Welcome to Hallmark Health's Media Coverage section. This section is designed to assist patients and journalists seeking information about our current news and to introduce our healthcare experts. We are also available to assist you by providing information about Hallmark Health and its members, including Lawrence Memorial of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospitals.
- Created on Thursday, May 09 2013 18:02
Melrose Free Press
May 9, 2013
By Jessica Sacco
Ever since I was young, I’ve had an idea (based solely on what I’ve seen on TV and in the movies) about what’s like to have a baby.
We all know there are times when it’s not pretty. There’s the nine months of weight gain, hours of intense labor pains and then it comes time to push.
But there’s also the magic of bringing new life into the world, which has to be one of the main reasons the practice continues. Right?
I recently got a more in-depth look at pregnancy, delivery and being a mom by spending an afternoon in Melrose-Wakefield Hospital’s maternity ward.
It’s a crisp afternoon on Friday, May 3 when I greet Jesse Kawa, communications specialist for Hallmark Health System, in the lobby of the hospital.
We head up to the sixth floor — Maternal-Newborn Services — where moms go once they’ve had their babies.
There we meet Carol Downes, director of Maternal-Newborn Services, who asks me what I’d like to experience while at the hospital.
I’d like to see a baby being born, but Carol tells me it’s unlikely anyone will deliver while I’m here. Instead, we decide our first stop will be on the second floor, to meet a soon-to-be mom.
The waiting game
As we’re heading downstairs, we pass by the nursery and I’m shocked to see it’s empty. I expected to see rows of tiny cribs lined up and on display for passersby to fawn over, but the space is vacant.
I learn this is an old practice no longer in use, and make note to find out more information later.
Jesse then tells me about one of the hospital’s long-standing traditions: Playing a lullaby over the intercoms, throughout the building, after a mom delivers.
“It’s a nice, fun way to celebrate a new baby being born,” she says.
There are seven delivery rooms in the hospital and Carol tells me more than 1,000 babies are born each year here.
Before we head in to room 5 to meet Vanessa and Chris Surette, I’m introduced to Jane Flaherty, clinical leader for the Maternity and Special Care Nursery, who’ll also join us to help answer questions.
Once inside the room, I see Vanessa in bed, hooked up to the baby monitor. She looks calm in her blue-patterned hospital smock, with her dark curly hair pulled into a bun.
I ask if they know what they’re having. They tell me it’s a girl.
“Do you have a name yet?” I wonder.
“I have several picked out,” Vanessa says, but adds she’s going to wait until the baby is born before she chooses. “It’s hard to make a decision. I just have to see her.”
Chris and Vanessa came in at 7:45 a.m. to be induced. Vanessa tells me she has hypertension (high blood pressure), so the baby needs to come out.
“The only cure is to deliver,” explains Catherine McClellan, Vanessa’s labor and delivery registered nurse (RN).
With the hope in my head that I might be able to see the process, I ask when she thinks it will be time push.
“In this field, you never know when the baby is going to come,” says Catherine. “Everybody is different. It could be a couple hours. It could be a few days. It’s not uncommon for a patient to be here for three days.”
I stare back in terror. Three days is a long time to wait.
I turn to Chris. “So, Dad, what was your reaction when you found out she was pregnant?” I ask.
“I was pretty shocked,” he says with a laugh. “I just said, ‘you’re not pregnant.’ She was.”
Despite their nerves, Vanessa and Chris say they’re ready to meet their daughter.
“We’re really excited, we’ve been together 10 years,” says Vanessa. “For some reason we thought it was going to be a boy, but we’re really excited it’s a girl.”
I ask Catherine if there’s any truth behind the notion that if a woman carries higher it’s a girl, and lower, a boy.
“I don’t really think so,” she says. “There’s no proven fact that happens.”
We say goodbye to Vanessa and Chris, wish them luck and decide to head back upstairs to meet a couple moms who’ve recently delivered.
In with the new, out with the old
We’re in front of the empty nursery again. I go inside to talk to Sharon Julien, an RN who is a certified lactation consultant.
