DACA participant faces uncertainty with resolve, optimism

YesikaMartinezYesika Martinez looks into her future and dreams that she will someday serve others as a nurse or a counselor.

But her future possible self is on hold while she waits to see what comes next after the Trump administration’s recent directive to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program in six months unless Congress comes up with a legislative solution.

Martinez, 25, has been in this country since she was 9 months old. She was born with spinal bifida, a birth defect in which the spinal canal doesn’t close before birth. Fearful her complex needs would not be met in their small community in Mexico, her parents moved to Tucson.

Growing up meant a lot of time in hospitals, with many surgeries, as well as extended physical and orthopedic therapy, and neurology and urology care. With the assistance of leg braces, she can walk, ride a bike and drive a car and is successfully working toward her career path.

Martinez watched her other friends in high school celebrate things like driver’s licenses and first jobs that were out of reach for someone with undocumented status.  Her parents instilled in her to believe that all things are possible and encouraged her growth.

When she turned 18, waiting to see if DACA participants would be eligible for in-state college tuition, she began volunteering at the Children’s Clinics, where she had received much of her care, in order to help other young patients going through other health care challenges.

In the afternoons, Martinez volunteered to teach violin to the afterschool mariachi group at her previous elementary school. “I couldn’t work, but I didn’t want to sit home. I wanted to do something with my life and contribute,” she said.

When DACA was passed, she was hired on at the Children’s Clinics as a clinical associate.

President Trump’s announcement, she said, “was a rough day for me because I know there are so many people in my same situation who don’t know what’s coming next.” Thanks to a recent renewal, her status is OK until early 2019, but she hopes a resolution will come long before then.

“What I think people don’t understand is that we go through a lengthy process to get permits,” she said. “We aren’t bad people. We’re working hard to go to school to try to contribute. I would ask this community to help fight for us and support us.”

TMC President and CEO Judy Rich recently wrote an opinion piece for the Arizona Daily Star, urging Congressional leaders to resolve DACA. Click here to read it. http://tucson.com/opinion/local/judy-rich-dreamers-make-our-workforce-stronger/article_7cdc96c8-9fb9-5435-957a-1893de6d62ce.html

 

TMC recognized as a Weather Ready Nation Ambassador of Excellence

BDP33616Tucson Medical Center is honored to be recognized by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Tucson as the 2017 Southeast Arizona Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador of Excellence, for going above and beyond the call of duty to help the NWS build a Weather Ready Nation.

This year,  NWS Tucson nominated TMC for its work in hosting its annual Be Safe Saturday event. For 13 years, TMC has conducted car seat checks, distributed bike helmets and booster seats and invited community partners to staff more than 100 interactive booths committed to the safety and wellness of children throughout Southern Arizona.

The National Weather Service is one of those Be Safe Saturday participants, speaking about weather safety to hundreds of families, said Ken Drozd, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the NWS Tucson office. “Dozens of other organizations also help educate the public about how to stay safe and we appreciate TMC’s  dedication to community safety,” he added.

BDP33551The ambassador initiative recognizes leaders in the community that help build community resilience in the face of extreme weather events – from promoting safety messages in outreach activities, to being a “weather-ready” role model.

Safety Manager Steven Barnes said TMC monitors weather conditions to ensure the safety of its HazMat team when wearing gear in the heat of the summer. The TMC Safety Department presents heat stress prevention classes to facilities personnel each June, followed by lightning safety in July and West Nile disease prevention training every August.

TMC is prepared for electrical outages during the monsoon storms with very extensive backup generator equipment for patient safety, Barnes noted, adding the hospital also has a fully equipped disaster command center and participates in local and statewide exercises every year.

“As you can imagine we are very dependent on accurate weather forecasts and prepare on a regular basis for all weather threats and situations,” Barnes said, adding he was pleased with the recognition.

Any organization can  become a Weather Ready Nation Ambassador. Schools, government agencies, private businesses, civic organizations, home owner associations and others can apply online at https://www.weather.gov/wrn/amb-tou

 

Tucson Medical Center honored with five top Readers’ Choice awards

2017 Readers' Choice Win OutLNTucson Medical Center has been named “Best Hospital” in the Arizona Daily Star’s 2017 Readers’ choice awards.

TMC also was recognized for having the best women’s center, best emergency department, best pediatric emergency department and best surgical weight loss center.

“TMC has had the privilege of serving as this region’s nonprofit, locally governed community hospital for more than 70 years,” said Judy Rich, president and CEO. “This recognition is an honor – not only because it comes from the community, but because it recognizes the work that our staff and volunteers do every day to care for those who need us.”

The Readers’ Choice awards, which launched in 2015, give the Tucson community an opportunity to vote for their favorite organizations across a variety of categories, from restaurants to shopping and home service.

Click here to see the complete list of health care winners. Search “Readers’ Choice” for other categories.

Courageous TMC nurse takes on suicide stigma

Jason CuttingSeptember 10 – 16 is National Suicide Prevention Week – reduce the stigma, start a conversation and #StopSuicide.

Jason Cutting wanted to be in the middle of it all. He loved the arts and entertaining. RENT was his favorite musical, and he knew every word to every song. He put his heart into everything he did, whether crushing a performance in My Fair Lady or advocating for equal rights, regardless of sexual orientation.

Through it all, he struggled long and hard with mental illness. Even though Jason was lost to the disease when he died by suicide, he will always be a brave big brother to his sister, Sarah. She decided not to allow stigma to steal the focus from Jason’s beautiful memory.

Sarah, an Emergency Department nurse, is leading the effort to eradicate the stigma that surrounds suicide as the TMC champion for Tucson’s  Out of the Darkness Community Walk, an annual event hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Suicide StigmaHard to say, hard to hear

The heart-wrenching loss of suicide – and the stigma around it – make conversations about it difficult.

“I didn’t even know how I was going to talk about it, because I was afraid people would judge, or react with shock or pity,” she said.

Sarah, though, was determined to make a difference and put aside her fears, directly challenging stigma. The open dialogue had an unexpected and positive result. “I found healing in talking about my brother, and I was surprised how many people approached me who have also lost someone to suicide.”

Better understanding, better prevention

Sarah also explained that more discussion brought about a better understanding of suicide.

Sarah Cutting“When survivors share their experiences, people will hear that suicide is not a selfish act,” she said. “Rather, people hear just how intensely someone was suffering, how they truly felt hopeless and believed they were a burden to all around them.”

Sarah believes that better understanding will lead to action. “With this knowledge, people will be motivated to learn the warning signs and feel more comfortable talking to someone they think may be having suicidal thoughts.”

 

 

You can have an impact

Out of the DarknessThe Tucson Out of the Darkness Community Walk is open to all, and free to attend. “This is a way to honor the memories of those we have lost to suicide, and the best way to start discussions and spread awareness,” said Sarah. “Join us!”

 

Walk Date: 10/14/2017                                                                 

Walk Location: Reid Park 

Check-in/Registration Time:  8:00 am

Walk Begins: 10:00 am

Walk Ends: 11:00 am

Donations can be made via Sarah’s donor page. Please note that all proceeds go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Resources:

Suicide warning signs and risk factors

Pima County assistance resources

AZ Department of Veterans Services resources

National suicide hotline

The Trevor Project

Pima County Crisis Response Center: (520) 622-6000 or 1-866-495-6738

 

‘Popcorn Kid’ retiring after singlehandedly raising $51k for kids through sales

DOROTHYLongtime employee, Dorothy “Popcorn Kid” Lietha, who is retiring after 43 years, made a difference kernel by kernel.

Lietha, who has worked a variety of jobs but most recently was part of the Wellness department’s efforts in the employee gym, is probably best known for her commitment to the children of Southern Arizona.

Since the early days of TMC’s relationship with Children’s Miracle Network, Lietha has sold popcorn — first for 25 cents a bag, and now 50 cents. Those quarters have added up. The TMC Foundation estimates that she has raised more than $51,000 to benefit area children.

“Dorothy embodies the spirit of this organization because of her generosity and her deep love of this community,” said Michael Duran, vice president and chief development officer. “We can each make a profound difference just by leveraging our individual strengths and passions – and for that, Dorothy is an inspiration.”

If you’d like to honor Dorothy and her commitment to children, consider making an online gift in her name for Children’s Services via the TMC Foundation.

TMC celebrates pets in three September events

Pets can be part of a healthy lifestyle, from lowering blood pressure to reducing stress and encouraging owners to move more.

With the last week of September National Dog Week, TMC is going to the dogs (and cats) in three separate pet-friendly events at The Core at La Encantada.

  • Think your pup has what it takes to be a therapy dog to help cheer up patients, visitors and staff in the hospital? Come find out how to join TMC’s Pet Therapy team and – with the help of Pet Partners of Southern Arizona – learn the ins and outs of getting certified on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 10 a.m. Click here to register.
  • If you have a pet, you’ve probably at some point contemplated whether pet food, pet toys and cleaning products are OK for the environment. Come learn about environmentally friendly pet care with Mrs. Green’s World on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 2 p.m. Click here to register.
  • Pima Animal Care Center has thousands of pets each year (like PACC alumni Chester shown here) looking for a new home – and new exercise buddies. Join Care Center staff in learning more about how to exercise safely with your pet on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 5:30 p.m. Click here to register.

Pets are welcome at these three events. Find out more by visiting The Core at La Encantada.

Eclipse watchers: Follow these tips to protect your eyes

EclipseGlassesIf you’re planning to watch the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, do it safely.

Don’t look directly into the sun without eye protection – and sunglasses alone won’t do it. Those are some of the safety tips you’ll see in a short video from @MayoClinic to protect your eyes.

As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Tucson Medical Center works directly with Mayo Clinic, which again was named the top hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Reports.

The foundation of our relationship with Mayo Clinic is a shared commitment to improving the delivery of health care through high-quality, data-driven, evidence-based medical care. Our care network membership allows TMC access to the knowledge and expertise of Mayo Clinic to enhance the care we provide locally and save our patients unnecessary travel.

Tucson will see the eclipse as a partial solar eclipse – about 60 percent. It will start after 9 a.m. and end about noon. The Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium reports there will not be another total solar eclipse visible from the continental United States until 2024 – so happy watching, but take precautions!

Dr. Patel returns to Tucson, providing pediatric endocrinology at TMCOne

Patel C PhotoDr. Chetanbabu Patel returned to Tucson in June and joined the TMCOne location on 2380 N. Ferguson, across the street from the TMC main campus.

While there are many great reasons for moving to Tucson, Dr. Patel summed it with just one. “The best care for the children we are treating,” he said. “This was a unique opportunity to be a part of a comprehensive program involving specially trained staff who communicates frequently and openly with families – that’s why I chose TMCOne.”

Dr. Patel and his team provide care for children ages 0 to 18 who are experiencing a wide range of endocrine related illnesses, including diabetes, thyroid disorders, adrenal and pituitary disorders, metabolic challenges, and much more.

