Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sentara Surgeon Lends a Hand in Haiti

Sentara Potomac Hospital general surgeon, Dr. Mark Bartolozzi, recently took a medical missionary trip to provide much needed medical care to the residents of earthquake-ravaged Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Dr. Bartolozzi was a member of one of five medical teams that were deployed to Haiti by Medical Missionaries, a Manassas non-profit group that provides medical care and supplies to underprivileged countries and those devastated by natural disaster.

After a daunting 12-hour bus ride from Santo Domingo to Banica, Dominican Republic, immediately followed by another 12-hour ride in an open-air Army truck to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dr. Bartolozzi provided medical care to patients at a clinic that treated 400-500 patients a day.

“We saw everything,” said Dr. Bartolozzi. “From burns, skin conditions and cuts to stomach problems, colds and malaria. The patients really amazed me because they would do their best to get dressed and be as presentable as possible to come to the clinic. They were relatively upbeat and happy even though they had absolutely nothing but the clothes on their backs. They were happy to be getting help and very thankful.”

Dr. Bartolozzi lived in a tent on the clinic grounds and received two meals a day from a Vietnamese volunteer group who provided free rice, noodles, beans and vegetables to the clinic staff, patients and everyone on the hospital grounds -- approximately 3,000 meals a day. After five days at the clinic, Dr. Bartolozzi packed up and moved to the city’s Adventist Hospital for the remaining five days.

“The hospital needed a general surgeon for emergency surgeries,” he explains. “These mostly consisted of gallbladder removal, appendectomies, hernias and abscesses. One woman had a bowl obstruction and needed to be on the one portable ventilator that the hospital had. I stayed with her all night because there was really no nursing staff. Luckily, another volunteer group from Arizona loaned me their nurses for some surgeries.”

Dr. Bartolozzi said that the biggest challenge was not having any nursing help – the hospital just didn’t have the staff. They also didn’t have access to x-rays, CT scans or ultrasound, which made diagnosing very challenging. According to Dr. Bartolozzi, they had to do it ‘the old fashioned way.’

While his team was there, they experienced three aftershocks. All of the patients left the hospital during the first one and had to be coaxed back in by the medical personnel. After the second one, they left and refused to go back inside to complete their recovery.

“We had to treat them outside because they wouldn’t go back into the hospital,” said Dr. Bartolozzi. “I can’t say that I blame them after everything they had been through.”

When he had time during his visit, Dr. Bartolozzi walked the streets of Port-au-Prince to see the devastation. He was both amazed and disheartened by the tragedy of it all, but is very glad that he was able to make the trip and lend a hand to people who really needed it.

Mark Bartolozzi, M.D., is a general surgeon on Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Medical Staff. His office is located in the Century Medical Building, 2280 Opitz Boulevard, Suite 310, in Woodbridge. Telephone: 703-730-4848.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Top Doctors Named

Washingtonian magazine asked thousands of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia physicians: If someone in your family was sick, whom would you call? The following Sentara Potomac Hospital physicians were named Top Doctors in the March issue of Washingtonian:

Ali R. Assefi, M.D., Nephrology
Charles Azzam, M.D., Neurosurgery
Amir Bajoghli, M.D., Dermatology
Mark A. Bartolozzi, M.D., General Surgery
Susan E. Boylan, M.D., Radiation Oncology
Robert L. Castle, M.D., OB/GYN
Robert Cohen, M.D., General Surgery
Robert Greenspan, M.D., Nephrology
Homayoun A. Hashemi, M.D., Vascular Surgery
Daniel Katcher, M.D., Oncology/Hematology
Zachary A. Kaye, M.D., Endocrinology
Eugene Kim, M.D., Nephrology
Paymaun Lotfi, M.D., Orthopedics
Jey A. Maran, M.D., Oncology/Hematology
Jin Hyuk Park, M.D., Pediatric Cardiology
Rashida K. Rahman, M.D., Nephrology
Ali M. Safa, M.D., Endocrinology
Carol S. Shapiro, M.D., MBA, Plastic Surgery
Neil I. Stahl, M.D., Rheumatology
Keith M. Sterling, M.D.,Interventional Radiology
John S. Symington, M.D., Infectious Diseases

To find out more about Sentara Potomac Hospital’s physicians, call 703-221-2500 or online at

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blankets for Babies: Forest Park Students Make Warm Donation

Forest Park High School’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club made and donated 40 beautiful fleece blankets to the newborn nursery at Sentara Potomac Hospital. FBLA officers went to Sentara Potomac Hospital and presented the blankets to Michele Musella, MSN, R.N., director of Women’s and Children’s Services, who was very thankful for the wonderful gifts. The donation was one of many activities that FBLA used to raise awareness about the March of Dimes.

Many thanks to the Forest Park FBLA club for their thoughtful and comfy donation. The FBLA officers are: Christian Bond, Saman Shahid, Shannon Ashley Thomas, Denita White, Brianne Fotheringham, Karley Kendrick, Jaki Jemison, Danielle Lomax, Erika Ross, Francis Diaz, and Jonathan Graham.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Weight Loss Surgery Center Named Center of Excellence for Second Time

Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Weight Loss Surgery Center has been named a Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) for the second time. The ASMBS Center of Excellence program recognizes the best of the best. It designates top performing centers, like Sentara Potomac's, that have demonstrated track records of maintaining the highest standards in weight loss surgery. This includes high surgery volumes, low complication rates, comprehensive pre- and post-operative programs, and promoting patient safety.

“We are very proud to receive the Center of Excellence designation from the ASMBS because it means that we have met all the requirements that are necessary to be called ‘excellent.’ Being named a Center of Excellence for the second consecutive time is a special accomplishment,” says Denis Halmi, M.D., medical director of the Weight Loss Surgery Center at Sentara Potomac Hospital.

Board-certified general surgeons from Bluepoint Surgical Group who specialize in bariatric surgery perform more than 300 weight loss surgery operations each year at Sentara Potomac Hospital. Bluepoint Surgical Group is also a designated ASMBS Center of Excellence.

Hospitals and surgeons qualify for designation as an American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by participating in a rigorous evaluation process designed to document that they have a comprehensive program and meet the established program requirements for providing safe bariatric surgical care with excellent short- and long-term outcomes.

The evaluation not only documents process, i.e., equipment, supplies, training of surgeons and staff and the availability of consultant services, but also emphasizes results. For more information about the American Society for Bariatric Surgery’s Center of Excellence designation, visit

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sentara Potomac Hospital Employees Honored for Excellence

Providing outstanding customer service is the goal of the entire Sentara Potomac Hospital team. Visitors and patients are encouraged to provide feedback by completing recognition forms to acknowledge team members who go above and beyond their regular duties.

Several employees were recently honored for providing outstanding customer service, based on the number of nominations they received in 2009.

The Radiology & Imaging Services department’s Lead Nuclear Medical Technologist, Sam Rolley, was Sentara Potomac’s top performer in 2009 with 31 recognition forms submitted by patients, visitors and staff members.

The Radiology department was also represented by Adam Cihon, Amanda Conner, Girmachew Hailu, Tom Jones and Ken O’Neal. Also honored were Isabel Chiasson and Michelle Grasso from the Endoscopy department; Sheila Johnson and Brandon Williams from Registration; and Shirley Dichard from Medicine Oncology.