Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
22
December
2016
|
06:00 AM
America/New_York

Remembrance Wall at LVHN-One City Center Honors Memory of Street Medicine Patients

Craig Vito was homeless. He continued to live on the street while battling a fatal illness because there were people in the hospital sicker than he was. He didn’t want to take up a hospital bed until he absolutely needed it.

Vito’s is one of 15 names listed on a new Remembrance Wall at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN)–One City Center; a gift from Dr. Brian Nester and his wife, Dr. Tina Pippis-Nester. Located along Hamilton Street near the facility’s main entrance, the wall memorializes patients of the health network’s Street Medicine program who lost their lives while homeless on the streets of the Lehigh Valley. The wall was Craig Vito was homeless. He continued to live on the street while battling a fatal illness because there were people in the hospital sicker than he was. He didn’t want to take up a hospital bed until he absolutely needed it.

Vito’s is one of 15 names listed on a new Remembrance Wall at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN)–One City Center; a gift from Dr. Brian Nester and his wife, Dr. Tina Pippis-Nester. Located along Hamilton Street near the facility’s main entrance, the wall memorializes patients of the health network’s Street Medicine program who lost their lives while homeless on the streets of the Lehigh Valley. The wall was unveiled during a candlelight ceremony on Dec. 21, National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, which is the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.

The Nesters first experienced the tragedies and medical consequences of homelessness while working as Emergency Physicians in Philadelphia. “The homeless people we cared for were often very sick,” Dr. Pippis-Nester says, “but sometimes they just came to the ER for a warm place to rest and a simple meal.” During her remarks at the ceremony, she referenced LVHN’s hospice program “No One Dies Alone,” adding that with the Remembrance Wall, it is the hope that no one dies “unknown.”

Colleagues in LVHN’s Street Medicine program provide health care for homeless people in shelters, soup kitchens, on the street and under bridges. The Street Medicine team works on the belief that “everybody matters.” They have served more than 2,000 unique patients over the past two years and receive support from more than 200 colleagues who volunteer to care for the poorest of the poor.

The director of LVHN’s Street Medicine program, Brett Feldman, says each time he passes the Remembrance Wall during his daily rounds, he will be reminded of all the things he learned from patients who passed away. “They are my greatest teachers,” Feldman says. “They will remind me of my successes, the need to share my love and, most of all, the need to give until it hurts.”

during a candlelight ceremony on Dec. 21, National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, which is the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.

The Nesters first experienced the tragedies and medical consequences of homelessness while working as Emergency Physicians in Philadelphia. “The homeless people we cared for were often very sick,” Dr. Pippis-Nester says, “but sometimes they just came to the ER for a warm place to rest and a simple meal.” During her remarks at the ceremony, she referenced LVHN’s hospice program “No One Dies Alone,” adding that with the Remembrance Wall, it is the hope that no one dies “unknown.”

Colleagues in LVHN’s Street Medicine program provide health care for homeless people in shelters, soup kitchens, on the street and under bridges. The Street Medicine team works on the belief that “everybody matters.” They have served more than 2,000 unique patients over the past two years and receive support from more than 200 colleagues who volunteer to care for the poorest of the poor.

The director of LVHN’s Street Medicine program, Brett Feldman, says each time he passes the Remembrance Wall during his daily rounds, he will be reminded of all the things he learned from patients who passed away. “They are my greatest teachers,” Feldman says. “They will remind me of my successes, the need to share my love and, most of all, the need to give until it hurts.”

About LVHN

Lehigh Valley Health Network includes eight hospital campuses - three in Allentown including the region's only facility dedicated to orthopedic surgery, one in Bethlehem, one in Hazleton, two in Pottsville, and one in East Stroudsburg; 16 health centers caring for communities in five counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices throughout the region; pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes: trauma care at the region’s busiest, most-experienced trauma center treating adults and children, burn care at the regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer care, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital in the region, provides care in 28 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Health Network has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for 21 consecutive years as one of America’s Best Hospitals. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest, Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street and Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg are national Magnet hospitals for excellence in nursing. LVHN’s Cancer Institute is a formal member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, a transformative initiative to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with cancer in community health care settings, including access to key MSK clinical trials. Additional information is available by visiting LVHN.org, or following us on Facebook and Twitter.