Monthly Archives: November 2012

BMC Remembers the 70th anniversary of the worst fire in Boston history


When flames broke out in a lounge just after 10 p.m. on Nov. 28, 1942, the Cocoanut Grove had all the ingredients of a catastrophe. The club was overcrowded; there were too few exits, most of which were obstructed or locked; decorations were made of materials that quickly ignited as the blaze spread around the club. The tragedy offered a window not just into the inadequate fire regulations of the day but also into the politics; word had it that the club’s well-connected owner had just been allowed to open a new section of the Cocoanut Grove without the proper inspections. Over time, the fire had far-reaching effects beyond tougher codes; by many accounts, medical knowledge advanced, as doctors recognized that the toxic gases associated with structure fires could be at least as deadly as flames.

Many victims of the tragic fire came to what is now Boston Medical Center for treatment.  Wedesnday, Joe Blansfield, NP and Trauma Program Manager presented on the topic sharing his wealth of knowledge at Nursing Grand Rounds.


The Cocoanut Grove Coalition just launched a website this week to bring together original and secondary sources from the collections of local Boston institutions and people interested in preserving the history of the fire.  This initiative is a work in progress and subject to continual updates. To learn more, please visit the new website.

To view more photo galleries, visit


Courtesy of:…




Safe Kids: Preventing Injuries at home, at play and on the way.

Product Recalls for November 2012

 Safe Kids is committed to keeping you informed about recalls of kids’ oriented products.  While it is important to keep aware of all recalls, Safe Kids urges you to pay particular attention to ones in red, as they are associated with one or more deaths. (There is a death associated with the recall of PeaPod Travel Tents in this report.) We also include important news about products and consumer concerns:


CPSC 11/16/2012 – KidCo Inc. is voluntarily recalling its PeaPod and PeaPod Plus sleep tents for travel because of an entrapment/suffocation hazard. Infants and young children can roll off the edge of the inflatable air mattress, become entrapped between the mattress and the fabric sides of the tent, and suffocate. The CPSC and Health Canada are aware of the death of a five-month-old boy who died from suffocation and at least nine cases.

FDA 11/15/2012 – Publix Super Markets is voluntarily recalling cake products because of possible contamination from Listeria.

CPSC 11/14/2012 – Green Gear Cycling Inc. is voluntarily recalling its Tikit Folding Bicycles because of a fall hazard due to a defective handlebar stem.

CPSC 11/13/2012 – Rec-Out is voluntarily recalling its folding camping chairs because of the presence of mold.

CPSC 11/13/2012 – Pramac America is voluntarily recalling its Powermategenerators due to a fire hazard caused by fuel leakage.

FDA 11/12/2012 – Jimmy Dean is voluntarily recalling a partial production run of its french toast and sausage sandwiches because of undeclared egg and soy.

FDA 11/09/2012 – Frito-Lay is voluntarily recalling its Grandma’s Peanut Butter Sandwich Crème cookies and the Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crème cookies because of undeclared milk and egg.

FDA 11/08/2012 – Nestle is voluntarily recalling its Nesquick chocolate powder because of Salmonella contamination.

CPSC 11/08/2012 – Diamondback Bicycles is recalling its 2012 Diamondback Steilacoom RCX bikes because of a fall or crash hazard which may occur because of the use of incorrect hardware.

CPSC 11/08/2012 – Monessen Hearth Systems is voluntarily recalling its Signature Command Controlled Direct and B-Vent gas fireplaces because of a fire risk which occurs when the product does not light from a remote control unit.

CPSC 11/08/2012 – LaJobi is voluntarily recalling its Graco-branded Avalonrocking chair (Glider rockers) because of a defective “glider.”

FDA 11/06/2012 – Kroger is voluntarily recalling its deluxe vanilla ice creambecause of undeclared allergens (pecans).

CPSC 11/02/2012 – Champion Power Equipment is voluntarily recalling its portable generators as a fire hazard because of fuel leakage. Exclusively sold at Costco.

NHTSA 11/02/2012 – Britax is voluntarily recalling its Advocate, Boulevard and Pavilion child seats because the padding is soft and can be pulled off by a child.  A child can choke if he/she eats the material.

CPSC 11/01/2012 – Atico International is voluntarily recalling its Halloween Mini Projection Lights because of a burn hazard due to overheating. Exclusive sold at Five-Below stores.

FDA 11/01/2012 – Bolthouse Farms and Safeway are recalling carrot chipsbecause of a potential Salmonella danger.

