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Inaugural Ness Golf Tournament raises $15,000 for burn center

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital, the state’s only dedicated burn center, has received a gift of $15,000 from the inaugural Play It Forward Michael Ness Golf Tournament and Awards Banquet.

The May 19 fundraiser, held at Oak Hills Golf Course in Norwalk, honored the memory of a 22-year-old man burned in an August 2013 house fire and treated at the burn center before he died from his injuries. The center treated several other people burned in the same Norwalk fire.

The golf tournament was organized and co-chaired by Michael Ness’ brother, Matthew Ness, a New Canaan chef.

“When our family was in the midst of a horrible and personal tragedy, the Connecticut Burn Center embraced us all, providing the finest medical care for my brother and supporting us emotionally and physically,” said Matthew. “When we needed it, the burn center was there for us. Now we want to ‘pay it forward’ in Michael’s name so it will continue to be there for all who face the same type of traumatic and life-threatening injuries.”

Michael Ness was a Norwalk resident and a member of the Brien McMahon High School lacrosse team.

“The burn center staff treated us with the utmost compassion,” said Michael’s mother, Liz Wobschall, who attended the July 29 check presentation at the hospital with her family. “They tended not only to the immediate medical needs of their patients, but also offered extraordinary support to the families and friends who gathered for days on end.”

The Ness family’s gift will help fund patient care and family support programs in the burn center.

“The Ness family’s experience illustrates that burn injuries affect not only the patients who are injured but also their entire families,” said Alisa Savetamal, MD, burn center medical director, who was on hand to accept the gift on behalf of the hospital. “Family support is a critical component of burn care and something that is central to what we do as a burn care team.”

“Generous gifts like the one from the Ness family help the burn center provide world-class care as well as important emotional support to patients and their families,” added Steve Jakab, president of the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation. “On behalf of our patients, their loved ones and the burn center team, we are most grateful for the Ness family’s kindness."   

Bridgeport Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health, is a non-profit 501-bed acute care hospital with two campuses (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale New Haven Children's Hospital). Its Bridgeport and Milford Campuses serve patients from across the region. The hospital admits more than 23,000 patients and provides nearly 350,000 outpatient treatments annually. The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital is the only burn center in the state and one of only 64 verified burn centers in the United States. Bridgeport Hospital is committed to providing safe, compassionate and cost efficient care to its patients and the community.