Archive for March, 2018

Hospital Achieves Magnet Redesignation

Pictured are many of the colleagues who assisted with our efforts to earn Magnet redesignation.

For the third time, Nebraska Medical Center achieved Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. It’s a designation given to hospitals that demonstrate excellence in nursing and implementation of best practices.

“This is a reflection of the thousands of colleagues who dedicate themselves to extraordinary care each day and it serves as a reminder to the people throughout the region who count on us for care that they’re in the right place,” says CEO Dan DeBehnke, MD, MBA.

Magnet appraisers visited Nebraska Medical Center Jan. 30 through Feb. 2 and spoke to many different groups including nurses, leadership, physicians, board members and others.

In order to apply for Magnet designation, we must provide documentation detailing two years’ worth of patient outcomes. That data includes our rate of hospital-acquired infections, including falls with injury, pressure injuries, central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and catheter-associated urinary infections (CAUTIs).

“We also submit dozens of personal stories from our nurses that demonstrate the excellent care that we provide and how we make improvements to better outcomes,” explains Sue Nuss, PhD, chief nursing officer. “After this intensive documentation is submitted, the surveyors come to see if what we said about ourselves is true.”

“We are Magnet,” Dr. Nuss continues. “We have the structure and processes in place. It’s a way of life for us; it’s part of our culture.”

Dr. Nuss says the appraisers were very complimentary of our staff.

“One thing that made an impression was that after asking for a wish list, the staff requested for things for the patients, not themselves,” she says.

Dr. Nuss notes that only 8 percent of the 5,500 hospitals in the U.S. earn Magnet designation.

“Magnet status demonstrates that we are a highly performance-driven organization internally, as well as externally,” says Brenda Smidt, manager, Nursing Professional Practice. “It enables Nebraska Medicine to promote professional practice quality, excellence in delivering quality nursing services to our patients and that we apply best practices in the nursing services we provide.”

“Our patients can come here knowing we have high-quality nursing care, good outcomes and that our nurses have a voice in their practice,” adds Dr. Nuss.

Nebraska Medical Center first achieved Magnet designation in 2007 and then again in 2012.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Nebraska Medicine, call +1-402-559-3090 or OIHS@nebraskamed.com.

Historic Kidney Transplant Chain Honored

Pictured are some of the participants of the state’s largest ever living-donor kidney transplant chain. (From left to right) Ben Little, donor; Kelly Mogler, donor; Sue Venteicher, donor; Vicki Hunter, kidney/pancreas transplant manager; Gina Rau, transplant coordinator; Jennifer Baer, donor; Nikki Quakenbush, donor; Derek Beisner, donor; and David Hansen, donor.

One year after completing the largest internal living-donor kidney transplant chain in Nebraska history, the Nebraska Medicine kidney transplant team was presented with the Gift of Life Heroes award at the 2018 Heroes in the Heartland luncheon, hosted by the American Red Cross.

You may remember the week of Feb. 27, 2017, nine patients received kidneys at Nebraska Medical Center from nine living donors. Previously, the largest internal living-donor kidney transplant chain at Nebraska Medical Center was a three-way exchange in July 2016.

The 18-person chain marks one of the largest single center kidney transplant chains involving a pediatric recipient in the United States. It’s also one of the largest single center kidney transplant chains performed in the U.S. in which none of the recipients were on hemodialysis (where a machine filters the patient’s blood outside their body).

Sue Venteicher, a wife, mother and grandmother, started the chain in memory of Michael Peters, a former patient that Venteicher cared for at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.

The morning of Feb. 27, Venteicher walked into Nebraska Medical Center to start the chain. Two transplants were performed each day on Feb. 27 and 28, March 1 and 2, with the final transplant happening on March 3. Transplant surgeon Alexander Maskin, MD, performed the donor surgeries (known as a donor nephrectomy) while transplant surgeon Arika Hoffman, MD, transplanted them into the recipients. The chain included five patients who had not yet started dialysis, four who had a difficult time finding a match, and one person who was transplanted off the waitlist.

On March 8, the nine donors were honored by the American Red Cross at the 2018 Heroes in the Heartland, now in its 17th year. The nine donors include:

Sue Venteicher – Omaha, Nebraska – Donated in memory of a friend

David Hansen – Lincoln, Nebraska – Exchange donor to help his friend and co-worker

Nikki Quakenbush – Omaha, Nebraska – Exchange donor to help her sister-in-law

Jennifer Baer – Scottsbluff, Nebraska – Exchange donor to help her aunt

Ben Little – Omaha, Nebraska – Exchange donor to help his sister-in-law

Jonathon Sands – Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Exchange donor to help his mother

Derek Beisner – Waverly, Nebraska – Exchange donor to help his mother

Kelly Mogler – Elkhorn, Nebraska – Exchange donor to help a neighbor and friend

Tyler Sturgeon – Cozad, Nebraska – Exchange donor to help a family friend

Learn more about the transplant chain by watching this video.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Nebraska Medicine, call +1-402-559-3090 or OIHS@nebraskamed.com.

New Immunotherapy Helps Immune System Fight Cancer Cells

Philip Markway has been battling multiple cancer outbreaks for most of his life. He was born with a rare genetic condition called xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) that causes recurring skin malignancies. The youngest of seven children, five of whom developed the genetic condition, Markway was not surprised when he discovered his first melanoma at age 22.