“Chronic endocrine issues are complex and require a team working together to best help children achieve strong health,” the doctor explained. The team involves the coordinated efforts of specialists at the TMCOne clinic and Tucson Medical Center. The specialists include clinical dieticians, social workers, certified diabetic educators and several others.

Why the certified educators? “The importance of communication cannot be overstated – we want parents to feel comfortable and confident working with us because they are the most important part of the treatment team.”

Peds Endocrinology Care Flyer JPEGEach endocrine challenge is as unique as each human body and what works for one child may not work for another, which can frustrate parents and the patient. Dr. Patel says empathy is an important part of the care provided at his clinic.

“I try and place myself in the parent’s shoes, and understand what is happening with respect to the family dynamics as well as with happening with that particular child. I give them my undivided attention and spend enough time so that they understand why I want them to get labs or to consider one of the treatment options.”

Dr. Patel has dedicated his career to learning as much as possible about pediatric endocrine illness, and he is a devoted advocate for children and their families.

“I always dreamed of becoming a doctor to help others,” he said. “I enjoy working with the parents as well as the babies and teenagers to help them achieve optimum health.”

In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Patel has held many respected positions, including director of diabetes education at the Steele Research Center, chief of pediatric endocrinology at Texas Tech University and assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Arizona.

His immediate and extended family also reside in Arizona, and Dr. Patel has always felt that Tucson is his home. While basketball, tennis and reading are his favorite hobbies, he most enjoys spending time with his family.

Dr. Patel is currently accepting new patients. Please call (520) 324-1010 to schedule.

 

 

Make summer snacks fun, tasty and healthy

Summer snack 3Summertime brings vacations, warm weather and great food. The TMC and TMCOne Clinical Dietician Kallie Siderewicz offers some tips to make summer food fun, tasty and healthy.

Healthy doesn’t mean boring

Try a peanut butter and low-fat Greek yogurt dip for fruit. Ranch seasoning also gives Greek yogurt the yum factor for dipping veggies.

Other fun dishes include fruit kabobs, apples slices topped with peanut butter, coconut, and chocolate chips. A summertime favorite is fruit coated with frozen yogurt.

Cool off by infusing water or tea with lemon, lime, berries, oranges, mint, or rosemary.

Summer snackFor an adult beverage, try light beer, a glass of red wine or liquor mixed with water or diet soda.

High-calorie pitfalls

Before hot summer days have you reaching for a frozen coffee drink – remember that a small serving can have over 500 calories. Sodas and most sports drinks offer hard-to-burn calories with no nutrition.

For adults, mixed drinks usually combine alcohol and sugar, piling calories on top of calories.

Fruit salads made with fruit canned in heavy syrup can have as many calories as pie and cake, especially if you add marshmallows and whipped cream.

Don’t forget water

Water is the absolute best thing you can give your body. It hydrates, helps cleanse and cool. Another good reason to drink water – it can aid in weight loss.

Kallie Siderewicz.jpg

 

 

Kallie Siderewicz is a clinical dietician at the TMCOne Rincon location. She also provides nutrition services at Tucson Medical Center.

Admissions nurse named ‘Heart of Hospice’

Karen Novak, R.N., sitting, with (l-r) interim director Kimberley Fore, manager Stephanie Carter and medical director Larry Lincoln

Karen Novak, R.N., with TMC Outpatient Hospice, was honored this morning at a quarterly recognition selected by her colleagues as the “Heart of Hospice.”

Novak, who has been with Tucson Medical Center for more than 20 years, is the TMC Hospice liasion for the hospital. As a TMC Hospice admissions nurse, she works closely with the Palliative Care Team and Case Management as well as with patients and families who are dealing with potential end-of-life issues.

“Karen helps to aid in transitioning patients smoothly between the hospital and Hospice,” according to her nomination. “Her bedside manner is impeccable. She has a way of speaking with patients and family members that allow them to feel that they are both being understood in what they want and cared for in a compassionate way that embodies the mission of Hospice.”

Novak learned her skills in a variety of settings, including in the Emergency Department when it included truma care, and Case Management. She works with patients of all ages, including pediatric cases.

The quarterly award comes with a recognition plaque on the unit, a pin and a dedicated parking space. The award allows colleagues to recognize their peers:

Everything he or she does is for our patients and families and personifies compassion, kindness, empathy, a great work ethic and knowledge. The Heart of Hospice is also someone who is calm under pressure, is respectful, is detail-oriented, is a critical thinker, and has great communication skills. This person is someone who is always there to help his or her peers and does so with grace and skill. Being able to nominate someone for this award is a gift because it means you have observed greatness, not just once, but every time you have interacted with this individual.

Has a hospice nurse made a difference to you or your family? Consider recognizing this extraordinary nurse with a DAISY Award nomination.

Voting begins next week in the City of Tucson’s primary election

 Candidate Forum

A big thank you is in order to the four candidates running for a seat in the Ward 3 City Council race, who appeared at a candidate forum Tuesday night at Tucson Medical Center, sponsored by the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“The foundation for democracy is an engaged and educated electorate,” said Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit for TMC. “We appreciate everyone who came out to learn more about the candidates – and importantly, we thank each of the candidates for stepping up and running for office.”

The winner among the three candidates vying for the Ward 3 Democratic primary – Thomas Tronsdal, Paul Durham and Felicia Chew – will face Gary Watson, an independent, in the general election. The winner will assume the seat currently held by City Councilwoman Karin Uhlich, who is retiring from the Council.

In addition to Ward 3, the Green Party has a contested primary race in Ward 6.

Ballots will be mailed Aug. 9 to registered voters.

 

TMC employee turns hardship into inspiration

Donatian Mahanga TMC 2At the age of 10, Donatian Mahanga became a refugee in the Congo, introduced to the overwhelming challenges of intense poverty, starvation, disease and political strife.

There was a constant shortage of food and medicine. “We buried people every day because of starvation,” he said. Of his 32 aunts, only three survived.

That incredible story of survival fueled a positive mindset and a deep passion to help others.

“People ask me why I am always smiling,” said Mahanga, who works in environmental services at Tucson Medical Center. “It is one of the ways I heal my heart.”

United Way Champions 2017 Donatian MahangaMahanga, who recently served as a champion in TMC’s United Way campaign, also finds healing in giving to others after being affected by more than 20 years of moving between refugee camps in the Congo and Uganda.

War and deprived living conditions claimed six of his 12 siblings. The harrowing experiences were made worse when he was abandoned by his parents at age 13, leaving he and his remaining siblings to fend for food and clothes.

Mahanga was surrounded by a terrible situation that he felt was consuming a generation of young Africans. He wanted to improve living conditions – but not just for him, for his community.

“So many people were suffering at zero. There was no hope at all – I wanted to create a change,” he said. Mahanga took part in organizing a group of young men called COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa (CIYOTA). What is COBURWAS? The founders took letters from the names of the countries that refugees traveled from: Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Sudan.

Donatian Mahanga CIYOTA 3Their first step was to raise funds and learn craftsmanship. Mahanga, himself, helped build a school in the refugee camp. “Without education, nothing will do!”

He brought the diverse group of refugees together, and taught himself eight languages in the process. “If you want to help someone, speaking in their language will put them at ease.” He helped many express their grief through performance and song, a method he still uses to engage refugee communities in Tucson.

Mahanga and his friends even reached out to sources in the United States to provide medicine and mosquito nets to treat and stop Malaria, which claims so many lives in the refugee area.

CIYOTA also advocated for women’s rights and encouraged young women to obtain an education, a rare pursuit for women in refugee settlements.

Donatian Mahanga CIYOTA 2After 12 years in operation, CIYOTA has grown into an international, volunteer-based non-profit, that is now organized in the U.S.

Mahanga is glad to see the school he built become a large and prosperous education center. “My number one goal is always to help people,” he said.

In August of 2016, Mahanga came to America with his wife and five children. A temporary staffing agency helped him get a job with TMC and his position soon became permanent.

“TMC is the right place for me –the workers treat each other and the patients with such compassion,” Mahanga explained. “They really show humanity – always working to help others.”

A friend from Uganda reached out to Mahanga to say good bye because he could not afford a life-saving surgery. He was touched when his coworkers raised the needed funds.

TMC monument signHe has already begun helping others, donating his time to help other refugees find work and acclimate to life in the United States. “Change is a part of life, but everyone should feel proud of who they are.”

“Donatian’s love for humanity is visible from the moment you meet him,” said Beth Dorsey, the director of food, nutrition and environmental services at TMC. “His compassion for others truly shows in all he does at TMC and for the community.”

Mahanga is proud to work at TMC and proud of the difference he’s making in the community. Most of all, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children, ages 2 through 10. “The secret to happiness is being content with what you have.”

 

 

Comprehensive Weight-Loss Program now available at TMC

TMC Weight Loss Program 3Super foods – juice cleansing – metabolism kick starters – core workouts. Weight-loss is very challenging and the dizzying number of diets, fads and exercises can make it even harder. Tucson Medical Center’s Comprehensive Weight-Loss Program offers safe and effective plans that are personalized to meet each patient’s needs.

These days, busy lifestyles are common– stretching schedules for career, family, activities and so much more. With only so many hours in a day, it’s hard to make time for health and easy to put on pounds fast. More than 70 percent of American adults are overweight and we understand that everyone faces unique challenges to achieving a weight loss goal.

TMC Wellness Director Mary Atkinson explains how the TMC Weight-Loss Program is different. “We look at the whole person,” she said. “Registered dietitians and certified exercise-professionals will work with you to create a personalized plan you can live with, so you can lose weight and keep it off.”

Weight-Loss Counseling Program The 12-week program includes three, one-hour initial appointments and eight follow-ups that last about 30 minutes. Periodic assessments help determine what is working best and allow you and your team to make adjustments to keep

  • Nutrition, fitness and general wellness assessments
  • Reliable advice that you can use
  • Tracking of weight and estimated body composition
  • Development of personalized nutrition and fitness plans
  • Strategies to promote long-term weight-loss success

Weight-Loss Surgery from the TMC Bariatric Center

The TMC Bariatric Center, a comprehensive center accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, guides you every step of the way on your weight-loss journey:

  • Pre-surgery counseling and evaluations
  • Post-op care that includes nutritional counseling
  • Psychological support
  • Instruction on incorporating exercises into your lifestyle
  • Discussion groups – build relationships with others who have had bariatric surgery at TMC
  • Some services may be covered by insurance.

TMC Weight Loss Program 4Weight Management Support Group

No matter what method you have used to lose weight, sticking to your new good habits and keeping the weight off can be a challenge. Don’t try to tackle it alone. Join our monthly support group, led by a certified health coach, to learn new tips and stay motivated.

