Where to go During an Emergency

Asthma attacks. Broken bones. Dehydration. Ear infections. Irregular heartbeat. Infectious diseases. Uncontrollable vomiting. This is a short list of the medical problems that are handled each year in the Pediatric Emergency Department at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.

Children and adults have different needs. This is why the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital has an exclusively pediatric emergency department staffed by highly experienced nurses and health care professionals trained to put children at ease. What makes this pediatric emergency department unique is the access to a large network of pediatric specialists who make up the Children’s Hospital. We are a resource for other physicians. When a case is very complicated, we are often called to help diagnose or treat complex problems. We pride ourselves on delivering care and compassion that can only come from an institution with a primary focus on providing the highest quality of care to children and their families.

Because we have access to specialists in more than 20 areas of pediatric medicine, we provide the most advanced care. The Pediatric Asthma Program is one example of how patients benefit from the close collaboration of physicians in the emergency department and other specialties. This asthma program, which is the first of its kind in the region to be awarded the Joint Commission’s Disease-Specific Certification, assures that children admitted to the emergency department not only leave breathing easier – they are also given the tools, knowledge and medication to improve their long-term asthma control.

During a medical emergency, there is little time to consider where to take your sick child. Remember the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital is here for you and your family.

Learn more about the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital by visiting www.umm.edu/pediatrics.

Super Staff Beats Super Storm — Every Time

The forecasts and predictions around Hurricane Sandy had much of the eastern third of the country braced for disaster. Baltimore saw heavy rains, wind and flooding. But the University of Maryland Medical Center didn’t skip a beat, thanks to the dedication of staff members who planned ahead or braved the elements to get to work. Their inspiration: hundreds of patients and colleagues were depending on them.

 We heard about staff taking extraordinary steps to be available for patients and to one another. If you have a story of your own, or you know of something that somebody else has done, drop us a line at communications@umm.edu.

 In the meantime, here are a few:

 From Karen E. Doyle, MBA, MS, RN, NEA-BC, vice president for nursing and operations at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and for emergency nursing at UMMC:

“While I was making rounds yesterday [Oct. 29], I stopped and spoke to Darlene Currin, a housekeeping staff member in Shock Trauma working on 6 North.  I thanked her for being here, and told her that her work was really important.  She told me that she had just arrived (it was around 10:30 or 11:00 a.m.).  Darlene had walked all the way from East Baltimore to UMMC.  But, she knew she was needed and made the trek anyway.  Really unbelievable.  I was so inspired.”

 Currin (pictured above) said she doesn’t think she did anything that most of her colleagues wouldn’t do. “We all work here, we know it’s 24/7,” she said. On Monday morning, she was unable to get a taxi or sedan service (public transportation was shut down), so she decided to walk. It took her about 90 minutes.

 “I was soaked when I got here,” Currin said.

 From Monika Bauman, MS, RN, CEN, nurse manager for women’s and children’s ambulatory services:

“The hospital-based clinics officially closed on Tuesday due to the storm, but Ometriss Jeter, a scheduling and preauthorization coordinator who works in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, reported for duty Tuesday morning at about 6 a.m.  She rounded in all of the outpatient registration areas offering her services and making sure they had adequate staffing for the day. Once she determined all was well, she reported to our clinic, even though it was closed, to be sure we were ready for operations as usual for tomorrow [Wednesday].”

 From Karen Cossentino, MS, RN, CCRN, senior clinical nurse II and charge nurse in the Cardiac Care Unit:

“I was in charge in the Cardiac Care Unit on Monday, Oct. 29, and it was an exceptionally busy day. So I would like to thank all the staff for working together. Two nurses deserve an extra thank you, but they asked that I not use their names. One of them had a vacation scheduled this week but offered to work for a nurse who is a new mother who would not have been able to get home after work on Monday to her 3-month-old baby.  Another nurse from Professional Development came to the unit and asked if we needed any help. I immediately took her up on her offer and she stayed most of the day and went from room to room and nurse to nurse and offered her assistance.”

