Archive for the ‘Patients’ Category

Lung Transplant Patient Completes Major Milestone

Serious Medicine

4-18-Lung-Transplant-Jacobsen-690x541
Lung transplant recipient Donna Jacobsen was introduced to the media April 15. Alongside the Winside, Neb. resident is Heather Strah, MD, medical director of the Lung Transplant Program.

Participated in the Donate Life Nebraska 5K Race & Heroes Walk

Shortly before Thanksgiving, 63-year-old Donna Jacobsen of Winside, Neb. became the first patient to be added to our lung transplant waiting list. Two months later, on Jan. 26, Jacobsen became the second patient to undergo a lung transplant procedure with Nebraska Medicine’s reignited program.

“I was very proud and a bit nervous,” admits Jacobsen. “I got the call the morning of Jan. 25 and just said, ‘okay – here we go!’ I was ready to start feeling healthy again.”

In 2012, Jacobsen had a cough that wouldn’t go away. As a registered nurse with more than 40 years experience, Jacobsen knew she needed to see a physician. A lung biopsy revealed a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a disease that causes scarring of the lungs, often resulting in respiratory failure. There is currently no cure.

“I felt fine until August 2014 – that’s when I started going downhill,” remembers Jacobsen. “It got so bad that I had no choice but to retire from the job I loved.”

3-9-Heather-Strah-215x142

Heather Strah, MD, Medical director of Lung Transplantation Program

“When I first met Donna last spring, she was very sick and getting worse quickly,” explains Heather Strah, MD, medical director of the Lung Transplantation Program. “Her oxygen needs were going up and she wasn’t able to walk very far. We were worried that she wouldn’t be able to wait for our lung transplant program to start, but Donna was determined to be transplanted close to home even though there were other programs that could have transplanted her sooner.”

3-9-Aleem-Siddique-215x143

Aleem Siddique, MD, surgical director of Lung Transplantation Program

Jacobsen’s single lung transplant started around 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 26 and lasted between four and five hours. Aleem Siddique, MD, surgical director of lung transplantation, performed the operation, assisted by transplant surgeon Michael Moulton, MD. A team of anesthesiologists, surgeons, physician assistants, perfusionists, pharmacists, nursing personnel and other staff members were also in the room.

“The surgery went very well without any particular complications,” says Dr. Siddique. “We’re very excited and hope that Donna can lead a fulfilling life. For me, the improvement in quality of life is just as important as the longevity gained with a transplant.”

Jacobsen spent three weeks at Nebraska Medical Center before being discharged. Because her hometown is more than two hours away, she’s been staying at an Omaha hotel while attending daily pulmonary rehabilitation sessions at the med center.

“Donna has done wonderfully during her recovery and is on track to move back home by the end of the month,” says Dr. Strah. “But, in order to complete pulmonary rehab, we’ve asked her to do something very special – walk one mile in the Donate Life Nebraska 5K Race & Heroes’ Walk.”

4-18-Lung-Transplant-Family-690x341Donna Jacobsen found strength in numbers over the weekend. The Jacobsen family took part in the Donate Life Nebraska 5K Race & Heroes Walk.

On April 16, Jacobsen, her husband Randy, their three children and eight grandkids, took part in the walk with other members of Nebraska Medicine’s transplant program.

Donna Jacobsen’s Journey

Watch lung transplant patient Donna Jacobsen’s video to learn more about her journey.

“It’s very emotional for me,” says Jacobsen. “Especially when I start to think about my donor and their family. I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done.”

“Nationally, it’s estimated that 18 people die every day while waiting for organ transplants. A single donor may save up to eight lives,” adds Dr. Siddique. “To see Donna and other transplant patients doing so well is exactly the positive reinforcement and gratification that keeps patients and providers going during difficult times.”

Jacobsen will continue to receive checkups every few months for the rest of her life. Patients who survive their first year after transplant are typically expected to live seven or eight years, but Dr. Strah has seen many patients who were transplanted 10, 15, 20 years ago who are still enjoying relatively good health.

Jacobsen says she’s excited to get home, spend time with her family and start doing all the work around her house that she didn’t have the energy to do before. But, she will miss seeing members of her transplant team every day.

