At MedStar National Rehabilitation Network, gratitude is expressed each and every day from our friends, families, caregivers, community, and patients. These stories are from across MedStar Health system. Thank you for sharing your experience.
A Beautiful Legacy
A complicated health journey would take Elizabeth LaFleur, and her husband Arthur LaFleur, away from home.
Elizabeth had a diagnosis so difficult that her primary care physician in Boston sent her to Washington, D.C. to meet with Cal S. Matsumoto, MD at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. As a clinical specialist, Dr. Matsumoto conducted a multi-organ transplant on Elizabeth – a complex, time consuming surgery with numerous potential complications.
Elizabeth’s husband Arthur said, "I can't say enough good things about Dr. Matsumoto’s care. From the very first moment he walked into the conference room, Elizabeth and I felt a presence about him. He was caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable."
Understanding the gravity of the decision they were making to undergo this complex surgery, Dr. Matsumoto explained every possible alternative and what the complications were.
Given the limited, effective options available to her, Elizabeth chose to undergo the complex surgery. Tragically, she did not survive the nearly 12-hour operation. Despite this devastating outcome, Arthur was filled with love for his wife and gratitude for the MedStar team who skillfully and compassionately cared for her. He wanted to express his gratitude to both Dr. Matsumoto and his team, as well as pay tribute to Elizabeth in a special way.
Using a portion of the proceeds from her estate, Arthur honored their loving relationship – and Elizabeth’s passion for the Maine coast and lighthouses – by dedicating a tranquil fountain in the space where she received treatment. The fountain creates a beautiful legacy in Elizabeth’s memory that will benefit patients and their loved ones.
A Team’s Willingness to Further a Life
Without treatment, Ed Pinder would have six to nine months to live with his diagnosis of colon cancer. His disease was so advanced that his cancer had spread to his liver with too many tumors to count. Ed began the long, painful process of treating an illness designed to thwart treatment efforts.
After grueling surgeries and six months of hard chemotherapy treatment, Ed received a pump which deposited the chemo directly on his liver where it is concentrated on the tumors. This enables limited removal of the liver where tumors were occurring, with the expectation that the liver would regenerate in those areas. To continue this different kind of chemo treatment started in New York, Ed needed to find a local hospital care team willing to learn this new approach.
“Other nearby institutions had no idea what we were talking about when we approached them about this process called hepatic arterial infusion,” Ed said. He finally discovered the oncology department at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, where Pallavi P. Kumar, MD expressed interest and willingness to have her staff trained on this new procedure.
Ed continues to share his gratitude, “The team at MedStar Franklin Square helped me undergo multiple chemo therapies and get two liver resections and five ablations. More than that, they stood shoulder to shoulder with me, were direct and honest, and said we are going to make the best of this.”
Rides for Therapy Patients
Patricia Chung faced a loss of independence after her knee surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. She was advised by her physician that she would be unable to drive for several weeks.
For her first outpatient therapy appointment, she arranged a cab to the Irving Street clinic at MedStar National Rehabilitation Network. “It was $80, round-trip, and the cab did not pick me up at the exact location or on time,” Patricia explained. “You can imagine how frustrating and expensive it might have been to continue calling cabs on my own.”
Soon after her first therapy visit, she was connected with MedStar NRH’s Outpatient Transportation Program. The program, made possible through the 2016 and 2017 Power to Heal Campaigns, offers free Yellow Cab rides to eligible patients who cannot get to their therapy appointments on their own.
“Everything was so amazing and convenient,” Patricia said. “Everyone was so professional and kind, from Ashley Benoit [patient care coordinator] to the cab company. The drivers called ahead to let me know what time I could expect them, and they always picked me up and dropped me off exactly where I needed to be.”
“I’m so glad this kind of service exists to help patients like me. I’m back to driving on my own now, but when I really needed help getting to my appointments and my children weren’t available to drive me, I was so grateful I didn’t have to figure it out on my own.”
In the Right Place
When Felice Repas was diagnosed with melanoma, she chose MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center for treatment and wanted to share her experience to help others.