Opioid Overdose Recognition and Naloxone Use Training: Letter to the Editor

The members of the Springville Regional Services Coalition would like to thank Cheryll Moore and the Erie County Department of Health for coming to Springville Middle School on April 19 and giving a comprehensive training on opioid overdose recognition and naloxone use. She presented an eye-opening session that demonstrated the increase in overdoses and deaths caused by overdoses in our county, the importance of addressing this as a public health issue.
Ms. Moore has taught more than 15,000 people how to use this lifesaving medication and we are grateful that she has been able to train several hundred people in our community on its use.

Several times during the workshop, Ms. Moore thanked the participants for “taking care of (their) community.” Thank you, Cheryll, for your work to end the opiate epidemic.

This workshop was one of several substance abuse initiatives that our coalition is working on. We coordinated a similar event in September 2016, and it is our group’s plan to offer trainings likes this on a regular basis. The SRSC meets on the third Thursday of each month at 10 a.m. at the Springville Village Court conference room. All are welcome.

The Erie County Department of Health and the Opiate Epidemic Task Force have print materials available on their web site (www.erie.gov/health) and the Crisis Services Addictions Hotline is available 24 hours a day: (716) 831-7007. Call that number for support and referrals to treatment.

Members of the Springville Regional Services Coalition

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 29

Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville has been designated as a drop-off site for unused or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications on Saturday, April 29 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This is one of several sites throughout Western New York. Law enforcement representatives will be on hand along with volunteer pharmacists, no questions asked.

Last October, Americans turned in 366 tons (over 730,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  Overall, in its 12 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 7.1 million pounds—more than 3,500 tons—of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

With the growing nationwide concern about abuse of prescription medications, these drop-off events serve as a reminder for individuals and families to look through their cabinets and properly dispose of medications. This program keeps pharmaceuticals out of the water supply and away from children. Call 1-800-882-9539 or visit dea.gov for a full list of drop off sites on April 29.

Permanent drug disposal boxes continue to be available throughout Erie County, including at the Erie County Sheriff’s substation at 65 Franklin Street in the village of Springville.

Five Years for the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Foundation Garden Party

Event will support purchase of cardiology equipment

The Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Foundation’s fifth annual Garden Party is planned for Thursday, May 25 at the Springville Country Club. The foundation’s board is pleased to announce that the event will celebrate the career of Darlene Schrantz, RN and honor the memory of Dr. William McMahon. Schrantz retired from Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in March after a 44-year career in nursing. Dr. McMahon was a longtime physician in Springville, who passed away in 2016.

As the major fundraising event for the BCH Foundation, the Garden Party is a way to focus community support on a single project. The foundation board will use this year’s event to help fund the purchase of a TEE – transesophageal echocardiogram. This equipment will be used in the BCH Heart Center.

The Garden Party starts at 5 p.m. and concludes by 8 p.m. The Springville Jazz Orchestra and Hintz of Thunder will provide the musical entertainment.

Tickets are $50 each or $80 per couple and are available at the BCH reception desk. For information and sponsorship opportunities, call the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Foundation at (716) 592-2871 ext. 1485 or email Kara Kane at kkane@bch-jbr.org.

Community Training for Opioid Overdose Recognition and Naloxone Use

Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and the Springville Regional Services Coalition are coordinating a workshop on opioid overdose recognition and Naloxone use on Wednesday, April 19 at the Springville Middle School at 6:30 p.m.

Presented by the Erie County Department of Health, this training gives individuals the knowledge and tools to recognize signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose, properly administer naloxone and take the necessary follow-up steps.

Who can benefit from this training? The answer is, nearly everyone. The information in this workshop can help to save the life of a family member, friend, neighbor or colleague who is experiencing an overdose caused by an opiate or prescription narcotic.

Participants who successfully complete the training will receive a kit containing two doses of naloxone at no charge. This free training is open to anyone 16 years old or older. Register online by April 18 at http://bit.ly/narcan0419 or call (716) 592-2871 ext. 1485.

