Monthly Archives: July 2013

Bubble Wrap: Having Trouble Installing Your Car Seat? We Can Help

Have you ever had to get a little creative trying to get your car seat installed properly? Well, check out this video, called Bubble Wrap, which shows how it can be taken to the next level. Let’s just say there’s some welding involved. Luckily, there are trained technicians to help so we can all ensure our car seats are used and installed properly.

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BMC CEO, President Kate Walsh Named Hero in Health Care by Visiting Nurse Association of Boston

Kate Walsh

Brookline native Kate Walsh, President and CEO of Boston Medical Center has been named a 2013 Hero in Home Health Care by the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston (VNAB). Walsh is among three leaders in the community who will be honored at the VNAB’s eighth annual Gala on Friday, Oct.25, at the Mandarin Oriental.

Walsh is joined as a Hero by Joshua Boger, PhD, Executive Chairman at Alkeus Pharmaceuticals, Founder, and Former-CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals; and Sonia L. Alleyne, MPA, Community Award, Vice President, Community Reinvestment Division Manager, NE, Sovereign/Santander.

“The VNA of Boston and Boston Medical Center share a common and extremely vital mission – providing exceptional care to all who need us, especially the most vulnerable in our community,” Reynold G. Spadoni, President and CEO of the VNA of Boston said in a press release. “Kate Walsh has been a tremendous partner for us and her passion and dedication are an inspiration.”

“Every day at Boston Medical Center we work hard to deliver exceptional care, without exception,” said BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh. “It is an honor and privilege to receive this award from the VNAB, an organization that shares a similar mission.”  

Walsh became the president and CEO of Boston Medical Center (BMC) in March 2010. BMC is a private, not-for-profit, 496-bed academic medical center with a community-based focus. Prior to her appointment at BMC, Walsh served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She served previously as the chief operating officer for Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research.

Walsh began her career in health care as a summer intern at Brookside Health Center in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. Upon finishing graduate school, Walsh worked in a number of New York City hospitals before returning to the Boston area and joining Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), where she advanced to senior vice president of medical services and the MGH Cancer Center.

She received her bachelor’s of arts degree and a master’s degree in public health from Yale University. Walsh is a member of the Board of Visitors for Northeastern University’s School of Business and is on the Board of Trustees at Emmanuel College.

The Heroes in Health Care Gala proceeds support the VNAB’s Maternal Child Health and Free Care Programs. Last year, the VNA of Boston provided $1.1 million in free and subsidized care to the most needy and vulnerable in our community. Your support will allow us to continue to provide over 6,000 home health care visits to at-risk infants and mothers through our Maternal Child Health Program and serve as a safety net provider through our Free Care Fund.

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Protect yourself in extreme weather!

[Click the above link to view the video]

As hurricane season takes full force, in the wake of the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma, people are more concerned than ever about protecting themselves in the event of dangerous weather.

ABC News’ Weather Editor and Good Morning America weather anchor, Sam Champion shares his advice on how to stay safe and survive the most threatening of natural disasters.

“It is happening more and more frequently that you see the jaw-dropping,” Champion said.

Champion stresses preparedness in any situation by building a survival kit. Some of the items you should be sure to include in your kit are water, a blanket and flashlight and a first aid kit that includes back up medicine for any family member that has prescriptions. You should also have a safe meeting place, a place that all members of the family know to go to in the event of an emergency.

As for where the safe place itself should be, Champion sets up a few guidelines to help you select a location for your family. For tornadoes you should choose an interior room inside a building away from any windows, such as a bathroom, basement or a closet.

If you live in tornado-prone area, Champion recommends investing in a tornado shelter.

“It is one of the best investments you’ll ever have,” Champion reveals, “It will be good resale on your home.”

If you do not have a tornado shelter, Champion says that when using a basement as a shelter may not be study enough and recommends that homeowners re-enforce their sub-floor.

If you are in a building without a shelter or basement during a storm, Champion advises to get into a bathtub and place a mattress over yourself and hold on to it.

“Chances are it’s going to get torn out of your hands if the room is compromised,” Champions said, “But it gives you that padding for things that are flying around. The first thing that takes the wall out, or the wall falling, is what you have got to worry about most.”

