Friday, November 20, 2020

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

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By Dr. Jennifer Chuy, medical oncologist at Montefiore Health System and assistant professor, Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

As our nation mourned the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, another legend, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek also recently succumbed to pancreatic cancer this month.

Pancreatic cancer is the ninth most common cancer in men and the eighth most common cancer in women in the United States. More than 57,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year in the United States. In New York alone, 3,700 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year and 2,900 people will die of the disease annually. Despite advances in treatment, five-year survival rates remain at 9%.  

What is the pancreas?

The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach. It releases enzymes to help digest food and produces hormones, such as insulin to control sugar levels in the blood.

What causes pancreatic cancer?

Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:



-chronic inflammation (pancreatitis)

-older age

-family history

Up to 10% of all pancreatic cancer diagnoses are associated with an inherited syndrome. One important example is the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, associated with mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (genes that have been found to impact a person's chances of developing breast cancer).  

Lynch Syndrome, also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, is associated with genetic mutations that affect a person's ability to repair damaged DNA and may also increase one's risk of developing pancreatic cancer. If you or your family member are concerned about your family history of cancer, you should ask your doctor if genetic testing is right for you.

What steps can you take to protect yourself and loved ones?

Stop smoking and lead a healthy lifestyle with a diet low in fat and engage in regular physical activity.

Pancreatic cancer is often difficult to diagnose because signs and symptoms tend to be nonspecific and a routine physical exam and blood work may not detect the condition early on. You should call your doctor if you have non intentional weight loss, persistent abdominal or worsening abdominal pain that radiates to the back, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and/or skin), dark-colored urine, light-colored stools, new onset diabetes, unusual bloating, or new onset diarrhea, especially with fatty foods. Your doctor can order a blood test or scan and make a referral to a gastroenterologist to see if you need further evaluation.

What treatment options are available?

Depending on the stage of pancreatic cancer, people may be offered chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery. In a small group of people, immunotherapy and targeted therapy may also be an option. It is important to find a cancer center where care is coordinated closely by a team of providers who specialize in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.  

Where can I find more information about pancreatic cancer and clinical trials?

Clinical trials are an important way to provide access to new and promising treatments that may not yet be available to the rest of the general population. This is especially important for pancreatic cancer where we are in desperate need for more effective therapies.  

May the legacies of RBG and Alex Trebek live on and may new therapies on the horizon bring hope to all those afflicted.

I have listed the online resources below to provide additional information about pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

American Cancer Society

American Society of Clinical Oncology

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

De-Stressing Daily Rituals When a Loved One has Dementia or Alzheimer’s

De-Stressing Daily Rituals When a Loved One has Dementia or Alzheimer’s
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By Jane Sadowsky-Emmerth, RN, Partners in Care, an affiliate of VNSNY

Anyone who has a relationship with someone suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s knows that even the simplest tasks in daily life can become true challenges—for both caregivers and the family members themselves. 

Something as innocent as making and enjoying a morning cup of coffee or tea can turn into an exhausting and frustrating experience—especially with challenges like COVID-19 causing additional stress. Coping is difficult enough on good days, we don’t need the little joys of life to become a burden too.

As a registered nurse and clinical case manager at Partners in Care, a licensed home care agency affiliated with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, I know there are countless potential obstacles that can make even daily rituals extremely difficult for caregivers. My colleagues and I have come up with some ideas for communicating that we hope will help caregivers maintain patience and a sense of calm when they are reaching their breaking point. Setting yourself up for success as much as possible will create a more positive and productive environment for both you and your suffering loved one alike.

Accentuate the Familiar

Be sure to continually remind your family member of the person, place and time. Say “I’m…, we have breakfast together every day, remember we laughed about my new mask.” This helps a person with dementia feel grounded in what they know and allows them to feel safe with that knowledge for however long they can. 