We get comfortable in two rocking chairs and I tell Sharon I’m kind of disappointed there aren’t a bunch of babies lined up in the nursery.
She explains that nurseries were designed to allow moms to rest after delivery and to prevent any cross-infection from sick patients.
“We thought if they were in a clean, sterile environment, they wouldn’t get sick,” Sharon says. “That wasn’t even evidence-based.”
Now, as part of the hospital’s Baby-Friendly certification — a recognition they received last year by Baby-Friendly USA, which encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies — moms and newborns are rarely separated.
“They really aren’t in the nursery, unless the mom feels she needs a break,” Jane adds.
Before we go in to meet some of the moms on the floor I ask Jane another question.
“So, does the whole process of slapping a baby after it’s born still happen?”
She tells me, “no,” so I continue, “they just start breathing on their own?”
“Yeah,” she says. “They have biological cues to start breathing.”
A blue-eyed blessing
We then proceed down the hall and peer into one of the rooms, where Revere resident Susan Lightbody is curled up in bed with her daughter, Brooklyn Rose Lightbody.
“How are you doing?” I ask, tiptoeing over to her bedside to get a better look at the baby.
“I’m doing good,” she says.
I sit down in a chair beside her bed and ask how everything went today. Susan tells me Brooklyn was born that morning at 7:57 a.m. through a Caesarean section.
Curious, I ask what prompted the c-section, and Susan explains she had one with her first daughter, Jessica Rose.
“I started labor with my daughter and it ended up in a c-section, so my doctor did it this way,” she says about Brooklyn.
Jesse and I comment that both children have Rose as their middle name.
“My family’s name is LaRosa, so, just the Rose, we liked the way it sounded anyway, but it had meaning,” Susan says.
I peer over to Susan’s husband, David who is lying in the spare bed.
“We had to leave the house 4:30 this morning,” he tells me.
“How’d everything go for you?” I ask him.
“It’s been good. Everything went exactly as planned,” he says. “As far as the second baby, I’m excited to see how she is.”
I move to Susan’s bed to look at Brooklyn again. She’s wearing a pink hat with blue stripes, a perfect complement to her piercing blue eyes, which sleepily open and close.
“She has blue eyes,” I say.
“For now,” Susan responds.
“Jess was born with blue eyes and then they turned brown,” David says.
I make note to ask about this, and as we leave the room and head back over to the nurses’ station, I ask Jane if all babies born with blue eyes.
“All babies are born with grayish/blue eyes and over the first few months of their lives, they switch over to what color they’re going to be,” she tells me. “And that’s all the genetic mix.”
I’ve also heard babies are colorblind when they’re born, so I ask Jane if that’s true.
She tells me newborns, in fact, do not see color, but can distinguish between black and white.
“That’s why they’re interested in your face,” she says. “They look at the contrast from your eyes, your hair, your skin. You could surmise that’s God’s or nature’s way of bonding.”
Learning the truth
Just then, Lauren Nolfo-Clements, a Wakefield resident with long brown curly hair cascading down her back, waddles out of her room in a green dress.
The hospital staff asked her if she’d be interested in talking to me about her pregnancy and since her son, Griffin Clements, just drifted off to sleep, she’s ready for her interview.
“I’m walking around barefoot because my feet don’t fit in shoes,” she says, approaching us.
We head back into the nursery and sit down in the rocking chairs. At the same time, the Free Press photographer, Nicole Goodhue Boyd, arrives and heads in to photograph Susan and the baby.
I ask Lauren about her delivery, which ended in a c-section on May 1.
“What happened with Griffin is my water broke,” she says. “I started dilating, but he didn’t descend to my pelvis. If he never goes to the pelvis, you can’t push him out. After waiting four hours fully dilated, the doctor said he’s not going to come out.”
Three years ago Lauren gave birth to her first daughter, Holly Clements.
“When I had her, I was in labor for four days and I had to push for three hours,” she says. “I was hell-bent on delivering her naturally.”
And although Lauren wanted to do the same with Griffin, she tells me the c-section wasn’t what she expected.
