News Releases

Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice GiftEda George, PhD, board chair of Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice (left) and Diane Farraher-Smith, president of Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice (left center), receive the gift from representatives of the Martin Stanger Trust.


Hallmark Health Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, Inc. is the recipient of a generous gift from the trust of Martin Stanger formerly of Reading, Mass. Mr. Stanger, who died in 2013, left the gift, which is estimated to be over $3 million, in appreciation for the care Hallmark Health Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice provided to his wife at the time of her death. Staff of the Hallmark Health hospice allowed Mrs. Stanger to fulfill her wish of dying peacefully at home. They provided care and services for only a few days while she was at home, but the extent of their compassion and excellence was not forgotten.

“We are deeply moved and honored to receive this gift,” said Diane Farraher -Smith, president of Hallmark Health Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, and system vice president of Hallmark Health System. “The Stanger story is poignant and a reminder of the importance of compassion in health care. We were pleased to give the family the opportunity to make their wishes a reality and grant the family some peace and solace at the time of Mrs. Stanger’s passing. Every day our hospice nurses and team are entrusted and honored to care for and advocate for our patients. For Mrs. Stanger, her end-of-life wishes were met. This is what we do every day in our hospice program, caring for the patient and the family, and this is what makes the care special.”

The gift, the largest ever received by the program, will be used to further the mission for the hospice services provided by Hallmark Health Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice.

A leader in home health care

Hallmark Health Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice has been a leader in the delivery of home health and hospice services to the residents of Malden and surrounding 23 cities and towns in north suburban Boston since 1899. The agency is fully certified, licensed and accredited.

The diversity and size of Hallmark Health Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice enhances the ability to provide comprehensive and expert services based on individual needs. The knowledge of and involvement in the community has also allowed for successful advocacy for the needs of patients and families.

Whether it is providing skilled nursing care to a premature infant, medical surgical care to a patient recently discharged from the hospital, nursing teaching to a new diabetic, palliative care, or hospice care, the staff of Hallmark Health Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice never lose sight of the mission of enhancing the patient's quality of life. All of the programs are leaders in guiding and shaping the future of home care, preventative, and long term care. Each excels in providing comprehensive services that promote a healthy community, as well as individual dignity and independence. All strive to achieve the highest standards of individual and organizational excellence.

Hospice focuses on comfort 

The Hospice program at Hallmark Health Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice strives to maximize the physical, emotional and spiritual comfort of patients at home or if needed, in an extended care facility. The program utilizes an integrated team approach to care, which includes the patient’s primary care physician, patient and patient’s family as part of the team. The Hospice team is comprised of experienced and caring hospice nurses, social workers, specially trained home health aides, therapists, a board certified medical director, pharmacists, clergy and volunteers.

To learn more about Hallmark Health Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice, visit or call 781-338-7800.

The primary care practice of three well-known Wilmington physicians has joined Hallmark Health Medical Associates, a member of Hallmark Health System, the leading health provider of north suburban Boston.

Doctors Peter Botchan, Madhavi Challagulla and Natalia Yurkovetsky have been practicing primary care in Wilmington together for more than seven years. Their practice was most recently part of Lahey Health. The practice will remain in the same building at 66 Concord Street, but in newly built patient care space just down the hall in Suite L.

The new practice features many amenities and services for convenience of patients:
• Online appointment scheduling
• On-site labs
• Nearby urgent care services
• Patient portal
• Highly coordinated specialty care
• English, Hindi, Telugu and Russian spoken

"We are pleased to welcome these three very talented physicians to our growing multi-specialty physician group," said Hallmark Health Medical Associates President John O'Hara. "They are an important part of the Wilmington community, and share our commitment to providing the highest quality primary care services locally."

Peter Botchan, MD, earned his medical degree from the University of Miami in Miami, FL and completed his residency at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. He has served as president of the Internal Medicine Group at Winchester Hospital and was most recently director of Lahey Wilmington. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Botchan will serve as the practice director of the Wilmington practice. His clinical interests include internal medicine.

