Friday, July 31, 2009

LifeBridge Health Lives United

The LifeBridge Health executive team kicked off Sinai Hospital's "Race to Live United" yesterday in the Greenspring Cafe.

The contest for pinning the tail on the United Way horse came down to Vice President Lorrie Liang, and Julie Cox, Vice President of Development. Cox emerged the winner. Pictured here are participants Lionel Weeks, Vice President of Facilities, and Ev Amaral, Vice President of Operations Engineering, both being led by Shannon Wollman, Development Department Manager at Sinai.

Other United Way benefits include a gathering at Mother's Grille in Federal Hill from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight. Raffle proceeds that evening will benefit the United Way, and Mother's has donated a door prize to a lucky LifeBridge Health customer just for walking through the door!
Later on, a concert at the 8x10 Club in Federal Hill with local band, The Bridge, with half of the proceeds from ticket sales donated to the United Way. Tickets are $20. Doors at 8 p.m., event begins at 9 p.m.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Senators Tour South Tower

State Senate Minority Whip Nancy Jacobs, who represents Cecil and Harford counties, and state Senate Deputy Majority Whip Catherine Pugh, who represents Baltimore, joined LifeBridge Health Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy Martha Nathanson to see Sinai Hospital's new environmental features as part of its south tower expansion. The three are pictured at left.

Among the topics of discussion were Sinai's green roof and environmentally friendly components such as energy-saving glass.

The senators also toured parts of the campus, including the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics. Picturered at right are Jacobs and orthopedic surgeon Shawn Standard, M.D., discussing the innovative treatments offered at the RIAO.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Learn the Symptoms of Brain Injury

by Kevin E. Crutchfield, M.D, Director, Comprehensive Sports Concussion Program, The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute

When your loved one is involved in athletics, it's important to recognize the symptoms of a concussion.

A concussion can cause a variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms that usually go away entirely within three weeks but may persist, or complications may occur. A concussion may cause moderate changes in a person’s thinking, emotional, or physical abilities.

Call 911 immediately if an athlete with a head injury:
  • Cannot be awakened
  • Has one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other
  • Has convulsions or seizures
  • Has slurred speech
  • Is getting increasingly confused, restless, or agitated
  • Is weak on one side of the body
  • Has persistent clumsiness
  • Complains of excruciating headache

Typical symptoms of a non-urgent brain injury that warrants evaluation by experts at the Berman Brain & Spine Institute:
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches that get worse
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Loss of balance or dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Increased sensitivity to sound, light, distractions
  • Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
  • Reduced attention/concentration
  • Difficulty organizing daily tasks
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Anxiety/depression or mood changes
  • Irritability

The evaluations conducted by the health care experts at the Berman Brain & Spine Institute may be brief screenings or more comprehensive studies to assess brain functions that are vulnerable after a mild brain injury, including mental processing speed, attention/concentration, and other executive functions (e.g., working memory, behavior regulation, task initiation, and planning and organization). The evaluators make appropriate referrals for patients to individually tailored partial or comprehensive treatment programs that promote healthy recovery (including after-injury plans for accommodations at home, school, or work).

The Comprehensive Sports Concussion Program at Brain & Spine Institute stands ready to provide your student-athlete with the attention, assessment, and care that he or she requires following such an injury.

Call us at 410-601-WELL and visit us at

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sinai Hospital Employees Donate Supplies

As part of Sinai Hospital's year-long 50th anniversary celebration, employees donated enough food and school supplies to fill a LifeBridge Health shuttle last week. The food was given to Hackerman-Patz House, and the supplies will be sent to Cross County and Pimlico schools.

"With all of the things going on with the economy, it was great to see how the staff was still able to really step in and help," says Sinai Volunteer Services Department manager Beth Duffin. "The child life specialists, for example, were very helpful in donating crafts and supplies for the students."

The Hackerman-Patz house provides guest suites for those families and patients traveling to Sinai for an extended visit.

"Many of these families are far away from their homes, and the donated food will make it easier for them to gather what they need without always having to eat out," Duffin says.

