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A Hartford HealthCare Partner


A publication for the staff of Hartford Hospital July 23, 2012 • Vol. 68 No. 27

Colby Gets A New Heart

After 166 days in Hartford Hospital’s Cardiac ICU, 24-year old Colby Salerno received a precious gift of life from an organ donor.

Young Man’s Wait For a New Heart Sheds Light on Hartford Hospital’s Transplant Program By Karin Diamond


fter 12 years of surviving with a debilitating congenital heart defect, and spending 166 days in the cardiac ICU at Hartford Hospital, 24-year-old Colby Salerno from Cheshire was implanted on May 29 with a strong, reliable heart. The new heart brought health and quality of life back into his world. But it was the whole-person care he received at Hartford Hospital, plus the creative outlet of the honest and witty blog he kept during his 6-month ICU stint – and the greater cause it served – that made the wait bearable. Colby had suffered since he was 12 from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that makes heart muscle thicken and forces the heart to work harder to pump blood. He had devastating weakness and fainting spells throughout his life. A new heart was his only chance at survival. He was put on the wait list for a heart in September 2010 and hospitalized in December 2011 when medical necessity required constant monitored and medicated care. Finally, Colby’s ideal heart match arrived on May 29, and under the steady hands of his Hartford Hospital surgeons, his transplant went smoothly. The new heart freed him from the 166 days of practiced contemplation and patience in his small hospital room, and gave him a new lease on life.


Since receiving the strong heart of a young donor, Colby has had five heart biopsies, none of which showed any evidence of organ rejection. Colby will be watched closely to maintain an optimal immunosuppressive balance for the rest of his life with continued care by his Hartford Hospital team. Colby gives deep credit to the team at Hartford Hospital who kept him alive, sane, and now, thriving with his new heart. He considers his caregivers lifetime friends and is forever devoted to making his organ donor proud.

b Transplant Program The first heart transplant in Connecticut was performed at Hartford Hospital in 1984 and its recipient is still alive and well. Today, the hospital hosts comprehensive heart, kidney, and liver transplantation programs. To date, 337 hearts, 2,044 kidneys, and 414 livers have been transplanted here.

The heart transplant program boasts the largest volume in New England with patient numbers growing each year, and a 93% success rate compared to the 88% national average. Hartford Hospital is furthering its commitment to the latest in transplantation with the development of an inpatient transplant service, a dedicated heart care unit, and renovations to the abdominal transplant outpatient space, all of which will further integrate the medical disciplines involved in transplants. Colby’s physician, Dr. Detlef Wencker, director of Hartford Hospital’s Center for Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant, attributes Colby’s quick recovery rate to his mental and physical activity while on the 10th floor ICU, and to the team approach to care taken by hospital staff. Transplantation director Dr. Patricia Sheiner strongly agrees. “Administration and the people that I work with are committed to transplant,” says Sheiner. “That makes a difference in terms of being able to continue to have a program prepared to face future challenges.” Sheiner, who joined the transplant team nine months ago, says the hospital takes a very multidisciplinary approach to organ transplantation. “Surgeons, physicians, psychologists, social workers, financial coordinators, dieticians are all in the office,” she said. “Transplant is a hospitalwide process. This way, the patient’s care really gets managed well, and necessary communication happens among the team.” Sheiner cites a true spirit of respect for organ donors at Hartford Hospital. Jami Tyska, the in-house organ donation coordinator, facilitates relationships between the donor families and the hospital team. Flag raising ceremonies are performed on the hospital’s front lawn in honor of every organ and tissue donor. The flag flies for two days to honor those who have passed but live on through their donated organs and the family members that survive them. This is something Sheiner has not seen in other transplant centers she has worked in.

b Support for Waiting Patients In 2009, Wencker began work with the hospital administration to develop a support program for potential organ transplant patients. This has allowed Hartford Hospital to treat patients like Colby who are so sick that they have to stay in the hospital while waiting for a heart.

