November 29, 2012
Cancer Center Of Excellence to be Named After Congressman By Bernard S. Little WRNMMC Journal staff writer Named for the U.S. Pennsylvania congressman who was a lifelong supporter of America’s armed forces, the John P. Murtha Cancer Center of Excellence will be dedicated Dec. 3 during a ceremony in the America Building at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). “The John P. Murtha Cancer Center [will be] the multi-disciplinary [hub] that’s made up of the core elements affecting cancer care and delivery, as well as prevention and screening at [WRNMMC],” explained Army Col. (Dr.) Craig Shriver, director of the cancer center and chief of general surgery service at Walter Reed Bethesda. He added the main elements of the cancer center include Medical Oncology, Center for Prostate Disease Research, Gynecological (GYN) Cancer Center of Excellence, Breast Care and Imaging Center, Surgical Oncology, and Pediatrics Hematology and Oncology. “These also have a large research base associated with them,” Shriver added. “We have three main off-site laboratories [located] in Rockville, Md., Winber, Pa., and Fairfax, Va. In addi-
Photo by Bernard S. Little
Radiation oncology is one of the cancer care specialties provided in the Cancer Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which will be dedicated to Congressman John P. Murtha during a ceremony on Monday. tion, we have close affiliations and alliances with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), as well as the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
“The Murtha Cancer Center is really the bringing together of all these specialty elements to provide the best cancer care in the federal health care system with our major components
here at Walter Reed Bethesda, our associated laboratories that are part of the Walter Reed Bethesda center, and our partners of the NCI and USU, ” said Shriver. He added Walter Reed Bethesda’s Murtha Cancer Center will make strides to become one of the now 40 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. The chief surgeon explained no other cancer care facility has a patient population as large and diverse as the military’s. “In fact, service members and beneficiaries who are eligible for health care in Department of Defense (DOD) facilities make it sort of the largest HMO [health maintenance organization] in the world. By that fact, and our service members and their families deserve the best care, the Murtha Cancer Center is a way to prove, using the civilian metrics and thresholds, we provide not only the standard of care, but excellence in care.” Discussing recent initiatives and achievements of components of the Murtha Cancer Center, Shriver explained the Breast Care Center became the first in DOD to achieve full accreditation in September; a lung cancer screening program began last
See MURTHA page 8
WRNMMC First With Military Birth After Fetal Surgery By Sharon Renee Taylor WRNMMC Journal Staff Writer With the birth of baby Olive Weidenhammer Aug. 2, physicians at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) made military medical history. She was the first baby born in a military treatment facility after undergoing a delicate, lifechanging surgery as a fetus in her mother’s womb nearly three months earlier in Philadelphia, on May 8.
A tale of two sisters “We knew that something was wrong at 17 weeks,” said WRNMMC obstetrician Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Scott Petersen, of Petty Officer 3rd Class Elizabeth Weidenhammer’s pregnancy. A serum screening test and an ul-
trasound confirmed it. Weidenhammer’s unborn baby had Spina Bifida like her older daughter, Willow. “The overall incidence is 3.5 per 10,000 live births in the U.S. Our patient’s rate was 2-3 percent — now with two babies it’s 10 percent,” Petersen said. The lesion was located at L3-L4 for the fetus, the same as older sister Willow. “They are a cookie cutter of each other,” Weidenhammer said. “Olive’s ultrasound looked exactly like Willow’s. It could definitely be the same child.” After reviewing options with a multidisciplinary team of specialists at WRNMMC, Weidenhammer and her husband, Petty Officer 3rd Class Darren Weidenhammer, decided to seek a delicate operation for their unborn daughter that could offer their baby a very different outcome than older sister Willow, diagnosed with
Spina Bifida three years earlier. In 2008, Weidenhammer was stationed in Puget Sound, Wash., living alone when Willow was diagnosed with Spina Bifida in the womb. Darren was deployed to the Middle East. “I was overwhelmed,” the Sailor said, when doctors told her about the future her unborn daughter could face with the diagnosis: bowel and bladder control issues; foot, leg and hip pain; difficulty walking; vision problems; mental and developmental delays; as well as hydrocephalus, a collection of fluid in the brain that requires a shunt to drain. The young mother had to choose whether surgeons would close the opening in the L3-L4 region on Willow’s back after she was born, or participate in a medical trial at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and two other hospitals that
