Wellness Wednesday: Give the Gift of Life

April is National Donate Life Month. It’s a month to celebrate those who have received transplants, to recognize those who continue to wait, to honor donors and donor families and to thank registered donors for giving hope.

30K-infographic1In 2015, organ transplants performed in the United States exceeded 30,000 for the first time annually. This incredible ‪‎milestone‬ is possible only because of donors and their families who make the generous decision to share life through donation.

Currently, over 118,000 men, women and children are awaiting organ transplants in the U.S. About 58% of patients awaiting transplants are minorities. Sadly, 8,000 people die each year22 people each day—because the organs they need are not donated in time.

Every 10 minutes another name is added to the nation’s organ transplant waiting list.

Who can donate?

NDLM-2017-InstagramAd_WebPeople of all ages and medical histories can be potential donors. Transplantation is one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine. It offers patients a new chance at healthy, productive and normal lives and returns them to their families, friends and communities.

The vast majority of Americans support organ donation. However, many people overlook the important step of registering as a donor. Donors are often people who died suddenly and unexpectedly. Their families are then faced with making the decision at a time of shock and grief. Registering now relieves your family of this burden.

30K-infographic2More than 121 million people—approximately 51% of the U.S. adult population—are
registered organ, eye and tissue donors. Yet, the wait is still long for some patients. The average waiting time for a kidney from a deceased donor is 3 to 5 years.

Each year, approximately 30,000 people are registered as tissue donors and more than 1 million tissue transplants are performed; the surgical need for donated tissue is steadily rising. One tissue donor can help save more than 50 people.

Approximately 79 organ transplants take place every day in the United States.

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Wellness Wednesday: Environmental Wellness

In the spirit of conservation, this is a recycled (and updated) version of a post from last year at this time (see what I did there?)

With Earth Day approaching, this week’s Wellness Wednesday column will focus on environmental wellness.

April-earthday2Environmental wellness refers to your relationship with your immediate surroundings and expanding to nature and the world around you. It refers to becoming aware that we are all a part of nature and recognizing that we need to take steps towards maintaining a lifestyle that maximizes harmony with the earth’s nature environment. It’s also to gain an understanding how your behavior and interactions affects and impacts your surrounding environment.

Relax. This isn’t about hugging trees, holding hands and singing Kumbayah.

But unless NASA finds a practical way for humans to get to and live on another planet—without being left behind like Matt Damon—Earth is our only home. And we need to take care of it in order for it to provide what we need to survive.

It stands to reason that if our surroundings are clean and well-cared for, we will benefit. There are many ways we can help in our own small part of the world that collectively will have a greater impact on the overall health of our environment.

Recycle and Reuse

  • Use paper, glass and aluminum recycling bins in your home and community.
  • Take your own bag to the grocery store.
  • Use a reusable water bottle, preferably stainless steel, which helps prevent ingesting toxic chemicals from plastic bottles
  • Use recyclable materials.


  • Save water. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth, shaving or washing the dishes.
  • Turn off the television, computer, tablets and other electronics when not in use.
  • Conserve on gas.
  • Improve your home’s energy efficiency with newer appliances.

Clean Green

  • Use natural or home-made cleaning products and pesticides.

Enjoy and Respect Nature

  • Enjoy, appreciate and spend time outside in natural settings.
  • Do not pollute the air, water or earth if you can avoid doing so.

Doing our part to preserve the wellness of our environment contributes directly to our own wellness.

Did You Know?

Here are some interesting facts about the environment and recycling.

  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.
  • During the time it takes you to read this sentence, 50,000 12-ounce aluminum cans are made.
  • An aluminum can may be recycled ad infinitum (forever!).
  • Every day, American businesses generate enough paper to circle the earth 20 times!
  • Only 1% of the world’s water supply is usable, 97% are the oceans and 2% is frozen.
  • Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees.
  • An automatic dishwasher uses less hot water than doing dishes by hand, an average of six gallons less per cycle, or over 2,000 gallons per year.
  • The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.
  • A modern glass bottle takes 4000 years or more to decompose.
  • Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour, most of which are thrown away!


Wellness Wednesday: Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the science of designing a person′s environment so that it facilitates the highest level of function. A person′s work environment should fit his or her capabilities as a worker.

Business woman with neck pain sitting at computerGood ergonomics prevent injury and promote health, safety, and comfort for employees.