During his six-month stay, Colby was kept alive with a medications that kept his blood and brain functioning properly while he waited. Careful attention to his emotions was also a main component of the care plan. “The mind leads the body,” says Wencker. The monotony and isolation of such a long hospital stay was grueling at times for Colby who was used to the active, independent life of a young man. But he says he was carried through those tough times by the staff of Center 10, which was his home for half a year. “They got to know me as a person,” says Colby. “Once they stabilized me medically it became more of a bond between us and that was the best way to provide the care. It was not just about making sure I was on the right medicine, but also giving me an outlet. If I hadn’t built those relationships, I wouldn’t have done as well.”


Colby recounts stories of nurses coming in on their days off to play games, watch movies, or order food with him. He helped one nurse tie ribbons on bottles of bubbles for her upcoming wedding, and another troll her site for potential suitors. On his birthday, they celebrated with him in the hospital. “That’s taking nursing care to new level, and I don’t know if they realize how much of a difference that made,” he says. “From the food people to those that clean the room to the nurses, doctors, and PCAs, I was just blessed, and I didn’t run into a single person that I didn’t like or that didn’t want to work with me on what I needed.” Colby admits he wasn’t a big fan of hospital food for six months, but was impressed by the personalized attention he received from the Food Services staff who worked with him to create meals that he could enjoy. “When I got lonely, that was when the nursing staff came into play,” says Colby. “My room was the hangout room. When the ICU got hard for the nurses, they would come in my room to chill out for a minute. What they didn’t realize is that’s what got me through my days and took my mind off the day-to-day grind.”

b Party in the Penthouse


Colby called his small room his “penthouse,” and put a sign on his door that read: “Party’s This Way.” Over his months of waiting for the new heart, he transformed his hospital room into a dorm room by filling the walls with pictures, hanging a dart board and putting in a golf putting green.

department because it’s the time we all wait for.” Wencker explains that the team has to stay very focused and make sure that all factors are in order before the heart can be transplanted. The clinical aspects of the deceased donor need to be evaluated in detail to rule out potential complications that might have affected the heart.

b A Blog is Born

“What I learned most from other patients waiting for heart transplants was patience,” said Colby. “My generation is the ‘want it now’ generation. I had to learn to get rid of that mentality. I had to sit here and ‘man up’ for a long time.” He admits that it was bittersweet when he’d learn that another patient on the floor had received the perfect heart and was moving on to transplant surgery. There are many factors that go into finding the perfect heart for an awaiting patient, such as organ size, blood type, and the age of the heart, explains Wencker. Colby’s blood type was particularly hard to match, and doctors wanted to hold out for a young donor’s heart for as long as possible. The perfect heart did arrive finally, on May 29. Colby blogged late in the night before his surgery about the mix of elation and fear he felt: “Too many emotions at once just completely numbed the senses. I was elated, scared, sad and who knows what else all at the same time,” he typed. “In those moments it’s like Christmas and your birthday at the same time,” said Wencker. “There is so much excitement to share the news with the whole

Colby readily admits that the journey to transplant wasn’t easy, but his coping mechanisms carried him through. In addition to extremely supportive parents and siblings, slews of friends and supporters, Colby was carried by a blog he started writing, called “Tales From the 10th Floor.” The blog was born as an attempt to prevent boredom and keep him connected to the outside world. It grew to be much more than that, as evidenced by the outpouring of con-

tacts he received thanking him for sharing his story and telling him how much his honesty and courage helped them do deal with their own difficulties. His blog has nearly 45,000 hits to date and has brought Colby into the media circuit. His story caught the attention of CNN and dozens of area media print and

television outlets. He earned the 2012 Hartford Courant Webster Award for “Best Health Blog” and “Best Overall Blog” in Connecticut. “I think I allowed people into my personal life further than most transplant patients ever have,” he says of his blog’s popularity. “I allowed them to see what we deal with emotionally. People were able to gravitate toward that and relate on a more personal level.” As his readership grew, Colby felt it became his duty to write about the organ transplant process and put a real face on the importance of organ donation even while enduring such a difficult time in his own life. People wrote to tell him how they overheard teenagers signing up to be donors after seeing his story on the news. One person wrote to tell him that his example of perseverance helped her to endure her depression and suicidal thoughts, so much so that she keeps a picture of him on her fridge to help her remember hope.

