Midstate News for 2012

Below is a history of MidState Medical Center news that occurred during 2012. Click the [+] next to each title to view that story.

December 28, 2012
Dr. Richard Smith of Wallingford takes seat as President of the Medical Staff at MidState Medical Center

Dr. Richard Smith of Wallingford takes seat as President of the Medical Staff at MidState Medical Center

MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce that Richard Smith, MD, a board certified pulmonologist who has been affiliated with MidState and practicing in the community for over 35 years, has been named President of the Medical Staff. Dr. Smith will serve a 2-year term, and provide oversight and leadership in matters concerning patient care and the medical staff.

Dr. Smith is a leading specialist in his field, having earned high satisfaction among his patients and his peers. In 2008, he was named the recipient of The Daniel Kahn Clinical Quality Award, given by MidState Medical Center. During his long tenure, Dr. Smith's name has become synonymous with quality. Among his many accomplishments, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Medical Quality Management Committee, challenging practitioners at MidState to improve clinical quality through best practices, evidence based medicine and attention to patient safety goals.

More recently, Dr. Smith has served on the Board of Directors, on the Medical Board, as co-chair of the Critical Care Committee, as co-chair of the Quality Improvement Council, on the Medical Quality Management Committee, on the Intensive Care Unit Revision Project Team, and as Director of Utilization Review.

Dr. Smith earned his medical degree from the Albany Medical College of Union University and went on to complete his internship and residency in internal medicine and later a fellowship in pulmonary disease. He is a member of the American Thoracic Society, Connecticut State Medical Society, Meriden-Wallingford Medical Society, New Haven County Medical Society, and American College of Chest Physicians.

Also serving as officers for the medical staff are Immediate Past President Rajani Nadkarni, MD and Vice President of the Medical Staff John Redmond, MD, who will serve as president in 2015.


December 28, 2012
Evonik Gives $5,000 to Emergency Units

Evonik Gives $5,000 to Emergency Units

A local chemical company was so impressed with the town's preparedness for Hurricane Sandy that it donated money to several emergency agencies.

Evonik Industries, an international corporation with a plant on South Cherry Street, recently gave $5,000 to four local groups: the Police Department, the Fire Department, the Medical Reserve Corps and the emergency department at MidState Medical Center.

"These emergency responders played a crucial role in protecting everyone's safety," said Peter Stein, site manager at Evonik's location in town. "Fortunately, we were not affected as bad as the people in New York City."

Fire Chief Peter Struble said his department took numerous precautions to get ready for Sandy, even though damage in town was limited.

"Our anticipation was there would be a significant amount of rain," Struble said. "We were looking at evacuating low-lying areas."

When weather reports shifted and forecasts predicted limited rain but substantial wind, Struble said crews prepared alternate routes to respond to emergencies if roads were blocked.

Struble said the department receives donations from several companies in any given year, but this is the first time he can recall a company wanting to donate after a particular event. The funds will go toward training and equipment that will help crews respond to an emergency at Evonik, he said.

"It's a great gesture and we'll put it to good use," Struble said.

Stein said the Wallingford site has a good working relationship with the Fire Department. The company co-operates its own fire department with nearby Cytec Industries.

"Corporate citizenship is the cornerstone of Evonik's operations," Tom Bates, president of Evonik, said in a statement. "We appreciate the emergency responders' dedication and commitment to the protection and care of our employees and neighbors." Evonik's Wallingford plant produces specialty plastics used in medical devices, automotive components, marine navigation signals and food and medical packaging.


December 28, 2012
Christmas Baby is not this Family's First. What are the Odds? Around 133,000 to 1

Christmas Baby is not this Family's First. What are the Odds? Around 133,000 to 1

Phat Phang and his wife, Sokuntha Wem, were getting ready to take a nap after searching store after store for gifts on Christmas Eve. Wem wasn't due for three weeks, so both were surprised when her contractions began after shopping.

Their third child and second daughter, Kendall, was born at 12:54 p.m. the next day - the second child born to the couple on Christmas Day.

"Everybody was in shock," Wem said.

The couple's son, Christian, 7, was born on Christmas Day 2005. That time, Wem wasn't due for two weeks. "He was early and she's early also," Phang said.

Christian is excited about having a younger sister. Tyla, 8, though, isn't quite as enthusiastic about no longer being the only girl. Her birthday is March 4.

The Meriden family alternates celebrating Christmas with Wem or Phang's family each year. To make sure Christian's birthday isn't overshadowed by the holiday, the couple lets him open his birthday present before any Christmas celebration.

And now two birthdays on Dec. 25?

"I don't even want to think about it for next year," Wem said.

Kendall's early arrival caused the family to postpone travel plans, so extended family in Philadelphia will have to wait a few weeks to see the baby.

Phang said he is pleased with the doctors and nurses at MidState Medical Center, where the family has had all three of their children. He and Wem were in Amherst, Mass., when contractions began, but drove back to Meriden for the birth.

All three children were born here, "with the same nurse, same doctor. And the same room, in fact," Phang said.

Wem's co-workers had a pool on the baby's birth date. She's not sure if any of them guessed Christmas, but if they didn't, she hopes to collect the $60 raised.

"I told them if nobody got it right, I should get the money," Wem said.

What are the odds of two Christmas babies for one family? About one in 133,000, according to Cornelius Nelan, a math professor at Quinnipiac University.

The odds of having two children born on the same day are 1 in 365, since the first child's birthday is established.

"Everything happens for a reason," Phang said. "We didn't expect to have two Christmas babies."


December 12, 2012
MidState Medical Center Launches Maternal Fetal Medicine Program

MidState Medical Center Launches Maternal Fetal Medicine Program

MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce it has added Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) to its complement of women's health services. The service assists women in the diagnosis and management of complicated pregnancies, with the capability to offer full ultrasound services that include first trimester screening and those targeted for advanced maternal age, fetal anomalies, or chromosomal disorders. Fetal echocardiograms, dating scans, anatomical surveys and dopplers are also offered.

Through the program, expectant moms benefit from one-on-one consultation with board certified specialists on issues like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, advanced maternal age, multiple births, prior pre-term birth, fetal growth issues, amniotic fluid abnormalities, bleeding during pregnancy and other medical and obstetrical issues. Additionally, genetic counselors are onsite to offer diagnostic testing for chromosomal disorders, such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.

The Maternal Fetal Medicine Program is located in Suite 103 on the first floor of MidState's main campus on Lewis Avenue. The office can be reached by calling 203-694-5500.


December 12, 2012
MidState Medical Center Partners with March of Dimes to Give Babies a Healthy Start in Life

MidState Medical Center Partners with March of Dimes to Give Babies
a Healthy Start in Life

MidState Medical Center is partnering with the March of Dimes to lower the number of babies born too soon at their hospital.

MidState is among a select group of 100 hospitals nationwide selected by the March of Dimes to receive its Quality Improvement Service Package, which instructs the hospital in creating and implementing policies to reduce medically unnecessary (elective) inductions and cesarean deliveries scheduled before 39 weeks of pregnancy.

"Every week of pregnancy is important to a baby's health," says Scott Berns, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President and Deputy Medical Director for the March of Dimes. "I commend MidState for being a champion of this partnership. Working together on this very important quality initiative, we believe MidState will help us make significant strides in eliminating early elective deliveries."

"We're proud to partner with the March of Dimes to give more babies a healthy start in life," said Rose Vitale, RN, Nurse Manager of MidState's Family Birthing Center. "And, we're proud of our expert team of physicians and the work they are doing to avoid scheduling elective inductions or caesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy. At present the rate of elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation should be less than 5% (as determined by the Joint Commission and endorsed by the National Quality Forum). MidState's rate as of November 30, 2012, was less than 2%."

The service package is part the March of Dimes "Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait®" campaign. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too soon each year and more than one million of those infants die as a result of their early births. Babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and others. Even babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. Recent research by the March of Dimes, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that although the overall threat is small, the risk of death more than doubles for infants born at 37 weeks of pregnancy, when compared to babies born at 40 weeks, for all races and ethnicities.

The March of Dimes Quality Improvement Service Package includes professional and consumer education materials about the importance of a full term pregnancy and the critical development of the brain, lungs and other organs that occur during the last weeks of pregnancy.

Through the package, March of Dimes will support hospitals' efforts to implement the steps needed to reduce elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks of pregnancy. Included in the service package are action-oriented guidance, data collection tools, access to national quality improvement experts and providers, and other support services to maximize a hospital's success in attaining its quality improvement goals.


December 10, 2012
MidState Medical Center and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to Host Program on Clinical Trials

MidState Medical Center and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to Host Program on Clinical Trials

MidState Medical Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are hosting a program on clinical trials for cancer treatment to educate individuals on how to make informed choices when determining if a clinical trial is right for them. This program is scheduled for January 14, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Registration and dinner served at 5:30 p.m.; program to begin at 6:00 p.m. The program will be held at MidState Medical Center's main campus in conference rooms 2 and 3.

Presenter and oncologist Gerard Fumo, MD from MidState Medical Center will cover:

  • Questions to ask about benefits/risk of standard treatments
  • How new blood cancer treatments are developed and approved
  • How to sort out of the myths from the facts about clinical trials
  • How to locate clinical trials that may be right for you
  • How The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society can help

Complimentary dinner will be served. Registration is required. Please call Jennifer McGarry at 203.427.2046 to register.


November 19, 2012
MidState Medical Center Highlights Accomplishments at Annual Meeting

MidState Medical Center Highlights Accomplishments at Annual Meeting

MidState Medical Center hosted its annual meeting on Thursday, November 14, at the Connecticut Hospital Association in Wallingford. Approximately 150 people were in attendance, including hospital leadership and staff, members of the Board of Governors, physicians and other community leaders.

Hartford HealthCare president & CEO Elliot Joseph kicked off the meeting sharing how the HHC system is working together to enhance continuity of care for patients. He said a future goal is to move towards one patient registration, one health record, one bill, and one standard of care. "That's how we can deliver real value to people."

