Since February is National Heart Health Month, I’d like to focus this column on cardiovascular health—specifically on stroke awareness and prevention.
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke, making it the most common cause of paralysis and the fifth leading cause of death in this country. What’s even more startling is that the stroke rate has gone up among young and middle-aged Americans over the last 30 years.
The good news is that maintaining heart health, responding quickly when strokes occur and administering proper care afterward can all have a significant impact on stroke outcomes.
By CASPAR EWIG COOPERSTOWN Further development of the proposed Bassett Hospital Averill Road housing project, for which the Cooperstown Board of Trustees had issued a special permit on January 5, has been stalled due to litigation instituted by adjacent property owners.
On January 18, 2023, Michael Swatling and Carolyn O’Brien filed a petition in the Madison County Supreme Court in which they alleged that the Cooperstown Board of Trustees applied an incorrect standard when analyzing the project’s environmental impact in light of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act. In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that the project should have been classified as a “Type 1 Action” since it is being constructed in the Glimmerglass Historic District. Instead, the village evaluated the project and issued its special permit as an “Unlisted Action,” and this improper designation requires that the special permit be annulled, the petition contends.
COOPERSTOWN – Bassett Hospital’s proposal to build housing for its employees on Averill Road, on property owned by the Templeton Foundation, was the subject of a public hearing before Cooperstown’s Board of Trustees on January 5. That hearing was in conjunction with the board voting on whether a special permit to allow the construction should be granted and, if granted, under what conditions or limitations.
The hearing had attracted interest and was well attended.
At the outset, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh set the ground rules for the hearing. After the Bassett representatives explained the project, each participant was allowed five minutes to comment.
Dear Friends, Neighbors and Colleagues, The holiday season is an excellent time for reflection. We look back on our blessings at Thanksgiving, look forward with resolutions to the New Year, and spend quality time with those most important to us. I’d like to do a little reflecting on Bassett Healthcare Network in this month’s column—starting with our people.
Our caregivers are the greatest blessings of the year and our best hope for the future. Over the past year, Bassett Healthcare Network has received many distinguished acknowledgements for the amazing work of our caregivers in many disciplines. Here are some highlights:
Monthly news and insights by Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, president and CEO of Bassett Healthcare Network
I am honored to have the opportunity to reach you through “The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.” Each month I will keep you up to date on emerging public health information, share the latest news from Bassett Healthcare Network, talk about health trends in the news, address your questions and concerns, and discuss ways you and your family can stay healthy.
At Bassett, we are dedicated to improving the health of our patients and wellbeing of our communities. With flu season right around the corner, we want to make sure you and your family are protected. Being vaccinated against the flu not only protects you, it also protects people around you who are more vulnerable to flu, such as people 65 and older, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions or lowered immunity, and young children. The flu can also cause certain health conditions—like diabetes, asthma, heart, and lung disease—to become worse. So, protect yourself and those around you. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine each year.
ONEONTA – Dr. Joseph Scott Lunn, 91, died peacefully at his home on August 28, 2022. He was born on July 11, 1931 in Oneonta, NY to the late William H. Lunn and Dorothy (Hanks) Lunn. He graduated from Oneonta High School in 1949, and Wesleyan University in Connecticut in 1953.
He received his medical degree in 1958 from the SUNY Upstate Medical School in Syracuse, NY, and continued his internship and residency in Syracuse. In 1962, he served a two-year tour with the Public Health Service in Atlanta, GA, conducting malaria research. In 1964 he undertook a two-year fellowship in infectious diseases at the Upstate Medical School, and then entered practice in Syracuse.
In 1969, he became an associate physician at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY, and in 1972 was appointed Chief of the Medical Staff at Bassett, a position he held until 1980 when he joined the Medical College of Georgia (now Augusta University) as an attending physician and clinical professor until his retirement in 1996.
I had the most wonderful experience at Bassett Hospital when I was admitted a week ago with Covid.
Bassett was a great experience. I was admitted in inpatient care on the third floor. There was staff from all over the world, from Nepal, Dubai, Philippines, Miami, a Native American, New Delhi.
They work 12-hour shifts and worked non-stop, and were so kind to us. I was so impressed and want to thank Bassett for hiring all of these people. Many times, the patients are so mean to these employees, and no one works harder than the Bassett employees.
I don’t think people understand the quality of workers at Bassett.
I just want to say thank you again to Bassett. I had to get intravenous antibiotics and a lot of blood tests, and they were on top of me every minute. I knew they were extremely busy but they just kept telling me they were going to take care of me every minute.
Walking down the hall was like being in the United Nations. And everyone was so pleasant. Thank you again.
As I frequently hear from our patients (many of whom are family, friends, and neighbors) it’s often difficult to schedule an appointment with Bassett. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear from a patient or family member about their challenging experience accessing care, and a recent editorial published by one of our community members in this newspaper really hit home.