offered a new, experimental surgery on her unborn fetus that could diminish the challenges that lay ahead. Weidenhammer chose not to participate in the trial, and a few months later, Willow was born by Caesarean section at University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, Wash. She was transferred to the children’s clinic and surgeons went to work to repair the myelomeningocele immediately in a more than seven hour operation that required extensive plastic surgery to close Willow’s back. The next day, the infant had shunts placed in her head to relieve the hydrocephalus. The first year of life was a challenge for Weidenhammer and her infant daughter, but Darren later joined them stateside. Willow en-
See BiRTH page 6
2 Thursday, November 29, 2012
Bethesda Notebook Building 1 First-Floor Closure
Commanders 2012 Holiday Message Greetings Walter Reed Bethesda Family, Joyce and I would like to extend our heartfelt greetings for a joyful holiday season and thank each of you for your role in making 2012 another great year for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda. Though challenges were and remain a part of our daily reality, you consistently carry out your responsibilities with tremendous skill and professionalism. It has been your personal commitment and superb performance day in and day out that have contributed to our success as the Nation’s medical center. As you celebrate peace and goodwill during this special season, take time to reflect on the difference you have made at Walter Reed Bethesda and take pride in what you have accomplished. This holiday season is also a time to enjoy the company of family and friends, and to reflect on the blessings of freedom. As you share the spirit of the holiday season with family and loved ones, or with your fellow Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines,
Published by offset every Thursday by Comprint Military Publications, 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, Md. 20877, a private firm in no way connected with the U.S. Navy, under exclusive written contract with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md. This commercial enterprise newspaper is an authorized publication for members of the military services. Contents of The Journal are not necessarily the official views of, nor endorsed by, the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, or the Department of Navy. The appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts or supplements, does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense or Comprint, Inc., of the products or services advertised. Everything advertised in this publication shall be made available for purchase, use or
A portion of the first floor in Building 1 (the "Tower") will be closed for renovation beginning Monday. Construction for this project is expected to continue through approximately mid to late March 2013, and will impact access to several offices on both the first and second floors. During this time, please follow the posted detour signs to access the Command Secretariat, Command Awards, Command Inspection, and the Command Evaluation offices, as well as the Darnell Biomedical Learning Resource Center. For your safety, please do not enter areas that will be marked closed for construction. All stairwells in the building will remain accessible during construction. For questions or concerns please email email@example.com.
please take care of each other. Make sure you are aware of the needs and situations of those who work in your departments. Keep safety at the front and center of all your activities, and remind others that there is plenty of time to celebrate responsibly. Let’s also send our prayers and best wishes to our service members who are deployed standing the watch - around the globe defending freedom, giving hope and securing a bright future for generations of Americans to come. For this holiday season and for the coming year, we wish you and your families peace, happiness and success in all that you do. To all of our service members, families, and staff, thank you for your dedication, selfless service and sacrifice. We are proud to serve alongside each of you. Happy Holidays!
Holiday Concert Scheduled A holiday concert is scheduled for Dec. 12 in Walter Reed Bethesda medical center’s chapel, Building 8, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A choir of military and civilian members will perform traditional holiday songs. The choir is still accepting members. For more information about the choir or concert, contact Chaplain (Capt.) Sergio I. Daza at 301-295-1433.
