Compassion and Healing

The Greenebaum Compassion Award goes this winter to Lisa Mayo, a discharge coordinator, and Michelle “Shelle” Besche, BSN, OCN, CCRP, a research nurse coordinator. Read about why they were chosen from among the staff of the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center — where everyone is known for compassionate care.

Therapeutic Music Program Helps Cancer Patients

By Sharon Boston

Media Relations Manager

Music and sound, such as a happy song on the radio or the frightening score of a scary movie, have the ability to change our moods. Many people have a physical and emotional connection to sound, and scientific research has shown that music can be beneficial in healing.

Now, through a grant from the Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research, the University of Maryland Medical Center is offering live therapeutic music to patients receiving treatment at the Greenebaum Cancer Center.

Therapeutic musician Terri Fevang plays keyboard pieces tailored to each patient’s mood or emotions, so each visit is different. Some patients may be anxious while awaiting test results, while others may be tired after receiving chemotherapy or radiation.

“The music is peaceful and calming, and takes my mind off my pain and worries,” says Jessica Montgomery, a 29-year-old leukemia patient. “When Terri comes in, we turn the TV off and just listen to her play. My dad is usually there too, and he often falls asleep because it’s so relaxing.”

The live therapeutic music program is part of the Medical Center’s Integrative Care team, which offers treatments such as acupressure, guided imagery and yoga breathing to patients throughout the hospital, including the Shock Trauma Center.  The goal is to help patients relax, optimizing health and healing.

Terri playingThe Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation grant also allows researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine to study the potential benefits of live therapeutic music for these cancer patients. The grant will fund a pilot study to see if the therapy can affect patients’ anxiety, mood and quality of life as well as some physical indicators such as pulse oximetry, which measures the pulse and oxygen in the blood.

“We have received a great deal of positive feedback from patients about the music program. Now we want to see if the data supports this encouraging anecdotal evidence,” explains Chris D’Adamo, PhD, director of research at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, which is part of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

If the pilot program with 30 patients is successful, researchers hope to launch a larger study on the benefits of therapeutic music.

 Click here to see a WBAL-TV story about the live therapeutic music story.

 

“These Presents are Unbelievable!”

A mother of a patient in the  University of Maryland Children’s Hospital said to her husband at the child’s bedside, “Honey, you’ve got to go down and see Snow Pile. These presents are unbelievable!”

Imagine spending Christmas in the hospital with your sick child. Perhaps you are separated from your other children who are at home and well, missing their sibling. One parent stays with the sick child, the other parent is at home with the healthy children. Parents feel torn as they try to care for their entire families in different locations.

This scenario is not uncommon during the holidays for parents at University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. So the Child Life team established Snow Pile, a surprise shopping experience for parents of inpatients.

Now in its third year, Snow Pile fills empty room after empty room with presents for children of all ages. Generous corporate and individual donors graciously give presents so that families may “shop” at Snow Pile during the holidays and get a much needed break from the stress of holding vigil at a sick child’s bedside. Snow Pile enables parents to do their Christmas shopping without having to leave the hospital.

Snow Pile is just one example of how the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital tries to treat the whole family by acknowledging the needs of not just the patients, but also the parents and siblings who are all affected when a child is sick. Each year, Snow Pile serves 30-40 families. Parents are surprised to receive an invitation to come to Snow Pile, and many are in disbelief that they can “shop” without limit, for free, and have the gifts wrapped for their child. Snow Pile even provides stockings and stuffers for siblings of patients. This year Panera Bread catered the event, providing goodies for parents to enjoy while their presents were wrapped.

A special husband and wife couple, Bob and Mandy, volunteered this year at Snow Pile, wrapping presents and talking with parents of patients. In 2010, they were on the receiving end of Snow Pile when their son was a patient. They were blown away by the unexpected joy they felt from participating in Snow Pile. Since then, they have volunteered at Snow Pile each year and have turned Christmas into an opportunity for their extended family to donate gifts to the Children’s Hospital instead of buying gifts for each other.