From Rehana Qayyumi, MLS (ASCP), medical lab scientist, Microbiology Laboratory:

After making up my mind to stay [at work during the storm] on a very busy Monday, I did not have time to think about where I would stay after my shift. Then, our wonderful Microbiology Technical Specialist Donna Cashara, MLS(ASCP), asked me what I was  going to do.  I just told her, ‘Yes, I’m staying somewhere,’ while very busy with my assigned work.  Anyway, she personally walked two blocks away to the Marriott [as phone calls were not helpful] and reserved a room.  She was like an angel for me when I finally reached the room around 7 p.m. and took a shower and my medicines and bowed my head down for my unexpected landing in full luxury. Did I deserve it? Yes, I think all of us who decided to pay for comfortable accommodations to be ready for the next busy day deserved it.  We deserve all the best to provide the best services. TeamWORK works!”

Rehana Qayyumi and Donna Cashara

Rehana Qayyumi and Donna Cashara

Cashara said it was tough to get a room at an affordable rate that night at the downtown hotels, but the Marriott finally came through. She said many other seasoned lab staff know when storms are coming, they need to look out for each other. She and another staff person led a department-wide effort to make sure the hospital had enough lab staff and that those employees had either safe passage home or a place to sleep. The hospital provides dorm-like accommodations, but some staff prefer to split the cost of a nearby hotel room.

From Cassandra Bembry, MLS ASCP, outreach customer service supervisor for the Clinical Pathology Laboratory:

Jamillah Johnson, my front-end coordinator of the Clinical Pathology Laboratory (a.k.a. “Accessioning”) volunteered late Sunday night to pick up more than 80 percent of our day-shift staff for Monday who rely solely on public transportation.  She also took these employees home and picked up our evening shift crew.  Jamillah has consistently shown a great deal of care and concern for our staff that is unparalleled, in my opinion, and acts of this nature are routine for her.” 

 From J.V. Nable, MD, NREMT-P, clinical instructor and chief resident in the Department of  Emergency Medicine:

“The [physicians in the] UniversityofMaryland Emergency Medicine Residency met the challenges posed by Hurricane Sandy head-on. Despite the incredibly inclement weather, residents continued to provide vital services at emergency departments and other hospital units throughout the region, including: UMMC, the Shock Trauma Center, the Baltimore VA Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, Bayview Medical Center, and Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Because some residents have lengthy commutes, those who live near the medical facilities invited them to their homes for dry and safe shelter during the storm. Many residents volunteered to rearrange their schedules, taking extra shifts to cover for those stranded by the storm. As part of the backbone of clinical services at UMMC, emergency medicine residents demonstrated unwavering dedication throughout this unprecedented event.”

From Shawn Hendricks, MSN, RN, nurse manager for 10 East (Acute Medicine Telemetry Unit) and 11 East (Medicine Telemetry Unit):
 
During Hurricane Sandy, the dedicated staff on 10 & 11 East showed up ready to work, with smiles and a determination to provide excellent care despite the weather outside. I gave personal thanks to patient care technicians Theresa Hicks and Danielle Brown for coming to assist with the patients on 11 East after completing their care on 10 East, until help arrived from Monique Thomas, a student nurse who had been off duty but came in to help. And, also, to Jocelyn Campbell, one of our unit secretaries, who came in even when she wasn’t scheduled, to help with secretarial duties and other tasks on 11 East. Finally, a big “Thank you” to all my staff who stayed late or came early to ensure the shifts were covered! These staff members showed loyalty, teamwork, and caring when it was needed the most!

UMMC Using New ID Application to Check Crash Carts

By Sharon Boston, UMMC Media Relations Manager

 

You may know RFID (radio frequency identification) as a theft prevention system in libraries and stores. It’s also used for key cards and to check the stock of some hotel mini-bars.

The University of Maryland Medical Center is now the first hospital to use a new application of RFID technology to scan the content of hospital crash carts, which carry medications that are critical during life-threatening emergencies.

