March 21, 2008
Three years before opening, the B3C is already helping patients

Happiness can be spread with the simplest of gestures — just ask MGH patient Robert Deveau. Suffering from end-stage congestive heart failure, a condition that required a heart and kidney transplant, Deveau was admitted to the MGH this past November to remain under medical supervision as he waited for organs to become available. As his hospital stay extended from weeks to months and with his family out of state, Deveau had few distractions to pass the time and soon began to feel discouraged. Noticing this, MGH chaplain Rev. Daphne B. Noyes sought ways to lift his spirits. As it happened, Deveau's room on Ellison 8 had a perfect view of the demolition of the Clinics, Vincent Burnham Kennedy and Tilton buildings, which was underway to prepare the site for construction of a new clinical facility, the Building for the Third Century (B3C). Noyes saw that Deveau, a retired machinist, was particularly intrigued by the construction activity — and she had an idea.

deveau and friendsNoyes and Kitty Craig-Comin, LICSW, MGH social worker, enlisted the help of Kris Hutchins, clerk for the B3C project, and Turner Construction Company staff members Brian Chase, project director; Doug LaPlante, safety superintendent; and Allison Ferrari, office manager; to find ways to brighten Deveau's time while awaiting surgery. Turner Construction outfitted Deveau with company gear, including fleece pullovers and a personalized hard hat, while Craig-Comin placed a large sign reading "Bob" in his window so construction workers could wave to him. Project managers even stopped by to visit Deveau in his Ellison 8 "satellite office" and gave him an official company title: window superintendent.

Front row, from left, Ferrari, Craig-Comin, Deveau and Carol Blanchard, RN, of Ellison 8. Back row, from left, Hutchins, Noyes, Lissette Chao, physician assistant for Cardiac Surgery, Chase and M.J. Winer, RN, of Ellison 8.

Deveau received his new heart Feb. 2 and a new kidney the following day. He spent a little more than two weeks recuperating on Blake 6 and Blake 8 before returning home. "Bob's story touched the Turner crew, and they rose to the occasion," says Noyes. "Their support and encouragement made all the difference to Bob during his long time of waiting, and the friendship continues."

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