"And when it comes to the patient experience, no one does it better than MidState," said Joseph. President & CEO Lucille Janatka spent much of the meeting highlighting the hospital's accomplishments in the last fiscal year - high patient satisfaction, an increase in employees' perception of communication openness surrounding patient safety, and awards for excellence in stroke care and information technology - to name a few.

Each year at the annual meeting, MidState also showcases advanced technology through the eyes of a physician. This year MidState was pleased to have neurosurgeon Edward Akeyson, MD speak about the specialized equipment used in the operating room for spine cases. The minimally invasive tool, known as the C-arm, provides a 3D look into a patient's spine, resulting in significant benefits for the both the patient and surgeon.

MidState finished out its fiscal year with a $24.3 M operating margin, marking its 13th consecutive year with an operating surplus. More information on MidState's year in review can be found at midstateannual.org.


November 19, 2012
MidState Medical Center Names 2012 Crystal Obelisk Winner

MidState Medical Center Names 2012 Crystal Obelisk Winner

Each year at MidState Medical Center's annual meeting an individual or group is selected for their contributions to the healthcare delivery system in the community. The Crystal Obelisk award has been given for over a decade and some of the community's best and brightest have earned recognition. MidState is pleased name A. Lee Campione as the 2012 Crystal Obelisk Award recipient.

Campione exemplifies how the Meriden community and beyond can partner and collaborate with the health care system in ways that ensure it is an asset to all who live in the community. Her leadership and continued presence with the Greater Meriden Chamber of Commerce, the Meriden Economic and Development Corporation, and as a founder of Community Vision, a group that continues to work to connect health care to the community, make her a worthy and deserving recipient of the award. She knows that a "healthy" community is multi-dimensional, inclusive and dynamic.

The wife of the late Dr. Matthew Campione, she has taken her positive influence and commitment beyond her work in the community, serving also as a full-time mom to four daughters, nana to nine grandchildren and two great granddaughters. She has modeled for them, by her own example, the important responsibility they all have to take care of the communities in which they live, work and raise their families.

"I have loved this hospital all my life," said Campione.


October 18, 2012
MidState Medical Center Receives Get With The Guidelines - Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

MidState Medical Center Receives Get With The Guidelines - Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

MidState Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes MidState's commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

To receive the award, MidState achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care.

These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award demonstrates MidState's commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care," said Catherine Stevens, Vice President of Patient Care. "We will continue with our focus on providing care that has been shown in the scientific literature to quickly and efficiently treat stroke patients with evidence-based protocols."

"MidState is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients," said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients."

Get With The Guidelines-Stroke uses the "teachable moment," the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare professionals' guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke.

Through Get With The Guidelines-Stroke, customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge, based on patients' individual risk profiles. The take-away materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the Get With The Guidelines Patient Management Tool gives healthcare providers access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

"The time is right for MidState to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing Get With The Guidelines-Stroke. The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population," said Stevens.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.


October 10, 2012
MidState Medical Center and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to Host Program on Clinical Trials

MidState Medical Center and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to Host Program on Clinical Trials

MidState Medical Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are hosting a program on clinical trials for cancer treatment. Learn how to make informed choices when determining if a clinical trial is right for you. This program is scheduled for October 29, 5:30pm to 7:30pm. It will be held at MidState Medical Center's main campus in conference rooms 2 and 3.

Presenter and oncologist Gerard Fumo, MD from MidState Medical Center will cover:

  • Questions to ask about benefits/risk of standard treatments
  • How new blood cancer treatments are developed and approved
  • How to sort out of the myths from the facts about clinical trials
  • How to locate clinical trials that may be right for you
  • How The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society can help

Complimentary dinner will be served. Registration is required. Please call Jennifer McGarry at 203.427.2046 to register.


October 10, 2012
MidState Medical Center to Host "Stepping It Up" Program Series to Promote Healthy Lifestyles

MidState Medical Center to Host "Stepping It Up" Program Series to Promote Healthy Lifestyles

MidState Medical Center's Diabetes Center will host a free "Stepping It Up" program series this fall. This six week program focuses on nutrition, exercise, stress management and goal setting. The risk factors for heart disease and diabetes will also be discussed. This program is designed for individuals with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and blood sugars in the pre-diabetes range.

Dates are Tuesday evenings: Oct. 16, 23, 30, Nov. 6, 13, and 20 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the MidState Medical Services building on 61 Pomeroy Avenue in Meriden. Registration for this program is required. Please call 203-694-5425.

Take an important step in leading a healthy life by getting educated!


October 8, 2012
Program Coordinates Anticoagulation Care

Program Coordinates Anticoagulation Care

MERIDEN - When George Jensen, of Cheshire, received a newsletter from MidState Medical Center with an update on a new anticoagulation care service, he was immediately interested.

Anticoagulation care service is for patients who must avoid blood clots. The anticoagulation department was introduced to MidState and the Hartford HealthCare system in December 2011.

"I have a mechanical heart valve and I'm on warfarin to prevent blood clots," Jensen said. He said his health has changed drastically for the better since he started in the MidState program.

"There came a time when, after a surgery, there were problems with antibiotics that would send any nurse into a tizzy. But with Diane, she knew what she was doing and I was stunned to see such a planned process," he said.

Diane is Diane Henry, the primary anticoagulation care service provider at MidState. Jensen said that until he met Henry he had dealt with nurses who provided care that wasn't as planned as he wanted it to be.

Henry said she runs the program with full communication among doctors, physicians and patients. It was her initiative that got the program going, and as primary provider she sees many patients.

"Many people who have mechanical heart valves, a history of current or previous blood clots and cancer are able to take part in anticoagulation and be prescribed warfarin, which is an anticoagulant medication," Henry said.

Most of Henry's patients suffer from atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, she said. Anticoagulation medicine helps manage the heart rate and rhythm to reduce the risk of stroke.

With a referral and a diagnosis from the physician, the prospective patient comes in for a first visit with Henry, at which she introduces the background and education behind the anticoagulation program and answers with any questions the patient may have.

"After the initial longer visit, assessing the patients and learning their history," Henry said, "it then follows with quick visits that test their INR levels with a simple finger stick. The results are immediate and we're able to adjust the dose, if necessary."

INR - international normalized ratio - is a measure of the time it takes for blood to clot, Henry said INR testing determines the patient's proper warfarin dose.

Henry stresses the importance of using a finger prick instead of drawing blood from the arm. The patients don't have to wait until the next day to receive their new dose and they are able to leave MidState with it.

"Generally when doctors need blood samples," Jensen said, "they'll take it from the arm. But, here they take it from the finger. It's simple and I'm very pleased with the fast process."

Warfarin reduces clotting within 24 hours of first dose, but Henry said it takes three or four days for patients to see its full effect.

Barbara Dolce, of Meriden, said getting blood quickly drawn from the finger is wonderful compared to other doctor visits requiring longer blood tests.

"It's easy and a very thorough, a very helpful department," Dolce said. "My husband and I have been involved in the program since the beginning and I'm very glad our doctors told us about it."

"The alternatives to coming here would be going to the doctor's office, and then they would manage you, and send you to a lab a few times a month, possibility even more, for a vein puncture." Henry said. "The lab would then send the results to the physician and the physician will then have to communicate with the patient over the phone - which often falls apart right there as far as communication goes." During the visit, Henry gives the patient a card to carry at all times. The card shows the INR level and the next appointment date. On the back of the card is the warfarin dosage and instructions on how many pills to take and when to take them.

"They have the card written with the information they need right in front of them, I review the card with them and address any questions," Henry said. Each patient receives an updated card at the end of each visit. "This really improves communication immensely," Henry said.

Dolce and Jensen said they have had no problems with the program and are very pleased with the results so far.

"I'm happy to be with Diane," Dolce said. "I've even told my friends about the program. It's wonderful."


October 8, 2012
MediQuick Cheshire to Offer flu Shots in Honor of 1 Year Anniversary

MediQuick Cheshire to Offer flu Shots in Honor of 1 Year Anniversary

Meriden - MidState Medical Center's MediQuick Urgent Care in Cheshire is celebrating its first anniversary in November and will be offering flu shots to make it easier for you and your loved ones to vaccinate yourselves. Flu shots will be offered on October 15 and 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and on October 18 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Cost of flu shot is $20. Cash or check only. MediQuick Urgent Care is located at 680 South Main Street in Cheshire and specializes in prompt; professional and quality urgent care for your entire family.


October 1, 2012
New Hartford HealthCare Branding Debuts Locally

New Hartford HealthCare Branding Debuts Locally

New signs and logos at Hartford HealthCare affiliates are intended to show patients the range of integrated medical service provided by the network of hospitals and medical centers. The branding will let people know that the services of Hartford HealthCare can respond to many types of medical needs, according to network officials.

In Meriden, MidState Medical Center's east campus sign was updated with the new logo and the Hartford HealthCare text. MidState MediQuick signs also were changed.

Helayne Lightstone, spokeswoman for the Hospital of Central Connecticut, said changes to signs were taking place.

The hospital has a campus in New Britain and the Bradley Memorial campus in Southington.

The logo is a wheel of colored quotation marks, "suggesting ongoing dialogue and open communication," according to Hartford HealthCare logo guidelines.

"The symbol represents our four interconnected groups: patients, providers, communities and staff. It also evokes our multiple specialties and strengths interacting to create a compassionate, effective organization," the guidelines say. "The signature makes a distinctive statement wherever it is used in order to ensure that all of our communications convey the full integrity and authority."

Rebecca Stewart, spokeswoman for Hartford Hospital, said the network-wide logo was decided on in March but is only now starting to be seen around the state.

"You're going to see it more and more for Hartford Health-Care affiliates," she said. "It's happening slowly."

Stewart said the logo will let people know they can receive all types and levels of care through Hartford HealthCare. A common logo sends the message that the care is integrated, she said.

"You can have primary care, you can have hospital care, you can have psychiatric care," she said. "All of that is connected within our network."

The multicolored logo resembles gears in a wheel, an analogy that Elliot Joseph has been using for the past few years to describe his vision of the organization. Joseph is president and chief executive of Hartford HealthCare and Hartford Hospital.

