Patient Ambassador

Patient Ambassador

At MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, our focus is “It’s how we treat people.”  Leaving a positive impression on a patient’s experience is about more than just treating them medically.  It’s about going the extra mile to make sure that their mental and emotional well-being are treated as well.

Our Patient Ambassadors create lasting impressions and foster a warm, friendly and positive atmosphere for our patients while simultaneously assisting nursing staff with patient needs to give them more time to focus on clinical matters.

Why Become a Patient Ambassador?

If you enjoy making people feel comfortable and happy, becoming a Patient Ambassador here at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center could be for you.  Patient Ambassadors are warm, hospitable people looking to give of their time and positive energy to make our patients happier during their stay.

What Requirements Does a Patient Ambassador Have?

Our Patient Ambassadors should be service-oriented, personable and friendly.  Because many of the responsibilities include rounding various units, our applicants should be able to stand and walk during their entire shift.  A Patient Ambassador will provide a “personal concierge” experience to each patient they service according to the duties and responsibilities outlined in the position description.

What Do Patient Ambassadors Do?

Patient Ambassadors round and visit patients to ensure cleanliness of rooms, keep room supplies stocked and within appropriate reach for patient need, deliver blankets, puzzles and other personal care items as requested, refresh water/ice pitcher, and among other duties as necessary, report patient concerns to appropriate person to minimize wait times in response to patient call bells.


Sometimes referred to as septicemia or blood poisoning, sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection. It can begin with bacteria, such as staph or E. coli, and occurs most often with pneumonia, urinary tract infections, skin abrasions or stomach and/or intestine conditions.

Some people are at higher risk of developing sepsis, including the very young, the very old, those with chronic illnesses, and those with a weakened or impaired immune system. Sepsis is not contagious, however, if sepsis is not treated early, it can damage your organs and can even cause death.

Sepsis symptoms include:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Shortness of breath; more than 20 breaths per minute
  • High heart rate; more than 90 beats per minute 
  • Fever; less than 96.8 degrees Farenheight or greater than 100.4 degrees Farenheight
  • Shivering, clammy, or sweaty skin
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Extreme pain or discomfort

If you observe these symptoms, say something. Treatment works best the faster it is administered at the onset of sepsis.

Diagnosis of Sepsis:

  • Blood Tests
  • Diagnostic Tests
  • Urine Tests 

Sepsis treatment options:

Sepsis is a medical emergency and needs to be treated as quickly and efficiently as possible. Individuals diagnosed with sepsis must be treated at a hospital, so the source of the infection is treated simultaneously, and blood flow to organs can be monitored.

  • Antibiotics and saline/fluids, typically through IVs
  • In extreme cases, breathing assistance, kidney dialysis or surgery may be required

Get immediate medical attention if you have any signs or symptoms of an infection or sepsis.

According to the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA), sepsis is among the top 10 most common and potentially preventable complications across Maryland hospitals, and it is also a leading cause of mortality and readmission.

Visit to learn more.


What is a Hospitalist?

Hospitalists are highly qualified physicians specializing in Internal Medicine. They have dedicated their experience and expertise to hospital medicine, which places them in a unique position to care for acutely-ill hospitalized patients. They are responsible for your care for the duration of your stay in the hospital—this can include identifying and communicating with other specialists to ensure you get the care you need. Hospitalists can also help you and your family better understand your illness, treatment options, and recovery. A member of the hospitalist team is available 24 hours, seven days a week to address any acute medical issues in the hospital. Above that, their daily duties are to perform patient rounds, monitor progress, review test results, and address treatment changes as necessary.