Program Pricing

  • Flat fee for the entire program: $400
  • Weekly rate: $60 for one-hour sessions, $30 for 30-minute sessions (total of $480 for entire program)
  • Weight management support group = $5 per meeting (meets monthly at The Core at La Encantada)

For more details, please contact TMC Wellness, (520) 324-4163 or wellness@tmcaz.com.

Temps are rising and the pool is beckoning – do you know your water safety?

Pool Safety 3Is it hot enough yet? With Tucson temperatures exceeding 115 degrees for three straight days, many families will be heading for the pool this weekend.

It’s no surprise why swimming is a summer favorite. Parents get a chance to cool-off, kids max out on fun and families make memories.

With the summertime exuberance of visiting, splashing and playing, it can be easy for all to forget important safety rules. This is serious because Arizona has the second highest number of child drownings in the United States.

Child drowning is tragic but preventable. Safe Kids Pima County Coordinator Jessica Mitchell works with community partners to provide helpful tips and education to prevent childhood drowning. She provided us important water safety standards every
parent should know.

It’s as easy as ABC

A = Adult supervision B = Barriers around pools, spas and hot tubs C = Coast Guard approved life vest and life-saving CPR classes

My kids love playing in the pool – what are the things to watch out for?

  • Active supervision is a must. Provide active supervision without any distractions – even if other adults are present and many kids are in the pool. They call drowning the “silent killer” because a drowning child can’t call for help.
  • Infants and toddlers should stay within an arm’s reach of an adult.
  • Don’t rely on swimming aids such as water wings and pool noodles. They are fun, but may not prevent drowning.
  • When finished, remove all toys from the pool. This can tempt children to go for the toys later, increasing the risk of them falling in and drowning.
  • Barriers should be in place to keep children from entering the pool on their own. Alarms on doors and pool fences with self-closing gates also helps to keep kids safe.
  • Always keep a phone nearby so that you can call 911 in the case of an emergency.
  • Empty kiddie pools and turn them upside down when finished. Tragedies have happened in just a few inches of water.

Pool Safety 2
What swimming rules should I set for my children?

  • Only swim if an adult is a present.
  • Do not dive in shallow areas of the pool (or the entire pool if it is not deep enough for diving).
  • Don’t push or jump on others.
  • Don’t go swimming during thunder/lightning storms.

My kids have already taken swimming lessons, so I probably don’t need to watch them as much, right?

While we encourage swimming lessons, children should not be swimming alone even if they are good swimmers. It takes multiple lessons before a child learns how to swim effectively and even then, there should still be active supervision by an adult.

How do I rescue a child I think might be drowning?

  • Take the child out of the water
  • If you are alone, call 911 and begin CPR. Starting CPR immediately is the most important thing you can do to prevent a child from dying.
  • If you are not alone, begin CPR and ask someone to call 911.
  • Check for breathing and responsiveness. Place your ear near the child’s mouth and nose to see if you feel air on your cheek? Determine if the child’s chest is moving and call the child’s name to see if he or she responds.

Should I be CPR certified?

Anyone who routinely supervises children around water should get CPR certified. The certification courses are provided by many community organizations, including the American Red Cross.

It sounds like there is a lot to prepare for – can the water still be safe and fun for my family?

Absolutely! Swimming can be great family fun. Make sure you take the necessary precautions, always supervise swimming children and that someone in the family has taken CPR classes.

Visit our website for more safety tips and information.

 

 

Osteoporosis: “The most important factor is prevention”

May is Women’s Health Month, a great time to celebrate and promote stronger health and a perfect time to discuss the latest information about preventing and treating health challenges like osteoporosis.

More than 44 million American women experience the debilitating effects of the bone disease, and many women fear aching joints and brittle bones are an inevitable part of aging. It is important to know the risks, and engage opportunities to maintain optimum bone-health.

Dr. Lawrence R. Housman is an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in musculoskeletal disease at Tucson Orthopaedic Institute. He sat down with us to discuss the best ways to prevent and treat osteoporosis.

OsteoporosisWhy are women at greater risk for osteoporosis?  

Women start with a lower bone density than men. They also lose bone mass more quickly as they age. Between ages 20-80, women will lose about 1/3 of her bone density compared to men who lose only 1/4 of their bone density in that time frame. Estrogen levels also affect bone density, and women lose bone mass more quickly in the years immediately following menopause than at any other time of their lives.

What can accentuate this risk?

Alcohol in moderation is not a risk factor, however more than four drinks per day results in a twice the risk of hip fracture. Steroids can also increase this risk. Long term use of steroids will double the risk of fracture in women.

It should be noted that proton pump inhibitors (e.g. Nexium/Protonix used for stomach disorders such as acid reflux) decrease the absorption of calcium from the stomach.

While increasing fiber, phylates (beans, wheat bran), oxalates (spinach, beet greens, rhubarb) and phosphorus (colas) can provide other health benefits they can also interfere with calcium metabolism.

What are the most effective means of preventing osteoporosis?

Regular exercise is one of the most effective means of preventing osteoporosis. Thirty minutes per day – walking is excellent, and Tai Chi reportedly decreases falls by 47 percent and hip fracture by 25 percent.

Nutrition is another import part of maintaining healthy bones. Fruits and vegetables are important. Women ages 19-50 should take in 1000 mg of calcium daily and women older than 50 should get 1200 mg per day.

Vitamin D is another vital nutrient the body needs to prevent osteoporosis. An individual can get their vitamin D through measured exposure to sunlight or through supplements. A diet with dairy, protein or calcium fortified foods (e.g. orange juice), fish (salmon/sardines) and yogurt (6 ounces has 300 mg of calcium) will go a long way in getting vitamin d to the bones.

What are the warning signs of the disease – and when is it time to see a doctor?

There are usually no warning signs before a fracture occurs; therefore, the most important factor is prevention.

A primary care provider (PCP) is the best person to monitor bone health. Most physicians recommend a DEXA (bone density test) after the age of 50.

The DEXA scan is the bone density test done most frequently and is predictive of fracture risk. The scan will also show whether you have normal bone density, osteopenia (bone is becoming weaker) or osteoporosis (bone is at high risk for fracture).

If a fracture occurs, then an orthopaedist would enter the picture to advise on treatment concerning the spine or extremity fracture.

If diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis – what’s next?

With treatment patients can live normal, active and happy lives.

There are many types of medications that are now available – which work to reverse and then rebuild the bone loss. With treatment, the risk of a vertebral fracture drops from between 30-70 percent and the risk of a hip fracture drops by up to 40 percent.

Housman OsteoporosisDr. Housman is an orthopaedic surgeon who practices at the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute. He earned a medical degree from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada and completed an orthopaedic surgery residency at the Montreal General Hospital and McGill University. Dr. Housman is fellowship trained in several orthopaedic pursuits and is a past chief of staff at Tucson Medical Center. He has also served as president of the Western Orthopaedic Association and Arizona Orthopaedic Society.

 

 

TMC celebrates 200 TAVR procedures – Tucson visitor thankful for life-saving technique

Furman 2Pennsylvania residents Frank and Jan Furman travel to Tucson every winter. This year, the couple was also visiting to attend an award ceremony for their daughter.

While in Tucson, a cardiac emergency put Frank Furman’s life in jeopardy. Thanks to a minimally invasive heart procedure known as TAVR, Furman has a new lease on life and was able to attend his daughter’s ceremony only a few days after the procedure.

Tucson Medical Center is celebrating the completion of 200 TAVR heart procedures. TAVR stands for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, a technique used to replace the aortic heart valve with less scarring, pain and recovery time than traditional open-chest surgery.

Furman had been experiencing some heart challenges, but received the OK to travel. Still, Jan worried for her husband as they made their way from Erie, Pennsylvania to Tucson. “He’s such a trooper and never complains, but I could tell he was more winded than usual.”

TMC Cardiovascular CenterThe couple enjoys southwest culture, and visited one of their favorite Tucson spots. “I couldn’t miss the Sons of the Pioneers show at Old Tucson Studios,” Furman said with a smile. But it was during the performance that things took a turn. Furman became so faint and winded after walking just 15 feet that he had to stop to catch his breath. The frightening experience motivated him to seek a cardiologist at Tucson Medical Center.

The structural heart team at TMC completed a number of advanced diagnostics and determined Furman’s aortic valve needed to be replaced immediately. While his family was concerned for his health, Furman had something else on his mind. “My daughter’s award ceremony was five days away – she’s worked so hard and I didn’t want to miss it,” Furman said.

waggonerThe close-knit family received some relief when Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Thomas Waggoner explained Furman was a strong candidate for TAVR.

With TAVR, an interventional cardiologist (or surgeon) guides the new heart valve through a catheter inserted in the upper thigh. The cardiologist then maneuvers into the heart and expands the new valve over the damaged valve, effectively replacing it with a tight seal.

The minimally-invasive procedure is an effective option for patients who are an intermediate/high surgery risk. In addition, patients experience minimal discomfort and a three-day average hospital stay – with patients returning to their normal activity after discharge.

“I felt better almost instantly,” Furman said. “The next day I was walking so fast that the physical therapist told me to slow down.”

Two days later, Furman left the hospital feeling great. “He looked so good! His face was full of color again and he had no trouble getting around,” said Furman’s wife, Jan. As for pain, “He didn’t even fill the prescription for pain meds,” she said happily.

Frank Furman’s life has changed; he’s no longer winded, has a strong prognosis and looks forward to rounding up the golf clubs again. “It’s the best thing that happened,” his wife of 57 years said.

TAVR Frank FurmanFurman wasn’t shy about sharing what he thought the greatest advantage of TAVR was. “I recovered fast enough to see my daughter Cheryl receive the Most Inspirational Mentor of the Year award; it was fantastic.”

TAVR is one of many procedures performed through TMC’s structural heart program, featuring advanced technologies, a specially-trained staff and a team of physicians who work with patients to evaluate and determine the best treatment plan.

The Furman family will soon be returning to Pennsylvania, where a new schedule for the patriarch includes walking, golf, cardiac rehabilitation and maybe a little more golf. When asked what he’d say to patients who are candidates for TAVR, Furman didn’t mince any words. “Go do it!”

During National Donate Life Month, organ donation impacted TMC family

National Donate Life 4.jpgThe Spohn family had a special reason to celebrate this year’s National Donate Life Month – a kidney donation that has made a meaningful difference in their lives, providing great relief and renewed freedom.

When it comes to doing things together, the Spohns are a close-knit family who share every triumph and every challenge. Ed Spohn credits the support of his wife, Michelle and son, Phillip for helping him brave the extraordinary challenges of polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

The Spohns are also a part of the Tucson Medical Center family – Michelle has been a member of the TMC nursing-staff for more than 20 years, and Philip will soon be moving from transportation into patient safety.