The donated school supplies included notebooks, folders, and writing utensils, all to make it possible for children to get off to a good start in the fall.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sports-Related Concussions Pose Serious Risk

by Kevin E. Crutchfield, M.D., Director, Comprehensive Sports Concussion Program,
Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute

With the school sports season gearing up, remember that sports-related concussions are a risk for athletes.

Concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury, and repeated concussions can cause cumulative brain damage or severe complications, or second-impact syndrome. Someone who has sustained an initial brain injury and then sustains another before symptoms associated with the first have fully cleared is at risk for second-impact syndrome.

Concussion in school-aged athletes is an under-recognized health risk; those who experience concussion are at long-term risk of persistent health problems and diminished lifelong potential. Although 1 in 10 athletes reports suffering a concussion during the athletic season, we have no guidelines regarding when it is safe for the young athlete to return to competition. But hitting the field too early after an injury will place him or her at increased risk of permanent brain damage.

The severity of a concussive injury must be determined by an expert in the field of brain injury. At The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute, an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals provides the clinical evaluation, neurologic and neuropsychologic evaluations, neuroimaging tests such as CT and MRI, and excellent care necessary to evaluate, diagnose, and treat head injury.

Look for a future post to discuss the signs and symptoms of brain injury.

To learn more, call 410-601-WELL and visit us at

Friday, July 24, 2009

Good Hand Hygiene Helps Prevent School Absences

by: John Cmar, MD

Lifebridge Health just contributed the following article to Newswise, including some commentary from myself and other colleagues in Infection Prevention and Control:

Newswise — With 82 million students and teachers – over a quarter of the population – expected to start school in the United States this fall, it’s important that everyone do his or her part to keep himself or herself and others healthy when class is in session.

Experts from Baltimore-based LifeBridge Health, which operates Sinai and Northwest Hospitals, say that the number one thing students and teachers can do to avoid getting sick is to adopt good hand hygiene.

“I often joke that the ways to not get sick are to wash your hands and don’t eat at questionable restaurants, but there’s a lot of truth to that advice,” says John Cmar, M.D., an internist at Sinai Hospital.

Hand washing helps prevent illness because most germs are spread when people pick them up from infected surfaces and then touch their eyes, noses or mouths. However when hands are germ-free, bugs don’t usually have a way to reach the face.

According to Northwest Hospital Infection Control Manager Mary Wallace, bacteria and viruses live on many surfaces found in a school environment such as desks and tables, computer keyboards, clothing, locker room benches, coins, and doorknobs, to name a few.

“Because hands can pick up germs from so many different types of surfaces, it is critical that students wash their hands after using the restroom, before and after eating, whenever they are soiled, and periodically throughout the day,” says Wallace.

Teachers and principals should not underestimate their role in helping students remain healthy through reinforcing proper hand hygiene. Kids model the behaviors of authority figures, so school officials need to be champions of hand washing.

“It’s especially important that teachers and parents teach children the proper hand washing technique,” says Marilyn Hanchett, R.N., a Sinai Hospital infection preventionist. “Many kids wash just their palms, missing their fingertips and areas around the thumbs and between the fingers. Unless an adult teaches them, kids don’t know they are supposed to wash those areas too.”

The American Society of Microbiology discovered that only 50 percent of middle and high school students say that they wash their hands after using the restroom. The statistics get even worse when one considers soap usage; only a third of females and 8 percent of males use soap. Without the cleansing effects of soap, water is less capable of removing germs and bacteria.

If your child’s school does not provide soap in the restrooms – a growing problem in many schools – send a gift to the teacher: a bottle of hand sanitizer to place on his or her desk for student use. Cmar, Wallace and Hanchett all stress the importance of each classroom having its own source of alcohol-based hand rub, as it’s impractical to leave the room to use a restroom sink to wash one’s hands as often as is necessary.

While hand washing greatly reduces the odds of catching a bug, sometimes sickness is inevitable. If your child contracts a bug and you’re wondering if the illness warrants a sick day, Cmar recommends that you ask your child’s doctor.

“People should have a low threshold about when to call their doctors to ask if their sick kids need to stay home or if they need professional medical attention,” says Cmar.