The system, called Kit Check, scans an opened crash cart tray in about 10 seconds, identifying medications that are missing or will expire soon. The pharmacist then restocks the tray and scans it again in the specially designed scanning station (which looks a small cabinet or pizza oven) to verify that all items are present and up-to-date.

Want to see it in action? Check out the video at the top of this post.

Each medication has an RFID tag, allowing the entire tray to be scanned and verified quickly, virtually eliminating the chance for human error and removing the need to hand-check each tray twice.

Dramatic Patient Success Story Highlights Importance of Vascular Screening

Allen Weller nearly died after suffering a ruptured aortic aneurysm in August 2010. Although Allen did not have a detectable blood pressure for nearly 20 minutes, Dr. Rajabrata Sarkar, Chief of Vascular Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center, was able to perform emergency surgery that saved Allen’s life and put him on the road to a full recovery.

However, unlike Mr. Weller, most people do not survive aortic aneurysms once they have ruptured. Below, Dr. Sarkar talks about aortic aneurysms, Mr. Weller’s case and the importance of vascular screenings to locate possible aneurysms before they rupture.

Haiti: Mission of Hope

WBFF-TV FOX 45 reporter Jennifer Gilbert and videographer Darren Durlach were embedded recently with the UM medical team in Haiti. They reported on UM’s ongoing relief efforts to help the Haitian people recover from the devastating earthquake that shook the country in January 2010.

This cover story features the work the UM team is doing in Haiti, which has treated more than 1,000 patients. This includes the moving  story of a 97-year-old diabetic Haitian woman, who was suffering from gangrene in her leg and was near death. Her sister, from Columbia, Maryland, flew to Haiti to help her mother get the care she needed. She was turned down for treatment at various hospitals in Haiti before connecting with the UM team, which performed a life-saving leg amputation.

UMMC CEO Thanks Staff for Dedication During Blizzards

By Jeffrey A. Rivest
UMMC President and Chief Executive Officer

February 10, 2010

Dear Colleague:

Early this morning I had the pleasure of visiting many of our patient care units and support departments to personally thank the hundreds of dedicated staff who have done heroic things for our patients during the past five days — through two record-breaking blizzards! I was moved by the positive energy and dedication of each staff member I saw. It was beyond description!

As we know, the University of Maryland Medical Center plays a vital role as an essential, tertiary level health care resource for the State of Maryland. Our eleven ICUs, Shock Trauma center, advanced diagnostic services, emergency services, and all of our patient care programs are essential, life-saving resources for our entire state. With this vital role comes the responsibility that, in times of crisis, we must continue to deliver the same high-quality service that is expected of us every day. This is what you’ve been doing, and I greatly appreciate your efforts.

I am proud to tell you that yesterday, as this second storm was beginning, UMMC and our fantastic teams cared for 119 admissions, along with hundreds of emergent visits and procedures. These patient volumes reflect a typical day for us. We didn’t skip a beat — thanks to you. It is truly amazing what can happen when talent, passion, and commitment come together through our special staff members to accomplish wonderful things.

The efficient patient flow has been possible because of the several hundred staff members who stayed at or close to the hospital to ensure their presence when needed. Last night we accommodated over 200 staff members in-house through sleeping arrangements in various locations including the hospital, Paca/Pratt building, and other non-clinical facilities. Hundreds more of our staff recognized the importance of remaining close and stayed at nearby hotels.

Our entire management team has been actively contributing, and we have a top-notch group of Directors and Managers running our Emergency Command Center. We are fully focused on maintaining a strong infrastructure of support for our physicians, nurses, technicians and all care providers. And let me add a special thanks to all of our valuable support staff –- you are doing a wonderful job of supporting our care providers so we can continue to provide excellent patient care.

Indicators show that, by tomorrow, we will begin coming out of this enormously challenging storm. With one last push to get through tonight, we should begin to see a return to what we consider to be “normal” business tomorrow.

Today, we can all be extremely proud of all staff and physician colleagues at UMMC. You are simply the best!

Sincerely,

Jeffrey A. Rivest
President and Chief Executive Officer