Posts tagged ‘Medical Center’

Medical Center staff helps patient experience his son’s wedding

The bride and groom with the groom's family.

The bride and groom with the groom’s family.

When Michael Hoover learned that his father, Greg, was unable to leave the intensive care unit at Penn State Hershey Medical Center to attend his wedding, he and his fiancée decided to bring the wedding to his father.

Medical Center staff rallied around the cause, with several departments contributing to the special day.

The hospital’s valet parking arranged for Michael to pull up to the main doors with fiancée Kelsey Kennedy, their best man, maid of honor, and Kennedy’s parents on Friday afternoon, Sept. 25.

Nurse care coordinator Helen Papeika decorated a conference room across the hall from Greg’s sixth-floor room with flowers, tulle, and a large heart balloon, donated by the hospital gift shop.

Claire de Boer, director of the hospital’s Center Stage arts in healthcare program, arranged the couple’s processional and recessional song choices. Second-year medical student Victoria Jones played the traditional songs on a keyboard in the corner.

Nurses helped Fran Hoover get her husband into his suit and slide his wedding band back on. He was transported to the conference room with a portable monitor with staff monitoring him from the hall during the short service.

Once vows had been exchanged, Greg looked up with a smile and clasped his son’s hand to congratulate him. Papeika wore a second hat as wedding photographer to help the family document the event and snap the standard family group shots.

She led the couple to a conference table–covered in a white tablecloth and a vase of flowers– where they cut a small wedding cake provided by the hospital’s Food Services department. She poured grape juice into champagne flutes labeled “Bride” and “Groom” for a toast and snapped photos when the couple fed each other cake.

21788683115_ff79f5a26b_mLike any wedding, there were tears, then laughter. Smiles and hugs. And for this wedding, a big round of thanks for all the hospital staff members involved in making the day a success.

“It was amazing – more than I ever expected,” Kelsey said of the way the staff pulled the event together in less than a day. “They really went above and beyond.”

Papeika first heard of the idea mid-week when she rounded with the doctors. Greg mentioned his goal was to be discharged before the weekend, so he could see his son get married. She and the doctors weren’t so sure that would happen, so they decided to consider his request for an alternate plan.

Papeika called chaplain resident Garrett Book to find out what the rules were for such an unorthodox request. They reserved the first-floor chapel, but had to come up with plans to do it in either his hospital room or the conference room next door, depending on his condition.

She chatted with the unit’s regular housekeeper about moving conference room furniture, giving the floor an extra cleaning and making sure the windows were sparkly clean – just in case.

Nurse manager Abby Rudy suggested Papeika talk with Liz Massar, family care coordinator in Patient Experience.

Abby and Liz had connected a few weeks before at a nurse manager meeting. When Massar offered to help the nurse managers in any way she could, she never imagined that would involve planning a wedding on less than a day’s notice.

“I spent two hours making a lot of phone calls, and I was sweating bullets,” Liz said. “We have a lot of generous people on campus. Once I explained what it was for, I think it touched everybody. You want to help people in a positive way when they are here.”

Fran said the effort meant a lot to her family. “The way things were going with his health, we weren’t sure what was happening,” she said. “I came here after work and saw everything set up – I can’t believe what they pulled off.”

View a photo album from the wedding.

  • Jennifer Vogelsong

September 28, 2015 at 2:05 pm Leave a comment

Kidney recipient gives thanks for anonymous donor and the gift of a second chance

On July 23, Melissa Masse celebrated her 34th birthday in the operating room of Penn State Hershey, watching Dr. Riaz Shah hold up a kidney while the medical team sang “Happy Birthday.”

Earlier that morning, doctors had harvested a kidney from her husband, Chris, and sent it to a major metropolitan area where it would be given to someone as unknown to the Masses as the donor whose organ became a birthday present for Melissa.

Melissa and Chris Masse holding flowers between them where their scars forever bind them as recipient and donor.

Melissa and Chris Masse hold flowers between them to mark the scars that forever bind them as recipient and donor in a chain that gave Melissa and three others a second chance at life with a healthy kidney.

The surgeries were just two links in a complex transplant chain that allowed four people to receive healthy kidneys despite not having compatible live donors. Known as a “kidney swap,” Penn State Hershey offers the program as an alternative to dialysis and years of waiting for a deceased donor organ.

Melissa had been diagnosed with diabetes at age 11, but it wasn’t until stomach trouble and vomiting sent her to an emergency department in August 2012 and doctors noted her poor kidney function that she was sent to a specialist. By the end of the year, the South Williamsport woman was added to the list of people waiting for a healthy kidney.

Because the average person waits more than six years for a kidney, and because the mortality rate for those on dialysis is 50 percent after five years, Melissa’s husband offered to be a live donor. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a match. Nor was her boss. Or her best friend.

