COMPASSION IS WHAT SUSTAINS ME: CAROL COTTRILL

It seems so fitting that Carol Cottrill’s medical specialty is the hearts of children - both physical and emotional. Her career path began when her 4th child was born with congenital heart disease.  Growing up on a family farm, she learned to balance compassion and necessity, a skill she would use in caring for her daughter and later during 18 years as medical director of UK’s pediatric ICU. Her daughter’s illness introduced her to wonderfully compassionate doctors and nurses who….

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FRIEND TO THOSE WHO ARE AILING: DANESH MAZLOOMDOOST, MD

Danesh Mazloomdoost, MD has inherited a tradition reflected in his name itself. In his family’s native Iran, Mazloomdoost means “friend to those who are ailing.” His life in medicine seems almost preordained by his family history. His father (a U.S. trained anesthesiologist who specialized in pain management) and mother (who trained in anesthesiology in Iran and retrained in psychiatry in the U.S.) built their practice around a comprehensive mind-body approach to pain management, long before such….

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SUSTAINING AN ALTRUISTIC SPIRIT: TERRY BARRETT

Terry Barrett is Chief of the Gastroenterology Division of the Department of Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He came to Lexington in 2013 from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago.  Becoming a Doctor.   Although there were no doctors in his family, he always felt a parental expectation of excellence and high achievement. He had a poor impression of the competitive nature of pre-medical education he witnessed among his peers.

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I use the Headspace meditation app. It reminds you to breathe, take time and be present. It helps.”


She met psychiatrist Mark Wright before medical school. Her children call him Uncle Mark.  He is a great friend and ‘brother’ who celebrates all Marta’s family joys. Mark loves it when he is seeing a patient who has also seen Marta, without knowing they are friends. He says, “They tell me wonderful things about her, including how she saved their life.”


What are Your Go-To Stress Relievers?

 “I take vacations and re-energize. I have three grown children who have fabulous spouses and four children of their own. I love spending time with all of them. I have really great friends to walk with and talk with. I play tennis and love to travel. I now have a dog, Einstein, who keeps me busy! He’s a mess. I laugh a lot. My husband taught me to laugh at myself.”


Personal Beliefs/Patient Beliefs

Marta describes herself as spiritual but not religious. “Everyone has their own belief system and I support them all. Patients say I listen and they like that. They feel like they can talk to me and that makes me happy. I try to be present to them. When I go into a room, I try to set aside whatever I’ve got going on and take good energy in there- this is their day. I sometimes take some deep breaths and get focused before going in.”


“I feel we are all connected. When one of us hurts, we all hurt. I try to live each day the best I can and look for the good in people. Everything you ever wanted to know you learned in 8th grade science. Energy never dies, it just changes form. It’s not over when someone dies. It all breaks down into molecules and atoms spread out like one huge mosaic throughout the universe. Some are bunched together and make me. Others are bunched together and make you. But it’s all part of one mosaic. It’s science. You can’t argue with science. I grew up Baptist. I believe in God and Jesus but I haven’t sorted all that out. I don’t think it has to be either/or.” Careful to respect her patients’ belief systems regarding death and dying, she sometimes shares images of the great unknown such as the transformation of the caterpillar into the butterfly.


Her Message to Colleagues and Physicians in Training

“Don’t take yourself too seriously. Find the humor. Disconnect from work so you can re-energize.”


Her Colleagues Speak

Jim Borders, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Baptist Health Lexington- “Marta epitomizes the culture of caring and compassion to which Baptist aspires.”


Firas Badin, MD, oncologist- “Marta Hayne not only treats her patients, she showers them with love, attention, and compassion. I am so proud to work by her side.”


Elvis Donaldson, MD, oncologist- “For 25 years, no matter how the day is going, a phone call with the greeting ‘Hi, this is Marta’ is uplifting and brings a smile. As a colleague, she is the epitome of a competent, caring, compassionate partner. As a friend, her smiles and sincere greetings are well known throughout the community. She has a fierce dedication and desire to do good. On a personal level, she is a true and dependable colleague and friend.”


Alan Beckman, MD, radiation oncologist- “In 19 years of working as partners, we’ve never had an argument. She is the most positive person I have ever known. She always looks for the good in every situation and in every person, so much so, that she earned the nickname Mary Poppins. But Marta does not just sugarcoat life’s difficulties. She has dedicated her career to helping people with cancer during extremely serious and difficult times in their lives. And she has recently been through her own personal difficult period during her husband’s illness and death. Yet even in sad times, she finds a way to celebrate the moment. She can cry with someone and then find something to laugh about. She doesn’t take herself so seriously that she can’t laugh about herself. She is truly genuine and honest. She has the gift of being able to bring out the best in others. She is a true friend to everyone. Those are the reasons she has so many friends and everyone loves Marta! I consider myself fortunate to have met her. She is a wonderful friend.” 


