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Nebraska Medicine, UNMC Sends Ebola Response Team to Uganda

 

Nebraska Medicine and UNMC have responded to a request from an international agency to send a team of infectious diseases experts to Uganda to help prevent the spread of Ebola.

In response to the second outbreak of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) this year, Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) sent a team of infectious diseases experts to the East African nation of Uganda to help prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

Uganda shares a border with the DRC provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, where health leaders in the area declared a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease in early August. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees reports that hundreds of refugees cross that border from the DRC into Uganda every day.

James Lawler, MD

“The best way to prevent a global spread of the disease is to contain it in the country where it starts,” says James Lawler, MD, an infectious diseases expert and leader of the team working in Uganda. “UNMC and Nebraska Medicine are uniquely prepared to provide training in a situation like this, and our experience as one of four U.S. hospitals to successfully treat patients with Ebola during the West Africa outbreak in 2014, along with subsequent training and quarantine efforts have made us a world leader in this arena.”

“The clinicians and staff from the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit have the infectious disease expertise and experience to share their knowledge and insight,” says Robert Kadlec, MD, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Their collaboration with health care workers helping to prevent the spread of the Ebola outbreak in the DRC is critical to our global health security.”

Medical Teams International, which provides support for refugees fleeing violence in the DRC into Western Uganda, requested help from the Nebraska Medicine/UNMC team. Our team, consisting of one doctor, three nurses and a respiratory therapist, was tasked with training frontline health care workers who are screening refugees at health clinics and intake stations associated with refugee camps in Western Uganda.

The team was not tasked with providing direct care for any patients diagnosed with Ebola while in one of the camps. While other United States citizens also are taking part in the effort, the Nebraska Medicine/UNMC team is the only U.S. academic medical center providing organized support.

“We are honored and humbled to have been asked to assist in this effort,” says Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, chancellor of UNMC and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. “Our mission is to lead the world in our areas of expertise, and this is certainly one of them. The establishment of the Global Center for Health Security here last year positions us not only as one of the few institutions which could provide a response to a crisis such as this, but also as one that should.”

Members of the team at the Nyakabande Refugee Transit Center.

The Global Center for Health Security was established at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine in 2017, and in 2019, the National Center for Health Security and Biopreparedness will open on campus in the new Davis Global Center for Advanced Interprofessional Learning.

It will feature quarantine facilities and highly specialized simulation training labs to prepare federal health care personnel and others to care for and conduct procedures for patients with highly infectious diseases.

Experts agree that the situation in the DRC will only worsen without international assistance, making it possible that it could mirror the African outbreak four years ago, which killed more than 11,000 people.

Members of the team left Omaha on Sept. 25, flying to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, to be vaccinated with an experimental Ebola vaccine along with a vaccine for yellow fever. They then travelled to various areas of Western Uganda and began training local health care workers beginning on Sept 29.

The vaccine, which Nebraska Medicine/UNMC used in a prior outbreak, has shown promise in stemming the tide of the disease during previous recent outbreaks. The team members are expected to return to Omaha Oct. 5.

Members of the Nebraska Medicine/UNMC Nebraska Biocontainment Unit cared for three patients during the Ebola crisis of 2014. Since then, members of UNMC/Nebraska Medicine team have traveled the nation and the globe training others in how to treat patients with highly infectious diseases.

New Heart Procedure Helps Mitral Regurgitation Patients

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For 78-year-old Viola Foley, nothing brings a bigger smile to her face than talking about family, country music or Nebraska Medicine.

“I tell everyone that the nicest doctors in the world work here,” she says. “They saved my life more than once.”

After raising nine children in Springfield, Neb., Foley underwent a liver transplant at Nebraska Medicine – Nebraska Medical Center and battled breast cancer twice.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer six years before my liver transplant, then again four years later. It’s amazing how far I’ve come.”

Once Foley passed the 10-year mark for her transplant, she started having serious breathing problems. Walking across the living room was almost impossible. In September, she made an appointment with Nebraska Medicine cardiologist Thomas Porter, MD.

“Dr. Porter did an echocardiogram,” remembers Foley. “He discovered that my heart and liver were working against each other. One of my heart valves wasn’t opening and shutting the right way.”