MidState Medical Center and Hartford HealthCare affiliates unveiled the colors and logo at the Big East women's basketball tournament on March 6.

Partners of Hartford Health-Care include Hartford Hospital, MidState Medical Center, The Hospital of Central Connecticut (New Britain General plus Bradley), The Institute of Living, Windham Hospital, Natchaug Hospital, Rushford, Eastern Rehabilitation Network, Central Connecticut Senior Health Services, VNA HealthCare, VNA of Central Connecticut, Eastern Rehabilitation Network, Clinical Laboratory Partners, Hartford HealthCare Primary Care Network, Hartford Specialists, Alliance Occupational Health, Open MRI of Southington, Central Connecticut Senior Health Services, Connecticut Center for Healthy Aging and Hartford Medical Group.


September 10, 2012
MidState's Annual Cancer Survivors' Event Turns 10

MidState's Annual Cancer Survivors' Event Turns 10

MERIDEN - Cancer survivors celebrated life Sunday at MidState Medical Center's 10th annual Cancer Survivors' Day at Hubbard Park.

On the mild, sunny afternoon, cancer survivors, family members and MidState staff gathered under a white tent near the park's band shell. They were greeted with free food, entertainment and giveaways at the Hollywood-themed event. For the past decade, MidState Medical Center has sponsored the event for past and current cancer patients. The event acknowledges people's struggles with the disease and helps them move on.

"It's all about courage," said Abbi Bruce, director of the Palladino Family Cancer Center at MidState. "It's about giving people an opportunity to be together and share what they've all been through."

Bruce said the event helps survivors put the past behind them as well as give credit to the caregivers who have spent much time helping their loved ones.

"We're helping people realize they're not alone," said Gary Tansino, medical director for oncology at MidState. Tansino's job for the afternoon was to serve food.

"Cancer isn't a death sentence," Bruce said. "This helps people get on with their lives." Tables were set up under the tent with white and red tablecloths and movie-themed centerpieces such as buckets of popcorn and movie tickets. Red and black streamers were wrapped around the tent with cutouts of cameras, lights and movie clappers taped up. The Hollywood theme extended to the T-shirts, which bore a picture of a red carpet and the words "Be your own star. Shine bright."

As survivors and their families were served food and dessert, some took advantage of free massages, caricature drawings and balloon animal fun. Others sat and listened to the live music and speeches.

Cancer survivor Steve Heiligman and his wife and caregiver, Barbara, spoke to the crowd. Heiligman said cancer is what brought the group together Sunday afternoon. Although they all had different types of the disease, they all experienced a similar situation: doctors delivering the diagnosis and explaining what treatment would be.

Heiligman said he has been dealing with cancer since 2007 when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer. Eventually it went into remission, but in 2010, the first day of Heiligman's retirement, he found out he had colon cancer. A part of his colon was removed and he went through chemotherapy. All was well until August 2011. Just when Heiligman thought he could start enjoying retirement, he found out the myeloma was back. He's been receiving chemotherapy ever since.

"It's not fun," Heiligman said. "But so many survivors here have gone through much worse."

Heiligman thanked his wife and family for their support. He also gave thanks to the nurses at MidState who helped them along the way. He asked the nurses to stand as he and the audience gave them a great round of applause.

"People ask me how I deal with it," Heiligman said. "If you tell yourself you're going to die, you're not helping yourself."

Heiligman encouraged those going through treatments to set goal, keep a sense of humor and exercise if possible to keep spirits and energy high.

After other inspirational singers and speakers delivered their messages, cupcakes were handed out and raffle prizes were distributed.

Kimberly Primicerio / Record-Journal
Cancer survivor Steve Heiligman, of Cheshire, speaks during the 10th annual Cancer Survivors' Day event in Meriden's Hubbard Park Sunday. His wife and caregiver, Barbara, stands beside him.


August 31, 2012
You Can Get Back to Life Sooner' Lower Risk and Faster Healing with Robotic Surgery System

You Can Get Back to Life Sooner'
Lower Risk and Faster Healing with Robotic Surgery System

MERIDEN - A surgeon who peers through a robotic surgery console's three-dimensional, high definition screen can inspect the back of a penny in such detail that he or she can make out the statue of Abraham Lincoln inside the Lincoln Memorial.

"It's almost like in the movie 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' but honey, I shrunk myself," said Marcy DiPasquale, the team leader for robotics at MidState Medical Center.

A registered nurse, DiPasquale has assisted with hundreds of robotic surgeries since the da Vinci Surgical System first came to Mid-State in 2010. The system includes a console where a surgeon can sit and look at a magnified image of the surgical site. The doctor has complete control over the robot, which is wired to the console from a few feet away and responds to the surgeon's movements.

"It's like a computer. You can't play a video game without you operating the video game. Somebody has to program the computer for it to work properly. And every patient's anatomy is different than the one before it," DiPasquale said. "You're always going to have to have somebody sitting right there." The device's instruments make incisions 1 centimeter to 2 centimeters long, about the width of a dime. The minimally invasive procedure lowers the risk of a patient's suffering from a hernia. DiPasquale said traditional open surgery creates much larger incisions that cut through muscle. Most patients cannot lift a certain amount of weight for a period of time after such surgeries.

Robotic surgery patients may have some lifting restrictions after their procedures but they suffer from less pain, stay in the hospital for a shorter amount of time and experience minimal scarring. Di-Pasquale said one woman who had a hysterectomy at MidState went to work six days after her procedure. Open hysterectomies usually require a waiting period of at least six weeks.

"You can get back to life sooner," DiPasquale said.

The small incisions from robotic surgery heal faster and have a smaller risk of infection compared to long incisions. They require superficial stitches and DiPasquale described them as similar to paper cuts. She said robotic surgeries are less likely to have complications as well. Patients feel less stress from pain or the inability to work and therefore heal faster.

"A lot of them are not taking narcotics when they're done with robotic surgery," DiPasquale said. "They're taking Extra Strength Tylenol."

She said robotic prostatectomy patients at MidState have experienced significantly less blood loss. A man typically loses about 1,000 milliliters of blood during open surgery but he loses only 200 milliliters through robotic surgery.

"Would I tell you to do robotic surgery? Absolutely," DiPasquale said. "You just have to find a doctor that does it and a doctor that you like."

MidState also offers robotic bariatric surgery and started using the robot for colon surgeries six months ago. The robotic team performed its first thoracic procedure in June. Dr. Charles Kim spearheaded the addition of thoracic surgeries to the robotics program. The team has completed about nine procedures this summer.

"I never thought we would see thoracic surgery with the robot," DiPasquale said. "He was the one that saw that robotic surgery was headed in that direction and he wanted to take our hospital in that direction."

Kim performed the hospital's first thymectomy on Georgia Davis, a 44-year-old from Wolcott. Davis met Kim in April and he told her she could avoid a long incision down her chest and a sternotomy, where a surgeon cuts open the breast bone. Davis was scheduled to have a traditional surgery with an incision under her breast but a week before the operation, Kim rescheduled the procedure. Davis said she felt devastated because she wanted to simply face the surgery right away.

Kim said he could not perform the original surgery because he was on his way to learn how to use the da Vinci Surgical System and would like to offer her the chance to have robotic surgery. Davis had never heard of robotic surgery for a thymectomy but decided to try the minimally invasive option. She woke up from her surgery to see her three children by her bedside. She experienced extreme pain during her first day. Two days later, she went home and fell into her regular routine within three weeks.

"I'm telling you, it's the best thing that's ever happened to me," Davis said. "The turnaround time is phenomenal." If Davis had endured traditional open surgery, she would now have a scar down the middle of her chest. She said her pain would have been more severe and recovery would have taken months longer.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the da Vinci Surgical System for a range of operations in 2000. DiPasquale said MidState waited until 2010 to buy the robot from Intuitive Surgical so doctors could study more literature about the system before investing in it. According to the Intuitive Surgical website, the robot costs between $1 million and $2.3 million. Accessories cost $1,300 to $2,200 per procedure and the service agreement costs $100,000 to $170,000 a year.

"It's a huge investment but I think it's worth every penny we spend on it," DiPasquale said. "If we didn't have the robot, we wouldn't be doing a lot of the surgeries that we have because patients would be seeking out the robot."

A core team of four trained at Hartford Hospital for two weeks and worked with an Intuitive Surgical representative for over a year before performing its first surgery. Di-Pasquale said she personally wanted to learn how to assist with robotic procedures because she believed the technology "was the future" and she "knew that it was going somewhere."

All robotic surgeons have also completed extensive training. DiPasquale said the newer approach to surgery has a definite learning curve. MidState's first prostate surgery lasted eight hours, but the team has shaved that time to three hours today. Surgeons must take considerable time to learn how to use the robot, which sometimes discourages them.

"We have a lot of older surgeons who are very regimented. They know how to do it this way, it's working for them," DiPasquale said. "Now, the doctors are looking at things in a different way so it's almost like relearning the anatomy."

The MidState team named the robot "Annie" and the control consoles "Lizzie 1" and "Lizzie 2" after Leonardo da Vinci's friend, Isabella d'Este. Da Vinci invented the first robot and studied the human anatomy for his artwork.

DiPasquale believes that as more tech-savvy, young doctors hear about and learn how to use the system, robotic surgery will share an equal status with traditional surgery. Its popularity will continue to grow because its benefits and advanced technology outweigh its cost. MidState still does not offer robotic cardiac surgeries or ear, nose and throat surgeries, but DiPasquale said the hospital may add them if more doctors approve it.

"The robot is starting to do a lot of surgeries - surgeries that we haven't even thought of doing," DiPasquale said. "Every day, it's advancing."

File photo / Record-Journal
Dr. Vincent Pepe an OB-GYN surgeon at MidState Medical Center, prepares plastic tubes on a table to demonstrate the hospital's robotic surgery system in January 2011. MidState acquired the da Vinci Surgical System in mid-2010.


