Duffy Health Center

December 23, 2015

In from the Streets

Every day at Duffy, before the first patient comes in, we hold a short huddle of all the staff to align ourselves with our patients’ needs for the day. We review a number of things, including hospital discharges from the day before. We know that sometimes a patient who is “discharged to home” and in need of respite has no home to go to. When this is said in huddle it is often followed by a moment of silence. What is there to say? We have said it before: How will they live (literally)? How can we keep them healthy when their home is a tent or even a doorway? How will their wounds heal? There’s no such thing as a sterile dressing in a campsite or bed rest in a sleeping bag on the ground.

September 16, 2015

It’s Not a Bad Day When You May Have Saved a Life

It’s not a bad day when you may have saved a life. It’s a blessing we sometimes have here at Duffy. Brian came into my office a few days ago: “I’d like you to talk to someone.”

We at Duffy work well together; I daily go into someone’s office and asked them for a little bit of their time, to answer a question or talk to a patient, and it has always been willingly given. I put my paperwork aside and rose to greet the gentleman.

September 9, 2015

Looking to get healthy? Hit the ‘5 Normals’

What if you could reduce your risk of chronic disease by 75 percent and save money in the process?

No gimmicks, no monthly payment plan, no gym membership necessary; instead you rely on self-motivation and your will to be well.

All you have to do is achieve the “5 Normals.”

The 5 Normals are a profoundly simple guideline on how to achieve health and vitality: Reach a normal range in blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, weight, and your level of cotinine, the end product of cigarettes.

September 2, 2015

Detecting Lung Cancer Before Symptoms with CT Scan

David Hirsch smoked for 35 years before giving up cigarettes for good in 2010.  Four years later, he saw an ad for a free computerized tomography (CT) scan and decided to sign up.

The results were not good. The scan showed a lesion in Hirsch’s right lung, and a follow-up PET scan and a biopsy confirmed that Hirsch had early-stage lung cancer.

In January 2012, Cape Cod Hospital thoracic surgeon Jeffrey Spillane, MD, performed a minimally invasive VATS lobectomy on Hirsch. He has been cancer free ever since.

August 26, 2015

Spin Dries

There has been a lot of talk in the big wide world these days about drug and alcohol addiction and the treatment available to addicts. Let me give you a boots-on-the-ground perspective.

At least three times a week an addict comes into our case management office asking for detox. Detox is the process of physically coming off the drug or drink, commonly known on the street as a “spin dry.” It is a time-limited, medically supervised few days where they can come off their addictive substances. There is some medical intervention to try and prevent seizures and ease the shakes, nausea, body pains and emotional difficulties that come along with having the addictive substance fading from the body. It is not pleasant, but it is better and more effective than detoxing on the streets.

August 19, 2015

No Other Available Housing

Twice a week some Duffy Health Center staff packs up all the bandages, pain reliever packets and basic medical equipment that can fit into a rolling suitcase and heads over the NOAH shelter to do a little medical work.

The acronym NOAH stands for No Other Available Housing, and that building tends to be the last stop for some in a downslide that started with house, home and health and ended in having “no other available housing.”