Archive for July, 2011

Tell Me a Story, Bob!

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Robert Bruce, Medical Student

Lots of people ask me what it’s like to be a medical student working in the hospital. I tell them it’s like being a monk, only without the time for sleeping. ‘No, no! Tell me about the cool stuff you get to do!’ Med students get this question a lot and now, after a few years in the biz, something has finally dawned on me… that question is really codespeak for ‘Tell me stuff I want to hear about!’ What I think is really cool and what my non-medical friends and family think is really cool doesn’t always match up.

For example, everybody wants stories about babies. As a medical student, you cannot tell enough baby stories. I’m beginning to think that I should always keep a stable of birthing anecdotes handy just in case someone asks, ‘So Bob, tell me about medical school!’ at a dinner party. There are even certain people to whom I’ll only tell baby stories- did the baby have hair, was the child a boy or a girl, was he/she cute, etc. Everybody goos and gahs and makes happy squealing noises and then conversation shifts to the Red Sox. Don’t get me wrong- there are few thrills greater than bringing a new life into the world, but that’s only a part of what we do.

The problem lies in the fact that what medical students think is really cool and the experiences that become the highlight of our month/week/year are often a bit ‘too real’ for people to hear about. Part of that is related to the process of desensitization- things that used to really flip my stomach often don’t have that effect any more. Vomit is still gross but now instead of grabbing my nose and fixating on how bad it smells, I’m grabbing my nose and leaning closer to see if it’s bilious, feculent, frankly bloody, or perhaps a sample of ‘coffee-ground’ emesis. When you know what you’re looking for and what it means it’s all fascinating stuff. For some strange reason, only my medical school friends get excited about vomit. Nobody else seems interested…

A great part of that perception gap between the medical and non-medical world is that your view of things changes when you begin to have a deeper academic understanding of what you’re seeing. For example, one thing I rarely speak about outside of my medical friends that probably had the greatest impact on my medical school career was dissecting cadavers during our Gross Anatomy course. It’s generally considered an uncomfortable topic for understandable reasons- dissection is a very personal confrontation with death. It was uncomfortable at first; however, in no time at all, the cold limb on the table became so much more than a picture of death with all of its morbid and fantastical emotional baggage in tow- it became a window into the intricate workings of the human body: skin over fat over fascia over muscle, nerve, tendon, lymph, ligament, vessel, and bone. It’s difficult to state the impact that had on me. I remain in awe of the gift of knowledge that was given to me by Miriam, the woman who gave her body after death so that a medical student she never met could pore over her anatomy like a textbook. It was the greatest learning experience of my life, so much so that I intend to donate my body when I die. THAT is cool stuff I get to do in medical school. That is also something I NEVER bring up at dinner parties.

On a lighter note, I forgot about the perception gap at a friend’s family gathering the other day when someone asked me what exciting things I had seen lately. I excitedly recounted how, for the first time in my life, I had reached into a patient’s chest and touched his beating heart. It was during an operation to remove part of a patient’s lung and, as I gently retract part of the upper lobe of the lung for the surgeon, my gloved hand came to rest against the very pump that delivers life to the body. That gooey, pulsating chunk of muscle along the back of my hand was the living, beating core of the patient. Not only that, but I was feeling and touching a part of the patient that he had never seen!

I thought that was the coolest thing in the world, but two girls who were present decided it was cool enough to make them not want to finish lunch. As my friend gave me the withering stink-eye from across the table, I countered with a quick baby story and beat a hasty retreat toward the fruit plate.

St. Mary’s Women’s Imaging Department is proud to announce Mammogram Parties!

Monday, July 25th, 2011

You already know how important it is to have an annual screening mammogram. You’ve seen the studies and heard the reports. But you still don’t go because it’s not so fun — at least, until now.

St. Mary’s Women’s Imaging Department is proud to announce Mammogram Parties! A mammogram party is a private event to lessen the anxiety about breast cancer screenings, have fun with friends, and ensure those around you get checked annually. The parties are held at the Women’s Imaging Department at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. The party will be provided in a relaxed atmosphere that creates a more pleasant mammogram experience for everyone who attends. St. Mary’s will provide:

• Food & Beverages
• Educational demonstrations of the Liv breast self exam device
• Giveaways and FUN!

A screening mammogram is the best way to detect early breast cancer. Hosting a mammogram party shows your friends, family, neighbors or coworkers that you care about their health. Anyone age 40 and over can host a mammogram party. You can have up to 12 attendees over the age of 40 who will be screened in order for the party to take place. We except all major insurance plans, in addition to self-pay patients. We offer self-pay patients a discount at the time of service.

