Josephine: All Good, Inside and Out

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Josephine B. literally knows Mercy Medical Center inside and out. And from her practiced perspective, she says it all looks pretty good to her no matter how you look at it.

For a number of years, Josephine, of Baltimore, worked for a third party company that managed Mercy Medical Center's visitors parking garage. Josephine worked in the attendant booth and was the last person you'd see as you left the grounds of the hospital's campus. "I was the one you paid on your way out," she said.

A compassionate soul who now gives much more than she could ever take, you couldn't ask for a better person to leave a last and lasting impression than Josephine.

"Mercy was always good to me when I was working at the parking garage," Josephine noted. "They seemed to be nice people who genuinely cared."

After her retirement in 2011, Josephine would get a real inside look at just how good and caring Mercy and its staffs really are.

Trouble on the Inside

While she worked at the parking garage Josephine's health insurance allowed her to see doctors and have routine check-ups at Mercy. But after her retirement her insurance changed, and so did her health. After a routine colonoscopy uncovered blood in her stool, Josephine's doctors at another Baltimore hospital brought her in for testing which identified a small polyp on the left side of her stomach. The polyp was found to be benign, but it was affecting Josephine and had to come out.

"I walk a lot and at the time I'd walk up a hill and I'd feel like I'd done a day's work," she said. "I needed to sit down a lot."

Josephine's doctor knew her patient had no car and that her regular appointments meant a long ride on the number 15 bus. So the doctor recommended a fellow physician who was not only very good in treating digestive health problems, but was closer by bus.

The physician was Dr. Sergey Kantsevoy of Mercy Medical's Institute for Digestive Health & Liver Disease. Dr. Kantsevoy is a nationally recognized expert in Therapeutic Endoscopy for GI conditions, which, for Josephine, was precisely what the doctor ordered.

Feeling Good from the Inside Out

In August 2011 Dr. Kantsevoy performed a non-invasive procedure known as Interventional Endoscopy, where a flexible tube with surgical instruments was inserted down Josephine's throat and the polyp removed with no incisions. Josephine was thrilled. "When I woke from the procedure I just said,' Thank you Lord for these doctors and nurses and this hospital," she said. "They did a wonderful job."

Josephine has had no stomach issues since, and in August 2012 she saw Dr. Kantsevoy for her one-year follow-up. She received a clean bill of health.

"I love Mercy, the doctors and nurses both," she said. "I have not had a bad experience there. The nurses are really nice; some of them came and sat beside my bed. That meant a lot.

"And Dr. Kantsevoy is just awesome. He has a kindness about him that really tells you he cares. He'll talk to you and explain things. I like that. I want to know what they're doing. He's very comforting and you need that when your health isn't right."

Nowadays the last woman you would see on the way out of the hospital is generally the first one you see when someone needs attention or a kind and caring hand.

In addition to her walking, Josephine currently stays in shape by playing in a competitive Wii bowling league every Wednesday morning at the Waxter Senior Center in Baltimore. She also serves as Vice President of her apartment association at the Bernard E. Mason senior housing complex in Baltimore City. "I look after things," she said. "We keep an eye on the building."

And if that's not enough, Josephine keeps an eye on her friends too. Each week she visits local hospitals and nursing homes to spend time with neighbors who previously lived in her apartment house. People, she says, who were there when she needed them, or who just need a little lift.

"I just like to give back when I can," she said. "I've been blessed."

Indeed she has. Inside, and out.

The Melissa L. Posner Institute for Digestive Health & Liver Disease at Mercy provides diagnosis and treatment for a range of gastroenterology issues including heartburn, liver disease, bowel conditions, motility disorders and pancreatic disease.