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  • January 06, 2022

    Christine R. Wray announces Jan. 2022 retirement after 42 years of service in healthcare

    CLINTON, Md.Christine R. Wray, FACHE, president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital who also serves as a senior vice president for MedStar Health, announced that she will be retiring on January 28, 2022.

    Wray was named president of MedStar Southern Maryland in September 2014, two years after MedStar Health acquired the hospital located in the Clinton area of Prince George’s County. With Wray at the helm, MedStar Southern Maryland saw the development and growth of several new service lines.

    In 2016, the hospital received national recognition from U.S. News & World Report, having ranked among the top 50 of best hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery. In 2017, MedStar Southern Maryland joined the prestigious MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute-Cleveland Clinic Alliance. Wray also helped facilitate the opening of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in February 2020. This 25,000 square foot facility offers unmatched medical expertise, leading-edge therapies, and access to robust clinical research, all under the same roof.

    Moreover, the construction of MedStar Southern Maryland’s new Emergency Department (ED) expansion project took place under Wray’s leadership, and remained on schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The $43 million ED expansion project has been deemed the largest construction project in the hospital’s history. The new emergency department opened its doors in April 2021 to provide local residents with seamless access to the most advanced care.

    Wray’s focus on providing quality care has helped MedStar Southern Maryland build a foundation of excellence that will serve local communities for decades to come. MedStar Southern Maryland is grateful for the innumerable and lasting contributions that Wray made throughout her 42-year healthcare career.

    “I have so cherished working with all of you in our commitment and service to our wonderful communities. It has truly been an honor and a privilege,” Wray said in an announcement that was emailed to hospital associates. “Please always be proud of the work you do and how you care for each other as you care for our patients. It is incredibly important work and you are the best of the best!

    Dr. Stephen Michaels, who currently serves as the chief operating and medical officer for MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, will take over as president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

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  • November 09, 2017

    With Bonita Coe, MD, MBA, Director of MedStar Medical Group Waldorf 

    When eating out, remember that restaurant food is inherently high in calories and salt. However, many restaurants have healthy options and provide calorie and nutrition information on their menus, which can help you choose healthier food options. 

    Here are 15 tips from Dr. Coe to help you focus on eating healthy when you’re grabbing a meal on the go:

    1. Avoid sweetened beverages, juices and alcohol. Instead, order water with lemon or sugar-free choices as your beverage.

    2. Drink water frequently during the meal to achieve the sensation of feeling full faster.

    3. Many restaurant portions are much larger than you need or even want to eat. When your food comes to you, place half of it in a take-home box.

    4. Focus on ordering choices with fruits and vegetables as the predominant ingredients.

    5. If you are going to eat meat, avoid beef and focus on choices with chicken, turkey, and fish that are baked, roasted or grilled, and not fried.

    6. Avoid processed meats, like deli meats, bacon, ham, and sausage, including the turkey versions of these foods.

    7. Avoid salty snacks and sugary foods, pastries, candy and baked goods.

    8. Avoid choices rich with butter and rich sauces, as they are typically high in fat.

    9. Minimize starchy foods like bread, rice, pasta and white potatoes. Substitute the starch in a meal for another vegetable. If you are going to eat starches, whole wheat or whole grain bread and pasta are better choices.
    10. Ask the server not to bring bread to the table while you are waiting for your meal.

    11. Do not add salt to your food. Only add salt to your food on your plate after you have tasted your food. Use salt very sparingly, if at all.

    12. Avoid choices made with eggs and cheese.

    13. When planning to go out to eat or to an event, eat a small healthy snack before you go. You will eat less and be able to make healthier choices because you are not as hungry when you are ordering your meal.

    14. Avoid salad bars, hot food bars, and pre-prepared food venues, unless you are going to eat the fresh fruit and vegetables. Be aware that a lot of food put into salads bars comes out of a can, box or plastic pre-prepared package, which typically means it is high in sodium.