“It wasn’t so bad,” she says. “It’s the most bizarre thing. You can’t feel any pain, but you can feel the kid coming out.”
Lauren then starts explaining some of the differences between a vaginal delivery and a c-section. (Warning, if gory details aren’t your thing, skip over the next few paragraphs.)
“When you have a vaginal delivery, there’s stuff that happens to your vagina — you have a lot of trouble sitting,” she says.
With a c-section, although there’s lower abdominal pain, it’s treatable with an over-the-counter pain reliever, she continues.
“I can sit all I want,” she jokes.
She also tells me that with vaginal deliveries there’s more blood that needs to be flushed out of the body, resulting in heavy bleeding for four to six weeks.
“They say to you, ‘only call if you pass anything larger than a grapefruit,’ and you say,’ a grapefruit?’ and they mean it.”
Completely horrified at this point, I’m unsure why I asked her to continue with the horrors of pregnancy.
“‘The horrors,’” she laughs. “I lucked out, I was fine.”
After some more chitchat, in which Lauren tells me Griffin looks like her, as opposed to Holly, who “came out and it was my husband, but a girl,” we walk back to her room so Nicole can get some pictures.
I hear wailing as we exit the nursery. “Oh, he’s crying!”
“It’s because the doctor is checking him out,” Lauren says.
Inside, pediatrician Elena Gorlovsky is doing just that. She is using a portable ophthalmoscope to examine Griffin’s eyes and he is not enjoying it.
“He doesn’t like to be —”Lauren pauses.
“Manhandled?” Nicole interjects.
“Yeah,” she says.
“One more second…” Elena says as Griffin continues to cry and squirm.
“Griff! Griff! Griff! It’s OK,” Lauren coos. “We need to see your pretty eyes.”
Once Elena finishes and Griffin begins to settle down, we excuse ourselves so Lauren and her son can have some alone time.
Bye, bye babies
As my time draws to a close at the hospital I stand with Jane and Jesse, wracking my brain for last questions I may have.
“Do you any crazy baby stories?” I ask.
“There’s always crazy stories,” says Jane. “Every day in labor and delivery is an adventure.”
- Created on Thursday, March 14 2013 13:08
March 14, 2013
By Christopher Hurley
Tuukka Rask was recently rushed to the hospital, but relax Bruins fans. It was purely a social call.
Fresh off a morning practice following an extensive five-game, two-week road trip, which included stops in Buffalo, Winnipeg, Florida and Long Island, Rask, along with defenseman Aaron Johnson, took time out to visit Lawrence Memorial Hospital Feb. 27. The pair had a guided tour, meeting several members of the staff as well as visiting a number of patients.
“It’s really important to give back to the community, this is one of the best ways to do that,” said Rask. “Its always fun for us as well as the fans.”
“Anytime you can put smiles on people’s faces and support the people that work here at the hospital, its nice,” said Johnson.
A little over a week later, Bruins winger Lane MacDermid and goaltender Anton Khudobin took a similar shift, dropping by the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in Melrose, March 8.
“It’s always nice to go to hospitals and lift some spirits,” said MacDermid. “There were a lot of fans and it was a good turnout.”
Hallmark Health, a major league provider of quality and advanced community healthcare, joined forces with the hockey stars three years ago as the official Healthcare Partner of the Boston Bruins.
The partnership is a natural fit for both Hallmark Health and the team. The local healthcare provider’s orthopedic surgeons and premier Bone and Joint Program provide advanced care, treating orthopedic injuries and disease in people of all ages, including those suffering from sports-related injuries.
During their visit, Rask and Johnson met with several elderly patients.
“It was a little different,” admitted Rask. “I’m use to seeing kids, but today was older people, which was nice. I don’t think they get to see us so often in person, so it was a good treat. It’s part of our job and we love doing it. I can’t complain.”
MacDermid and Khudobin visited several floors at Melrose-Wakefield meeting patients who had orthopedic surgeries, to newborn babies. Both tours concluded with an autograph session.