In the case of a hurricane your family’s safe place should be an interior doorway, staying away from any and all windows. If you are located on the coast, you do not want to be on the ground floor in the case of a tidal surge.

But the most important thing to keep in mind if you are caught in a hurricane is to brace yourself. A hurricane is a longer-lasting storm than a tornado.

“In a hurricane you just hold on for the ten or twelve hours that you are going to be battered by those winds,” Champion said. “As long as you are above the storm surge, chances are you’ll walk out of that.”

If you have small children it can be potentially life-saving to have them wear helmets – just like they would when playing baseball or football or riding a bike – to protect them from dangerous flying debris.

Tornadoes and hurricanes can be sudden and life-threatening, but by preparing yourself and your family you increase your chances of surviving a potentially deadly storm.

Beyond stranger danger: 10 ways to raise safe kids

Beyond stranger danger: 10 ways to raise safe kids

1. Set ground rules and boundaries. Your kids need to know what you expect. By setting clear boundaries with them, you kids will learn to set boundaries with others. Establish rules.

2. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. You do not have to be an expert to talk about safety, abduction and other difficult topics with your kids. You can start by asking them what they know and what they think about any of these subjects. Encourage discussion. Empower them with knowledge.

3. Don’t be surprised if kids know much more than you thought they did. Kids are barraged with information from all directions. Sometimes I think it’s in the air – they seem to know about it before we say a word.  We think we are protecting them by not talking about difficult subjects, but later we find out they knew all about it and never had the opportunity to process their thoughts about a scary subject.

4. Know yourself. Attitudes and opinions have their place, but don’t forget, your kids pick up on those attitudes and attitudes become behaviors.

5. Age appropriate information! Keep it simple. A five-year-old is different from a 12-year-old. And 18-year-olds may think they know everything, but in reality they still need more time to grow. Some kids may seem to be very smart, but give them information that’s right for their age.

6. Practice. Practice. Practice. You can lecture and threaten and make them promise, but the fact is kids might sometimes make a bad choice. Maybe they are just being polite, maybe they have difficulty assessing a situation, but often kids will get into a car when they shouldn’t or go with someone they don’t know. Repeated practice is a great way to teach.

7. Teach awareness. Glance up and look around you. Teach kids to make a note of what’s going on! Teach them to be smart, wise and pay attention to their surroundings. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Practice powers of observation with your kids. Quiz each other. Ask them what you had for breakfast yesterday. What was your child wearing this morning? With younger kids play “I Spy” and draw pictures of what being alert might look like while you talk about it. Practice being alert!

8. Create a safe list. Involve your children in creating a list of trusted friends and family members and their contact information. These are people who they can count on.

9. Speak up. YOU can make a difference. Teach your kids to speak up if someone is doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable, from online bullying, harassment of any kind, inappropriate comments and touching them in a way they don’t like. Your child’s voice is important! If a friend is being harassed, or if they are worried about someone they know – teach them to speak up! They can make a difference. 

10.  Love = strength. Show your kids you love them. Tell them often. Create an environment where love gives them power and strength.

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Medflight Is Critical Lifeline During Times of Trauma

One minute you could be having a heart attack at Cronig’s Market and several hours later you could be in the recovery room at Massachusetts General Hospital following triple bypass surgery.

Thanks to the critical care transport service Boston Medflight, Islanders with acute medical needs that go beyond what the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital can provide are able to receive top-flight medical care at the major Boston hospitals. A nonprofit, Medflight is part of the consortium of six teaching hospitals in the Boston area, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Children’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Tufts Medical Center.

Vineyard patients who need critical care are sent to one of the hospitals, depending on the speciality needed.

“We act as a linkage for the hospital to the tertiary care centers in Boston,” said Andy Farkas, chief operations manager for Boston Medflight. “These are highly acute medical and trauma cases that exceed the capacity and capabilities of the hospital.”

The service responds to calls from northern Rhode Island to southern New Hampshire, from I-495 East to the Cape and Islands. Between 130 and 140 patients are airlifted off the Island every year, Mr. Farkas said, most of them during the summer. Some days there are none, but on other days as many as three flights can leave the Vineyard hospital in a single day.

In addition to medical evacuations by air, the hospital does about 500 ambulance transfers via ferry annually. Most patients are transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, an affiliate of the Vineyard hospital.