August 13, 2012
Next Walk with a Doc is September 22 at Quinnipiac River Linear Trail

Next Walk with a Doc is September 22 at Quinnipiac River Linear Trail

Hartford HealthCare's next Walk with a Doc will be held at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, September 22 at the Quinnipiac River Linear Trail in Wallingford (291 Hall Avenue). It will include a 30-minute walk and health tips from internist Julian Falla, MD, who will discuss vitamin D and why it is important to your health.

Sign-in is at 8:30 a.m. New participants will receive a hat and pedometer; each walker will receive a bottle of water. Event host is MidState Medical Center.

Walks will continue on a monthly basis through December among varied Hartford HealthCare affiliates. In 2010, The Hospital of Central Connecticut was the first hospital in New England to join Just Walk, a Walk with a Doc program started in 2005 by a cardiologist in Ohio.

Starting this year, Walk with a Doc is a Hartford HealthCare system-wide program. Other Hartford HealthCare entities involved in the walk program are Doctors of Central Connecticut, Hartford Medical Group, and MidState Medical Group. Sponsors are Anthem and HPC Foodservice.

To register for this program, or for more information,
please visit hartfordhealthcare.org or call 1.877.914.WALK


July 20, 2012
A New Way to Attack Precancerous Cells, Midstate Medical Doctor Now Among Those That Do Halo Ablation Procedure

A New Way to Attack Precancerous Cells,
MidState Medical Center Doctor Now Among Those That Do Halo Ablation Procedure

Meriden - Dr. Housein Wazaz is like a medical gardener. One of his patches starts to look unhealthy and he must watch it closely. Over time, the soil shows signs of weeds growing, which could seriously harm his plants. He attacks the small weeds before they have the chance to sprout. He then waits for his plants to recover from the powerful weedkiller before applying it again to guarantee the dangerous pests do not return. In actuality, Wazaz is a doctor specializing in digestive disorders. His unhealthy garden describes patients with a disorder called Barrett's esophagus. The weeds are precancerous cells.

Wazaz pioneered the approval of a new procedure at MidState Medical Center that helps prevent cancer from developing in patients with Barrett's esophagus. He performed MidState's first Halo ablation procedure last month. The gastroenterologist provides radiofrequency ablation - a form of heat therapy in which intense heat waves burn the lining of the esophagus and eliminate precancerous cells. The procedure is specifically for people with Barrett's esophagus and whose tissues of the esophagus show signs of changing cells.

"We don't wait for it to become cancer," Wazaz said. "We're doing it because I believe in it and I think it helps patients."

Barrett's esophagus is a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus is replaced by cells similar to those in the small intestine. The condition affects about 1 percent of adults in the United States. It is commonly diagnosed in people with a long-term history of GERD - gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD is also known as persistent acid reflux in which stomach contents rise into the esophagus more than twice a week. About 10 percent to 20 percent of Americans experience GERD symptoms, such as heartburn, every day. However, occasional heartburn does not necessarily mean one has GERD. Barrett's esophagus is found three to five times more often in people who have chronic GERD.

Wazaz said he sees about two or three patients with Barrett's esophagus every week. He said middleaged, Caucasian men are at the highest risk of having Barrett's but gastroenterologists diagnose people as young as 17 and as old as 95. Wazaz said genetics might help explain occurrences of Barrett's.

Less than 1 percent of those with Barrett's esophagus develop esophageal adenocarcinoma, one of the deadliest and fastest-spreading cancers. Incidences of esophageal cancer have increased 350 percent since 1970.

"I think people do not understand the connection between heartburn and esophageal cancer. Because most people think, 'I have heartburn: Let me take a Tums,' " Wazaz said. "The relationship is like black and white."

Wazaz said it would be costly to try to treat everyone suffering from Barrett's esophagus with the ablation technique. A patient must have evidence of a condition in which cells show signs of changing to cancer cells called dysplasia to be considered a candidate for the procedure. In other words, there must be signs of weeds growing before the gardener can consider applying the weed-killer.

"I don't think everybody should do it," Wazaz said. "It's not the most lucrative procedure to do."

The doctor said people with a long history of frequent acid reflux should speak with their physicians because they may have Barrett's. If one is diagnosed with Barrett's, his or her doctor can monitor the condition and suggest the ablation procedure if the esophagus shows signs of dysplasia.

"It tells you that your esophagus has become unhealthy in a way," Wazaz said.

George Casner, a 48-year-old engineer from Southington, was diagnosed with Barrett's about three years ago. He visited his physician for a routine physical and told the doctor about his family history of Barrett's esophagus. His father survived esophageal cancer, his two sisters have Barrett's and his uncle passed away from esophageal cancer. His physician recommended consulting Wazaz at MidState.

Wazaz performed an esophageal scope and diagnosed Casner with Barrett's. Casner began taking Nexium and choosing foods more carefully to help control his acid reflux. He returned to MidState for periodic scopes and he said each appointment every six months brought a wave of anxiety. In June, Wazaz suggested the new ablation procedure to Casner because his esophagus had shown signs of dysplasia for two years. He decided to try the treatment to avoid going down the same road as his father, who underwent an esophagectomy.

"I spent months seeing my dad go through chemo and radiation," Casner said. "I certainly don't want to put my wife and my kids through that."

Wazaz said many patients come to him when it is too late and they have already developed full-blow esophageal cancer. The ablation procedure costs more than $1,000 and Wazaz said his patients' insurance plans usually cover the expense. He said the price of preventing cancer is much less than chemotherapy and radiation bills.

"So money matters and everything, but what are you getting in return?" Wazaz said. "When you treat cancer, it's one of the most expensive things in the world."

Eight weeks after the first treatment to allow the esophagus time to heal, Wazaz performs the procedure again to ensure as many precancerous cells as possible are removed. The outpatient procedure actually makes the cells in the esophagus more benign. He has used the Halo therapy three times and he said none of his patients had complications. The technique may cause mild pain and difficulty swallowing for about a week after the procedure, minimal bleeding and, in rare cases, narrowing or stretching of the esophagus.

"We had zero problems," Wazaz said. "So the risk is very minimal."

Casner said his medical insurance covered the cost of his procedure. His wife drove him home two hours after the treatment on a Friday. On Saturday, his throat felt scratchy and sore but by Sunday he felt normal again.

"It was like nothing had ever happened," Casner said.

Casner will have another checkup in August. He said if his esophagus is fully healed, then he will just need to come back in for monitoring at least once a year.

Doctors have used the Halo procedure across the United States and in Connecticut for several years now, but Wazaz said MidState Medical Center waited for more literature about the technique to appear before providing it. Many with Barrett's and dysplasia in central Connecticut once had to travel to Yale-New Haven Hospital or Hartford Hospital to receive ablation treatment. Wazaz said he was confident his practice had the state of the art technology to offer the procedure and pitched his case to MidState.

"Sometimes you have to be on the cutting edge and work with others," Wazaz said. "You have to be looking at what's out there."

Before doctors began offering Halo, many patients had to endure invasive esophagectomies. Wazaz believes more people will be evaluated for the procedure at MidState over time as word spreads of its benefits. He said Barrett's esophagus is under diagnosed and many do not understand its risks.

"From a community standpoint, we need to raise awareness," Wazaz said.

Photo by Brianna Gurciullo / Record-Journal
Housein Wazaz, a doctor at Meriden's MidState Medical Center, seen recently in his office. Wazaz is among the doctors that perform Halo ablation procedure, a way to attack precancerous cells associated with Barrett's esophagus, a disorder that afflicts some people with persistent acid reflux disease.


July 16, 2012
MidState Medical Center Hosts Annual Cancer Survivors' Day

MidState Medical Center Hosts Annual Cancer Survivors' Day

Meriden - The Palladino Family Cancer Center at MidState Medical Center announces its annual Cancer Survivors' Day to be held on Sunday, September 9, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Meriden's Hubbard Park. This day is dedicated to honoring and celebrating the lives of cancer survivors.

Survivors are encouraged to bring their family and friends to share in the day. Activities for children include face painting, balloon animals, and caricature drawings. Survivors can treat themselves to a relaxing chair massage; musical entertainment and refreshments also provided. Both survivors and caregivers will share how cancer has changed their lives and offer inspirational messages and words of wisdom to others.

Last year Cancer Survivors' Day attracted nearly 300 people. For more information or to register, please contact The Palladino Family Cancer Center at MidState at 203.694.8631. Registration is preferred.


July 10, 2012
MidState Medical Center Named Most Wired Hospital in the Nation for Third Consecutive Year

MidState Medical Center
Named Most Wired Hospital in the Nation for Third Consecutive Year

Meriden - For the third consecutive year in a row, MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce it has been named one of the Most Wired hospitals in the nation by Hospitals & Health Networks, the journal of the American Hospital Association.

MidState has been participating in the Most Wired survey for over five years. The survey is administered in cooperation with the American Hospital Association, McKesson Corp., and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

What makes a Most Wired hospital different? Most Wired hospitals show better outcomes in patient satisfaction, risk-adjusted mortality rates and other key quality measures. More than 1,500 hospitals completed the Most Wired survey, which focuses on how hospitals use information technology (IT) to improve quality, customer service, public health and safety, business processes, and workforce issues. According to the survey results, Most Wired hospitals "leverage the adoption and use of health information technology to improve performance in a number of areas." They are "focused on expanding and adopting IT that protects patient data and optimizes patient flow and communications."

In addition:

  • Ninety-three percent of Most Wired hospitals employ intrusion detection systems to protect patient privacy and security of patient data, in comparison to seventy-seven percent of the total responders.
  • Seventy-four percent of Most Wired hospitals and fifty-seven percent of all surveyed hospitals use automated patient flow systems.
  • Ninety percent of Most Wired hospitals and seventy three percent of all surveyed use performance improvement scorecards to help reduce inefficiencies.
  • One hundred percent of Most Wired hospitals check drug interactions and drug allergies when medications are ordered as a major step in reducing medication errors.

"These accomplishments are especially important because they align with the government's current objectives for 'meaningful use' in the field of information technology. By aligning with the 'meaningful use' objectives, we can ensure that MidState is following best practices when it comes to information technology in health care, practices that ultimately benefit the quality and safe care of our patients," said director of Information Services, Jennifer Comerford.

