November 29, 2013
MEDICAL UNIVERSITY of SOUTH CAROLINA
Vol. 32, No. 16
LOOKING BACK AT 10 YEARS OF MAGIC MUSC’s Angel Tree ‘chief elf’
recalls event’s special moments BY DAWN BRAZELL Public Relations
Cinderella gives former patient Morgan Porter, who was awaiting a heart transplant, a hug following the 2011 MUSC Angel Tree Parade. Cinderella wrote Morgan a letter wishing that she would get a heart, which she did.
ittle did MUSC employee Elizabeth Nista know how much her life would change in 2003. Her manager’s request was simple: Go find a family for the department to adopt for the holidays. Nista, who is quality and outcomes coordinator for the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, contacted The Salvation Army and was paired with a retired MUSC employee who recently was given full custody of her three grandchildren. “She was having to start a family all over again from scratch and she needed everything, so we gave her everything. My little department, we ended up filling up a minivan twice, and she was so appreciative.” From that small start, holiday charity giving in its 10th anniversary year has grown into the MUSC Angel Tree Parade, complete with a holiday parade of floats and vehicles. Working in conjunction with The Salvation Army, MUSC contributions help more than 5,000 children a year. “If you add in the families we help, it’s closer to 9,000 people that we help each year. Because of the weak economy, the need has grown exponentially. MUSC has stepped up every year and met that need. It’s been absolutely breathtaking to watch every year.” Nista, who jokes that her other title is “chief elf” and even has her office bathroom decked out in holiday cartoons, said the project did get overwhelming after a few years. In response to that, an Angel Board was created in 2009, with MUSC and community
photo by Sarah Pack, Public Relations
Elizabeth Nista gears up to be chief elf every holiday and is always amazed at the generosity of MUSC employees, shown below in the MUSC Horseshoe following a parade.
See 10 years on page 6
November Miracle Former patient is filled with Thanksgiving.
Hospital worker honored
College of Nursing hosts renowned Nightingale expert.
READ THE CATALYST ONLINE - http://www.musc.edu/catalyst
2 THE CATALYST, November 29, 2013
When ‘it’ works, medical miracles can happen
BY MIKIE HAYES Public Relations
ormer patient Leah Adkins is filled with Thanksgiving. November 24, 2012 began as a normal day for this nursing student. Between studying for exams and high hope of finding the perfect Christmas tree with her boyfriend that day, the furthest thing from Adkins’ mind was the possibility she might not survive a day with such promise. An active 21–year–old, Adkins was blindsided when after experiencing an unrelenting sharp pain in her thigh and shortness of breath walking up a flight of stairs, she suffered a saddle pulmonary embolism – a large blood clot that travels to the lungs and is often deadly. A “saddle” embolus straddles both sides of the arterial branch and is nearly unheard of in a healthy woman with no characteristic risk factors: she didn’t smoke, had not recently traveled, had not undergone surgery, and her labs showed no risk factors. Adkins credits the superior care she received from MUSC doctors and nurses and is happy to recount how their accurate diagnoses quite literally saved her life. “I don’t think people realize how quickly it happens,” Adkins said, describing the series of events that nearly claimed her life. “I was struggling to breathe, blacked out on the floor and started convulsing. By the time EMS arrived, I was blue, unresponsive, had no heartbeat and was not breathing. I was defibrillated twice before they were finally able to get a heartbeat. All I can say is, thank goodness I was so close to MUSC.” The ambulance arrived at MUSC within moments of Adkins having been resuscitated at her James Island home; the young woman, who just 15 minutes prior was enjoying time with her boyfriend, was facing almost certain death. Adkins recounted, “They were in disbelief that I was alive. My doctor later confided in me that when I came in, things didn’t look good at all — I literally looked like I was dead.”