Now in his late 50s, Ed has been coping with the disease since age 17. “They told me I’d probably have to go on dialysis in my 50s.” Unfortunately the genetic disease took grip far sooner, and dangerously enlarged Ed’s kidneys before he turned 40. In 1997, Ed received a kidney from his wife, Michelle.

Ed’s life changed and he could resume most activities. After the transplant, Ed says he felt “wonderful.” Gone was the chronic pain in his back, the swelling in his feet, the nausea, and the intense headaches and shortness of breath. Ed’s family experienced the challenges with him – and Michelle knows she did the right thing.

National Donate Life“It’s so gratifying to do something like this,” said Michelle. “It is so hard to see a loved one suffer and It made all the difference. I’d do it again if I had another to give.”

Michelle said she has not experienced any medical issues as a result of her donation, and she encourages others to donate. “I tell people to get tested for a tissue-match if they have a family member or loved one with kidney failure – it will change everything for them.”

Receiving a kidney transplant requires constant care and monitoring. While the rewards change lives, there is a risk of rejection and the recipient will need to take anti-rejection medications that have additional risks and side effects.

Unfortunately, transplant kidneys do not last as long as our own organs. Ed’s periodic blood tests revealed the transplant kidney was failing in 2013. He soon began dialysis – a process in which a machine called a hemodialyzer performs the function of the kidneys. The process is life-saving, but strenuous – often causing anemia, fluid overload, constant itching, trouble sleeping, and other taxing symptoms.

Ed received dialysis treatment three times a week, for several hours at a time. The process also involves frequent testing. “You have to adhere to a strict diet, and get fluids and blood checked all the time,” Ed said. “It was never easy, but we did what we had to do.”

Dialysis also requires frequent sessions, restricting any travel. “I missed a lot of things,” Ed stated. “I couldn’t go to so many family gatherings, like my niece’s wedding – I even missed my mother’s special birthday party when she turned 80.”

National Donate Life 3.jpgAfter a year, the Spohns also provided hemodialysis for ED at home – a very difficult task that was understandably stressful and overwhelming for the family. “We experienced a roller coaster of emotions,” Michelle said. “Ed was on the donation list and we answered every phone call with such hope.”

Those hopes came to fruition last week, when the Spohn family received the call they had been waiting for. The transplant was a success – and the Spohns are overjoyed to be sharing a triumph. Michelle attended a ceremonial flag-raising on the TMC campus last week to bring awareness to the need for organ donation.

“I’m so thankful,” Ed said, with a grateful smile. Transplant recipients can write an appreciative letter to the family of the deceased donor through the Donor Network of Arizona. Ed said he wants to take it a step further. “I really hope I get to meet them, so I can tell them how much it helps our family – I’m forever grateful.”

What’s next for the Spohns? The family will spend the next few months ensuring Ed’s body accepts the new kidney – after that, they hope to travel and celebrate Ed’s restored health. “I’m already feeling so much better!”

For further information about organ donation, visit the website for the Donor Network of Arizona.

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TMC, Mayo Clinic collaborate on Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium

 

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Tucson Medical Center, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, is pleased to offer the first Survive Well: Living with Cancer Symposium will take place on Saturday, April 22, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Arizona. Attendance is FREE.

Living with cancer 2Patients and families living with and overcoming cancer often have questions about the best approaches and strategies for moving forward in treatment or in recovery.

The free event, which Mayo Clinic has successfully offered for the past eight years, is designed to share expertise from well-respected speakers, as well as provide a unique opportunity for supportive dialogue between patients, caregivers and family members. The broad-based symposium will include discussions on physical activity, complementary and integrative therapies and techniques to deal with the stress of these diseases.

Living with cancer 3As a member of the Mayo Clinical Care Network, TMC works with Mayo Clinic to better serve patients and their families, from collaborating on tumor boards, to having access to Mayo grand rounds, as well as sharing best practices. “This symposium is an exciting extension of the work we’re doing with Mayo Clinic, to ensure that our patients benefit from our collective knowledge, with their care as close to home as possible,” said Dr. Robert Brooks, medical director of oncology at TMC.

Dr. Ruben Mesa of Mayo Clinic explained the goal of the symposium is to provide comprehensive information about cancer in a way that is approachable and actionable for patients. “It is also an important opportunity for patients to hear information they may not discuss in the exam room,” he said, “with others who share similar concerns and questions.”

For more information or to save your spot, please visit https://www.tmcaz.com/survivewell17

Learn more about the advances in hip and knee treatment with Dr. Dalal

Join Dr. Ali H. Dalal from the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute for a free interactive discussion highlighting current advancements in treating joint pain – from non-surgical treatment options to the latest Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted technology.

El DoradoFaster recovery and increased mobility are more accessible than ever before!

If you or a loved one is suffering from joint aches and pains and thinking about seeing a specialist – this discussion is for you.

The presentation and discussion will be held at 1400 N. Wilmot (El Dorado plaza) on April 12 at 5:30 p.m.

Attendance is free, but you must register by calling (520) 324-1960 or you can register online at TMC for Seniors. See you there!

 

Dalal3Dr. Dalal is a fellowship-trained hip and knee replacement surgeon at Tucson Orthopaedic Institute. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a Bachelors of Science in Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology.  He received his M.D. from the University of California San Diego and completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Illinois Chicago.  He completed a fellowship in hip and knee replacement at the Florida Orthopaedic Institute.

 

 

TMC supporting C-PATH initiative to end TB on 35th annual World Tuberculosis Day

On March 24, the world will recognize the 35th annual observance of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day.

For most of us, the word “tuberculosis” is often forgotten, since the number of cases has dropped thanks to public health and surveillance efforts in the developed world, making it easy to forget that tuberculosis is still one of the leading causes of death worldwide.

Critical Path InstituteThe Critical Path to TB Drug Regimens (CPTR) – a consortium within the larger Tucson-based nonprofit the Critical Path Institute (C-Path) – is waging the global fight against tuberculosis through collaboration with TB research organizations, academia, and the pharmaceutical industry.

But C-Path is not the first Arizona-based organization to be at the forefront of TB diagnosis and treatment. Nearly a century ago, Tucson Medical Center established roots in Tucson as a TB treatment facility.

At the turn of the 20th century, cramped and heavily populated cities along the Eastern seaboard served as an ideal environment for the highly infectious tuberculosis. Though it would be years until the first successful antibiotic was developed, physicians of the time noted the benefits of dry, fresh air and a warm, sunny climate.

By the 1920s, the ideal weather and rural areas made Southern Arizona the “premier destination” for tuberculosis patients.

TMC TB DayOne such destination for TB patients was the internationally known Desert Sanatorium in Tucson. The historic “Desert San” provided an ideal environment for those suffering from tuberculosis.

During World War II, the Desert Sanatorium found itself stripped of critical staff and resources, eventually closing its doors in 1943. They wouldn’t remain closed for long, however. The Tucson community rallied to raise the necessary funds to convert the local landmark into a brand-new hospital — Tucson Medical Center.

“This site and these efforts would soon become Tucson Medical Center,” said Mimi Warwick Coomler, vice president and chief nursing officer of Tucson Medical Center Some of the original buildings remain in service today, as a testament to the importance and impact of a community’s strength and commitment to eradicating a disease that continues to this day.”

Today, TMC stands tall upon its deep roots – providing first-rate medical care to community members for more than 70 years. TMC has not forgotten its origins as a leading name in tuberculosis therapy so many years ago – and values C-PATH’s strong efforts to stop the spread of TB throughout the world.

World TB DayAlthough TB is far from the disease it once was, reports within the last 10 years have shown some bacteria to be resistant to anti-TB drugs.

Organizations such as C-Path are continuing the work that was started so long ago by the Tucson Medical Center – leading the way in global TB diagnostics and drug development. C-Path’s CPTR initiative is working with a global coalition of leading international pharmaceutical companies, public health experts, and regulatory authorities to bring the best TB care to those who need it most.

On March 24, we reflect on the lessons of the past successes achieved through strong partnership and collaborations. TMC strongly supports C-Path’s CPTR initiative – a meaningful step toward a global victory over tuberculosis.

 

Stroke Prevention Saturday April 15 at TMC

Are you at risk for a stroke? Join TMC and HealthSouth Rehabilitation Institute of Tucson for the annual free Stroke Prevention Saturday, April 15, 7 a.m. to noon at TMC Marshall Conference Center.

Free testing for:

  • Height, weight and body mass index
  • Blood pressure and oxygen saturation
  • Glucose and cholesterol measurements
  • Carotid Doppler ultrasound to look for blockages or narrowing
  • Electrocardiogram

A physician will review your results with you.

The screening is recommended for those 50 years and older. For best results, an eight-hour fast is recommended.

In addition, to learning about their risk for stroke, participants will also receive information on recognizing the signs of a stroke and how to control risk facts and the signs of a stroke.

No appointment necessary. Please allow 45 minutes for screening.

Light snacks will be available.

Click for a flier with map and, also, a Spanish-language version.

Peppi’s House celebrates Bogey’s 15th birthday

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Bogey first visited Peppi’s House, TMC’s inpatient hospice unit, when he was a wee pug pup of 6 months. Penny Lundstrom, his human companion, had him certified at as a therapy dog at 18 months, the minimum age. And the two have been visiting patients and families at Peppi’s House ever since. Today, Lundstrom and the staff at Peppi’s House celebrated Bogey’s 15th birthday.

“At this age he can barely walk up the street,” Lundstrom said. “But we come here and he runs!”

Bogey has soothed agitated patients and calmed nervous family members.

Once he was taken into a room with a woman who hadn’t communicated since she had a stroke two weeks prior. Her hand was placed on Bogey and she began to pet him. When he was taken away, she vocalized as best she could indicating she wanted the dog back.

The patient was one of thousands of people Bogey has visited over the years. While he might not run — or hear — as well as he did in his youth, Bogey puts on the charm as he greets people, sneaks a lick of icing and brings smiles to all he meets.

Physician achieves ablation milestone at TMC

Tucson Medical Center congratulates Dr. Darren Peress on a significant achievement: He has now performed 1,000 stereotactic ablations. The milestone is an accomplishment for Dr. Peress, Tucson Medical Center and patients challenged by an irregular heartbeat.

Dr. Peress is a specialist in cardiac electrophysiology, the study and treatment of the heart’s electrical activity. Put simply, a cardiac electrophysiologist helps when the heartbeat is out of rhythm.

peress-afibAn irregular heartbeat, also called an arrhythmia, can create premature or extra heartbeats, causing palpitations, a “fluttering” feeling in the chest. There are many different types of arrhythmias, ranging from mild to severe.

Serious arrhythmias can also cause chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, stroke or sudden death. The conditions significantly burden a person’s quality-of-life, leaving them with an anxious sense of uncertainty.

To witness him in action is to see careful focus and quiet determination. As Dr. Peress finished the procedure, his colleagues and nurses complimented his work ethic, talent and person. Some singled out his precision and teamwork. Another stressed his commitment to patient care.