“Promoting organ donation is what I’m most proud of,” says Colby. “Before I needed a transplant, it never crossed my mind to register as an organ donor. I thought that was probably true for other young people too.”

b A Normal Life

Just over a month from release from the hospital, Colby is back to “regular” dating with his girlfriend, family time, bike rides, hiking, driving and nights around bonfires with friends - all pleasures he cherishes. He’s pursuing medical school with hopes for a career in cardiology Colby is also working to establish a foundation that will continue to further his goal of educating people about the importance of organ donation, and raise money for young people that are financially burdened by heart transplants. “Colby’s blog brought attention to Hartford Hospital’s transplant program, but it has also created

publicity around heart transplants that hopefully will improve willingness to donate among young patients,” says Wencker. To quote Colby’s blog written one month post-transplant: “The good has definitely outweighed the bad, by like 27,856 elephants.” He says that he is determined to make his organ donor proud by keeping his new heart strong with a healthy diet and exercise. He recently bought a new pair of sneakers solely for the purpose of working out – for the first time ever in his life. This was one of those small acts that are big triumphs in his new post-transplant world. b Follow Colby’s progress on his blog: www.talesfromthe10thfloor.


Department of Surgery Recognition Awards


A Hartford HealthCare Partner

he Department of Surgery and Surgical Collaborative Management Team presented awards to a number of staff members at their Semi-Annual Recognition Celebration on May 16. n

Staff Members Recognized for Years of Service - May 2012 35 Years of Service

15 Years of Service

5 Years of Service

Mary Babcock, Surgical Service North 9

Steven Barney, Operating Rooms/Spine

Leisa Adedokun, Donnelly 2S

Deborah Cofrancesco, Dialysis Service

Aleksandra Dabek, Laundry/General

Leonard Burgmyer, Department of Emergency

Karen Cudworth, HH Gray Cancer Center

Zeneida Davis, Surgical Service C9I

Nicole Dunn, Diabetes Teaching Program

Sandra Byfield, Environmental Services/General

Jennifer Felgate, Surgical Service Bliss 9E

Marc Cadieux, Radiology/CT Scan

Leslie Germaine, Department of Cardiology/

Carol Cleveland, Rehab Wethersfield - OP


Jozef Szymanski, Security

30 Years of Service

Krista Jeleniowski, O.R. CORE

Lisa Maurice, PAS OP Registration

Donna Kelly, Dialysis Service

Robert Schnabel, Cardiology Service North 10

Aileen Legnani, Patient Service/SNF

Ursuline Farrell, Administration/General

Gladys Lopez, OPD/Psychiatric Clinic

Kristin Gabriel, Radiology/CT Scan

Dr. Manish Tandon

Denise Lawrence, APRN

Supporter Award: Dr. Pavlos Papasavas, Service Award winner

The OR Night Nursing Team Talib Ali, Central Supply Support Marilou Balaoing, RN Maggie Castellani, CST Karen Luna, RN Brenda Peloso, RN Betsy Provost, CST Marites Rodriguez, RN Edward Sasiadek, OR Support Assistant

Service Awards: Dr. Pavlos Papasavas

The OR Night Nursing Team:

Dr. Orlando Kirton and Dr. Mark Sebastian present the Supporter Award to the OR Night Nursing Team. Left to right: Talib Ali, Marites Rodriguez, Karen Luna, Edward Sasiadek, Brenda Peloso, Dr. Sebastian, Marilou Balaoing and Dr. Kirton.