Madhavi Challagulla, MD, received her medical degree from Andhra Medical College and Osmania Medical College in India and completed her residency training at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, MA. She has served as an internist at HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster, MA and is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Challagulla's clinical interests include weight loss and obesity.

Natalia Yurkovetsky, MD, earned her medical degree from Russian State Medical University in Moscow. She completed her residency at Mount Sinai School of Medicine/Queens Hospital Center in New York. She practiced at the Norwalk Medical Group in Norwalk, CT and is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Yurkovetsky's clinical interests include internal medicine, diabetes and women's health.


As a physician practice of Hallmark Health Medical Associates, the Wilmington primary care practice is part of the comprehensive, integrated Hallmark Health System known for the full continuum of services and clinical specialties offered throughout north suburban Boston. These services, among others include cancer care, cardiac care, orthopedic and sports medicine, obstetrics and women's health, physical and occupational therapy, visiting nurse and home care services and urgent care. The system includes two acute care hospitals – Melrose-Wakefield Hospital and Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford – as well as Hallmark Health Medical Center, offering multiple outpatient services, in nearby Reading, Mass.,

The physicians are all accepting new patients. Appointments can be made by calling 978-694-8999 or online at


After 33 years as a certified nursing assistant in the Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford Emergency Department, George Wright knows that sometimes laughter is the best medicine.

On Feb. 3 at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in Melrose, Hallmark Health System celebrated its exemplary 2014 employees of the month and named Wright the 2014 employee of the year. Wright, a Medford resident, was chosen among an excellent pool of 11 colleagues as the employee who most strongly embodies Hallmark Health's cornerstones of achieving excellence: service, people, growth, quality, and fiscal responsibility.

"George is a real gem," said Kori Carroll, clinical manager of the emergency department and urgent care center, his direct supervisor. "He is instrumental to the flow of the emergency department, especially on high volume days. He is unbelievably reliable, knows what to do in any instance, never loses his cool, and always shows up with a smile on his face."

Prior to the announcement, Carroll was inundated with messages in support of Wright's nomination. Doctors, nurses, patients and relatives of patients all praised Wright's work and shared stories of the difference he has made.

"I was surprised that so many people wrote so many nice things," Wright said after receiving his award. "I just do my work. I didn't know people felt that way, and I'm very grateful."

Working in the emergency department can be hectic and taxing with some intense and solemn moments. "But I like to take a more lighthearted approach to things when I can," explained Wright. He jokes with patients to lighten the anxiety they may feel.

"Some patients can be serious and scared," said Wright. "They just want a light moment – something foolish, something silly." This winter he's been saying, "This beats shoveling!" which makes patients laugh.
"When you can take someone's mind off their anxiousness, they feel better," he said.

Even with his friendly sense of humor, sometimes his work is no laughing matter. He cares for many patients who are agitated and in pain. "I try to slow down and listen to their story," said Wright, "to give them an ear and not make judgments."

Wright's anticipation of when to make a joke, when to listen calmly, and how to be a step ahead of everyone is the key to his invaluable presence in the emergency department. "In 33 years you see a lot of things," Wright described, "how people act and react to certain things. You know what people are going to need and what the doctors and nurses are going to want."

For his employee of the year award, Wright received a financial gift and additional vacation days. While he appreciates the recognition, he shies away from the attention and remains focused on doing his job as he has always done it.

"The best part is to see people getting better," said Wright. "They're better when they leave; they're not nervous and they understand what's happening. That's gratifying."

Wright's eight-year old daughter, Julia, spread her dad's news to her teacher and friends and wants to bring his picture to school. "She's proud," said Wright. Julia loves to hear stories about his work.
"I'm friends with all the patients," he tells his daughter. "People are sick and sometimes confused. Even if they're mad, they're mad at the situation, not me."

Wright tries to teach his daughter the same principles he's learned in the emergency department. Slow down, listen, make a joke, help people, and give them the benefit of the doubt.