In September, Foley was diagnosed with mitral regurgitation (MR), a condition that affects four million people in the United States. The heart’s mitral valve leaflets don’t close tightly, causing blood to flow backwards from the heart’s left ventricle into the left atrium. It makes the heart work harder at pushing blood through the body, leading to shortness of breath, fatigue and worsening heart failure. For many patients, open-heart mitral valve surgery is generally recommended, but for Foley, surgery wasn’t an option.

“She currently has a life threatening blood disorder that prohibits her from having any open surgical procedures,” says Michael Moulton, MD, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Nebraska Medicine. “Her only shot was to have the MitraClip procedure, which was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

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The MitraClip procedure is a new option for patients diagnosed with MR, who have too high a risk for surgery. The procedure consists of implant catheters and the MitraClip device, which is a permanent implant that attaches to the mitral valve leaflets, reducing the leakiness of the valve.

On October 1, Foley became the first patient to undergo the procedure at Nebraska Medicine. With the help of a catheter, Nebraska Medicine chief of interventional cardiology, Gregory Pavlides, MD, inserted the MitraClip device through a blood vessel in Foley’s groin, guiding it to her heart. The surgical team could watch in real time on the echo machine if the mitral regurgitation was appropriately reduced. Once the MitraClip device was in place, the catheter was removed.

“This procedure requires a lot of skill from interventional cardiology, imaging cardiology and anesthesia,” explains Dr. Pavlides. “Not many places in the area have the infrastructure to offer the MitraClip procedure as well as we can; based on our experience with the mitral valve and our superb imaging and cath lab skills.”

Learn More About the Innovative MitraClip Procedure
Are you a candidate? Connect with a member of the heart care team regarding the MitraClip by calling 800.922.0000 or visiting our website.

Foley’s procedure took approximately one hour and 30 minutes. She spent a little over three days in the hospital before going home. Since then, she’s regained her strength, is able to walk up and down the stairs and feed her pets without feeling fatigued. She’s excited for the next chapter in her life, which includes watching her great-grandson attend the University of Nebraska Medical Center with the hopes of becoming a cardiologist.

“I am forever grateful,” says Foley. “I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t have this option. I’m really proud to be the first patient at Nebraska Medicine to have the MitraClip procedure. Couldn’t have asked for a better crew or a better place.”

 

Extraordinary Care – Our Patients Agree

Nebraska Medical Center has earned a 2017/2018 Consumer Loyalty Award from Lincoln, Nebraska–based patient experience firm NRC Health.

The award recognizes hospitals across the country that garner extraordinary loyalty from their patients. This is the award’s inaugural year, which gives its winners a singular distinction. Nebraska Medical Center was No. 6 out of 100 award recipients that were selected based on results from NRC Health’s Market Insights survey, the largest database of health care consumer responses in the country.

“This type of recognition is especially meaningful because it comes from the patients we serve,” says Nebraska Medicine CEO Jim Linder, MD. “This is the kind of result that comes from dedicated physicians and staff working together for the benefit of their patients.”

NRC Health surveys more than 310,000 households in the contiguous U.S., measuring their engagement with health care brands in their communities. Organizations that win the Consumer Loyalty Award score exceedingly well on seven different measures of patient loyalty, including access, engagement, experience and net promoter score.

 

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

Orthopaedics study will impact artificial knee design

Hani Haider, Ph.D.

A study by a team of researchers in the UNMC Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has challenged a doctrine surrounding knee replacement design.With science and medicine helping people live longer, people now often outlast the life of their joint cartilage.

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Dr. Haider receives the Adult Reconstructive Knee Poster Prize at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting in March.

“Technologists and surgeons have designed artificial knees which can alleviate pain and permit almost normal motion for daily living activities. In fact, good knee replacement designs can now last the lifetime of a patient,” said Hani Haider, Ph.D., professor and principal investigator of the study.

“In the evolution of knee replacements since the 1970s, designers focused on stress reduction in the bearings to reduce wear, which should be avoided for many reasons,” Dr. Haider said. “They did so by increasing contact area of the bearings to spread the load, which was vital for the older generation of bearing materials and early designs of the artificial joint.”