“Everyone at Nebraska Medicine is simply phenomenal. From the doctors, to the nurses and therapists, I couldn’t ask for better care – and that’s saying a lot coming from a nurse!” says Jacobsen. “I am so grateful this hospital is here in Nebraska. I was able to stay close to home and receive my transplant. I don’t know why you’d go anywhere else.”

Nebraska Medicine’s Lung Transplant Program offers single lung, double lung and heart-lung transplants. Clinicians hope to evaluate 20-30 patients and transplant 10 patients in the first year. Along with extraordinary patient care, the program will provide lung education, research and innovation.

To register as an organ donor, visit www.donatelife.net or www.nedonation.org. For more information about our Lung Transplant Program, visit www.nebraskamed.com/transplant.

Bariatrics Center Achieves National Re-accreditation

Serious Medicine

4-4-Bariatrics-Logo-215x74

The Bariatrics Center recently received national re-accreditation by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). The MBSAQIP is a combined program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), which recognizes commitment to providing multidisciplinary, high-quality, patient-centered care.

To achieve accreditation, bariatrics centers must undergo an independent, voluntary, and rigorous peer evaluation in accordance with nationally recognized bariatric surgical standards. Bariatric surgery accreditation not only promotes uniform standard benchmarks, but also supports continuous quality improvement. All accredited centers report their outcomes to the MBSAQIP database.

6-23-Cori-McBride-690x542

Corrigan McBride, MD, medical director of the Bariatrics Center

Currently, the Bariatrics Center has three surgeons, an endocrinologist and a psychologist, in addition to other providers.

“We set and achieve high standards for patient outcomes (surgical patients),” says Molly Wickert, clinic manager of the Bariatrics Center. “We are evaluated by our peers and have been recognized as having an outstanding program with no deficiencies.”

Bariatric surgical procedures have been shown to reduce obesity, improve mortality, and decrease the health risks from chronic diseases such as cardiomyopathy and diabetes. For these reasons, the MBSAQIP recognizes those facilities that implement defined standards of care, document their outcomes, and participate in regular reviews to evaluate their bariatric surgical programs.

“We are proud to have once again received this designation,” says Wickert. “It is not only a testament to how hard our team works to provide excellent patient care; but also serves as a solid benchmark for patients to utilize when choosing a facility they can trust to provide high-quality bariatric surgical care.”

 

Signs placed on Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center

by Tom O’Connor, UNMC public relations

Sign20405

Workers put one of the signs in place atop the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

Two large exterior signs identifying the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center were placed on the building Monday by Kiewit Building Group. The 615,000-square-foot cancer center is located on Dewey Avenue between 44th Street and Durham Research Plaza (formerly 45th Street).

The two signs are identical. One was placed on the north side of the building, the other on the south side of the building.

The cancer center is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2017. Since the project is near completing use of the existing tower cranes, the sign installation had to be scheduled before the cranes were removed, said Kathy Bauer of Tetrad Property Group, the company which is providing owner’s representation services for the new facility.

Unlike other signs that are installed in sections on a building, these signs featured a unique unit assembly system that allowed the signs to be completely assembled at ground level. They were then hoisted onto the building in one piece.

Kiewit monitored weather conditions to determine the install date. “Because of the size of the signs and the fact that we needed to use a crane for placement, it was important that we have minimal wind during installation,” Bauer said.

Several Omaha firms were involved in the signage project. They included:
•HDR, which completed the design for the signage;
•Architectural Wall Systems, which locally manufactured and assembled the sign frame;
•ASI Signs, which fabricated the lettering; and
•Christensen House Moving, which transported the signs to the UNMC/Nebraska Medicine campus.

Here are some other quick facts about the signs:
• The signs weigh 8,000 lbs. each. In addition, there is another 1,400 pounds of weight in the associated rigging needed to put the signs in place.
•They are 36 feet long, 16 feet tall, and 13 feet deep.
•Lettering on the “BUFFETT” name on the signs is five feet tall and is visible from nearly a half-mile away.
•The signs are comprised of zinc panel cladding with aluminum frame and utilize energy efficient LED lighting.
•The signs were moved at midnight on Monday morning when traffic was minimal. They were transported from the Architectural Wall Systems facility.
•The signs are the largest fabricated by Architectural Wall Systems. They took approximately six weeks to assemble.