For more than 20 years, Markway underwent surgical and medical therapies to treat the small melanoma tumors that developed randomly on his face, his scalp and under his lip.

Alissa Marr, MD, hematologist and medical oncologist, with melanoma survivor Philip Markway.

Eventually, however, the tumors became more advanced. When he developed three spots on his lungs, he knew he was running out of options. His twin brother had metastatic malignant melanoma in his lungs and brain and died at the age of 32. His older sister had many melanomas and died at age 62 after developing ovarian cancer. The future did not look promising.

That’s when Alissa Marr, MD, hematologist and medical oncologist, offered a new option. She told Markway about an innovative immunotherapy drug that helps the immune system detect and fight cancer cells and offers the possibility of more long-term, durable responses.

Markway has been receiving infusion treatments with this new drug every three weeks for more than a year with minimal side effects and no recurrences.

“I actually feel better than when I wasn’t receiving treatment,” he says. “I work daily, some long days. I travel, eat, play, ride my bike and oversee my business.” In fact, through all of this, Markway says he hasn’t needed to miss a day of work, except for every third Monday when he receives his infusion.

In addition to this new immunotherapy drug, Dr. Marr says there are a handful of other treatment options that now offer the possibility of long-term, durable remissions for melanoma patients.

“Melanoma, when caught early and appropriately managed, is highly curable,” says Dr. Marr. “However, unlike other skin cancers, melanoma has a chance of metastasizing, which is then considered stage IV. Once it has metastasized, the goals of treatment typically change to more of a palliative approach rather than curative. However, that is no longer the case due to the tremendous strides that have been made in the treatment of stage IV melanoma just over the past five years or so.”

Markway says the decision to have his infusion treatments at Nebraska Medicine — Bellevue has been a good one. “It has been convenient, easy to access and the staff has been very friendly and knowledgeable,” he says. “I like the smaller feel of this hospital and the fact that it was closer to home.”

“Given the rarity of Philip’s condition, being treated at an academic cancer network has been advantageous,” says Dr. Marr. “He has been managed by providers that specialize in this area of oncology. His surgeries have been complex and have required a well-trained hand. Bellevue has allowed him to get labs, attend his clinic visit and get his infusion all in one convenient and efficient place.”

With more than a year under his belt with the new immunotherapy drug, Markway is hopeful for the future. “I have been amazed at the care and knowledge of my doctors and staff at Nebraska Medicine. I am definitely at the right place.”

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Nebraska Medicine, call +1-402-559-3090 or OIHS@nebraskamed.com.

The Day My Son Received the Best and Worst News of His Life

On the same day Derek was diagnosed with cancer, his fiancé discovered she was pregnant with their daughter. 

Do you know what Burkitt lymphoma is? I didn’t either until the fateful day of May 25, 2016.

Burkitt lymphoma is a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It’s a fast growing cancer with tumors multiplying in size very quickly, causing patients to feel sick within a few days. It’s mostly seen in children but does affect adults as well.

On May 25, my 27-year-old son, Derek, was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma – a day our family will never forget.

Derek originally thought he had hurt his back while playing basketball. The pain wasn’t going away and was getting progressively worse. I kept nagging him to make an appointment and see someone about it; even go to one of the Immediate Care Clinics that Nebraska Medicine has for after-hours. But Derek, being a typical man who has never been sick in his life, just kept hoping it would go away.

Finally the pain was so bad, he went to the clinic and received an X-ray. They immediately sent him the Emergency Department at Nebraska Medicine – Nebraska Medical Center. That’s when he called me and said I needed to join him in the ED.

While they were drawing his blood, different people came in and out of the room. The word lymphoma was tossed around, but no one thought that was really a possibility. Derek was admitted to the hospital and then the real testing began. By the next day, the word “cancer” was tossed around even more. That night, he was transferred to the Oncology Hematology Special Care Unit (OHSCU). As a Nebraska Medicine employee, I knew what being admitted to that floor meant… it really was cancer.

The next day we were given the results, it was Burkitt lymphoma. We learned the treatment was as aggressive as the cancer. Derek would be inpatient for five days receiving chemotherapy, then home for three weeks until treatment was over.

The treatment was as aggressive as the cancer. Derek was inpatient for five days receiving chemotherapy, then home for three weeks until treatment was over. 

The treatment was rough. He was inpatient for almost a month in the beginning with complications, but I will never be able to thank the OHSCU staff for their care and genuine love for him – even with his mother hanging around all the time!

Philip Bierman, MD, and his team saved my son’s life and I will forever be indebted to them.

Derek was declared in remission on October 24, 2016, and has been in remission since then.

The other reason May 25, 2016, will always be the day that we will never forget is because it’s the same day that we found out Derek’s fiancé was pregnant. Olivia Grace was born January 15, 2017, and will likely be his only child because of the side effects of the chemotherapy.

So thank you, Nebraska Medicine and Dr. Bierman, for saving my son’s life – and for giving my beautiful granddaughter the chance to grow up with her daddy by her side.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Nebraska Medicine, call +1-402-559-3090 or OIHS@nebraskamed.com.