Two groups of hospitalists work at MedStar Southern Maryland, divided into two shifts to ensure coverage of all patients, 24-7, by experts in providing care on the hospital floors. Our MedStar hospitalists come from MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

Your hospitalist will:

  • Serve as a liaison between you and your primary care physician, and depending on your condition, your hospitalist and primary care physician may stay in contact to determine your treatment and progress while you are hospitalized. 
  • Coordinate patients' plan of care while in the hospital with family and all other physicians and clinicians who may have referred or treated the patient.
  • Met with family members, follow-up on test results, answer nurses' questions and assure a patient's care is going according to plan.
  • Participate in physician follow-ups regarding a patient's hospital stay
  • Prep discharge instructions that prepare patients to continue to heal after they leave the hospital.

You may see more than one hospitalist during your stay, but they will be communicating with each other to keep updated with your clinical condition. The goal of our hospitalist team is to provide exceptional quality care and the best possible patient experience. 

As the name suggests, hospitalists only work with you while you are hospitalized. After hospital discharge, you will return to the care of your primary care physician who would be informed about clinical details about your hospital stay. The aim is to decrease an interruption in your recovery.

Contact Us Today

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
7503 Surratts Road
Clinton, Maryland 20735
[Get Directions]
Phone: 301-774-8881

Learn about the differences between primary, online, urgent, and emergency care.

What Care Option is Right For You?

Palliative Care

Director of Palliative Care, Alvin Reaves, III, MD, FACP, FAAHPM, and patient.

What is Palliative Care?

Often referred to as end-of-life care, Palliative Care is a multidisciplinary approach of care in which patients are actively involved in the decision-making process to improve the quality of their life during a serious illness. 

Palliative care is typically offered at the beginning of a significant or life-changing or life-limiting illness to stop or lessen suffering and to help people understand that they have choices about their care. It is available on an inpatient basis and can be provided as the main goal of care or as a supporting option. It is often difficult for families and patients to understand that decisions are not always cut and dry. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing for a patient and sometimes full-court press is the best thing – your treatment depends on what your goals of care are and what you want at that stage of your life. 

Your Palliative Care Team

At MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, the Palliative Care Team includes Director of Palliative Care, Alvin Reaves, III, MD, FACP, FAAHPM, social worker Zoe Plaugher, and Nurse Practitioner Sherri Hayes.  Together, they are responsible for managing the care a patient receives to ensure their case is treated in a unique way determined by each individual patient. The team incorporates multiple disciplines as they help review the medical condition of the patient, set treatment goals, provide the family with support, and resolve conflicts.  The team also works with both in-patient consultants and outside agencies, such as hospice, to coordinate the best care for each patient. 

The Value of Palliative Care

Many people are not aware that a doctor has to tell you everything that could be done, but whether it should be done, that is a different question. Physicians have the ability to keep someone from dying, but they may not have the ability to restore them to health. In those cases, treatment may be prolonging how long it takes someone to die.

In palliative care, issues that are discussed include how to deal with discomfort (physical and psychological distress), what to do with regard to employment, or how to discuss feelings with family members.  Sometimes we talk about what their doctor have told them and their interpretation.  These issues can cause a lot of stress, sometimes more than the physical illness itself. When you take care of some of those stressors and when a patient is physically comfortable, then they have enough energy to survive and live a little longer.

Watch below as Hunter Groninger, MD, FAAHPM, Director of Palliative Care at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, talks about the value of palliative care. 

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Substance Abuse and Prevention

Substance abuse, addiction, and overdose have become serious public health challenges in Maryland and across the country. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. 

These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a "relapsing" disease—people in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug. It's common for a person to relapse, but relapse doesn't mean that treatment doesn’t work. As with other chronic health conditions, treatment should be ongoing and should be adjusted based on how the patient responds. Treatment plans need to be reviewed often and modified to fit the patient’s changing needs.

Alcohol and Drug Overdose Prevention

A drug overdose occurs when the body has been overloaded with prescription medications or illicit substances. Opiates, such as heroin or prescription pain pills like Percocet, affect the breathing centers of the brain. A person may develop small contracted pupils, lose unconsciousness, breathing may become erratic and shallow. Ultimately breathing may completely stop, causing a lack of oxygen to the brain and possible death. Stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, produce a brief sense of euphoria and primarily affect the brain and the heart. Seizures or strokes can occur and as well as many heart-related conditions including irregular heart rhythms, very high blood pressures, and a heart attack.  Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, leading to slurred speech, difficulty walking, lowering inhibitions leading to increased risk-taking behavior and possible memory loss or blackouts.