It's Not Too Late to Donate Federal employees and service members can still make a difference by making a charitable donation through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the world's largest workplace fundraiser. Through the campaign, which continues through Dec. 15, staff members can chose from more than 4,000 charitable groups and can donate either through payroll deduction, or a one-time contribution. By donating to these international, national and local charities, staff members can support a variety of causes, such as medical research and humanitarian relief, as well as child advocacy programs, church groups and animal rights. To donate, or to find more information about the CFC, visit http://cfcnca.org. For information about the Walter Reed Bethesda CFC, contact Capt. Baker at 301-295-6583, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or email Sgt. 1st Class Don Berry at email@example.com. For information about the Joint Task Force CFC, contact Lt. Col. Thompson at either 240-731-2626, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commander sends, Rear Adm. Alton L. Stocks MC, USN Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchaser, user, or patron. Editorial content is edited, prepared and provided by the Public Affairs Office, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md. News copy should be submitted to the Public Affairs Office, Bldg. 1, 11th Floor, by noon one week preceding the desired publication date. News items are welcomed from all WRNMMC complex sources. Inquiries about news copy will be answered by calling 301- 295-1803. Commercial advertising should be placed with the publisher by telephoning 301-921-2800. Publisher’s advertising offices are located at 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, Md. 20877. Classified ads can be placed by calling 301-670-1700.
Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bethesda Commanding Officer: Capt. Frederick (Fritz) Kass Public Affairs Officer NSAB: Joseph Macri Public Affairs Office NSAB: 301-295-1803
Journal Staff Staff Writers
MC2 John Hamilton MC3 Dion Dawson Sarah Marshall Sharon Renee Taylor Cat DeBinder David A. Dickinson Jeremy Johnson
MC1 Ardelle Purcell
NSAB Editor WRNMMC Editor
MC3 Nathan Parde Bernard Little
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Office of Media Relations 301-295-5727 Fleet And Family Support Center 301-319-4087 WRNMMC Ombudsman Julie Bondar
NSAB Ombudsman Jojo Lim Hector
Visit us on Facebook: Naval Support Activity Bethesda page: https://www.facebook.com/NSABethesda Walter Reed National Medical Center page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Walter-ReedNational-Military-MedicalCenter/295857217111107
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Boots to Business Explores Post-Service Business Options
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Parde
Boots to Business class instructor Raymond Toenniessen teaches service members and their spouses at Naval Support Activity Bethesda about the knowledge, tools and resources they need to evaluate opportunities and become successful entrepreneurs. By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Parde NSAB Public Affairs staff writer The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) and Department of Defense partnered to offer a Boots to Business class for transitioning service members and their spouses at Naval Support Activity Bethesda recently. “In America today, one in 10 small businesses is owned by a veteran, and veterans are about 45 percent more likely than the average civilian to be self-employed or own a small business,” said Rhett Jeppson, associate administrator with the Office of Veterans Business Development, SBA. “When you look at what veterans do in the small business world right now, it only makes sense to provide a pathway of opportunity for veterans and transitioning service members to get a bit of a head start in starting their own business.” Class instructor Raymond Toenniessen, director of new initiatives and external relations at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, said the class is open to any transitioning service member, as well as their spouse, for no cost to the individual. “The course is for people who are interested in entrepreneurship and leveraging business ownership as a pathway in the military, and it will really help them find out if this is something that they want to do,” said Toenniessen. “We talk a lot about the lifestyle of an entrepreneur and the different paths to being a business owner, and some of
