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  • Lucy De La Cruz
    January 20, 2022

    The renowned 39-year-old breast surgeon becomes youngest Latina woman to lead breast surgery program in U.S. at major academic medical center

    WASHINGTONLucy Maria De La Cruz, MD, has joined MedStar Georgetown University Hospital as chief of its Breast Surgery Program and director of the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center. Dr. De La Cruz is a fellowship-trained breast surgeon who specializes in advanced breast surgery procedures, including wireless lumpectomies, hidden scar technique, oncoplastic breast conservation, and nipple-sparing mastectomy. She has been published in more than two dozen peer-reviewed scientific journals, and her pivotal papers on nipple-sparing mastectomy and oncologic outcomes have been cited worldwide. She will also direct the hospital’s breast surgery fellowship program.

    Lucy De La Cruz

    “I am honored and excited to lead the breast surgery program and the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital,” said De La Cruz. “It has been my life-long dream to bring my passion for medicine, helping others and building a state-of-the-art breast surgery program to advance breast health. I look forward to working with our multidisciplinary team of breast health experts to compassionately care for, educate and empower my patients in their health journey.”

    Dr. De La Cruz is an academic breast surgeon who conducts outcomes-focused research, and among her special interests are the impact of genomic mapping to guide breast cancer treatment and male breast cancer treatment. Her work is guided by a long-standing commitment to promoting equity and efficacy in breast cancer care delivery, using the principles of value-based health care.
      
    “The Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital are thrilled to have Dr. De La Cruz lead the breast surgery program. Her commitment to patients, their journey, and their outcomes are unmatched; and her expertise in novel surgical techniques brings new and beneficial options to patients,” said David H. Song, MD, MBA, FACS, Physician Executive Director, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Professor and Chair Department of Plastic Surgery, and Interim Chair, Department of Surgery, Georgetown University School of Medicine.
     
    Dr. De La Cruz’s story

    Dr. De La Cruz, 39, started her journey towards becoming the youngest Latina woman to lead a breast cancer surgery program at a major academic medical center at young age. As the daughter of international physician researchers, she spent a lot of time in labs where her parents worked, sparking her passion for medicine and “making a difference in people’s lives.” She grew up in Cuba, Mozambique, Spain, and Miami.
     
    In college, she studied abroad in the Dominican Republic at the Universidad Central Del Este School of Medicine, where students were involved in patient care very early in their education and training. There, she completed her medical degree, founded an American Medical Student Association chapter and raised scholarship funds to help those who couldn’t afford tuition.

    After graduation, she was told becoming a surgeon would be nearly impossible as a foreign medical graduate and a female. Despite this, De La Cruz obtained research fellowships from the University of Miami and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She continued her journey by obtaining a one-year residency internship at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami, where she earned the Intern of the Year award and an AOA medical honor society membership for her dedication to medical student teaching. During her residency, she worked on an award-winning oncologic outcomes research project for nipple-sparing mastectomy that continues to be cited worldwide.
     
    That same year, Dr. De La Cruz started her breast surgery fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Following graduation, she worked in private practice for a year before returning to the University of Pennsylvania as a faculty member in the associate program director of the breast cancer surgery fellowship program.
     
    After relocating to Washington, D.C., to be close to her family, she founded the breast cancer fellowship program curriculum at the Inova Health System. Now at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and The Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center, she continues to teach residents and fellows, pursue research, and care for patients – the fulfillment of her lifelong dream. 

    About MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

    About the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center


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  • December 05, 2017
    Fine Arts Aimed at Care of the Whole Person
  • December 05, 2017

    Dina Mallis Klicos Brings Twenty Years Experience to Leadership Role

    BALTIMORE, (December 5, 2017) - MedStar Health has named Dina Mallis Klicos to its leadership team at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center as Vice President of Philanthropy, as of October 30. 

    Dina will work with physicians and clinicians to build the “Gratitude Matters” grateful patient philanthropy program, which promotes an understanding of how expressing gratitude can play a role in healing and a positive patient experience.  She will also drive major philanthropic investments in the hospital’s capital and clinical priorities, and build a major gifts program that will sustain MedStar Franklin Square’s service to the community for years to come.

    These philanthropic investments will have a lasting impact on the hospital’s campus and facilities and patient care programs.

    “Dina’s experience and record of accomplishments will help guide MedStar Franklin Square into a new era of philanthropic investment,” said Sarah Fawcett-Lee, MedStar Health’s Regional Vice President for Philanthropy. “We are thrilled to welcome her to MedStar’s philanthropy team.”