Leslie Melton, RN- “I’ve had the perfect job the last 4 years, working 50+ hours a week with Mar Mar (her grandkids name for her). She is a very humble person whose entire career is based upon compassion. She brings so much joy to the work place and to patients.  The glass is always half full with her. She has a smile that lights up a room and her patients and staff absolutely adore her.  She keeps our morale up and is the ring leader for special occasions (Derby hats, Halloween costumes, nurse’s week, etc).”


Quotes from Radiation Oncology Staff

 “Dr. Hayne’s heart overflows with compassion and love for each patient- as well as the staff that work in our department.”  “If you ever feel like you can’t go to anyone about something, just find Dr. Hayne. She will drop everything to ensure you have what you need- making a phone call, an ear to listen, or a hug for support.” 


“Dr. Hayne is unlike any doctor I have worked with...she approaches everyone with positive energy and compassion, whether it’s the first encounter or the 100th.”


“Saying that Dr. Hayne values her team is an understatement. She goes out of her way to make sure everyone feels included and appreciated.”


“The thing I love most about Dr. Hayne is that she isn’t afraid to laugh or cry with her patients. She truly feels the love, pain, happiness, and other emotions patients and their families go through.”


“Dr. Hayne isn’t just your radiation doctor... she makes herself a part of your life from the moment you meet. She makes it truly seem effortless to get to know her patients as the people they are and not just the circumstances that brought them into our department.”


As I was writing this article, a long-time friend told me he had just been diagnosed with inoperable metastatic cancer and would need radiation therapy. I referred him to Marta Hayne so that his radiation therapy would include her energy of positivity and compassion. 

Marta Hayne, MD practices radiation oncology at Baptist Health in Lexington. She knew she wanted to be a doctor as early as kindergarten. Growing up in Charleston, West Virginia, she says “My father was an OB-GYN and really loved his work. I always felt comfortable following him around the hospital. I hung out with him all I could and loved seeing him take care of people. I began filing his office charts from the time I could alphabetize.” She graduated early from high school and college, planning to go to medical school.


Then at age 20, she began doubting herself, seeing all the charts in her father’s office as overwhelming. She actually applied to medical school but withdrew her application. Over the next several years, she and her husband had 3 children. They also sold medical office billing technology. This opened her eyes to some questionable ethical practices in some medical offices. “I thought to myself-‘people deserve better than this’.” Inspired by an aunt who was a nurse and continued her education over many years, Marta’s desire to be a doctor was rekindled. She went back to medical school at age 34.


Why radiation oncology?

During clinical rotations in West Virginia University School of Medicine, she loved all the different medical specialties but really connected with hematology/ oncology because of the patients. “They were the most inspiring, courageous people I had ever met. I knew I wanted to be in oncology.” She

BY JOHN A. PATTERSON MD, MSPH, FAAFP

function. One of my greatest joys was a lady who was aphasic from brain metastasis and, after radiation, was able to talk to her family until she died. I didn’t change how long she lived but radiation improved the quality of her life.”


“Whether as a doctor or a person, I’m not afraid to talk to patients about dying. Most of them are quite relieved. We discuss their cancer treatment options and realistic goals. They inspire me with their bravery and multiple times every day I’m reminded to keep everything in perspective.” Even after the patient’s radiation therapy is completed, she and her team often make courtesy call when former patients are admitted, taking food or informally supporting the care provided by their admitting physician.


Managing Burnout

Marta worked 60 hours a week and took calls every other week until a 3rd partner joined her team recently. “To me, feeling burned out means you don’t have anything to give. I questioned whether I could continue practicing after my father died in 2012. I’ve been fortunate to have a partner, Dr. Alan Beckman, who has been right there with me through it all. I also began meditating a couple of years ago when my husband developed progressive supranuclear palsy and was dying.

JOHN A. PATTERSON MD, MSPH, FAAFP

Dr Patterson chairs the Lexington Medical

Senator Alvarado earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Loma Linda University (California) in 1990, and then went on to receive his Doctorate in Medicine in 1994. He completed his medical residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Kentucky in 1998. Society's Physician Wellness Commission and is certified in Physician Coaching. He is on the family practice faculty UK College of Medicine and teaches nationally for Saybrook School of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences (San Francisco) and the Center for Mind Body Medicine (Washington, DC). After 30 years in private family practice in Irvine KY, he now operates the Mind Body Studio in Lexington, where he offers integrative mind-body medicine consultations specializing in mindfulness-based approaches to stress-related chronic conditions and burnout prevention for helping professionals. He can be reached through his website at www.mindbodystudio.org

found her dream career in radiation oncology. “It was a match made in heaven. I had the oncology patients and the high tech world of radiation oncology. I loved the math and physics and energy of radiation. I still do.”


How is it knowing many of your patients will die?

“We are each on our own journey and I don’t have any control over that but I can help alleviate suffering. Radiation is great at relieving pain from bone metastasis. We can often open airways, stop bleeding and treat brain metastasis and spinal cord compression to preserve neurologic