Ciara McGrath was lying on the bed reading a book when the room went — as she puts it — “spinny crazy like you can’t even imagine.”
“I could barely walk. I was falling over,” she recalls.
After passing out and being resuscitated in an ER, she was referred to Rush University Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. First she underwent an ablation procedure, then electrophysiologist Richard Trohman, MD, implanted a cardiac device “to make sure I don’t have any episodes like that again.”
“I know that I’m safe now, and I’m more active than I’ve ever been in my entire life,” she says. “Dr. Trohman, the nurses, the entire staff here in the EP department, they’re like family. They took such good care of me, I can’t imagine not coming to see them at least once a year to have things checked out.”
Sheila Gamble has been a pharmacy technician at Rush University Medical Center for nearly 25 years.
“My job is important because what I do is I make sure I try to get the drugs out to the patient in a timely fashion,” she says.
Most of Gamble’s work is behind the scenes, so she doesn’t have much one-on-one contact with patients. But they’re always on her mind.
“The most rewarding part about this job is basically just knowing that we get a chance to get the medications up to the patients, and knowing that in the end they’ll hopefully feel better.”
This photo from the Rush Archives shows a clinic in 1900 featuring James B. Herrick, MD, a Rush Medical College graduate and faculty member who discovered sickle cell anemia.
Ernest E. Irons (Rush class of 1903), the intern who first brought the abnormal cells to Herrick’s attention, later became dean of Rush Medical College.
James A. Young, MD, has been praised by patients and colleagues for the dedication, compassion and hope he brings to the care of his patients.
In recognition of his efforts on behalf of patients with disabling brain injuries, Young received the 2013 Eugene J-MA Thonar, PhD, Award, which each year honors someone who has helped further the Medical Center’s commitment to providing opportunities for people with disabilities.
Young’s work at Rush goes beyond his official duties as chairperson of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He volunteers weekly with the Rush Neurological Family Information Group, which he founded in 2002. This group of volunteer health professionals provides information and guidance to the family members of brain injury patients at Rush.
“It is an educational group,” Young explains. “Families of brain injury patients are lost, they’re overwhelmed. We help them to ask the right questions and guide them on where to turn for assistance.”
By Daniela Mitchem
I began my social work internship with Rush Health and Aging’s Tower Resource Center in 2012. While researching internship opportunities, I was amazed by the new technology, teamwork and innovation that was taking place at Rush; I knew that it was the place for me.
As a Master of Social Work student, I had to identify an area of need within my internship placement organization and develop a project to address that need. I began to wonder where to begin in such a state-of-the-art organization like Rush.
Fortunately, my supervisor Anne Millheiser, a licensed social worker, introduced me to a project that had not been fully developed yet and was in need of “love and care” and creativity to better meet our patients’ needs. The project, which we refer to as rounding, requires regular visits to Rush’s waiting lounges, where I check in with patients, families, visitors and members of the community to raise awareness, educate and inform them about support and resources that are available to them.
Kate Sigel had a big hit on her hand when she made a cake for the Feb. 9 dedication of the new Rush Family Birth Center. The 50-pound confection featured alphabet blocks, a teddy bear, baby rattle and bottle – all of them edible.
A baker in the Department of Food and Nutrition Services, Sigel has been working at Rush since last May. She talked about making the Family Birth Center cake, how she makes a contribution at Rush, and the joy of baking.
The cake is adorable. How did you come up with the design?
They had an idea of what they wanted. They sent a couple of pictures and said “we want a cake with alphabet blocks, and we want pastel colors.” I took the idea they provided and ran with it by adding the rattle and the bottle and the bear. I thought it would fun. There’s always a whimsy to pastry and cakes.
What ingredients did you use for it all?
The base cake and building blocks were all cake and frosting. The bear and bottle and baby rattle were Rice Krispies treats covered in frosting and fondant, which is like a sugar paste. It gives you a really smooth finish, and you can model it.
A “shavee” at Rush’s 2013 event to raise money for pediatric cancer research. The 2014 event is scheduled for Feb. 28.
By Joseph Lee
In the United States, a child under the age of 20 is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes. So in the time it takes to read this piece, a family will be faced with the very real possibility of losing their child, as there are many cancers where progress towards a cure is still very limited. And even those that are cured of their cancer, their battle continues with chronic health problems or other life-threatening conditions.
While the government and foundations continue to invest in adult cancer research, childhood cancers are left to fend for themselves. In fact, all types of childhood cancers receive only 4 percent of the total U.S. federal funding for cancer research, with pharmaceutical companies investing even less.
So the question becomes if not us, then who? If not now, then when? Should we wait until more children are stripped of the opportunity to go to school or fall in love? Or ask more parents to stay strong while their children go through grueling treatments or are lost altogether?
This is where St. Baldrick’s comes into play. Through the help of dedicated physicians, such as Dr. Paul Kent, students, families, friends, patients and survivors, we seek to close the funding gap. Through events across the country, with head shaving being the premier event, over $30 million was raised in 2013.