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Juke Rockets, Mellor win state competition

August 13th, 2012

Juke Rockets



Congrats to Steve Mellor (IS), one of the members of the Blues Band, The Juke Rockets, who were recently named the best Blues Band in the state. Read more…

Posted in August 2012 InPulse, In the Community

Children’s activity books, art supplies donated for ER

August 13th, 2012

Marci Bronstein, right, donated some children’s activity books and art supplies for the emergency room waiting area at the hospital. The children’s creativity in finishing and coloring drawings in the book may be included in some of Bronstein’s future artwork. Accepting the general donation is Kimberly Spectre, RN, Emergency Department Manager.

Posted in August 2012 InPulse, Hospital News, In the Community, Uncategorized

Hospital mans First Aid tent at Celtic Festival

August 13th, 2012

Tom Robinson PA and Barbara Crowley RN manned the First Aid tent at the Celtic Festival.

Posted in Uncategorized

Identifying and Preventing Concussions

August 9th, 2012

Posted in Doctor Recommendation, Exercise, General Information, J2H TV

Learn how to stay stafe while enjoying the Maine outdoors

August 9th, 2012

Posted in Exercise, General Information, J2H TV

Learn all about boating opportunities with Come Boating!

August 9th, 2012

Posted in Exercise, General Information, In the Community, J2H TV

“She is good to me,” says 96-year-old

August 9th, 2012


Belfast Public Health Nurse helps Eddie Bradstreet


By the time most people hit 96 years old, they are homebound, live with family or are in a nursing home where they get lots of help. But what do you do if you are 96 years old, living alone, still driving, and the closest family member lives nearly an hour away?


Belfast Public Health Nurse Shannon Robbins checks Bradstreet’s blood pressure at his home.

Eddie Bradstreet fits into that category. He isn’t homebound, since he still drives, and can do most things for himself but occasionally, he could use a little help.


This is where Belfast Public Health Nurse Shannon Robbins RN steps in. Bradstreet saw her picture in the newspaper after she was hired for the position several months ago and gave her a call. He needed help making his shower work for him. He no longer can stand to shower and when he sat on the chair he’d put in the shower, he couldn’t reach the sprayer to wash his back.


Shannon visited him and made some suggestions for a safer situation. Bradstreet had a plumber come in and install a hook to hold the shower hose where he could reach it.


While she was there, Shannon also took Bradstreet’s vital signs, including his blood pressure, which has a tendency to run high. His blood pressure was fine that day.


She also talked to him about cooking his own meals and he told her he does that in a toaster oven because he is afraid to use the oven in his stove. He worries that something will happen to him before he shuts the oven off and his house will burn down.


“I like to try and do what I can do myself…I like to make pies. I’m a good cook and I like to eat,” he says.


On a subsequent visit, Bradstreet tells her where the instructions are on how to work the oven. As Shannon announces that she thinks she has figured out the timer oven, Bradstreet replies, “I thought you’d be able to with the directions.” She is also able to show him how to use the oven on a timer that will shut it off automatically when the entered time is up.


Shannon shows Eddie how the timer oven on his stove works.



She also discovers that the hook for the shower wasn’t strong enough and fell off. She assures Bradstreet that she has seen more sturdy hooks and will order one for him. She also tries to make the chair in the shower less wobbly and urges him to be very careful.


On this visit, Bradstreet’s blood pressure is higher than it should be, so Shannon tells him she will be back in a week to check it again. She is also trying to find a home aide to occasionally help Bradstreet with some of his chores.


As for Bradstreet, he says his favorite part of Shannon’s visits is that she talks to him and “lifts my spirits.” Bradstreet, who used to teach classes for ambulance personnel for years, misses seeing the people he used to teach and work with. But he remembers their names with no hesitation.


Today, Bradstreet enjoys going to church, church suppers and church fairs. “I like to eat and see the people,” he explains,” especially the ones I know,” who are getting fewer in number. “I don’t talk a lot but I like to be around people.”


Bradstreet says he tries to keep his mind working by repeating things he knows by heart, such as the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm. He also thinks about things he used to do and the people who were in the First Aid and CPR classes that he taught for the Red Cross.


When he went in to renew his driver’s license last September, the person giving the eye tests was amazed, “Your eyes are almost perfect,” adding, “You will be 100 years old, the next time you come in to renew your license.”


Bradstreet isn’t so sure he will be there for that but he does still get around the house, both inside and out; does his own housework; and goes to church on a regular basis. He attends either the First Church or the Calvary Church, where he particularly likes seeing all the young people “bustling around.”


Bradstreet receives phone calls every day from his granddaughter, who lives in Penobscot, his daughter in Robinson (who is a public health nurse), and his son in Massachusetts. He carries his cell phone with him all the time so he won’t miss their calls. There are other people who used to live in Belfast that he also talks with quite regularly.


Bradstreet, who lost his wife, Hazel, three years ago, says of Shannon, “whenever I want her to, she comes down.” Shannon replies that Bradstreet is one of the easiest clients that she works with.


“I guess she’s all right,” replies Bradstreet, and then he turns to Shannon and says, “You’re very good to me.”


(The Belfast Public Health Nursing Association is funded by the city of Belfast, UMCC, private donations, and Waldo County General Hospital.)



Posted in April 2012 In Pulse, In the Community

Local Toddler Shows Strength in Strep Fight

August 2nd, 2012

by Joseph Anderson, MD

A local toddler has attracted lots of local attention recently for her sudden illness and hospital stay at EMMC.  The germ responsible is Group A Strep, the same germ that is known for causing common ‘strep throat’ in kids all over the world.  We at Belfast Pediatrics have been getting questions from many of our patients about her welfare and if there’s anything they should look out for in their own families.