Observation is Key

As noted in the tip above, familiarity can help lessen the frustrating aspects of dementia, when the patient can grasp onto something being told to them or something they can come to expect. Notice what their favorite foods and drinks are, how they take their coffee. Do they like variety in day-to-day meals, or do they like consistency? Also try to notice which times of day they seem to be more clear or confused, and adjust your caretaking accordingly. If you know they are most disoriented during the morning, know you will need to be more repetitive and patient.

Try New Conversation Tactics

Since conversations with dementia patients can repeat and tend to loop around again and again, try to listen carefully and then reword the question or emphasize a different point to help keep the communications flowing. Re-clarifying and altering the question slightly can go a long way. Also, though it is tempting when conversing with someone with dementia to fill every silence, sometimes you do have to give the person some time to think before they respond.

Involve the Patient

Instead of calling all of the shots with simple tasks like getting dressed and ready for the day, involving your loved one can help foster engagement and self-respect. You can make suggestions—“It’s hot outside today, so let’s wear something with short sleeves”—but let them choose which short-sleeve shirt. You might also have a selection of cloth masks to protect against COVID-19, and ask which one your loved one wants to wear. Try this when going grocery shopping too: ask which flavor or which brand of a product they think you should buy. Allowing them to have input in small decisions may allow them to feel a little bit of the independence they have lost again.

Be Mindful of Your Reactions

Even if your loved one is suffering from a very severe form of dementia, they will still react to you based on your tone of voice and/or facial expression. Be mindful of not letting your frustration show. It is difficult, but take a deep breath, put a smile on, and keep your tone positive. It can make world of difference. 

Know When to Take a Break

Sometimes there is nothing left to do but simple step away for a short while. This is one of the most important things you can do to take care of yourself as a caregiver. If things have become aggressive or simply too overwhelming, walk away for a few minutes (as long as it is safe). Give yourself some time to collect yourself and try to return with a different facial expression. 

Jane Sadowsky-Emmerth is an RN and clinical case manager at Partners in Care, an affiliate of The Visiting Nurse Service of New York. VNSNY is the largest not-for-profit home- and community-based health care agency in the United States, providing quality private care services. For more information please visit or call 1-888-735-8913.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Caring For Our Veterans: VNSNY Salutes Those Who Served

VNSNY Veterans Hospice Care: Saluting Those Who Served

Joseph Vitti, Director of the Hospice Veterans Program at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, liaison, salutes a VNSNY Hospice patient and WWII veteran following medals ceremony.

By Chandra Wilson, November 9, 2020

One warm summer day, in a New York high-rise apartment, a bedridden World War II veteran receiving care from Visiting Nurse Service of New York Hospice and Palliative Care received an unexpected surprise. The veteran, Edward Flanagan, had enlisted in the Navy after his beloved older brother died in combat and went on to see action in the Pacific theater. He later became a successful bank executive and active member of the community in his hometown of New Rochelle, New York—but like most war veterans, he was shadowed by memories, some more painful than others. It also saddened Mr. Flanagan that his Naval medals and discharge papers had gone missing.

VNSNY Hospice Veterans Program Director Joseph Vitti was at his bedside with duplicates of the medals he had earned, and a copy of his discharge papers as well, thanks to Joe’s hard work and determined outreach to the Department of Defense and the National Archives. In the presence of Edwards’ wife and a family friend, Joe awarded the medals one by one, briefly explaining what each represented before pinning it on Edward’s chest: the American Campaign Theater Medal, the Asiatic–Pacific Theater Medal, the World War II Victory medal.

Efforts like these have led the national We Honor Veterans campaign to award the VNSNY Hospice Veterans Program the highest rating: Level Five. 

Developed and run by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization with the aid of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), We Honor Veterans collaborates with hospices, state hospice organizations, and VA facilities to spread awareness among U.S. military veterans of the end-of-life care and benefits that are available to them. We Honor Veterans upgrades their hospice partners on the basis of how well they’ve fulfilled the requirements for each level, which range from providing veteran-centric education to staff and volunteers and identifying patients with a military history (Level 1) to developing or strengthening partnerships with VA medical centers and veterans organizations like the VFW and American Legion (Level 5). Level Five emphasizes care for Veterans of the Vietnam War, many of whom experience chronic and debilitating oncological and neurological symptoms as a result of exposure to Agent Orange.  