This accomplishment will be featured in an upcoming issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.


July 10, 2012
Time to start thinking pink! MidState Medical Center announces its Pink Partini Fashion Show

Time to start thinking pink!
MidState Medical Center announces its Pink Partini Fashion Show

Meriden - It's that time of year again: time to start thinking pink! MidState Medical Center is delighted to announce its highly anticipated Pink Partini Fashion Show to be held on Thursday, October 11, at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Back by popular demand, Channel 3's Scot Haney will serve as the fashion show's emcee, along with participation from Meriden and Wallingford fire departments. This exciting evening will be filled with fabulous fashions, family and fun. Cancer survivors, hospital employees, their children, dignitaries, physicians and hospital administrators will all walk the runway. Fashions are courtesy of Kimberly Boutique in West Hartford, The Dressing Room in Wallingford, the Red Door Boutique in East Hampton, Ella Where She Shops in Guilford, and Modern Formals of Meriden, North Haven and Southington.

If you'd like to attend, you are encouraged to purchase your tickets soon as we anticipate another sold-out show this year. Please contact Tina Fabiani in the hospital's Development office at 203.694.8744. Tickets are $65/person. All proceeds from the show directly benefit MidState's Palladino Family Cancer Center.


June 4, 2012
Hartford HealthCare's June 16 Walk with a Doc at Farmington Canal Trail

Hartford HealthCare's June 16 Walk with a Doc at Farmington Canal Trail

Hartford HealthCare's next Walk with a Doc will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 16 at the Farmington Canal Trail, Cheshire (Lock #12). It will include a 30-minute walk and health tips from urgent care physician Walt Kupson, D.O., who will discuss tips to prevent lyme disease.

Sign-in is at 8:30 a.m. New participants will receive a hat and pedometer; each walker will receive a water bottle. Event host is MidState Medical Center.

Walks will continue on a monthly basis through December among varied Hartford HealthCare affiliates. On July 21, The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) will host a walk at Rockwell Park, Bristol, where dermatologist Christopher Norwood, M.D., will talk about sunscreens and sun safety.

In 2010, HOCC was the first hospital in New England to join Just Walk, a Walk with a Doc program that hosts free community walks at area parks that are led by doctors and stress the benefits of exercise while providing health tips. Starting this year, Walk with a Doc is a Hartford HealthCare systemwide program. Other Hartford HealthCare entities involved in the walk program are Doctors of Central Connecticut, Hartford Medical Group and MidState Medical Group. Sponsors are Anthem and HPC Foodservice.

Walk with a Doc was started in 2005 by a cardiologist in Ohio. There are more than 60 active Walk with a Doc sites, including in Abu Dhabi, Canada and India.

To register, or for more information, please visit the Hartford HealthCare website or call 1.877.914.WALK.


May 31, 2012
MidState Hosts Community Program on Clinical Trials

MidState Hosts Community Program on Clinical Trials

MERIDEN - MidState Medical Center together with Hartford Hospital and in partnership with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is hosting a community program open to the public on clinical trials for cancer treatment and how to make informed choices about standards of care. The program will take place on Monday, June 25, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at MidState Medical Center's main campus on Lewis Avenue, conference rooms 2 and 3. Registration and a light complimentary dinner at 5:30 p.m.

The presentation, delivered by oncologist Gerard Fumo, DO, of Medical Oncology & Hematology Specialists, will cover topics such as the steps to take to help patients make treatment decisions, questions to ask about benefits/risks of treatment under clinical trials, how new blood cancer treatments are developed and approved, how to sort out myths from facts, and how to locate clinical trials that may be right for you.

Please contact Jennifer McGarry by June 22 at 203.427.2046 to sign up for this program, or download a copy of our flyer.


May 24, 2012
United Way Recognizes Standout Donors for 2011-12

United Way Recognizes Standout Donors for 2011-12

MERIDEN - Contributing to the annual United Way giving campaign is nothing new to Ulbrich Stainless Steel & Special Metals Inc. The Wallingford company has been doing it since the 1960s.

"Ulbrich and its employees are committed to United Way and all that it stands for," said Fredrick Ulbrich Jr., past president and chief executive officer. "We thank all the volunteers of the company and the volunteers of the United Way. We believe in the United Way." Ulbrich accepted an Outstanding Company Award from the United Way of Meriden and Wallingford Wednesday for reaching the agency's diamond level and raising $62,827 for its 2011-12 campaign.

"The nature of that business defines family values," said Craig Turner, director of Wallingford's Youth and Social Services Department. "The fact that it has remained private and family-owned is a testament to that business and that family."

3M Purification Inc. - formerly Cuno Inc. - and Webster Bank were both honored with Outstanding Company Awards for raising more than $50,000 each.

"We have a culture of giving, and before that as Cuno," said Alan Ponchick, campaign chairman and global sales training manager for 3M Purification. "We feel a sense of responsibility to the community we live and work in. We're thrilled to be together with Ulbrich, and we'll continue to do a great job servicing our communities."

Ponchick will be taking over the United Way's campaign from Chairwoman Rosanne P. Ford, who was also honored Wednesday.

Amy Jakkobeit, a vice president of customer care center sales at Webster Bank, said its 140 employees are part of a culture that gives back.

United Way Executive Director James Ieronimo said the annual campaigns have become a year long event.

"We are ahead of last year and will probably end up in the $800,000 range," Ieronimo said. "We also have some new partners and new events. It doesn't look like the same campaign you saw three years ago."

In addition to the corporate and employee donation leaders, the following were also honored: Campaign Leadership: Rosanne P. Ford.

Greatest Campaign Increase: Canberra Industries Inc., 3M Information Systems, Burns & McDonnell.

Loyal Community Partner: City Mission Trustees, Fosdick Fulfillment Corp., JL Sports, Pyramid Time Systems.

Loyal Corporate Donor: Executive Auto Group, G&G Beverage Distributors Inc., Jonal Laboratories Inc., Meriden Manufacturing Inc., Unholtz-Dickie Corp., USI Connecticut. Outstanding Community Partner: Disturbed Image Car and Truck Club, Lido's Restaurant, Salon Nathanial, Westfield Meriden.

Outstanding Campaign Coordinator: Crystal Douglas, Canberra Industries Inc.; Martha Gallagher, Pyramid Time Systems; Kristine Sanderson, 3M Health Information Systems; Kevin Siniscalchi, Burns & McDonnell.

Volunteer Awards: Companies of the Year: MidState Medical Center, Westfield Meriden.

Businesses of the Year: Hunter's Limousine, JC Penney unit #402.

Organization of the Year: Rotary Club of Wallingford.

Volunteer Excellence: Katie Corarito, Kelly Martin, Jeremy Sheren.

Outstanding Volunteer Commitment: Fodsick Fulfillment Corp., Webster Bank Customer Care Center.

Rising Star: G&G Beverage Distributors Inc.

Shining Stars: Jens Kiss, Terry Maloney, Larry Pelletier, Rob Woytowich.


May 16, 2012
MidState Medical Center's MediQuick Urgent Care Services in Meriden and Cheshire Receives Certified Urgent Care Designation from the Urgent Care Association of America

MidState Medical Center's MediQuick Urgent Care Services in Meriden and Cheshire Receives Certified Urgent Care Designation from the Urgent Care Association of America

MidState Medical Center's MediQuick Urgent Care Services, with sites in both Meriden and Cheshire, has received the Certified Urgent Care designation which distinguishes it as a true urgent care center. The clinic provides patients with walk-in, extended-hour medical attention with licensed providers for a large scope of episodic medical conditions and has met all of the Urgent Care Association of America's established criteria.

The health care environment is changing and it is becoming more and more important for patients to understand their treatment options. Urgent Care is a convenient and viable option for medical conditions that cannot wait for a scheduled appointment with a primary care physician. MediQuick accepts unscheduled, walk-in patients during all hours of operation for a wide variety of illnesses and complaints that are not life-threatening.

When a medical condition cannot be handled by a patient's regular doctor - such as unexpected cuts, burns, sprains or fractures that do not require a visit to the emergency department, MediQuick is equipped with x-ray and laboratory services. Our licensed providers are always available to perform minor procedures like suturing and splinting.

Urgent Care fills the gap between primary care and hospital emergency rooms, offering increased convenience... and cost savings. With its certification, MediQuick and the Urgent Care Association of America demonstrate their commitment toward providing patients with access to appropriate levels of care.


May 21, 2012
Tips To Get You Through Allergy Season 5/21

Tips To Get You Through Allergy Season 5/21

Check out this Fox 61 news story on allergies featuring MidState Medical Group's Dr. Inkwiy Kim!

Tips To Get You Through Allergy Season 5/21


May 17, 2012
How Old is Too Old for Breastfeeding?

How Old is Too Old for Breastfeeding?

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- The current edition of Time magazine is sparking vigorous debate about what's appropriate and what's not when it comes not only to the cover art but to breastfeeding in general.

The article itself is about mothers who breast-feed well beyond infancy. But when should mothers stop, and what are the pro-and cons for kids? There are a lot of health benefits for Mom and baby when it comes to breastfeeding. How old is too old for a child to be breastfed? It's really up to Mom.

First time parents, Melissa and Glenn Lewis made the decision the breastfeed together.

Half-day-old Spencer Lewis finds it easy to latch onto his mother for the nutrition he needs.

"He's actually had six sessions now since 11:29 p. m. when he was born last night," said first time mother, Melissa Lewis.

"That's the cue, the lip smacking. I heard it this morning and I said oh yes, he's hungry," said first time father, Glenn Lewis.

Lactation Consultant Dawn Flohr at Mid-State Medical Center in Meriden offers support to families who choose to breastfeed.

"The recommendations are one year or beyond by the American Academy of Pediatrics until mutually desired by mother and infant. World Health Organization, UNICEF, two years or beyond as mutually desired by mother and infant," said Flohr.

Whether the child is one, two or three years old, the decision to breastfeed is up to the mother and child.

"The plan is-just as long as I can, and as long as he is interested in nursing," said Melissa Spencer.