Cardiac-electrophysiology procedures are unique because of the skill required, the technology used and the dramatic difference they make in a patient’s quality of life.

“It’s a quickly evolving field,” said Dr. Peress. “It’s impressive how far technology has come. Today, we’re helping patients that had few, if any, options just 15 years ago.”

The soft-spoken physician explained the various ways arrhythmias are treated, noting that procedures have quickly progressed from addressing minor conditions to tackling more complex arrhythmias.

The procedures are interventional (meaning they involve access inside the body) and can take anywhere from 45 minutes to a few hours, depending on the health challenges and needs of each patient.

Most patients are able to head home the same day, and many see dramatic results immediately – able to engage in normal activity without the possibility of vertigo, difficulty breathing and serious heart problems.

peress-steretactic-ablationIt is clear that developing technologies in operation and imaging are the essential elements pushing cardiac-electrophysiology forward. Dr. Peress said he is especially pleased to see efficacy rates increasing as technology advances.

The Stereotaxis equipment is a leading technology that provides very detailed information to the doctor in real time,” Peress said. “Movement and placement can be done more safely and accurately – making it possible to treat certain types of arrhythmias that were extremely challenging before.”

Technology makes a difference, and it is not available everywhere. “TMC is the only hospital in Arizona featuring the Stereotaxis equipment – one of the many reasons I perform my procedures at TMC,” the doctor explained.

When time allows, the busy doctor enjoys traveling with his family. His easy-going nature brought friendly laughter and smiles as he described a recent trip to Vietnam and Cambodia.

After reaching the benchmark of helping 1,000 patients, Dr. Peress was asked what his next goal is. His answer: “A thousand more!”

A chance to meet with Dr. Peress

If you are one of the millions of people struggling with Atrial Fibrillation you can meet Dr. Peress for an interactive presentation highlighting the revolutionary technologies available at TMC for treatment and lifestyle changes for prevention 2pm Sunday, February 12th at The Core.

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Dr. Darren Peress is a cardiac electrophysiologist who practices at Pima Heart and completes procedures at Tucson Medical Center.

Hospice RN recognized for commitment to Benson community

The Southern Arizona community of Benson has one of TMC Hospice’s most dedicated nurses in Mary Ann Young.mary-ann-young-heart-of-hospice

Last week, Young was recognized as the Heart of Hospice, a quarterly award where Hospice staff can recognize their peers. Over the years, Young has had hundreds of patients in the Southern Arizona community of about 5,000 located an hour east of Tucson. She is on call around the clock, does the admissions work for her patients and is there following their deaths. She delivers medications and supplies, and she runs a bereavement support group, said Wiley Baker, a TMC Hospice social worker who nominated her.

“Mary Ann has been a steady dependable nurse for TMC Hospice for the last 22 years,” Baker said, acknowledging that Young is the reason Baker continues to cover Benson as a social worker.

Because of the foundation Young has helped to build in her community, patients are better able to stay in their homes at the end of their lives, and their families are also able to receive the support they need.

“Mary Ann certainly has heart and I’m pleased that she’s being recognized for her work in our community,” said Benson Mayor Toney D. King, Sr. “Because of her compassion and dedication, many families are able to keep their loved ones comfortable at home for the time they have remaining. That is just such a gift that can’t be understated. We are grateful to have her as a neighbor.”

The Heart of Hospice is someone who embodies the hospice philosophy and represents all that is good in health care:

Everything he or she does is for our patients and families and personifies compassion, kindness, empathy, a great work ethic and knowledge. The Heart of Hospice is also someone who is calm under pressure, is respectful, is detail-oriented, is a critical thinker, and has great communication skills. This person is someone who is always there to help his or her peers and does so with grace and skill. Being able to nominate someone for this award is a gift because it means you have observed greatness, not just once, but every time you have interacted with this individual.

In addition to being recognized among her peers, Young has her name and photo displayed on a plaque in the entryway to Peppi’s House, received a “key” pin to wear on her ID badge representing the key to the Heart of Hospice, and parks in the designated Employee of the Quarter space at Peppi’s House.

Dr. Lincoln returns as medical director for TMC Hospice

lincolnLast month, TMC Hospice announced the return of Larry Lincoln, M.D., as the full-time medical director for TMC Hospice.

Dr. Lincoln is board-certified in internal medicine, infectious diseases and hospice/palliative care. With the exception of a short retirement in 2015-16, he has been the TMC Hospice medical director since its inception in 1991.

“He has mentored many of the team members here at TMC Hospice so we are excited he chose to return to us,” said Alicia Ferguson, TMC director of Hospice & Palliative Care Operations.  “I am looking forward to partnering with him on many new and exciting projects and strategies we are planning for 2017 and beyond.  Be on the lookout for great things from TMC Hospice!”

Dr. Lincoln worked with hospice pioneer Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross for 10 years, leading her Life, Death and Transition Workshops in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Lincoln joins Rebecca Egbert, M.D., pediatric medical director, and Nicole Ralston, AGNP, in leading the care of TMC Hospice patients.

For more information about TMC Hospice, visit www.tmcaz.com/hospice or call (520) 324-2438.

AZPM’s ‘Feeding our Future’ features TMC director of Food Services

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Food & Nutrition Services Director Beth Dorsey buys organic produce from local farms for TMC.

Beth Dorsey, TMC’s director of Food & Nutrition Services, is featured in Farmers and Market, the final segment of the nine-part Arizona Public Media series, Feeding Our Future.

The hospital buys about 300 pounds of fresh produce a month through the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona’s Farm-to-Institution food brokerage business. The partnership helps ensure a market for local farmers and fresh organic produce for TMC’s staff, patients and visitors.

Produced by Laura Markowitz, the radio series features stories of the innovative work being done to feed families, promote health and food security, prepare for climate change, and create pathways out of poverty. The series was made possible with support from the Zuckerman Family Foundation.

Episode 1 aired Sept. 16, 2016, and the final episode airs today and tomorrow, on NPR 89.1/FM. Tune in to Arizona Spotlight, or visit  https://radio.azpm.org/kuaz.azspotlight/ to hear all the episodes.

It’s LoveLights time!

lovelightsThe TMC Auxiliary hosts the annual lighting of the LoveLights tree on Thursday, Nov. 10, 5-6:30 p.m. next to the Labyrinth at Peppi’s House, 2715 N. Wyatt Dr.

This cherished tradition benefits TMC Hospice through the sale of lights to commemorate our veterans, honor someone special and memorialize lost loved ones.

“Our patients’ families love to reconnect with us and it’s a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season,” said Krista Durocher, TMC Hospice volunteer coordinator.

The event includes food, door prizes and music. Lights are $5 each or three for $10 and are available at the event as well as online by clicking 2016 LoveLights.

Donations are accepted through the remainder of 2016.

TMC receives 4-star hospital rating from CMS

tmc-for-children-patient-careTucson Medical Center is the only hospital in Tucson to receive a four-star rating in the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings released on Wednesday.

The ratings are a composite metric of one to five stars, with five being the best. They intend to convey the overall quality of nearly 4,000 hospitals in the U.S and are posted to the CMS’ Hospital Compare site.

“We are very encouraged by the rating. It reflects the focus and hard work of the nursing and medical staff at the hospital to consistently provide high-quality care,” said TMC Chief Medical Officer Rick Anderson, M.D. “Though to be sure, this work is never done. There is always room for improvement, and we will continue to standardize our processes, reduce waste in the system and continue delivering high-quality care that TMC has been known for these 70-plus years.”

The new Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating takes 64 existing quality measures already reported on the Hospital Compare website and summarizes them into a unified rating of one to five stars, with five being the best.

The rating includes quality measures for routine care that the average individual receives, such as care received when being treated for heart attacks and pneumonia, to quality measures that focus on hospital-acquired infections, such as catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

“These easy-to-understand star ratings are available online and empower people to compare and choose across various types of facilities from nursing homes to home health agencies,” according to Dr. Kate Goodrich, director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality at CMS, in a blog post announcing the star ratings’ release.

Just 102 institutions out of 4,599 hospitals, or 2.2 percent, earned five stars. Of the rest of the hospitals, 20.3 percent garnered four stars, 38.5 percent received three, 15.7 percent earned two stars and 2.9 percent received a single star.

Homecare nurse named inaugural Heart of Hospice

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Carrie Linker, R.N., is named first Heart of Hospice quarterly honoree this morning.

When TMC Hospice decided to start an employee of the quarter program, the plan called for accepting nominations then having a team of peers review the nominations and determine the staff member to be recognized.

With the first Heart of Hospice, the team had nothing to do, Alicia Ferguson, director of TMC Hospice & Palliative Care, told the staff gathered at Peppi’s House this morning.

“Every nomination had the same name,” she said. “Our Heart of Hospice honoree is someone who exudes confidence, compassion, love, critical thinking and more. This person brightens the day of ever patient and family member, and every single one of you.”

Then Carrie Linker, R.N., was recognized as the first Heart of Hospice honoree. She provides care to hospice patients in their homes. She’s been at TMC Hospice for about a year, after transferring from the step-down unit.

“These people I work with are some much better than I am,” she said. “This is the most awesome group of people I’ve ever worked with.”

From the nomination form:

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Linker, center, wears her crown proudly as she stands with colleagues during a ceremony this morning to honor her as the Heart of Hospice.

The Heart of Hospice is someone who embodies the hospice philosophy and represents all that is good in health care. Everything he or she does is for our patients and families and personifies compassion, kindness, empathy, a great work ethic and knowledge. The Heart of Hospice is also someone who is calm under pressure, is respectful, is detail-oriented, is a critical thinker, and has great communication skills. This person is someone who is always there to help his or her peers and does so with grace and skill. Being able to nominate someone for this award is a gift because it means you have observed greatness, not just once, but every time you have interacted with this individual.

In addition to being recognized among her peers, Linker has her name and photo displayed on a plaque in the entryway to Peppi’s House, received a “key” pin to wear on her ID badge representing the key to the Heart of Hospice, and parks in the designated Employee of the Quarter space at Peppi’s House.

 

TMC: Getting its kind on

mural 1 Triple digit temperatures didn’t dampen enthusiasm for dozens of Tucson Medical Center employees and volunteers who took shifts over Friday and Saturday to install a “Be Kind” mosaic mural in a patio near the Gift Shop.

The Kindness Patio was the latest evolution in TMC’s participation in the Ben’s Bells Kind Colleagues program, which asks businesses and organizations to place a priority on building a positive workspace.

The mural’s roots date to 2014, when TMC agreed to accept a Ben’s Bells kindness challenge and document 1 ,000 acts of kindness. Employees, patients and volunteers helped TMC surpass its goal, with 1 ,240 acts of kindness.