A statewide strategy for reducing overdose deaths related to pharmaceutical opioids and heroin called the Overdose Response Program (ORP) was launched in 2014 to train and certify qualified individuals most able to assist someone at risk of dying from an opioid overdose when emergency medical services are not immediately available. Successfully trained individuals will receive a certificate allowing them to obtain a prescription for naloxone (Narcan®), a life-saving medication that can quickly restore the breathing of a person who has overdosed on heroin or prescription opioid pain medication like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl or methadone.

Drinking too much too quickly can affect your heart rate, breathing, body temperature, swallowing ability and potentially lead to coma and death. For chronic drinkers, a complex interaction in brain signaling chemicals can lead to a vicious cycle of increased drinking followed by a greater tolerance that eventually leads to dependence and addiction. Alcohol withdrawal can be a life-threatening event that can involve severe tremors, high blood pressure and heart rate, agitation, and seizures

Addiction and Mental Health Resources at MedStar Southern Maryland 

At MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, the 4-West wing of the hospital treats patients suffering both from mental illness and addiction problems. It is staffed with contracted professionals through Scales, Stansfield, and Lewis-Wilkins, who have the tools to help these vulnerable patients.  All MedStar Southern Maryland patients needing addictions counseling and/or mental health help will be assessed at the hospital and establish a patient's first appointment for further treatment prior to being dismissed from the hospital. 

Once a patient at MedStar Southern Maryland is identified as having addiction issues, they patients are referred to our Certified Addictions Counselor, who conducts additional assessments and coordinates referrals to inpatient substance abuse treatment facilities or outpatient treatment facilities, depending upon the patient’s level of need. In addition to the services currently provided by the Behavioral Health Unit, MedStar Southern Maryland also provides on-going substance abuse education to our patients who attend the Partial Hospitalization Program, including routine assessments, brief intervention, and counseling services. 

How Do I Recognize What Might Be Addiction?

If you suspect a friend is suffering from addiction, these are some of the signs: 

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Poor hygiene
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Radical changes in mood
  • Financial problems
  • Sniffing
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Changes to their social network
  • Living outside of their past values and belief system

All possible health effects of opioids include pain relief, drowsiness, nausea, constipation, euphoria, and confusion. When used in combination with alcohol, opioids can cause a dangerous slowing of heart rate and breathing leading to coma or death. Restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps, and leg movements are all common withdrawal symptoms.

What Can I do to Help?

  • Open up the lines of communication.
  • Ask your friend or loved one if anyone has expressed concern whether they have a problem with alcohol or drugs.  This could be a sign others have recognized a problem, too.
  • Encourage your friend or loved one to enter into a program.  There are many different levels of care available, ranging from outpatient classes to one-on-one or group therapy and residential inpatient intensive programs.  The level of care someone needs can be determined through an assessment by a professional with experience in addiction.
  • Encourage your friend or loved one to seek out resources, including programs available through their county’s health department.  If they have private insurance, their provider can also help direct them to available resources.
  • Encourage your friend or loved one to find meetings to help them in their sobriety journey.
  • Be a part of their support system, as long as they follow their sobriety path.

Need Help?

Maryland's Crisis Hotline is available 24/7 to provide support, guidance, and assistance. 

Call 1-800-422-0009 or 800-662-HELP (4357)


A variety of treatment options are available for individuals with addictions to drugs, alcohol and other substances. Other behavioral health services are also offered through the PG County Health Department. Interested individuals or family members should call the location nearest their home:

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

NIDA is a learning resource tool for parents, teachers, and teens to learn about how drugs affect the brain and the body through digital platforms. Visit their website today.