“Its always fun to make people happy,” MacDermid said. “Hospitals aren’t always the best place to be, unless you’re having a baby, but its always nice seeing people there. It’s part of the job, but you also like to do it. You like to be a part of the community and help those places out. I like to do it whenever I can.”
Rask is entering his sixth season with the Bruins, after coming over in a June 2006 trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Andrew Raycroft. The 6-foot-2, 171-pound goaltender entered the week owining a 13-2-3 records, with a 1.96 goal against average.
The Finnish netminder is no stranger to making big saves. He enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2009-10 leading the NHL with a 1.97 goals against average and .931 save percentage. He then teamed up with Tim Thomas, forging an impressive tandem that helped lead Boston to its first Stanley Cup Championship in 39 years in 2011.
Khudobin has proven to be a reliable back-up for Rask, posting a 4-1 record in five games this season.
A rookie forward, MacDermid is the son of former Hartford Whaler Paul MacDermid. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound winger has a penchant for physical play, which should make him a fan favorite in the years to come.
A nine-year NHL veteran, Johnson is entering his first year with the Bruins. The 6-foot-1, 204-pound blueliner has liked what he has seen from his new hockey home, and has enjoyed interacting with the fans in these type of settings.
“Anytime you mention the Bruins name you always get a smile,” Johnson said. “A lot of people know what happened in the last game and want to talk hockey. We have a lot of support around here and its nice to be able to give back to them.”
Hallmark Health Executive Vice President Charles Whipple saw the impact the players visits had on the patients first hand.
“I saw their faces light up,” Whipple said “One woman said to me she had chest pains, and has even more now after meeting Aaron Johnson and Tuukka Rask, but we’re taking great care of her in our community hospitals.”
“For them to take a time out of their day after practice to come out and see our patients means the world.”
According to Whipple, the partnership is a winning combination.
“Its two real cornerstones of the Boston Community,” Whipple said. “Our local community hospitals and the great Bruins brand. We have very loyal patients and obviously the Bruins have a great loyal fanbase here. We’re able to put the two of those together; it’s a great combination.”
As he lined up for the autograph session, Melrose fourth grader Nicholas Ciccorella came prepared bringing in his goalie stick to get signed. But the squirt netminder never imagined that he’d run into Rask.
“I was actually pretty shocked,” said Ciccorella, 9, a member of the Melrose Youth Hockey Squirts. “I didn’t think Tuukka was going to be here. I thought it was going to be some of the younger players. I had no idea. I’m shocked, but I’m pretty happy.”
“That was pure luck,” said Jeanine Jump, Nicholas’s mother, noting that the family watched the team practice in Wilmington earlier in the day. “He had no idea he was going to be here.”
Both the mother and her son have a strong feeling about this year’s team.
“I think they’ll do good,” Ciccorella said.
His mom concurred
“Playoffs definitely, and hopefully more,” she said.
- Created on Friday, February 22 2013 15:53
Boston Business Journal
Feb. 22, 2013
By Julie Donnelly
Alan Macdonald was recently named the new executive vice president for strategy and external affairs for Hallmark Health System. It’s at a time when the community hospital system is under pressure to change the way it delivers care, and to ally itself with a larger hospital or health care network. McDonald has been a trustee of the hospital group since its founding in 1997. McDonald spoke to reporter Julie M. Donnelly about the changing health care landscape, why he’s passionate about having deep community roots, and what’s so special about a set of captain’s chairs he uses for his bridge table.
What’s the biggest challenge facing Hallmark Health System right now?
The biggest challenge is to adjust the delivery system to be more focused on outpatient care and less focused on inpatient care. Over the years, the health care system has become very hospital-centric, and we have to reverse that. One thing we are doing is opening urgent care centers to move care there that does not need to go to more expensive emergency rooms. We have opened one at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford and we will be looking to open more in our other core service areas, which include Saugus, Melrose, Wakefield, Reading and Saugus.
What’s something that gives you a competitive edge?
If I have a competitive edge, it would be that I have had a lifetime of working closely with wonderful leaders in both public and private life. I like to think I’ve learned something from them.