the key decision points that are involved in the process.” Toenniessen said the course is only being offered as a pilot program for now at a handful of bases, but it has had a great reception so far, and is planned to be introduced service-wide and worldwide next year. “The participation has been phenomenal,” said Toenniessen. “We’ve had really engaged classes, who have been very receptive and eager to learn.” Lt. Cdr. Stuart Hitchcock, deputy commander for surgery at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center General Surgery Clinic, signed up for the class with his wife, Susan, to see what it could offer each of them. “I signed up for the class to learn more about operating a business,” said Stuart. “The material that I’m learning is multi-dimensional and has broad applications, not only in the civilian side, but on the military side.” He said the biggest lesson he learned from the class was the importance of aligning a business owner’s vision for their business with the needs of the customer. “Due to frequent turnovers in the military, there can be a resulting lack of control and oversight,” said Stuart. “There are ways that efficiency can be improved, while still maintaining a customer focus.” Susan, a nurse at children’s hospitals for 22 years, agreed maintaining a focus on customer service is what will set small businesses apart from their competitors. “In an age of outlets, strip malls and discount stores, small businesses are able to focus on customer
service, and customers are willing to pay for that,” said Susan. As a military spouse, Susan said she’s seen how difficult it can be for spouses of active duty service members to relocate every few years, and
face additional economic stresses if their spouse deploys. She said she signed up for the class to see if building a portable business is feasible, and added that the class has been very informative and answered her questions. “The class has absolutely been worth it,” she said. “The speakers have been very good and are able to practically speak to their experience, giving a lot of credibility to everything that we learn. I learned that it is possible to build a portable business, providing a level of cushion or comfort [to the spouse] during that time.” Jeppson said the freedom to create your own business out of your own ideas is one of the benefits to living in this country, and the Boots to Business class was designed to educate and prepare transitioning service members for the future. “One of the great things about Americans is we are always trying something new, and we can help raise the amount of success that we have through education, and we can help prepare the person for the challenges ahead,” said Jeppson. To find out more about the SBA or Boots to Business, visit http://www.sba.gov/bootstobusiness.
4 Thursday, November 29, 2012
Social Worker Helps in Hurricane Sandy Clean-Up Efforts By David A. Dickinson WRNMMC Journal staff writer Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Bornemann, a social worker at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, has competed in three New York City Marathons, but her fourth trip to the “Big Apple” for the event was an experience unlike her previous visits. When the New York City Marathon was canceled on Nov. 2, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Bornemann, with the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), was not deterred from making a trip back to the city where she used to call home to lend a hand in the clean-up effort. Even before the race was canceled, Bornemann knew she was not going to run, but felt the urge to help instead, she explained. "The New York City Marathon is a celebration, and New York City isn't
celebrating right now," she told “The Guardian,” a British newspaper, who interviewed her while in New York. "I want to be a part of helping, rather than hindering. We can run the marathon in 2013 in honor of those affected. When you see tragedy all around you, you want to jump in and help." The efforts to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy have included a grass-roots campaign started on social media sites, Borneman explained. On these sites, victims listed items needed for those headed to the stores who wanted to help and could, like Bornemann, who bought baby wipes, socks, long underwear and prepaid cellphones. She and a friend handed the articles out in New Dorp, a Staten Island (N.Y.) neighborhood where hundreds of homes were destroyed.
"What people really needed was help," Bornemann explained. "Just clearing out their homes, basements and backyards, they needed help so that's what we did." While in New York already helping hurricane victims, Borneman received her orders to deploy with the areas in her official capacities with the USPHS. A last memory Bornemann said she will have is when she and her friend were recognized and approached by a local woman because of their orange T-shirts. The woman, through tears, apologized for them not being able to run, which brought the situation home, said Bornemann. She told the woman, "There's nowhere else we would rather be than right here with you." To offer assistance to those affected by Hurricane Sandy, contact the Red Cross at www.redcross.org.
U.S. Public Health Service Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Bornemann (in the white cap) and other runners in NewYork for the New York City Marathon, assist in cleaning out a backyard in the New Dorp neighborhood of Staten Island (N.Y.) after the marathon was canceled because of Hurricane Sandy. Many runners who were going to participate in the New York City Marathon, instead came to the city's aide.The entire New York Tri-state region was devastated by the effects of Sandy.