With recent frigid temperatures and snow measured in feet instead of inches, emergency departments in cold weather areas of the country are seeing an increasing number of people with frostbite.

Most people bundle up well for winter activities, but what happens when you are unexpectedly facing the bitter cold for prolonged time periods such as if the train is running late and you are waiting for it outdoors, or if your car breaks down? In freezing weather, it is important to be prepared at all times.

Frostbite occurs when cold temperatures kill exposed skin tissue and most noticeably affects fingers, toes, ears, nose, cheeks and chin.

The signs and symptoms start with cold skin and a prickly feeling in the affected area. That may then progress to numbness. Skin may turn red, white, bluish-white, or yellowish-white in color and may become hard or waxy in appearance.

Blistering may occur after rewarming. Superficial frostbite may turn the skin blue and blister up to 24 hours after rewarming. With deep frostbite, the skin may blister up to 48 hours after rewarming. Multiple layers of skin may be damaged, and the condition can cause permanent damage. See a doctor immediately if skin is damaged, blue, or blistered, or if there is numbness after rewarming.

How to avoid frostbite:

• Limit your time outdoors. At 0 degrees Fahrenheit, frostbite can occur in 30 minutes. In -10 below temperatures, it can occur in less than 10 minutes depending on wind chill.

• Dress in loose warm clothing. Air trapped between layers of clothing acts as insulation. Mittens are better than gloves. Be sure to cover ears with a hat or headband. Wear socks and sock liners that fit properly.

• If you are going to be outdoors, don't drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. Both contribute to frostbite.

• Change out of wet clothing immediately.

• Actively rewarm yourself with a warm, not hot, bath and drink a hot beverage such as coffee, tea or hot chocolate. There may be some pain associated with rewarming as well. This should pass within 30 minutes.

• Eat well and hydrate appropriately.

• Keep moving. Exercise gets blood flow to the extremities.

• Plan well for traveling in your car. Have appropriate clothing (hats, gloves, winter coat) in your car in case you get stranded. Carry extra blankets, water and emergency supplies in the trunk.

--Angelo Pucillo, PA-C, is the assistant chief physician assistant in the emergency department at Hallmark Health System.

Twenty-one physicians affiliated with Hallmark Health System have been named Top Doctors in the Boston Area according to Boston Consumers' CHECKBOOK magazine and . The magazine lists local physicians practicing in 38 specialty fields most frequently recommended in a survey of other doctors.

CHECKBOOK surveyed all actively practicing doctors in the Boston area. Each surveyed doctor was asked to identify physicians he or she "would consider most desirable for care of a loved one." Doctors could recommend one or two specialists in each of the 38 specialty fields. CHECKBOOK reports which physicians were recommended most often, and how many doctors recommended each physician specialist. CHECKBOOK includes only those doctors mentioned enough times by other physicians to be statistically significant.

The Hallmark Health physicians listed are:
Christian Andersen – Orthopedic Surgery
Dennis Begos – Colon & Rectal Surgery
David Bowling – Otolaryngology
Edward Butler – Infectious Disease
Laurence Conway – Cardiology
Anthony Dash – Nephrology
Martha Dyer – Urology
David Gendelman – Ophthalmology
Donald Grande – Dermatology
Suzanne Grevelink – Dermatology
Mark Iafrati – Vascular Surgery
Nasima Khatoon – Hematology/Oncology
Steven Kornbleuth – Dermatology
Robert Pastan – Rheumatology
Khether Raby – Cardiology
David Riester – Allergy/Immunology
David Samenuk – Cardiology
Coralli So – Interventional Radiology
Jeffrey Sobell – Dermatology
Peter Tiffany – Urology
Wayne Wivell – Radiology

# # #
About Hallmark Health
Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology and the Joslin Diabetes Center for diabetes care.

News & Events

Matthew Brown, MD, a well-known board-certified, general surgeon, has joined Hallmark Health...


Not to be missed...

Lawrence Memorial Hospital
Wednesday, August 9
North Suburban (Malden)
WIC Program
Saturday, August 12
social facebook   social twitter   social youtube