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Archive for March, 2007

UNMC co-sponsoring nursing conference in India

by Walter Brooks, UNMC public affairs

 

The first nursing conference in India co-sponsored by UNMC and The Nebraska Medical Center will be held in Mumbai, India, on Friday and Saturday.

 

The conference, which is a collaboration with P. J. Hinduja National Hospital and Nursing College, is organized and led by Nizar Mamdani, executive director of the International Healthcare Services (IHS).

 

Theresa Franco, service line executive director, cancer care, The Nebraska Medical Center; Kim Schmit-Pokorny, nurse manager/case manager; and Marcel DeVetten, M.D., assistant professor, UNMC’s department of internal medicine-oncology/hematology, will co-chair the conference.

 

Hinduja — the latest of the more than 100 strategic partners of UNMC’s International Healthcare Services — is an ultra-modern, tertiary care hospital representing the highest international standards in the delivery of health care and the most advanced knowledge and skills for health care professionals in India.

 

“As we advance toward meeting challenges in the international health care arena, the real need now is to create competent nursing leaders,” Mamdani said. “This conference will provide a platform for the nursing leaders to interact and gain insights about the challenges faced by their peers in India. I’m thrilled to take such a dynamic team to India to represent UNMC and The Nebraska Medical Center.”

 

The conference is expected to attract hundreds of nursing leaders from all parts of India and will be inaugurated by the governor of the State of Maharastra, India.

 

“I will be giving six presentations,” Schmit-Pokorny said. “We’ll be discussing stress management, critical thinking skills, work-flow processes and other aspects of nursing leadership. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to meet nurses from multiple hospital systems in India, compare nursing roles and begin a relationship that will continue far into the future.”

 

The UNMC team also will visit five other major health care facilities in Mumbai, New Delhi and Lucknow, to establish the possibilities for launching a joint venture cancer care and stem cell transplant program in India. The team also will tour the Taj Mahal and Jaipur to experience some of India’s world famous historic sites.

Unique islet transplant offers Colorado toddler hope

by Cherie Lytle, The Nebraska Medical Center

 

The two key UNMC physicians in the procedure — Drs. Jean Botha and Brian Stevens — flank Shirley and Leonard Goldstein, an Omaha couple who has contributed money in support of UNMC’s diabetes research programs.

 

Three-year-old Berlyn Alfredsen is much like any other little girl. She enjoys wearing her hair in a ponytail. Her eyes light up when she watches her favorite Elmo videos. And, brightly colored pictures decorate her room. Unlike other children, though, little Berlyn has spent much of her young life in and out of hospitals. She recently became the youngest patient known to undergo an autologous islet transplant.

 

The innovative procedure occurred April 6, at The Nebraska Medical Center, performed by a talented team of transplant surgeons and scientists under the leadership of R. Brian Stevens, M.D., Ph.D., and Jean Botha, M.D.

 

“This was quite an extraordinary process which required a truly multi-disciplinary approach,” said Dr. Stevens, director of the islet cell transplant program at UNMC and The Nebraska Medical Center. “This isn’t a procedure that would normally be performed on such a young child but Berlyn’s struggle with pancreatitis was rapidly becoming more and more critical.”

 

In severe cases of pancreatitis when the condition becomes chronic, the only real solution is to remove the entire pancreas. Dr. Botha, director of hepatobiliary surgery at The Nebraska Medical Center and assistant professor of surgery at UNMC, recommended the surgery to Berlyn’s family. “Her flare-ups were lasting days, even weeks, causing terrible pain,” Dr. Botha said. “The disease was resulting in almost weekly admissions to the hospital. This would have resulted in progressive fibrosis and scarring of her pancreas. Eventually it would no longer function or produce the insulin needed to regulate sugar levels in her body.”

 

As they considered the most effective course of treatment, Drs. Botha and Stevens also determined Berlyn would be a good candidate for the islet transplant.

 

“Without the transplant, we were certain this little girl would become a ‘brittle diabetic’ meaning she would have the most severe form of diabetes – one that is exceedingly difficult if not impossible to manage. It was a very frightening prospect considering she’s just 3-years-old,” Dr. Stevens said. “In removing the pancreas and infusing islets into the liver, we hoped at the very least to keep her blood sugar levels better controlled.”

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