Print & Online Media Packages for Colleges/ Schools/ Universities to Reach the Military Market in MD/VA/ Washington, D.C.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Walter Reed Bethesda Celebrates Hindu Festival of Lights By Bernard S. Little WRNMMC Journal staff writer Focusing on peace, giving, sharing and uniting all people irrespective of their caste and creed, the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, was celebrated at Walter Reed Bethesda in the medical center’s chapel recently. Army Chaplain (Capt.) Pratima Dharm, the U.S. military’s first Hindu chaplain, explained Diwali, or Deepavali, falls between mid-October and mid-November, and is one of the most important festivals of the year for Hindus. She added Diwali is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together, such as cleaning, decorating and illuminating the home with lights and oil lamps. “Firecrackers are burst because it is believed that it drives away evil spirits, and sweets and snacks are shared with family members and friends.” While popularly known as the festival of lights, Diwali’s spiritual meaning is “awareness of the inner light,” said Dharm. The chaplain explained Hindu philosophy believes “there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite and eternal, called the “Atman” or the soul. “The celebration of Diwali as the victory of good over evil refers to the light of higher knowledge dispelling all ignorance which masks one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, imma-
nent and transcendent reality. With this awakening comes compassion and the awareness of all things. So we are all one. This brings “anand” or joy. Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Diwali is the celebration of this inner light.” Swami Chidatmanandaji, from Chinmaya Mission, Hyderabad, India, also spoke at the program, agreeing Diwali not only celebrates the inner light within people, but also the “oneness of all beings.” He said the lighting of the “light of knowledge” for Diwali “helps living beings go beyond or transcend negativities such as anger, jealousy, guilt, violence and hate, and cultivates positive feelings such as unconditional love, togetherness, happiness, friendliness and cooperation.” Also at the celebration, Ram Viswanathan played Indian drums, and members of the Natanjali School of Dance performed Bharatanatyam, a classic form of Indian dance. The Diwali celebration concluded with the serving of traditional Indian dishes. Walter Reed National Military Medical Center adheres to the tenets of patient and family-centered care, creating a welcoming and healing environment which honors the religious, spiritual and cultural needs of all patients, staff members, their families and visitors. For more information about the Pastoral Care Department’s services and events, call 301-295-1510.
Photo by Bernard S. Little
A member of the Natanjali School of Dance perform during Walter Reed Bethesda’s celebration of the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, on Nov. 16 in the Hospital Chapel.
6 Thursday, November 29, 2012
BIRTH Continued from 1 dured seven different operations over the next several years and a series of casting that delayed her in walking. She took her first steps this spring at age 3. Willow uses a walker and wheelchair; she sees a physical therapist twice a week. Weidenhammer said her daughter sees specialists for gastroenterology, orthopedics, urology, neurosurgery and neurology complications from Spina Bifida.
Spina Bifida As an embryo develops, the spine and spinal cord first begin flat. Over time as the fetus grows, the spinal column comes to close around the spinal cord, explained Petersen, who serves as chief of maternal-fetal medicine at WRNMMC. In Spina Bifida, closure around the cord doesn’t happen all the way, leaving an open gap in the spine. "It's sort of like a zipper that starts in the middle, goes from top to bottom and closes. There's a problem with the way that it closes," said Army Col. (Dr.) Edward Coll, a developmental pediatrician and chief of the developmental pediatric service, who runs a specialty clinic for patients with Spina Bifida at WRNMMC. The opening that exposes the spinal cord needs to be closed with surgery. The site of the spinal column and cord separation is often called a “lesion” after surgical repair. Weidenhammer, now stationed in Maryland, became pregnant again earlier this year. Tests at WRNMMC indicated their second child also had Spina Bifida. Elizabeth recalled that the phone call with the diagnosis was definitely a surprise. “It was quite disappointing,” she said. Surgeons at CHOP operated on Weidenhammer, to close the opening on the baby’s spine. After six weeks of follow-up care and observation under the CHOP team, the Sailor returned to the care of neonatologists and the maternal– fetal medicine team (high-risk obstetricians) at Walter Reed Bethesda, who maintained constant contact with her as she recovered in Philadelphia. With fetal surgery in May at CHOP at 22 weeks and five days, Weidenhammer delivered daughter Olive at 34 weeks and five days. The C-section and recovery for mom and baby went well. Walter Reed Bethesda’s high-risk obstetricians, Petersen and Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Kimberly Hickey, performed the milestone Csection delivery of baby Olive in August. “This mother had unique care and unique expertise,” explained Dr. N. Scott Adzick, surgeon-in-chief at CHOP. “We worked in partnership with the military for the evaluation of the surgery, for the delivery and for post-natal care.”