For information on how to donate gifts for children throughout the year, visit http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/help.htm.

Super Staff Beats Super Storm — Every Time

The forecasts and predictions around Hurricane Sandy had much of the eastern third of the country braced for disaster. Baltimore saw heavy rains, wind and flooding. But the University of Maryland Medical Center didn’t skip a beat, thanks to the dedication of staff members who planned ahead or braved the elements to get to work. Their inspiration: hundreds of patients and colleagues were depending on them.

 We heard about staff taking extraordinary steps to be available for patients and to one another. If you have a story of your own, or you know of something that somebody else has done, drop us a line at communications@umm.edu.

 In the meantime, here are a few:

 From Karen E. Doyle, MBA, MS, RN, NEA-BC, vice president for nursing and operations at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and for emergency nursing at UMMC:

“While I was making rounds yesterday [Oct. 29], I stopped and spoke to Darlene Currin, a housekeeping staff member in Shock Trauma working on 6 North.  I thanked her for being here, and told her that her work was really important.  She told me that she had just arrived (it was around 10:30 or 11:00 a.m.).  Darlene had walked all the way from East Baltimore to UMMC.  But, she knew she was needed and made the trek anyway.  Really unbelievable.  I was so inspired.”

 Currin (pictured above) said she doesn’t think she did anything that most of her colleagues wouldn’t do. “We all work here, we know it’s 24/7,” she said. On Monday morning, she was unable to get a taxi or sedan service (public transportation was shut down), so she decided to walk. It took her about 90 minutes.

 “I was soaked when I got here,” Currin said.

 From Monika Bauman, MS, RN, CEN, nurse manager for women’s and children’s ambulatory services:

“The hospital-based clinics officially closed on Tuesday due to the storm, but Ometriss Jeter, a scheduling and preauthorization coordinator who works in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, reported for duty Tuesday morning at about 6 a.m.  She rounded in all of the outpatient registration areas offering her services and making sure they had adequate staffing for the day. Once she determined all was well, she reported to our clinic, even though it was closed, to be sure we were ready for operations as usual for tomorrow [Wednesday].”

 From Karen Cossentino, MS, RN, CCRN, senior clinical nurse II and charge nurse in the Cardiac Care Unit:

“I was in charge in the Cardiac Care Unit on Monday, Oct. 29, and it was an exceptionally busy day. So I would like to thank all the staff for working together. Two nurses deserve an extra thank you, but they asked that I not use their names. One of them had a vacation scheduled this week but offered to work for a nurse who is a new mother who would not have been able to get home after work on Monday to her 3-month-old baby.  Another nurse from Professional Development came to the unit and asked if we needed any help. I immediately took her up on her offer and she stayed most of the day and went from room to room and nurse to nurse and offered her assistance.”

From Rehana Qayyumi, MLS (ASCP), medical lab scientist, Microbiology Laboratory:

After making up my mind to stay [at work during the storm] on a very busy Monday, I did not have time to think about where I would stay after my shift. Then, our wonderful Microbiology Technical Specialist Donna Cashara, MLS(ASCP), asked me what I was  going to do.  I just told her, ‘Yes, I’m staying somewhere,’ while very busy with my assigned work.  Anyway, she personally walked two blocks away to the Marriott [as phone calls were not helpful] and reserved a room.  She was like an angel for me when I finally reached the room around 7 p.m. and took a shower and my medicines and bowed my head down for my unexpected landing in full luxury. Did I deserve it? Yes, I think all of us who decided to pay for comfortable accommodations to be ready for the next busy day deserved it.  We deserve all the best to provide the best services. TeamWORK works!”