    Prior to coming to MedStar, Dina was Chief Development Officer for the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical System and Director of Principal and Major Gifts for the for the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

    Dina has served on a variety of boards in the region and has extensive community service experience. She currently volunteers at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, The Junior League of Baltimore, Inc., Gilchrist Care Holly Ball, and Our Daily Bread.

    She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.

    For information on the philanthropy program at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, visit www.medstarfranklin.org/philanthropy or call 443-777-7935.

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    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 medstarfranklin.org for more information.

     

  • December 04, 2017

    Local Woman and Newborn Saved After Sudden Potentially-Fatal Pregnancy Complications

    Our story begins on a chilly night in late December 2016. Excited, soon-to-be parents, LaWan Sypert-Mujiheed, an accountant, and her doting husband, Dawud, arrived at our doors ready to welcome their daughter.

    OB/GYN Dr. Michael Hotchkiss was ready for this moment, as well. “They’re a wonderful couple,” he said. “Dawud would come to every single visit with LaWan. We were following her carefully throughout her pregnancy, as it was a high-risk case, being IVF with advanced maternal age. At her last appointment, Dawud asked, ‘Doc, are we doing okay?’ I said, ’we’re doing just great.’”

    Dr. Hotchkiss knew LaWan was on her way to the hospital that evening. The plan was for the OB/GYN on duty to begin induction of labor. Dr. Hotchkiss planned to see LaWan by morning when she was ready to deliver. Soon after arrival at our doors, though, LaWan began contracting on her own. This baby was ready to meet her parents. And the OB/GYN team was prepared.

    But it quickly became frighteningly apparent that something was very wrong. LaWan, who was in active labor, let out a noise, a whoosh of air, and collapsed, passing out completely. The baby’s heartbeat slowed.

    Nurses sprung into action, activating the hospital code for Rapid Response. The mother's condition continued to deteriorate. An anesthesiologist was paged. The baby needed to come out, now. The OB/GYN on duty performed an emergency c-section and baby Laila was delivered around 1:40 a.m. Both mother and baby needed immediate attention. Both were in grave danger.

    Dr. Brook Gebeyehu, the anesthesiologist on duty, intubated and oxygenated LaWan. She was rushed into the Intensive Care Unit as the doctors worked in concert to try to save her life. LaWan was comatose and experiencing a blood clotting disorder that caused her to begin to bleed out of every orifice of her body.

    Across town, the Chair of our hospital’s OB/GYN Department, Dr. Nahid Mazarei, received a phone call. It was 2:30 a.m.

    “I’m so glad the nurses didn’t hesitate to call,” said Dr. Mazarei. “They called at 2:30 a.m. with no reservations and that accelerated what we were able to do. They’re empowered to go above and beyond. I tell every patient, you’ll get everything I have and that’s how the whole system operates. We work collaboratively and it’s seamless the way we work with one another and communicate with patients and their families.”

    Dr. Mazarei thought carefully about what was being described to her. It sounded like a case of an amniotic embolism, which was a scary proposition. She knew these cases are around 80 percent fatal and that fatality comes so quickly these cases are typically only diagnosed during an autopsy after the mother passed away. She also remembered, with the remaining 20 percent who survive, the majority experience the tragedy of permanent brain damage. Dr. Mazarei sprung into action, jumping in her car and calling another of our hospital’s experts, Dr. Sara Parker.

    Around 3 a.m. the piercing ring of her phone awoke Dr. Parker. She bolted out of bed, raced to her car and discussed the facts of the case en route. They concurred: it was an amniotic fluid embolism, wherein the amniotic fluid and fetal cells flood a mother’s body, disrupting every system, causing LaWan’s heart and lungs to collapse and her body to have a seizure. She was dying and they had to hurry.

    “I’m one of the luckiest OB/GYN Chairs around,” said Dr. Mazarei. “To have Dr. Parker, who is trained in both critical care and obstetrics, it’s rare across the nation. It takes us to a whole different level. What is great about this place is that with the MedStar network, you get layer after layer of support.”

    In Labor & Delivery, baby Laila was struggling. After birth, she was experiencing a drastically fluctuating heart rate. Her lungs were also compromised. Then, baby Laila coded, her tiny body going into cardiac arrest, three times. She was intubated with an unstable heart rate and was readied to be flown to Children’s Hospital.