The health benefits that come along with breastfeeding include lowering the risk for obesity, childhood cancers, and asthma. For mothers, breastfeeding can help decrease the risk for cancer, and melt away the pregnancy weight faster.

"You don't have to nurse from both breasts at each feeding. Let him nurse as long as he wants to on the first breast," said Flohr. "I always tell Moms, any amount of breast milk is a gift to the baby."

Another benefit to breastfeeding is that it helps families save hundreds of dollars during the child's first year of life.

Flohr said that more mothers are choosing to continue breastfeeding beyond the age of one.


To View the Video Segment and news source go to:
WTNH - How old is too old for breastfeeding?


May 15, 2012
Wallingford Firefighters Raise Money for MidState's Palladino Family Cancer Center

Wallingford Firefighters Raise Money for MidState's Palladino Family Cancer Center

Meriden - The firefighters of the Wallingford Fire Department are gearing up for an exciting fundraiser that will benefit MidState's Palladino Family Cancer Center. The fundraiser was initiated by Wallingford firefighter, former ED employee and fellow cancer survivor, Rick Garrison.

The benefit, held on Sunday, June 10, beginning at 8:30 a.m., is a motorcycle poker run and picnic that will take place at PNA Park on North Plains Industrial Road in Wallingford. Riders will enjoy 90 miles of scenic Connecticut with stops at the North Branford Fire Department, Gillette Castle, Winchester's, and MidState Medical Center. The ride will conclude with a picnic back at PNA Park featuring a DJ, moonwalk for the kids, 50/50 raffle and more.

Cost is $25 per rider or $35 for a rider with a passenger; $10 for picnic only. For more information, please contact Rick Garrison at rlgarrx2@att.net or 203.715.8801. All proceeds benefit The Palladino Family Cancer Center.


May 15, 2012
MidState Medical Center Earns NICHE Designation

MidState Medical Center Earns NICHE Designation

Meriden - MidState Medical Center is proud to announce it has recently been designated a NICHE hospital - Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders. The NICHE designation reinforces MidState's commitment to geriatric excellence and a vision to provide exemplary care to older patients.

MidState now joins a distinguished network of hospitals across the nation that demonstrates dedication to improving the quality of care provided to older patients. Through NICHE, hospital administrators, clinicians, and staff engage in ongoing training, have access to evidence-based clinical protocols and are able to share information, knowledge, and expertise with other NICHE hospitals.

Why NICHE? Approximately 50% of hospitalized patients are age 65 and older.
Through NICHE, MidState nurses have the resources to assist patients and caregivers with concerns regarding medication use, community care options, dementia, self-care for family caregivers, discharge planning, and much more.

Started in 1992, NICHE has evolved into the only national geriatric care program for hospitals. The NICHE Network comprises nearly 300 hospitals across the country which shares the goal to achieve patient-centered care for older adult patients.

MidState joins only four other hospitals in the state to earn this designation. As a NICHE provider, MidState will be acknowledged on the NICHE website and in national publications.


April 30, 2012
Fighting Cancer... One Bulb at a Time

Fighting Cancer... One Bulb at a Time

Meriden - Donors who have supported MidState Medical Center's Blooming Pink Celebration Garden and their honorees recently gathered together for a special recognition event. Created two years ago by a group of generous MidState physicians, the Blooming Garden celebrates and memorializes those in our community touched by cancer.

"Today we are brought together by a simple flower," said president & CEO Lucille Janatka. "This flower constantly reminds us of the rejuvenation of tulips every year."

"For those of us taking care of our patients, we are reminded of the rejuvenation of our patients and living life to the fullest. I am proud to represent all the physicians who have made this garden possible," said Chief-of- Staff Rajani Nadkarni, MD, of MidState Medical Medical Oncology & Hematology.

Following the program guests listened to a beautiful rendition of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" by JP Shannon and Denise Jones-Gagne and enjoyed delicious pink cupcakes carefully displayed in the shape of a breast cancer awareness ribbon.

To date, 500 bulbs have been purchased in the Blooming Pink Celebration Garden. If you are interested in celebrating a loved one through the purchase of a tulip bulb, please contact Tina Fabiani in the MidState Development office at X48744 or Tina.Fabiani@hhchealth.org.


April 13, 2012
MidState Opens Renovated Cancer Center

MidState Opens Renovated Cancer Center

Photos by Tiffany Diorio / Record-Journal
The center's medical director, Gary Tansino, center, cuts the ribbon.
"Patients have enough to deal with so, instead of having them go look for a special bra or deodorant, we already have them here. We help make a hard process a little easier to deal with."


MERIDEN - After a hard day at work Arlene Hamelin didn't waste any time in getting that much needed back massage. But instead of driving over to a spa this time the nurse case manager at MidState Medical Center just walked over to the hospital's newly renovated Palladino Family Cancer Center.

The massage room is just one part of the center that was newly renovated in an effort to satisfy the needs of cancer patients.

A plan two years in the making finally came together, with the finishing touches on the cancer center made earlier this week. To celebrate the new space, staff and community members gathered in front of the Palladino Cancer Center Wednesday for a ceremonial opening followed by a tour of the new center.

"This will help support the integrative services of the center and will not only support the body, but the mind and spirit," said Gary Tansino, medical director of the cancer center, just before he cut the ribbon.

Housed in the center is an Auxiliary Boutique that sells specialty products for cancer patients, a massage therapy room to promote relaxation, and a risk assessment clinic available for people with a family history of cancer. Also housed in the cancer center is the Elekta Infinity Linear Accelerator radiation therapy system, a state-of-the-art machine the hospital acquired in 2010.

"This is a nice enhancement," Tansino said. "I think we take good care of the medical part for patients, but don't deal as much with the psycho- social part of it. This center helps put treatment together in a whole package. It's not just a sterile environment of medical treatments." The boutique is funded by a donation from MidState's auxiliary department. The store includes products geared toward cancer patients such as deodorant, hair pieces, queasy pops and special bras for women who have undergone a mastectomy.

"Patients have enough to deal with so, instead of having them go look for a special bra or deodorant, we already have them here," said Abbi Bruce, director of the center. "We help make a hard process a little easier to deal with."

Before the unveiling of the improved center, staff and local residents toured the hospital's pink tulip garden grown into the shape of a breast cancer ribbon. Planted on the hillside outside of the main entrance, 500 bulbs were donated by community members and staff in honor of physicians and cancer patients all over.

Joyce Fitzgerald, who works at the hospital's information desk, donates a bulb for the garden each year in memory of her mother, who suffered from cancer.

"It's a gorgeous garden," she said "You can't imagine the number of compliments people make about the garden when they first come in. It's wonderful."

While some browsed the specialty shop or tried out the massage therapy room first-hand, others viewed the "Lilly Oncology on Canvas: Expressions of a Cancer Journey" art exhibit. The gallery consists of artwork created by cancer survivors, family members or caregivers that depicts their journey with disease with a short description of their story. This is the first time MidState has hosted the exhibit.

Joyce Fitzgerald, along with her husband, Peter, were admiring "Breathing Room," a picture of lungs surrounded by flowers and leaves sent in by a lung cancer survivor from Michigan.

"It's emotional," Peter Fitzgerald said. "You don't realize all that these people have gone through until you read the description. It's sad."

Photos by Tiffany Diorio / Record-Journal
Tracy Bielert, a radiation oncology manager, explains how the radiation therapy system works during Wednesday's open house at MidState Medical Center's Palladino Cancer Center. The new space includes an Auxiliary Boutique that sells special items for cancer patients and a massage therapy room that offers Reiki and other relaxation treatments.


April 13, 2012
Quinnipiac's New Medical School, MidState Preparing for Partnership

Quinnipiac's New Medical School, MidState Preparing for Partnership

MERIDEN - The partnership between Quinnipiac University and Meriden's hospitals has lasted for years and preceded the 1998 opening of MidState Medical Center, but now the relationship is being taken to a new level.

When Dr. Bruce Koeppen became founding dean of Quinnipiac's new Frank H. Netter School of Medicine, he visited 15 hospitals in Connecticut and one in Rhode Island, looking for to form a partnership.

A relationship already existed between the Lewis Avenue hospital and the nursing school at Quinnipiac University, so Koeppen ultimately decided to extend that partnership.

Quinnipiac's medical students will have the chance to gain clinical experience working alongside doctors at MidState.

"We have agreed to work together to educate students that eventually end up at the medical school," Koeppen said. "They're very supportive of our mission of inter-professional education and patient care."

Quinnipiac announced plans to open the medical school in November 2010. After applying for accreditation this week, Koeppen and the school expect word in October.

"Once we hear from them, we'll immediately begin recruiting," Koeppen said.

The medical school is in North Haven on a campus purchased from Anthem Blue Cross in 2007. The first class of 60 students is to arrive in August 2013. The Netter medical school will be the third in the state and one of 18 new medical schools being developed in the country to combat a shortage in primary care physicians that many health care experts are expecting. Eventually, the school hopes to increase the number of firstyear students to 125, a number larger than most medical schools.

In a move to set the school apart from other medical schools, plans are for Netter to train students as primary care physicians, rather than as specialists.

"It is just really innovative and so necessary now with the shortage in primary care physicians," said Cindy Russo, MidState's senior vice president of operations. "It is completely in line with the way MidState thinks."

Starting with third-year students, training physicians will begin working alongside Mid-State doctors. They'll learn to evaluate a patient before surgery and to care for a patient afterward.

Training with MidState is to continue with fourth-year students as they're given the opportunity to work in the emergency room and gain experience with working in the critical care unit.

"This is going to be a great experience for students and for the medical staff, as well," said Harold Kaplan, vice president for medical affairs at MidState. "One thing we all know is that when you have to teach someone, you're keeping yourself on your toes. It forces you to understand your subject matter even more so. One of the best ways to learn is teach, and this helps push the level of our patient care."

Even at the start of their medical school experience, first- and second-year students will have the opportunity to work in the office of a primary care physician, where they'll learn to evaluate patients.

