Friday, October 26, 2012

First MGH infection control nurse honored

A LONGSTANDING LEGACY: From left, Hopkins, Wright, Ted and Wendy DeMille, Hooper and Tarselli

“Enjoy.” It was her trademark word and what Carole DeMille, RN, did throughout her career as the first official nurse in infection control at the MGH and one of the founders of the Association for Practitioners in Infection Control (APIC). In honor of DeMille, who died of cancer in 1979 at age 47, the Infection Control Unit hosted a celebration of her life and legacy Oct. 15 in the Ether Dome and dedicated its conference room on Bulfinch 3 in her name. The event coincided with the 40th anniversary of APIC and the beginning of International Infection Prevention Week.

David Hooper, MD, chief of the Infection Control Unit, welcomed past and present staff as well as DeMille’s friends and family, including her two children, Wendy and Ted. Cyrus Hopkins, MD, who worked closely with DeMille as the hospital’s first epidemiologist, described her path from a student at the MGH School of Nursing to an international nurse leader in the growing field of infection control.

Outside of the MGH, DeMille was known as a loving mother, a consummate hostess, a loyal Red Sox fan and an avid reader of mystery novels, said Infection Control nurse Judy Tarselli, RN, who shared anecdotes about DeMille from her children and APIC colleagues. Tarselli described how DeMille once said infection control was like a “great mystery, and I get to play detective.”

Paula Wright, RN, director of the Infection Control Unit, discussed the present-day unit and APIC – now an international organization with more than 14,000 members – reading heartfelt messages from current APIC leadership in honor of DeMille.

Following the event, Hooper invited attendees to a reception in the new Carole DeMille Conference Room. “Carole was a pioneer in Infection Control who put MGH at the forefront of the field,” Hooper said as he unveiled the plaque bearing DeMille’s name. “We hope to stay there as we move forward.”

Read more articles from the 10/26/12 Hotline issue.


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