Nebraska’s 7th Annual Lymphoma Walk to be held April 23

by Vicky Cerino

Nebraska’s 7th annual Lymphoma Walk will be held Saturday, April 23, at Mahoney State Park. The free event, which is hosted by the Lymphoma Research Foundation, will begin at 10 a.m. with registration at 9 a.m. at the park pavilion.

Mahoney State Park is located just off I-80 at exit 426, between Omaha and Lincoln. Though the event is free, vehicles need to purchase a $5 park permit at the park gate.

The Lymphoma Walk is a fun-filled, non-competitive event that offers individuals and teams an opportunity to walk to support those whose lives have been touched by lymphoma. About 450 new cases of lymphoma are diagnosed in Nebraskans each year.

Proceeds from the walk will benefit Nebraskans through research grants and patient services. To date, $500,000 has been raised through walk participants and sponsors.

Honorary chairman of the walk is Mitch Osborn, high school activities director and boys head basketball coach in Harlan, Iowa. He was diagnosed in August 2014 with Mantle cell lymphoma. After six months of chemotherapy two days per month, he had a stem cell transplant in 2015.

“I want to do anything I can to help raise funds for research to find a cure for this blood disease,” Osborn said. “Nebraska Medicine has done so many great things for me that I want to help anyway I can.”

Those interested in participating can start a team, join a team, sign up as an individual or make a donation, by going to www.lymphoma.org/activeevents. At the bottom of the page, click “Find an Event,” then enter Nebraska. For more information, contact Martin Bast at (402) 559-6203, mbast@unmc.edu.

Strollers and friendly leashed pets are welcome. A free picnic will be held for all attendees following the walk. Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that occurs when white blood cells that help protect the body from infection and disease begin behaving abnormally. Lymphomas are the 7th most common form of cancer and cause more than 300,000 deaths each year. Major sponsors include: WOWT, Union Pacific Railroad, the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Nebraska Medicine and Metro Credit Union. Those contributing in-kind donations are Hy-Vee, Starbucks, Bruegger’s Bagels, Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread, Dingman’s Collision Center, Kent Rung Productions and Candy Wrappers.

New U.S. News rankings released

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations

Commence05081

UNMC’s primary care program is the fifth best in the country, placing in the top five for the second consecutive year, according to the 2017 ranking of the nation’s top graduate schools by U.S. News & World Report.

In other new rankings, the UNMC College of Pharmacy was ranked 25th in the nation, and the College of Allied Health Professions’ physical therapy program was ranked 28th. The last time U.S. News ranked the College of Pharmacy, in 2012, it was 32nd in the country. The physical therapy program also improved in the new rankings, moving from 34th in 2012 to 28th this year.

College of Nursing had three programs ranked: the Master’s of Nursing program was ranked 46th in the country, while the Doctor of Nurse Practitioner program was ranked 54th. UNMC was ranked 73rd in Online Graduate Nursing Programs. U.S. News also ranked UNMC 63rd in research.

U.S. News sent surveys to 170 medical schools to compile its primary care and research lists. It ranked 259 schools for master of nursing, 149 for DNP, 125 for pharmacy and 217 for physical therapy.

“I’m pleased to see in the latest U.S. News rankings that UNMC retains a position among the top primary care programs in the country,” said UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. “In addition, the new national rankings for the College of Pharmacy and the physical therapy program, as well as our nursing programs, reflect the dedication and hard work of their faculty and students. These rankings should provide us a point of pride, but we also will continue in our efforts to ensure that UNMC delivers world-class education in every aspect of its medical, health care and nursing programs.”

U.S. News does not re-rank every program every year. In rankings compiled in 2015 and 2014, UNMC’s physician assistant program was ranked 9th, public health was ranked 39th and the university was ranked 93rd in biological sciences.

“The continued ranking of our primary care and physician assistant programs among the best in the country, as well as the improved rankings of our pharmacy and physical therapy programs, is a strong indication of the ongoing commitment and dedication of our faculty and staff to providing the best training opportunities to our students,” said Dele Davies, M.D., vice chancellor for academic affairs. “We are constantly striving to innovate in educational and clinical opportunities that enable us to help meet the health needs of all segments of the population.”

