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Ray Murray's Story

"Both Fairview and BMC functioned like one hospital. It was a seamless delivery of care."

Ray Murray's journey through the community healthcare system began with rotator cuff surgery at Berkshire Medical Center in 2009 to repair serious injuries from a skiing accident in Utah. "They did a fantastic job," he said. And while the surgery was a complete success, his recovery was marked by unusual symptoms that initially did not appear related to his surgery. Solving the problem ultimately involved teamwork among his primary care physician and physicians at both BMC and Fairview Hospital, demonstrating to Ray the value of collaboration when it comes to healthcare. He has served on both the Fairview and BHS Board of Trustees

His symptoms began several months after surgery, and after he had completed his physical therapy under the careful eyes of a therapist. "But once I started doing exercises on my own, I injured myself," Ray said. At the time, he felt pain but chalked it up to his own exercise program. "I didn't pay too much attention to it," he said. "Then, I started coughing a few weeks later. Since I have a history of sinus infections, I was put on antibiotics."

But medication did not ease his symptoms. In fact, the coughing worsened and after X-rays at Fairview Hospital, his physician began treating Ray for pneumonia. He was sent to Fairview Hospital for a follow-up CT scan to make sure his lung had cleared when a disturbing image appeared on the diagnostic test.

At that point, physicians from East Mountain Medical and Fairview Hospital began conferring with their colleagues at BMC, who all had online access to Ray's CT scans. Solving the puzzle was Daniel Doyle, MD, Chairman of BMC's Department of Pulmonary Medicine, who met with Ray and explained that he had an abscess that had shut down the base of his lung. The condition was most likely the result of his exercise injury. "It was my mistake," Ray said. "Too much weight and too many repetitions caused a diaphragm muscle to tear at the base of my lung which eventually led to all of my symptoms."

But instead of ordering major surgery, Dr. Doyle brought in interventional radiologist Curtis Brasseur, Chairman of the BHS Department of Radiology, who used imaging technology to guide narrow catheters and other tiny instruments through blood vessels to drain the abscess.

For Ray, who is among the owners of Ray Murray, Inc., in Lee, one of the largest suppliers of propane gas equipment and appliances in the U.S., the experience demonstrated firsthand the value of collaboration in healthcare. "Both Fairview and BMC functioned like one hospital," he said. "The doctors worked together, they shared information and images - it was a seamless delivery of care."


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