This year, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, VNSNY has expanded its Veterans Outreach Program beyond Hospice, and has enlisted Christopher Webster—himself a proud 16-year disabled U.S. Army Veteran—as the program’s Outreach Liaison for VNSNY Home Care. Made possible thanks to a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, this important program was created to enrich veterans’ lives by offering support and guidance wherever needed, providing essential equipment to disabled veterans at no charge, and helping veterans and their families navigate the often-confusing application processes to obtain the veterans’ home care benefits to which they are entitled—much as VNSNY’s Hospice Veterans program does for Hospice patients. 

“It is my honor to assist my fellow vets in securing those benefits that can help them to reach their highest functional level and stay safe at home in their community,” says Christopher Webster, who draws on his personal experience as an Army combat and flight medic during multiple deployments to better empathize with and advocate for the veterans in his care.

“As a vet myself, I understand some of the challenges service men and women face as they age or cope with serious illness,” Webster adds. “Working with VNSNY, my team and I are able to connect vets and their families with the high-quality health care and services they not only need, but so richly deserve. It is truly a privilege to get to know and assist America’s military heroes.” 

Joseph Vitti, who has been with VNSNY for five years now and directs the VNSNY Hospice We Honor Veterans program, served in the Global War on Terror. Both VNSNY programs make veterans and their families aware of their benefits and help them get their documents in order, which can often be a daunting task. Joe and Chris, along with other VNSNY Veterans Program team members, including former Army medic Sung Yoon, who saw active duty in Afghanistan, guide Vets and their families through the maze of the Veterans Affairs healthcare system on a daily basis. They also train staff members and volunteers to understand the impact that wartime combat can have on veterans, even decades later—most commonly, post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt.

“When working with hospice veterans, it’s important to remember that many have already faced life and death on the battlefield,” says Vitti. “Veterans are selfless people who want to help others. Now, they’re asking a hospice team and their family or friends to take care of them, and they often find it hard.” 

If a veteran’s case is difficult, a member of the team may use telehealth or make an in-person visit to the patient’s family to offer support as well. Members of the VNSNY Veterans Outreach team regularly connect with veterans organizations across New York City’s five boroughs to maintain relationships with them and take care of other veteran-related matters. Several times a month, they orchestrate intimate ceremonies like the one with Mr. Flanagan, honoring hospice veterans for anything from an act of courage in combat to aiding fellow veterans in their community.

Especially for these heroic patients, the recovery of medals and papers provides a sense of pride and sometimes end-of-life closure, while the ceremony itself shines a bright light on the veteran’s military service achievements at any point in the journey of life. 

“Every war veteran has a unique story,” says Joe. “The work we do and our partnership with We Honor Veterans make it possible for us to let veterans in New York City know their service has not gone unnoticed, and that it is greatly appreciated.” 

Veterans outreach programs with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York ensure that U.S. veterans receive full hospice benefits related to their military service. The VNSNY Hospice We Honor Veterans program also provides end-of-life care that recognizes and takes into account their wartime experiences. For more information, please call: 1-800-675-0391 or download this brochure.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Getting Flu Shot is More Important Than Ever

Getting Flu Shot is More Important Than Ever
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The Health Department released early flu vaccination data for this year’s influenza season, showing substantial increases compared to the same time last year. 

From July 1 – October 24, 2020, there was a 37% increase in the number of adults aged 19 and older who have received the vaccine compared to the same time last year (an increase of 189,017 adults [517,676 last season to 706,693 this season]), and a 27% increase for children 6 months to 18 years old (an increase of 105,881 children [397,626 last season to 503,507 this season]). In total, over 1,210,000 New Yorkers have received this year’s flu vaccine based on doses entered into the Citywide Immunization Registry.

However, since adults are not required to be reported to the Registry like children are, likely more doses have been given than captured. 