The decision to call in Medflight is made by the attending physician at the hospital or scene of an accident. Medflight will respond if there is potential for loss of life, limb or vision. Doctors on and off-Island determine the best course of treatment as the Medflight team manages the situation. The patient is usually transferred directly to a Boston hospital by helicopter.

Most patients are transported directly from the Vineyard hospital, Mr. Farkas said, although occasionally a transport takes place from the site of an accident.

Medflight has three helicopters, one jet and three critical care ground ambulances. A critical care team including one or two pilots (depending on the vehicle), a critical care nurse and critical care paramedics accompany the response. The fleet is equipped with emergency medical equipment including an intra-aortic balloon pump and neonatal incubator.

Weather conditions may determine which vehicle is used, Mr. Farkas said, and “can really affect the ability to get on the Island.”

Helicopters are preferred for transports, but if visibility is too poor in summer or there are icy conditions in the winter, the jet airplane is used and lands at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

“Safety is our primary focus before we come out,” Mr. Farkas said. “Pilots make the determination whether we go or not based on weather and safety. It’s a very sterile decision whether we can go or not.”

Flights leave from an airbase in Plymouth and on average take a little over an hour to come to the Vineyard and then fly to Boston. Medflight helicopters land directly at the Boston area hospital. The jet usually lands at Hanscom Air Force Base near Bedford and transports patients via ambulance to the hospital. There are also air bases in Bedford and Lawrence.

Medflight works cooperatively with other medical air programs in the area. In the event Medflight cannot respond to the Vineyard or cannot respond in a timely fashion, they will coordinate a pickup with another helicopter service.

“We never leave them without a resource on the way,” Mr. Farkas said.

The U.S. Coast Guard helicopter is used as a last resort in severe weather.

All patients are taken on board regardless of their financial situation, Mr. Farkas said. Patients are billed through their insurance carriers. If there is no insurance, no problem.

“We don’t ask for anything up front; we’ll transport them to the place they need to get care,” Mr. Farkas said. “On average we give several million dollars in free [unreimbursed] care.” Timothy Walsh, president and chief executive officer at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, praised Medflight, calling it an important piece of the continually evolving critical care services on the Vineyard. Many patients with acute care needs from strokes to severe injuries are sent to Boston for specialty care, he said.

“People say, well they never used to transfer them,” Mr. Walsh said. “Well maybe they didn’t, but they probably should have. It’s not fair to the patient for a primary care doctor to do a workup for something that really needs a specialist.”

For example, patients needing neurology, neurosurgery or cardiology care are all “going to get shipped,” Mr. Walsh said.

Carol Bardwell, chief executive nurse at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, said despite the visibility of Medflight during times of crisis, the actual number of medical evacuations from the Island is relatively low, thanks in part to the expert work by trained emergency medical personnel, including paramedics.

“It doesn’t happen as much as you would think,” she said. “And to be honest, with the way we have paramedics on the Island now, it’s much easier to get people off by ambulance and ferry if Medflight is not flying.”

But when it’s needed, Medflight is the best way to go, she said.

“It’s a great service,” she said. “They are a group of highly trained individuals. If you have to go, it’s the way you want to go.”

*courtesy of


More than ten years after the federal government required emergency interior trunk releases in new vehicles, older cars still pose a risk to curious children and lead to tragic deaths. According to Safe Kids Wordwide, from 2005 to 2009, trunk entrapment resulted in the death of 16 children in the United States and on average, every ten days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle.

“Obviously the most important thing is to inform them that trunks are not to play in or to be around in – they’re for cargo only. And if you start instilling that at a very young age, it’s the best way to prevent that from ever happening,” said deputy chief Scott Burkhart with prevention and EMS for Eau Claire Fire & Rescue.

He said prevention is key, especially for kids who are younger.

“Make sure that you keep the keys and the remote entry devices out of their reach. Keep them locked away, keep them up high so they cannot get to them,” said Burkhart.

One father we spoke to said he makes sure his son doesn’t get a hold of the car keys.

“I kind of fibbed to my son and I hide them and I also tell him if you play with the keys he’s going to get owwies because he’s not old enough to drive yet,” said Perry Hagler of Eau Claire. “Whenever we get out of the car, we lock them up. She put them in her purse and they know not to go through mama’s purse.”

