads, knots that crisscross, and disorder abound. It is hard to discern what the full story of our life is intended to be. But eventually, as our lives are coming to a close, one can turn the tapestry to the top side and see how it all came together; often to form a beautiful, rich and vibrant story. Having known Bessie reminds me of the compelling tapestry. She was the embodiment of the life well lived. In her one could see the fullness of a person who touched so many along the way, and left an impression on all who knew her. Not the least of which were her caregivers.

Her time with us on 5West ICU began in late autumn 2012. Bessie was a long-term patient of Dr. Harrison Farber, and was followed for end-stage pulmonary hypertension. When admitted to our unit, she required continuous respiratory support. Dr. Farber had presented her case in Pittsburg with the hope that she would be accepted for a lung transplant. The plan was to transfer Bessie there directly from our unit if she was accepted. Bessie was divorced, in her 60s, a mother and a grandmother. She was a retired nurse and very active in her church. Perhaps the most lasting impression of Bessie I will hold on to is the picture of her sitting on the edge of her bed with a bright smile that would fill the room with warmth and friendliness. One of my co-workers described loving Bessie’s voice; it was like “Maya Angelou’s.” She was emphatic and open, talking about what faced her in the most realistic of terms. After one encounter, I was decidedly on team Bessie, and hoped with all my heart for her success.

Something so interesting evolved in the staff’s relationship with Bessie over the months she stayed with us. We aspired to be a support system and to encourage her, but somehow she took on that role with each of us as well. She knew each of the nurse’s names. One of my co-workers recalled how Bessie cared about what was going on in our lives, and would always inquire after us. Bessie knew the unit secretaries, respiratory therapists, dietary aides, chaplain staff, housekeeping staff and many others. It was if we became her hospital family. I was reminded of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story “The Resident Patient,” as the time ticked by and Bessie was forced to “reside” in our unit.

Then, after Christmas, word came from Pittsburg that Bessie would not be accepted for a lung transplant. We were devastated, along with Bessie. We surely would have understood the need to grieve loudly and long over the news, but with Bessie there was none of that. She handled this disappointment with typical class and aplomb. The aftermath was that Bessie decided that she wanted to go home with hospice care. One of my co-workers went through the pain-staking process of making this happen and arranged for the entire appropriate home services needed for a smooth transition. It was with a mixture of bitter sweet happiness that we all gathered around Bessie on the ambulance litter to say our good-byes knowing this might be a final farewell. I will always be grateful for the time she had at home, as it meant so much to her to be able to get there, albeit for so brief a time.

By the end of February 2013, Bessie returned with worsening symptoms of her disease. Over the next month, after an initial rally, she seemed to worsen slightly each day. In spite of aggressive treatment, it seemed as if Bessie getting home again was unlikely. End-of-life discussions with Bessie and her family began. Eventually, Bessie decided on a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) status for herself. Her expressed wish was to be comfortable and not suffer. Several of my co-workers who consistently cared for her during this time assured her that they would never allow her to suffer. These primary nurses on both day and night shifts took that promise to heart. Indeed, I feel that Bessie’s ability to accept that she was dying and to make herself a DNR occurred because of the trust she had in her primary nurses. They helped get Bessie to the point of trusting them with her last wishes for her life.

Toward her final days, Bessie’s room was alive with the sounds of family and friends who visited daily to help buoy her spirits and lend support. The nurses assessed Bessie’s comfort frequently, and advocated for her to the medical staff. All came together for the sake of the death with dignity Bessie so deserved. Her end came on a Friday evening. She had fallen into a coma that afternoon. Her end was peaceful and without distress, with one off-duty nurse coming in especially to say good-bye. Bessie’s end, I believe, was in accordance with her wishes. It was made possible thanks to a wonderful and committed nursing staff, medical team and many support services.

Watching Bessie transition through hopefulness to disappointment, from having a possible chance at life, to loss of that dream; and finally to have to face death while her health deteriorated daily taught me about courage and strength of will. I can only hope that when it is my turn to go into “that long good night,” that I show one tenth the grace she possessed.