In most cases, sick people should stay home to ensure they get rest to aid recovery and to avoid coming into contact with others so they don’t pass along the virus. Cmar adds that the length of time that someone is contagious varies from illness to illness – another reason to consult your doctor.

Because avoiding other people is not always possible, encourage your kids to get into the habit of covering their coughs and sneezes. The old advice of covering one’s mouth with one’s hand is bad because hands are constantly touching other surfaces, so teach your children to cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of their elbows. If they do cough or sneeze into their hands, make sure they wash them promptly afterward.

“It’s really the basic stuff – hand washing – that helps us prevent the spread of disease,” says Cmar. “There aren’t any magic pills or mega doses of vitamins that protect us from cold and flu viruses. It comes down to just this: wash your hands, and don’t rub your face.”

LifeBridge Health is one of Baltimore's largest health organizations that includes Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Northwest Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, and Courtland Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

The original article posting can be found here.

Levindale Employees Rescue Cat

A mother cat in labor got a happy ending yesterday, thanks to a group of quick-thinking Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital employees.

Constance Harris, a patient accounting representative at Levindale, was outside on a break when she saw security guards and employees by a sewer grate on W. Belvedere Avenue, which bisects the Levindale and Sinai Hospital campus. The group was trying to lure out a female cat. Eventually Constance herself crawled into the grate, petted the cat, and lifted her out to safety.

Twenty minutes later, in the Levindale patient accounting office, the mama cat – christened Mitzvah – started having contractions. The first kitten was born at 2:58 p.m., with the next three following at 3:20 p.m., 3:59 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. They were named Belvedere, Levi (for Levindale), Ron (for Levindale past president Ron Rothstein) and Kay (which is Harris’ middle name).

“I’m going to foster them until they are weaned and we can find them homes,” Harris says. She took them to their first veterinary appointment Thursday afternoon, and the cats will all be vaccinated and spayed before being adopted out to their “forever homes.”

“She did real good, she’s a good mother,” says patient accounting representative Lee Harper, who took the quintet home Wednesday evening. Constance has promised to bring the cats back on Fridays so the other Levindale employees can visit and help the kittens become socialized.

Levindale is no stranger to animals bringing joy to employees and residents. Dogs, cats, and birds live at Levindale as part of the Eden Alternative approach to care.

For more information, call Levindale at 410-601-2400.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Levindale Blood Drive Saves Lives

If you could save the life of someone in a serious car accident, would you do it? How about helping someone who has cancer, anemia or who needs surgery? Even without a medical degree, many of us have the power, by giving blood.

“One blood donor can save at least three lives,” says Mary Ellen “Mel” Lindenmuth, RNC, BS, CDON and blood drive coordinator at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital. “Plasma, platelets and red blood cells can be used from each pint of whole blood.”

Levindale held its bi-annual drive on July 14 in the Schwaber Multi-Purpose Room. The Red Cross accepted 28 of the pints of blood donated. Continues Mel, “What was particularly gratifying was that we had six new donors. One of those donors was the family member of a resident, who herself, was over 65. She actually won a door prize.”

The whole process of registering and donating takes an hour, but giving blood only takes about ten minutes. The Red Cross puts safety first. Before donating, people have mini-health screenings to prevent risks to themselves and to the blood supply. Once accepted, every unit is disease-tested multiple times before it is used.

All blood types are needed, but most in demand are types O and B. “It’s important to give all year because some blood products expire quickly,” explains Mel.

Everyone who rolled up his or her sleeves and gave the gift of life received a T-shirt and other gifts to show the appreciation of Levindale and the Red Cross. One of the best parts, cookies and juice afterwards while donors relaxed.

The next blood drives at LifeBridge Health are at Sinai Hospital on Tuesday, August 4 and Wednesday, August 5, and at Northwest Hospital on Tuesday, August 4.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Staying Healthy at the Gym

by Holly Hosler

Imagine this scenario: You’re at the gym and you’ve finished your laps, cooled down a bit, and now you’re ready to hit the weights. Damp hair clinging to your brow, you situate yourself at the bench press station only to lie down in a pool of someone else’s cold, smelly sweat.