Lock Your Medications

Lock Your Meds® is a national multi-media campaign designed to reduce prescription drug abuse by making adults aware that they can be the “unwitting suppliers” of prescription medications being used in unintended ways, especially by young people.  Many valuable resources are available for parents and adults at

Información médica y recursos en Español

Como parte de los continuos esfuerzos de MedStar Southern Maryland para ser una fuente confiable de información sobre atención médica para los hispanohablantes del sur de Maryland y del condado de Prince George’s, hemos lanzado en la página web contenido dedicado a las personas que hablan español para ofrecerles una mejor experiencia en línea, con un acceso más fácil a información médica y recursos en español.

El MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center es una instalación de servicios completos para cuidados intensivos con más de 49,000 visitas a la sala de emergencias y cerca de 12,000 hospitalizaciones al año. En el Laboratorio de Cateterismo Cardíaco de nuestro hospital, se ofrece intervenciones que salvan vidas a pacientes con ataque cardíaco, angioplastias electivas y procedimientos de diagnóstico.

El MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center también es conocido por su cirugía ortopédica y tiene una sólida asociación con el Instituto Cardiovascular de Medstar (MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute) y el Instituto Cardiovascular Familia Miller de la Clínica Cleveland (Cleveland Clinic Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute). En el 2010, ampliamos el Centro de Mujeres y Recién Nacidos (Women and Newborns Center), y nuestro optimizado programa de Obstetricia y Ginecología incluye habitaciones privadas y la única Sala de Cuidados Especiales para Recién Nacidos (Special Care Nursery) de nivel II en la región.

Edificio Profesional del MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

Ubicado al lado del edificio principal del hospital, el Edificio Profesional del MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center alberga nuestros servicios para pacientes ambulatorios, ofreciendo una amplia gama de médicos especialistas y tecnologías de vanguardia para prestar un mejor servicio a los pacientes, de manera rápida y conveniente. Todos los pacientes deben registrarse en la oficina de servicios para pacientes ambulatorios antes de su llegada.

  • Imágenes Diagnósticas
  • Neurología
  • Tratamiento de cáncer
  • Salud de la mujer: Obstetricia, ginecología, salud de los senos
  • Ortopedia
  • Colorectal
  • Vascular
  • Cirugía general

Esta página se seguirá actualizando a medida que se identifiquen nuevos temas de importancia y lo cual se hayan traducido al español. Todas las URL de sitios web y los números de teléfono importantes que aparecen lo dirigirán a contenido y oradores en inglés.


MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
7503 Surratts Road
Clinton, MD 20735
Mapas y direcciones   
Teléfono: 301-868-8000
TTY: 301-877-4473
Denos Like y Síganos en Facebook 

Para ser referido a un médico, por favor llame 1-866-963-3782 (abierto de 9 a.m. a 5 p.m., de lunes a viernes)

Visite nuestro sección de empleos para obtener una lista completa de los trabajos disponibles en el MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. 

Si tiene una emergencia, por favor llame al 9-1-1 para ayuda inmediata.

Revista para la comunidad

Invitamos a pacientes y usuarios a leer las ediciónes más reciente de nuestra revista para la comunidad local, Salud (Health), en español.

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Memorial and Tribute Gifts

A tribute gift is an opportunity to honor a special someone through a philanthropic investment in MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. Your honoree will receive a communication, sharing your commitment and kind words, unless wish to remain anonymous.

Tribute gifts are a great way to…

  • Express gratitude to a friend
  • Remember a family member
  • Honor a colleague
  • Celebrate an occasion

If you would like to make a gift of tribute, click the Give Online button and complete the section: My Gift is in Honor/Memory.

You may also download the Printable Commitment Form to make a tribute gift.

Questions? Contact us at [email protected].

Partner With Us




There are many ways to express gratitude and celebrate the extraordinary care provided by the MedStar Health team. Please use one of the options below or contact us at [email protected] to let us know how you want to partner with us.

