Man and niece who share a liver now share their story to tout the benefits of living donor transplants
Bill Counsil will never forget that moment three years ago in April, sitting around his brother’s kitchen table in Mechanicsburg, talking about the kinds of things families talk about when they get together. Suddenly, during a pause in the conversation, his then 33-year-old niece Karen MacKay of Dillsburg said, “So, Uncle Bill, about this liver thing, when do you want to do it? I’ve been approved.”
In January 2010, doctors at Penn State Hershey had told the then 57-year-old man from Mill Hall, Pa., he would need a liver transplant. A throng of family members had come along to hear the options, his niece Karen among them. With such a large family and strong support, doctors said living donation might be the best option. If someone were willing—and could make it through the rigorous pre-donation testing—he could get a liver without becoming one of the 15,800 people nationwide trying not to get sicker while waiting for a liver from a deceased donor match.
MacKay went home from the meeting and told her husband she wanted to start the evaluation process. She wanted to find out if she could donate half of her liver to her uncle. “I couldn’t just sit around and wait for somebody else to come forward or hope someone else would be a match,” she said. “I had to at least try.”
Two Penn State College of Medicine professors have written a book that proposes solutions to bullying, bad attitudes, and turmoil in the nursing profession. It will be published Friday, April 12, by Sigma Theta Tau International, the nursing honor society.
The organization approached Cheryl Dellasega with the idea for the book as a follow up to her 2011 When Nurses Hurt Nurses, which presented the problem. “It hit a nerve of sorts, so they wanted another book that was more solutions focused,” she says.
Dellasega’s research centers on relational aggression, while colleague Rebecca Volpe studies organizational cynicism and ethics. When Volpe came to Penn State Hershey three years ago, she and Dellasega began talking about how both of their research interests fell into the category of toxic environments.
“Toxic environments are everywhere, but the stakes are uniquely high in healthcare – potentially life and death,” Volpe says. Toxic Nursing: Managing Bullying, Bad Attitudes, and Total Turmoil not only examines the roots of the problem, but discusses potential consequences and offers solutions. (more…)
On April 4, Zeke, the Harrisburg canine officer who was recently shot in the line of duty, and his handler, Cpl. Ty Meik, were reunited with the Penn State Hershey Life Lion Critical Care Transport team that treated Zeke in the moments after the shooting and flew him to an animal trauma center. It was at that center that Zeke received life-saving care.
Crew members say caring for Zeke was a first, but it was made easier by his demeanor. “He was never, ever nasty toward anybody,” said Steve Weihbrecht, flight paramedic. “Obviously, he was extremely frightened. Ty, his handler, did a great job of keeping him under control.”
“It looks like he’s doing well,” said Daniel Mease, a flight nurse who administered intravenous fluids to Zeke after the March 15 shooting. “It was fun watching him on the news, getting better each day.”
Penny is a small, fuzzy gray bear with deep brown eyes who wears pink overalls with heart-shaped buttons. She has a floppy hat with an equally pink flower. Her first memory was waking up at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital nestled among her other bear and animal friends who were available for adoption at the Teddy Bear Clinic at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.
Penny and her friends were in Hershey to celebrate Child Life week and to help the Child Life specialists talk to the children about their fears of hospitals and going to the doctor. Child Life specialist Carrie Myers, who organized the event, works in the emergency department and sees scared little patients all the time.
“This is a time when we, as Child Life Specialists and other medical professionals can address misconceptions children have about the hospital or medical procedures,” she said. “It also teaches them that the hospital can be a fun, safe place.”
Clara and Laura Wade (ages 3 and 1) from Williamsport, Pa, whose new baby brother was born with a ‘broken’ heart that the doctors needed to fix, took home two of Penny’s friends, Bear and Dog. The girls listened to their new friends’ heartbeats and took their temperatures as they visited the stations where nurses and therapists helped them give their bears checkups. They saw many of the same instruments that the staff uses when taking care of 14-day-old Timothy after his open heart surgery. Their dad, Martin, hoped the experience would help the girls understand their brother’s surgery and recovery. “I told them baby brother’s heart was broken and had to be fixed,” he said. “I think this will help them when he’s getting poked and prodded, to know that It’s all to make him healthy, not hurt him.”
“There’s a lot of tension. You go on eighteen or nineteen interviews at all these different places all over the county. You don’t really know what’s going to happen. Then there’s one envelope that basically determines where you’re going.”
This is how Nathan Keller, a member of the Penn State College of Medicine Class of 2013 described the “Match” process that culminates in Match Day, an annual tradition when medical students learn where they will be headed for residency training. Four years of preparation at Penn State Hershey Medical Center and the College of Medicine had brought them to the moment when they would open a plain white envelope that contained the location of where they would continue their medical training. Match Day is the culmination of a process that began months ago as students visited and evaluated residency programs – and the programs evaluated them. Some of the students will remain at the Medical Center while others will go to residency programs throughout the country.
More than 130 students took part in the 2013 Match Day ceremony at the Hershey Country Club. The excitement built as the students received their envelopes one by one. Classmates cheered for each other as they counted down to noon, when they were finally able to tear open the envelopes and discover their match.
Some students were matched to their first choice. Others were not as lucky. (more…)
This week, the Annals of Internal Medicine published a graphic narrative by Penn State College of Medicine professor Dr. Michael Green. It marks the first time a clinically oriented medical journal has published a comic.
The comic, which Green created in collaboration with freelance illustrator Ray Rieck, addresses a question that many new doctors face – when to trust others and when to rely on their own judgment.
Dr. Christine Laine, editor-in-chief of Annals of Internal Medicine, said the journal had been considering using the graphic story format as a new way to present selected case reports at about the same time that Green submitted his piece.
“We found it a compelling way to highlight some of the issues covered in a series on patient safety that we had in the works,” she said. “We decided that publishing it would be a good way to draw attention to that series and see how readers react to the graphic story format.”
Green, who has been teaching a course on comics and medicine to fourth-year medical students for several years, believes in the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.
He sees graphic storytelling as an effective way to communicate a complicated subject and anticipates it will be well-received in the medical community. (more…)
When Terry Achey started at Penn State Hershey thirty-four years ago, it was hard for anyone to imagine how much it would grow. There was no Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, no freestanding children’s hospital, not even a dedicated building for the facilities department. But over the past three decades, Achey has a hand in many of the projects that have helped grow Penn State Hershey into a world-class institution.
“Terry really loves this place and he treated the facilities like they were his own home,” says Wayne Zolko, associate vice president for finance and business, who worked closely with Achey for almost twenty years. “It wasn’t just a job for Terry, he really believed in our mission. Both his love of the Medical Center and his knowledge of our facilities from the ground up, having worked in a lot of different areas, gave him an appreciation for the work that had to be done.”
“I looked at this as a place I wanted to work at for a very long time, but I didn’t have aspirations to become director,” Achey says.
He retired on January 2 as director of facilities—a position he held for the past twelve years—where he was responsible for building maintenance and operations, planning and construction, project management, CADD services, and safety. Achey left an indelible print on many facets of Penn State Hershey, but one of the projects he’s most proud of was the work he contributed to the ten-year Master Plan.
The two milestones of the 10-year plan were the Cancer Institute and the Children’s Hospital, both of which took years of planning.
“Being able to work along with the leadership team that has shaped the physical and programmatic growth of the campus over the past 30-plus years has been extremely rewarding,” Achey says. “I have the upmost respect for the professional staff and faculty on our campus and I’ve always felt that our town, our region, is very fortunate to have a world-class resource serving our population and providing a major economic impact.” (more…)