For information on the ranking methodology, click here.

Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic Provides Team Approach

Today, there are numerous choices available for breast cancer treatment and women want to be a part of that decision-making process. The Nebraska Medicine’s Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic at Village Pointe Cancer Center provides a very personalized and comprehensive approach to breast cancer care based on a patient’s individual needs and wishes as well as the expertise and careful assessment of a team of breast cancer specialists.

Sarah-Thayer

Sarah Thayer, MD, PhD

“We believe that the best care plan is one that has been developed with the input and expertise of a multidisciplinary team of cancer experts,” says Sarah Thayer, MD, PhD, surgical oncologist at Nebraska Medicine and physician-in-chief at the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. “Our multidisciplinary team of experts will help each patient navigate through the many decisions available in breast cancer treatment including lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies and breast reconstructive surgery in a collaborative approach.

The multidisciplinary team includes medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, oncology nurses, geneticists and social workers who will work closely with each patient to provide a very personalized and patient-directed care experience.

The Seventh: Extraordinary Innovations and Emerging Trends in Transplantation and Oncology

July 12 – 13, 2016

Nebraska Medicine is co-sponsoring a two day conference with OPTUM Health that highlights advances in complex cancer treatment and transplants’ organ failure management. The structure of the Nebraska Medicine’s Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic will be reviewed, in addition to, key components in managing organ failure.

For more information about this continuing education series, visit optumhealtheducation.com.

As part of the evaluation, all outside films and mammograms are re-reviewed by a specialized breast radiologist. The clinic also offers the newest, most advanced form of mammograms, called 3-D mammography. “This new technology increases detection rates by 40 percent and is able to find the cancers at a smaller size — in all levels of density of the breast,” says Cheryl Williams, MD, radiologist at the Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic. “This is very important. The smaller a tumor is when we find it, the more likely it is that we’ll be able to cure it.”

“Patients benefit from getting not just one opinion, but a comprehensive plan developed by a multitude of breast cancer experts using the most recent studies,” says Dr. Thayer. “This model allows for enhanced communication between providers and the patient to ensure her goals and individual needs are met.”

When a patient arrives for her appointment, she sees all of the specialists required for that visit in one setting and one appointment. Not only does this save the patient time, but helps eliminate duplication of tests and services. “This streamlined approach to care provides a more comfortable and pleasant experience for the patient,” says Dr. Thayer.

Cheryl-WilliamsCheryl Williams, MD

The Village Pointe Cancer Center is located at 175th and Burke St. just west of the Village Pointe shopping center. The Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic offers easy access with care provided in an intimate and comfortable environment. Patients can receive an array of cancer services in one convenient location:
•Comprehensive care plan developed by a multidisciplinary team of experts
•Consultative services or second options from cancer experts in medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology and plastic and reconstructive surgery
•Infusion services within private infusion rooms
•Radiation treatment center
•Women’s Imaging Center with state of the art 3D-mammography and MRI capabilities
•Amenities and supportive services including wig fittings, a free wig bank, prosthetic and bra fittings, yoga, massage therapy, skin care and make-up lessons specifically geared for people with or recovering from cancer

“Addressing a patient’s physical, educational, emotional and spiritual needs are important aspects of providing a more complete and holistic approach to care,” notes Dr. Thayer.

Patients will also be given the opportunity to participate in breast cancer clinical trials offered through the University of Nebraska Medical Center as part of their treatment program.

“The Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic is designed to provide patients the most oncologically-sound plan in an environment that is more personal, private and positive,” says Dr. Thayer.

To speak to a member of our multidisciplinary breast cancer team or to make a referral, please call 402-559-1600.

Virtual Incision mini-robots conduct first known human surgery

by Virtual Incision

Surgery0301

Dmitry Oleynikov, M.D., a UNMC professor of surgery, operates a surgical robot as in the background Shane Farritor, Ph.D., a UNL engineering professor, adjusts the camera on the surgical subject in this 2015 photo illustration. The two developed the robot for minimally invasive surgeries. Their startup company, Virtual Incision, announced March 1 the first use of its miniaturized robot in human surgery.

Virtual Incision Corp., a company founded by faculty members at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and UNMC, has announced the successful first-in-human use of its miniaturized robotically assisted surgical device.