The use of ergonomics principles can increase worker productivity and quality. Employers can implement a program that includes guidelines for employees to follow, contributes to an efficient work environment, prevents injuries and the development of chronic medical conditions, and helps employees return to work after an injury has occurred.

Occupational therapy practitioners are trained in the structure and function of the human body and the effects of illness and injury. They also can determine how the components of the workplace can facilitate a healthy and efficient environment or one that could cause injury or illness. An occupational therapist can help employers identify hazards that may contribute to on-the-job injury, and determine how it can be eliminated.

What can an occupational therapist do?

  • Identify and eliminate accident and injury risk factors in the workplace, such as actions associated with repetition, force, fixed or awkward postures, poorly designed tool handles, heavy loads, distance, vibration, noise, extreme temperatures, poor lighting, and psychosocial and other occupational stresses.
  • Analyze job functions and job descriptions based on job tasks.
  • Design pre-hire screenings to determine a candidate’s suitability to a particular job.
  • Modify tools and equipment so that they do not enable injury or illness.
  • Provide education and training on injury prevention, workplace health and safety regulations, and managing job-related stress.
  • Determine reasonable accommodations and worksite accessibility that is in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
  • Recommend changes employers can take to minimize injury and accident risk factors.

What can a person do to employ good ergonomics in the workplace?

  • Take a proactive approach to preventing injury in the workplace.
  • Follow guidelines set forth by employers that may prevent injury and illness.
  • Report hazards or poor work conditions or employee behavior that may contribute to illness or injury in the workplace.

Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are trained in helping both adults and children with a broad range of physical, developmental, and psychological conditions. Practitioners also help clients and their caregivers with strategies that can prevent injury and secondary complications, and support health and well-being.

Copyright 2004 by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.

Wellness Wednesday: Give the Gift of Life

Did you know that more than 119,000 Americans are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant? One-third of those people will die before they even receive an organ.

NDLM-2017-InstagramAd_WebApril is National Donate Life Month. When you choose to become a donor, you are choosing to do your part to help others in need.

There are many myths and misconceptions about organ donation that keep individuals from registering to be a donor. Before you make your decision about becoming a donor, arm yourself with the truth. This information is from the Donate Life PA website:

MYTH: Doctors will not try to save my life if they know I am a registered organ donor.

TRUTH: Paramedics, doctors and nurses will do everything possible to save your life. The medical staff is completely separate from the transplant team. Transplant surgeons are called only after all efforts to save a life have been exhausted. Learn more about the donation process.

MYTH: I can only sign up to donate when getting/renewing my driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID.

TRUTH: You can sign up to be an organ donor at any time—and it only takes 30 seconds. Sign up now.

MYTH: My religion does not approve of donation.

TRUTH: Many organized religions support organ donation, considering it a generous act that is the individual’s choice. Learn more about religion and donation.

MYTH: I don’t need to tell my family that I’d like to be a donor, because it’s already written in my will.

TRUTH: By the time your will is read, it will be too late for you to be a donor. Telling your family now that you want to be an organ and tissue donor is the best way to help them understand your wishes and make certain they are honored.

MYTH: Minorities should refuse to donate because organ allocation discriminates by race.

TRUTH: Organs are matched by many factors including blood type, medical urgency and time on the waiting list. A patient’s age, gender, race, ethnicity or wealth does not affect who receives available organs. Minorities make up more than half of the people currently on the organ transplant waiting list, and patients are more likely to find matches among donors of their same race or ethnicity. This is why it is especially important for minorities to sign up to be organ donors. Learn more about minorities and organ donation.

MYTH: I can’t be a donor because of my age or health issues.

TRUTH: Anyone can decide to be a donor regardless of age or health. In fact, the oldest organ donor in the U.S. was 92.  Your ability to donate is determined at the time of death.

MYTH: Donation will interfere with plans for my funeral.

TRUTH: Donation should not interfere with customary funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings. Doctors maintain dignity and respect for the donor at all times.

MYTH: Organs are sold, with enormous profits going to the medical community.

TRUTH: Federal law prohibits buying and selling organs in the United States. Violators are punishable by prison sentences and fines.

MYTH: The recipient will know who I am.

TRUTH: Information about the donor is released to the recipient only if the family of the donor requests or agrees to it. Otherwise, the strictest confidence of patient privacy is maintained for both donor families and recipients.


Doctors’ Day: Mercy Philadelphia Hospital Golden Stethoscope Awards

Mercy Philadelphia Hospital announced the winners of its Golden Stethoscope Awards today. The Golden Stethoscope Awards are colleague-voted awards given out annually at the Doctors’ Day Luncheon.

