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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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  • October 31, 2016

    “My surgeon told me he would decide during surgery whether or not I could undergo breast reconstruction immediately, but I’m so glad he decided to wait before proceeding with implants. It gave me a chance to heal, and the results of my reconstruction are just remarkable,” said Sarah Bessin, a 47-year-old breast cancer survivor.  

    Bessin was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2015. After she opted to begin breast reconstruction at the same time of her mastectomy in October 2015, Bessin reaped the benefits of undergoing breast reconstruction that combines two tissue-saving technologies to diagnose and avoid serious complications.

    The unique combination of SPY Elite and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at MedStar Georgetown saved Bessin’s breast tissue and improved her breast reconstruction outcome. To date, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is the only center in the Greater Washington, D.C., region offering the combination of SPY Elite and hyperbaric oxygen therapy for patients with breast cancer.

    “Everything that we do in plastic surgery involves blood flow. If blood flow is disrupted, skin above it can flake off and even die. This is the reason we need to be able to anticipate those problems intraoperatively so we can act quickly,” says Troy Pittman, MD, Bessin’s breast reconstruction surgeon.  

    A New Valuable Player in the Operating Room

    After a mastectomy, the plastic surgery team enters the operating room with a fluorescent imaging system, SPY Elite. SPY Elite has a long arm that connects to an infrared lamp device, which is used for scanning over a patient’s body. A special contrast is injected through the patient’s IV line, and a TV monitor shows the scans of breast tissue and blood vessels in real time. A breast reconstruction surgeon will move the SPY Elite lamp over different areas of the breast to detect the quality of blood flow in breast tissue before proceeding with the surgery. The system’s monitoring of the blood flow helps surgeons determine if the patient’s tissue is in a safe state to move forward with surgery and place an implant. If blood flow is limited, surgeons will add hyperbaric oxygen therapy after surgery to promote healing in the tissue.

     “SPY Elite lets me look at the blood supply of the breast tissue and the nipple in real time. This helps us diagnose a problem early on and initiate hyperbaric oxygen within 24 hours, if we need to,” says Dr. Pittman.

    SPYing a Problem

    During Bessin’s procedure, the SPY Elite imaging system informed Dr. Pittman’s team that there were worrisome vascular changes in her breast skin following the mastectomy. To avoid compromising the vascular health of the skin, Dr. Pittman decided on a different plan. The new breast reconstruction approach for Bessin meant waiting on the implants and placing tissue expanders, a type of deflated temporary implant, in the surgery site. This plan allows for healing time in the hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber. dr-pittman-working-in-surgery

    “Our goal is to get patients in for treatment as soon as possible. We are aggressively treating the patient to save their breast tissue and augment their healing,” said Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD, medical director of Hyperbaric Medicine in the Department of Plastic Surgery. “Our dedicated team of physicians, nurses and technicians works to ensure that patients remain safe and comfortable during their treatment regimen.”

    Healing Tissue within Days

    Hyperbaric oxygen therapy exposes patients to pure oxygen in a pressurized space. Sending patients to the hyperbaric oxygen chamber treats the initial blood flow issue and can help the patient avoid future healing problems. Although treatment begins within 24 hours after surgery, patients do not have to stay at the hospital. Patients will only visit the hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber once or twice a day for about an hour. 

    Bessin’s tissue healed in only 13 hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments. Her hyperbaric oxygen therapy schedule started with two visits to the hospital per day, which later decreased to one visit per day near the end of her treatment.  

    “I bounced back quite quickly. I’m already working my normal schedule, and my energy level is back to normal,” said Bessin. “I’m so grateful to my doctors for providing this therapy!”

    Treatment Affords Rest and Relaxation Time

    Bessin said she spent most of her time relaxing in the hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, which is a large glass tube. In the chamber, patients are required to leave most items outside of the chamber to minimize any chance of creating a spark in the oxygen chamber.  Patients cannot wear makeup, lotion, nail polish or outside clothing, nor can they bring in cell phones, books or paper. A glass of water and a cotton gown are permitted inside the chamber. During treatment, a nurse or technician stays in the room the whole time to administer the hyperbaric oxygen therapy, answer questions or assist with movie selections.

    “Georgetown has a great movie selection!” said Bessin.

    Access for Every Breast Reconstruction Patient at MedStar Georgetown

    Dr. Pittman has used SPY Elite with hyperbaric oxygen therapy at MedStar Georgetown for five years. For breast reconstruction, Dr. Pittman’s team uses SPY Elite on almost every patient, but particularly in those who want to begin breast reconstruction with an implant immediately after a mastectomy.

    “SPY Elite and hyperbaric oxygen therapy allow us to aggressively treat patients safely and predictably,” said. Dr. Pittman. “This approach gives our patients the best chance for success.”


  • October 28, 2016

    Dr. Michael Suter Named Chair; W. Daniel McLaughlin, Vice Chair


    BALTIMORE, MD (October 2016) – The MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center Board of Directors elected internal medicine physician, Dr. Michael Suter, as the 31st chairman in the hospital’s 118-year history. It also announced W. Daniel McLaughlin will step into the vice chair role, and welcomed new members Denise Matricciani and Eric Washington to the 20-member board, effective November 1.