The team’s study — “For Lower Wear of Total Knee Replacements, Is Higher or Lower Contact Area Better?” — was awarded the best poster prize in the category of Adult Reconstructive Knee at the recent American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting in New Orleans March 6-10. Ten first-place posters were awarded from 7,000 entries.

Using test data from UNMC’s Biomechanics and Advanced Surgical Technologies Laboratory, Dr. Haider and colleagues found that increasing contact area to reduce stress with contemporary joint materials is like a law of diminishing returns. When taken too far, larger total knee replacement sizes and contact area can actually increase wear with modern designs and materials. This was confirmed by eight separate studies in Nebraska contracted with UNMC by multiple companies from the orthopaedic industry.

“Working closely with multiple companies from industries worldwide makes our results meaningful, relevant and makes them translate to tangible benefits,” Dr. Haider said. “In this case, our results were described to shine a new beacon for artificial knee designers everywhere.”

Bone and joint health problems are the leading cause of disability in the U.S., accounting for more than half of all chronic conditions in people over the age of 50, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The organization projects that the demand for knee replacements will increase by 674 percent between the years 2012-2030.

“This is yet another tremendous achievement by our faculty, and we wish to thank all who have supported this research resulting in further international recognition,” said Kevin Garvin, M.D, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation.

Robotic Thyroid Surgery Now Offered at Nebraska Medicine

 

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After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, 24-year-old Katie O’Callaghan of Hastings, Nebraska, underwent a robotic thyroidectomy at Nebraska Medicine. The incision was made behind her earlobe. 

Katie O’Callaghan was working the checkout line at her parents’ grocery store in Hastings, Nebraska, when a customer noticed a lump on O’Callaghan’s neck. The 24 year old, who was four months pregnant with her first child, brought it up at her next OBGYN appointment. A biopsy later revealed she had thyroid cancer.

“I couldn’t believe it,” says O’Callaghan. “Being pregnant with my first child was intimidating enough, let alone discovering I had cancer.”

Wanting a second opinion, O’Callaghan was referred to Estelle Chang, MD, a former Otolaryngology Head and Neck surgeon at Nebraska Medicine, who completed a six-month Advanced Robotic Head and Neck Endocrine Surgery Fellowship at Severance Hospital of the Yonsei University Health System in Seoul, South Korea. During her fellowship, Dr. Chang studied the latest, minimally invasive, thyroid and parathyroid surgery techniques.

“Traditionally, thyroidectomy has been performed using a 4 to 8 cm incision in the front of the neck, which can leave a visible scar,” explains Dr. Chang. “Robotic thyroidectomy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that is used to remove all or part of a thyroid gland without leaving a visible scar. This is the future and we should be at the forefront.”

At Nebraska Medicine, three robotic thyroidectomy approaches are offered for patients:

  • Underarm

  • Facelift (behind the earlobe)

    • If the patient wants a complete facelift at the end of the procedure, that’s a possibility

  • Through the mouth

“We can tailor to the patient, depending on the size of the tumor and the patient’s physical characteristics,” explains Dr. Chang. “This type of surgery is a great option for Caucasians who tan easily, African Americans and Asians. They all tend to have a difficult time with scarring.”

 

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Estelle Chang, MD

Not wanting a scar on her neck, O’Callaghan opted for Dr. Chang to perform the facelift approach. For the safety of the baby, surgery was put on hold until after O’Callaghan gave birth to her son. On May 22, O’Callaghan became the first patient to undergo a robotic thyroidectomy at Nebraska Medicine. Dr. Chang made the incision behind O’Callaghan’s earlobe and surgery took approximately three hours. O’Callaghan was kept overnight for observation and released the next day.

“I knew I was in good hands at Nebraska Medicine,” says O’Callaghan. “Currently, I have no cancer in my body and I feel great. By looking at me, you’d never know I had thyroid surgery. I’m really happy with the outcome.”

Thyroid nodules are very common and occur in approximately 30 percent of all people in the United States. By the age of 60, more than half of women will have a thyroid nodule. The vast majority of the nodules are benign, with about 5-10 percent being cancerous. Symptoms of thyroid cancer can involve swollen lymph nodes in the neck, difficulty swallowing or breathing – but most patients don’t experience any symptoms.