Photo by Sharon Renee Taylor
Petty Officers 3rd Class Elizabeth Weidenhammer and Darren Weidenhammer spend time with their daughters Willow, 3, and two-month-old Olive. Both girls were born with Spina Bifida and received surgery for the congenital disorder, each with very different results.
The surgery Adzick explained how the procedure is performed at CHOP. After a two-day evaluation to determine if both mom and fetus are suitable candidates for the surgery, the operation is performed between 19 and 26 weeks of pregnancy by a multidisciplinary team of surgeons and specialists. The mother is given deep general anesthesia and, during the surgery, the fetus gets an additional intramuscular shot of anesthesia. An incision is placed higher in the uterus than a normal C-section after doctors have determined the location of the baby in the uterus, with precise techniques to repair the baby’s myelomeningocele in layers. The uterine and abdominal wounds are then closed with absorbable sutures that will dissolve once the wounds are healed. The mother runs the risk for several post-operative complications, including rupture of the membranes, uterine infection and scar tissue, as well as preterm labor. “The risk of premature birth, that’s the big one,” Adzick said. He explained, prior to the completion of the 2010 randomized trial that studied prenatal versus postnatal Spina Bifida repair, mothers who received the fetal surgery stayed nearby the specialty hospital for the remainder of their pregnancy because their home hospitals weren’t able or didn’t have the resources available to support or monitor them. “You have to have high-risk neonatology and OB teams. You really need to know what you’re doing and
there’s no substitute for experience,” Adzick said. After the trial ended, the hospital began to consider whether to allow mothers to return to their home hospital. “It depends on the individual circumstances and experience of the referring clinical team,” he added. The circumstances were right at Walter Reed Bethesda for Weidenhammer, who said she desperately wanted to return to the medical center and her family. After the six weeks of post-op observation had ended, the Sailor was firm on returning to WRNMMC.
Confidence “I couldn’t have had a better experience, especially with the two hospitals working together. I got to come [home] and just be with the people that I grew close with, and my husband and daughter, who are well worth it,” Weidenhammer explained. “I think we’ve only had four moms, maybe five moms now who have delivered back at the referring hospital. Most moms stay and deliver with us,” explained Dr. Julie S. Moldenhauer, a maternal-fetal medicine reproductive geneticist who serves as the medical director of the Special Delivery Unit at CHOP. Moldenhauer agreed the small number said a lot about Walter Reed Bethesda: the faith the fetal specialist had in Petersen and the services provided there. “Absolutely,” she said. “This was more than the typical Csection,” Moldenhauer said. “For her delivery, Dr. Petersen and his team had to be completely prepared and ready to handle any of the complica-
tions that could get thrown their way.”
The Amazing Results The care they received at Walter Reed Bethesda, their “extremely supportive” respective commands, as well as the results of the 20-minute fetal surgery for baby Olive, and oneand-a-half hour surgery for Weidenhammer, was amazing, they said. Although doctors keep a close eye on Olive, Weidenhammer reports “we haven’t had any issues at all.” Although Willow currently sees a civilian primary care manager, the couple plans to return her care back to WRNMMC. “I know Bethesda. We’ve really found that we prefer having both of our girls there,” Weidenhammer said. “Just having more family-centered appointments and visits was great for us during the whole pregnancy and afterwards. Everyone did amazing after we had her in keeping the whole family together.” The couple said the decision for fetal surgery was a good one and they encourage more military members to seek prenatal surgery for their children with Spina Bifida. With two daughters, mirror images of the other, born with the same congenital disorder in the same spot on the spine — one with surgery in the womb and the other, surgery after birth — the couple said there’s no doubt that they would make the same decision again. “The benefits are so obvious that we wouldn’t think twice about it.”