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photo by Mikie Hayes, Public Relations
Former patient Leah Adkins, second from right, visits with members of her care team at the Medical ICU. They include MICU nurse manager Janet Byrne, from left, medical director Dr. Dee Ford and respiratory therapist Brad Kilpatrick. Thanks to the level of care and expertise at MUSC, Adkins received a second chance. While it comes with the territory, emergency care providers are routinely presented with the most challenging situations and hers was no different. Following an assessment of her condition, Neil Glover, M.D., formerly with the MUSC Emergency Department, and Dee Ford, M.D., associate professor of medicine and medical director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit, they concluded that Adkins suffered from either a pulmonary embolism or a brain hemorrhage. Both dire in their own right, each condition required a different course of action and the wrong decision could have yielded a very different outcome. The physicians agreed it was a saddle PE and administered the thrombolytic agent tPA to break the
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clots. That accurate call was the key to her survival and the fact that the successful collaboration of the skilled ED team, under the most stressful of circumstances, was critical to her survival has fueled her passion to deliver the most compassionate care to every single patient with whom she comes in contact. “Adkins was one of the ‘great saves’ we occasionally get to experience in medicine; a young person with a bright future ahead of her for whom a terrible tragedy was narrowly averted. When I went to the ED after a request for assistance, I saw a patient who was very nearly dead. It was really the amazing MUSC team, primarily in the ED, who deserves credit for this wonderful outcome. Without their rapid assessments
See Miracle on page 10
2013 MUSC Angel Tree Event & Parade Noon to 2 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6 Parade: Ehrhardt Street to MUSC Horseshoe Come celebrate the 10th anniversary of MUSC’s support of this annual holiday community program. Cheer on and support patients, fellow MUSC employees and friends in the community as participants bring their bagged and tagged toy or gift to the Horseshoe. After Dec. 6, Angel Tree gifts can be brought to any Lowcountry Walmart location until Dec. 11. For information, call 792-8382.
THE CATALYST, November 29, 2013 3
Hospital maintenance worker remembered for his service Staff Report
erbert Olen Hardwick, a trade specialist working with Hospital Maintenance-University hospital, died at his home in North Charleston, Oct. 13, following a long illness. He was 63. Originally from Conway, Hardwick was born April 22, 1950 to Herbert N. Hardwick and Lillian Christopher Hardwick. A devoted family man and friend to many, Hardwick was committed to his job and compassionate service to help others. He was a supporter of charitable projects, including Hardwick MUSC’s Tender Memories Perinatal Loss Support Group providing homemade rum cakes for their annual bake sale fundraisers. Hardwick also enjoyed several hobbies such as NASCAR and metal detecting at Lowcountry beaches. For many of his jewelry finds, he found joy in returning objects back to its original owners. Hardwick is survived by his wife, Paula, a nurse in Women’s Care Services, and other family. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in
Hardwick’s honor to MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, 86 Jonathan Lucas St., Charleston, SC 29425. “What can I say about a man whose celebration of life was found in making those around him smile? The staff of MUSC have known and loved Olen because he could bring a smile to the face of any of us even in the midst of our personal or professional turmoil. We will miss him so.” —Deb Balasia, R.N.,5W, university hospital “When I first met Olen, he was indeed friendly. I am truly missing him.” —Sandra Fokes, 5W, university hospital “Every time I would pass Olen in the hallways, he would always have a smile on his face and a story to tell. His stories about his family, NASCAR, and all of his finds from metal detecting at the beach were always so interesting and they will really be missed. He seemed to have so much passion for all things that surrounded him. I am glad I had the honor to meet and know Olen.” —Kelly C. Finke, university hospital social worker “This was the man who could always bring a smile
to anyone’s face. When the elevator doors opened and you saw Olen’s smile, it brightened your day. His compassion for families and employees was evident. Every year the Tender Memories committee has a huge bake sale. Olen would make the most fabulous and delicious rum cake. People came specifically looking for these treasured goodies baked with love. The cakes would immediately sell out!” —Karen Stephenson, R.N., 5W and 5 Labor & Delivery nurse manager “Olen would always greet you with a smile and when you asked him ‘How are you today?’ He would always respond with ‘Today is a great day being able to work with such a great group of people!’” —Michelle Sharp, educator, Women’s Services “The first day that I met Olen Hardwick, he made what was a difficult transition from 10 East Surgical Oncology to 7 West easy by always offering himself no matter what you asked of him. He will always be remembered and missed by the entire 7 West staff.” —Lanita Davis, 7W and 5W ART “Olen was a great person to work with, he was always
See Retiree on page 10
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MUSC medical center communications corner MUSC Health Plan: How to select a primary care provider The MUSC Health Plan is a new insurance plan created in partnership by the Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) and MUSC to offer enhanced benefits and lower total costs to MUSC employees and dependents who choose to receive care in the MUSC Health Plan Network. If you have questions about your benefits under the MUSC Health Plan, call BlueCross BlueShield at 800-868-2520. If you already have an MUSC primary care physician If you and your dependents have seen an MUSC Primary Care Physician in the last three years, you are automatically assigned to that physician and you may call that office to schedule your regular appointment. No other steps are needed, unless you’d like to switch physicians.
