Penn Medicine News Blog Archive: Patient Stories

The Gift of Life Blossoms into Friendship

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There was no reason for Meghan Shaffer and Wendy Hancock to know each other. After all, they had nothing in common. Wendy lived in Pennsylvania and had recently given birth. Meghan was a young nursing student at the University of Michigan. But Fate had other plans for them. How It...

Changing the Course of Heart Disease

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Jessica (Maciey) Minot, a nurse at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, never knew her older sister, who died of what was diagnosed as a “congenital heart defect” at eight months old. And she was only seven years old when she lost her mother to heart disease as well....

"Nothing About Me, Without Me" - HUP's Patient/Advisory Council Leaders Help Clinicians Reframe Patient Encounters

The co-chair of HUP's Patient and Family Advisory Council recently opened the eyes of clinicians to a whole new way of looking at interactions with patients. Anita McGinn-Natali recounted her experience as a caregiver during the battle she described as "our cancer journey" during her husband Clark's successful battle with oral cancer.

Inside Look: Penn’s Bridge-to-Recovery Research May Help Heal Failing Hearts

An article in the Wall Street Journal this week highlights ongoing research at Penn Medicine looking at a new way to use ventricular assist devices (VADs) for heart failure patients. This same research was also featured in the article “Rest, Recovery, Reconditioning” in a recent edition of Penn Medicine’s System...

From Neonatal Intensive Care to College, This Baby’s Come a Long Way

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It’s back-to-school season again – a fresh start for students of all ages. One recent event, however, reminded me of how many babies get their very first start in life here at Pennsylvania Hospital. On May 16th, this past spring, Janelle van Leusdan, who now lives in Wheaton, IL, stopped...

The Gift of Surviving Cancer and Giving Back

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She’s a striking blond. Attractive, warm, funny, caring, and always smiling. He’s also a striking blond – and warm and caring and funny – and seems to always be smiling as well. “She” is Ginny Fineberg, a youthful looking 64 year old cancer survivor. And “he” is her self-proclaimed “Momma’s...

Heart Warming: Penn Medicine Cardiovascular Patients Inspire and Thrive

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To celebrate February as American Heart Month, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest heart-centric news and stories from all areas of Penn Medicine. In honor of Heart Month and Valentine's Day, we're revisiting some of our most inspirational heart health patient stories from the last year. Penn...

Penn Medicine 2012 Year in Review

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Taking a look back, 2012 has been a year marked by breakthroughs in medical research, system-wide growth, and landmark philanthropic support for Penn Medicine. As we set our sights on the year ahead, we also celebrate the past year's accomplishments and give thanks to the outstanding faculty, staff, and students...

Giving New Life to Dead Bones

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While most artificial hip joints in use today will last 10-20 years, like all devices, the artificial hip joint – which replaces the natural hip bone with a metal ball and resurfaces the hip socket with a metal shell and plastic liner – wears out over time. For younger patients, this means a second surgery (and maybe even a third) will be required to replace the artificial joint. Fortunately, a rare procedure now being offered by specialists at Penn Medicine provides a long-term alternative for younger patients with chronic hip pain.

A Runner's Heart Healed

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In April 2009, Penn patient Elliot Gordon suffered from an aortic dissection, and required almost immediate open-heart surgery. Less than four years later Gordon will attempt to complete the Philadelphia Half-Marathon Sunday.

Be a Hero. Donate Blood.

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Do you donate blood? If you’re like the majority of Americans –- more than 90 percent -- the answer is no. Most people don’t think about it in their busy lives. Or they feel someone else will take up the slack. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Less than 40 percent...

140 Miles of Grace

On October 20th, 2012, HUP traumatic brain injury survivor Candace Gantt will participate in an Ironman Triathlon in Wilmington, North Carolina called Beach to Battleship to raise funds for brain injury research in Penn’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair (CBIR).

First Look: Working Through OCD

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A team of Perelman School of Medicine researchers, led by Edna Foa PhD, director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, are conducting the first study that examines whether one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), exposure and ritual prevention (EX/RP), can help people with OCD achieve and maintain wellness after they stop taking the medications their doctors prescribe for their OCD.

Celebrating Every Moment

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Chemo luauBeach Boys music, hot dogs, sheet cake and feather boas aren’t the tools oncologists usually use to attack cancer. But along with powerful drugs and targeted radiation treatments, they’ve all played a big role in helping Debbie Hemmes, a 52-year-old Abramson Cancer Center patient from Westampton, NJ, fight lung cancer. Debbie’s daughter, Kelly McCollister, quickly added her own prescription to the list: a special party during each chemo session to help her mom count down the days until she finished her treatment.

Blinded by the Light

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One man’s refusal to let choroideremia slow him down Image courtesy of E.J. Scott Earlier this year, the world paused to watch its greatest athletes take center stage and compete for the gold in the Games of the XXX Olympiad. The United States’ Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian...

Penn's Transplant House: A Home Away From Home

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The Penn Transplant Institute’s reputation draws patients from across the nation who are waiting for a second chance at life. It is the region’s leader in total number of organ transplants performed; Penn transplant surgeons performed over 400 solid organ transplants during the 2011 fiscal year, including heart, liver, kidney,...

The Rickels Standard

“We need new and better ways to treat our patients, not just ‘me, too’ medications. We need new and daring approaches. Our patients deserve it!”

Pharmacists Play Key Role in Reducing Medication Errors Among Hospitalized Patients

Drugs used in hospitals are meant to save lives – to battle infections, kill cancer cells, control pain, steady uneven heart beats, and prevent blood clots from forming when patients are unable to get out of bed and move around. But despite these healing powers, medication errors are common, and the consequences can be severe. According to the Food and Drug Administration, medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure approximately 1.3 million people each year in the United States. And countless so-called "near-misses" with incorrect dosing or drug mix-ups go unreported. In response, the federal government and hospitals across the nation have made cutting medication errors a cornerstone of patient safety initiatives. Baligh Yehia, MD, MSHP, MPP, an Infectious Diseases fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, recently published a study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases examining the prevalence of antiretroviral medication errors among hospital patients infected with HIV. Medication errors are a risk during hospitalizations of all kinds, but HIV patients are especially vulnerable.

Peer Support Group Helps Amputation Patients Find Their Way

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William Fahringer and Christopher Gorrell, PT, DPT In 2005, William Fahringer tore his meniscus – the piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber for the bones that come together to form the knee -- while working as a plumber for the School District of Philadelphia. What seemed like...

The “Thing” of It: Humanism and Professionalism in Medicine

Educators, researchers, and practitioners across in the United States and abroad have been working to address the rift between personal and impersonal care by developing models that introduce ways to encourage humanism and professionalism to the practice of 21st century medicine.

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