News Releases

Focus continues nationally on the prevention and spread of the Ebola virus. At Hallmark Health we take the concerns seriously. Our teams of specialists are working diligently with everyone from administration to our frontline staff at our hospitals, clinics and physician practices to ensure that all staff are receiving the latest and most appropriate safety training and have at their disposal needed information and personal protective equipment. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call before your visit.

For more information about Hallmark Health's preparations and training, please read Medford Officials, Hallmark Prepare Ebola Response.
Medford Transcript – October 29, 2014

The following link provides additional helpful information:
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: Ebola

Other viruses in the community

This time of year we pay particular attention to a number of other viruses and illnesses that have the potential to impact our communities.

Enterovirus – Enterovirus is a common virus that can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. A particular strain – EV-D68 – has been infecting children in recent months. It can begin with mild cold/flu-like symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sneezing and coughing. Children with asthma may be at higher risk for severe respiratory illness.

For more information on enterovirus, click here.

Influenza – The flu infects thousands of people in the United States each year, and many are at risk for health complications and even
death due to flu-related illnesses. Symptoms include fever, headache, runny nose, cough, sore throat and body aches. Even if you do not have symptoms, you can still have the flu virus and contribute to its spreading. Getting the flu shot is the best protection against developing and spreading flu for you, your family, friends and co-workers. Contrary to the common belief, you cannot get the flu from getting a flu shot. Remember, it can take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to build up its antibodies and take effect.
For more information on influenza, click here.

Norovirus – Commonly known as the stomach flu, norovirus is highly contagious. It causes an average of 20 million illnesses and contributes to an average of 70,000 hospitalizations each year. Unlike influenza, there is no vaccine to protect against norovirus. Symptoms include stomach/gastrointestinal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

For more information on norovirus, click here.

What you can do to stay healthy!

The simplest and most effective way to prevent the spread of illness and viruses is practicing good hand hygiene – washing your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water and using hand sanitizing products when soap and water are not available. Also:

  • •  Cover mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze.
  • •  Don’t share utensils and food when sick.
  • •  Stay at home when sick.
  • •  Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouths.
  • •  Clean and disinfect common areas.

For more on how to prevent the spread of viruses, click here.

Visiting a loved one in the hospital?

During the height of the flu season, or during outbreaks of other illnesses such as enterovirus and norovirus, hospitals may restrict visitation by friends and families to protect the patient. This includes young children visiting obstetrical units. If you have symptoms of cold or flu, or other respiratory illness, it is best to call ahead and check with the hospital to see if you will be allowed to visit.

Malden High School seniors Isaac Bethea and Michaela Ilebode hope they will never have to use CPR in a real-life situation, but thanks to the training they received on October 15, they both feel confident that they would know what to do in an emergency.

Isaac and Michaela were part of a group of 100 Malden High seniors who received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training as part of a community outreach program at Hallmark Health. The program, funded by the annual Stridefor Healthy Communities fundraising walk, has trained 900-1,200 high school students each of the past five years. Each student is given a Family & Friends CPR Anytime training kit developed by the American Heart Association. The kit includes an inflatable learning "Manikin," bilingual instructional DVDs, reminder cards, and full instructions, and Hallmark Health nurses and athletic trainers and paramedics from Cataldo Ambulance Service provide hands-on instruction.

According to Danielle Patturelli, RN, clinical outreach and education coordinator for cardiac and endovascular services at Hallmark Health, there has been a drop-off in the number of people learning CPR. "The program was put together to reach out to young people, get them engaged, and boost the number of trained individuals in our community. We are currently working with the high schools in Malden, Medford, Melrose and Wakefield, who have incorporated this training into their health and physical education curriculum."

The training doesn't end at the end of each session, either. Each student is asked to take their kit home and use it to train three other people. Michaela will be training her parents and 15-year-old brother, while Isaac is prepared to work with his younger cousins.

Patturelli adds that when CPR is administered before arriving at a hospital, the chance of survival for the patient increases three times. She feels confident that these training sessions are giving teens the skills to jump in to help in the event of an emergency.

As the respiratory illness known as enterovirus D68 continues to spread among children and young adults throughout the country, we asked Richard Olans, MD, chief of Infectious Diseases at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital and member of Hallmark Health Medical Associates, to give us a basic understanding of enterovirus D68.

As Dr. Olans explains, there are many enteroviruses (hundreds). They live in the gut, but can infect numerous other organ systems. He points out that enteroviruses have been known for several decades, causing summer rash and respiratory illnesses and even viral meningitis, but new technologies have made their detection easier. This particular
enterovirus we are currently seeing (D68) primarily affects the lungs and airways.

Those who are most commonly being affected by D68 are children and young adults, typically between the ages of 2-18.

Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough and body and muscle aches. Most of the children who got very ill in the Midwest had difficulty breathing and some had wheezing. Many of these children had an underlying respiratory disease, such as asthma.

Dr. Olans is an advocate for "common sense precautions" when it comes to prevention. "Cover your cough, cough into your sleeve, and use old fashioned hand washing techniques," he says. "Viruses that come from the gut, like enteroviruses, are not killed with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, so everyone should get in the habit of washing their hands with soap and water for 30-60 seconds."

Dr. Olans says that there are no specific treatments or "magic bullet" antiviral medicines for people with enterovirus D68, so many of the over-the-counter cold and flu medications can help with the symptoms. Those with severe respiratory illness may need to be hospitalized.

"Parents of kids with asthma or other reactive airway disease should update their asthma action plan with their primary care doctor, and be aware of the development of any worsening symptoms," says Dr. Olans. "Children should have their reliever medications with them at all times, and teachers and school nurses should be aware of any respiratory conditions."

For more information about enterovirus D68, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at

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Hallmark Health Medical Associates (HHMA) has introduced a new service to its patients, offering easy online access to appointments with select physicians. At launch, the service provides patients with online appointment scheduling with primary care and OB/GYN providers. Additional doctors, specialties, and appointment times will be added in coming months.

This service is powered by ZocDoc – a company with a mission of improving health care access, which is made possible through strategic partnerships with organizations like HHMA. To use the free service, patients visit the HHMA website.

Existing patients can search for available appointment times with their physicians. New patients looking for a physician can also see appointment availability of participating physicians, along with qualifications, patient reviews, photos, and more tools to help patients choose the practitioner who best fits their needs. Patients simply select a timeslot and complete a brief registration process to schedule an appointment. Patients will also receive email and text message appointment reminders for added convenience. The service eliminates the need for phone calls and allows patients to search for and schedule appointments with HHMA doctors anytime at patients' convenience, even when the doctor's office is closed.

Hallmark Health's Team Medford (staff who volunteer in the City of Medford) held their 7th annual school supplies drive to benefit Medford Public Schools. This year's drive was another great success with items donated adding up to a retail value of nearly $20,000!

The items will be distributed to students throughout Medford Public Schools. The drive was also supported by major sponsor Staples, as well as Armstrong Ambulance, Medford Kiwanis, and the Medford High School PTO.

News & Events

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Not to be missed... 

Hallmark Health Medical Center
Wednesdays, September 20-October 25
Melrose Church of the Nazarene
Tuesday, September 26

5K Walk and Run
Saturday, September 30
Lawrence Memorial Hospital
Wednesday, October 11
North Suburban (Malden) 
WIC Program
Saturday, October 14
Winchester Country Club
Monday, October  23
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