For more safety information, more product and safety news, and October recalls, check out the website below:…

STRYVE to Prevent Youth Violence

Youth violence is preventable. Learn how STRYVE helps communities build comprehensive strategies that are based on the best available evidence and implemented through multisector action.


Youth violence is a public health crisis in the United States. Based on the most recent data available, approximately 20 percent of high school students report being bullied at school, and more than 30 percent report being in a physical fight. More than 656,000 young people ages 10 to 24 were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained from violence in 2008. Homicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, with an average of 16 youth murdered every day.

Youth Violence Is Preventable

Fortunately, there are multiple strategies that research and community experience have demonstrated work to prevent youth violence. Research shows that reducing factors that place youth at risk for violence and strengthening factors that protect youth from violence can be achieved. Approaches proven to effectively address these factors are available, and a growing body of evidence indicates these approaches can be cost-effective and have long-lasting benefits.

Putting an end to youth violence, however, is neither simple nor quick. To be effective, communities need a continuum of approaches that span from prevention to response and that are applied from early childhood through adulthood. Prevention strategies work to keep violence from starting by promoting youth’s skills, supportive relationships, and healthy and safe communities and society.

STRYVE: Striving To Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere

STRYVE, or Striving To Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere, is a national initiative led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent youth violence before it starts.

STRYVE’s vision is safe and healthy youth who can achieve their full potential as connected and contributing members of thriving, violence-free families, schools, and communities.

STRYVE seeks to increase awareness that youth violence can and should be prevented, to promote the use of youth violence prevention approaches that are based on the best available evidence, and to provide guidance to communities about how to prevent youth violence.

Partnering to Prevent Youth Violence Everywhere

Effective youth violence prevention requires participation and leadership from various partners. Youth violence prevention is a shared responsibility among all those who shape the many relationships and environments in which youth develop. STRYVE emphasizes collaboration among multiple sectors and disciplines, including justice, education, labor, social services, public health and safety, and youth-serving organizations. The participation of community-based organizations, residents, faith-based groups, local businesses, and youth is also important to successfully prevent violence and to promote health and safety. Each sector has a unique and important role to play in prevention, and their input, engagement, and leadership are critical to defining the problem and prioritizing and implementing youth violence prevention strategies. Partners help ensure that planning, programming, and policies will meet the unique needs of a community, support local priorities, build on existing efforts, and enhance outcomes.

In March 2011, CDC held a meeting in Washington, DC to form a STRYVE Partnership Network. The meeting, titled “Many Voices One Priority: Prevent Youth Violence,” brought together more than 35 multisector organizations, federal agencies, and nearly 20 youth representing public health, youth development, justice, education, social work, and research. These multisector partners have a common focus on promoting the health and safety of youth, but vary in their approaches. Through their collaboration, these partners will help highlight the potential and benefits of prioritizing prevention and help communities take advantage of the evidence base to effectively prevent youth violence before it starts. The goals of the STRYVE Partnership Network are to

  • Engage in communication activities at the national, state, and local levels to increase public awareness that youth violence can and should be prevented,
  • Enable communities to select and implement youth violence prevention strategies that are based on the best available evidence,
  • Support communities in using STRYVE Online to enable local multisector coalitions to strategically plan and effectively implement comprehensive youth violence prevention approaches, and to
  • Empower professional from all sectors, community leaders, families, and young people to use their unique roles, abilities, and resources to prevent youth violence.

Providing the Tools to Prevent Youth Violence Everywhere

Effective youth violence prevention also requires information about what has worked and how successful strategies can be replicated and sustained. A cornerstone of STRYVE is guidance on actions that communities can take to strategically plan, implement prevention approaches, and evaluate activities. STRYVE provides community tools through mechanisms such as STRYVE OnlineExternal Web Site Icon which offers community leaders and others working to prevent youth violence:

  • Access to the latest information and tools,
  • Effective strategies based upon the best available evidence,
  • Training and technical assistance,
  • Online community workspaces, and
  • Connections to other communities.

More Information


How to Buy Safe Toys For the Holidays

This holiday season, don’t grant your kids’ wishes for the newest, coolest toys until you know they’re safe. With new product recalls almost daily, choosing safe and healthy toys can be a daunting task. Before you buy, double check that the toy you’re considering meets our safe shopping guidelines.

Is it safe? Check!

Is the toy age-appropriate?

It’s essential to adhere to the age guidelines indicated on toy packaging—because even a toy for a 3-year-old could have parts too small for a 2-year-old to handle properly.