And the Golden Stethoscope goes to …

Golden Stethoscope on whiteBest Penmanship:

Priyanka T. Bhattacharya, MD, hospitalist


Daniel J. Sung, MD, hospitalist

Best Bedside Manner:

David J. Addley, DO, cardiovascular disease

Quickest to Answer Beeper:

Daniel J. Sung, MD, hospitalist

Best Dressed:

Gerald L. DeVaughn, MD, cardiovascular disease


Ravindra C. Hallur, MD, hospitalist

Most Dedicated:

John B. Fobia, MD, general and vascular surgery (tie)
Sushma Kaveti, MD, hospitalist (tie)

Best Leader:

Kevin S. Fleming, MD, hospitalist

Hardest Worker:

Gul Madison, MD, infectious disease

Best Team Player:

Malgorzata E. Goralczyk, MD, radiology

Best Personality:

Arafat Hakim, MD, hospitalist

Congratulations to all of our winners! And thank you to all of our MPH physicians for their dedication and commitment to caring for our community!

Doctors’ Day: Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital Golden Stethoscope Awards

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital announced the winners of its Golden Stethoscope Awards on Tuesday. The Golden Stethoscope Awards are colleague-voted awards given out annually at the Doctors’ Day Luncheon.

And the Golden Stethoscope goes to …

Golden Stethoscope on whiteBest Penmanship:

Richard A. Seifert, MD, cardiology


James M. Minnella, MD, internal medicine

Best Bedside Manner:

Brad S. Bendesky, MD, emergency medicine

Quickest to Answer Beeper:

Judith T. Tran, MD, psychiatry

Best Dressed:

Manzoor A. Rather, MD, hospitalist


John Makopoulos, MD, emergency medicine

Most Dedicated:

Anthony S. Mazzeo, MD, emergency medicine

Best Leader:

Martin J. O’Riordan, MD, cardiovascular disease

Hardest Worker:

Prashanth R. Ramachandra, MD, bariatric and general surgery

Best Team Player:

Jayamohan V. Nair, MD, hospitalist

Best Personality:

Peter Correnti, DO, cardiovascular disease (tie)
Michael J. Korman, MD, pulmonary medicine (tie)

Congratulations to all of our winners! And thank you to all of our MFH physicians for their dedication and commitment to caring for our community!

Wellness Wednesday: Eighty by 2018

Mercy Health System has joined with more than 1,000 organizations who have pledged to work together to increase the nation’s colorectal cancer screening rates and embrace the goal of reaching 80% screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.

eightyby201880% by 2018 was developed through the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) initiative with the goal of screening 80% of those aged 50 and older for colorectal cancer by the year 2018. The NCCRT was co-founded by the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How did the NCCRT settle on the ambitious goal of 80% by 2018?

GetTestedIn 2013, the member organizations of the NCCRT were challenged to develop a goal to advance colorectal cancer screening. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) already had an 80% goal for its Colorectal Cancer Control Program. Massachusetts, the first state to have health reform, was already at 76%. And most importantly, college graduates are already over 80% screening rate.

How Colorectal Cancer Survivors Can Help

As a cancer survivor or family member, the most important thing you can do to support 80% by 2018 is to share your story. You have the power to make screening relevant and personal.

People who have not been screened for colorectal cancer are much less likely to have had a close friend or family member with cancer than those who have been screened. Those who have not gotten screened don’t really understand the significance of the disease or think that they are at risk.

When survivors share personal stories, it helps put a face on colorectal cancer and conveys the necessity for screening.

If we can achieve 80% by 2018, 277,000 fewer people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 203,000 lives will be saved by 2030.


Progress is Being Made

Colorectal cancer incidence rates have dropped 30 percent in the U.S. in the last decade among adults 50 and older. In the simplest terms, this means people aren’t developing colorectal cancer at the same high rate as in the past, because more people are getting screened.

There’s Still Work to Do

While colorectal cancer incidence rates have dropped , it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Across the country, approximately 1 in 3 adults, around 23 million people aged 50 and 75 years old are not getting screened for colorectal cancer as recommended. Within the Mercy Health System service area alone, 33% of adults have not received colorectal screenings in the past 10 years.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More Information

NCCR: 80% by 2018

Colorectal Cancer Screening Fact Sheet

Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives

Vital Signs: Colorectal Cancer Tests Save Lives