Give by Phone 

Call us at 410-772-6747.

Mail Your Gift

Give by mail, UPS, or FedEx

To make a gift by check, please make it payable to MedStar Health and send it with the entity designation and purpose to:

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
Marketing Department-Philanthropy
7503 Surratts Road
Clinton, MD 20735

Note: For calendar year tax credit, gifts sent by USPS must be postmarked by December 31 and gifts sent by FedEx or another courier must be received by December 31.

Give Stock or Mutual Funds

For stocks that have been held for a year or more and increased in value (appreciated), the key to receiving tax savings is to donate the shares directly to MedStar Health. You receive a double tax benefit by:

  • Avoiding capital gains tax on the profit, and
  • Receiving a full tax deduction for the fair market value of your gift

When making your gift of stock or mutual funds, please tell your brokerage to provide the following
information with the transfer:

  • Your name
  • Name of the security to be transferred and number of shares to be transferred
  • Name and contact information for the brokerage firm
  • Purpose of gift or intended entity within MedStar Health

Note: Stocks or bonds are valued on the average of the high and low selling prices on the date of contribution, multiplied by the number of shares donated.

Key information to include:

  • Depository Eligible Security (DTC) number: 2669
  • Northern Trust Company
  • Account number: 44-82990
  • Account name: MedStar Health gift account
  • Reference: donor name, MedStar Health institution, and the gift designation.

Mutual Funds

Please do not establish an account at the mutual fund in the name of MedStar Health. Northern Trust will establish a shell account at the fund in the nominee name and provide you with the account number so that you may complete this transfer. Please contact Suah Siki, Account Manager, Northern Trust, at [email protected] or 312-557-5771.

Note: Mutual funds are valued based on closing price (net asset value) on the date the donor loses control over the donated shares, multiplied by the number of donated shares.

For questions about stock transfers or mutual funds, please contact the Office of Philanthropy at 410-772-6747 or via email at [email protected].

Give by Wire Transfer

To make your gift via wire transfer, contact your banking institution and provide the following information:

Wire Instructions (for U.S. Dollar)

Northern Trust Company
Chicago, IL 60675
ABA # 071000152
Account Name: Master Trust Incoming Wire Account Credit Account # 5186061000

Key information to include:

For Further Credit (FFC) Account Name: MedStar Health
Gift FFC account number: 44-82990
Reference: donor name, MedStar Health institution, and the gift designation.

For questions about cash wire transfers or international wire instructions, please contact the Office of Philanthropy at 410-772-6747 or via email at [email protected].

Planned Giving

Unlike cash donations, planned gifts, also referred to as “deferred gifts,” are typically made from assets in your estate, rather than disposable income. There are several ways to make a planned gift:

Giving a bequest through your will or trust offers a way to support MedStar Health without impacting  your discretionary spending.

Life income gifts allow you to make a gift and receive income back for life or a term of years for you or a member of your family.

Beneficiary designations of your retirement account or insurance policy are easy to implement and can be completed through a change of beneficiary form.

Other creative gift plans provide opportunities to transfer ownership of real estate, personal property, or another asset to allocate a planned gift to MedStar Health.

IRA Charitable Rollover Gifts

If you are 70 ½ or older, you can direct up to $100,000 each calendar year to a qualified charity directly from your IRA.

Note: Under the SECURE Act, which took effect in January 2020, the new age at which required minimum distributions (RMDs) must start is age 72. Despite the delay in the starting age for RMDs, though, Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from IRAs will not be affected by the SECURE Act; accordingly, QCDs may still be taken from IRAs as early as age 70 ½.