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Abbey Fingeret, MD

“While thyroid cancer can be seen in people of any background, age or gender, most cases occur in women, people less than 55 years old, and those with Caucasian or Asian backgrounds,” says Nebraska Medicine surgical oncologist Abbey Fingeret, MD. “Fortunately, in most cases, it can be completely cured with surgery.”

Dr. Fingeret is currently the only Endocrine Surgery Fellowship trained surgeon in the state of Nebraska. She completed her fellowship at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, performing more than 500 thyroid operations. Dr. Fingeret also finished a three-month Advanced Robotic Endocrine Surgery Fellowship in South Korea. This summer, she looks to perform her first robotic thyroidectomy at Nebraska Medicine.

 

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Not wanting a scar on her neck, O’Callaghan opted for the facelift approach. “By looking at me, you’d never know I had thyroid surgery. I’m really happy with the outcome.”

“I truly believe in the mission of Nebraska Medicine,” says Dr. Fingeret. “We are here to offer state-of-the-art care, where the patient always comes first. It’s my honor and privilege to be part of this exceptional team of ancillary staff, clinicians and researchers.”

“Nebraska Medicine treats all aspects of thyroid ailments and endocrine-related disorders,” adds Harris Frankel, MD, chief medical officer at Nebraska Medicine. “We have a large and experienced multidisciplinary team, which includes physicians from ENT, Endocrinology, General Surgery and Cancer Services. When you walk in the door, you can be seen by an endocrinologist and thyroid surgeon on the same day.”

Nebraska Medicine is one of a few academic medical centers in the country offering robotic thyroidectomies. Patients with multiple medical problems who shouldn’t be under anesthesia for extended periods of time are not ideal candidates. Robotic surgery can also be used to remove other benign masses of the neck, such as lipomas and thyroglossal duct cysts.

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

Unique Treatment Crafted for Multiple Myeloma Patient

Muhamed Baljevic, MD, is seen with patient Vincenzo Neri. Dr. Baljevic and his team were able to respect his religious beliefs and perform a bloodless stem cell transplant.

For the first time at Nebraska Medicine, a bloodless stem cell transplant has been performed on a Jehovah’s Witness.

“I’m surprised, excited, relieved and thankful they respected my beliefs and I congratulate them for helping me through this difficult time.”

Vincenzo Neri was diagnosed with ultra-high risk multiple myeloma and needed an autologous stem cell transplant to survive. Autologous transplantation is a process where the patient’s own stem cells are collected and reinfused. During the transplant process, most patients depend on red blood cells and platelets to protect themselves against infection, bleeding and organ failure. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in accepting any blood products, so Neri’s case was more difficult in many ways.

“He can’t get any of the red blood cells or platelets – normally, every patient depends on these products during the transplant process because red blood cells can go very low and platelets can go very low,” says Muhamed Baljevic, MD, multiple myeloma specialist. “However, we cannot depend on these blood products in this patient’s case because he’s a Jehovah’s Witness and his religious beliefs don’t allow him to accept any blood products.”

Through sign language interpreters, Dr. Baljevic explained in detail how Neri’s transplantation would work.

“We modified almost every single step in the transplantation process for him and his needs,” says Dr. Baljevic. “We had these plans in place where we used particular medicines, to try to prevent him from bleeding, where we stimulated his own bone marrow with stimulating medicine and building blocks for red blood cells as much as we could – such that we avoided all together the need for any blood products.”

Neri’s recovery went extremely well and he was discharged one week earlier than expected. Only a few health systems across the country perform stem cell transplants on Jehovah’s Witnesses. Nebraska Medicine is now one of them.

“In looking back when I was first diagnosed with cancer, I went down quickly, but now I feel freedom – the sick body is gone – I feel healthy again, active to do anything – makes me feel built up and excited,” says Neri. “Everyone here respected my religion and I’m impressed that everyone was respectful of my faith.”

“We hope other patients, who share same believes, other Jehovah’s Witnesses, or patients who cannot get blood products, know that we are very committed to provide top quality care, multidisciplinary care and care that can meet the biggest challenges of modern medicine – and this is certainly one of them,” says Dr. Baljevic.

Watch more of this amazing story in this video below.

 

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

WATCHMAN Device Offers Breakthrough Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation Patients

After suffering five strokes in a matter of months, Tom Keeling and his wife Sandy began to wonder if life would ever be normal again.

