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In This Issue:
At the Ballpark
When Blaine Brown caught word that he might attend the August 4 Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers game, he was ecstatic. For a typical 22-year-old in the Boston area, attending Red Sox games is a regular past time. However, for Blaine, an intensely loyal Red Sox fan who lives in Maine and is currently a patient awaiting a heart transplant at BWH, it was a huge deal.
“I don’t think he slept that much the night before,” said Greg Couper, MD, cardiac surgeon at BWH, who along with John Byrne, MD, is managing Brown’s case. Couper attended Saturday’s game with his patient.
Thanks to Christine Dolan, LICSW, the BWH social worker on Brown’s patient care team, and the generosity of BWH’s advertising agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Blaine was able to attend Saturday’s game with Couper, two of his nurses and two of his three brothers, who traveled from Sanford, Maine to route for the home team with their sibling.
“I tried not to get my hopes up for the game too much in the few days before the game,” said Brown. “I knew that there was likelihood that a donor heart would become available and obviously that would take precedence. The morning of the game I really got pumped when I knew I’d definitely be on my way to Fenway,” added Brown, who has had to endure many difficulties in his young life.
Diagnosed with bone cancer at age 10, Brown is a cancer survivor. In addition to a leg amputation, he was treated with chemotherapy, which damaged his heart and caused cardiomyopathy and ultimately congestive heart failure. His heart condition was medically managed until his recent hospitalization.
Escorted by clinicians and family, Brown was transported to Fenway in a BWH van on Saturday morning. Fenway officials were gracious enough to provide Brown and his guests with early access to the Park to sit in on the Red Sox batting practice.
However, batting practice was cancelled due to weather. So instead, Brown received autographs from Darren Lewis (CF) and Brian Daubach (1B) and got to meet Daubach face-to-face. Not a bad trade-off.
“He is obsessed with the Red Sox,” said Karen Hill, RN, who along with Paul Lauzon, RN, joined Brown at the game. Hill and Lauzon have been regular members of Brown’s nursing team on 8A since his hospitalization began on Memorial Day.
Brown was able to go to the game because of a battery operated biventricular assist device (BiVAD), the stationary version of which is about the size of a washer machine. Brown’s battery operated machine fits easily on a luggage carrier and makes him more mobile. For this reason, he is able to walk about the hospital, eat lunch outside of his hospital room and, of course, attend the August 4 Red Sox game at Fenway.
“The portable device has provided Blaine with a sense of independence and a semblance of normalcy during his hospitalization,” said Cathy Saniuk, RN, program coordinator, Critical Care, who was instrumental in converting Brown to the portable Thoratec® VAD, training nurses on the device and acting as the resource person for this piece of technology.
“The best part of the day was Trot Nixon’s two homers,” said Brown, who did his share of cheering along with the rest of the vocal Sox fans at the game. “The game was awesome.”Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers, 10-4.