The BMC Brief
March 27, 2012 Volume 1, Issue 21
Juan Ortiz, a patient transporter in the Menino Pavilion, died suddenly March 22. He was 55.
Ortiz began his career at BMC in 2003. Over the eight years he worked as a transporter, he interacted with staff across the campus, and was known for his smile and jovial personality.
“Juan was a vision of happiness,” says Dave Maffeo, Senior Director, Support Services. “I will always remember his infectious smile.”
“He was the greatest guy I’ve ever met in my life,” says Cherki Benchraka, Transport. “He always had a smile on his face. We will miss him.”
“He was a great co-worker, a wonderful person and a pleasure to be around,” echoes Muniz Yassin, Transport. “He will be missed. God bless.”
Ortiz, a Dorchester resident, collapsed at home and was taken to BMC where teams from the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, MPOR and Respiratory Care cared for him before he died. He leaves behind two children, daughter Jetzenia and son Juan III, and four grandchildren, Yetziann, Anthony, Joniel and Xaylene.
“Always remember our father’s endless smile and heart of gold, and his unconditional love for family and friends,” said the Ortiz family at a March 24 memorial service. “Remember him for his love of sports. Go Yankees, Broncos and Lakers!”
“We have lost a dear friend; may his soul rest in peace,” says co-worker and friend Augustus Corbin of Transport.
“It is really hard to believe you are gone, but gone to a better place,” says Transporter Juan Gonzalez. “God bless you, my friend. We will all miss you.”
BMC will hold a memorial service for Ortiz in the coming weeks. Details will be announced.
Music, dancing, food and cultural displays defined BMC’s Multicultural Week, held March 19-23. The week celebrated BMC’s diversity and culminated with the week’s signature event, a Multicultural Fair.
More than 25 countries were represented, turning the Shapiro Lobby into a global oasis. Patients, families, visitors and staff were surrounded by tables adorned with photos, clothing, jewelry, art, trinkets and other personal memorabilia from around the world. The personal items, donated by staff, showcased their cultures, delighting Fair visitors, piquing their curiosity and prompting questions about the countries and cultures.
“Enthusiasm was high and the turnout reflected that,” says Barbara Catchings, Co-Chair of the Multicultural Week Committee and Director, Community Outreach and Student Internships, Human Resources. “We have such a wonderful, diverse staff at BMC and we are thrilled that so many employees wanted to share their heritage with others. This was a great event that showcases the true spirit of BMC. We’re already looking forward to next year.”
The Fair was highlighted by two midday performances, the first by young dancers from the Woods School of Irish Dance in South Boston.
Next was a belly dancing performance by Aurel D’Agostino of Ancient Art Studios in Taunton. Aurel performed to Turkish music, mesmerizing the crowd with her traditional costume and while balancing a tray of teacups and a teapot on her head.
During the weeklong celebration, the Newton and Menino cafeterias sold ethnic foods, each day highlighting a different culture. Live musical performances also were held in the cafeterias, with musicians performing Latin, European, Asian, Middle Eastern, African, jazz and gospel music.
“We are pleased we were able to tap into the musical talents of our Boston University community for these performances,” says Rafael Ortega, MD, Co-Chair of the Multicultural Week committee, BUSM Associate Dean of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and BUSM/BMC Vice Chair of Anesthesia. “They did a great job entertaining the BMC and BU Medical Campus community.”
When thousands of runners lace up their sneakers April 16 for the 116th Boston Marathon, six of them will be BMC or BMC HealthNet Plan (BMCHP) employees running for Team BMC.
One staff runner is Louisa Sullivan, Project Coordinator, Child Witness to Violence Project and Project DULCE. Sullivan is running in support of the Child Witness to Violence Project, which provides counseling, advocacy and outreach to young children who are bystanders to community and/or domestic violence. Sullivan is committed to raising $10,000 for Team BMC, as are all 27 runners of the team.
“I’m proud to run for Team BMC and support programs that I believe in,” says Sullivan, a first time marathoner. “When I ask friends and family for support and donations come in, it pumps me up. I feel accountable to them and our patients.”
Sullivan has raised $7,000 so far and says she has been lucky to have so many people support her. The self-described “comfortable four-to-five miler athlete” has been training along with other Team BMCers with FitCorp, a local gym that has partnered with the hospital to offer specialized marathon training to the team.
“When I found out I was accepted to Team BMC, I was a little embarrassed to run with a group,” says Sullivan. “I wanted to start on my own first. Now I run once a week with a friend and also with the team.”
For John Colucci, Senior Business Configuration Analyst, BMCHP, training includes running five miles a day and up to 16 miles on the weekend. A diabetic who has to watch what he eats, Colucci says he is careful about watching his blood sugar levels. This will be his second Boston Marathon; he ran the first one five years ago for a sick boy at Children’s Hospital who is now healthy. At the time, he thought it would be his last marathon.
“I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to support the great work BMC does while also participating in the greatest marathon in the U.S.,” he says.
When he takes to the course April 16, two people will be on this mind: his son Tony, who was murdered in 2005 in the Berkshires at the age of 20, and his sister Cynthia Coutoumas, who was murdered in 2010 in her Waltham home.
“Some people deal with their grief by turning to alcohol or drugs,” says Colucci. “But I just put my heart and soul into running.”
Team BMC Staff Runners:
Name: Michelle Alexis-Telfort, RN
What brought you to BMC?
What do you do?
What do you like most about working at BMC?
We hear you helped found the nonprofit organization Nurses Care for Haitian Children. Tell us about it.
Since we started Nurses Care for Haitian Children I have donated my retirement home in Haiti and turned it into an orphanage. I’m very happy with the organization’s growth and our ability to help a greater number of children. We are in the process of starting a sponsorship program so more people can get involved and provide assistance in aiding Haitian children that have been affected by medical conditions and natural disasters, such as the earthquake.
What are your future goals for Nurses Care for Haitian Children?
How does working as a nurse at BMC affect your role in Nurses Care for Haitian Children?
Do you know a staff member or department that should be profiled? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patients share their BMC experience
I am compelled to tell you about the wonderful treatment I received at Boston Medical Center a few weeks ago.
I had two serious medical conditions at the same time that needed treatment. The doctors at Merrimack Valley Hospital shipped me right away to BMC. I had a perforated bowel as well as an aortic aneurysm.
When I arrived at Boston Medical Center, Dr. Mahoney and his surgical team were waiting to receive me, as were Dr. Kalish and his team. I am eternally grateful to both the doctors and their colleagues throughout my stay. The nurses, interns, students, food and custodial personnel and many others made my stay enjoyable and heartwarming. I have never seen a more efficient group of people in my entire life. They all were caring, sincere, encouraging and upbeat.
I may not have believed in angels before, but I surely do now. I even know where they reside: at Boston Medical Center.
The International Association of Healthcare Security and Safety announced Boston University Medical Campus/Boston Medical Center is the recipient of the 2012 Lindberg Bell Award. The award recognizes the most distinguished security, safety and emergency management programs in the country. This acknowledgement is testament to the dedication and commitment to safety and preparedness of all of our men and women to their duties, as well as their understanding of the mission of exceptional care without exception.