    Dr. Parker arrived. She saw LaWan had lost way too much blood. She ran down to the blood bank, to the lone associate working this normally quiet shift before dawn. Dr. Parker counted units of blood herself, determined the amount of platelets LaWan needed and made the call that the Red Cross must bring extra units to save LaWan’s life. The Red Cross’s truck departed Baltimore for Clinton.

    The skies outside turned from mist to rain. It would be unsafe for baby Laila to fly by helicopter to Children’s Hospital. It would take longer, but they must drive, with paramedics performing CPR for an hour on the road, not knowing how fortuitous it was that the weather prevented their flight. They did not know until later, when the x-ray came through after they were already on their way, but during the event of her birth, Baby Laila had developed a lung condition called bilateral pneumothorax. The pockets of air that were present in her walnut-sized lungs meant the pressure changes that would have occurred during a helicopter flight would have been fatal.

    Laila arrived in dire condition, but alive, at Children’s Hospital. It was now after 10 a.m. To stabilize the baby, physicians there put her into a hypothermic state, where her delicate body was cooled down, slowing her metabolism and hopefully, they fervently wished, sparing her from brain damage.

    Back at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, steroid treatments and units of blood had been administered to LaWan, and the medication began to help her blood coagulate again. After all the units of blood and platelets she received, it looked like there was a sliver of possibility she might live. She was in a coma, but was as stable as possible under the circumstances. Would she come out of her coma? Would she live long enough to meet her baby? If so, would she ever wake up and be able to hold her?

    Exhausted, Dr. Parker and Dr. Mazarei could finally breathe again. For now, though they would stay at the hospital for countless hours ahead, as would the entire team, they could rest. And wait.

    The Aftermath

    LaWan lay in her bed, barely responsive, for days. ICU nurses were losing hope for recovery because their patient just wasn’t responding. But Dominique Stuckey, Director of the Women and Newborn’s Center, would bring her fellow Labor & Delivery nurses in numerous times per day, believing LaWan could hear and understand them. Slowly, she began to respond to simple commands.

    Baby Laila gained weight. Her daddy came to see her every day. Her doctors waited nervously for the results of her EEG tests measuring brain activity. To their delight, the tests came back with normal results. Laila was bright-eyed, and incredibly, she was perfect. After just over a week at Children’s Hospital, she was ready for discharge and was finally brought to the bedside of her mom.

    From MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, LaWan would transition to the MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital (MNRH), thanks to the help Dr. Parker and hospital administration provided to secure transition to this top-tier facility.

    It would take her months in rehab at the MNRH for LaWan to recover. There, she learned how to eat, swallow and speak again. She grew stronger by the week.

    The Present

    Miraculously, ten months have passed and LaWan and Laila are doing well. Laila is a happy baby who likes to make her voice heard. She has two teeth and is mere weeks from crawling.

    “You are never prepared to hear your wife is dying and your baby is too,” he said. “But God had a plan. I thought of that every time I would drive to the hospital to see my baby. I knew she would pull through, just like her mother. They are strong women. And I think about Dr. Mazarei. I’ve never seen a woman as strong as my wife, but she is.”

    As his anxiety has faded with time, the overwhelming feelings of love and gratitude remain with Dawud. He calls Laila the apple of his eye and a gift from God. He also continues to marvel at LaWan powering through her recovery. She still goes to therapy three times per week, but they are healthy, they are alive and they are a happy family.

    For the doctors, nurses and all MedStar associates who played a part in this story, the experience has not left their minds, either. What remains with the team is an inspiring, touching memory of being a part of something that can truly be called a miracle.

    “The whole team functioned extremely well,” said Dr. Hotchkiss. “Every time we’d say ‘you’ve got to do more!’ they did more. It was an amazing response and a great outcome.”

    Visit MedStarSouthernMaryland.org/Family for more information about our Women and Newborns Center.

  • November 29, 2017
    Members of the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation pose before “Diamonds and Pearls” commenced Nov. 17. Pictured in front are Rick Tepel, left, and Vince Whittles. In the second row are, from left, Christine R. Wray, president of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital; Jennifer Blake Meyer, chair of the 2017 gala committee; and Karen Garner, a member of the Tarleton Family, this year’s presenting sponsor.

    Leonardtown, Maryland (Nov. 29, 2017) – The St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation recently celebrated three decades of fun and philanthropy at “Diamonds and Pearls,” the 30th Annual Gala, held Nov. 17 at the Hollywood Social Hall.