For more information about hosting a Mammogram Party, please visit us on the web.

Contact the Women’s Imaging Department at 777- 4059 and tell them you want to host a Mammogram Party!

Blood Drive at St. Mary’s on Wednesday, August 3

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Critical Blood Shortage!  Please Donate! 

The American Red Cross will be holding a Blood Drive on Wednesday, August 3 from 7:00am – 12:00pm in the Lepage Conference Center at St. Mary’s. Please consider taking some time out of your day to donate blood.

The American Red Cross has issued an appeal for blood donors of all types due to a critical blood shortage across our nation.

While demand for blood products remains steady, donations to the Red Cross this summer are the lowest we’ve seen in over a decade. We need your help to reverse this trend.

The Red Cross has responded to more than 40 major disasters in more than 30 states over the past three months alone – delivering help and hope to people affected by floods, tornadoes and wildfires. There’s another, more personal, kind of disaster which can happen to anyone at any time. If blood is needed and it’s not available.


Wednesday, July 20th, 2011


St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center welcomes Michael Parker, MD, Candice Hammerton, RN, BS, FNP-C, CUNP, and Michael Gauthier, PA-C, RN, MS, to its new practice, St. Mary’s Center for Family Urology.

The Center for Family Urology is committed to treating people of all ages – men, women, adolescents, children, and infants. The office is located on the 4th floor of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, 93 Campus Avenue in Lewiston.

Urologist Dr. Parker earned his medical degree from the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara School of Medicine in Mexico, and attended Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. He performed his residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and surgery and urology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Urology, and is a member of the Maine Medical Association, American Medical Association, and the New England Section of the American Urological Association.

Candice Hammerton earned a Master of Science degree and her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Southern Maine in Portland. During her studies, she completed rotations in Internal Medicine, Family Practice, and Pediatrics. She has been employed as a registered nurse and nursing supervisor for local hospitals and a nursing home. Her clinical experiences give her a broad spectrum in caring for newborn to adult patients. Candice has been providing urologic care as an NP since 2006. She is certified by both the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates.

Michael Gauthier earned his Physician Assistant degree at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, a Master of Science degree in Health Care Management from Rensselaer Hartford Graduate Center in Hartford, Connecticut, and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. His medical experiences include Physician Assistant in Advanced Laparoscopic, Bariatric, Trauma, and General Surgery. He is certified by the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, and the National Academy of Physicians Assistants with certification in surgery.

If you are experiencing frequent or hesitant urination, weak or interrupted flow, or pain and burning, please contact St. Mary’s Center for Family Urology at 755-3150.

St. Mary’s Health System Employees Traveled to Montreal for Our Annual Pilgrimage

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Last month several St. Mary’s Health System employees traveled to Montreal for our annual pilgrimage to “Walk in the Footsteps of St. Marguerite d’Youville.”  Each year the Marguerite d’Youville Award winners and a guest are invited to participate in the pilgrimage.  The participants share their reflections about the experience:

Our journey to Montreal lasted 6 hours and  included travel through 426 miles of  Maine  hills and Canadian farmlands not unlike our Midwest. Our first destination (and home base) was the town of Châteauguay, a small island suburb of Montreal. Châteauguay sits on the Châteauguay River and Lac St. Louis (a section of the St. Lawrance River).

In 1765, Marguerite d’Youville purchased Châteauguay from the British government to farm food for the poor of Montreal. Today, the apple orchard is still actively harvested and the house is a retreat center. It is truly a soulful place and I feel blessed to have experienced it.
Rosemary Cummings

On Saturday we had the opportunity to visit Accueil Bonneau’s soup kitchen and serve a meal to the homeless people.  The majority of those served were men though several women did come through the food line.  I found this to be a very rewarding experience.  These people appeared to be genuinely grateful for what they were receiving and would thank us as they went through the line.  The cheese curds appeared to be the favorite food of many as we saw their faces light up and smiles spread across their faces when they received the cheese on their plates.  The atmosphere in the dining hall was both dignified and peaceful.  I think one of the volunteers at the soup kitchen summed up this volunteer experience best when he said:  “It doesn’t make your pocket rich, but it sure makes your heart feel rich”.     Diane Robarge

On Sunday the group had the pleasure of touring the Mother House on Guy Street guided by Sr. Rejeanne Grandmaison. Activities for the day included attending mass in the beautiful chapel, touring the facility, and having lunch. Particularly moving was the tour of the crypt in the basement where hundreds of Sisters are buried, some of which died at very young ages, and others who had dedicated very full lives to the mission of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal.    
Cindy Cronkhite