The device is designed for general surgery abdominal procedures, with an initial focus on colon resection, a procedure performed to treat patients with lower gastrointestinal diseases including diverticulitis, colon polyps that are too large to be removed endoscopically, pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions of the colon and inflammatory bowel disease.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time an active miniaturized robot has performed complex surgical tasks with the robot inside a living human, which is a significant milestone in robotics and in surgery,” said Shane Farritor, Ph.D., a UNL professor of mechanical engineering who is Virtual Incision’s co-founder and chief technical officer.

The robotically assisted colon resection procedures were completed in Asunción, Paraguay, as part of the safety and feasibility trial for the technology. The surgeries were successful and the patients are recovering well, according to a news release from the company.

“Virtual Incision’s robotically assisted surgical device achieved proof-of-concept in highly complex abdominal procedures,” said head surgeon Dmitry Oleynikov, M.D., chief of minimally invasive surgery at UNMC and co-founder of Virtual Incision.

“Additionally, we verified that our extensive regimen of bench, animal, cadaver, biocompatibility, sterilization, electrical safety, software, human factors and other testing enabled the safe use of this innovative technology.”

Unlike today’s large, mainframe-like robots that reach into the body from outside the patient, Virtual Incision’s robot platform features a small, self-contained surgical device that is inserted through a single midline umbilical incision in the patient’s abdomen. Virtual Incision’s technology is designed to utilize existing tools and techniques familiar to surgeons, and does not require a dedicated operating room or specialized infrastructure.

Because of its much smaller size, the robot is expected to be significantly less expensive than existing robotic alternatives for laparoscopic surgery, Dr. Oleynikov said. Virtual Incision’s technology promises to enable a minimally invasive approach to surgeries performed today with a large open incision, he said.

The robotically assisted surgical device is an investigational device and is not commercially available. John Murphy, Virtual Incision’s CEO, said robotically assisted surgical devices are beneficial, but existing surgical robots have limitations that prevent pervasive use during certain surgeries, such as colon resection. The firm will build upon the positive completion of the feasibility study, as it works toward clearance for the system in the United States.

Honing in on new drug treatments for lung cancer

Apar-Kishor-Ganti-Oncology-300x200

APAR KISHOR GANTI, MD

Lung cancer has long been a mystery – as we didn’t know much, until the past decade, about the vast number of what we call “non-small cell lung cancers.”

More recently, one discovery after another has revealed the secrets. We now can identify certain categories of these tumors. We know that a large number — 40% — are a type called adenocarcinomas. Pemetrexed is a chemotherapy drug that seems to benefit patients with lung adenocarcinomas. Upwards of 30 percent of patients have a good response to it.

Within the group of adenocarcinomas, we have also identified many sub-types, the most common being K-RAS, EGFR and ALK.

We now have a very exciting tool called molecular tumor testing, which allows us to test a patient’s tumor to determine which type it is, and determine treatment based on that type.

This has revolutionized lung cancer treatment for some patients. But it hasn’t solved all our treatment problems. Let’s look at the three sub-types of lung cancer, and the drugs.

EGFR: EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) tumors. Patients with these tumors have had success with a drug named Iressa, introduced in the early 2000s. In one study, this drug eradicated the tumors within weeks – nearly a miracle!

Unfortunately back then, we did not know what caused this drug to work miracles in some patients, but not others. But research showed that patients who responded to these drugs had a mutation in the EGFR gene — and there are two drugs approved in the US for these patients; erlotinib and afatinib. Almost 55-60% of patients with these mutations will respond to these drugs, rates that are unheard of with conventional chemotherapy.

ALK: ALK, or anaplastic lymphoma kinase is a gene, which when activated, seems to promote the growth of lung cancers. Two drugs are used to treat this particular mutation: Crizotinib and Ceritinib. Up to 60 percent of patients have consistently responded to these drugs – almost double the response to conventional chemotherapy.

K-RAS: Former and current smokers with lung cancer tend to have the K-RAS sub-type, which is caused by a gene mutation. We are still working to understand this mutation. To date, we don’t have specifically targeted treatments for this subtype, but researchers are hard at work on this.