Rehana Qayyumi and Donna Cashara

Rehana Qayyumi and Donna Cashara

Cashara said it was tough to get a room at an affordable rate that night at the downtown hotels, but the Marriott finally came through. She said many other seasoned lab staff know when storms are coming, they need to look out for each other. She and another staff person led a department-wide effort to make sure the hospital had enough lab staff and that those employees had either safe passage home or a place to sleep. The hospital provides dorm-like accommodations, but some staff prefer to split the cost of a nearby hotel room.

From Cassandra Bembry, MLS ASCP, outreach customer service supervisor for the Clinical Pathology Laboratory:

Jamillah Johnson, my front-end coordinator of the Clinical Pathology Laboratory (a.k.a. “Accessioning”) volunteered late Sunday night to pick up more than 80 percent of our day-shift staff for Monday who rely solely on public transportation.  She also took these employees home and picked up our evening shift crew.  Jamillah has consistently shown a great deal of care and concern for our staff that is unparalleled, in my opinion, and acts of this nature are routine for her.” 

 From J.V. Nable, MD, NREMT-P, clinical instructor and chief resident in the Department of  Emergency Medicine:

“The [physicians in the] UniversityofMaryland Emergency Medicine Residency met the challenges posed by Hurricane Sandy head-on. Despite the incredibly inclement weather, residents continued to provide vital services at emergency departments and other hospital units throughout the region, including: UMMC, the Shock Trauma Center, the Baltimore VA Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, Bayview Medical Center, and Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Because some residents have lengthy commutes, those who live near the medical facilities invited them to their homes for dry and safe shelter during the storm. Many residents volunteered to rearrange their schedules, taking extra shifts to cover for those stranded by the storm. As part of the backbone of clinical services at UMMC, emergency medicine residents demonstrated unwavering dedication throughout this unprecedented event.”

From Shawn Hendricks, MSN, RN, nurse manager for 10 East (Acute Medicine Telemetry Unit) and 11 East (Medicine Telemetry Unit):
 
During Hurricane Sandy, the dedicated staff on 10 & 11 East showed up ready to work, with smiles and a determination to provide excellent care despite the weather outside. I gave personal thanks to patient care technicians Theresa Hicks and Danielle Brown for coming to assist with the patients on 11 East after completing their care on 10 East, until help arrived from Monique Thomas, a student nurse who had been off duty but came in to help. And, also, to Jocelyn Campbell, one of our unit secretaries, who came in even when she wasn’t scheduled, to help with secretarial duties and other tasks on 11 East. Finally, a big “Thank you” to all my staff who stayed late or came early to ensure the shifts were covered! These staff members showed loyalty, teamwork, and caring when it was needed the most!

Country concert raises $12,000 for organ donor clinic

living donor clinicFrom Left: Event organizers Marla Blackwell and Lee Adams; Jo Funk, LCSW-C, living donor clinic social worker; Debora Evans, David B. Leeser, MD, chief of kidney and pancreas transplantation, and Janice J. Eisele, senior vice president, UMMS Foundation.

By Caroline Killian

UMMS Foundation

The UMMS Foundation is proud to report that the Fifth Annual Living Donor Country Concert raised a record amount this year – just over $12,000 dollars!  This year’s concert took place on September 11  at the Harmony United Methodist Church in Falling Waters, W.Va., providing an intimate venue for guests to experience a “Night with Nashville.”

Attendees listened to acoustic performances from country stars James Wesley and Dustin Lynch, and were treated to a “meet and greet” with the artists after the show. The show also featured a silent auction with items signed by country superstars, including Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, and Taylor Swift.

Dustin Lynch performed his hit single, “Cowboys and Angels”, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart. His self-titled debut album recently entered the Billboard Country Chart at No. 1, making Lynch the first new male artist to debut at that spot this year.

The concert was attended by several UMMC Transplant team members, including David B. Leeser, MD, chief of kidney and pancreas transplantation at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

 “It was an outstanding event in that it was about giving and donation, and they opened up the sanctuary,” Leeser said. “We had a bunch of young people in a church listening to music and learning about transplantation. It was an amazing event.”

