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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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  • September 14, 2017
    How can virtual reality help clinicians prepare to manage trauma cases? Read this feature story in the Washingtonian for a look at MedStar SiTEL's Trauma: Yellow program. 
  • September 12, 2017

    Sepsis can be deadly, but it doesn’t have to be. For the past year, MedStar St. Mary’s has increased efforts to recognize sepsis early and treat it quickly to ensure the condition doesn’t cost someone their life.

    “Since we began our sepsis protocol, we have seen a dramatic decrease in sepsis mortality,” said Jennifer Alvey, BSN, RN, director of the Intensive Care Center (ICC), Respiratory Therapy and Three Central.

    Last September, MedStar St. Mary’s began calling a Code Sepsis for patients who are showing signs of developing the deadly condition. Once the code is called, a sepsis response team — Intensive Care Center and Emergency Department staff, a respiratory therapist and the patient’s primary nurse — reviews the patient’s medical chart and any trends in their vital signs to help identify the source of the infection. A pharmacist is also consulted to make sure the proper medications are being given.

    According to the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA), sepsis is among the top 10 most common and potentially preventable complications across Maryland hospitals, and it is also a leading cause of mortality and readmission. Continually rising sepsis rates spurred the MHA to partner with the Maryland Patient Safety Commission to create an 18-month collaborative of 11 Maryland hospitals to work toward reducing hospital sepsis mortality.

    MedStar St. Mary’s participated in the state program and is helping to take the efforts to the next level by partnering with other regional hospitals to establish a Southern Maryland Collaborative, which will hold its first meeting in the Education & Simulation Center Sept. 19.

    “Maryland has taken a really hard stance on sepsis,” Jennifer said. “Next, we will be working to help educate long-term care facilities about the early warning signs. A lot of patients from these places already have it by the time they get here and by then it’s too late.”

    How You Can Help Prevent Infections

    • Follow infection control requirements (e.g., hand hygiene) and ensure patients receive recommended vaccines (e.g., flu and pneumococcal).
    • Educate patients and their families. Stress the need to prevent infections, manage chronic conditions, and seek care if signs of severe infection or sepsis are present.
    • Think sepsis. Know sepsis signs and symptoms to identify and treat patients early.
    • Act fast. If sepsis is suspected, order tests to determine if an infection is present, where it is, and what caused it. Start antibiotics and other medical care immediately. Document antibiotic dose, duration, and purpose.
    • Check patient progress frequently. Reassess antibiotic therapy 24-48 hours or sooner to change therapy as needed. Be sure the antibiotic type, dose, and duration are correct.
      Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    Learn more about Sepsis on our website. 

    Partners in the Southern Maryland Sepsis Collaborative

    Purpose of Collaborative

    • Offer education
    • Facilitate networking
    • Establish joint problem solving
  • September 08, 2017
    Women with Breast Cancer Get Relief from Painful and Disfiguring Side Effect of Treatment Thanks to New Procedure
  • September 08, 2017
    Danielle Mosby, program manager at the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare at MedStar Health, published "Patient Satisfaction with Care After Coronary Revascularization" in The Patient - Patient-Centered Outcomes Research.
  • September 03, 2017

    Washington, D.C., March 9, 2017 - MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center became the first facility in the Northeast region to implant an investigational device designed to prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (A-fib) or an abnormal heart rhythm.  

    The electrophysiology team–Manish Shah, MD and Sarfraz Durrani, MD– implanted the AMPLATZER™ Amulet investigational device, as part of a nationwide clinical trial to evaluate the device’s safety and effectiveness. The Amulet works by sealing off the left atrial appendage (LAA), a small area of the heart, where blood clots form and migrate into the bloodstream, potentially causing a stroke.  

    “The Amulet left atrial appendage closure system is a new device that may potentially offer protection to our patients at high risk of stroke who are poor candidates for blood thinning medications,” said Dr. Shah, who is the principal investigator of the Amulet trial and director of the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship Training Program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.  

    In some patients with A-fib, the LAA does not contract effectively and it can become a source of blood clots. These clots can then be released into the heart and enter the bloodstream, where they can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. Currently, patients with A-fib are often prescribed blood-thinning medication, but this treatment option comes with a lifetime of medical management and the risk of major bleeding. By closing the LAA with the Amulet, physicians can block off the LAA and potentially reduce the risk of stroke.    

    Patients enrolled in the clinical trial are randomly assigned to receive either the AMPLATZER™ Amulet or the WATCHMAN™, the only FDA-approved LAA closure device in the control arm of the study. The main difference between the two devices is that Amulet does not require patients to take blood thinners for 45 days after implantation.  

    In the meantime, WATCHMAN has been a game-changer to protect A-fib patients from stroke. After WATCHMAN gained its FDA approval, MedStar Washington Hospital Center became the first facility in the Washington region to implant the device. To date, more than 100 patients have been outfitted with the WATCHMAN devices. That’s more implants than any other institution on the Mid-Atlantic seaboard. 

  • September 01, 2017

    An Epidemic Hits Home

    This is the third in a four-part series on the opioid epidemic in our community.

    As an Emergency Medical resident with MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Eric Kiechle, MD, was prepared to treat patients coming to the D.C. hospital who had overdosed on opioids or heroin. But during a rural emergency medical rotation at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, a ride along with the Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad gave him a different perspective. 

    “Walking into a home where people are overdosing really put things in perspective for me,” Eric said. “I could see that the opioid and heroin epidemic has hit the area pretty hard. Obviously, I see it in D.C., but seeing it here was eye-opening to me.” 

    Just as in other areas of the country, St. Mary’s County continues to deal with the impact of the opioid and heroin crisis. In June, St. Mary’s saw its first overdose from the powerful drug carfentanil, a synthetic opioid 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl.

    In the first half of 2017, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office has responded to 14 overdose deaths all linked to the use of — or a combination of — heroin, cocaine, fentanyl and/or carfentanil. “On the law enforcement front, we are going after the drug dealers, and if we can identify a dealer in a fatal overdose, we’re going to work with the State’s Attorney’s Office to hold those dealers responsible,” said Capt. Eric Sweeney, Vice/Narcotics. “Our approach to the opioid epidemic is comprehensive: we are investigating, we are arresting, and we are educating.”

    The sheriff’s office works closely with the St. Mary’s County Health Department, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Mary’s County Public Schools, the Young Marines, and other county organizations to host prevention programs. Its headquarters in Leonardtown is also a collection site for unwanted medications through an anonymous 24/7 drop-box program. 

    This initiative ensures proper disposal of medications, so they never enter the streets and minimizes the opportunity for an individual to become a target of crime by having unused medications in their home. Additionally, every September the Sheriff’s Office collects medications directly from the homebound who otherwise may not have the opportunity to dispose of their unused medications.

    Every deputy at the sheriff’s office is equipped with and trained to use naloxone (Narcan). The sheriff’s office responded to 106 nonlethal opioid overdoses in the first half of 2017 and administered 99 doses of Narcan to 50 recipients. In 2016, only 49 doses of Narcan were administered by deputies.

    “What we see on the streets is that this epidemic does not discriminate — it impacts all ages, genders, backgrounds, and
    races. This is a nationwide problem and St. Mary’s County is not immune,” said Sheriff Tim Cameron. “If you have a family member or friend struggling with addiction, please get them help. It’s a horrible epidemic, and the help is out there.”

    Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Opioids for more information on lifesaving resources and information.

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