On Sunday we had the unique experience of visiting Varennes, the birth place of St. Marguerite d’Youville.  We toured a small museum that took us through the many stages of her life.  What an amazing woman!  She was married, suffered the loss of 4 children, widowed, and with no money raised two sons.  She cared for the poor, took in abandoned children, and renovated what would by today’s standards be a condemned building.  Her community moved to the island on Chateauguay two weeks following a terrible fire that destroyed their hospital.  Through her belief in Divine Providence, this dedicated and tenacious woman met every challenge that she faced.  She is most deserving of her title of the Mother of Universal Charity.  

After leaving the museum, we walked to the church where her remains are entombed.  It is absolutely beautiful.  The tomb is made of marble and lies near a gorgeous statue of St. Marguerite watching all who enter the church.  The visit left us with a deep sense of peace and comfort.  Her body is at eternal rest, but her legacy and her spirit remain very much alive in the people and places of Montreal!  
Lorrie Potvin

It’s so hard to choose a favorite moment from so many beautiful experiences on the pilgrimage, but our visit to Sainte-Hyacinthe was among my top few.  From the minute we opened the van doors and were greeted by Sister Diane, I felt that St. Marguerite’s spirit was alive.  It was so wonderful to see Srs. Rita and Jackie, Gloria, Aline, and Diane.  They were so genuinely happy to see us and find out what is going on here in Lewiston.  On the tour of the infirmary, I was struck by the dignity and respect shown to each of the sisters residing there by the staff.  Dressed in their various and appropriate habits, many waved to us from their beds or made their way to the doorway to say bon jour.  They hated to see us go and we hated to leave.  We almost convinced Sr. Rita to hop in the van with us.    
Stacy A. Paradis, RNC, MSB

In this day and age when it’s all about me and the moment, it’s tremendously refreshing to have the opportunity to focus on something larger than oneself, if only for a brief time. The honorees over the years have truly been worthy and truly share the charism of Sainte Marguerite. Now that there are no longer any Grey nuns at the hospital to tell their story, I think it is more critical than ever to have this annual pilgrimage. The mission of Marguerite d’Youville and her sisters is what distinguishes St. Mary’s from other healthcare facilities. Businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars to develop so-called mission statements that are given little more than lip service by their employees. The mission at St. Mary’s is founded in centuries of documented sacrifice, compassion and work of a relative handful of dedicated women. To replicate it today would be nearly impossible. To lose sight of it would be a travesty. 
Frank Preble (pilgrimage driver)

We are grateful for the generous hospitality extended by all of the Grey Nuns with whom we met during the pilgrimage!  It was an inspiring weekend for all of us.

St. Mary’s Farmers & Artisans Market – Wednesday, July 13

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

1:30 am – 2:00 pm (rain or shine)
Parking Lot – Corner of Lafayette Street & Campus Avenue

This Weeks Vendors

Luscious Live Lobster
Located in Harpswell, ME (visit them at
Offering fresh whole lobster, seafood and fish.

Valley View Farm
A traditional farm located in Auburn (visit them at
Offering seasonal produce, eggs, meat and Sunset Acres cheese.  If you purchased a CSA for pick-up at the market (or have a Senior share) these are the folks you need to see. 

Phoenix Farm
An Organic farm located in Monmouth offering seasonal vegetables, strawberry rhubarb pie, baked goods including fruit muffins and sweet breads or pastries.

Hummingbird Farm
Located in Turner, Hummingbird Farm is a specialty nursery who sells clematis, fancy leaved geraniums, and herb plants.  They also make handcrafted herbal soaps, lotions & body care products.

Duct Tape Wallets
Linda makes a wide variety of duct tape wallets, weighted hola hoops (great exercise) and rice therapy packs and gel neck wraps that keep you nice and cool for hours.

Fresh Start Farms
The New American Sustainable Agriculture Project is a community-based agricultural initiative that supports recent refugees, immigrants, and other new Americans as they establish agricultural businesses, offering seasonal vegetables, fruit, herbs & flowers.

A mobile arts therapy program of VSA Maine brings original works of art; pottery and cards made by youth artist, sharing their gratitude by helping to raise funds for the program through sales of their fabulous art work!  They will also be selling Wilbur’s of Maine & ArtVan chocolate bars.  Come support youth and the arts & learn about the programs. 