    15. Try ordering salads with the dressing on the side and avoid fried foods and foods with sauces and gravy on top.

    Breakfast at McDonald’s

    Egg McMuffin: 300 calories, 12 grams of fat, 730 milligrams of sodium Vs.
    Big Breakfast with hotcakes and syrup, biscuit, scrambled eggs, sausage and hash browns: 1,350 calories, 65 grams of fat, 2,100 milligrams of sodium

    Lunch at Subway

    6 Inch Carved Turkey Sandwich: 330 calories, 5 grams of fat, 890 milligrams of sodium Vs.
    6 Inch Chicken Bacon Ranch Melt: 770 calories, 81 grams of fat, 1,580 milligrams of sodium

    Afternoon Snack at Starbucks

    Cold option - Teavana® Shaken Iced Passion Tango™ Tea: 0 calories, 0 grams of fat 
    Hot Option - Caffè Americano: 10 calories, 0 grams of fat Vs.
    Cold Option - Venti Unicorn Frappuccino: 500 calories, 18 grams of fat, 310 milligrams of sodium
    Hot Option - Venti White Chocolate Mocha: 530 calories, 21 grams of fat, 320 milligrams of sodium

    Dinner at Taco Bell

    Grilled Steak Soft Taco: 200 calories, 10 grams of fat, 490 milligrams of sodium
    Chicken Soft Taco: 160 calories, 5 grams of fat, 480 milligrams of sodium Vs.
    XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito: 860 calories, 41 grams of fat, 2,200 milligrams of sodium

    Late Night Snack

    Baskin Robbins Right Choices Fat Free Vanilla Frozen Yogurt: 80 calories, 0 grams of fat, 65 milligrams of sodium Vs.
    Cheesecake Factory Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake: 1680 calories, 49 grams of fat, 970 milligrams of sodium 

  • November 09, 2017

    Erika Gosai, MD, joins the MedStar NRH medical team as an inpatient attending physician on the Spinal Cord Injury unit at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital.  She is serving the needs of patients in the inpatient unit and has a particular interest in spasticity management and wound care and prevention—two areas that are particularly critical to the SCI population. Dr. Gosai comes to MedStar NRH from the University of Texas - Southwestern, where she completed both her residency in physiatry, as well as a fellowship in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Rutgers University and completed her medical degree and internship in internal medicine at the New Jersey School of Medicine and Dentistry.

    About MedStar National Rehabilitation Network

    The MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is a regional system of rehabilitation care that offers inpatient, day treatment and outpatient services in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia.

    The Network's interdisciplinary team of rehabilitation experts provides comprehensive services to help people recover as fully as possible following illness and injury. Rehabilitation medicine specialists, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists work hand-in-hand with other rehab professionals to design treatment plans tailored to each patient's unique needs. Rehabilitation plans feature a team approach and include the use of state-of-the-art technology and advanced medical treatment based on the latest rehabilitation research.

    The Network provides comprehensive programs specifically designed to aid in the rehabilitation of adults and children recovering from neurologic and orthopedic conditions such as amputation, arthritis, back and neck pain, brain injury, cancer, cardiac conditions, concussion, fibromyalgia, foot and ankle disorders, hand and upper extremity problems, post-polio syndrome, stroke, spinal cord injury and disease, and sports and work-related injuries.

    Inpatient and day treatment programs are provided at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital located in Northwest Washington, D.C., and at more than 50 outpatient sites conveniently located throughout the region. MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is fully accredited by The Joint Commission, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), with CARF accredited specialty programs for Amputations, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke.

    For more on MedStar National Rehabilitation Network and to find a location near you, log on to

  • November 08, 2017
    D.C. firefighter Dane Smothers, Jr., who was critically injured at the scene of a house fire this summer, was released from inpatient care.
  • November 08, 2017
    Dr. Ottenbacher Discusses Issues Surrounding High Rate of Rehospitalization Across U.S.
  • November 07, 2017

    Longtime Diverticulitis Sufferer Athelia Doggette Undergoes Removal of Problematic Section of Colon, Now Ready to Return to the NFL

    The toughness seen in the National Football League isn’t limited to the field. It extends to NFL Players Association employee Athelia Doggette, who endured a long and painful battle with diverticulitis, or digestive tract inflammation, before undergoing surgery and working toward recovery and a return to her fast-paced job.

    Since 2015, Athelia had been living with diverticulitis, which is a condition when pockets develop in the colon, that can cause pain, abdominal tenderness, nausea, vomiting or constipation. She began treatment with MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center physician Dr. Min Kim, who helped treat her using dietary modifications and treatments of antibiotics.

    When her symptoms returned half a year after her last treatment, Athelia attended an Ask-the-Doctor Seminar entitled “When to See a Doctor for Growths,” and decided, in partnership with her MedStar physician team, that her case needed surgical intervention.

    “Because of the kind of person I am, I did my research,” said Athelia. “I engaged with my doctor and did my own research to help this process along. I understood without this treatment, I could develop an infection or another abscess (a painful, swollen lump of pus caused by an infection).”