Wouldn’t that be fun?

Though some people seem to forget it, the Golden Rule applies to the gym just as much as everywhere else. LifeBridge Health & Fitness Director Matt Carlen says he witnesses infractions of basic gym etiquette rules all the time.

“The things I see most often are used towels on locker room floors, weights that haven’t been re-racked and sweaty cardio machines,” remarks Matt. “There’s also a big problem of people taking up weight stations between their sets of reps – we have to remind people not to sit on equipment that they are not using at the moment.”

In fact, it’s not uncommon for other gym members to confront those guilty of an etiquette breach. While courtesy at the gym makes workouts more pleasant for all members, it may also have the added benefit of helping stop the spread of disease. Wiping down sweaty equipment helps protect the next user from your germs. If you want to be extra safe, you should clean your selected exercise machine both before and after use. At LifeBridge Health & Fitness, moist towelettes are provided to wipe down equipment.

“It’s also important to wash one’s hands before and after visiting a gym and after cleaning the equipment there,” says Jackie Daley, director of Infection Prevention and Control at Sinai Hospital. “While you’re in the midst of your workout, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth – at least not until you’ve properly sanitized your hands.”

The gym has alcohol-based hand rub stations throughout the complex, making it easy for people to sanitize their hands as often as needed.

So whenever you’re at the gym, be sure to clean your equipment before and after use and wash your hands as needed. It may just spare you from pools of sweat – not only the kind found on the equipment, but also the ones that come from being sick in bed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

LifeBridge Health Supports United Way

LifeBridge Health kicks off its annual United Way campaign this month! United Way is a regional leader in providing human services, supporting educational, income, and health and safety programs in the city of Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties.

Fund-raising events for the LifeBridge Health United Way campaign include a car wash at LifeBridge Health & Fitness on July 27; a United Way benefit concert at the 8x10 in Federal Hill on July 31 (featuring local band The Bridge); a happy hour at the Greene Turtle in Towson on August 6 (10 percent of total profit for the day will be donated to United Way) and a flea market at Northwest Hospital on August 26.

Recently, one LifeBridge Health employee was recognized for her commitment to "live United." United Way bestowed the 38th annual Clementine Peterson Award to Taylor Foss, vice president and chief human resources officer for LifeBridge Health. Foss, a longtime United Way volunteer, received the highest honor bestowed by United Way of Central Maryland to recognize outstanding leadership and volunteer contributions by a woman to United Way. To read more, click here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sinai Hospital Awards Scholarships

Sinai Hospital is pleased to announce $7,000 in scholarship awards to four Cylburn area residents.

The Sinai Hospital Community Grant program accepted applications for current college students or college-bound students. Three recipients with health-care related majors (such as biology or nursing) received $2,000 and one student with a non-health-care related major received $1,000.

Applicants submitted transcripts, recommendations and did an in-person interview to qualify for this merit-based program. Congratulations to the recipients!

The scholarship program will continue next year, with an application deadline of March 15, 2010.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sinai Kicks Off Supply Drive on Monday

As part of Sinai Hospital's 50th anniversary celebration, employees and community members are filling up a Sinai shuttle.

The school supply and food drive kicks off on Monday, July 20. Stop by Monday-Friday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and visit the shuttle, parked by the Greenspring cafe. The food donations will go to the Hackerman-Patz House at Sinai and the new school supplies will be donated to Pimlico Elementary School and Cross County Elementary/Middle School.

Requested items include:
  • Non-perishable boxed or canned food
  • Composition notebooks
  • Glue sticks
  • Large 3-ring binders
  • Crayons
  • Crayon boxes
  • Tissues
  • Paper towels
  • Scissors
  • Folders with pockets
  • Liquid soap
  • Rulers
  • Loose-leaf paper
  • Kleenex
  • Hand sanitizer
Thanks in advance!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sinai Named One of U.S. News & World Report's 2009-2010 Best Hospitals

Sinai Hospital of Baltimore is ranked as one of the top hospitals in the country for neurology and neurosurgery, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2009-10 America’s Best Hospitals edition. Sinai ranked in the top 50 hospitals for the second time in this specialty, this year as number 38 in the nation.

