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At the Hospitals: Sept. 13, 2015



Sunday, September 13, 2015
Open House Set 
At New Rehab Center

Windsor — Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center will host an open house at its newly opened rehabilitation center on Sept. 24, from 2-4 p.m.

Kevin Donovan, the hospital and health center’s CEO, said the free event will be “very special” for the hospital and community.

“Not only have we opened a brand new, state-of-the-art facility, we’re also celebrating our 23rd rehabilitation reunion, when current and former patients return to share their progress with the staff members who helped care for them,” Donovan said in a hospital news release. “The reunion is always a joyful time, and this year, with the opening of our new rehabilitation center, it’s even more special.”

The open house will include success stories from former and current rehabilitation patients and information about technological advances and new options for improving patient care and outcomes, the hospital said. Anyone requiring special assistance to attend should call 802-674-7088.

Gift Honors Surgery 
That Saved 
Religious Leader’s Leg

Hanover — Descendants of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, have created a scholarship at Geisel School of Medicine to honor a surgery that Dartmouth’s Dr. Nathan Smith performed on Joseph Smith two centuries ago.

Joseph Smith and his family were living in Lebanon when an epidemic of typhoid fever ravaged the town in 1812 and 1813, and he and his siblings contracted the disease. Joseph Smith, then 7, recovered from the fever but developed osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone, in his left leg. A group of doctors from Dartmouth consulted on the case, and their first recommendation was amputation, the standard treatment of the time.

Desperate for him to avoid losing the leg, the family opted instead for an innovative surgery practiced by Nathan Smith, no relation to Joseph Smith, who had founded Dartmouth Medical School in 1797 and was still teaching there in 1813. The procedure Smith developed was not widely adopted until World War I, Geisel said in a news release.

During the operation, Smith drilled out pieces of diseased bone from the boy’s leg without anesthesia or antiseptic techniques, which were not yet common.

Although Joseph Smith used a crutch for three years and limped thereafter, his leg healed well and supported him for the rest of his life, Geisel said.

“Even today that would still be considered a very successful result,” said Dr. LeRoy Wirthlin, a retired vascular surgeon who has researched and written about the event.

The Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family Association, named in honor of Joseph Smith’s parents, is donating $25,000 to create Joseph Smith’s Miracle Surgery Scholarship for medical students.

“We have always been grateful to Dr. Nathan Smith for the miraculous surgery,” said Daniel Adams, a member of the association. “We felt it appropriate on the 200th anniversary of that surgery to offer a gift of gratitude to the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.”

The money was raised through a 5K run and celebration that the association organized in 2013.

HCRS to Recognize 
Direct Support Staff

Springfield, Vt. — Health Care and Rehabilitation Services will recognize its direct support staff this week with tokens of appreciation and a luncheon.

The events mark national Direct Support Professionals Week, which honors those who provide support services and advocacy for people with developmental, intellectual and other disabilities.

“Direct support professionals provide essential supports, which allow these individuals to live in their community, rather than in an institution,” HCRS said in a news release. “(They) deserve to be recognized for the challenging work they do, from teaching skills to supporting individuals in the community.

According to national statistics, roughly 4.6 million Americans have either an intellectual or developmental disability. Each year HCRS’ developmental services program works with about 500 people, 52 percent of whom receive on-the-job employment supports, the Springfield, Vt.-based nonprofit said.

— Compiled by Aimee Caruso