Are there any small, loose parts that your child can swallow?

If you’re not sure, consider the toilet paper tube test—anything that can pass through the tube is too small to be given to a child under 3 years old. Marbles, coins and balls are common culprits. Also, make sure that any buttons, eyes and noses are tightly secured.

Could any part of the toy be bitten off and swallowed?

Little kids love to chew their toys, so avoid any toys that have small pieces that can be easily gnawed off.

Does the toy have a string, ribbon, straps or cord longer than 7 inches?

For young children, avoid these toys or remove the strings to prevent strangulation.

Is your toy non-toxic?

Check to make sure the toy has a non-toxic, durable finish and check art supplies for the ACMI (Art and Creative Material Institute, Inc.) seal—this means its non-toxic.

Could any part cut small hands or fingers?

Look for points, edges or breakable parts that could be sharp and avoid those toys for kids under eight. If you’re considering a ride-on, is it sturdy and stable, and does the recipient have all the proper safety equipment (helmet, kneepads, etc.) required to use it?

Does the toy include magnets?

Building sets, action figures, puzzles or dolls containing small, powerful magnets can be fatal is swallowed by children.

Could the toy be a fire hazard?

Fabric toys should be labeled as flame retardant or flame resistant. And electrical toys with batteries or electric plugs pose a burn hazard so they should be avoided for kids under eight.

If you’re considering a ride-on, is it sturdy and stable?

And, does the recipient have all the proper safety equipment (helmet, kneepads, etc.) required to use it?

Does the toy include any throwing or shooting projectiles?

It’s best to avoid these toys because they can cause injuries, especially to the eyes.

Could the toy contain questionable chemicals?

Phthalates have been banned in children’s toys and children’s care articles since February 2009 and stricter standards are in place for lead and other potentially toxic chemicals, too. But if you want to know about any trace amounts of these types of chemicals, look up levels for specific toys on

Has the product been recalled?

In 2008 toys were the largest category of recalled children’s products. Always double check product recalls online at the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission before you wrap, especially if you purchased a toy months before the holiday.

Toy Safety at Home

Remember that toy safety, doesn’t end when you leave the store. Follow these tips to ensure kids stay safe from the moment they receive a toy to the day they’re ready to give it up.

Remove and dispose of all unnecessary toy packaging and gift-wrap as soon as possible.

Piles of discarded gift-wrap can conceal sharp objects like scissors and the edges of hard plastic packaging that can cut small fingers.

Someone should always supervise children as they play.

Be a good role model and set rules and guidelines for safe play.

Keep toys organized.

Have easily accessible toy storage and keep a separate toy chest for older children whose toys may contain small parts not suitable for younger siblings.

Want more toy safety tips? Visit


Boston Medical Center’s pantry-by-prescription program recognized with national award

Food is medicine. That’s the basic premise behind the Preventive Food Pantry at Boston Medical Center.

Doctors at the hospital can write prescriptions for patients to visit the pantry twice a month. Just as for insulin or blood pressure medications, the prescription becomes part of the patient’s medical record, allowing them to visit twice a month to stock up on fresh vegetables and canned goods. A chef provides lessons in a demonstration kitchen about how to prepare healthy food.

The program, which assisted more than 80,000 people last year, is being recognized with the James W. Varnum National Quality Health Care Award from Dartmouth-Hitchcock, named for the health system’s long-time president.

The pantry is supported by donations and is only available to people who have been referred by their doctor. Many of the patients served have diabetes, unhealthy weight, or food allergies directly affected by eating habits.

“The creative approach taken by BMC in making nutritious food and education readily available to patients is a terrific example of providing value at relatively low cost, putting patients on the road to a healthier lifestyle and helping prevent costlier care later in their lives,” said Dr. George T. Blike, Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s chief quality officer.

The pantry is one of several programs at the Boston hospital focused on prescribing services that go beyond traditional medicine. With Health Leads , a program founded in the Boston Medical Center pediatrics department and now a nonprofit working in six cities, doctors write prescriptions for a family to visit volunteers who can connect them to home heating assistance, for example.

The award is given every two years and will be presented Nov. 27 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. A video about the program will be presented to Boston Medical Center, as part of the award, to help publicize it.…

Boston Medical Center ED Doc Aids Victims, Search and Rescue Teams in Hurricane Sandy

Since the devastation of areas of New York and New Jersey caused by Hurricane Sandy, rescue teams from all over the country have been deployed to help. Ricky Kue, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and emergency medicine physician at Boston Medical Center (BMC) is one of those volunteers. As Medical Team Manager of Massachusetts Task Force 1 (MA-TF 1), a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urban search and rescue team, Kue and 80 team members were mobilized for a week to assist with search and rescue operations in Queens and Staten Island.