As you see, this growing body of knowledge has helped many patients. But we still have unanswered questions for many others—specifically, people who smoke.  Nevertheless, these advances give much more optimism.

I do not believe that we should accept that three quarters of patients will not respond to chemotherapy and do nothing about it. I always encourage those patients to enroll in a clinical trial. Why would you not, when a new treatment approach might give you a better chance? You’ll possibly help extend your own life – and you will certainly help advance our medical understanding of this disease.

At Nebraska Medicine, our service is designated by the National Cancer Center as a Lung Cancer Alliance Screening Center of Excellence. This reflects our team’s experience as well as our multidisciplinary program in managing patient care.

With this level of expertise, you will receive the treatment that specifically targets your lung cancer sub-type. We’ll stay with you every step of the way, making sure you’re getting excellent care.

Nebraska Medicine/UNMC, Nebraska DHHS Selected As Special Pathogen Treatment Center

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has selected nine health departments and associated partner hospitals to create a new network to respond to outbreaks of severe, highly infections diseases. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human services in partnership with Nebraska Medicine – Nebraska Medical Center is one of the nine facilities on the list.

Nearly $30 million of federal funding will be coming from HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to enhance the regional treatment centers’ capabilities to care for patients with Ebola or other similar illnesses. “This approach recognizes that being ready to treat severe, highly infectious diseases, including Ebola, is vital to our nation’s health security,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response. “This added regional capability increases our domestic preparedness posture to protect the public’s health.”

“We are very grateful for the trust being shown to us by HHS in naming Nebraska Medicine as one of these regional centers,” said Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and chairman of the Nebraska Medicine Advisory Board. “Our track record in caring for Ebola patients is certainly a contributor toward achieving this goal, but this is also a credit to the countless individuals at Nebraska Medicine and UNMC who have continued to work tirelessly to ensure we continue to be at the forefront of the nation’s and world’s fight against the deadliest of diseases.”

Dr. Gold also said Nebraska Medicine and UNMC’s continuing effort in training hundreds of other medical experts from around the country and around the world in the best practices for handling patients with highly infectious diseases played a role in the selection.

“Our agency has partnered with Nebraska Medicine – Nebraska Medical Center for more than 10 years. They have the facility and the expertise to provide specialized care to people with highly infectious diseases like Ebola,” said Jenifer Roberts-Johnson, deputy director of the Division of Public Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “We’re pleased to continue our work together to further increase our level of preparedness and help protect the health of our citizens.”

Each awardee will receive approximately $3.25 million over the full five-year project period. This funding is part of $339.5 million in emergency funding Congress appropriated to enhance state and local public health and health care system preparedness following cases of Ebola in the United States stemming from the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The facilities announced today will be continuously ready and available to care for a patient with Ebola or another severe, highly infectious disease, whether the patient is medically evacuated from overseas or is diagnosed within the United States.

The nine awardees and their partner hospitals are:
•Massachusetts Department of Public Health in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts
•New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in partnership with New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation/HHC Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City
•Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in partnership with Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland
•Georgia Department of Public Health in partnership with Emory University Hospital and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta/Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia
•Minnesota Department of Health in partnership with the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota
•Texas Department of State Health Services in partnership with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in Galveston, Texas
•Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with Nebraska Medicine – Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska
•Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in partnership with Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado
•Washington State Department of Health in partnership with Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Spokane, Washington

The regional facilities are part of a national network of 55 Ebola treatment centers, but will have enhanced capabilities to treat a patient with confirmed Ebola or other highly infectious disease. Even with the establishment of the nine regional facilities, the other 46 Ebola treatment centers and their associated health departments will remain ready and may be called upon to handle one or more simultaneous clusters of patients.

The facilities selected to serve as regional Ebola treatment centers will be required to:
•Accept patients within eight hours of being notified,
•Have the capacity to treat at least two Ebola patients at the same time,
•Have respiratory infectious disease isolation capacity or negative pressure rooms for at least 10 patients,
•Conduct quarterly trainings and exercises,
•Receive an annual readiness assessment from the soon-to-be-established National Ebola Training and Education Center, composed of experts from health care facilities that have safely and successfully cared for patients with Ebola in the U.S., and funded by ASPR and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to ensure clinical staff is adequately prepared and trained to safely treat patients with Ebola and other infectious diseases,
•Be able to treat pediatric patients with Ebola or other infectious diseases or partner with a neighboring facility to do so, and,
•Be able to safely handle Ebola-contaminated or other highly contaminated infectious waste.