Earlier this year, Ben’s Bells Founder Jeannette Mare led a conversation on kindness for TMC managers, directors and executives, touching on scientific research around the power of kindnemural 2ss to heal, and tailored to the specific opportunities available in health care to practice self-kindness to reduce stress and boost productivity.

During Hospital Week at the beginning of May, staff volunteered to make the tiles that would become the mural. Hope Thomas, the director of community programs for Tucson Medical Center, said the choice to put the mural inside the campus, instead of on an exterior wall with greater public visibility, was a conscious one.

“We know our employees appreciate our relationship with Ben’s Bells and the work we’ve done to become a kind colleague in the community,” she said. “We wanted to find a space where they would have a chance to see the mural and where it could reinforce the work that we do here every day – particularly since the practice of kindness is already reflected in our mission and our values.”

Click for mmural 3ore information about Ben’s Bells’ Kind Colleagues program.

TMC Hospice continues 25th anniversary celebrations with new ramada, open house

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Some 75 people took advantage of Thursday’s cool morning to attend an open house and ramada dedication at TMC Hospice. This was the second in a series of celebrations at TMC Hospice this year as it celebrates its 25th anniversary.

“We are so excited and proud to be celebrating 25 years of service to Tucson and surrounding communities and look forward to continuing to partner with others in health care to provide the best of care to those who need us,” said Alicia Ferguson, director of operations for TMC Hospice & Palliative Care

The new medical director, Curt Gedney, M.D., and nurse practitioner, Nicole Ralston, AGNP, were introduced to the group, which included local physicians and, senior-living and home-care representatives as well as TMC board members, executives and staff.

The ramada was funded through a TMC Foundation grant and, according to Mary Kay LeFevour, TMC Hospice bereavement coordinator, will be used to host celebrations of life, memorials, weddings and more.

“Yes, we have weddings here at Hospice,” LeFevour explained. “Sometimes people will get married here so their loved one, who is in hospice, can be a part of it.”

TMC honored by county attorney for support of victims of sexual assault, strangulation

National Victims' Rights Week

Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, right, thanks Judy Rich for TMC’s long-term commitment to victims of sexual assault and strangulation.

Tucson Medical Center and TMC President and CEO Judy Rich were recognized this week by Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

Rich accepted an award on behalf of TMC for the hospital’s commitment to survivors of sexual assault and strangulation. TMC has partnered with the Pima County Attorney’s Office for nearly two decades to provide compassionate care to victims and to support the collection of evidence through forensic examinations.

TMC has a dedicated room–away from all the hustle and bustle off the main Emergency Department–fitted with special forensic equipment to gather evidence of rape and strangulation. In addition, victims receive medical, emotional and practical care as they begin the healing process.

Also recognized at the ceremony Tuesday night at Z Mansion downtown was Sharon Welch, a former TMC nurse, for her continued work with the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault as a forensic nurse examiner for strangulation victims, using a protocol developed, in part, by Stephanie Noriega, another honoree from Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse.

National Victims’ Rights Week recognizes that serving victims and rebuilding their trust, restores not only hope to survivors, but to the communities in which we all live.

“This evening we re-dedicate ourselves to serving victims, building trust and restoring hope for justice and healing,” LaWall said. “We dedicate ourselves to assisting victims so that they may find support, justice and peace.”

Jaimie Jill Leon-Guerrero was the Voice of Courage honoree for her dedication to public education and awareness of the devastating consequences of impaired driving. When Leon-Guerreo was a Tucson Fire Department emergency dispatcher, she dispatched  EMTs to the scene of a bicyclist fatally hit by a car only to discover later that the victim was her partner, Kris. Other honorees included Jason Frazier, Mothers Against Drunk Driving; Maria Garrick, Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center; and Carol Gaxiola, Homicide Survivors, Inc.

About 150 attended including Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos; representatives from Tucson, Pima Community College and University of Arizona police departments; and legal and nonprofit communities.

Hospice hummingbirds fly the coop

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Earlier this month, TMC Hospice played host to a nesting hummingbird and her two chicks. While the quiet desert setting of Peppi’s House attracts critters of all sorts, a number of hummingbird feeders–donated, filled and cleaned by volunteers–attract these smallest of birds.

Each of the 16 patient rooms in the inpatient hospice facility opens to a courtyard. It was in a tree next to the sliding glass door of one of these rooms that the nest was spotted by family members of a patient. The family alerted the staff to the nest.

With an abundance of patience and a long lens, TMC staff member Alan Stock photographed the chicks throughout their nesting time. Less than two weeks later, they had flown the coop.

 

Flu-like symptoms? TMC One offers same-day appointment

If you are seeking immediate care for flu-like symptoms, call TMC One, 324-2160, to schedule a same-day appointment.TMC One

TMC One’s Dr. William Abraham, M.D., specializes in same-day or next-day appointment. He is board-certified in internal medicine and has more than 30 years experience. His office is located at 1396 N. Wilmot Road.

Visit TMC One online at www.TMCOne.com

 

TMC, TMC One now part of The Network – Arizona’s electronic health information exchange

HINAzToday Tucson Medical Center and TMC One join a growing list of Arizona health care providers electronically connected via The Network, Arizona Health-e Connection’s statewide electronic health information exchange, or HIE.

The Network aims to solve the challenge of knitting together a patient’s complete medical record in a traditionally fragmented system. Access to better and more complete information at the point of care can improve decision making and care management.

The Network includes a long list of providers, hospitals, reference labs and health plans. These entities can access and view a patient’s current and historical medical information from many sources. Additionally, the patient’s information can be queried and downloaded to a practice’s or a hospital’s electronic medical record.

The first time a patient is seen in one of these practices or visits TMC, including outpatient areas, the patient will be asked to sign an HIE notice explaining this secure electronic information sharing. Other than signing this notice, nothing needs to be done to have records made available to other providers. If a patient doesn’t want to share information, an opt-out form can be completed at this time. Patients have the right to change their mind at anytime to either opt out or to opt back in.

For additional information click for answers to frequently asked questions. You can also contact the Network directly, TheNetwork@azhec.org or (602) 688‐7200. The Network’s website is www.azhec.org.

Former chief of staff to be remembered Friday in memorial service at TMC

John WilsonFormer TMC Chief of Staff, founding radiologist of Radiology Ltd. and dedicated athlete John A. Wilson, M.D., died Feb. 2. He was 98. His memorial service is Friday, Feb. 12, 3 p.m., at the TMC Marshall Conference Center.

“When I read his obituary this morning, all I could see was John running through the halls of TMC to his car. He wasn’t in hurry, it was just that he was a great athlete,” said Palmer Evans, M.D., former TMC senior vice president and chief medical officer. “I can just see him running up to heaven.”

Roxanne Bacon, Radiology manager, remembers Dr. Wilson as “the kindest, most gentle man I ever knew.” She also recounted that Dr. Wilson practiced radiology before it went high-tech. In order to read X-rays, he always had a light on his head, and his ruler and magnifying glass nearby.

Dr. Wilson was also former president of the Pima County Medical Society. His greatest devotion was for family — his and others. “He was very involved with his family and knew all about yours,” Bacon said.

Dr. Wilson is survived by Helen, his beloved wife of 72 years, three children and many others. Click to read his full obituary at the Arizona Daily Star.

TMC Auxiliary presents gifts, welcomes new officers

Auxiliary Logo ProofThe TMC Auxiliary is thrilled to present gifts to TMC and announce a new installation of board of director officers! The TMC Auxiliary formed in 1949 and remains an integral part of the hospital providing volunteer and philanthropic support. TMC Auxiliary volunteers work in more than 40 areas of the hospital. In addition to giving their time, they also provide annual financial support to TMC, funding needed internal programs and projects.

The support the Auxiliary provides to TMC is truly astounding. In 2015, for example, they logged more than 78,000 hours – the equivalent of 40 full-time employees! Auxiliary volunteers made almost 1,500 heart pillows and delivered them to our cardiac patients to help them recover. They made and delivered nearly 400 walker bags and delivered them to patients in need along with almost 200 quilts for our pediatric patients and babies in the newborn intensive care unit. Additionally, they provided more than 16,000 patient-assistance visits.

On behalf of the TMC Auxiliary:

▪ Jon Schwindt presented a $50,000 check for the Joel M. Childers, M.D., Women’s Surgery Center
▪ Janet Grubbs presented a $30,000 check for breast screening services
▪ Sue Burg presented a $10,000 check for TMC’s Memory Care program
▪ Diana Bergen presented a $10,000 check for the Healing Arts program and a $4,000 check for TMC Foundation events
▪ Ginny Robbins presented a $7,500 check to provide medical massages to open heart patients
▪ Al Frizelle presented a $7,500 check to provide scholarships to patients who need Cardiac Rehab
▪ Lewis Jones presented a $6,000 check for TMC Hospice family assistance
▪ Shirley Alfano presented a $5,000 check for pediatric staff to purchase Tomas the Turtle stuffed animals for children to hold as they undergo anesthesia

IMG_4123Congratulations to the new TMC Auxiliary Officers:

▪ Dan Bailey, President
▪ Jim Kelaher, Vice President
▪ Gary Hembree, Treasurer
▪ Ginny Robbins, Parliamentarian
▪ Janet Grubbs, Volunteer Advocate
▪ Diana Bergen, Member at Large
▪ Marge Zismann, Member at Large
▪ Barbara Hammond, Member at Large
▪ Shirley Alfano, Member at Large
▪ Carole Fee, Service Coordinator
▪ Lewis Jones, Past President

TMC sincerely appreciates all of our volunteers for their time, talent and treasure!
If you are interested in joining this incredible volunteer force at TMC, please click here.

Hospice volunteers honor veterans year-round

For Vietnam combat veteran David Powell, it is a privilege and an honor to say a final thank you and give one final salute to fellow veterans who are dying at Tucson Medical Center’s hospice, Peppi’s House, or in hospice care at a home.

Many of the veterans find it hard to fathom that they would be honored by the We Honor Vets program: They were just doing their duty, they insist.

Veteran Ceremony

David Powell presents a flag to veteran Thomas Elliott while D.A. Falkner looks on. Elliott served in the U.S. Army. He passed away four days after this ceremony.

Others, some of whom did not come home to a thank you, particularly returning from Vietnam or the so-called “forgotten war” in Korea, are moved to tears. Some of them haven’t even shared details of their service with family – but when they see another coming in uniform, to hang a flag and express their gratitude, it opens doors. Here’s someone who understands.

“For me, it’s part of a spiritual journey to be with them at this time,” said Powell, who had cared for veterans as a volunteer chaplain when he learned about TMC’s program, which will honor an estimated 300 veterans this year. We Honor Veterans is an awareness campaign, designed to recognize that veterans often have different medical and spiritual challenges, and developed in collaboration with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Veterans are honored with certificates of appreciation, lapel pins, American flags and other tokens of gratitude, such as pillowcases or quilts in patriotic design.