The 65-year-old Keeling suffered from a type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation can lead to the formation of dangerous clots that increase your risk for stroke. Keeling’s condition was doubly serious because doctors were also having difficulty regulating his blood thinners, which are critical to helping reduce clot formation.

Keeling recently became one of the first handful of people at Nebraska Medical Center to receive an implant device called the WATCHMAN™, an alternative to long-term blood thinners for people with atrial fibrillation. Since having the device implanted several months ago, Keeling’s strokes have come to a screeching halt.

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Tom Keeling and his wife, Sandy, celebrate after a successful surgery reduced Tom’s stroke risk.

The Nebraska Medical Center is the first hospital in Omaha to offer patients the WATCHMAN implant. The device reduces the risk of stroke by closing off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage. This helps keeps harmful blood clots from forming here, entering the bloodstream and potentially causing a stroke. Over time, patients should also be able to stop taking blood thinners.

“This new device provides doctors with a breakthrough stroke risk reduction option for patients,” said Andrew Goldsweig, MD, interventional cardiologist at Nebraska Medicine. “Blood thinners are one of the biggest challenges for managing people with atrial fibrillation. Although patients need blood thinners to help prevent clot formation, blood thinners can cause bleeding as well as other adverse reactions or interactions with other medications. Forty-five days after the WATCHMAN is implanted, patients should be able to stop taking blood thinners while receiving stroke protection from the device that is equivalent to a full-dose thinner.”

Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia. It increases with age and occurs in as many as one in 10 people over 80. As the disease progresses, it can significantly increase your risk for stroke and congestive heart failure. In fact, people with atrial fibrillation are five times more likely to have a stroke than the general population.

To implant the device, the doctor inserts a small needle in the upper leg, followed by a narrow tube, similar to a standard stent procedure. The doctor then guides the device into the left atrial appendage of the heart. Patients commonly stay in the hospital overnight and leave the next day.

Nebraska Medicine has a specialized clinic established to evaluate if WATCHMAN is the right course of treatment.

“This gives us another tool to elevate our already high level of cardiac care,” says Jessica Delaney, MD, Nebraska Medicine cardiac electrophysiologist.

“We are both looking forward to getting back to a life of normalcy again,” says Sandy. “We’re still young. I thought we still had a lot of time to do things in our lives.” Since Tom’s surgery, Sandy says planning a cruise is back on the bucket list. “We are so grateful for all of the care we’ve received at Nebraska Medicine. Everyone was so nice and put us at ease. The care was wonderful.”

This article was first featured in Advancing Health, a quarterly magazine from Nebraska Medicine with information about innovative treatment options, prevention tips and making better choices for a long healthy life. Sign up below to join our mailing list and receive the next edition of Advancing Health straight to your mailbox.

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

Dr. Zhen Named an American Society for Radiation Oncology Fellow

Weining “Ken” Zhen, MD

Weining “Ken” Zhen, MD, radiation oncologist at Nebraska Medicine and professor of radiation oncology at UNMC, has been named an American Society for Radiation Oncology Fellow.

The society is the world’s largest society for radiation oncology professionals. The ASTRO Fellows designation, or FASTRO, honors individuals who have significantly added to the field of radiation oncology in the areas of research, education, patient care or service and leadership.

Dr. Zhen will receive his FASTRO designation at an awards ceremony Oct. 23, during ASTRO’S 60th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

“The honor really goes to all faculty of our department of radiation oncology and the excellent cancer program at UNMC and Nebraska Medicine,” says Dr. Zhen.

Charles Enke, MD, chair of the Department of Radiology, was complimentary of Dr. Zhen’s latest achievement.

“Dr. Zhen is an internationally recognized expert in head and neck oncology, although his clinical skills go well beyond a single disease site,” says Dr. Enke. “Ken has contributed significantly to the education of residents and practicing radiation oncologists, and he has worked with ASTRO and SANTRO (the Sino-American Network for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology) to optimize the delivery of radiation therapy for patients in China. We are fortunate to have Ken at UNMC and Nebraska Medicine.”

Awarded annually since 2006, the ASTRO Fellows program recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to radiation oncology through research, education, patient care and/or service to the field. Since its inception, the FASTRO designation has been awarded to just 327 of ASTRO’s more than 10,000 members worldwide; the 2018 class of Fellows comprises 35 individuals.

