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Four generations receive personal care at Tufts MC


For Mary “Francine” Sahlas, receiving care at Tufts Medical Center is a long family tradition.

Her mother, Mary Frances Foley, became a patient in 1921 at the age of 10. Four generations have followed in her footsteps.

 “The care has been personal for me, my mom, dad, 5 siblings, kids and grandkids,” says Francine, 84.

Growing up, she heard stories from her mother about waiting for an appointment on a long bench outside the Dispensary Building, the first medical dispensary in New England. When each patient was called, she would slide down a few inches until it was her turn. 

Years later, when Francine faced her own health issues, she turned to Tufts MC for her treatment. Francine, a breast cancer survivor, had a lumpectomy and underwent chemotherapy and radiation at Tufts Medical Center two decades ago.

“It was the year 2000 and I was as sick as a dog,” recalls Francine. “I’ll never forget about it. Everyone was all worried about Y2K but I didn’t much care. Thank god for Tufts Medical Center. I got great care.”

More recently, Francine was treated for diverticulitis, which developed into a life-threatening infection. She spent two weeks at the Medical Center with sepsis.

But while some feel anxiety heading in for a hospital stay, Francine has always made light of it, knowing she was in good hands. She jokes that each of her hospital stays were like a vacation.

“You have to go in with a good attitude,” says Francine. “Being there is a familiar feeling. It’s like home. I’ve received excellent care. When I was going through breast cancer, I felt supported.”

Each of her siblings have also been patients, treated for a myriad of illnesses including esophageal cancer, brain surgery and uterine cancer. Her children have also both had surgery at the Medical Center. Two of her many grandchildren were born at Tufts Medical Center. 

“They were great to my father and mother, my siblings, and my husband,” says Francine. “People dread going to the hospital. That’s not the case for me.”