Shock Trauma Survivor Stresses Need for Blood Donations, Holds Blood Drive

The last thing Katie Pohler remembers from June 28 is pedaling her bike down Route 450 South in the bike lane, heading to the Waterfront in Annapolis with her boyfriend. But then, it all goes black.

Katie and her boyfriend, Todd Green, were both hit from behind by an impaired driver, and had to be flown to the R Adams Crowley Shock Trauma Center.

While Todd was released that night, Katie spent nearly three weeks in Shock Trauma, undergoing multiple surgeries and recovering from her extensive list of injures. She broke her left leg and arm, and her right hand, collarbone and shoulder, and her trachea was crushed, among other injuries.

During her stay in Shock Trauma, Katie, 23, received multiple blood transfusions while fighting for her life, which is why her friends and family have decided to organize a blood drive in her honor.

pohler

“Having had a transfusion, I understand the importance of donating blood to save lives. I am going to give blood any chance I get,” Katie says.

Coming up with the idea for the drive was Katie’s neighbor and family friend, Candy McCann Fontz. Fontz, who has hosted blood drives before, felt this was a perfect way to support the family during such a trying time and help others.

“I know the power of what my donation does because I have seen it,” Fontz says of why blood drives are so important.

When Fontz brought the idea up to Katie and her family, it was unanimous that this was a perfect way to honor Katie’s recovery.

“I feel wonderful about doing this blood drive because I want to give back. Everybody helped Katie and so I want to be able to help others.” Donna Pohler, Katie’s mother, says.

The blood drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Glen Burnie Improvement Association, located at 19 S. Crain Highway, Glen Burnie. To schedule an appointment, head to www.redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code GBIA.

“It’s about giving back and educating people on why it is important to donate,” Donna says.

According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and more than 41,000 blood donations are required every day. The need for blood can be for emergency cases or for patients with conditions that require multiple transfusions, such as cancer patients going through chemotherapy or patients diagnosed with sickle cell disease.

Katie is currently going to physical therapy three times a week, and getting stronger every day. Her recovery process will be a long road, and some injuries will have more lasting effects than others.

“I just had vocal cord surgery and my voice is a lot different from what it used to be, but I am just thankful to have a voice at all,” Katie says.

Katie’s stay at Shock Trauma saved her life, and she says she is grateful to all the doctors and nurses who helped aid in her recovery, and to those who have taken the time to donate blood.

“I just can’t stress it enough how important it is to give blood,” Katie says. “You never expect that one day you are going to be in that situation where you need it.”

For more information on the blood drive, head online to the event’s Facebook page set up or call the Red Cross directly at 1-800-733-2767 to set up an appointment.

Mr. Gower Lives On

By Marc Summerfield
UMMC Director of Pharmacy Services

Unlike the abundance of physicians and nurses depicted in film, the number of pharmacists in the movies — going back as far as you like — is few.  How many pharmacists in film can you name?

Unfortunately, fewer than a handful are notable.  The first was 1933.  W.C. Fields plays the pharmacist Mr. Dilweg in The Pharmacist.  The third was 1985:  James Garner plays a small-town druggist who romances Sally Field in Murphy’s Romance.  Arguably, the most famous film-pharmacist appears in the Christmas-season favorite, It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Donna Reed as Mary Hatch Bailey and Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey.  The great character actor H.B. Warner plays the BedfordFalls druggist, Mr. Gower.   

In It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Gower, depressed over the death of his son, loses his concentration and miss-fills a prescription.  A young George Bailey realizes Mr. Gower’s mistake and purposely fails to deliver the medication; thus, saving a patient.

In 2003, UMMC became the first hospital in the world to employ robots (TUGs®) to deliver medications from the satellite pharmacies to the patient care units.   The first TUG® was used to deliver medications from the pharmacies in the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center to the Shock Trauma units.  The hospital now employs eight TUGs® to deliver medications to the Gudelsky patient care units, Weinberg patient care units, as well as in the Shock Trauma Center.

Consistent with the practice of naming inanimate objects, the pharmacy decided to name each TUG®.  The pharmacy named the first TUG® “Mr. Gower,” and he has been serving the hospital well for almost 10 years, 24/7.  In the photo above, he poses with two of his human colleagues, Marisol De León, RPh, PharmD, critical care pharmacy operations manager, and Sina Esnaashari, pharmacy application analyst.

Other TUGs® have been named “Clara” and “Florence,” as tributes to the great nurses, Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale. “Edgar” is a tribute to Poe, and “Tony” is in honor of a long-time UMMC pharmacist who died shortly before this TUG® was purchased.

So, when you are watching It’s a Wonderful Life this year for the ___th time (fill in the blank) and see Mr. Gower, remember that there is a lonesome, eponymous TUG® traveling the halls and serving the patients, same as all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians do, but in a different, modern, technology-based manner.

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!

How Cool is That?

Being chosen as a Leapfrog “Top Hospital” for quality and safety six years in a row is so cool that the only way to celebrate was with ice cream.

UMMC is one of only two hospitals in the country to meet the increasingly stringent criteria for this list every year since it was initiated by The Leapfrog Group.