I was remembering a poem when Bessie died:

Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf is a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay
Robert Frost

Rest in peace, dear Bessie. I will always remember you.

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What’s for Dinner? Summer Quinoa and Basil Salad

Summer is just around the corner, so why not try this delicious and healthy option as a side dish for your next backyard barbeque? Check out this this delicious recipe from BMC Demonstration Kitchen Chef Tracey Burg and Christine Farrell-Riley, MD.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) looks like rice, but is actually more closely related to spinach. And like spinach, it packs a serious nutritious punch. With a mix of other nuts and veggies and a light and flavorful dressing that serves six people, this is sure to become a staple in your summer cookbook!

Summer Quinoa and Basil Salad

Summer Quinoa and Basil Salad


For Salad

For Dressing:


  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add quinoa, simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, or until water is fully absorbed. Set aside to cool.
  2. To toast pine nuts, quickly heat over high heat in a dry pan until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes, and set aside for garnish.
  3. Whisk together all dressing ingredients except olive oil. When combined, slowly whisk in the olive oil a little at a time until mixed.
  4. Toss all ingredients with the dressing and garnish with pine nuts.

Nutritional Information:

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What do you do, Milton Cox?

Name: Milton Cox
Title: Dietary Aide
Department: Nutrition and Food Services
Years at BMC: 40

Milton Cox
Milton Cox

What brought you to BMC?
My girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife, moved to Boston from Alabama when she finished school. Her brother was living in Boston and working at Boston City Hospital, where he said there were job openings in the kitchen. I moved to Boston, applied, got the job and started working in Nutrition and Food Services in 1973. I’ve been here ever since.

What do you do here?
I work in sanitation in the dish room, cleaning pots and pans from the kitchen and making sure the floors and bathrooms are clean and stocked with supplies. When the cooks prepare too much food, we help store it in the refrigerators and when more is needed, we stock the cafeteria. We all work together and help each other in the kitchen.

You were recently honored with a Be Exceptional Award. Congratulations! What does that mean to you?
It means hard work pays off. It’s nice to be recognized for going the extra mile. I’ve worked different hours in different buildings in different positions, from serving food in the cafeteria to sanitation and I have always tried to do my best. The leadership in my department has always set a good example, so that makes us work harder and respect each other.

This week marks your 40th year at BMC! What advice can you give to your peers and colleagues?
Good communication is everything. You need to be able to talk to your co-workers and management, so when someone needs help it is given. We used to have weekly meetings, but now we meet daily to talk about what we can do better and what needs to be done in preparation for the next day.

What do you like to do when you’re not working in the kitchen at BMC?
I love to go fishing. Fresh water or salt water; it doesn’t matter. I travel to Cape Cod and Rhode Island to fish. When I’m not doing that, I do work around the house, tinkering with things and fixing them.

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

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News of Note

Triplets Celebrate First Birthday

NICU Celebrates First Birthday of Triplets
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) hosted a birthday party for 1-year-old triplets Patrick, Patricia and Perpetua Ojo on May 9. Their parents, Christopher and Joyce Ojo, had traveled from Nigeria to Boston for a wedding last year when Joyce went into labor at 25 weeks gestation. After spending two and half weeks at BMC, she delivered the babies, each of whom weighed between 1-2 pounds. The skilled Level III NICU staff cared for the Ojos for 98 days until they were discharged at a healthy 5-6 pounds each. Back in Boston for a routine procedure for son Patrick, the Ojos reunited with the Labor and Delivery and NICU staff to celebrate the triplets’ first birthday.

Mary Chapin, RN, MS, Named Senior Director of FPF Administration
Mary Chapin, RN, MS, has been named Senior Director of Faculty Practice Foundation (FPF) Administration. Chapin has been with the FPF for more than four years, where she has held leadership roles in governance development, as well as initiatives such as meaningful use, FPF provider enrollment and the eMerge project.