Long hold times, dropped calls, unreliable customer service, limited appointment availability, and other access issues have created unsatisfactory experiences for a long time. More than 30 percent of Bassett’s inbound calls are abandoned by our patients. And in some areas of our health system, it can take months to see a practitioner. We are failing our patients and hurting our organization and we cannot allow this to continue. Our ability to grow and advance our mission hinges on creating a seamless and accessible patient experience.
After 2 years going silent to regroup their organizational strategies, under new CEO Tommy Ibrahim, and the Bassett Healthcare —“Your call is very important to us please stay on the line your call…”—Network is emerging with a legacy driven ad campaign.
This new campaign—“This call is very important to us please stay on the…”—will highlight the accomplishments of its founder Dr. Mary Imogene Bassett, one ofthe first female medical directors in—“Your call is very important to us please stay…”—the United States. It is a wonderful opportunity to share the history of our beloved MIB hospital. We ,who spend much time at MIB have not been aware of how—“This call is very important to us please…”—important and ground breaking Dr. Bassett was.
Bassett Healthcare Network and Dr. Tommy Ibrahim have mutually and enthusiastically agreed to an early contract extension on the occasion of the President and CEO’s highly productive two-year anniversary leading the pioneering Central New York medical, research, and education system.
“I am so grateful for this opportunity to continue our mission-critical efforts to lead Bassett into the future and to continue serving our community with superb health care services. This region is my home now and the place where my wife and I want to raise our children and receive our own care,” said Dr. Ibrahim. “Since coming to Bassett in the summer of 2020, I have been impressed by the quality of the caregivers and practitioners who expertly and caringly serve our patients, day-in and day-out,” reports Dr. Ibrahim. “There is so much left to accomplish here, but most importantly, I am determined to see our transformation through, to becoming the best employer in the region. Our 5,000 employees deserve no less,” Ibrahim continued.
Patients, visitors and caregivers at Bassett Medical Center (BMC) are invited to step into the dreams of local artists through an art exhibit recently installed in the BMC cafeteria. What’s in a Dream? is an array of square tiles, each contributed by a student, resident or staff member of Springbrook in Oneonta. Together they form a unified, mosaic-like pattern spanning the northeast wall of the dining area.
As the installation’s name implies, each mini-composition is a peek into its creator’s dreams. The full gambit of dreams are included — sleeping dreams, daydreams, personal longings, or aspirations for the future. Some squares depict a scene or image. Others include words, phrases or icons. Still others are an abstract mix of paint or multimedia.
COOPERSTOWN – In the morning hours of Tuesday, May 3, 2022, Lionel “Andrew” Rauscher, M.D., beloved husband, father and grandfather passed away after a long battle with illness at his home with family by his side. He was 79.
A native of England, he was born February 14, 1943, in London, son of the late Hana and Peter Rauscher. Educated in the United Kingdom, he was a Medical Doctor practicing in both England and the United States.
On April 3, 1971, he married Jocelyn Alice Rauscher in a private ceremony in East Sheen, Surrey, UK.
Andrew graduated from the prestigious Dulwich College and then received his M.D. from University College Hospital, London.
Andrew came to the United States to complete his Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesiology Fellowship, where he also co-founded the first Paramedic program. He co-authored several studies published in medical journals and was a Fellow of the Faculty of Anesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons. Upon joining the staff of the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, a teaching institution affiliated with Columbia University, Dr. Rauscher acted as Chief of Anesthesiology for several decades, until accepting the position as Medical Director. Throughout his career, he helped mentor students and medical residents, and was a trusted colleague and friend to hundreds of professional medical staff that he interacted with during his long illustrious career.
BURLINGTON – Change is inevitable; it is a constant, a “sure thing”. We can try to ignore it, outrun it, or force its hand, but have no doubt: Change is but a moment away. We are given opportunities to steer its course, or if we wish, sit back and let chance decide the destination our lives will take. Such is the gift of Free Will. There is a caveat attached to this freedom, however, and it is one we must never forget or take lightly: We are given but One Life on this earth, and tomorrow is never promised. If there is only one message the short life of Joseph Santiago leaves in the minds of those lucky enough to have met him, it is this: You are loved. You are needed. You matter. Take the Wheel.
Joe is survived by his parents, Colleen (Mann) Bolton of Burlington, and Joseph (Christine) Santiago, Sr. of Norwich. No parent should ever have to suffer the heartbreak of losing a child. But sometimes even the strongest of shoulders aren’t enough to carry the weight of their children’s choices, even though loving arms were always flung open wide. Joseph leaves behind three beautiful children, Aalyiah, Layne and Liam Santiago, all of whom will always be reminded of the gift that was their father, who loved them so.