    Baltimore business leader Michael Dietrich will step down from the chair position, ending his two year term.  He has been a MFSMC board member since 2008.

    Dr. Suter, a board-certified internal medicine physician, has been providing care to the Baltimore community for 23 years. Currently, he sees patients at his private practice in Parkville, which he began in 2005.

    Dr. Michael Suter, MD

    Serving as president of the MedStar Franklin Square medical staff from 2004 to 2006, Dr. Suter joined the board of directors as an ex-officio member in 2004 and was elected to the board in 2009. He served as chair of the hospital’s physician committee for the patient tower capital campaign and on the community health improvement committee, and is an active member of the Foundation Board of Directors.

    After completing a master’s degree in applied medical statistics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Dr. Suter attended medical school at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He returned to the United States and completed his residency in internal medicine at MedStar Franklin Square.

    W. Daniel McLaughlin is the president of Bay View Homecare Inc., a home and physician medical equipment supplier.

    W. Daniel McLaughlin

    He was the former supervisor of the pulmonary function lab at St. Joseph Hospital and received his cardio pulmonary and pulmonary function technician licenses in 1983. Since then, Mr. McLaughlin has served on the capital campaign committee for the Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company and as chair of the MedStar Franklin Square Foundation Board of Directors.

    Denise Matricciani is the corporate affairs manager for Erickson Living, where she is responsible for review programs that ensure compliance with state and federal laws, licenses and certifications required for each retirement community. She began her career with the Maryland Hospital Association and became vice president of Governmental Policy and Advocacy in 1998. Since that time, she has served on the Maryland Government Relations Association, Maryland Rural Health Association, and Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

    Eric Washington is the student conduct administrator for the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), where he provides leadership training for student community advocates and upholds the college’s code of conduct. Prior to this role, Mr. Washington was the adult coordinator/admissions counselor, adjunct professor, and coordinator of the weekend college at CCBC. He served as a Maryland state representative for the United States Civil Rights Commission and as commissioner for the Baltimore County Human Relations Commission. Mr. Washington is also an active member of the Police Community Relations Council and Dundalk Renaissance Corporation.

    About MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
    MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center is a not-for-profit 378-bed community teaching hospital located in the White Marsh section of eastern Baltimore County, Maryland. MedStar Franklin Square provides many medical and healthcare services, including a broad range of healthcare specialties, advanced technologies and treatments not traditionally found at community hospitals. The hospital is ranked third in admissions among all Maryland hospitals and is first in Emergency Department visits with more than 108,000 visits annually. MedStar Franklin Square is accredited by the Joint Commission and certified as a Primary Stroke Center and has earned some of the nation’s most prestigious quality awards including Magnet Designation for excellence in nursing, the Excellence Award for Quality Improvement from the Delmarva Foundation and inclusion in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital specialty ranking for four consecutive years. With more than 3,300 employees, MedStar Franklin Square is one of the largest employers in Baltimore County. Visit for more information.

  • October 27, 2016

    Doctors not ready to abandon annual pelvic exams

    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released a statement saying there wasn't enough evidence to determine whether the standard pelvic exam was beneficial for women without symptoms and who are not pregnant. However, this doesn't mean the exams will — or should — be abandoned by everyone, says Dr. Samuel Smith, MD, chairman of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Read the full story.

  • October 27, 2016


    One key to the declining rate of breast cancer is advancement in early detection.  At MedStar Southern Maryland, radiologists Anna H. Choi, Gina Kim-Ahn and Tina Sprouse are on the forefront of early detection, thanks to their fellowship training and years of experience in breast imaging, paired with a new 3-D tomosynthesis digital mammography machine.

    This new $500K mammography unit creates a 3-dimensional mammogram that yields an advanced form of breast imaging that is especially helpful in dense breast tissue.  The 3-D mammography also allows for detection of smaller tumors and of subtle secondary findings of cancer.

    “Not all mammograms are created equal,” says Dr. Ekaterini Tsiapali, who relies on Choi, Kim-Ahn and Sprouse to interpret mammogram images.  “It’s best to go to a facility that specializes in breast imaging, because adequately reading a mammogram requires expertise.”

    Two additional tools in the arsenal of these women, who have a combined 50 years of experience in the field, are the Breast Ultrasound and the Breast MRI.  The ultrasound is a tool that uses sound waves to look at breast tissue identified as abnormal on a mammogram.  The Breast MRI is the most sensitive test available and is used to evaluate the anatomy and function of breast tissue.  On the horizon is yet another test using nuclear medicine, which Choi, Kim-Ahn and Sprouse are watching, as all MedStar Medical Group Radiology physicians make sure to stay on the forefront of all new research and advance technology in their field to make sure MedStar Southern Maryland is able to provide the most state-of-the-art care.

    For more information about breast imaging, contact 301-868-6900

  • October 26, 2016
    MedStar NRH Network Medical Residents and Physicians made a very strong showing at the 2016 American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Conference (AAPM&R) Annual Assembly which took place recently in New Orleans.
  • October 21, 2016

    The Miracle of the "Abscopal Effect"


    A lung cancer patient experiences a "miracle" after receiving targeted radiation under the direction of his oncologist, Dr. Suman Rao, MD. The miracle, the "abscopal effect", is when targeted radiation treatment leads to a reduction in cancer cells throughout the body. Read more.