Dr. Leeser recalled a powerful moment of the night: “One of the artists sang a song he had written late one night at a time when he was frustrated and he hadn’t broken through and become successful yet. He said ‘This is a song, a prayer I wrote, that I said I’d never sing unless I was in a church.’ So he sang it.”

The money raised from the concert will support UMMC’s Living Donor Follow-Up Clinic, which provides follow-up care for living organ donors who have generously given the gift of life.  After surgery, living donors have four follow-up visits within two years after donating a kidney.  In supporting the post-operative care for our living donors, the Living Donor Country Concert helps to ensure the Clinic’s ability to provide world-class, long-term care for our donors.

To learn more about the Country Concert and to donate to the Living Donor Clinic, please visit: http://www.ummsfoundation.org/concert.

Ringing in Hope for Cancer Patients

For David Taylor, ringing the bell on the wall in the main waiting area of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center marked the end of 42 days of radiation treatments for prostate cancer – and the beginning of a new chapter in his life.

The Department of Radiation Oncology treats nearly 1,000 patients at the cancer center each year. Several times a day, the waiting area erupts in cheers and applause as patients, joined by family members and radiation oncology staff, ring the bell to celebrate their final day of radiation treatment.

Read the entire story here

Brain Attack Team Marshals Forces to Save a Stroke Patient

Six weeks after suffering a stroke while driving on the Baltimore Beltway, Paul Sargent, 45, is back on his feet, speaking normally and continuing physical therapy. A sprinkler fitter with the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters, Local 536, he often worked on ladders and aerials lifts that put him 100 feet in the air. While he has not yet regained enough balance to work atop a ladder, he is hopeful.

 “It’s amazing, considering what I was like that night, that I’ve been able to recover this much,” Sargent says, pictured here with his wife, Tammy Sargent, during a follow-up visit.

By Anne Haddad

During a heavy rainstorm the week between Christmas and New Year, Paul Sargent, 45, was driving his truck on the Baltimore Beltway. He exited onto I-795 toward his home inManchester. Within minutes, a convergence of difficulties forced him to pull over.

For one thing, he had been feeling increasingly sick for the last few miles. For another, the rain was coming down in sheets, making visibility difficult. His cell phone rang, and he could see the call was coming from his son, Curtis. But he was unable to coordinate his hands and fingers to answer the call.

Sargent didn’t realize it, but he was in the early stages of a stroke. He had been experiencing some occasional dizziness for about a month, but now it was disabling him. Somehow, he managed to dial the magic number – 911 – and talk with the dispatcher. Paramedics arrived and took him to a community hospital, where the emergency staff realized he was having a stroke.

Because the University of Maryland Medical Center is a designated primary stroke center, the community hospital called the Maryland ExpressCare offices to consult with physician specialists here — the Brain Attack Team.

As a primary stroke center, UMMC is equipped to deal with the most advanced treatments and the serious risks that are associated with those treatments. The conference call included Marcella Wozniak, MD, PhD, interim medical director of the team and associate professor of neurology, and John W. Cole, MD, MS, associate professor of neurology.

The Brain Attack Team arranged for the local hospital staff to begin the time-sensitive administration of the clot-busting tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA). While that drug, administered intravenously, made its way to the clot that was impeding blood flow in his brain, Sargent was on his way to UMMC via ground ambulance.

On the Neurocare Intensive Care Unit (NCICU), charge nurse John Pfeifer, RN, updated staff nurses who would be waiting to care for Sargent and accompany him to the MRI suite. Staff from Housekeeping Hospitality Services were making sure the room was cleaned and ready for the new patient, while nursing staff reviewed his case to be ready to care for him when he arrived.

Seconds after Sargent arrived, nurses and physicians moved him from the stretcher to his bed, while Ermias Aytenfisu, MD, a neurology fellow at UMMC, introduced himself to Sargent and began asking questions to assess his condition.

“What is your name?”

“How old are you?”

“What month is it?”

“Can you hold your right hand up like this while I count to 10?”

