Ann Marie Tarinelli used to laugh at those commercials that featured an older woman lying on the ground proclaiming “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
But the Trumbull resident isn’t laughing now. Tarinelli, who wouldn’t give her age but does describe herself as a senior citizen, broke her hip on Monday after falling down the cellar stairs of her home. Had it not been for a passing mailman who found her and called an ambulance, she likely would have died within a day.
Instead, she was recovering Thursday afternoon at St. Joseph’s Manor in Trumbull and credits both the mailman and the team at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport with saving her life.
Tarinelli said the spill happened during a routine trip to her cellar. “I go up and down my steps 100 times a day,” she said. “When it was built, the last step was made a little higher. I missed it and I went flying. The pain was like no pain I’d ever felt.”
Tarinelli lives alone, wasn’t near a phone and doesn’t wear a medical alert device that she could use to summon help. “I thinking that the worst thing that would happen is that I’d be down there a couple of days until a friend found me,” she said.
But within four hours, mailman Danny Derubis stopped by to deliver the mail. Tarinelli heard him and called up for help. Derubis came in, called for ambulance and waited with Tarinelli until it arrived. She had surgery at the hospital and is expected to be at St. Joseph’s for several months, but she’s alive — something she might not be if Derubis hadn’t arrived when he did.
Tarinelli said doctors later told her that the loss of blood from the broken bone likely would have killed her within a day if she hadn’t sought treatment.
In fact, according to the state Department of Public Health, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for Connecticut residents aged 65 and older. Falls resulted in about 6,000 inpatient hospital stays and 24,000 emergency room visits among older Connecticut residents each year from 2005 to 2008.
Dr. Frank Scifo, director of urgent care services for St. Vincent’s, said Tarinelli was definitely lucky her mailman intervened when he did. “She was blessed,” Scifo said.
Incidents like this aren’t uncommon Scifo said, especially now that people are living to be older, and many older people live alone. Scifo said medical alert devices are a good option, but not everyone has one. For those who don’t, he suggests seniors designate a nearby “buddy” to check on them regularly. Also, Scifo said, don’t engage in any risky behavior when you’re by yourself if you can avoid it.
“Wait until someone is with you,” he said. “Most things can wait.”
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Ann Marie Tarinelli used to laugh at those commercials that featured an older woman lying on the ground proclaiming “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
Joshua Kraft, President of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, presented Katherine Sullivan, a volunteer with the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center, a Community MVP Award.
Fairfield resident Katherine Sullivan was named one of 16 finalists for the 2011 New England Patriots Community MVP Awards. Sullivan, one of the founding members of the President’s Council of the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center, was sited for her work to advance the center and her commitment to improving the health of women in the community.
Sullivan began volunteering with the Breast Care Center in 2000, shortly after it opened. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35 and has made educating young women about breast cancer her special cause, speaking at community organizations to raise awareness, talking to young women about the importance of testing and helping to dispel their fears. She has also helped the Breast Care Center address fertility and sexuality issues in young women with cancer, providing resources to better serve the Center’s patients who are concerned about being able to have children after breast cancer.
The New England Patriots annual Community MVP Awards Program, a New England Patriots Charitable Foundation program for the past 11 years, honors individuals who exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving their communities through volunteerism. The sixteen Community MVPs were honored during a luncheon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on June 9 with a donation made in their name to the non-profit organization for which they volunteer. The Breast Care Center received a $2,500 donation from the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation. The program is supported in part by the Kraft family which owns the Patriots.
Part of the Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute at Bridgeport Hospital, the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center has served more than 18,000 women and their families since it was established in 1999. A member of the prestigious National Consortium of Breast Care Centers, the Center provides a wide range of diagnostic care and treatment at its Bridgeport Hospital and Fairfield locations, including medical oncology, surgical and chemotherapy services, plastic surgery, mammography and radiation therapy, and genetic risk assessment as well as opportunities to participate in clinical trials. The Breast Care Center office at 111 Beach Road in Fairfield also provides comprehensive women’s wellness services, including nutrition counseling, massage and Reiki therapy, wig and prosthesis fitting, counseling, yoga, Pilates, naturopathic medicine, and other patient support activities. The Center has a satellite office on Park Avenue in Trumbull. For more information call (203) 255-5300 or visit the Center on the web at http://www2.bridgeporthospital.com/cancer/breast/default.aspx.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced it received a $26,000 federal grant to educate health care providers on hereditary cancers.
Only 20 states were selected for the one-year grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 Action Project. The grant targets cancers for which there are national recommendations for genetic counseling and testing, including hereditary breast and ovarian cancers and Lynch syndrome, a genetic condition that predisposes people to early onset (before age 50) colorectal cancer and other cancers of the digestive tract.
Clinicians at 31 acute care hospitals in the state will receive reports on the number of these cancers diagnosed at their facilities, along with educational materials about hereditary cancer and copies of evidence-based best practices for genetic counseling and testing. The literature packet and recommendations will also be sent to about 1,000 Connecticut physicians and surgeons whose practice specialties make them the most likely to diagnose cancer or identify people whose family histories put them at risk for cancer.
The grant also provides each hospital with a training session by a Certified Genetic Counselor on prevention and early detection of cancer as well as the appropriate use of genetic counseling services and tests.
Healthy People 2020 is a federal initiative which, since 1979, has provided science-based, 10-year national objectives for promoting health and preventing disease. In partnership with states, communities, and public and private sector organizations, it has set goals to improve the health of all Americans.
Seven police departments in Southern Fairfield County will be honored at Southwest Regional Mental Health Board’s annual meeting on Thursday for their commitment to providing specialized Crisis Intervention Team training to their officers.
