Carney story’s a wondrous one

The story of the dramatic turnaround in the fiscal health of Dorchester’s Carney Hospital is truly a remarkable one.

It was just thirty months ago that Attorney General  Martha Coakley conducted an investigation of the hospital and its  parent network. “We are looking at the Caritas Christi system,” Coakley said in late 2007. “Like many people in the Carney Hospital service area, we are concerned about its viability. The system as a whole causes some concern to us. It’s always of concern when a nonprofit has an operating record that’s negative and appears to be getting worse.”
Later, Coakley seemed to give up any hope for our hospital. Her recommendation: “Carney should consider further developing, as well as expanding, services such as behavioral and ambulatory health.” Translation: Make Carney a psychiatric hospital.

Now, two years later, we learn that the new management team at Caritas, headed by Dr. Ralph de la Torre, has reversed the downward spiral. In 24 months, Carney and the other five Caritas hospitals are now said to be on solid financial footing. “Our strongest point is our operations,” de la Torre said last week. Stating that the hospitals are now profitable, he said, “We operate better than anyone in Massachusetts.”

That’s good news for Caritas and for Carney, and great news for the working-class residents of Dorchester and Mattapan. Our neighborhoods are blessed to be home to a strong and vibrant community hospital.

Viva, Caritas! Long live Carney Hospital!
– Ed Forry

Quick response by Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) paramedics may have saved the life of a seven-year-old Roxbury girl who was in “severe respiratory distress” early Tuesday morning.
The asthmatic girl had been dealing with a heavy winter cold over the weekend, and she suddenly stopped breathing shortly after midnight Monday. The family called 911, and paramedics from Ambulance 40 were dispatched to the home.

A Boston EMS stayed on the phone and coached the family  to give rescue breaths and position her body to help her keep breathing before emergency crews arrived. The EMTs arrived within three and a half minutes and stabilized the girl’s breathing and oxygen intake – most likely saving her life – and rushed her to Boston Medical Center.

EMS officials say that asthmatics are more likely to have increased medical problems with the cold or flu and need to take extra precautions during the season. Children with asthma especially need to take steps to stay well, since they have smaller airways than adults.

 They offer the following steps to stay well:
 • Get an annual flu shot if your doctor recommends it
• Ask your doctor if you need a pneumonia vaccination; most people only need this vaccination once.
• Avoid contact with anyone who’s sick.
• Wash your hands often.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Stay in shape.
• Regular exercise may help you avoid getting sick.

 A key to the life-saving work of the EMS, the agency says, is that the little girl’s family was well informed about the treatment of asthma, they recognized the signs of trouble, and immediately called 911 for help. More information is available at the website, cityofboston.gov/ems . 
– E. F.