Sinai’s Neurology and Neurosurgery departments are an integral part of the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute, a unique association of specialists in orthopedics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and several other subspecialties, as well as in neurology and neurosurgery.

“It is an honor for Sinai to be recognized as one of the most prestigious medical centers in the country,” said Neil M. Meltzer, president and COO, Sinai Hospital. “A dedicated team of medical professionals treats patients at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute for diseases of and injuries to the brain, nervous system and spine.”

U.S. News & World Report started its annual listings to identify centers with the best levels of medical care. To be eligible for the ranking, a hospital must first belong to the Council of Teaching Hospitals, and be affiliated with a medical school or have a specified number of technology services.

The ranked specialties include cancer; diabetes and endocrine disorders; digestive disorders; geriatric care; gynecology; heart; neurology and neurosurgery; ophthalmology; and urology.

Hospitals in the U.S. News & World Report listing are ranked on factors including reputation among specialists, mortality rates and other medical data, most of which comes from an annual survey by the American Hospital Association.

Physiatry Added to Dictionary

It’s a word that’s been around since the days of the Truman presidency. But a patient
looking up “physiatry” would find nothing in the dictionary.

Until now.

Last week, Merriam-Webster Inc. released its list of the more than 100 entries now included in the latest edition of its Collegiate Dictionary. Physiatry, a synonym for physical medicine and rehabilitation, made the cut, along with locavore, fan fiction and earmark.

The physiatrists at Sinai Hospital couldn’t be happier about the linguistic recognition of their field.

"The addition of physiatry to the dictionary reflects the increased awareness of the medical specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation,” says Scott Brown, M.D., the chief of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. “The focus is not on treating a single organ system or disease process. The physiatrists in the Sinai Rehabilitation Center are part of a team of clinicians dedicated to reducing pain and restoring function for patients who suffer from a wide variety of conditions including back pain, head injury, trauma, amputation and stroke."

According to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the field of physiatry began in the 1930s, and increased substantially as veterans returned from World War II with serious disabilities. The mission of helping them lead productive lives led to a new direction for the field. The Advisory Board of Medical Specialties granted physical medicine and rehabilitation its approval as a specialty of medicine in 1947.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

LifeBridge Health Receives New Vans

LifeBridge Health recently received two new vans through a Federal Transit Administration grant. These patient transport vans, fully equipped with wheelchair accessibility, will allow disabled and elderly patients to be taken to Levindale and Pikesville Adult Day Centers, and the Sinai Rehabilitation Center.

Pictured next to the vans are Julie E. Cox, LifeBridge Health Vice President of Development, Andy Armetta, Director, Property & Fleet Management, Lindsay Beane, DrPH, Director of Grants Administration, Anna Slesinski, Grant Coordinator, and Gretchen Barnes, Manager of Transportation. Beane and Slesinski were the leads on the grant application.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rooting Out the Secrets of Gray Hair

Perhaps the summer has given your teenager a liberal interpretation of curfew, or your hyper toddler has wandered away from you too many times.

If you've muttered, "you're giving me gray hair," there's good news - science is ready to back you up.

A study published in a June issue of Cell magazine showed researchers' discovery that stress can cause the depletion of melanocyte stem cells, which are the cells that give your hair its pigment. In a recent article in Digital Journal, Tyler Cymet, DO, talks about a study he conducted on hair graying among patients at Sinai Hospital.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Integrative Health Coaching Available

By Deb Kirkland, RN, BSN, MPH
Nurse Navigator, Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Center at Northwest Hospital

In lieu of support group throughout the summer, Breast Friends is working with Jill Adler, Integrative Health Coach, for health coaching sessions. Our support group for young breast cancer survivors will resume in September.

An Integrative Health Coach creates dynamic partnerships that move people toward satisfying and healthy lifestyles. Coaches use both innovative and practical strategies to help people clarify what they want and don't want, and explore options. The coaching process enhances personal accountability as people take thoughtful action for optimal health.