“Where am I touching you now?”

Sargent was able to answer most questions, but with enough impairment that an MRI would be needed to determine whether and where he had a clot impeding blood flow in his brain, and which path of treatment was most appropriate.

“We’re going to do an MRI, so we need to take your jewelry off,” Aytenfisu told him.

Another physician had been standing by since Sargent arrived: Joao Prola Netto, MD, a fellow in neuro-interventional radiology, was following Atyenfisu’s assessment to help determine not just whether they could get an image of the blood clot on the MRI, but whether they could use the latest interventional radiology techniques to remove it, should that become necessary. And when Cole became concerned that Sargent’s condition was becoming worse, he called for anesthesiologist Joshua M. Tobin, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology, to come quickly to the MRI suite to secure Sargent’s airway with an endotracheal tube.

Nurse practitioner Karen L. Yarbrough, MS, ACNP, acute care nurse practitioner and programs director for the Maryland Stroke andBrainAttackCenter, was observing and making notes to determine whether Sargent qualified for inclusion in any clinical trials, should he choose to participate.

One of the reasons Sargent was transferred was that he received t-PA, the clot-busting drug that must be administered within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms, or the treatment becomes too risky. Even when administered within that three-hour period, t-PA carries a risk of hemorrhage. But after three hours, the blocked blood vessel is weakened from lack of blood flow. A sudden return of blood flow could cause it to bleed. Because of this risk, the patient must be in a hospital with intensive care nurses and vascular surgeons when t-PA is administered, so they can manage any complications.

After his MRI, Sargent was taken back to the Neurocare Intensive Care Unit, where the nurses specialize in the vigilant care required during a stroke. In fact, several nurses from the NCICU accompanied him to the MRI to care for him before and after the imaging procedure. They included: Betsy Raine, BSN, RN; Olga Pranov, BSN, RN; Ann Adams, RN; and Naomi Crosen, RN.

Once Sargent was out of danger, UMMC rehabilitation staff – occupational, physical and speech therapists – began working with him.

“As soon as someone is stable medically, we want them to start rehab,” says Cole. “The sooner, and more consistent, the better the outcomes.”

After 10 days in the hospital, he was discharged to Kerman Hospital, a rehabilitation hospital that is part of the University of Maryland Medical System, for 14 days of intensive physical, occupational and speech therapy to regain his strength, balance, coordination and ability to speak and swallow. On Jan. 20, he went home with his wife, Tammy, and their son and daughter — Curtis, 19, and Heather, 17.

Today, Sargent continues to improve. His speech betrays none of the impairment of those first few days. He has returned for follow-up visits with the neurologists at UMMC, but has continued physical and occupational therapy closer to home in Carroll County. He has aced speech therapy: He talks animatedly and a mile a minute, just like before the stroke.

“I’m walking by myself, and I can make myself a grilled-cheese sandwich on the stove without burning myself, but I don’t think I can get back up on a ladder yet,” Sargent says.

Whether or not he can go back to his trade, installing fire sprinkler systems in such Baltimore landmarks as the Hippodrome Theatre and airplane hangars that required him to be 100 feet up in the air, he doesn’t know. But he does believe he’s lucky.

“It’s amazing, considering what I was like that night, that I’ve been able to recover this much,” Sargent says.

 

Arthritis and Joint Problems Sideline NFL Pros and Weekend Warriors Alike

Robert Sterling, MD

Robert Sterling, MD

By Robert D. Sterling, MD
Associate Professor of Orthopaedics

Ouch! As you can imagine when you see a player get sacked, years on the football field can take their toll! A 2008 University of Michigan study of retired NFL players found that, compared to the general public, these former football greats have a very high rate of diagnosed arthritis. Their joints are, plain and simple, just worn out. So of the older retirees in this study, almost 25 percent have had at least one joint replacement. The vast majority have had knees replaced. Hips replacements are less common.