The City aims to have a historic flu campaign this season, with more New Yorkers getting vaccinated than ever before. All New Yorkers older than 6 months of age should get a seasonal flu vaccine. It is especially important for adults 50 years and older, pregnant people, children 6 months to 5 years old, and people with underlying conditions to get vaccinated.


“This promising progress is only possible because New Yorkers are looking out for one another and doing the right thing by getting their flu vaccines,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi. “This year could be the most important flu vaccine you ever get. Now is the perfect time to get the vaccine if you haven’t yet. Our friends, families and neighbors are counting on all of us to help keep each other safe.”


“Influenza can be deadly, and the best protection is to get the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is safe and effective,” said Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of Immunization, Dr. Jane R. Zucker. “The vaccine can reduce your chance of getting influenza, and if you’ve received a flu vaccination and do get influenza, you are less likely to have severe complications. Every New Yorker who can get the vaccine should get vaccinated.”


The flu vaccine is widely available for all New Yorkers. Check with your regular health care provider to see if they have flu vaccine. Many community health centers and hospital clinics, along with all NYC Health + Hospitals clinics, provide no or low-cost flu vaccines. 

Flu vaccines are also widely available at chain pharmacies, like CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Duane Reade, and at many independent pharmacies. Pharmacists can vaccinate children as young as age 2. Check with your local pharmacy to confirm if they provide flu vaccine and the age ranges they serve. New Yorkers can use the Health Department’s NYC Health Map, call 311, or text FLU to 877-877 to find a flu vaccination location. There are over 870 sites listed on Health Map which can be searched to find locations that serve people without insurance to find a free flu vaccination. The health department also provides a list of community flu vaccination events at Flu vaccine is covered by most health insurance plans without a co-pay.


The Health Department recommends people 65 years and older receive one of the two vaccines for this age group (high dose or adjuvanted vaccine). Because of increased demand, these vaccines may be more difficult to obtain, so seniors should receive the standard dose flu vaccine and not delay vaccination if they are having trouble obtaining the high-dose or adjuvanted dose.


This year, New York City is supporting expanded flu vaccination activities with the Department’s partners, such as NYC Health + Hospitals, community health centers, community-based organizations, urgent care centers and is offering flu vaccine at many COVID-19 testing sites. The Department has also launched a new program this year to deploy teams of community vaccinators throughout the city to meet New Yorkers’ needs. Examples may include community-based testing sites, public clinics, pharmacies, places of worship, among others. Establishing these contracts may help when the City offers COVID-19 vaccination services once a vaccine is available. Additionally, the Department’s citywide, annual flu vaccine campaign is underway and appears on the subway, bus shelters, Staten Island Ferry, in neighborhood businesses, newspapers, television, radio, as well as digital and social media channels. Ads are running in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, and in additional languages for newspaper ads.


Flu season usually starts in the late fall and lasts throughout the spring. Since influenza activity can be unpredictable and influenza viruses can be found year-round, it is important to get the vaccine as early as possible, though it is never too late to be vaccinated. A flu vaccine is necessary each year because the vaccine provides protection for only one season. This year’s flu vaccine contains four virus strains, three of which are new this year.


Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people, especially children, may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may also be infected with flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.


The steps New Yorkers take to prevent COVID-19 are also applicable to flu. Face coverings, frequent hand washing with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, distancing and staying home if ill can prevent the spread of flu. Additional ways to reduce the spread of germs like flu:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.


"The best way to protect yourself, your family and your community is by receiving a flu vaccine," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "More and more New Yorkers are doing their part to prevent the spread of the flu. Thanks to Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi's annual flu vaccination campaign to improve access and raise awareness for this vital lifesaving vaccine, there is now an increase in flu vaccinations for adults and children compared to last season."


“Given the circumstances with COVID-19 this year, it is especially important to get your annual flu shot to protect yourself and those around you who may have underlying health conditions. The number of folks who have gotten their flu shot thus far is encouraging. Those who have not yet taken this step should do so to keep yourself as well as those around you from the worst of the influenza season,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.