Lt. Col. D.A. Falkner, a former Air Force veteran, said while it is important to fly a flag on Veterans Day and Memorial Day to commemorate those who have served, he is grateful for the opportunity to forge more personal connections. “I just appreciate being able to thank them directly for their patriotism and service to their country,” he said.

Falkner said there are many ways to show appreciation to veterans:

  • Active duty military members in particular are needed to perform final honor presentations to veterans in hospice
  • Identify your local veteran organizations and see if there are ways to donate or volunteer
  • Attend community events that commemorate service
  • Mobilize church and school groups to write thank you letters to members currently serving
  • Thank a veteran close to you
  • Thank a veteran you see in the community

Program volunteers are considering an extension of the program to honor veterans in care homes, before they need hospice services. “This is where my heart is,” said Powell. “It is such a powerful program, that we wanted to be able to advance its reach into the community to honor veterans before they reach the end of their lives.”

Go to Sharing Memories to download a TMC Hospice Life Story Book, where you can create a family treasure of memories and experiences of your loved ones. You can also use the form to sign up for our quarterly newsletter or get more information about volunteering.

TMC doc dons dance shoes to benefit Diaper Bank

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Donna Fulton’s dance background includes nailing the jitterbug in her basement back in the 1950s. So when her daughter, Anne Fulton-Cavett, the chair of Dancing With Our Stars to benefit the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, asked her to compete in the 2015 event, she couldn’t refuse.

Now Fulton, a retired TMC executive and physician in internal medicine, is  spending at least four hours a week with her dance partner in preparation for the May 8 contest at the Westin La Paloma. Tucson Medical Center is the title sponsor.

Fulton’s dance partner is John Caballero, a local professional dancer who has taken part in at least seven Dancing With Our Stars. The pair will compete in the East Coast swing category of the event. Unfortunately for Caballero, though, the jitterbug is related to East Coast swing — but not quite the same.

“He keeps telling me to quit jittering,” laughed Fulton, during an early morning practice at Studio West School of Dance, where Caballero teaches.

“You do a lot of things that are cute,” teased Caballero. “They’re not East Coast swing, but they are cute.”

Caballero came late to professional dancing in his mid-20s, but when he found it, he found his calling. “Teaching students and helping them find dance in themselves is very fulfilling to me,” he said. And his care shows as he leads Fulton all over the dance floor. The difficult moves they practice begin to look second nature.

“It’s an intimate thing,” Caballero said. “You can’t be shy with each other.”

But more important, it seems, is to have fun. “We just end up laughing,” said Fulton.

While nailing their routine is important, so is raising money for the diaper bank. For $10, people can cast a vote for their favorite local stars. Everyone is encouraged to vote early and vote often. Click here to vote for  your favorite star. 

Ceremony honors service of two local WWII veterans

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When TMC Hospice volunteer and retired Air National Guard Lt. Col. Dave Falkner got the assignment to recognize a local resident as part of the We Honor Veterans program, he called to see if anyone else was a veteran. That’s how veterans Leonard Groh, 93, and Clara Robinson, 98, became the center of attention one morning this week at their assisted living home in central Tucson.

During World War II, Groh was a mechanic with the Army Air Corps, working on B-17s in Greenland. Though he wasn’t in a combat unit, he and his comrades would at times face the perilous task of going on recovery missions into a cold sea, including riding skis to get to stranded crewmen.

Robinson, a member of the Woman’s Air Corp, likes to say she was in for the duration – she joined as soon as possible after the WAC was created in May 1942. She notes with pride that the last digits of her Army serial number were 045. She was in Paris when the war ended in Europe and in Japan when the war ended there. She left the military in 1948.

Both veterans were honored with a short ceremony where they were presented with a plaque that reads: “We pay special tribute to you for your military service to American and for advancing the universal hope of freedom and liberty for all.” In addition, they received a lapel pin, a small flag, a patriotic quilt and a World War II Veteran decal.

In addition to Falkner, other service members honoring the veterans included SMSgt. Rose Mardula with the 162nd Air National Guard, Specialist David Powell formerly with the U.S. Army and CMSgt. Mike Flake with the Air Force Reserves.

After providing the mementos to the veterans, the service members stood together, offering a last tribute salute to them both. Many people in attendance were visibly moved by the ceremony, including Groh’s wife, who lives with him in the same care home, and his two children.

The impetus behind the We Honor Veterans program is to provide simple acts of gratitude at the end of life to provide a final opportunity for veterans to know their service was not in vain and that they are appreciated.

At TMC Hospice, alone, more than 300 veterans are cared for each year, with the need only growing. Presently, according to the national World War II Museum, almost 500 World War II veterans are dying each day with only about 855,000 veterans remaining out of the 16 million who served. And this doesn’t include service members from other eras.

Click to learn more about the TMC Hospice We Honor Veterans program and how to get involved.

TMC cuts ribbon for newly renovated, expanded Women’s Surgery area

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Tucson Medical Center cut the ribbon for a newly expanded operating suite for the Joel M. Childers, M.D., Women’s Surgery Center featuring the latest technology and improved workflow.

As of Monday, women coming to TMC for gynecological surgery will be cared for in the upgraded operating rooms, with dedicated waiting areas for patients and families.

The former women’s surgical suites are being revamped to continue to serve Labor & Delivery for cesarean sections.

The work has been funded through the current capital campaign, Making HerStory, the TMC Foundation’s current effort to raise $12.5 million to help centralize TMC’s Women’s Services, which have been spread throughout different areas of the hospital. Consolidating resources and creating a dedicated entry point for services will increase efficiency, enhance privacy and improve quality outcomes.

Find out more at Making HerStory.

1,000 acts of kindness and counting…

ResizedKindnessWith a party, a song and a dance, Tucson Medical Center accepted the Ben’s Bells Be Kind Challenge last month as it pledged to record 1,000 acts of kindness. As of Monday afternoon, TMC had 1,014 acts recorded with more than half the month to go.

Let’s see what the next couple weeks bring as momentum continues to build. Visit the #BeKindChallenge to see what other businesses, schools and organizations have accepted the challenge and to learn more about the endeavor.

Mlawsky named new COO for TMC

Karen MlawskyTucson Medical Center is pleased to announce that Karen Mlawsky has been appointed senior vice president and chief operating officer.

Mlawsky previously served as the senior vice president and chief executive officer of the Hospital Division of the University of Arizona Health Network, where she was responsible for leading two academic medical centers with more than 700 beds and 4,500 staff members.

“Karen is a respected and trusted leader with more than 25 years’ experience in driving strategic growth, building key relationships and shepherding improvement initiatives,” said Judy Rich, president and CEO of Tucson Medical Center.

“I have immense confidence in Karen’s ability to help lead TMC through this exciting period of dynamic change in the national and local healthcare marketplace. As a nonprofit, locally-governed hospital whose mission is rooted in community, we are thrilled to have someone who knows this region join us in the next phase of our commitment to deliver comprehensive community care, embrace innovation and inspire operational excellence.”

Mlawsky, who came to Arizona after serving as executive director of The Ohio State University Hospital East, joined the University Medical Center in 2006 as vice president of UMC North and Oncology Services, where she led a team to develop and implement a strategic plan to expand services at the Arizona Cancer Center Clinic. After serving as vice president of Clinical Operations for UA Healthcare, she assumed leadership as CEO of the Hospital Division for the University of Arizona Health Network in May 2011.

“Southern Arizona is a special place, and I am looking forward to continuing to serve this community,” Mlawsky said. “I have always admired TMC’s commitment to its patients, its connections to the physicians who practice there and its deep ties to the community – and I am excited to be part of an organization that is committed to those priorities and values.”

Mlawsky, who will assume her duties the last week of April, replaces David Ressler, who left in February 2015 to assume the executive director role for a multi-state organization formed in cooperation with a Colorado-based rural hospital network.

1,000 acts of kindness by April? Game On!

Last month, Tucson Medical Center accepted Ben’s Bells Be Kind Challenge. Catch a view of our fabulous party hats and tremendous spirit in the video below, which highlights what it means to be a kind workplace, as we attempt to record 1,000 acts of kindness by the end of April.

Since there are probably 1,000 acts of kindness that occur here at TMC every single day, we’re convinced we can make it!

Visit the #BeKindChallenge to see what other businesses, schools and organizations have accepted the challenge and to learn more about the endeavor.

New app prepares children and families for their visit to TMC for Children

KidSpeak Logo med A new child-friendly app lets children and families become familiar with Tucson Medical Center facilities as well as understand the complicated medical terminology that doctors and nurses use. KidSpeak is designed to help promote a positive health care experience for children and their families.

“Here at TMC for Children, our goal is always to provide the best care for any patient and family that walks through our doors,” said Heather Roberts, Child Life supervisor. “KidSpeak is an amazing app with a lot to offer the children and families of Tucson.”

The app includes virtual tours allowing children to see ahead of time the many different areas of the hospital to reduce anxiety during their stay. A glossary of terms is available to help children make sense of complicated hospital terminology.

Children can then take it to a drawing board that features different organ systems of the human body that doctors, child life specialists and others can use. The drawing board is designed to help kids understand the reason for their illness or hospitalization, their diagnosis and treatment.

“This can reduce kids’ anxiety”, said Roberts, “and help them feel more comfortable during a stay.”

KidSpeak is a free app available in the Apple and Android app stores. Funding was made possible through the TMC Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network.

Kind acts touch many as TMC takes the #bekindchallenge

bekindchallengeSince Tucson Medical Center kicked off its #BeKindChallenge a month ago, more than 50 acts of kindness have been reported. The effort, part of Ben’s Bells Project “Kind Colleagues” program, is based on the belief that everyone has the capacity to be kind, and that it is ultimately a skill that can be cultivated. TMC’s goal is to record at least 1,000 acts of kindness before the end of the school year in May.

Here are some of the best acts of kindness reported so far:

Nicole Durazo and Amy Hill

Nicole Durazo and Amy Hill

Nicole Durazo – We had a patient who was wheelchair-bound, writes patient-care tech Amy Hill, who works on the adult telemetry unit. He just wanted to go outside. When he was Nicole Durazo’s patient, she would take him outside. One Sunday when he WAS NOT Nicole’s patient, she took the time to come over to the other side of the unit to take him outside so that he could see the moon.

 

Amy Duschinski

Amy Duschinski

From the other side of the hospital, we have this:

Amy Duschinski – a registered nurse on the mother/baby unit, Duschinski was recognized by the unit’s assistant manager, Angelica Hibbs, for stepping up. “Amy offered to help one of her co-workers with a less than glamorous task,” Hibbs wrote. “She helped her co-worker administer a hi/lo enema that took over 40 minutes. Not only did she help the patient feel better, but she was also there to support her co-worker.”