“If I were born 100 times… I’d always want to be a nurse.”

Darlene Schrantz, RNOn an April day in 1972, a nursing school graduate walked through the front doors of Bertrand Chaffee Hospital. She sat on a wooden bench outside of then-CEO Roger Ford’s door – a bench that is still in use at the front of the hospital – waiting for an interview for a medical/surgical nurse position.

That new nurse was Darlene Tworek – soon to be Darlene Schrantz. And within six months, she would be married to her husband Fred, relocated to Springville, and started on a career in nursing at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital. Little did she know that BCH was the place where she would spend the next four decades. Schrantz will complete her tenure as a full-time nursing administrator at the end of March, opening up a new chapter in her life.

But to describe the previous chapters, she and her husband Fred – a social studies teacher at Springville-Griffith Institute – grew up within blocks of each other in Dunkirk, which is where Darlene first got a look at the medical profession.

“In high school [Cardinal Mindszenty], I had a part-time job as ‘cart girl’ at Brooks Memorial Hospital, serving dinners on the floor for three hours each evening,” Schrantz explained. “I loved it – how it felt to talk to patients, and to be part of their care.”

A guidance counselor recommended that she pursue nursing education at Sisters of Charity in Buffalo, where she received her diploma in 1972. By the time she took her boards later that year, she was a full-fledged, full-time nurse at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital.

By 1980, Schrantz had moved to the Critical Care Unit, a four-bed unit for patients who needed a higher level of care. In 1985, a manager position opened in “OB,” the obstetrics floor, and Schrantz was ready for the responsibility.

“After working in the CCU for so long, I was always prepared for the worst to happen, and I brought some of that perspective to OB,” said Schrantz. “I learned so much in that unit, but I think I made incremental and meaningful changes in the OB department, too.

“With long-time nurses like Lorayne Proctor, RN, we trained nurses on intravenous [IV] starts, and made sure warmers were always ready,” she continued. “While I was there, 100 percent of our OB nurses were certified in NALS – neonatal life support – which was a great achievement for our small hospital.” Schrantz noted that she had many opportunities to receive training at Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, and was about to bring techniques and knowledge from that larger facility to our rural one.

Barb Childs, RN worked alongside Schrantz for many years, and remarked on her intelligence, fairness and compassion. “She was always conscientious in carrying out her job,” said Childs. “When she moved from CCU [critical care unit] to OB, she was determined that she would learn everything about OB and earn the respect of the nurses in that department…and she did.” Childs added, “I’m proud to have her as a friend.”

During the hospital’s expansion in 1989, Schrantz explained how nurses were part of the building process. “The architects included us the design discussions, showing us the blueprints and asking for our opinions of what we wanted to see,” she said.

That’s just one example where Schrantz was given “a seat at the table.” She feels fortunate that there were frequent and constant opportunities for the perspective of the nursing staff to be recognized and incorporated into hospital growth. “At major decision points for the hospital, from labor negotiations to adding new services, I’ve been glad that nurses have been listened to and appreciated.”

By 1993, the children she and her husband had raised in Springville were young adults, leaving Schrantz with some free time. Schrantz made the choice to earn a bachelor of science in nursing, taking courses at the University at Buffalo from 1993-1998. “I learned about management, budgeting, writing successful proposals and how to motivate clinical staff,” she said.

Schrantz’s family and children were by her side at every stage of her career at BCH. At the start, her son Matt had the distinction of being the first Mercy Flight of WNY patient in 1981 – flown to BCH with Schrantz as the first unofficial flight nurse. Matt took a position in community outreach for Mercy Flight during college, and a newspaper clipping from the time cites how he planned to go to law school. Today, Matt is a lawyer in Albany, where he lives with his wife, Cara.

