Health Matters Blog

The New Physician’s Aid in Dying Law (Act 39) in Vermont

Published August 2, 2013

Kathleen McGraw, MD by Kathleen McGraw, MD [caption id="attachment_8101" align="alignright" width="226"] Kathleen McGraw, MD[/caption] On May 20, after more than a decade of debate, Vermont became the 4th state in the country to have a law which governs helping people die. While patients and physicians have always been able to discuss end of life issues, such as pain control and hospice care, the new law makes it possible in certain circumstances for patients to request assistance from their physician in dying. Patients, doctors and the state of Vermont are all trying to figure out what it means for them. Though we all will die someday, our comfort level w...

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Keeping Summer Fun Safe for Children and Families

Published July 19, 2013

Cynthia Howes, RN, CPNP By Cynthia Howes [caption id="attachment_6052" align="alignright" width="199"] Cynthia Howes, RN, CPNP[/caption] Summer is finally here! Getting out and enjoying the warm weather are what kids do in the summer. Activities range from biking, swimming, hiking, camping, picnicking, playing sports, and just playing with friends and families. Following a few safety tips helps keep kids healthy. It is very important to protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Reduce damaging exposure by wearing tight weave cotton clothing, sunglasses, and wide brimmed hats. Stay in a shaded area whenever possible and limit peak ex...

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A New Emergency Department to Meet Today’s Healthcare Needs and Anticipate Future Demands

Published July 12, 2013

Steven R. Gordon, CEO [caption id="attachment_5529" align="alignright" width="199"] Steven R. Gordon, CEO[/caption] Built in 1982, the Emergency Department was designed to accommodate 6,000 patients each year. Three decades later, that volume has more than doubled to 14,000 patients annually, with more than 70 percent of in-patient admissions coming through the Emergency Department. However, the department’s footprint and infrastructure have remained relatively the same, creating many inconveniences and inefficiencies. Many of you in the greater Brattleboro community have crossed the threshold of the Emergency Department and recognize the short-comings of ...

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Associate Providers Keep Emergency Departments in Flow

Published June 28, 2013

By Linda Rice There are numerous factors contributing to the rising number of emergency room visits at hospitals across America, including in our community. Everything from an aging population managing chronic illnesses to issues of access to healthcare plays a role. But no matter whether patients are brought in by an ambulance or walk in the door, an immediate concern for their health is what brings them to us. We see many patients in the BMH Emergency Department who may not be having the textbook definition of a medical emergency, but it is certainly an urgent matter for the individual. Once the episode has passed, some people actuall...

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Emergency Medicine Grows More Specialized

Published June 19, 2013

George Pierce Terwilliger, MD By George Terwilliger, MD Not too many years ago, Emergency Departments (ED) were staffed by part-time doctors. These providers might have been physicians-in-training or established local doctors with regular practices in general surgery or primary care. However, as the complexity of patients in the Emergency Department has grown, Emergency Medicine has become a medical specialty in and of itself. These medical practitioners are trained with a skill set that ensures patients receive the care they need in the safest, quickest and most efficient manner possible. [caption id="attachment_8254" align="alignright" width="199"] George Pierce T...

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As Hospital Services Evolve, Staff Works Hard to Stay Green

Published June 7, 2013

Rob Prohaska By Rob Prohaska Well before the Richards Building was constructed, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital had in many ways been concerned about minimizing the environmental impact of our facility and its day-to-day operations. [caption id="attachment_8544" align="alignright" width="219"] Rob Prohaska[/caption] We were an early recipient of the “Making Medicine Mercury Free” award. In doing so we went beyond the exemptions allowed to claim this recognition. BMH has installed mercury-free boiler switches, for example—a measure that was not part of the requirements. Let us also not forget that for a number of years BMH has been using en...

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Genetic Risk Assessment

Published May 31, 2013

Agnes Mikijaniec By Agnes Mikijaniec, ARNP Last Wednesday morning, I was performing my daily routine of packing the kids’ lunches and getting them to school. The morning news was on the TV as usual. My husband then asks me “What is wrong with Angelina Jolie? Does she have breast cancer?” Every news service in the country that morning was reporting on Angelina’s announcement in the New York Times Op Ed section. In her article she states that she has the BRCA 1 gene and elected to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction. She talks about her mother’s decade long struggle with ovarian cancer, her surgery and her motivations for undergoing such a...

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Joint Replacement – A Total Hospital Effort

Published May 24, 2013

[caption id="attachment_653" align="alignright" width="205"] Christine Gooley, APRN, BC[/caption] Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a talk about Total Knee Replacement surgery given by Dr. Elizabeth McLarney of Southern Vermont Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Dr. McLarney and her colleagues, Dr. William Vranos and Dr. Jon Thatcher, perform approximately 350 Total Joint Replacement surgeries per year. On the evening of Dr. McLarney’s educational session, the room was full of people who came to hear her discuss surgical and non-surgical options as well as hear from a patient who had undergone a Total Knee Replacement. The large t...

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Cancer Rehab Brings Relief from Lymphedema

Published May 17, 2013

By Jeri-Lynn Atwood

Lymphedema is one fairly common side effect of cancer treatment where a rehabilitation program can be particularly beneficial for the patient. It’s a condition that arises when structural damage to the lymphatic system occurs following treatments for breast cancer, although it can be associated with other cancers as well. While there is no cure, early diagnosis and treatment improves both the prognosis and the condition. The lymphatic system is comprised of a series of tiny vessels and nodes throughout the body which transports fluid collected in the spaces be...

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Rehab Creates New Normal for Breast Cancer Patients

Published May 10, 2013

Kelly McCue, RN, MSN, CNS, OCN, CHPN by Kelly McCue [caption id="attachment_685" align="alignright" width="225"] Kelly McCue, RN, MSN, CNS, OCN, CHPN[/caption] Breast cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in the world and is the most common cancer seen in women. It’s not surprising then that many of the patients seen at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital’s Oncology department are breast cancer patients. The treatment approach for breast cancer is varied and may include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Many times a woman may receive a combination of these treatments. The oncology team, along with the patient, determines the best treatment approach based upon a number of fa...

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