Integrative Health coaching facilitates behavior change in a structured, supportive partnership between the participant and coach. The coach invites insights and clarity through inquiry and personal discovery. A coach focuses on the mind, body, and spirit and helps people make the changes that support a healthier lifestyle.

In group coaching, various topics common to group members may be discussed each session, or each person can bring up something they are working on. Often, common themes emerge on topics like finding balance, managing fear, decreasing stress, staying motivated and improving communication with loved ones. Each session will have some structure to it while also allowing a natural flow to the group process.

Group members participate in discussions, honor group rules, pledge to be supportive of one another and also complete various exercises and assignments that move members forward in their journey. It's a fun, challenging exploration that can prove to be life-changing.

To learn more, contact Jill at jadler(at)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Levindale Wins Annual Softball Tournament

by Helene King

The Baltimore Orioles have some stiff competition when it comes to die hard fans. When the softball teams from Courtland Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital took to the field at Old Court Middle School recently, they received rousing cheers from elated admirers in the stands.

Their annual tournament brought out the big bats and golden gloves from both LifeBridge Health centers. After a hard fought contest and lots (and lots) of laughs, Levindale claimed victory, extending its winning streak to three in a row.

The pre-game festivities were very special because the outgoing president of both facilities, Ron Rothstein, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to the incoming president, Aric Spitunik.

“Everyone had a blast,” said Aric, who besides being president, was calling the balls and strikes. “We all work together everyday to make sure that our residents and patients are healthy and happy, so it’s great to play together at our annual softball game.”

What would a game be without hot dogs? Fortunately, no one had to find out because Kym Farmer and Richard Coleman from Courtland Gardens had the grill going, not only for the players, but for the “cheerleaders” watching.

Joy Curbean, from Courtland Gardens, said that everyone at the game was a winner, but then with a smile, she quickly added, “Wait ‘til next year, Levindale!”

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Organ Donors Save Lives

Did you know there are nearly 2,000 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant in Maryland?

There's never been a better time to sign up to become an organ donor, or to celebrate the accomplishments of transplant recipients. While the opening ceremony of the U.S. Transplant Games might be nearly a year away, Maryland transplant recipients are on the track, basketball court, in the pool, and on the course getting ready for next summer's games in Madison, Wisc.

As one of the world’s largest gathering of organ transplant recipients, the U.S. Transplant Games allows athletes – kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas and bone marrow recipients – to compete for medals in 12 sports, including bicycling, bowling, golf, racquetball, swimming, tennis and track and field events.

Last year, hailing from every corner of the state, Team Maryland athletes garnered 12 medals in total at the 2008 U.S. Transplant Games in Pittsburgh.

“The games are a real-life demonstration of the determination and courage transplant recipients possess,” says Latrice Price, Team Maryland manager. “The event also draws attention to the critical need for organ donation in this country and inspires others to take the first step towards saving a life by becoming a designated organ, eye and tissue donor.”

Nationally more than 82 million people are designated as organ and tissue donors. In addition to the nearly 2,000 people waiting in Maryland, there are more than 100,000 waiting nationally for their life-saving donation. The need for designated organ donors grows every day.

In 2008, Sinai Hospital had eight donors, adding to Maryland’s total of 119 organ donors and 373 tissue donors. From this generosity, 443 members of our community received the gift of life through an organ transplant.

“And as much as the games are an athletic event, they are also a celebration of life among recipients, donor families and physicians, allied professionals, and friends,” adds Price.

Team Maryland is always looking for new team members. Are you a transplant recipient and interested in competing at the games? The next meeting is July 13, 2009. Contact Latrice Price, Team Maryland Manager at or 410-242-7000 for more information.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Volunteers Make The Difference

LifeBridge Health volunteers provide a bridge between health care providers and visitors, all the while building relationships in the community. Whether you’re a high school senior or a senior citizen, there are a variety of ways to volunteer.