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Medical Center Salutes Extraordinary Nurses By Bernard S. Little WRNMMC Journal staff writer Walter Reed Bethesda honored its “extraordinary” nurses during the quarterly DAISY Award Ceremony in the Memorial Auditorium recently. Three nurses received the DAISY Award for the third quarter of 2012 at the program. Alba Ithier-Dominguez (Mother Infant Care Center), Hospitalman Apprentice Austin Brotherton (Emergency Department) and Army 2nd Lt. Courtney Edwards (5 East), earned the award for “demonstrating extraordinary acts of compassion and clinical excellence,” during the months of August, September and October respectively. Each received the "Healer's Touch," a handcarved serpentine stone sculpture from Zimbabwe, and a DAISY certificate. More than 45 nurses were nominated for the third quarter DAISY Awards, according to Cmdr. Rosemary Perdue, of the Walter Reed Bethesda nursing department and a DAISY Award Committee member. Col. Ramona Fiorey, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) chief of staff, was guest speaker at the program. “I’ve been a nurse for a long time, 35 years, and I’ve spent a large part of that time at or close to the bedside, and that is really what the DAISY Award recognizes,” said Fiorey. “This recognition is something I hold close to my heart, [which honors] the compassion and care given to patients who place themselves in our hands at times when they are most vulnerable.” Nursing didn’t start as a profession, but a verb – “to nurse,” Fiorey added. “It is something that has been happening since human beings have been on the earth. People are born, get hurt, become ill, go through the process of dying, and they need someone to care for them. They need comfort, feeding, warmth, kind words of encouragement, [and] the
Photo by Bernard S. Little
Walter Reed Bethesda Chief of Staff Army Col. Ramona Fiorey (front left), Assistant Deputy Commander for Nursing Navy Capt. Susan Woolsey (front right) and Command Master Chief Terry Prince (rear right) congratulate the winners for DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses for this year’s third quarter, (front, second from left to right) Alba Ithier-Dominguez (August), Army 2nd Lt. Courtney Edwards (October), and Hospitalman Apprentice Austin Brotherton (September), as well as other nominees for the award, during a ceremony in Memorial Auditorium recently. touch of a caring hand.” This has been the case throughout time, she explained. Established in 2000 in the memory of J. Patrick Barnes by his family, the DAISY Award "honors the super-human work nurses do for patients and families every day," according Perdue. In 1999, Barnes was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at the age of 33, and died shortly thereafter. However, the nursing care he and his family experienced during his eight weeks of hospitalization, led his family to begin the DAISY foundation and award in Amarillo, Texas, where Barnes lived. DAISY stands for Disease Attacking the Immune System. Today, the DAISY Award is celebrated in more than 1,300 health-care facilities around the world, and more than 30,000 nurses have been honored, nominated by
their patients, patients' families and colleagues, Perdue explained. The DAISY foundation also funds grants focused on treatment of patients with autoimmune diseases and cancer. In nominating IthierDominguez for the August DAISY Award, a patient stated, “Nurse Alba took care of me … just like my mother would have, so it felt good to have a motherly nurse like [her]. Nurse Alba deserves recognition for taking the time to go the extra mile in doing her job.” Nominated by the daughter of a patient and earning the September DAISY Award, Brotherton was described as compassionate and helpful. The daughter also stated, “Sadly, like J. Patrick Barnes, my mother has an autoimmune disease and we are frequent flyers of the Emergency Department. [Brotherton] remembered
my mother, asked ‘What was new?,’ and treated her in a friendly way, but yet still managed to be professional. This is a thin line for others to accomplish, but it seemed easy for [Brotherton]. While my mother was upset and in pain, she stayed calm in ways [that amazed me,] because of the care and skills shown by this caregiver. This was a difficult day made much easier and so much nicer due to the care of this nurse. This caregiver went above and beyond the duties, remembering the names of my family and showing that he cared.” The family of a patient also nominated Edwards for the October DAISY Award, stating the Army lieutenant provided “unmatched” care to their son. “She treats [our son] as if he is a member of her own family, [providing] care, compassion and kindness [which is] exponentially
superior to any we’ve ever received anywhere around the world during my 24 years of active duty and five years since my retirement. She has made us feel like family. The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center can consider itself lucky to have [Edwards] as a member of their family. She exemplifies the U.S. Army Core Values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage,” the nomination stated. Navy Capt. Susan Woolsey, assistant deputy commander for nursing at Walter Reed Bethesda, said the Nation’s Medical Center is proud of all of its nurses. “Clearly, we are one awesome team.” For more information about the Walter Reed Bethesda DAISY program, call Joan Loepker-Duncan at 301-319-4617.