“I was devastated,” Chris said. He knew his wife was hoping for a live donor so there would be less chance her body would reject the new kidney. So he told transplant coordinator Vicky Reilly that he would donate his kidney to someone he had never met so that his wife could receive a healthy kidney from someone she had never met. (more…)

November 26, 2013 at 8:54 am 1 comment

Vets bring military service – and sensibilities – to work at Penn State Hershey

More than 30 years ago, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Kurt Holtzer and fellow Navy sailors played cat-and-mouse with enemy Russian ships.

Sometimes, the ships passed so close they could see Russian sailors on deck. At times, they exchanged waves of greeting. In other instances, the gestures were less pleasant. Always, they prepared for battle – ready to take aggressive measures against each other if given the order.

Fast forward to 2012.

Andrey Chuprin and Kurt Holtzer

Andrey Chuprin and Kurt Holtzer

Holtzer, a supervisor for the Penn State Hershey biomedical team, has just been diagnosed with leukemia and is being cared for by oncology nurse Andrey Chuprin. As the two become close and swap stories, Holtzer discovers that Chuprin had served in the Russian Navy in the same part of the Pacific Ocean at the same time he was there.

“On that water, we were mortal enemies,” Holtzer said. “But as I lay in my oncology bed, Andrey (was) fighting to save my life. Today, we are like brothers. What a tremendous turn of events.”

Like any large employer, Penn State Hershey has its share of veterans – men and women who served their country before coming to serve on campus. They aren’t always easy to spot, but they are all over campus, putting the skills and experiences they gained during their time in the service to work for patients and their families. (more…)

November 9, 2013 at 9:00 am 2 comments

Beyond the gloves of the Pink Glove Dance

Combine a competitive spirit, a desire to overcome breast cancer and a whole lot of pink gloves and you get the 90-second roller coaster of emotion that is the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s entry for this year’s Pink Glove Dance competition. The annual contest is sponsored by Medline, manufacturer of the pink surgical gloves to raise awareness for breast cancer.

For the second year in a row, the Medical Center is asking for community support to help kiss cancer good-bye. Each vote gets Hershey one step closer to a first place win and the $25,000 to benefit PA Breast Cancer Coalition research. Hershey placed second last year, its first year in the competition.

The video, produced in conjunction with Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, the Medical Center’s contest community partner, features breast cancer survivors and their supporters riding Lightning Racer, one of Hersheypark’s eleven roller coasters, to represent fighting the disease through literal ups and downs.Pink Glove 2013_102

“Dealing with breast cancer is kind of like being on a roller coaster,” said Kathy Law, director of nursing-perioperative services and executive sponsor of the Medical Center’s Pink Glove effort. “We thought what better way to bring the two entities together to work on a very worthwhile project.”

And from that partnership, the concept was born. (more…)

November 5, 2013 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

Girl’s quick action credited with brother’s survival

Amy Bair says she owes her son’s life to the actions of her daughter – and medical personnel agree.On the afternoon of June 15, nine-year-old Carrie Bair walked out to their family’s pool to find her young brother, Jackson, lying face-down in the water. He appeared unresponsive. Carrie pulled the three-year-old from the water by the back of his shirt.

“I tried to talk to him, but he didn’t talk,” Carrie said. That’s when she wrapped her arms around her brother’s body and squeezed him. Within seconds, Jackson coughed up water and started breathing again. Carrie beckoned to her mom, Amy, who called 911 then rushed to her son’s side.


June 20, 2013 at 7:23 am Leave a comment

A career built from the ground up

photo of Terry Achey overloooking Medical Center

Terry Achey

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…)

March 7, 2013 at 8:49 am Leave a comment

The magic of the Child Life Program

When you walk into a room filled with smiles, laughter, toys, games, and an over-all atmosphere of fun, it’s easy to forget you’re in a hospital.

That is exactly the goal of the Child Life Program at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. Child Life offers patients support through its programming, including a fall visit from Olympic gold medalist Jamie Gray. Originally from nearby Lebanon, Pa., Gray was inspired to visit Hershey by the young patients she met at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Baton Rouge, La.

Much to the delight of the Hershey children and their families, Gray recently participated in their weekly BINGO game, spending time with families and answering questions about the Olympics. Sharing her gold medal in 50-meter rifle three position, she didn’t even mind when one little friend got chocolate from his hands on it.

Gray was touched by the children’s resiliency, especially after watching her mother, Karen Beyerle, battle and defeat breast cancer.

“I think it’s amazing to see how happy they are going through so much adversity,” she said. “I think they’re inspiring, honestly.”

Izaiah Robinson with Jamie Gray and the Nittany Lion

Izaiah Robinson with Jamie Gray and the Nittany Lion

It isn’t hard to see the difference Child Life makes with while watching 8 year-old Izaiah Robinson from Boalsburg, Pa., nearly running to the prize table, with a huge smile across his face. (more…)

February 13, 2013 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

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