At Sinai Hospital, David Lebson is one of its beloved volunteers. Last week, “Mr. David's" Sinai friends surprised him with a birthday party to ring in his 95th year. Mr. David, pictured above with Workforce Development Coordinator Anita Hammond, works three mornings a week in the Human Resources Department, with duties that include assembling books and materials for training courses, helping with large mailings, creating electronic documents from original documents, working on quality assurance of scanned documents, and much more.

“You don't make it to my age without have meaningful work to still do and a purpose to life,” Mr. David says. Sinai, he added, helps him achieve that.

To learn more about volunteering, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Breast Care Center Medical Director Begins at Northwest

Breast surgeon Dawn Johnson Leonard, M.D., pictured here with Northwest Hospital President Erik Wexler, is the new medical director of the Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center at Northwest Hospital. Dr. Leonard is a fellowship-trained breast surgeon and is certified by the American Board of Surgery. Her appointment follows the grand reopening of the center a month ago in a more expansive, spa-like space near the hospital’s main entrance.

Prior to joining the staff at Northwest Hospital, Leonard was founder and chief executive officer of Leonard Surgical Care Associates in Frederick, Maryland. She was the first medical director of the Coordinated Breast Services Program at Frederick Memorial Hospital and was a clinical instructor in the Division of General Surgery at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Leonard received her medical degree from Howard University. She completed a residency in general surgery there and a breast surgical oncology fellowship at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. In addition, Leonard trained in plastic surgery.

To facilitate the best approach to treating breast cancer, the new center has a dedicated room for weekly multi-D cancer conferences so oncologists, radiologists and cancer surgeons arrive at an ideal treatment plan for each patient. The center provides a continuum of care through LifeBridge Health’s Alvin and Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute, with chemotherapy offered at Northwest’s Infusion & Cancer Therapy Center and radiation therapy at Sinai Hospital or the Radiation Oncology Center at Owings Mills.

To learn more about the breast care center and Dr. Leonard, click here or call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Friday, July 3, 2009

Remember Fireworks Safety This Weekend

What would the Fourth of July be without fireworks?

But if you’ve ever shuddered at seeing a 5-year-old waving a sparkler with abandon, you have good cause to be scared – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sparklers accounted for one-third of the injuries to children less than 5 years of age. In 2006, 11 people died and an estimated 9,200 were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in the United States.

Sandra Garrett, Sinai ER-7 nurse manager, says it’s not uncommon to see children with fireworks' injuries on this holiday weekend. A child's skin tends to be thinner and damages more easily from fire, she says.

“It’s important to remember that burns can be prevented,” Garrett says.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends that only children over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers. Other tips for firework safety include never relighting a “dud” firework, always having water handy, not allowing anyone intoxicated to handle the pyrotechnics, and never making your own fireworks. All children and pets should be kept at a safe distance from fireworks.

In the event of a problem, Garrett says the first step is to stop the burning process.

Then, “put water or ice on the burn, not an ointment,” she says.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sinai Atrium Open

Sinai Hospital of Baltimore officially opened its green building expansion at noon today. The 87,000-square foot, four-story addition includes an atrium, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Intermediate Care Unit (IMC).

“In an effort to support our community and reduce our environmental footprint, Sinai Hospital strives to be a corporate leader in green development,” said Neil Meltzer, president and COO of Sinai Hospital. “This building expansion is a wonderful example of how hospitals can achieve a high level of patient care and incorporate environmental responsibility.”

A highlight of the new building is the 8,000-square-foot atrium. The large common area provides lots of natural light, vegetation and a waterfall feature, which provides a peaceful environment for patients, visitors, and staff. The waterfall feature is over 40-feet-tall and includes water cascading over stone slabs that is lit with integrated LED lighting.

The new building features two new patient care areas, a 29-bed ICU located on the fourth floor, and a 36-bed IMC unit, located on the sixth floor. Both new units incorporate enhanced ergonomics for the patient care staff. Improvements include patient beds designed to reduce the need for lifting; raised outlets for a decreased need for bending and stretching; special flooring to support long periods of standing; and a pod-like setting with all medical supplies in close proximity. Also, each of the private patient rooms has sleeping space for families and computers at every bedside.