Denise Coscina, PAS Financial Clearance

Director’s Award: Educator Award:

Dr. Manish Tandon, Director’s Award winner



“Marcia’s Day at the Beach” Team Jamie Houle, RN, Staff Nurse, B9E Amy Laureno, RN, Staff Nurse, B9E Linda Raye Olander, RN, Staff Nurse, B9E Karen Lockert, RN, Case Coordinator Linda Freeman-Bosco, APRN Chris Ward, MSW

25 Years of Service

William Crombleholme, Womens’ Ambulatory Health

Michelle Manocchio, Labor and Delivery

Anaisa Gago, PAS ED Registration

Maureen Miller, Transplant/Immunology Lab

Ada Hernandez, Emergency Room/General

Tina Guasta, Respiratory Care

Samuel Mundle, Environmental Services/General

Patricia Lee, HH Eye Surgery Center

Marleny Herrera, Labor and Delivery

Nancy Muniz, OPD/Psychiatric Clinic

Albana Lici, Cafeteria/Vend Services

Gail McClanahan, IS/Electronic Health Record

Mercedes Perez, OPD/Surgical Clinic

Lourdes Lopez, Patient Service/SNF

Margarita Melendez, Cardiology

Jannette Ramos, Operating Rooms/CORE

James Marcelynas, Emergency Transport Center

Allison Reynolds, Administration/General

Kevin Pacini, Radiation Therapy General

Maria Nunes, Medicine Service North 12

Sara Rodriguez, Environmental Services/General

James Punkunus, Food/Nutrition/Patient Tray

David Reska, Materials Management

Darlene Sawczysyn, Finance/Corporate Treasury

Patricia Scoville, Special Education/Hartford

Diane Shenstone, Case Coordination

Janice Rataic, Operating Rooms/Cardio

Kathryn Snayd, Labor and Delivery

Christine Rosati-Dalton, Nursing Administra-


20 Years of Service

Janice Tesini, Donnelly 2N


tion/Womens’ Health

Kristan Thibodeau, Operating Rooms/CORE

Jeanette Torres, Donnelly 3S

Maria Arroyo, Cardiology Service Bliss 10 ICU

Anthony Troiano, IS/Finance Systems

Susan Williamson, Nursing Service Office

Marcos Cedeno, Central Sterile Supply

Beth Voiland, O.R. CORE

Renata Zujewski, ERN - VNA Hartford

Candace Daigle, Medicine Service Center 12L

Kevin Walsh, Biomedical Engineering

Susan Daugherty, Radiology/Administration Cynthia Jones-Watson, PHP/Eating Disorder Verna McLaughlin, PA Denial Management

10 Years of Service

Carol Munroe, Cardiac Laboratory/Adult

Polastmoni Budhoo, Environmental Services/

Mohani Parboo, Patient Service/SNF

Michael Rewinski, Transplant/

Kevin Connell, Radiology/General

Immunology Lab


Jennifer Ferrand, Psychological Testing

Haitian Relief Team

Julian Forbes-Samuels, B5 Nursing

Eric Schott, PA-C Ashley Didonna, RN Toccara Nickerson, RN Michelle Steves, RN

Cielo Guevara, Obstetrics/Bliss 6 Linda Jacobson, Surgical Service C9I Charmaine Lalonde-Peach, Labor and


Frederick McGregor, Environmental Services/


Diana Norman, O.R. CORE Sharon Roy, Labor and Delivery Brian Schroll, Facilities Dev Safety Sheila White, Patient Service/SNF

Haitian Relief Team:

Dr. Kirton and Jennifer Freund, APRN, (Team Leader, DOS/ C9I/Trauma) present a Service Award to the Haitian Relief Team. Left to right: Dr. Kirton, Michelle Steves, Toccara Nickerson, Eric Schott and Freund.


“Marcia’s Day at the Beach” Team:

Dr. Kirton and Anne Cronin (Nurse Manager, B9E, B9SD) presented a Service Award to the “Marcia’s Day at the Beach” Team. Left to right: Dr. Kirton, Cronin, Linda Raye Olander, Linda Freeman-Bosco, Chris Ward, Karen Lockert and Jamie Houle.