If you are new to the network or would like to change physicians A website and phone number have been created specifically for new patient scheduling and help selecting a provider. These will both be live starting Monday, Dec. 2. Employees are encouraged to select their provider online, but if computer access is not available, you may call the MUSC Health Plan number. Website: http://mcintranet.musc.edu/musc-health-plan Phone Number: 792-9191
How to sign up for a primary care provider online (Preferred)
How to sign up for a primary care provider over the phone
1. Visit http://mcintranet.musc.edu/musc-health-plan You can also get to this site through the MUHA Human Resources Employee Corner webpage, the University Human Resources Employee Corner webpage and the MUSC Health Plan webpage on the medical center intranet.
Call the MUSC Health Plan line at 792-9191 This number was created specifically for employees and their beneficiaries looking to establish care with an MUSC primary care provider.
Between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, MUSC Referral Call Center staff will be able to assist you with selecting a primary care provider and with making a new patient appointment.
Information you will need to give: Your name and your BlueCross BlueShield identification number. MUSC employees will be issued a new insurance card by BlueCross BlueShield in December.
2. Log in with your MUSC NetID and password. 3. Select the choice that applies to you and follow the instructions given: — I already have an MUSC primary care physician. — I want to start seeing an MUSC primary care physician. — I have an MUSC specialist, but I do not have an MUSC primary care physician. — I am happy with my non-MUSC primary care physician. 4. If you are selecting a new primary care provider •
Click “Find a Doctor”
Select whether you are looking for an internal medicine physician, family medicine physician or pediatric practices.
For an internal medicine or a family medicine physician: Click on the name of the physician you would like to establish as your primary care provider, then click “Request an Appointment” and complete the appointment request form. Once submitted, an MUSC Referral Call Center representative will contact you within one business day.
For pediatric practices: There are three MUSC-based practices and eight eligible, non-MUSC practices listed. If you would like to select one of the MUSC-based practices as your provider, click “request an appointment” and complete the appointment request form. If you would like to select a non-MUSC practice as your provider, click on the name of the practice and follow the instructions to schedule an appointment directly with that practice.
MUSC specialists If you are seeing an MUSC specialist, you will be able to continue seeing your specialist without a referral from your primary care provider for the first 90 days of 2014. After that time, you will need a referral from your primary care provider.
For frequently asked questions and more information, visit www.musc.edu/medcenter/MUSChealthplan/ index.html
THE CATALYST, November 29, 2013 5
Dave Guarino Sr. Department Children’s Hospital Administration How you are changing what’s possible at MUSC Helping children How long at MUSC 16 years Children and their names David Jr. (D.J.), Anthony and Kimberly What are you most thankful for My family Holiday dish you like to cook or eat Fried turkey A unique talent you have Playing guitar Best part about helping each year with the MUSC Angel Tree effort Being part of a great team and giving back to children Greatest moment in your life The birth of my children and retiring from the U.S. Navy Favorite words of advice Life’s a dance; you learn as you go.
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photo by Sarah Pack, Public Relations
Cheering crowds make parade a big success.
Santa gives a child a pep talk.
Burke High School Marching Band entertains the crowds.