The new building also boasts the area’s first hospital roof garden, which can be viewed from the 4th and 6th floors. This “vegetecture,” or vegetated architecture, is a form of building design that using vegetation as a part of construction. The garden is comprised of a green roof system consisting of low maintenance sedum plants. The plants are expected to mature in two to three years and will require little maintenance from the hospital.

A helipad is located on the rooftop. This will allow for transport of patients to the emergency department, operating rooms and the cardiac catheterization labs.

The expansion also has many green features including:
  • Fundamental refrigerant management to reduce ozone depletion.
  • Thermal comfort design and verification to meet minimum standards for insulation.
  • Use of low-emitting materials, adhesives and sealants; paints and coatings; carpet systems; composite wood products; systems furniture and seating. These products reduce the environmental impact of construction.
  • Incorporation of high performance energy saver glass and frames at curtain walls and ribbon windows.
  • Incorporation of recycled content and low volatile organic compounds (VOC) in building finishes and furnishings.
  • Use of low energy consumption LED lighting.
  • Installation of local lighting controls utilizing multiple lighting scenes to reduce energy consumption and provide varying lighting effects for evening, overnight and daytime conditions.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sinai President Leads American Heart Association

Neil M. Meltzer, M.P.H., president and chief operating officer of Sinai Hospital, began today as the new national chairman of the board of the American Heart Association. He will be responsible for the association’s business affairs, public relations and fund raising, and will preside over all Board of Directors and Administrative Cabinet meetings. Meltzer has been an American Heart Association volunteer since 1995. He chaired the association’s Advocacy Coordinating Committee from 2006 to 2008 and is a board member with the association’s Mid-Atlantic Affiliate.

The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases — America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers — it funds cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or click here.

The Search for Sleep

Maybe you’re snapping at your children more, or guzzling coffee at a rate that would make Juan Valdez blush. It’s possible what you’re really looking for is a good night’s sleep.

Most Americans are sleep deprived, says Abdallah I. Kafrouni, M.D., a sleep and pulmonary specialist at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown.

“Nobody gets enough sleep anymore,” Kafrouni says. “Everyone thinks they can get away with four or five hours, when the average American in the 1920s got 8 to 8 1/2 hours of sleep."

Kafrouni offers the following tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
  • Cut back on caffeine.
Kafrouni recommends no caffeinated drinks in the afternoon. In addition to coffee, soda and iced tea can contain enough stimulants to keep you awake at night.
  • Avoid sleeping pills.
“Insomnia is extremely prevalent in our society, and some turn to sleeping pills,” Kafrouni says. Always talk to a physician before taking sleeping pills.
  • Make your bedroom cool, dark, quiet and comfortable.
“Minimize as much as you can,” Kafrouni advises. This may include using earplugs and room-darkening shades. Other options include eye covers or a fan, which can both cool you off and drown out excess noise. These tricks can be especially important for night-shift workers who need to sleep during the day, he says.
  • See a physician if you have insomnia, severe snoring or other breathing problems.
Insomnia can often be addressed through behavioral modifications, Kafrouni says. Obstructive sleep apnea impacts 10 percent of women and 20-25 percent of men
  • Establish a bedtime routine.
“A routine is always great,” Kafrouni says. Set an established time to go to bed and wake up. And if you need the alarm in the morning, you haven’t gotten enough sleep, he says. Relaxing nighttime activities, such as listening to soft music or reading, are a signal to your body to start slowing down.
  • Stop smoking.
"It’s not a healthy habit in any way," Kafrouni says. Even if they claim non-addiction, he says smokers will often reach for a cigarette first thing in the morning. For more information on quitting smoking, visit
  • Exercise.
While you should not work out less than an hour before bed, exercise helps you achieve a restful night of sleep, Kafrouni says.
  • Choose a good mattress and pillow.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average life cycle for a mattress is around a decade. Putting allergy covers on pillows and mattresses can also cut down on dust mites, which may trigger allergies and interrupt sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol before bed.
Alcohol is a sedative, so people often think it will work to help them fall asleep. But it's more likely to cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, thus disrupting your sleep.

For more information on the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwest Hospital, call 410-601-WELL (9355).