The program aims to improves outcomes for officers, persons in psychiatric crises, their family members and the community as a whole. Departments to be honored include those from Monroe, Fairfield, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich. The meeting will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Westport Library, 20 Jessup Road, Westport
The CIT model was developed to address the special challenges face by law enforcement when responding to crisis calls involving persons in a psychiatric crisis. Many people with severe mental illness have slipped through holes in the safety net of community treatment services since the closing of state psychiatric hospitals over 10 years ago. Current laws also prohibit families from getting help for their loved ones until the illness reaches a critical stage. As a result, police officers are often the first responders to crises involving persons with mental illness and they need specialized training in how to appropriately respond and defuse situations.
CIT brings together police officers and mental health providers in a 40-hour training course to develop “treatment teams” who are prepared to safely and appropriately respond to crises involving those with mental illness.
For more than years, the Southwest Regional Mental Health Board (SWMRHB) has taken a lead in addressing the overrepresentation of persons with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system, at four times higher for men and eight times higher for women than in the general population.
The general public is invited to attend this meeting. For directions and more information call 203-840-1187 or e-mail email@example.com.
After all those month wishing the snow and cold would just go away, we’ve gotten our wish: temperatures are expected to go into the 90s today, and the heat is expected to stick around the next few days.Aside from being sticky and uncomfortable, the rising mercury carries with it some serious health risks. Here are some tips for keeping yourself healthy in the heat.
- Know the risks. According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, adverse health effects occur primarily when air temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity is 60 percent or higher. There are a variety of heat illnesses, including heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include a body temperature of or above 105 degrees, mental confusion, convulsions and loss of conscious. If the body loses too much fluid, you’re also susceptible to heat exhaustion. The heat affects everyone differently, but some are at higher risk for heat-related problems, including the elderly, infants, persons with impaired mobility, and those with chronic illness. If you think you or someone you know has a serous heat illness, call 911.
- Use common sense. Both the state health department and the Connecticut chapter of the American Red Cross recommend staying indoors when the temps are high. A lot of municipalities open “cooling centers” during heat wave to where those without air conditioning can go to beat the heat. For a list of centers, call 211 or visit www.infoline.org. Other tips for staying cool include wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing, avoid alcohol, taking frequent rest breaks and avoiding strenuous activities.
- For Pete’s sake, stay hydrated! Carry water or juice with you, and drink even when you don’t feel thirsty. Aside from avoiding alcohol, you should also limit caffeine, which can dehydrate you, and avoid salt tablets, unless you have been told by a physician to take them.
- Be a good neighbor. During heat waves, be sure to check on elderly residents of your community, or those who don’t have air conditioning, to make sure they are OK.
- Do your homework. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have more heat safety tips online at www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.asp. You can also visit the Red Cross website at www.ctredcross.org.
Photo: Gill and Nora Vogel of Trumbull spend the afternoon under a shady tree in at St. Marys By-the-Sea in Bridgeport, Conn. Credit: Ned Gerard/Connecticut Post
The Bridgeport Rescue Mission has met the goal of its $60,000 Matching Challenge, providing the organization with $120,000 to assist hungry, homeless and hurting men, women and children throughout Fairfield County.
The mission had challenged donors to give a total of $60,000 by May 31. If they met the goal, it would be matched dollar-for-dollar by an anonymous donor. Now that the goal has been met, mission officials said the money willl help immensely in getting the facility through the tough summer months, when donations are typically slow.
The mission estimates that it will serve a total of 58,000 meals and provide 3,600 nights of shelter throughout the months of July, August and September. And, for the first time this summer, the mission is also planning to distribute lunches to youngsters in Fairfield County who receive free meals when school is in session but who may not get enough to eat over the summer.
For more on the mission, visit www.BridgeportRescueMission.org.
Remember those food pyramid posters that used to be all over grade school health and home ec classes? The ones that stacked different types of foods, according to nutritional value? Fruits and veggies, the items you were supposed to eat the most of, were on the bottom, and fats and other unhealthy foods — which you were supposed to consume minimally — were on the top.
Well, nutrition has changed. And, today, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that the pyramid was out at the government’s food icon of choice and introduced a new icon, MyPlate. Here’s a picture of the new image of American nutrition (The pyramid is still available for health professionals and educators who want to use it):
Like the pyramid, the plate emphasizes fruits and veggies, but some in the government — including First Lady Michelle Obama — have said the new image makes it easier for parents to build healthy meals for their kids. The idea behind it is that at least half of a typical meal should be made of fruits and/or vegetables. The produce should be paired with a lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
The USDA has also developed a companion web site, www.choosemyplate.gov, that offers more nutrition tips. What do you think of the plate? Do you think it is more “user friendly” than the pyramid? Or do you feel that all nutrition icons are created equal?
The Center for Women and Families of Eastern Fairfield County has added itself to the list of area agencies seeking to win a grant through the Pepsi Refresh Project. The center, which provides shelter and other services for survivors of domestic violence in the region, is a finalist for a $50,000 grant that would go toward its “Hands Are Not for Hitting” program.
Part of the center’s mission is to help prevent domestic violence. “Hands” teaches preschool students the basics of violence prevention and building healthy friendships. The center serves Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull and the program would target children in those six towns.
The center asks supporters to visit http://www.refresheverything.com/handsarenotforhitting and push the vote button. After registering, you can cast a vote every day until July 1. And you can cast a power vote worth 100 votes 10 times a day by using a code printed inside the cap or carton of Pepsi.
For more about the Center for Women & Families of Eastern Fairfield County, visit cwfefc.com.