"They have integrated basic science skills with clinical teaching," Kaplan said. "From the start, the student can correlate what they're learning to what they'll be doing as physicians." Besides working with MidState, Quinnipiac's medical school has also formed a partnership with St. Vincent's Hospital in Bridgeport. Working with both hospitals, the faculty will help push their primary philosophy that physicians are to work as a part of a team with other health care professionals.

"We just think this is a great approach," Kaplan said.

April 10, 2012
MidState's Employee of The Year Praised for Passion, Effort

MidState's Employee of The Year Praised for Passion, Effort

MERIDEN - Hanging up in the hallway at MidState Medical Center is a black-andwhite picture of Del-Lor Lisitano in a white cap and dress sitting with her nursing school class of 1976.

Now, 36 years later, she's still doing what she loves - helping people.

"My philosophy of nursing is to be able to help people become independent of my care," said Lisitano, a consulting analyst for clinical informatics.

As a reward for her passion and hard work, Lisitano was honored as MidState Medical Center's 2012 Employee of the Year Monday night.

During the ceremony in the Horwitz Conference Center, Lucille A. Janatka, the hospital's president and CEO, quoted nominators who described Lisitano as being "irreplaceable in her passion and commitment toward Mid-State" and "a person who often thinks out of the box and is honestly hardworking."

"I first met Del-Lor in 1982, so I've known her for a long time," Janatka said after the ceremony. "She is a really unique person that has a talent. She's just incredibly talented. She's well-deserving of this award."

"She cares about everybody," said Dotty Bonini, Lisitano's sister, who attended Monday's event. "She doesn't ever put herself first."

This is the 18th year that MidState Medical Center has recognized employees with annual awards. As well as naming an employee of the year, MidState also recognizes a team. This year's team winner was the staff of 70 employees in the Family Birthing Center.

Cindy L. Russo, senior vice president of operations at MidState, described the team as one that embraces lifelong learning and is committed to improving patient care.

For the past year staff of the family birthing center have been supporting and promoting breast-feeding through a worldwide hospital initiative known as baby friendly. The center is also working with other hospitals in the area in a campaign with the March of Dimes to avoid premature births.

"It's wonderful working here; I've been here 22 years and I love it here," said Maria Perrone, a registered nurse at the family birthing center. "We all want to stay."

Teams and individuals are nominated for awards by hospital employees, and then an independent panel judges the nominations.

After the award ceremony, staff and family members were invited to a reception in the hospital cafeteria.

Growing up as one of nine children, Lisitano didn't always follow her father's advice, but she did listen to his suggestion that she should become a nurse. She enrolled in nursing school at the Meriden Hospital School of Nursing and graduated in 1976.

Since then, Lisitano has cared for people in a variety of ways, such as a nurse in the urology department, assistant director of the operating room, and director of digestive health. In her current position as a consulting analyst for clinical informatics, Lisitano supports the computer system that nurses and doctors use to document their care for a patient.

"What I love about doing this is that there's always something new to learn," she said about her career in nursing. "You can do a lot with a career in nursing."

Sarah Nathan / Record-Journal
Clinical informatics consultant Del-Lor Lisitano takes a moment Monday to look at a photograph of herself from the 1970s that hangs on the second floor of the MidState Medical Center in Meriden. Lisitano is the hospital's 2012 employee of the year.

April 5, 2012
Surgery: The Robotic Option

Surgery: The Robotic Option

MERIDEN - Suffering from diverticulitis, a condition in which small sacs form on the lining of the intestine, Jacalyn Murphy was well aware of the signs of an oncoming attack.

In January, the day before she was due to go on a cruise to Cozumel, she felt the familiar pangs of pain and knew she'd have to undergo a sigmoid colon resection operation. Just a few weeks earlier, Murphy had suffered an episode in which one of the sacs ruptured.

"I've had several attacks, and they were becoming more severe and closer together," said Murphy, a Wallingford resident.

Agreeing to undergo the surgery, Murphy was given an option. She could have laparoscopic surgery, or have it done under the hands of metal with MidState's robotic surgery system.

With little hesitation she chose the robot.

"I wasn't nervous or scared. I was relatively calm, which surprised me," Murphy said. "The doctors explained to me exactly what would happen ahead of time."

The robotic system used for Murphy's surgery is known as the Da Vinci Surgical System. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in early 2000, the system is made by Intuitive Surgical, a company based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

A descendent of military technology, robotic-assisted surgery has become a sought-after option. Taking on the high-tech system two years ago, MidState Medical Center first used it only for prostate and gynecological surgeries.

Now, MidState is expanding its uses. Patients needing gastric bypass, colon and heartburn surgery are now given the option of robotics.

"The only limit as to why we don't use it for everything else is the cost. It's still very expensive," said Dr. Aziz Benbrahim, a surgeon and director of surgical services at MidState. "We're very lucky though at MidState to have a leadership that supports our vision despite the expenses."

Benbrahim is the only surgeon at the Lewis Avenue medical center currently using the robotics system for operations other than prostate and gynecological surgeries.

During that Thursday in February, Benbrahim sat a few feet away from Murphy at a console in the MidState operating room. Directing the robot's arms and surgical tools while looking through a binocular lens, Benbrahim cut a quarter of an inch incision that allowed a tiny camera to be inserted. From there, he moved the surgical tools as he watched the images from the camera.

"When I first heard about the robotics system I was hesitant about it, but you have to trust your team and your assistant because the robot really is much safer," Benbrahim said.

Well-versed in surgical procedures due to her job as a recovery auditor in the health care division with Connelly in Massachusetts, Murphy agreed to having her surgery done with the robotics system.

"Robotics doesn't bother me really. I think that it's probably the wave of the future," she said. "With robotics, what they do inside is still the same, it's just with a robot, and the recovery time is quicker."

Considered the system of the future, robotics-assisted surgery has provided patients with quicker recovery times because of the small incision, less pain, and smaller risk of infection.

Murphy's surgery was on a Thursday. She said she was walking around the next day and back home on Sunday.

And since then she admits she's had a quick recovery with little pain.

"Everything went as expected," she said. "I would choose robotics surgery over open surgery any day."

March 30, 2012
Blooming Celebration on April 25 Honors Our Loved Ones Touched by Breast Cancer

Blooming Celebration on April 25 Honors Our Loved Ones Touched by Breast Cancer

Spring is here, and it's time to celebrate our Blooming Pink Garden. The Blooming Pink Celebration Garden is sponsored by our physicians and is a daily, visible reminder of our loved ones who have been touched by breast cancer. The Blooming Celebration will take place on April 25, from 4:00 to 5:00 PM.

This special garden, in the shape of an awareness ribbon, is filled with thousands of pink tulips planted to honor, celebrate or memorialize those touched by cancer. Located on MidState's campus, this garden is not only an inspiration but also a symbol representing survivorship.

For just $25, you can be a part of this beautiful creation which benefits The Palladiono Family Cancer Center at MidState. Your gift will not only bring awareness to cancer that affects so many in our lives, your gift will also help MidState continue to comfort and meet the needs of patients and families coping with the diagnosis of cancer.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of cancer patients...one bulb at a time.

For more information or if you are interested in purchasing a bulb,
please contact Tina Fabiani at 203.694.8744.


March 30, 2012
MMC Hosts Ribbon Cutting Ceremony & Open House for Palladino Family Cancer Center

MidState Medical Center Hosts Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
& Open House for Palladino Family Cancer Center

In just a few weeks, The Palladino Family Cancer Center will debut renovated space that includes the brand new MidState Auxiliary Boutique with special items and products for cancer patients; a serene integrative therapy room for massage, Reiki and other treatments that promote relaxation and healing; and a beautiful, calming plant wall - the only one of its kind in the state.

You can tour the new space at an open house event on Wednesday, April 25, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The open house and ribbon cutting ceremony will immediately follow the Development office's Blooming Garden Celebration.

In addition to touring the new space, employees, physicians, and community members can also see the Elekta Infinity Linear Accelerator radiation therapy system, medical oncology office on the second floor, and Lilly Oncology On Canvas: Expressions of a Cancer Journey Art Competition and Exhibit, which will be displayed in the main lobby during the entire week of the open house.

Lilly Oncology, together with the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, has received more than 3,600 pieces of artwork and narratives from cancer survivors across the country. The artwork is displayed at centers around the country, and it is an honor that MidState has been chosen as an exhibition site.


Please mark your calendars for this exciting event!

March 19, 2012
MidState Hosts Bone Marrow Registry Drive Community Encouraged to Join the Be The Match Registry

MidState Hosts Bone Marrow Registry Drive
Community Encouraged to Join the Be The Match Registry

Meriden - On Tuesday, April 3, MidState Medical Center is hosting a recruitment drive to raise awareness about the need for bone marrow donors. 70% of patients in need of a marrow transplant will not have a matching donor in their own family.

Local residents can take the first step to save a life by joining the Be The Match Registry between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Registration is simple and requires paperwork and a cheek swab sample. If you later match a patient, donations can be made through an automated blood donation! Although we ask you to bring your insurance card, joining the registry and potentially donating has no costs to you.

Please consider saving a life. MidState's Be The Match Registry will be held at MidState Medical Center on 435 Lewis Avenue, in conference rooms 2 and 3 on the second floor.

About the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) and Be The Match:

The NMDP operates the Be The Match Registry and partners with a global network of leading hospitals, blood centers, cord blood banks, laboratories and recruiters. As a leader in the field of marrow and cord blood transplantation, the NMDP facilitates transplants worldwide, conducts research to improve survival and quality of life, and provides education to health care professionals and patients. Since it began operations in 1987, the NMDP has provided more than 50,000 transplants to help give patients a second chance at life. For more information, visit BeTheMatch.org or call 1.800.MARROW-2.

March 5, 2012
Clinic at MidState has Answers on Chronic Headaches

Clinic at MidState has Answers on Chronic Headaches

MERIDEN - When she was growing up, Natalena Santozzi had migraines so painful that she'd spend nights in the emergency room.

"They'd be to the point where I'd be vomiting and I'd need someone to drive me because I couldn't even see straight," she said Thursday. "I missed family functions, school. I was missing out on general life activities. It was affecting my life."

