UMass Memorial Medical Center News

  • March 23, 2017 - Telegram & Gazette

    On Thursday, Joseph Flak will sit down with his family, blow out some candles and cut into a cake to celebrate his 71st birthday.

    If you had asked him a week ago if he would live to see 71, he probably would have answered confidently; however, now he realizes he's pretty fortunate to be alive. 

    "The more I look back on it, the more I realize how lucky I am," said Mr. Flak, of Middleton, recalling how he collapsed on Sunday during a gymnastics meet at Shrewsbury High School after watching his daughter compete.

    He was talking to a friend near the concession stand when suddenly his words wouldn't come out. A few seconds later, he blacked out and fell to the floor. After that, he remembers nothing.

  • March 22, 2017 - WCVB5 TV

    An off-duty nurse was in the right place at the right time Sunday when a man suffered a medical emergency at a gymnastics event.

    “I never drink soda, but I really wanted a Sprite for some reason, so I sent her to get me a drink,” O’Connor said.

    Little did she know that sending her 11-year-old daughter Riley to quench a random craving would end up saving someone’s life. A man named Joe Flak had just collapsed after his heart stopped beating.

  • March 20, 2017 - Worcester Business Journal

    Peer through openings cut in temporary construction walls, and there stand two escalators from the former Worcester Center Galleria and Worcester Common Outlets, looking like fossils from another age.

    As vestiges of a different retail era – and a much different time for downtown Worcester – they'll soon be removed. Taking their place just on the other side of the wall is a massive staircase designed to evoke a strong sense of place and a place to gather – and to offer a symbol of the property shedding its past as part of a sprawling mall.

  • March 20, 2017 - Worcester Magazine

    Amy O’Connor never drinks soda, but while attending a March 19 gymnastics event in Shrewsbury, she said she suddenly had a craving for a Sprite. Her daughter, Riley Olander, went to the concession area to pick one up, where she saw a man lying on the ground, with a number of panicked bystanders calling for a nurse. So 11-year-old Riley, who was just learning about cardiac arrest and seizures in school the week prior, went to grab her mom – who just happens to be a nurse at UMass Memorial Medical Center.

    “I feel relieved that he’s OK,” Riley said of the man whose life she helped save.

    The man, Joe Flak, said the incident was “the scariest thing that ever happened to me in my life.” The 70-year-old Middleton resident was in high spirits the day after, though, joking with his saviors and thanking them for their efforts, which included CPR at the scene while he was unresponsive. He did not wake up until he was at the hospital.

  • March 17, 2017 - Boston Herald

    Arlington native Hazel Marecki spent four summers performing as a circus acrobat, relying only on her focus, strength and flexibility to keep her safely suspended 30 feet in the air.

    Today, the medical student will find out whether she’ll be bringing those skills to another high-risk endeavor: navigating and repairing the delicate twists and turns of the human vascular system.

    “Even when the patients go off to sleep and the drapes are up, it’s still a person you’re operating on, and something could go wrong,” said the fourth-year student at UMass Medical School. “And when you’re floating 30 feet in the air — there’s a chance you could fall ... It’s the thrill and the responsibility. It’s a line that’s very rewarding to walk.”

  • March 16, 2017 - WBUR Radio

    In 2014, the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa had reached it's terrible peak in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. For Dr. Steven Hatch, a specialist in infectious disease at UMass Memorial, that Ebola outbreak drew him to Liberia, where he worked to fight the virus.

  • March 11, 2017 - Telegram & Gazette

    UMass Memorial Medical Center pediatric surgery chief, Dr. Michael P. Hirsh, is being honored for his work in promoting public health, injury prevention and child safety by the Massachusetts Medical Society, which has named him the recipient of the society's 2017 Men's Health Award.

    Dr. Hirsh will receive the award at the society's Men's Health Symposium on June 15.