“As the COVID pandemic continues, it’s important for New Yorkers to remember to also protect themselves from other communicable diseases like the flu.  Vaccines against the flu have proven effective and are widely available at low or no cost.  It’s encouraging that this year’s City Health Department data shows that more New Yorkers are getting their seasonal flu shots earlier, as I did myself,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried of Manhattan, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A home care check-in for Check Your Meds Day

A home care check-in for Check Your Meds Day

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By Fatima Shell-Sanchez, Registered Nurse, Visiting Nurse Service of New York

Wednesday, October 21st is National Check Your Meds Day, and that is an excellent reminder for older New Yorkers and their family caregivers to spend a few minutes thinking about the medications they are taking, and make time to review them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Picture your elderly father living alone and seeing a doctor for several chronic conditions, and his latest checkup has you troubled. His high blood pressure has been creeping up again, chronic pain seems unmanageable and, concerned about keeping diabetes under control. The doctor has prescribed new medications. When you stop by for a visit with your dad, you encounter unopened prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, half-empty containers of outdated drugs and an assortment of loose pills you cannot even begin to decipher.

For many, caring for an older loved one with several chronic conditions, this scenario might be heart-breaking and familiar. With more than 83 percent of people over the age of 65 taking prescription medications, the possibility of mismanagement—including overdose or under dose—is a growing concern for family caregivers. Although balancing several medications can prove difficult for anyone, risks for the elderly can be complicated by memory loss as well as vision and hearing impairments.

The average senior takes more than five different pills daily, not including over-the-counter drugs or supplements, which can leave them more vulnerable to adverse reactions. In fact, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that senior citizens are twice as likely to visit the emergency room because of adverse drug reactions as their younger counterparts.

My colleagues and I at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York work closely with those in our care and their family caregivers to reconcile all medications after a doctor’s appointment or trip to a specialist. You can help your loved one manage medications safely, too. Here are a few guidelines to help navigate medication adherence with family members and their doctors or pharmacist:

1. Make a list. 

Keep a personal record of all the meds your loved one is taking, including the name of the medication, the dosage instructions, the reason it was prescribed and the name and number of the doctor who prescribed it. Don’t forget to include over-the-counter meds and herbal supplements, too. 

If your loved one’s medication regimen is too complex to keep track of, ask your doctor if a service such as MedMinder, which sends caregiver alerts when a dosage is missed, might be something to try.

2. Take all medications to all of your doctors. 

An estimated 100,000 older Americans are hospitalized for adverse drug reactions yearly, and three of the most commonly prescribed drugs— insulin, the blood thinner warfarin (aka Coumadin) and the heart drug digoxin—are most often the cause, according to a study by researchers at the CDC published in the New England Journal of Medicine. If you or your loved one is unsure about any prescriptions, put everything in a bag and take them to your doctor. 

Ask for help figuring out what you are taking and why, to avoid taking medications incorrectly. Being knowledgeable about your meds is the first step in preventing medication errors. Most importantly, don’t leave the doctor’s office without an updated list of all your meds. The doctor might have changed or discontinued a prescription, and it is easy to forget such changes by the time you get home. For added assurance, share the list with your pharmacist, who can help keep track of and adjust medications, too.

3. Ask questions. 

Don’t be afraid to speak up. Every time a new med is recommended or prescribed, ask the physician and pharmacist these key questions: Why has this drug been prescribed? How does it work? How can I tell if the drug is working? What are the possible side effects? Is this drug safe to take with other prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs? I also recommend asking about the risk of taking medications with different foods and drinks. Something that seems innocent may cause an adverse reaction. Grapefruit juice, licorice, chocolate, alcohol and other food and beverages are known to increase side-effect risks with certain medications.

4. Change dosage. Overwhelmed? 

Ask your prescribing physicians about possibly lowering the number of different pills taken throughout the day. Studies show that the more pills a person takes, the less likely they are to adhere to the schedule and dosage.

5. Store smart. 

Don’t keep your meds in the bathroom or the kitchen. Many people are unaware that moisture and heat in these areas can affect medication potency. Knowing how to properly take and store your medications not only helps them work more effectively but also could save your life.