The 29-year-old Kensington resident, who has been experiencing chronic migraines since she was in second grade, has finally found relief after seeing Dr. Hamid Sami, a neurologist at MidState Medical Center's new headache clinic.

As a way to ward off Santozzi's painful migraines, Sami prescribed something a little bit different. Instead of taking ineffective over-thecounter medications, Santozzi now receives Botox injections in her forehead, shoulders and neck, the areas where she says most of her migraines first begin.

"He was the only doctor I've seen to think of this," she said.

Since she's received Botox treatments, Santozzi has noticed that she hasn't had the headaches as frequently. The last time she had one was about a month ago.

With MidState's headache clinic now up and running, people seeking answers about their frequent head pains have a place to go.

"It helps make sure that patients get up-to-date treatment," said Dr. Maame Dankwah-Quansah, a neurologist at the center.

A part of the neuroscience department at MidState, the headache clinic helps find ways for people to prevent or deal with chronic headaches. Depending on the patient's headache triggers, medical history, diet and stress level, doctors advise remedies that may include non-pharmacological treatments such as acupuncture, meditation or even physical therapy.

"The causes vary for every person," said Dr. Justin Montanye, a neurologist at the center. "At times it could be lack of sleep, or certain foods like chocolate, cheese or wine, or even be because of stress and hormones."

With headache as one of the most common complaints, the clinic came about as a way for people experiencing chronic headaches to find the cause.

"It gives a support system along with more information pertaining to the cause of their headache," Dankwah-Quansah said.

Having lost hope of ever living a normal lifestyle after taking countless allergy tests and undergoing magnetic resonance imaging tests, Santozzi finally has found a way to cope. With the headache clinic now open she plans to use it the next time she feels a migraine coming on. "I'm not super-excited to get a headache that bad in order to use (the clinic), but I am excited that there is someplace other than an emergency room to go to," Santozzi said.

MidState Medical Center"s headache clinic can be reached at (203) 694-7814.

From left, Dr. Justin Montanye, Dr. Maame Dankwah-Quansah, medical assistants Amanda Reynolds and MaryAlice Nowak on Tuesday in the Neurosciences Center at MidState Medical Center in Meriden.


February 20, 2012
He's Working Out and Waiting, Optimistic He'll get New Heart

He's Working Out and Waiting, Optimistic He'll get New Heart

Dave Zajac / Record-Journal

Jeffrey Montalvo, 20, walks on a treadmill in the cardiac rehabilitation room at MidState Medical Center on Wednesday.
To prepare for a new heart, he works out three days a week.

MERIDEN - When Jeffrey Montalvo was diagnosed with a rare heart condition seven months ago, he was shocked. Quickly placed on a list for a heart transplant, Montalvo is still awaiting a heart, but he remains optimistic.

"Not once have I ever asked, 'Why me?' " said Montalvo, a Meriden resident. "And if I didn't go to the hospital and all this, they wouldn't have found that my sister has signs."

Diagnosed with non-compaction cardiomyopathy, a rare congenital heart condition in which spongelike parts of the heart don't become solid, Montalvo didn't feel many symptoms besides shortness of breath. But after coming home from working two jobs one night, the then-19-year-old was rushed to the hospital after feeling severe chest pains.

Since his diagnosis, both of Montalvo's sisters have been tested. One showed signs of the disease and is being treated with medication to prevent her needing surgery in the future.

To prepare for a new heart, Montalvo, who is now 20, works out three days a week in MidState Medical Center's cardiac rehabilitation and wellness center program. He's one of the youngest people in the hospital's program.

"Jeffrey loves it there," said Clarisa Cardona, Montalvo's mother. "I feel like he's become physically better. When he was in the hospital he basically lost all of his muscle and now I can see a big difference."

Exercising three days a week since October under the watch of nurses, Montalvo's heart rate has become stronger, the nurses have observed.

"He's doing three times more activity than he was before. We want him in optimum shape, so he'll do much better when he gets his transplant," said Catherine Rich, a registered nurse and program coordinator of MidState's cardiac rehab. "He's definitely less stressed, it's good for him socially and he's learned a lot."

Montalvo, who admits he didn't work out much before, said that since he started working out under the program he's more confident exercising.

Despite keeping a positive attitude, Montalvo admits to having his days, like anyone else. Some days he feels sad and since he's been diagnosed he's been suffering from some anxiety.

"I just get nervous that something bad is going to happen," he said.

To help himself overcome feeling anxious he throws himself into one of his most loved hobbies - shoes. Montalvo collects all types of sneakers.

So far he's accumulated 78 pairs, but he jokes that someday he wants to own enough to wear a different pair for each day of the year for five years.

Besides indulging in a little retail therapy, Montalvo visits patients with similar conditions. He's visited a 23-year-old at Hartford Hospital who, like him, is also awaiting a heart transplant.

"He's a good advocate for others," said Debra Kovach, registered nurse and program coordinator of cardiac rehab. "He's a positive guy that people look up to. He's an ambassador." Focusing on his health for the time being, Montalvo decided to take some time off from working and school. However, he plans to enroll in the Connecticut School of Broadcasting to eventually work as a cameraman for sports shows.

But until then he just hopes for a new heart.

"I'm eager to hear back," Montalvo said about getting a new heart. "It can happen anytime, like now."

February 14, 2012
Launching Anticoagulation Management Services for Coumadin Patients

MidState Launches Anticoagulation Management Services for Coumadin Patients

MidState is pleased to announce the recent launch of an outpatient Anticoagulation Management Service designed to provide patients with comprehensive education on their anticoagulant medication, point-of-care testing, and ongoing monitoring of medication and dietary interactions.

Since the start of the program in December, MidState has seen approximately 60 patients. Patients who are appropriate for this service include those who are on Coumadin (warfarin) and are ambulatory.

The team for the Anticoagulation Management Service includes William Farrell, MD, who has been appointed Medical Director; Diane Henry, RPh and Rosalind Melnicoff, APRN who serve as Anticoagulation Care Providers; and Barbara Wade, Administrative Assistant.

Visits provide patients with:

  • Timely assessment of lab values, usually through point-of-care testing
  • Immediate dosing adjustments and on-site prescribing
  • Patient assessment and education on the best use of anticoagulants
  • Ongoing review of interactions with diet and other medications
  • Management of breaks in anticoagulation therapy

Patients do require a referral in order to schedule an appointment. For any questions or to obtain a referral form, please call: 203-694-8516.

February 13, 2012
MidState Offers Free Glucose Screenings in Honor of Diabetes Alert Day

MidState Offers Free Glucose Screenings in Honor of Diabetes Alert Day

In honor of Diabetes Alert Day, MidState is offering free blood sugar screenings and diabetes education at Cheshire MediQuick on 680 South Main Street. The screenings will be offered on Tuesday, March 27, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Diabetes Alert Day is a one day "wake-up call" initiated by the American Diabetes Association to increase public awareness of type 2 diabetes and encourage people to assess their risk for developing type 2 diabetes. MidState encourages those in the Cheshire community to know their risk. Registration is not required.

February 13, 2012
Hosts Free Incontinence Program - What's the Matter with my Bladder?

MidState to Host Free Incontinence Program - What's the Matter with my Bladder?

Have you ever laughed so hard that tears ran down your legs? Nearly 1 in 3 women suffer from urinary incontinence. MidState is hosting a free seminar presented by urologist Sagar Phatak, MD on March 20, from 6:00 to 7:30 PM at MidState Medical Services, 61 Pomeroy Avenue, Meriden.

Dr. Phatak will speak about the causes of urinary incontinence and the treatments available, including the popular sling procedure. One of Dr. Phatak's patients, who underwent the sling procedure, will also be on hand to answer questions about her experience. Registration and dinner at 6:00 p.m.; lecture to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Please register for this program by calling: 203.694.8733. Registration is required.

January 3, 2012
MidState's First Baby of The Year Weighs in at 8 lbs., 4 oz.

MidState's First Baby of The Year Weighs in at 8 lbs., 4 oz.

MERIDEN - On New Year's Eve, Merly De La Hoz-Cookson danced the night away as she rang in 2012 with husband James Cookson and her family. It was the first time in four months she had danced, after being told not to by her doctor five months into her pregnancy.

"We were dancing a lot," said De La Hoz-Cookson, 31, laughing and recalling the fun she had.

The dancing, she believes, may have begun inducing labor. By 3 a.m. Monday, she and her husband were on their way to MidState Medical Center. Just two hours later, at 5:06 a.m., De La Hoz-Cookson gave birth to Daniel Alejandro Cookson, her first child and the first baby born in Meriden in 2012. The timing came as something of a surprise to the proud parents; Daniel arrived six days before his due date.

For the first time in recent memory, the city's first baby came a day after New Year's. In stark contrast, just two years ago, all 14 rooms in the hospital's birthing center were full of new or expecting mothers. The first woman to give birth that day didn't even have a room when she got to the hospital.

Monday, however, the husband and wife and family members had plenty of space as they spent time with Daniel on his first day. He weighed in at eight pounds, four ounces and measured 20.5 inches long. The boy's father found it difficult to put his emotions into words.

"As a guy, you usually feel one way or another and that's it," said Cookson, 28. "This is just one of those feelings that you can't describe. You just think about how beautiful he is, how he's healthy ... I'm just so proud that I can't describe it."

De La Hoz-Cookson said she was nervous leading up to the birth, but had since calmed down as she held Daniel in her arms, smiling at the baby's every movement.

The Middletown couple has been together since 2005 and married in 2010. They met in an airport in Panama. De La Hoz-Cookson had just traveled to her native Colombia. They chatted, and with multiple flight delays got to know each other. Over time, they built a relationship, leading to marriage. They both work for Tantor Media in Old Saybrook, where Cookson is a sound engineer and De La Hoz-Cookson is a supervisor.

It is believed that Carolyn Vanderbilt was the first baby born in Connecticut in 2012, born at 12:02 a.m. on Sunday at Greenwich Hospital, according to the Greenwich Time newspaper. Born to Greenwich residents Hugh and Roxanne Vanderbilt. Carolyn beat Daniel by more than a full day.