Continued from Page One
made it so much fun because they come up with crazy, fun ideas. I can honestly say there are 42 board members, and I like and respect every one of them. They are all family to me.” What has been fascinating to watch is the annual event’s effect on morale, she said. “This project means so much to me because of what it means to everyone else. The employees get so excited. The people in the community – when they come as patients – they see those angels and take one, and come back to the event. And, the things that happen each year – there’s no way that just happened by chance.” What Nista is talking about is the magic that happens. Take the year 2009 that she remembers as the year of the violin. An Angel Board member donated a violin that was collecting dust in her home. Even though she knew MUSC just collected new toys, she felt compelled to do so on the off chance someone could use it, Nista said. “What are the odds that same year we had an angel from a young boy who said all he wanted for Christmas was a violin. He was in a bad neighborhood and wanted to learn how to play to get into a better school. Take that one step further, the morning of the event, the violin is under the tree in the lobby of Ashley River Tower. One of our employees comes down and she zeroes in on that. Unbeknownst to us, she used to play in the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. She begins to play ‘Noel’ in the lobby. We all are just crying our eyes out. It was just incredible.” Each year tends to have its own theme or story. There was the Cinderella theme in 2011. There was a young girl whose mother was not doing well. The mom had wanted to take her daughter to Walt Disney World, but her health was failing. Nista sent out a message to
NEWS CENTER To see a multimedia package including a video and photo gallery of a 10-year retrospective, visit the MUSC News Center at http://musc. edu/pr/newscenter/. To read Elizabeth Nista’s Inside Track column, visit http://musc. edu/pr/newscenter/ insidetrack5NISTA.html. the board asking for help. “A board member wrote me back and said, ‘I was that same age when I lost my mother, and I never forgot the kindnesses that were done to me. I have something in mind.’” That board member–employee, Lori Stivers, called Walt Disney World in Orlando, and got them to donate a full Cinderella costume, including shoes and a tiara, which was flown overnight to Myrtle Beach. Stivers drove in a storm to pick it up. In the meantime, a Cinderella costume was donated for employee Cindy Kramer to wear, and a local company donated its Cinderella carriage. The 4-year-old girl, Brianna Causey, rode the carriage with Cinderella, in her Cinderella outfit, for a magical event that got even better when they reached the Horseshoe and another patient, Morgan Porter, was awaiting their arrival. “We turn the corner into the Horseshoe and everyone spies this little girl in the corner, and she’s hooked up to this machine – a Berlin heart that is acting as her heart keeping her alive while
she’s waiting for a heart transplant to come through. She saw Cinderella, and she had her Snow White costume on, and she thought it really was Cinderella. She asked if Cinderella would write to her,” Nista said. Cinderella did. She wrote to Morgan Porter and at the bottom of the letter said: “When I wish upon a star tonight, I will wish for you to get a heart.” Porter did get her heart and is thriving, Nista said. “She’s doing beautifully. This is why we do this every year. It’s a beautiful combination of what we do for a living, what we do in the community and who we are as people.” It’s also a great way to join in with the community. A variety of groups and organizations, from the Burke High School Marching Band to the Patriot Guard Riders, participate. Nista said it hasn’t been hard to get community involvement. “They want to do this and be a part of something bigger than themselves and bigger than their families, especially in a bad economy. We reach a need within the community and we also reach a need within ourselves to give. And we have fun doing it too,” she said. This year’s event, which has a superhero theme, will be Dec. 6. The parade lineup starts on Ehrhardt Street at 11 a.m. The route goes from there to Jonathan Lucas Street, passing the College of Nursing and Hollings Cancer Center, and then left onto Calhoun Street, going past the Hope Lodge, and finally left onto Ashley Avenue. It ends at the MUSC Horseshoe, where all the toys will be unloaded. The parade marshal is Timothy Moyer, a 6-year-old boy who received a bone marrow transplant. “Come Dec. 6 at noon,” Nista said. “I witness great feats of heroism from both our staff and their patients as they battle illness together. Once a year during the holidays, we get to see the human spirit on display, and it is magical.”