Schrantz’s daughter Susan (Susie) pursued a career in teaching, and settled in Virginia with her husband John. Susie was diagnosed with leukemia in 2015, and Schrantz supported her daughter throughout her treatments and hospitalizations. She passed away from cancer in 2016, leaving behind two children, and Schrantz’s large extended family to grieve the loss. In her retirement, Schrantz will have more time to visit with her grandchildren.

“At each step of my career I’ve been given more responsibility, and everyone here has been there to help, not stand in the way.” Schrantz described the response from the community while the hospital navigated a bankruptcy filing as an example of that: “People and businesses stepped forward with raffles and spaghetti dinners, contributing hard-earned money to save their hospital.”

She continued, “I believe there is an energy in the leadership team that will keep this place working for the community…BCH has been responsive to community needs, from reducing inpatient beds to adding primary care and specialist services – we’ll be here for a long time.”

Schrantz brought her clinical and management experience to hospital expansions in 2002, for the Emergency Department, and 2010, with the renovation of the third floor to accommodate the Primary Care Center. “My last few years here have been really fun.”

After more than four decades as a nurse, Schrantz is happy to offer some words of advice to nurses and aspiring medical professionals: “Don’t ever forget to look at your patient – use all your senses, especially touch, to understand how they feel.”

Jennifer Siragusa, RN, who has stepped into the director of patient care services role that Schrantz established, had this to share. “Darlene has had a tremendous influence on my nursing career – she gave me my first nursing job in 1999.” Siragusa continued, “As a leader in the healthcare field, Darlene taught me that quality care is the number one priority for nurses and for our hospital…she continues to be an advocate for her nursing staff and is a very compassionate nurse and manager…I aspire to be as great a leader as she is.”

“I appreciated the opportunities, chances and challenges at BCH,” Schrantz said. And there’s no other job Schrantz would rather do: “I’ve grown up in this job and I’ve loved what I’ve done the entire time…If I were born 100 times, I’d always want to be a nurse.”

National Doctors’ Day

Sent to local newspapers as a letter to the editor.
Thursday, March 30 is National Doctors’ Day. Springville has a long tradition of physicians who have served generations of local families. Despite our location in a rural area in Western New York, Bertrand Chaffee Hospital continues to attract doctors who choose to serve the people of our community.

With family practice and internal medicine practitioners in the BCH’s Primary Care Center team and specialists for cardiology, gynecology, gastroenterology and surgery, Bertrand Chaffee Hospital remains a hub for local healthcare.

We have recruited physicians and allied health professionals like nurse practitioners and physician assistants to BCH in recent years. Last summer, Dr. Jacqueline Shanahan joined our Primary Care Center. And last October, we added a board-certified general surgeon, Gavin Davison MD, to establish the BCH Surgical Center. This spring, we are welcoming a urology specialist, Michael I. Hanzly, Jr., DO, to practice in our facility.

For this national occasion, and on behalf of BCH and JBR, we thank our doctors – past, present and future – who are keeping healthcare local for our community. And for our neighbors who rely on our hospital and our providers for their medical needs, thank you for your support.

Gary Eppolito
President, Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Board of Directors

Nils Gunnersen
CEO, Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and Jennie B. Richmond Nursing Home

BCH Announces New Director of Patient Care Services


Jennifer Siragusa portrait

Jennifer Siragusa, RN

Bertrand Chaffee Hospital has announced that Jennifer Siragusa, RN of Gowanda has been named Director of Patient Care Services. She takes over the role from Darlene Schrantz, RN, who retired at the end of March after spending more than four decades with the hospital as a nurse, manager and administrator.

Siragusa will manage the clinical aspects of patient care throughout the hospital facility. As part of the leadership team, she supervises managers and nursing staff across many departments, including the emergency department, Primary Care Center, Heart Center, Surgical Center, and acute care.

Best wishes and a warm thanks to Darlene Schrantz for her incredible dedication to our facility, and congratulations to Jennifer Siragusa on her new role.