I chatted with Hailey’s mom, Melody, yesterday and she allowed me to share some information about her situation with the community.  She and the EMMC staff told me that she was showing steady improvement every day. She suddenly got sick last weekend with a fever and foot pain but no sore throat.  For some unknown reason, Hailey’s strep infection was not in her throat but instead in her foot where it caused a blood clot. This is a rare and dangerous form of the infection but one which the EMMC team has dealt with before.  When this strain of strep gets under the skin, it can cause more serious infections like Hailey’s, or the infamous ‘flesh-eating’ necrotizing fasciitis.

Hailey has needed lots of medical help since she arrived at EMMC but fortunately her condition is stabilizing.  The blood clot stopped the flow of blood to her foot and she will need to have the dead tissue surgically removed this week. When I spoke to her mother, Hailey was still on a ventilator to help her breathing but they hope to get her off soon.

Melody wanted me to make sure I thanked everyone in the area for the outpouring of support for her family.  The Angler’s Restaurant benefit dinner was a huge success, and restaurant manager, Amy Nickerson and staff deserve a big thank you.  Hailey has a long  recovery ahead and she and her family will continue to need help in the coming weeks and months.  Hailey’s family and EMMC care team have already made arrangements with Shriner’s organization to help with her rehabilitation.

So how can we prevent this from happening to other children?  Clearly nothing could have been done differently in Hailey’s case in hindsight.  Melody is a very attentive mom,  knew right away that she was sick, and brought her to her pediatrician, Dr. Jan Gorton.  Dr. Gorton, after evaluating Hailey, ordered the blood culture which showed the infection.  The Waldo County Hospital Emergency Room team wasted no time in getting intravenous antibiotics into her when they recognized how serious her condition was and sent her via Life Flight to EMMC.

Streptococcus pyogenes is one of the most common infections in children but can be unpredictable.  Someone infected with this germ can be anywhere on a wide spectrum from completely asymptomatic to deathly ill.  Some can carry the germ in their throats for months, with no fever or sore throat at all.  Most commonly, Strep causes sore throats with fever and swollen glands under the jaw.  This infection can also cause a sandpapery red rash on the trunk, a combination known as ‘scarlet fever.’  In addition, some Strep patients can get impetigo, a blistering weepy rash commonly on the face.  Others can get kidney damage resulting in bloody urine. The serious forms of Group A Strep infection, called ‘invasive strep,’ occur when the germ gets under the skin, where it can cause rapid tissue destruction and blood clots. Streptococcal toxins also cause Toxic Shock Syndrome which causes cardiovascular collapse.

There are thousands of cases of Strep infection every year in Maine. When interviewed about this strep strain, former State of Maine epidemiologist Dr. Dora Anne Mills reported, “On average we see about 19 people in Maine with invasive group A strep every year.” While some types of infections come from overseas travelers and are vaccine-preventable, neither is the case for homegrown strep.

The best way for any parent to identify a serious infection is to do just what Melody did.  She watched her daughter carefully, especially when she knew she had a fever.  She took her temperature and made sure she drank plenty of fluids.  Even though it wasn’t an especially high fever, Melody told me there were two things that were different about this illness: she was shivering a lot, and she had foot pain. These are not common signs of typical childhood viral infections.  Dr. Gorton also decided to do the extra blood testing because of these unusual symptoms. “Listen to your gut” seems to be the most valuable lesson here.

Kids with regular strep throat do not turn into what Hailey has.  Typical strep throat, often identified by a quick office throat swab, goes away within a day or two of starting antibiotics like penicillin. Even strep impetigo rash responds quickly to antibiotic creams.  However, here are some warning signs of more serious disease: fever over 104, sore throat with noisy breathing, inability to drink liquids. Any of these signs should prompt a visit to the doctor. Skin infections with fever, an expanding area of redness or drainage also warrant a check-up.

Most infections that people get come from our hands, so good old hand washing is the best way to protect yourself and your family from any germ.  Every kid gets a few cuts and scrapes, but any of these could be an open door for an infection.  Each wound should be cleaned right away with water to prevent this. This also lets you get a good look at the cut to see if it might need medical treatment, like a gaping wound or a cut that won’t stop bleeding.

Hailey has a long road ahead of her but she and her family know they have all of us in Waldo County looking out for her.  Why she got more than simple strep throat is a mystery to everyone, but hopefully these simple tips will help us know what to look for.

Posted in In the Community

Hospital Aid’s Garden Walk Scheduled

June 22nd, 2012


One of the gardens on the 2012 Waldo County General Hospital Aid’s garden walk on July 13th is the Tucker-Kulik garden featuring a terraced hillside of perennials and stonework.

Tickets are available for the 22nd annual Waldo County General Hospital Aid’s Garden Walk which will take place on Friday, July 13h, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine. This self-guided tour includes 9 gardens in the Belfast area this year, most on the ocean or in the city.

Tickets are $15 each, include a map to the gardens, and can be purchased at the Hospital Gift Shop, 118 Northport Avenue, and at Brambles garden store, 69 Main Street, both in Belfast or by mail. All proceeds benefit the hospital. For more information, call 930-6739 or 338-2785. 

Posted in Hospital News

Fullam Harris: Healthcare must do more with less

June 21st, 2012

Recently, Katie Fullam Harris, VP and Senior Director of Employer and Government Relations for MaineHealth, laid out for the Belfast Rotary Club the road map for “How Maine’s Healthcare System Must Learn to Do More with Less.”


Katie Fullam Harris


First, she set the stage. Maine:

Read more…

Posted in Hospital News, June 2012 InPulse, Uncategorized

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