THE CATALYST, November 29, 2013 7
Nursing event honors Florence Nightingale life, career BY MIKIE HAYES Public Relations
he MUSC College of Nursing hosted a multievent celebration, Nov. 7–8, to honor the life and accomplishments of Florence Nightingale, famed nursing pioneer, philosopher of modern nursing, statistician, and social reformer of enormous scope and importance. An exhibition at the Charleston Library Society featured more nearly 20 story-panels, on loan for the month from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, which highlighted Nightingale's life, as well as historical items from the college’s archives, including the college’s own framed copy of the Nightingale Pledge; framed photographs of 11 uniform styles worn by MUSC students, 1886 to 1982; a reproduction of a Nightingale letter donated by an alumnus; and nursing dolls, caps, pins and photographs. In an exciting turn of events, co-chair of the college’s development committee, Kay Chitty, Ed.D., R.N., arranged for world-renowned Nightingale expert, Lynn McDonald, Ph.D., to attend the two-day celebration and address the more than 170 guests who attended and visited the exhibition. Gail W. Stuart, Ph.D., dean of the College of Nursing
photo by Anne Thompson, Digital Imaging
Nursing dean Dr. Gail Stuart, from left, joins Drs. Lynn McDonald and Kay Chitty at the Nov. 7 event at the Charleston Library Society. and Distinguished University Professor, introduced McDonald, a former member of the Canadian Parliament and university professor emerita at the University of Guelph, Ontario, and described the enormity of McDonald’s 16–volume series based on Nightingale's collected works. McDonald acquainted audiences with Nightingale’s
SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE
conception of nursing, her ideas, analyses, and the realities of nursing care during that time. McDonald stated that Nightingale’s approach to patient care, her procedures and principles are still relevant today, and her methodologies, impeccable. For instance, infection control, while not a term used in that day, was a major focus of her evidence-based research, as the deathrate in her hospital was 40 percent. Nightingale greatly attributed the incidence to the environment, particularly, filth. McDonald described the filth in the wards and the water supply, lack of ventilation, vermin and soiled laundry. Nightingale is praised for addressing and improving the sanitary conditions of army hospitals. In her book, Florence Nightingale At First Hand, McDonald reminds people that Nightingale, while a strong woman with opinions of her own, also had a sense of humor. For example, on what to boil for disinfection, Nightingale included: “…yourself and everything within reach, including the surgeon.” Nightingale left copious material on the war, according to McDonald, including numerous letters that detailed problems in the hospitals and her recommendations. Her contributions were recognized internationally and her works copyrighted and
See Nurse on page 9
Candle lighters Erin Lickiss, from left, Child Life specialist, and Robin Ohlinger, pediatric nurse case manager, prepare to light candles as part of the annual Children’s Hospital Service of Remembrance held Nov. 1 at St. Luke’s Chapel. At the podium, Tiffany Mullins, Pediatric ICU nurse, reads the names of 80 children honored and remembered. This year’s service theme was “Always Loved and Never Forgotten.” The service is sponsored by the Children’s Hospital Bereavement Committee, Passages (a grief support program) and MUSC Pastoral Care Services. photo provided
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THE CATALYST, November 29, 2013 9
Alzheimer’s grant awarded to study
impact in Down syndrome BY MIKIE HAYES Public Relations Ann-Charlotte Granholm-Bentley, DDS, Ph.D., was awarded a $300,000 grant to study the development of Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome. One of only three senior investigators whose work in this area is being funded through a joint grants initiative between the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, Granholm-Bentley, Granholm-Bentley professor, department of Neurosciences, and director of the Center on Aging, will be looking for Alzheimer’s biomarkers and identifying neuroprotective therapies. Granholm-Bentley is delighted that this important subject has finally gained the attention it has so long deserved. “It is exciting that the work I have been doing for 15 years on the connection between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease is finally being recognized and that this form of Alzheimer’s disease is now considered an important field of research by the Alzheimer Association and the NIH. There is much work to be done in this area and through the national focus group that I chair, we can make great strides together, in a short amount of time.” In the U.S., approximately 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome each year and it is estimated that 400,000 people are living with the condition. People with this syndrome have 47 chromosomes in their cells, rather than the usual 46 (23 pairs); no one knows what
causes this anomaly during cell division. “In the past, most people with this condition died before they reached their 30th birthday, due to complications from heart defects, seizures, leukemia, and pneumonia,” said Granholm-Bentley. “However, life expectancy has doubled over the last 30 years to age 60.” As these patients lived longer, researchers began to notice a link to Alzheimer’s disease and determined that the accumulation of beta amyloid deposits begins much earlier in those with Down syndrome than in the general population. Granholm-Bentley reasons the duplicated chromosome may cause quicker growth of the substance in the brain because it carries the precursor protein for amyloid, and she is working to determine if an overabundance of the microscopic protein fragment is a single cause for the progression of dementia in Down syndrome patients, or if other factors, such as insufficient growth factors in the brain, oxidative stress or inflammation, play a role as well. Through this grant, Granholm-Bentley will be able to aggressively study the complex genetic mechanisms shared by Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. Research to decipher this connection holds a great deal of promise, as 15 years of studies in mice show that 100 percent of people with Down syndrome will display the brain pathology to develop Alzheimer’s disease, and 75 percent could go on to develop it, she said. She proposes that because not everyone with Down syndrome develops dementia as they age, even when amyloid accumulates, determining what prevented Alzheimer’s disease in these patients will provide valuable clues that may translate to the general population and answer broader questions about Alzheimer’s disease.