St. Mary’s Physician Network Practices Earn National Recognition for Patient-Centered Care

Monday, July 11th, 2011


The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recently announced that 12 practices with St. Mary’s Physician Network in Lewiston have received recognition from the Physician Practice Connections – Patient-Centered Medical Home (PPC-PCMH) program for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focused on highly coordinated care and long-term participative relationships. 

 The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) is a promising model of health care delivery that aims to improve the quality and efficiency of care.  PPC-PCMH identifies practices that promote partnerships between individual patients and their personal clinicians, instead of treating patient care as the sum of several episodic office visits.  Each patient’s care is tended to by clinician-led care teams, who provide for all the patient’s health care needs and coordinate treatments across the healthcare system.  Medical home clinicians demonstrate the benchmarks of patient-centered care, including open scheduling, expanded hours, and appropriate use of proven health information systems.  Early evaluations of the PPC-PCMH have shown promising results in improving care quality and lowering costs by increasing access to more efficient, more coordinated care.  By avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits, these results are producing savings for payers, purchasers, and patients. 

“The patient-centered medical home promises to improve health and health care,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane.  “The active, ongoing relationship between a patient and a clinician in medical homes fosters an all-too-rare goal in care: staying healthy and preventing illness in the first place.  PPC-PCMH recognition shows that the following practices with St. Mary’s Physician Network  have tools, systems, and resources to provide its patients with the right care at the right time.”

Auburn Medical Associates                              Lewiston Medical Associates
B Street Health Center                                     Lisbon Falls Family Health Center
Campus Avenue Family Practice                      Poland Family Practice
Court Street Family Practice                            Sabattus Street Internal Medicine
Dr. Kapplemann                                              Second Street Family Practice
L/A Internal Medicine                                      St. Mary’s Medical Associates  

To receive recognition, which is valid for three years, the practices demonstrated the ability to meet the program’s key elements embodying characteristics of the medical home.  The standards are aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Osteopathic Association. 

The practices met key program components in the following areas:

  • Written standards for patient access and enhanced communications
  • Appropriate use of charting tools to track patients and organize clinical information
  • Responsive care management techniques with an emphasis on preventive care
  • Adaptation to patient’s cultural and linguistic needs
  • Use of information technology for prescriptions and care management
  • Use of evidence-based guidelines to treat chronic conditions
  • Systematic tracking of referrals and test results
  • Measurement and reporting of clinical and service performance 

To find St. Mary’s primary care medical practices and clinicians that have been recognized by the Physician Practice Connections – Patient-Centered Medical Home please visit or call 777-8899.

About NCQA

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010, NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance.  NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers, and researchers.

Thank you Kiwanis!

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Kiwanis generously donated soft white bears to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center to hand out to young patients in their Emergency Center. Pictured in the photo are Emergency Staff: Shimea Hunt, PA Student, Steve Gallagher, MD, Ronda Wilson, RN, Spence Bisbing, MD, Jayme Rossignol, RN, by Kiwanis representative Ron Bellmore.

Zumba Fundraiser

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Let’s ZUMBA! Yes, I said ZUMBA, the dance craze fitness program created by Alberto “Beto” Perez in Colombia in the 1990s that has hit the USA strong! Zumba exercises include music with fast and slow rhythms and resistance training for fitness and losing weight. The music comes from

Salsa, Mambo, Merengue, Tango, Hip Hop and others traditions.

The St. Mary’s Heart Walk Committee, in partnership with Girl Power Fitness and Adriane Kramer invite you to a Zumba Class fundraiser on Tuesday, July 19 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm at Parking Lot C (rain location: d’Youville Pavilion Gym).

Please wear comfortable clothes and bring water. The cost is $10 dollars per person. Proceeds benefit St. Mary’s campaign for the American Heart Association’s September Start! Heart Walk.

Please RSVP to Deb Ladner at 777-8292 or

St. Mary’s Welcomes Dr. Sandra Harris

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Please welcome Sandra Harris, MD to the employed network of providers at St. Mary’s. In her role at St. Mary’s,

Dr. Harris will provide Medical Director leadership for our Infectious Disease program. She will also provide inpatient hospital consults and have outpatient office hours at our Sabattus Street Primary Care office.

Her temporary hospital office is located in the MRI suite on the first floor of the hospital. She will be moving to her permanent office space beside the hospitalist office on the ground level in the near future.

To request an inpatient consultation, please page Dr. Harris at 758-8756 (Monday through Friday). For an outpatient visit, please call Sabattus Street Primary Care at