Proposals from these facilities were reviewed by a panel of experts from professional associations, academia, and federal agencies and were selected based upon extensive criteria published in the funding opportunity announcement released in February.

To be eligible for consideration as an Ebola and other special pathogen treatment center, facilities also had to be assessed by a Rapid Ebola Preparedness team led by the CDC prior to Feb. 20, 2015.

The Department is working with state health officials and hospital executives in HHS Region IX, which includes Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific island territories and freely associated states, to identify a partner hospital awardee.

HHS is the principal federal department for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. ASPR leads HHS in preparing the nation to respond to and recover from adverse health effects of emergencies, supporting communities’ ability to withstand adversity, strengthening health and response systems, and enhancing national health security.

To learn more about the department’s efforts to protect against Ebola, visit www.cdc.gov/Ebola and for more information on the Department’s emergency preparedness and response efforts for all hazards see www.phe.gov.

A New Lease on Life for the New Year

1-6-free-hip-and-knee-Brenda-BosticBrenda Bostic and Curtis Hartman, MD, right before Bostic’s procedure.

While many of us take for granted our daily mobility, millions of Americans are living with excruciating hip and knee pain that cripples them, their lifestyles and their ability to work or provide for themselves or their families. There are physical and psychological tolls. Most of all, they just want their lives back.

The solution is often hip and knee replacement surgery. But what happens to those individuals who desperately need new joints to minimize pain and regain mobility and can’t have access to them due to lack of insurance coverage, financial or other constraints?

Through Operation Walk USA 2015, two Nebraska Medicine patients received free joint replacements from orthopaedic surgeon, Curtis Hartman, MD. In mid-December, 59-year-old Brenda Bostic of Bellevue, Neb., and 63-year-old Randy Robins of Blair, Neb., underwent surgery at the med center. Bostic worked in receiving at Walmart most of her adult life, and was very aware of the arthritis and pain in her knee. For 20 years, she tried to minimize the discomfort with cortisone shots, frequent doctor visits and other procedures. But, in October, she thought her knee was going numb. She was rushed to the emergency department and was told she needed knee replacement surgery. When Bostic mentioned to the med center physicians that she didn’t have insurance, they recommended Operation Walk USA. She applied and was accepted.

“I was absolutely ecstatic,” says Bostic. “I want to be able to jump up and down and run along the field to support my grandchildren at their sporting events. Being a grandmother is the joy of my life.”

1-6-free-hip-and-knee-Randy_Robins_IMG_0905-690x460Randy Robins smiles with second year orthopaedic surgery resident Tyler Larson, MD, and orthopedic surgeon Curtis Hartman, MD.

Bostic, who is also legally blind, underwent a total left knee replacement on Dec. 15, under the care of Dr. Hartman. That same day, Dr. Hartman performed a left hip replacement on Robins, who enjoyed a long career at Union Pacific Railroad. Over the years, Robins has met life’s challenges head on. Twelve years ago, his youngest daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Five years ago, he came down with a rare form of cancer himself. Then, came Robins’ left hip. He’d been feeling discomfort for years, but after his recovery from cancer, the pain was excruciating.“I’m a pretty tough guy. Always have been,” says Robins. “But, the pain was so bad that I couldn’t walk.”

Given the physical nature of his work, Robins was forced to retire early. He had little insurance and was still paying off his cancer bills. His eldest daughter had read about Operation Walk USA and applied on his behalf without him knowing it.

“I’m very emotional about it,” says Robins. “I’ve been an unselfish man all my life and told my case worker that I don’t want to take an opportunity away from somebody else. I consider myself a fortunate man just to be here. I want to live again. I want to work again.”

Operation Walk USA provides all aspects of treatment – surgery, hospitalization, and pre-and post-operative care ─ at no cost to participating patients who may not qualify for government health coverage, have insurance or afford surgery on their own. Operation Walk USA takes place annually in early December to allow for greater hospital, surgeon and medical staff participation – and as a holiday gift to the patients it treats.

Loading