So as some great athletes take to the field this Super Bowl XLVI weekend, some of us former “great” athletes may be wondering if that creaky knee or aching hip needs a possible replacement. When is the right time to see a doctor about it? Listen to your body, and it will tell you: If you are experiencing pain, swelling or stiffness in one of your joints, now is a good time to get checked out.

During your evaluation, we will get a full history of your complaints and examine your joints to figure out why you are having pain. This history and physical exam is often followed by an x-ray to look at your bones. The first steps we try for treatment of arthritis usually involve exercise, weight reduction, knee braces, and medications to help your pain.

Whether you want to get back on a field or just back to playing with grandkids, diagnosis and appropriate treatment of any joint pain should be the next step in your training program.

For more information or to make an appointment, contact the University of Maryland Department of Orthopaedics at 877-771-4567.

Colitis Patient is Able To Compete in More Than 20 Triathlons After Receiving Remicade Treatments at UMMC’s IBD Center

By Brendan Wills

I spent years “dealing with” my condition.  I saw specialists in other practices who prescribed different drugs to treat my colitis, but nothing worked.  I was getting sicker and had no energy for the things I enjoyed most — spending time with my family, traveling, and my real passion, competing in triathlons.  In February 2010, I decided I’d had enough and needed to see the best, once and for all.  After doing much research, I contacted Dr. Raymond Cross through the University of Maryland’s Web site, and made an appointment.

My experience with the University of Maryland’s Department of Gastroenterology was great from day one.  Dr. Cross took a complete history of my symptoms, treatments and medications, discussed my options, and came up with a game plan.  In the spring of 2010, after exploring several different medicines, Dr. Cross and I decided on Remicade.  I had my first infusion of Remicade, a drug most commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but which has shown success in treating patients with ulcerative colitis.  That first treatment changed my life, and I haven’t looked back since.

Almost immediately, I felt better than I had in years. I really couldn’t remember the last time I had felt this normal.  I have continued the treatment for almost two years, and can say without a doubt that I wouldn’t be able to do the things I do without Dr. Cross, his team, and their treatment plan.

Since receiving care from Dr. Cross and starting the Remicade, I have been able to train for and compete in more than 20 triathlons.  In November 2010, not even one year after starting my treatment with Dr. Cross, I completed my first Ironman triathlon.  The Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile marathon.  In the 14 hours it took me to complete that first race, I had a lot of time to think about where I was, compared to where I had been just one short year ago.  A year ago, I was miserable, sick, weak, and unsure of what the future held for me.  Fast-forward nine months, and here I was, having trained over 100 miles swimming, 3000-plus miles biking and 500-plus miles of running to compete in the biggest race of my life.

As my strength and energy have returned, I have been able to train harder and race with no limitations.  On October 29, 2011, I competed in the same Ironman race and finished in 11 hours, 12 minutes, which was over three hours faster than the year before.  Next year, my goal is to go even faster and finish in under 10 hours.

Today, it’s been almost two years since that first appointment with Dr. Cross.  Without the attention and dedication of Dr. Cross and his team, I have no doubt that I would not be able to train for and compete in the triathlons that I love so much. I finally have my life back, and I owe my health to Dr. Cross, his team, and the University of Maryland Department of Gastroenterology.

Living Donor Fundraiser Exceeds $10,000!

In follow-up to a post from Marla Blackwell on living kidney donation, we are grateful to report that the 4th annual ‘Night with Nashville’ concert and fundraiser reached a new milestone by raising more than $10,000 on September 8!

Guests partied the night away to country tunes from recording artists Megan Mullins and James Wesley, and lucky bidders walked away with silent auction memorabilia from stars like Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Sara Evans, Justin Moore, Jewel, and Alabama.

These funds will help support the Living Donor Follow-Up Clinic, which provides medical care for up to two years post-donation to people who have given the gift of life through living organ donation. Donations are still being accepted.

Thanks to Marla and Lee Adams for your rockin’ efforts! Can we get a yeehaw, y’all?