To make a Charitable IRA Rollover: Contact your IRA administrator and request a distribution to be made to MedStar Health directly from your IRA. Request that your administrator include your name with the distribution. Check with your administrator for any deadlines that may have an impact on your gift. Request that checks be sent to:

MedStar Health
Office of Philanthropy, 7th Floor
10980 Grantchester Way
Columbia, MD 21044

MedStar Health Tax ID: 52-2087445

For more information on planned giving, or to notify us of an incoming gift or planned gift intention, please contact the Office of Philanthropy at the Office of Philanthropy at 410-772-6747 or via email at [email protected].


Protect Your Breast Health

You can help increase the chance of early detection by the following these steps:

  1. Perform regular monthly breast self-examination.
  2. See your doctor once a year for a clinical breast exam.
  3. Schedule an annual digital mammogram, as appropriate based on age and family history.

These three steps are the keys to maintaining breast health. However, there are times when a woman or her doctor may find a lump in her breast during an exam, or a suspicious area may be seen on a digital mammogram. Findings such as this do not always signal the presence of breast cancer; however it is critical to your health that you have it checked immediately in order to determine if the lump is dangerous or benign.

Breast Conditions & Diagnosis

Breast Pain

Breast pain is a very common affliction experienced by 70% of women at some time in their life. Breast pain is not commonly a breast cancer symptom, but it is something you should take seriously. If your breast pain lasts for two weeks or more, occurs during a time unrelated to your menstrual cycle, or becomes increasingly worse, contact your doctor.

You can experience breast pain for a variety of reasons unrelated to breast cancer, including:

  • Hormonal changes such as menstruation, menopause, pregnancy, and puberty
  • Breasts become full with milk following childbirth
  • Breastfeeding
  • Breast infection
  • Trauma or injury to the breast or underlying chest area
  • Large breast size
  • Fibrocystic breast changes
  • Stress

In addition, certain medications, including those that contain hormones as well as some antidepressants, can cause breast pain.

Breast Infections

Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue that occurs most frequently in women who are breastfeeding. It can occur when bacteria, often from the baby's mouth, enter a milk duct via a crack in the nipple.

Although breast infections occur most often in breastfeeding women, it is an affliction that can affect all women. Nonlactational mastitis usually occurs in women with weakened immune systems. This includes women who have had lumpectomies with radiation therapy and women with diabetes.

Symptoms of breast infections include:

  • Red, swollen, or hot breast tissue
  • Swollen or painful lymph nodes under the arm
  • One breast becomes larger than the other
  • Flu-like symptoms including fever, nausea, or vomiting
  • Itching or pain in your breast
  • Painful lump in the breast


If you are nursing, your doctor will likely recommend treating your infection with moist heat and antibiotics. You should continue to nurse and/or pump milk even while treating your breast infection. If you are not pregnant, your doctor will likely search for the cause of your infection with a digital mammogram and/or minimally invasive breast biopsy, and antibiotics may be prescribed.


Fibroadenomas are the most common breast lumps found in women younger than 30 years old. They feel firm and mobile, but typically do not cause pain; they are not cancerous.


One of our breast care experts will perform a clinical breast exam to manually check your breasts for fibroadenomas. To confirm a diagnosis, your doctor may also use a digital mammogram and breast ultrasound to better understand the appearance of the inside of your breast. A minimally invasive breast biopsy may be used to examine some tissue from your breast under a microscope.


If your fibroadenoma continues to grow or is of a certain size, your doctor may recommend removing it to make sure it is does not contain abnormal cells. Fibroadenomas rarely become breast cancer but they can sometimes degenerate into a different type of tumor: a phyllodes tumor. If the fibroadenoma starts to grow rapidly or the biopsy is suggestive of phyllodes tumor, then we will recommend removing it completely.

Fibrocystic Changes

The term fibrocystic breast changes describe breast tissue that is very dense and/or lumpy. This is a very common, non-cancerous condition, and it is most common in women in their 40s. If you have fibrocystic changes, you may experience:

  • Pain and sensitivity in your breasts and underarm area
  • A feeling of fullness in your breasts
  • Nipple discharge that may appear yellow, green or brown
  • Lumpy areas

Hormonal changes, especially around the time of your period, may increase your symptoms. Fibrocystic changes can make performing breast self-exams-looking for suspicious lumps-a challenge. It is important to examine your breasts each month to get a sense of what is normal for you and to let your doctor know if anything changes. Most women with fibrocystic changes have no symptoms and do not need treatment, but closer follow-up may be advised. Fortunately, for most women, their breast density and fibrocystic changes decrease after menopause.