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subsequently serialized by the Saturday Evening Post. McDonald explained that Nightingale was respected, honored and considered a national heroine. She was known as “the Lady with the Lamp,” because she ministered to the soldiers throughout the night. Nightingale was a significant 19th-century scholar who integrated scholarship with political activism, McDonald declared. She established the first secular nursing school at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, wanting to make nursing a respectable profession — believing that nurses should be trained in science. She advocated strict discipline, attention to a healthful environment, and felt that nurses should possess an innate empathy for their patients. Also on display for one day was the Florence Nightingale Letters Exhibit, sponsored by Johnson &
Johnson and Nurse.com. This exhibit featured two letters that were handwritten by Florence Nightingale in 1861 and information about her life and works. To view McDonald’s lecture,Using Florence Nightingale’s Principles in Nursing Practice, visit https://tegr.it/y/1bris.
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and interventions, she wouldn’t have had the time to receive the medication that did save her life.” In May, Adkins will complete her nursing education at Trident Technical College; her dream is to work at MUSC. “I knew I wanted to be a nurse, but after my personal experience, I fell in love with nursing,” Adkins said. “To have experienced such a traumatic, life-threatening event at my age has given me a level of empathy that most people my age will never understand. You just don’t realize what patients go through until it happens to you. When you flat-line and are not responsive and then you are brought back to life, you have an entirely different perspective on care.” The ED staff was so pleased with Leah’s remarkable recovery that her case was selected to be the subject of the May 3 Schwartz Center Rounds. Panelists for the
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willing and able to do any maintenance job that was asked of him. He even allowed me to take a moment and pray with him during his illness. Great employee!” —Deborah Marshall, Therapeutic Services “Olen was a good co-worker and a big brother to me. We worked together as a team on different projects to improve customer service at MUSC facilities. He is gone but not forgotten by me and others. Rest in peace my friend.” —Vanessa Jackson, Hospital Maintenance–East “Olen loved his job, loved to work, and loved the people he worked with. He never wanted to be away from this place. Olen was never worried about how sick he was, he just wanted to come to work and have fun doing his job. He once told me that working in hospital maintenance was the best job he ever had.” —Avery Rivers, Hospital Maintenance—East
rounds included Ford, ED nurse Karen DeGueldre and respiratory therapist Rhead Martinette. Adkins was on hand to share her experience and her family was there to express their gratitude. The discussion was titled: “When ‘It’ All Works, Miracles Can Happen.” After her brush with death, Adkins is more convinced than ever that she is in the perfect profession to make an impact in the lives of patients; her conviction was deepened by an extraordinary personal experience. Degueldre refers to it as a miracle case. Adkins shares a commonality with those whose lives she touches now every day through her work. Adkins credits MUSC with saving her life, and more, with giving her an opportunity to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse in hopes of providing the exceptional level of care that was so generously given to her.
THE CATALYST, November 29, 2013 11 Charleston County Probate Court offers Estate Planning Workshop Dec. 2
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Charleston County Probate Court will offer a workshop to manage routine estate administration and the probate process. Upcoming events are scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon, Dec. 2 and Jan. 6 at the Charleston County Historic Courthouse, second floor, 84 Broad Street, Charleston. To register, call 9585030.
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