    Athelia underwent a colonoscopy, which is a procedure using a thin tube affixed with a camera that allows a physician to fully examine the inner lining of the large intestine to look for inflammation, as in Athelia’s case, and can also detect the presence of ulcers, polyps, tumors and sources of bleeding. Once it was determined Athelia would benefit from removing the problem section of her intestine to prevent additional outbreaks, she was paired up with General Surgeon Dr. Michael Gillespie, who performed a robotic colon resection procedure to remove the affected area of her colon.

    “We use a daVinci robotic machine, and if a patient needs this option, to have a part of their colon surgically removed, we can accommodate that here,” said Dr. Gillespie.

    The machine used for Athelia’s procedure, which represents the latest in technology, allows surgeons like Dr. Gillespie to view a three-dimensional, high-definition view inside the patient’s body, and use a laparoscopic tube equipped with a camera to perform surgery in the most minimally-invasive way possible.

    “In terms of resources, for a community hospital, we have improved greatly since I started here three years ago, and patients have said they receive outstanding care at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center,” said Dr. Gillespie.

    After surgery, Athelia reports she is feeling good and healing well. She says she is improving every day due to Dr. Gillespie, her own determination and the help of her faith and family. Her appetite is back and Athelia will soon be ready to return to work and spend fun times with her friends at MGM National Harbor.

    She has this advice for others who suffer from her condition: “I was not aware of what diverticulitis was until it hit me twice. It is a tough thing that can take away your total quality of life in an instant. Lots of myths exist about it, so I recommend you get together with a great doctor and have a conversation.”

    Visit for more information about surgery services at our hospital.

  • November 07, 2017
    When Diane Haderly’s cancer returned, she chose not to undergo treatment to extend her life, but instead wanted to spend her last few months traveling and enjoying life with her husband, John.

    Upon removal of a tumor on her pancreas and completion of six months of chemotherapy, everything seemed to be fine for Diane Haderly. She felt great. After all, the Lexington Park resident beat breast cancer 17 years ago. This time around she wasn’t as fortunate.

    A follow-up scan showed the cancer had spread. Diane discussed her options with John, her husband of 38 years. She could undergo an even more intense treatment or do nothing. The treatment could extend her life a few months, but Diane decided it wasn’t worth it.

    “It came down to quality of life,” said John, recalling the toll the six months of chemo took on Diane. “She always said if she ever got really sick, she wanted to die at Hospice House.” So the couple went to Hospice House, learned about hospice services and chose her options for care. Being terminal, Diane was eligible for hospice care immediately, although she felt great. In fact, in the beginning, John said Diane would answer the door and the hospice nurse would ask to see the patient while Diane answered, “I am the patient.”

    Diane and John sailed and traveled in their motorhome during their time together. They visited their blended family of five children and eight grandchildren, discussing Diane’s decision and what she wanted in addition to celebrating family occasions. Thanks to their hospice connection, John, a retired Navy officer with no medical training, always felt confident should they ever encounter an emergency while traveling. “Whenever we left home,” said John, “I let hospice know our routes and our destinations. They set up hospice services for us in those areas, although we never had to use them.”

    According to Hospice and Palliative Care Interim Director Kathy Franzen, BSN, RN, a great number of patients and their families never discuss end-of-life options. Instead, decisions are crisis based, made under duress in the Intensive Care Center or the Emergency Department. “This places a huge burden on others.” Kathy and her staff ask patients and families “What’s important to you?” to help with decisions about palliative or hospice care. “This question can help with one of the most important conversations of our life,” said Kathy.

    If unsure how to begin end-of-life conversations, she highly recommends The Conversation Project website at for several helpful resources. “All of hospice care is palliative care, but all of palliative care is not hospice care at all,” Kathy said. Palliative care should start at the beginning of any serious or chronic illness. To be eligible for hospice, a terminally ill patient with approximately six months to live must have a physician referral.

    Just as she wanted, Diane Haderly was at Hospice House for her final days. All of her family, including the dog, were able to come and say their goodbyes. John was so taken with his wife’s care that when his 95-year-old mother-in-law was in a nursing home dying of lung cancer, he arranged for her to go to Hospice House.

    Once again, he was grateful for their skill and compassion. As a thank you, John helps care for the baby grand piano in the Hospice House living room, seeing that it stays well-tuned for all to enjoy. Diane loved music and John, a musician, served as the Navy Band’s tour director for most of his military career. “Hospice staff treated my wife, myself and our entire family with dignity,” John said. “They honored Diane’s wishes, provided comfort and support, and made the transition tolerable for our entire family. I’m also proud of our community for building the Hospice House. It’s a gift.”

    Visit for more information about hospice and palliative care.

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