8 Thursday, November 29, 2012
MURTHA Continued from 1 month with special focus on veterans in higher risk categories because of their military service; and stemcell transplants, organ transplants, and other specialties in cancer treatments are all performed at WRNMMC by a core staff of more than 400 personnel. Shriver said the core cancer center staff is instrumental in its success, adding that “several hundred more” personnel are involved in the care of cancer patients at Walter Reed Bethesda, although this may not be their primary job. “Approximately 30 to 45 percent of care delivered at WRNMMC is associated with cancer screening, prevention, or the cure of patients with cancer,” Shriver said. “All departments are involved, from radiology to internal medicine. These people are the best and highly trained.”
He explained most physicians have received advanced training in cancer-related specialties through fellowships. “[They are] people who have trained at the most renowned civilian centers on military scholarships, and then came back to serve at Walter Reed Bethesda in their specialties. We get the best team members to serve the best patient population – our military population. This is the only approved Center of Excellence in Cancer Care in the Department of Defense. It has the most robust capability in terms of cancer care and delivery.” Shriver added the Murtha Cancer Center will also play a role in research and graduate medical education. “The foundational elements of the cancer center have existed for 10 to 15 years in terms of the research,” the chief surgeon explained. “Three core research elements have come together to form a significant part of the foundation of the Murtha Cancer Center – the Center for Prostate Disease Research, which has been around for nearly 20 years and has
done nationally-recognized work in prostate cancer disease and prevention; the Clinical Breast Care Project, established in 2000 and with the lab in Pennsylvania, contributed to the national work which unlocked the cancer genome of breast cancer; and the GYN Center of Excellence, established about eight years ago and with the lab in Fairfax, is very strong nationally in proteomics, or the protein makeup of cancer cells.” In the area of GME (Graduate Medical Education), Shriver explained the cancer center attracts “the best and brightest minds who want to train at Walter Reed Bethesda. Many of the people who apply here for GME, recognize they will get the best training at the biggest military medical training facility, and the only one that has a cancer center. They will have the best faculty, and the most complex [cancer cases]. “Five or 10 years from now, I would like to see the Murtha Cancer Center being one of the very few comprehensive cancer centers designated as such by the NCI,” Shriver added. “I want to see it as a resource for the entire DOD military health system [with] subject-matter experts who can provide guidance for the treatment of all cancer patients. I want to see it as the destination of choice for patients with complex cancer care needs so our military beneficiaries, those who served and their families can be treated in an environment in which they feel completely comfortable, and we keep our promise of providing the best in health care.” He added the cancer center is named after Murtha because the congressman “was someone who stood head and shoulders above anyone for more than two decades in supporting cancer screening, prevention and treatment in the military health system. Over the years, he enabled a large amount of funding to go to the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the former National Naval Medical Center, and many other military organizations, allowing for the highest level of care delivery and prevention efforts to be given to the military, active duty and beneficiaries.” Murtha represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives. The former Marine Corps officer was also the first Vietnam War combat veteran elected to the House, and served as chair of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee from 1989 to 1995, and its ranking member from 1995 to 2007. He also served on the House Armed Services Committee (1974-1975), the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (1979-1981) and the House Appropriations Committee (1975-2010). As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, he served on the subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (1975-1979) and the Subcommittee on Defense (1979-2010).