A Hartford HealthCare Partner


May • 2012

Staff Members Recognized for Years of Service

hank y ou! TVolunteer

A Hartford HealthCare Partner

Volunteer Jane Holzman (third from left) was recognized for 1,000 hours of service to the Pastoral Services and Patient Relations Departments.


Left to right: President Jeffrey Flaks congratulates 5-year award winners Christine Rosati-Dalton, Anaisa Gago, Denise Coscina and Sandra Byfield.


Left to right: President Flaks with 10-year award winners Frederick McGregor, Julian Forbes-Samuels, Diana Norman and Brian Schroll.



With President Flaks are 15-year award winners (left to right): Allison Reynolds, Aleksandra Dabek, Maureen Miller, Donna Kelly, Anthony Troiano, Mercedes Perez, Kevin Walsh, Jannette Ramos and Kristan Thibodeau.

Receiving 20-year pins were Michael Rewinski, Susan Daugherty, Maria Arroyo and Marcos Cedeno.



David Reska, Marleny Herrera and Patricia Scoville are the newest members of the Quarter Century Club.


Lisa Maurice (fourth from left), was congratulated on 30 years of service by coworkers Teri Duarte, JoAnn Urso, Deborah Izzo, Alysia Gibbs and President Flaks.

President Flaks congratulates Deborah Cofrancesco and Jozef Szymanski on 35 years of service.



Q. How did the YES program

impact you?


I learned to step out of my comfort zone and follow my dreams.


Maureen Barnes: Saying YES to Education Success

Q. Why did you enroll in YES?


I was nervous about starting college, and it seemed like a good way begin. The other students were encouraging and the program made starting college easy.

Q. What are you most proud of


aureen Barnes is a dedicated and hard working Hartford Hospital staff member. She works fulltime as a PCA on Bliss 11-I, and loves her job. But she has a bigger dream. “I always wanted to be a nurse,” Barnes said. “Even as a child, I was sure nursing was my calling.” In January 2011, Barnes decided to step out of her comfort zone and enroll in the YES program at Hartford Hospital. YES (Your Educational Success) is a 22-week course that helps staff members take steps towards their personal and professional goals by developing academic and work skills, preparing them to continue on to college, and introducing them to college classes. Where is Maureen today? She has graduated from the YES program, and now she works fulltime AND is a fulltime student at Capital Community College. She made the dean’s list for the second time and is back in school this summer. She knows she won’t stop working towards her dream of becoming a nurse. “I am so happy to finally be on the path that eluded me for so long,” she said. “It was scary to start college, but now that I have started, I can see the finish line, and I know I will reach it.” n


after the completion of the YES program?


I feel good that I pushed myself. I overcame difficulties and completed my first college course. I continued to study hard and make the dean’s list. I am proud to finally see my dream coming true.

Q. What did you value the most about

the YES program?


I defined my goals and then followed through on them. I learned to budget and I was able to attend college without going into major debt. I feel like nothing can stop me.

Q. What about preparing for college?

Did the YES program help you?


Yes. I really got a lot out of the program. It was the push I needed. During YES we would review grammar and then complete work on-line or in workbooks. It was the hands- on work and examples that made it click for me. It also built my confidence. I had a group of peers to work with that were in the same boat rowing with me. My first college experience with YES helped me to get past my fears and begin my college program.

To learn more about YES at Hartford Hospital, e-mail Leticia Colon, community involvement liaison, at