    Sponsored by the Foundation and the Tarleton Family, the annual black-tie affair featured a gourmet dinner and dessert by Ken’s Creative Kitchen of Annapolis with live entertainment by Nocturne. The Hollywood Social Hall was transformed into a soft, cream-and-blush landscape accented by pearls and diamonds with more than 500 guests in attendance.

    John and Michelle Flatley held the winning chance for the Galaxy Necklace: a black Tahitian pearl and diamond pendant with pearl earrings, courtesy of G&H Jewelers.

    More than $165,000 was raised in net proceeds to help fund healthcare scholarships through MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. To date, 142 scholarships have been awarded to local students.

    “The gala is always a special evening, but this event — our thirtieth — was especially memorable,” said Jennifer Blake Meyer, head of the 2017 gala committee and chair of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Board of Directors. “From the generous community support to the high energy on the evening itself, this year’s gala was an exciting time for a great cause.”

    Many local businesses, medical professionals, and organizations sponsored the evening’s festivities. The Foundation and MedStar St. Mary’s would like to thank and acknowledge this year’s contributors, especially the Tarleton Family “Precious Memories,” the Presenting Sponsor ($25,000).

    Thank you to the Premiere Sponsors ($15,000): Associates in Radiation Medicine, MedStar Shah Medical Group, US Acute Care Solutions, and Christine Wray & John Felicitas. The Foundation also extends their gratitude to the Diamond Sponsors ($10,000): AMEWAS, Inc., The Cherry Cove Group, G&H Jewelers, MedStar Health and the Meyer Family, as well as the 42 businesses and community members who generously sponsored the event at Platinum ($6,000), Gold ($4,000), Silver ($2,500) and Bronze ($850) levels.

    Visit MedStarStMarys.org/30 to view the event gallery.

  • November 29, 2017

    This fall, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center Director of Security, Christopher Wade, attended an informative program presented by the Maryland Hospital Association and the Maryland Nurses Association, which outlined positive steps associates can take to prevent hostile exchanges before they start, ways to identify and monitor potentially difficult situations and steps MedStar Southern Maryland can take to prevent workplace violence.

    “We’re committed to keeping our staff safe,” says Wade.  “With early intervention, and employing techniques that de-escalate situations, we can prevent workplace violence.  We also rely on training and working together because it takes a collaborative effort.”

    Wade urges associates to be proactive.  An example of this occurred when he saw a frazzled mother of a three-year-old waiting in the ED.  After asking her to have her son not run across the row of chairs, Wade went to the front desk for a coloring book and crayons for the little boy, giving them to his grateful mother, helping them both better endure waiting for service.

    “I look at it this way: we have an opportunity to help,” said Wade.  “In healthcare, this job gives you the opportunity to impact people’s lives in a positive way.’”

    In 2018, Wade will be implementing additional ways for the hospital to create a safer environment, including installing panic buttons, additional cameras, a visitor management system in the main lobby and emergency call towers.  He says all MedStar Southern Maryland Security associates have participated in a verbal de-escalation training and he plans to present the information he learned at this forum at the next quarterly in-service day. Wade is a member of the MedStar Corporate Workplace Violence Committee, which is finalizing a MedStar Health system-wide plan to combat workplace violence. 

  • November 29, 2017

    As the number of people living well into their 80’s has risen, so have the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Today, more than five million Americans are living with the disease. Awareness of Alzheimer’s disease has also increased over the years, though caring for people who have dementia remains difficult.

    “Families today are typically smaller, more spread out and more dependent on wage earners working outside the home,” says MedStar internal medicine and geriatric physician Helen Norwood, MD, MedStar Medical Group. “This means there is an increasing necessity for resources for families who have an elderly family member experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, which is the leading form of dementia.”

    Dementia is a neurocognitive (mental processing) disorder affecting perception, memory, judgment or reasoning. Impairment areas include learning, memory, language, executive function, motor function and social cognition, and often become apparent when family members observe behavioral changes and incidences of poor judgment, says Dr. Norwood.

    As your loved one ages, Norwood recommends families come up with care plans, and urges individuals to plan ahead to designate a power of attorney. This process should be done sooner rather than later, she says, when the elderly family member can still express their wishes and values.

    When Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, patients and their families should seek out reputable and helpful organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association or a local Center for Aging to assist with information and resources, or finding social workers. Since there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, having resources families can rely on for assistance and information is important.

    Please visit MedStarSouthernMaryland.org/Alzheimers to learn more about Alzheimer's Disease and dementia.

    If you need to find a doctor for an aging parent or relative, please visit MedStarSouthernMaryland.org/FindADoc to access our Find-A-Doc feature.