Nipple Discharge

Nipple discharge is fluid that leaks from the nipples of one or both of your breasts. Nipple discharge can be a normal response to hormonal changes in your body, especially for women who are nearing menopause. Not all nipple discharge requires treatment, but you should seek an evaluation by a physician. Patients should avoid squeezing the nipples as this can increase nipple discharge.

Some forms of spontaneous nipple discharge can indicate an underlying problem, especially if the discharge is bloody, as opposed to milky. Other signs that your nipple discharge could be problematic include:

  • Only one of your breast leaks liquid
  • You feel a lump in the leaking breast


A variety of conditions can cause nipple discharge, ranging from fibrocystic changes, papillomas, and breast cancer. Your doctor can evaluate your nipple discharge with a clinical breast exam, along with any of the following tests:

  • Digital mammogram
  • Ultrasound
  • Minimally invasive biopsy
  • Ductogram: special dye is injected into your milk duct through a natural opening on the surface of the nipple. An X-ray is taken to examine the affected area more easily


A papilloma is a small non-cancerous tumor that develops within your breast duct, a microscopic tubular structure that brings milk to the nipple, while you are breastfeeding. This condition often affects women between the ages of 35 and 55. Papillomas often cause liquid to leak from your nipples. 


Your doctor can perform a clinical breast exam to manually check for nipple discharge but papillomas are usually too small to feel. Other tests that may be employed include:

  • Digital mammogram
  • Ultrasound
  • Minimally invasive biopsy
  • Ductogram: special dye is injected into your milk duct through a natural opening on the surface of the nipple. An X-ray is taken to examine the affected area more easily

Generally, our breast surgeons treat papillomas by surgically removing the affected duct.

Contact Us Today

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
7501 Surratts Road, Suite 303
Clinton, MD 20735
Phone: 301-877-5607

The specialists at MedStar Southern Maryland treat the following:

Breast Cancers

  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Locally advanced breast cancer
  • Triple negative breast cancer
  • Early stage breast cancer
  • Breast cancer during pregnancy
  • Paget's disease
  • HER2/Neu positive

Benign Breast Disease

  • Breast infections
  • Breast pain
  • Fibroadenoma
  • Fibrocystic changes
  • Nipple discharge
  • Papilloma

Genetics and Breast Cancer Risk

  • BRCA-1/2
  • Family history of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Radiation exposure
  • Abnormal breast biopsy


  • Breast infections
  • Breast cancer during pregnancy

Male Breast Conditions

  • Breast cancer
  • Gynecomastia



Breast Health Program Locations

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
7501 Surratts Road, Suite 303
Clinton, MD 20735
Phone: 301-877-5607

MedStar St. Mary's Hospital
Imaging - Outpatient Pavilion
25500 Point Lookout Road
Leonardtown, MD 20650
Phone: 301-475-6399

MedStar Women's Specialty Center
40900 Merchants Lane, Suite 102
Leonardtown, MD 20650
Phone: 301- 997-1315

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center
3800 Reservoir Road, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202-295-0560

MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Washington Cancer Institute
Center for Breast Health
110 Irving Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20010
Phone: 202-877-7937

MedStar Health at Lafayette Center
Bldg 2 1133 21st Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC, 20036
Phone: 202-416-2000

MedStar Health at McLean 
6862 Elm St, Suite 800
McLean, VA 22102
Phone: 703-288-7070

MedStar Montgomery Medical Center
18109 Prince Philip Drive, Suite 300
Olney, MD 20832
Phone: 301- 260-3292