Research UpDATE Innovation in Research Award Goes to Women’s Health Services for Fall Risk Prevention in Postpartum Patients The Research Program congratulates Hartford Hospital’s Women’s Health Services EvidenceBased Practice Group on their recent poster presentation, “Fall Risk Prevention in Postpartum Patients,” which was selected out of 500 entries to receive the Innovation in Research Award at the 2012 Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses Convention held June 23-27 in National Harbor, MD. The group members are: Joanne Auger, MSN RNC, Carolyn Bauer, RNC, Elizabeth Brinkley, MSN RNC, Mary Ekwall, RNC, Deborah Gingras, MS RN CNS, Hattie Grant, RNC, David O’Sullivan, PhD, Tanya Riddick, RNC, Megan Ruppenicker, RNC, Theresa Schneider, RN, Michelle Walsh, RN and Sarah Young, MSN IBCLC. The poster presented the results of an evaluation of the use of Dionne’s EGRESS test (DET) to prevent falls in obstetrical patients. The DET is a screening tool that allows clinicians to determine whether or not mechanical conveyance would be needed to transfer patients out of bed, and has been used to prevent falls in bariatric patients. The tool was put into effect as standard clinical practice in Women’s Health Services in July 2011. All postpartum patients were included in the evaluation, except for patients who would not otherwise be able to pass the DET (e.g., paraplegia, multiple sclerosis, etc.). Through October 2011, 19 patients failed the DET suggesting that as many as 19 potential falls were prevented. If the trend were linear, it would suggest that use of the DET could prevent nearly 60 falls in this patient population in just one year. The award-winning project was generously supported by the Hartford Hospital Medical Staff. Citation: J Auger, MSN, RNC; C Bauer, RNC; E Brinkley, MSN, RNC; S Ekwall, RNC; D Gingras, MS, RN, CNS; H Grant, RNC; D O’Sullivan, PhD; T Riddick, RNC; M Ruppenicker, RNC; T Schneider, RN; M Walsh, RN; S Young, MSN, IBCLC. Fall Risk Prevention in Postpartum Patients, poster presented at the 2012 AWHONN Convention June 23-27th, National Harbor, MD.

INTERNAL FUNDING UPDATE New Small Grants Awarded David F. Tolin, PhD (Psychiatry): A pilot study of assertive case management for hoarding disorder.

The following investigators were supported through the generosity of the Hartford Hospital Medical Staff for on-going projects and/or protocol development. Analytic work and/or consultation was provided by senior scientists David O’Sullivan, PhD and Ilene Staff, PhD: Violiza Inoa Acosta, MD (Neurology): NIH Stroke Scale as a predictor of prognosis in posterior-circulation stroke Joanne Auger, RN-C (Nursing/Labor & Delivery): WHS: OB fall risk screening for all postpartum patients Hema Brazell, MD (Urogynecology): The National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported Boston area community health (BACH) survey: Pelvic organ prolapse in 3,205 women Amy Johnson, MD (Women’s Ambulatory Health Services): Provider survey of cervical cancer screening guidelines Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD (Emergency Department): A survey of health monitoring practices of multiplace hyperbaric chamber attendants Orlando Kirton, MD (Surgery): Surgery clinical outcomes blanket protocol Nora Lee, MD (Neurology): Variability in stroke outcomes across the population John Mah, MD (Surgery): Resource efficient mobilization programs in the ICU: Who stands to win? Louise McCullough, MD (Neurology): Correlation of severity of outcomes of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage patients with hypothyroidism Christa O’Hana V. San Luis (Neurology): Necessity of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube placement in acute ischemic stroke in the right versus left middle cerebral artery territory: Is there a difference? Brent Suozzi, MD (Urogynecology): Does visuo-spatial aptitude correlated with robotic simulator performance? Paul Tulikangas, MD (Urogynecology): Changes in the microscopic vaginal environment caused by pessary use in urogynecology patients



is published by the Planning & Marketing Department each week – with a special expanded issue once a month. Submissions should be sent to at least two weeks before the publication date using the submission form found on the hospital Intranet under the Planning & Marketing Dept. (The web link for the form is: http://intranet. For questions or comments, please contact Annie Emanuelli at 860-545-2199. This publication is printed by Hartford Hospital’s Digital Print Center (DPC).

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The Seymour Street Farm Stand is held each summer on the concrete plaza between the Conklin Building and CCMC Emergency entrance. Hosted in partnership with Botticello Farms, CCMC and Hartford Hospital, the Farm Stand is open every Friday through early October from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. It offers convenient access to fresh produce for the community, hospital staff, patients and visitors alike.

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