What are your three greatest passions? Volunteer community activities is a great passion.
I’ve lived in the same house in Winchester since sixth grade. I’ve served in town government, at one time as the chair of the Board of Selectmen. I’m also a trustee of the Winchester Scholarship Fund and have served on a number of other community boards. The second would be recreation, specifically golf. And the third would be spending time with my four grandsons.
What’s a good day for you?
A great day for me would have four parts. It would have one or more visits with family, it would include personal reading and writing time, it would include completing a business or volunteer commitment, and end with a leisurely dinner for two with my wife Jane.
What is your favorite status symbol?
I have four captain’s chairs that are very meaningful to me. One is from Dartmouth College and was given to me for serving as the president of the local alumni association. One is from the town of Winchester, for serving as the chair of the Board of Selectmen. One was given to me by the Winchester Country Club. The fourth I just received from Hallmark Health last week, for serving as a founding trustee. I use them for my bridge table, to play cards.
What is your favorite restaurant?
The Black Horse Tavern in Winchester. It’s new in the past several years, and it’s become a great community resource.
What three people, alive or dead, would you choose to have dinner with?
I would choose St. Paul, for his wisdom in building relationships; Galileo for his personal courage and scientific genius; and Daniel Webster, for his stories about his role as a political leader in Massachusetts.
- Created on Thursday, January 31 2013 14:42
By Joshua Stockbridge
If Hallmark Health System has its way, more local women will become aware of the dangers of heart disease – and fewer women will be dying from it.
To that end, Hallmark will be holding its seventh annual heart disease seminar next Saturday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Stoneham’s Montvale Plaza in recognition of National Red Dress Day.
The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of heart disease among women. It is the number one cause of death for women in the United States and is responsible for taking more lives on a yearly basis then all cancers combined.
According to Danielle Patturelli, an RN and community outreach coordinator at Hallmark’s Cardiac & Endovascular Center at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, many women do not experience the same types of “classic” symptoms as their male counterparts do while suffering from a heart attack or stroke. Their symptoms, if left unchecked, can result in an inaccurate diagnosis and lead to numerous other health issues.
The key, according to Patturelli, is to first correctly identify the problem so that it can be addressed properly.
“Most women tend to not recognize the symptoms of heart disease as accurately as men do,” Patturelli said. “Women think breast cancer when it comes to their health, but they need to realize that they are more likely to suffer from heart disease as opposed to cancer.”
Patturelli went on to say that the biggest misconception is that heart disease is more of a male issue. She also said that because the majority of people think of men when it comes to having a heart attack, in many cases women often don’t even realize they are suffering from a heart related issue and are not as quick to go see a specialist.
“Sometimes the symptoms are not as classic in women as they are in men,” Patturelli said. “[Women] need to recognize that it could be as simple as fatigue, or in some cases back pain, but because they don’t realize what is happening they just think they pulled a muscle. They don’t show up at the ER as much as men either, which is a big concern, and typically they are not as quick to dial 911 when feeling discomfort.”
In a recent study, 79 percent of women said they would call 911 immediately if they thought someone else was suffering from a heart attack, but only 53 percent said they would call if they thought that they were experiencing chest pains. Up to 40 percent of women do not experience chest pains as a part of their heart attack systems, again leading to misdiagnosis and ultimately additional health issues.
As a part of Hallmark’s seminar next weekend, attendees will be given a one-hour screening if they so choose; they will also have the opportunity to hear a number of cardiologists speak to some of the risk factors/warning signs that women need to look out for, as well as healthy heart initiatives such a proper diet and exercise programs and stress relief strategies.
The event will also include a free luncheon, raffles and additional information to help women stay healthy, which will also include blood pressure and body mass index screenings and informational sessions with the pharmacist.
One of the speakers at the event will be Dr. Erica Brooks, a cardiologist on the Hallmark Health System medical staff. Brooks said that the main goal of the event is to increase awareness of cardiovascular disease in all people and to provide as much information as possible.