And that’s what Safe Kids Worldwide recommends. Make sure to lock your vehicle, including doors and trunk, when you’re not using it. Keep keys and remote entry fobs out of children’s sight and reach.

“If a child ends up missing around the car, one thing to check would be the trunk right away. Also as your children mature and start to understand a little more, show them that safety feature. All cars built after the model 2002 are equipped with an emergency internal release for the trunk,” said Burkhart.

We went over to Prestige Auto in Eau Claire to check out some of the emergency releases in newer cars. They are glow in the dark and can be used from the inside of the trunk. You can either push the button or pull it depending on the make of the car. It’s typically located near the trunk latch. Some older cars have a cord, button or toggle switch or even a handle that does not glow in the dark.

Prestige Auto also showed us another feature – a button that allows you to push down a fold-down seat which is located inside the trunk of the car has well.

Burkhart said that’s also something to keep an eye on for preventative measures. He said to keep rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent kids from climbing into the trunk from inside your car.

And on hot summer days, he said knowing how to get out and where your kids are could the difference between life or death.

“Especially out in the sun like this, the trunk area heats up real quickly and time is very limited,” said Burkhart.

Safe Kids Worldwide said if your child goes missing, get help and check swimming pools, vehicles and trunks. If your child is locked in a car, get him or her out as quickly as possible and dial 911 immediately. Emergency personnel are trained to evaluate and check for signs of heatstroke.

Boston Medical Center Chooses OneHealth to Empower Primary Care Patients With Online and Mobile Peer Support Platform

Real-time Peer Support Plays Key Role to Help Modify Behavior, Improve Patient Outcomes and Avoid Costly Re-admissions

OneHealth® Solutions, Inc., the leading behavior change platform company improving health outcomes and the cost of care for patients, providers, payers and employers, announced that Boston Medical Center (BMC), a 496-bed academic medical center and teaching affiliate for Boston University School of Medicine, has selected OneHealth to provide primary care patients with an online and mobile peer support platform to encourage self-management, engage patients between office visits and integrate technology into BMC’s innovative Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program to advance primary care services.

Named a 2012 Leapfrog Top Hospital in 2012, and recognized as a leader in patient safety, BMC will offer eligible primary care patients 24/7 access to OneHealth’s private, HIPAA-compliant platform of social health communities, including Tobacco Free, Stress Reduction, Obesity, and Depression to help them achieve specific health goals. OneHealth will be launched initially through BMC’s tobacco cessation program.

“We are committed to providing innovative services like OneHealth that engage and motivate patients to make better health decisions and support BMC’s ongoing initiatives to improve primary care,” stated Robert L. Sokolove, Ph.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine & Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center. “In particular, OneHealth’s technology-enabled platform aligns with our PCMH program to help foster partnerships between patients and BMC’s primary care physicians and encourage new perspectives and behaviors that help improve health outcomes.”

OneHealth’s robust mobile platform will help BMC reach its underserved population, which has a high degree of cell phone ownership, but lower than average computer access. The OneHealth platform is an important step forward in reducing barriers and helping engage patients.

“Our vision from the beginning has been to integrate peer support communities with gaming techniques and clinical expertise to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs,” stated Bruce Springer, CEO of OneHealth. “Our significant growth in the past six months demonstrates market validation for OneHealth’s peer-based platform to support the complex challenges associated with chronic disease management and behavior change. We are pleased that nationally renowned healthcare providers like Boston Medical Center recognize the important role peer support contributes to the healthcare continuum.”

OneHealth’s technology-enabled services include a dedicated support staff to increase engagement through personalized welcome messages, access to peer health coaches, community managers, expert discussions, and live online meetings and group chats where members can learn and interact with guest experts to drive positive behavior change.

About OneHealth Solutions, Inc.

OneHealth is the leading behavior change platform for the healthcare industry via a technology-enabled services model that lowers the costs of care management and provides greater outcomes for chronic patient populations. Our web and mobile-based Social Solutioning® program influences positive behavior to improve health and deliver measurable value through a patented combination of social-networking technology, evidence-based clinical principles and engaging game mechanics. For additional information visit