James Moses, MD, Named Medical Director for Quality Improvement
James Moses, MD, will join the Department of Quality Safety and Patient Experience as Medical Director for Quality Improvement June 1. Moses will continue to serve as Pediatric Inpatient Division Director, Pediatric Director of Quality and Safety, and Hospitalist on the Pediatric Inpatient Service. In his new role, Moses will assume responsibility for quality improvement training and support for leaders and clinicians at BMC, help coordinate quality improvement education at the resident and student level across departments, provide quality improvement support for the eMerge project, and support local process improvement initiatives across BMC.

BMC Trauma Center Receives Reverification
BMC’s trauma center has been re-verified for three years as a Level l Adult Trauma Center and Level II Pediatric Trauma Center by the Verification Review Committee, an ad hoc committee of the Committee on Trauma (COT) of the American College of Surgeons. Established by the American College of Surgeons in 1987, the COT's Consultation/Verification Program promotes the development of trauma systems. Participant hospitals must demonstrate the resources necessary for the entire spectrum of trauma care to address the needs of all injured patients. This spectrum encompasses the pre-hospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

“Very few hospital programs undergo the level of scrutiny that occurs with a trauma center survey and our success is a testament to all the disciplines and specialties that work with our trauma patients. It is truly an institutional accomplishment,” says Peter Burke, MD, Chief, Trauma Services.

BMC Awarded an “A” for Patient Safety by Leapfrog Group
BMC has earned a national distinction for excellence in patient safety. The hospital was honored with an “A” Hospital Safety Score, the highest achievable grade, by the Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits. The Leapfrog Group measured BMC and other U.S. hospitals using publicly reported data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections. Leapfrog then assigned Hospital Safety Scores, ranging from A to F, to each hospital based on that data.

“We are once again thrilled to be recognized as a patient safety leader by the Leapfrog Group,” says BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh. “BMC works hard to meet the highest quality standards in every patient encounter. This national distinction is testament to those high standards, and I congratulate everyone at BMC on this well-deserved recognition.”

Visit www.hospitalsafetyscore.org to see BMC’s scores.

Radiology Receives Care Package

BMC Radiology Receives Care Package from Long-Distance Admirers
BMC Radiology received a box of goodies from its counterpart, the Kaweah Delta Healthcare Districts’ Radiology Department in California, to show its support and gratitude for the hard work that BMC did in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Thank you for sharing a taste of California with these local treats, Kaweah Delta Healthcare!

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Awards and Accolades

Lewis Braverman, MD, FACE
Lewis Braverman, MD, FACE

BMC Physician Wins Top Endocrinology Award
Lewis Braverman, MD, FACE, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, recently received the Master of the American College of Endocrinology (MACE) Award at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 22nd Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress. The MACE Award is given to an AACE member who has received the Fellow of the American College of Endocrinology (FACE) distinction, is recognized as a distinguished practicing endocrinologist as well as a role model for developing endocrinologists, and is a contributor to AACE and to the art and science of endocrinology.

Endocrinology Fellow Wins Junior Investigator Recognition Award
Matthew Spitzer, MD, an endocrinology fellow, received the 2012 Annals of Internal Medicine Junior Investigator Recognition Award for his paper “Effect of Testosterone Replacement on Response to Sildenafil Citrate in Men with Erectile Dysfunction: A Parallel, Randomized Trial.” This award recognizes excellence among junior investigators who are the first authors of research or review articles during their residencies or fellowship programs.

Chief and Chair of Psychiatry Honored by Massachusetts Association of Mental Health
Domenic Ciraulo, MD, Chief and Chair of Psychiatry, has been selected as a co-recipient of the inaugural Drew-Foley award by the Massachusetts Association of Mental Health (MAMH). This award is named for two former MAMH members, Paul Drew and Jim Foley, who were compassionate advocates for mental health care and advancement in the field of psychiatry. Drew served as a former executive vice president at BMC.

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