“Women really need to identify the symptoms,” said Brooks. “They need to be aware of neck discomfort, any discomfort in the jaw, or something in the arms. It doesn’t have to be chest pain. And they need to call 911 or go to the ER as soon as they think they are having a heart related issue.”
Brooks said that the problem for most women is that they spend the majority of their time running around taking care of their families and are not as aware of their own health issues as they should be.
She went on to say that women don’t “personalize” heart related issues as much as men do and that they need to realize that it is a lifelong disease and must be monitored very closely.
“I recommend an annual physical for both men and women,” Brooks said. “The focus is starting to switch to prevention, which is great, and an overall understanding of the risks of cardio vascular disease ... people must make sure to continually get their cholesterol checked, their blood pressure, blood sugar if they are diabetic, because we really don’t talk about these health concerns as much as we should.
“People have to make sure that they talk to their doctors about these types of issues,” said Brooks. “They have to continually ask questions and get as proactive in their own health as they can be.”
In a follow up to the heart disease seminar, Hallmark Health will be offering their Healthy Heart Series this spring. The series will consist of lectures as it relates to preventing heart disease, healthy nutrition guides and managing stress techniques. It is a three-part series that will be held in April, May and June of this year.
- Created on Wednesday, November 07 2012 19:29
Nov. 7, 2012
By Nicholas Iovino
Visitors packed into a newly designed facility at Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH) in Medford last week to get their first peak at Hallmark Health’s latest brainchild, a new urgent care center.
“This is the new brainchild of the organization to meet the needs of the population and to offer more efficient care,” said Deb Cronin-Waelde, system director of emergency services at Hallmark Health, which manages LMH.
The new urgent care center aims to provide walk-in patients a quicker and cheaper alternative to the more costly emergency room visit. The facility offers treatment and evaluation for minor injuries, common illnesses, immunizations and other non-life-threatening medical needs.
Hallmark Health includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, and the Hematology and Oncology Center and CHEM Center for Radiation Oncology/MRI of Stoneham.
Associate Chief Nursing Officer and LMH Site Administrator Lori Stevens said a study recently found more than half of emergency room visits across the state were for people coming in with minor injuries or illnesses.
“We knew there was a need,” said Stevens.
The center, which opened to the public Nov. 1, will remain open 365 days a year with weekday hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and weekend hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Co-payments for the new center are on par with primary doctor visits, which cost about $20 to $40 for most insurance plans.
“This is going to be a great resource for the entire region,” said Hallmark Health President and CEO Michael V. Sack.
The company president and CEO said the new center would also provide one-stop shopping for patients, including x-ray and lab testing resources.
State Rep. Paul Donato joined Sack and other Hallmark Health employees in cutting the ribbon to celebrate the center’s grand opening on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
“Lawrence Memorial Hospital is moving forward in a progressive way to show we want to take care of patients as quickly as possible,” said Donato.
Donato joked he would likely end up the new care facility’s first patient.
A growing trend
Eastern Massachusetts has experienced a recent growth in new urgent care centers. The boom has emerged in the wake of health insurance companies relaxing policies that once required patients get referrals from their primary doctors before treatment could be covered.
In June, the national company Doctors Express launched a new urgent care facility in Saugus, one of 19 the company said it plans to open across the region. However, Cronin-Waelde said the new center at LMH offers something a bit different than other care centers.
“The piece we have that’s a little different is a majority board-certified nursing staff and a Patient Access Navigator,” said Cronin-Waelde.
The Patient Access Navigator, or PAN, coordinates care for patients by sending information to primary physicians, handling referrals to specialists and generally following up with the patients.
“When people come in, they’ll feel like their whole person is cared for, not just the small issue they came here for,” said Nancy Gaden, chief nursing officer for Hallmark Health and vice president of Patient Care Services.
Gaden said for patients within the Hallmark Health System, their records will be instantly updated and shared within the system. For those outside the system, their information will also be transferred to their primary doctor.
Gaden called the strategy, “transitions of care.”
“It’s a continuous flow of information to primary care physicians, which is huge as we move toward more national medical records,” said Gaden.
News & Events
Tuesday, February 25 2014 14:04