And remember, It’s OK to ask for help! According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, family caregivers spend an average of more than 24 hours per week solely providing care! It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. 

Speak with your doctor if managing medications is becoming a problem. In addition to the solutions mentioned here, you may be eligible for assistance from a licensed home care provider such as VNSNY or Partners in Care. Even a home health aide who comes once a week can provide helpful reminders for forgetful loved ones—and that can bring everyone peace of mind.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

We Can Work to End HIV/AIDS in the Bronx Latinx Community

Reduce the fear - Talk about sex, ways to curb HIV

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By Cariane Morales Matos, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Albert Einstein School of Medicine and Attending Physician, Infectious Diseases, Moses Division

Many people feel sex is a taboo topic and hesitate to discuss it with their healthcare providers. Starting a conversation about HIV can feel just as nerve-wracking, if not worse! While you might feel nervous, the real danger is not discussing HIV prevention. Today we have medicines that can protect you before and after a possible exposure.

From 2009 to 2018, there was a 43% decrease in new cases of HIV in New York State. Despite these great strides in the mission to end the AIDS epidemic, new infections still happen daily. The most recent available statistics from December 2018 show more than 108,000 New Yorkers were living with HIV. More than half of those newly diagnosed (64%) were in people under 40, with Black and Hispanic people diagnosed at a disproportionately higher rate.

On October 15 each year, the CDC recognizes National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day to raise public awareness of the HIV epidemic in Hispanic/Latinx communities in the USA. In the Bronx, approximately 4 out of every 10 people living with HIV are Hispanic. While it may seem hidden, HIV/AIDS effects our community – our brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. Awareness and new forms of prevention and education can help us stop AIDS.

Although there is currently no cure for HIV, we now know from several studies (HPTN 052, PARTNER), that if an HIV infected person is diagnosed and receives treatment promptly, the virus can be controlled and won’t be transmitted another person. In addition, the progression of the infection can be stopped to prevent AIDS, helping many with HIV live long, healthy lives.

If you are sexually active, using condoms consistently is your first step in protecting yourself against HIV. HIV testing is the second most important tool. Knowing your results will empower you to make informed choices for you and your partners’ health.

New medications like PrEP (pre exposure prophylaxis) can prevent you from getting future HIV infection and PEP (post exposure prophylaxis) can help if you think you have been exposed to HIV.  In some cases, you can take one pill a day to stay healthy and live a full, productive life.

Start a conversation with your doctor to help keep yourself and your community healthy this October.

You can visit the Montefiore Oval Center for sexual health services including HIV testing as well as medicines for before or after an HIV exposure. Call 718-882-5482 for more information and to set up an appointment. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Organ/Tissue Donor Enrollment Day

Organ/Tissue Donor Enrollment Day
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By Leo Trevino, MPA, MDiv Manager, Organ/Tissue Donation Montefiore Medical Center

October 8th is national Organ/Tissue Donor Enrollment Day. Montefiore Medical Center will again be participating in this annual event with one goal: to register – in a single day - as many New Yorkers as possible to be organ, eye and tissue donors. 

The initiative is committed to bringing hope to the nearly 9,500 New Yorkers currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.  

In the Bronx, there is a great need for organ and tissue donation. People suffering from organ failure, and those who have an organ that has been damaged by disease or injury, come from near and far to Montefiore to receive lifesaving care.

In addition, as of September 2020, there were over 100,000 people in the United State on the organ registry list waiting to receive the gift of life - and on average, nearly 20 people across the United States die every day from causes that are treatable with organ transplant. 

By taking simple steps to register, each Bronx resident can join the more than 5.6 million people who have enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry. Doing so can help potentially save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhancing many more through tissue donation.  

If you are interested in registering to be an organ and tissue donor, note these important and easy to follow steps:

  • Let your family members and doctors know that you want to be an organ and tissue donor.

  • Designate yourself as an organ and tissue donor when you get or renew your driver’s license.

*Enroll online through:

The choice to donate is the ultimate gift – please consider enrolling on October 8th (or any day).