Kue’s main responsibility was to tend to the healthcare needs of police, fire, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and civilian volunteers. Kue and other medical personnel engaged in search operations, monitored team members for illness and injury and provided medical screening on a daily basis to help support the rescue missions.

“Our goal was for our team to be self-sufficient and not use local resources who were already dealing with disaster relief on a massive scale. Because of the risks associated with the rescues, we served as physicians and paramedics,” said Kue.

Upon arrival, the team searched collapsed buildings, trenches and aided people stranded in their homes due to the high water levels. Providing an extra hand, they ensured that residents who weren’t evacuated received the medical attention they needed.

In one particular situation Kue was stationed at his basecamp along the beach in Midland, an area in Staten Island that was hit the hardest. Medical assistance was needed for a woman with heart attack symptoms and EMS was not immediately available. Kue and another physician grabbed their medical equipment and ran to the woman’s home.   

“I assessed her and fortunately she was not having a heart attack, but you could see that she was struggling. Despite the adversity this woman and the people of this community were faced with, the appreciation they showed was my most memorable experience during the mission,” said Kue.

Being deployed to this area hit home for Kue, who grew up in Queens, where his parents still live. Kue called his parents to see if they were okay as his convoy drove past their neighborhood. “I lived in NYC for 18 years and I’ve seen hurricanes growing up, but I never thought I’d see such devastation to my own borough. This was New York City’s Hurricane Katrina,” said Kue. Luckily, his family and childhood home were unharmed thanks to some emergency preparedness tips Kue has been offering his family for years.

Kue is also a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve and can be called for duty overseas at any time. “I couldn’t do this without support from my emergency medicine team at BMC and BUSM. They help cover my clinical duties so I can go out the door and deploy whenever necessary,” said Kue.

Massachusetts Task Force 1 (MA-TF 1) Urban Search and Rescue Team (US&R) is located in Beverly, Mass. Urban Search and Rescue teams are comprised of Police, Fire, EMS and Civilians and respond to major disasters under a contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Currently there are 150 people on the MA-TF 1 team.

Courtesy of Boston University Medical Campus 


BUMC on Forefront of Student Training of Military Veteran Medical Issues

In January 2012, BUSM was invited to the Joining Forces Initiative, a partnership with the White House, the Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and more than 100 medical schools. The collaboration provides veterans and their families with healthcare opportunities and support. It strengthens medical education on issues affecting military personnel such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). 


As part of this initiative BUSM, which has a rich history of neurological and psychiatric scholarship, has held a number of lectures and training opportunities.

BUSM hosted Special Forces Major Gerald DePold, Physician Assistant, who spoke about the Special Forces Medic system for evaluating and managing head injuries. A lecture on TBI and neurorehabilitation was given by nationally renowned neurologist Douglas Katz, MD. In 2013, Ann McKee, MD will speak on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and the impact of blast injuries by neuropathology. These lectures enhance students’ understanding of the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and treatment of these military injuries. Additional lectures were presented on PTSD, depression and substance abuse.

Collaboration between BUSM and VA Boston Healthcare System (VABHS) has resulted in the development of a specialized curriculum focused on post-deployment mental health and neurological issues. This elective will address the unique needs of our military personnel. The program is designed to provide medical education about post-deployment mental health and neurological issues to medical and graduate students ensuring that they are skilled in recognizing and treating both the physical and psychological effects of war.

The School has forged ahead with VABHS on another research and education activity. On June 28, the Inaugural BUSM and VABHS PTSD and TBI conference took place. This event, which was held in conjunction with Naval week, featured poster presentations on cutting-edge PTSD and CTE research conducted at area medical institutions. Rear Admiral Wagner and James Kelly MD presented “The Naval Response to PTSD and TBI.” There were more than one hundred participants and more than 35 posters. This collaborative experience served to foster the Joining Forces educational initiatives and to bring together researchers, educational leaders, and students.

BUSM also assists with the dissemination of clinical knowledge through online lecture postings to the Joining Forces iCollaborative site  A TBI slide set by Douglas Katz, MD was the first offering. Additional programming is in development including the military response to TBI and CTE.

There are a number of other veteran-related programs and research on the Medical Campus that include the School of Public Health scan the QR code below:


Courtesy of Boston University Medical Campus