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

First Leukemia Patient Receives CAR T-cell Therapy at Nebraska Medicine

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John Stenike has been fighting cancer since the age of 12. Now he and his family have new hope with this new therapy that uses a patient’s modified white blood cells to fight the cancer. John is a patient of hematologist/oncologist Krishna Gundabolu, MBBS. 

At the age of 12, John Steinke started his first full-time job.

“Fighting cancer,” the now 22-year-old says.

On March 1, 2008, Steinke was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and went through more than three years of treatment, which included chemotherapy. Six years later, he relapsed in April 2017, followed by another relapse in January 2018.

“We tried more chemotherapy and some alternative therapies, but he kept relapsing,” says Steinke’s dad, John. “We knew about CAR T-cell therapy, but at the time, it wasn’t commercially available yet.”

In February, Nebraska Medicine publicly announced chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy was available for commercial use for patients with recurring non-Hodgkin lymphoma and pediatric/young adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Nebraska Medicine is one of the first health networks in the Midwest and the only one in Nebraska to offer the therapy, which harnesses the body’s own immune system to attack a tumor.

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John and his parents, John and Anna Steinke, on the Special Care Unit inside Nebraska Medicine’s Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. 

“T cells are white blood cells that help our bodies fight infection and cancer,” explains Julie Vose, MD, chief of Hematology/Oncology at Nebraska Medicine. “In some patients with lymphomas and leukemias, their T cells don’t recognize the cancer as being abnormal and this allows the cancers to grow. This new therapy allows us to take the patient’s own T cells outside the body and re-stimulate them to fight their own cancer.”

On Aug. 1, Steinke became the first leukemia patient to receive commercial CAR T-cell therapy at Nebraska Medicine.

“I’m really hopeful that this will work,” Steinke said, as his modified T cells were placed back into his blood stream – just a few weeks shy of his 23rd birthday.

“John has been so brave and strong throughout his cancer journey,” says his mom, Anna. “Living here in Omaha, we’re so grateful to have Nebraska Medicine in our own backyard.”

“In my opinion, there’s no need to travel anywhere else for cancer care,” adds Steinke’s dad. “The entire team has been amazing.”

U.S. News Ranks Nebraska Medical Center as the Best Hospital in Nebraska

U.S. News & World Report evaluates nearly 5,000 hospitals nationwide to come up with their annual list of Best Hospitals. And once again, for the seventh straight year, Nebraska Medical Center is the No. 1 rated hospital in the state. Additionally, the Nebraska Medical Center Gynecology Program received a national ranking, the only hospital in the state to have a nationally ranked specialty.

U.S. News also rated Nebraska Medical Center as high performing in eight other specialties, receiving more high-performing rankings than any other facility in Nebraska. Those specialties are:

  • Cancer
  • Gastroenterology and GI Surgery
  • Geriatrics
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology and Neurosurgery
  • Orthopaedics
  • Pulmonology
  • Urology

Finally, the medical center received the highest ranking possible in five procedures/conditions:

  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair
  • Colon Cancer Surgery
  • Heart Bypass Surgery
  • Heart Failure
  • Hip Replacement

“This ranking is because of the dedication of our physicians, caregivers and staff who care for patients every day. I have the highest respect for their commitment,” says CEO James Linder, MD. “To again earn this recognition reflects our belief that continual improvement allows us to provide the highest quality services for the people of Nebraska, the surrounding region, and referred patients from around the world. My thanks to everyone at Nebraska Medicine who makes this possible.”

The annual Best Hospitals rankings, now in their 29th year, are designed to assist patients and their doctors in making informed decisions about where to receive care for challenging health conditions or for common elective procedures.

For the 2018-19 rankings, U.S. News evaluated medical centers nationwide in 25 specialties, procedures and conditions. In the 16 specialty areas, 158 hospitals were ranked in at least one specialty. In rankings by state and metro area, U.S. News recognized hospitals as high performing across multiple areas of care.

The U.S. News Best Hospitals methodologies in most areas of care are based largely or entirely on objective measures such as risk-adjusted survival and readmission rates, volume, patient experience, patient safety and quality of nursing, among other care-related indicators.

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