Hibbs also awarded a kindness coin to Maria Romero, a patient care tech also on the mother/baby unit. Hibbs writes:

Maria Romero

Maria Romero

I had a wonderful experience helping Maria get a patient up to the bathroom. Maria has truly mastered the art of getting up patients in the most gentle, non-rushed and KIND way. The patient was in a lot of pain after her tubal. When the patient stood up she hugged Maria and started crying on her shoulder. You could tell that she had developed trust in her. Maria was so encouraging and patient with her. The patient told Maria she reminded her of her mother. This is not the first time Maria has heard this. She hears it from her patients often. Maria was also my PCT 12 years ago when I had my son and I still remember the great and kind care she gave me. Gracias Maria!

Sue Taylor, M.D., who specializes in hospice and palliative care medicine, shared the following:

I recently did family conferences with Neva Corbell, Lisa Vasquez and Gina Luna, all registered nurses, and can attest to their kindness.

Neva, Lisa and Gina

Neva Corbell, Lisa Vasquez and Gina Luna

In each case, families were unable to accept their loved one’s terminal condition, and unable to face the inevitable grieving. In each case, the care had reached a level deemed non-beneficial, which was causing distress. I asked these bedside nurses to attend the family conferences. Then, I asked them to share their opinion. After all, they are the ones who bear witness to the suffering, to the pain, to the daily/hourly decline, to the burdens of treatment, and to the immense faith, hope and love of families.

These nurses responded with truth telling, and tears, and, most importantly, clear and heart-felt direction that it was time to lovingly transition to care directed at comfort. They spoke honestly, using plain language, and with a level of detail that comes from hours and hours and hours of hard won experience. They knew what the consultants had said; they knew the conflicts; they knew the issues. I didn’t. Families respect that.

Amazingly, each family member agreed. They trusted these nurses, and wanted to work with them to do the best, and right thing. One mentioned that he could see through the curtains, and had been watching the entire unit. He was so impressed by the staff, and how they treated everyone. He knew he could let go now, because he knew that everyone was handled with gentleness.

Please thank Neva Corbell, Lisa Vasquez, and Gina Luna for their exemplary contribution to the mission of TMC.

TMC thanks these nurses and all the staff for the kindness the show towards patients, families, visitors and each other.

At TMC, the goal of is to create a kind workplace, thereby reducing employee stress, increasing productivity and creating a better environment for both staff and patients. TMC is the first hospital in Tucson to participate in this program, which is quite an honor, and it is a great opportunity for TMC to embed kindness into the core of our culture.

Saturday family BBQ, fair benefits public servants

erikhite

Erik Hite

On Saturday, a community fair will celebrate public servants during the first Appreciation Day BBQ, benefiting the Erik Hite Foundation. The fair is 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at East Lawn Cemetery, 5801 E. Grant Road.

While some might think it unusual to hold a fair in a cemetery, not so in some places, such at East Lawn’s sister cemetery, South Lawn, where barbecues and other family gatherings are common.

“We want people to have a different perspective of who we are,” said Paula Behrman, who coordinates outreach for East Lawn Palms Mortuary and Cemetery. “We want to recognize our public servants, and everything we’re doing is very respectful.”

The celebration is on a large undeveloped area on the northeast side of the cemetery. Family fun includes horse rides, face painting, a family photo booth, vehicle displays, student art show, community booths with information and giveaways. Four schools will display students’ original art.

Public servants (fire fighters, police officers, military members) eat free from East Lawn’s barbecue tent and other vendors will have food for sale.

A drawing will support the Erik Hite Foundation to provide a child care center and family outreach programs for the children of law enforcement and emergency services personnel.

The event is co-sponsored by TMC Peppi’s House, Hospice Family Care and Agape Hospice.

Click on the Community Fair flier for more information.

Countdown to Open Enrollment: Get ready for 2015 coverage!

shutterstock_72416419Starting Nov. 15, Tucson Medical Center is ready to help consumers with renewing their existing health plan or choosing a new one, as the second year of the Affordable Care Act gets underway.

Although the open enrollment period runs through Feb. 15, current enrollees are encouraged to return to the Marketplace by Dec. 15, to make sure they are covered starting Jan. 1, since all benefits end at the close of 2014.

During this time, consumers can update their information to ensure that they will receive the right amount of financial assistance, and that they are still enrolled in the plan that best fits their needs starting Jan. 1.

To kick off open enrollment, Tucson Medical Center is taking appointments all day Saturday, Nov. 15, to help consumers update their current plan or enroll in a new one. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment only at the El Dorado Health Campus, 1400 N. Wilmot Road. Contact Sylvia Brown at (520) 324-4745 or Sylvia.Brown@tmcaz.com for an appointment.

Weekday and evening appointments are available. Additionally, other scheduled TMC enrollment events include:

  • Saturday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    TMC El Dorado Health Campus
    1400 N. Wilmot Road, north of Speedway
    Appointment required: Contact (520)324-4745 or Sylvia.Brown@tmcaz.com
  • Saturday, Dec. 13, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    TMC El Dorado Health Campus, 1400 N. Wilmot Road, north of Speedway
    Appointment required: Contact (520)324-4745 or Sylvia.Brown@tmcaz.com
  • Saturday, Jan. 10, noon to 3 p.m.
    BEYOND Festival, Downtown Tucson, Armory Park, 221 S. 6th Ave
    Visit www.beyond-tucson.org for more information
  • Saturday, Jan. 17, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    TMC El Dorado Health Campus, 1400 N. Wilmot Road, north of Speedway
    Appointment required:  Contact (520)324-4745 or Sylvia.Brown@tmcaz.com
  •  Saturday, Jan. 31, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    TMC El Dorado Health Campus, 1400 N. Wilmot Road, north of Speedway
    Appointment required: Contact (520)324-4745 or Sylvia.Brown@tmcaz.com
  •  Saturday, February 14, 9 a.m. – noon
    TMC campus, 5301 E. Grant Road, west entrance
    Appointment required: Contact (520)324-4745 or Sylvia.Brown@tmcaz.com

New non-invasive colon cancer screen hits the market; is it better than a colonoscopy?

colon cancer awareness true or falseA new home-based screening test for colon cancer has recently hit the scenes. Cologuard or stool DNA testing was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this past August and is covered by Medicare.

The test looks for cancer-related DNA and red blood cells in a person’s stool. On the one hand, it doesn’t require the unpleasant preparation that is needed for a colonoscopy. But on the other hand, the $600 cost, which is not yet covered by private insurers, is much greater than the $25 it costs for a more basic fecal occult blood test, also called a FIT test.

colon cancer awareness ribbom“It’s a good test. It’s better than the stool occult blood test. Cologuard detected 92 percent of colorectal cancers and 42 percent of advanced adenomas, or polyps, in the study population, while the FIT screening test detected 74 percent of cancer and 24 percent of advanced adenomas. But it’s a very new test,” said Fadi Deeb, M.D., a local gastroenterologists, who also serves as TMC’s section chief for gastroenterology, “and we don’t know how often we should do it, every two years, every three years, or every five years? Intervals have not been tested, so we just don’t know.”

Given its $600 cost, which is equal to 24 FIT tests, it would be interesting to see a study comparing one Cologuard to 20-24 consecutive FIT tests over a period of one to three years, in detecting colon cancer and advanced adenomas. Dr. Deeb said.

It is not currently recommended as a method to screen for colorectal cancer by the United States Preventive Services Task Force. The USPSTF recommends adults age 50 to 75 who are at average risk for colon cancer to be screened using fecal occult blood every year, a sigmoidoscopy every five years plus stool occult blood every three years, or colonoscopy every 10 years.

Dr. Deeb said the new test had its limitations. “You can’t use it if you have a personal history of colon polyp, colon cancer, a family history of colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, familial adenomatous polyposis or bleeding hemorrhoids.”

Cologuard was not test directly against colonoscopy for screening. “Colonoscopy is the gold standard” and is more effective in detecting precancerous polyps, which can be removed during the same procedure. Regular screening for and removal of these polyps with a colonoscopy can reduce a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer by up to 90 percent.

This new test has a false-positive rate of about 13 percent, meaning those people will likely need to undergo a colonoscopy to rule out cancer.

“The test is an option for certain patients who don’t like invasive procedures or for those who can afford it,” he said.

It takes a village – celebrating achievement of meaningful use, stage 2

It was time to celebrate following Tucson Medical Center’s successful attestation for Stage 2 of meaningful-use requirements for its electronic medical record this past July. On Wednesday, TMC hosted a breakfast to recognize the 150 team members whose hard work and dedication led the organization to achieve this milestone.

“This was a huge, coordinated effort among a lot of different departments, and everybody really stepped up to the plate to make this happen,” said Chief Information Officer Frank Marini. “And the results are really impressive.”

He shared TMC’s results in meeting the objective measures set by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. As shown in the chart below, TMC beat most measures by 20 points or more.

MU chart

The team had remarkable depth and breadth from areas throughout most clinical areas of the hospital and beyond. In addition to significant resources from Information Services, the team included physicians, registered nurses, patient care techs, lab workers, pharmacists, case managers, infection control specialists and more.

Team members represented all the major clinical areas: cardiac, emergency, general/vascular surgery, geriatrics, geropsych, hospice, intensive care (adults, children and newborns), labor and delivery, mother/baby, neurosurgery/neurology, orthopaedic surgery, pediatrics, post-cardiac care, pre-anesthesia testing, transitional care and women’s services. Other ancillary areas included case management, clinical education, diagnostics, imaging, lab, nursing practice, pharmacy and volunteer services.

In addition, non-clinical areas included admitting, communications, community benefit, enterprise-wide scheduling, finance, health information management (formerly medical records), infection control, patient accounting, professional staff, quality, risk management and surgery scheduling.

Because the transitions-of-care measure was critical, representation was needed from outside the hospital campus. The measure called for the ability to send an electronic version of a patient’s medical record and plan of care in a format the receiving physician or care facility could understand. Staff from business development reached out to community physician groups including Saguaro Physicians, Saguaro Surgical and Southern Arizona Infectious Disease Specialists. In addition, the accountable care organization, Arizona Connected Care, of which TMC is a part, was part of the coordinated effort. All of this work had the support of the board of trustees and the C-suite, with the bulk of the Executive Team having a role to play.

TMC continues to optimize its electronic medical record and next up will be Stage 3 of meaningful use, which will focus on improved outcomes. Though the final rules for Stage 3 are still being developed by the government, TMC continues to look at ways to optimize the electronic medical record to increase quality, safety and efficiency in order to improve patient outcomes.

MU stage 2

A group of staff from Information Systems kicks off the morning festivities to recognize the team that work to meet requirements for Stage 2 meaningful use of the hospital’s electronic medical record.


This blog is one in a series as part of the Oct. 22 celebration at Tucson Medical Center for successfully attesting to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for meeting Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements of its electronic medical record. This success was a great and collaborative effort across many areas of the hospital. It represents another milestone achieved toward improved patient care and safety.


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461