To thank the entire staff for the effort that makes UMMC a top hospital, President and CEO Jeffrey A. Rivest invited everyone to take an ice cream break during their shifts and to savor the moment. In the Weinberg Atrium, members of the Employee Celebrations Team handed out ice cream bars and cones and frozen-fruit bars to staff – as well as to several patients and visitors who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

“UMMC has earned this continual recognition by The Leapfrog Group because of the multidisciplinary teams that define us and the invaluable members who comprise these teams — doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, technicians, support staff and leaders at all levels,” Rivest said. “Thank you for the role you play in continuing to make safety and quality a top priority and for giving all of us yet another reason to be proud. Take a moment to celebrate your part in earning this award for the Medical Center.”

UMMC Nurse, Son, Use Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Experience to Help Others

By Deborah Yohn
Registered Nurse, UMMC’s Shock Trauma Center

I will never forget the day I received the call. The person on the other end of the line said, “I am calling with an alert call. I need you to get your husband and let him know there is a possibility he will be going to Iraq. He needs to give me a call for orders and the location of where to report.” From that moment on, my family’s life was turned upside down as we tried to get our affairs in order for a long separation.

My husband’s unit returned one year later to Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The days and nights of wondering if we would ever see him once again were at an end, but the difficult journey for my family wasn’t over. Although we survived what was thought to be the most difficult part of the deployment, we soon came to understand that things can be even more difficult once our soldier returned home. Evidence of the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) my husband was struggling with soon began to show.

PTSD Became a “Four-Letter Bad Word”

For my family, PTSD became a “four-letter bad word.” My son Isaac (pictured above with his mom), who was under 10 years old at the time, had no idea what PTSD was, but he knew that it was difficult, bad and scary. It was because of the support I received from fellow nurses at the University of Maryland Medical Center that I was able to get the assistance I needed to begin the process of learning and healing.

My husband’s physical injury was easy to define and treat. The prognosis was clear, and there were no unpredictable factors in his care. He had surgery at UMMC, and though his recovery and physical therapy were difficult, it was expected. Recovering from PTSD, however, proved to be the exact opposite. This disorder had become something that held my husband hostage, and was destroying my family. At first, I thought things would just work out by themselves. After all, no one talked about PTSD, so it couldn’t be that difficult to recover from, right?

It was difficult trying to hold all the pieces together and keep things at home “normal, quiet and predictable.” Actually, it was impossible. Children are not quiet, nor are they predictable, so PTSD became my new best friend. I also learned about another condition known as “Secondary PTSD.” The effects of my husband’s PTSD trickled down to the whole family, making life very difficult, stressful and, at times, even made us feel hopeless.

Journal of Healing Turns into Book to Help Others

In my search for a book to explain what was happening in our family to my son, I found nothing that was helpful. We all started working with a therapist who suggested I write a journal with my son, so each night my son and I would snuggle up and take about ten minutes to write about PTSD. It became our quiet time together, and a time of healing. Together, we wrote a story about our journey.

When my son was finished with our little project, the therapist wanted to read the book. At the time, I was not at all happy with the thought of sharing something so personal. I had struggled with the title my son gave the book, Never Lose Your Hope. In all my years as a nurse, wife and mother of three, hope was always alive. The glass was always half-full, so to speak, and I could smile through just about anything. I had no idea that my son had begun to lose hope that things would ever be normal again. I was aware of the changes in myself and in the family, but thought I hid them well. I had no clue that my hope of recovering from this seemed to have disappeared and my son had noticed.

After giving the book to the therapist, she suggested that we publish it because she felt it was a resource that could help many other children and families dealing with the same situation. Our story is a story about PTSD as told through the eyes of a child. This little book is our attempt to normalize PTSD and provide a tool for other children who have a family member who has returned home after serving his or her country different than when he or she left. It is a quick read — only 40 pages — but there are no pictures because my son thought pictures would make the book pretty, and to him, there is nothing pretty about PTSD.

If you would like to order Never Lose Your Hope, please visit www.PublishAmerica.com or www.amazon.com.

Construction Update: Shock Trauma Critical Care Tower

By Marianne Rowan-Braun
Director for the Campaign for the Shock Trauma Critical Care Tower

Six months into the construction of our new Shock Trauma Critical Care Tower, this photo captures one of an endless stream of helicopters arriving with someone from Maryland in need of life-saving care. The Shock Trauma team is here 24 hours each day waiting to respond. Our new building will be opening for you in 2013.

As the work progresses, inside and out, we look to the community to help us meet a $35 million goal to expand and sustain the first and only integrated trauma hospital in the nation.

Every gift helps to enable our mission of serving people in Maryland during their time of great need.

To help, please click here, and donate what you can.

Violence Intervention Program Gives Man Hope

In this 10-minute video, viewers are introduced to Baltimore City resident Dwight Bolden, a participant in the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center’s Violence Intervention Program (VIP). The program, which was developed by Dr. Carnell Cooper in 1998, focuses on ending the cycle of violence that doctors and nurses in the Shock Trauma Center witness everyday.

Throughout the interview, Bolden discusses how he became involved in the VIP, including his first impressions of the program, how he grew to rely on the support and motivation he received from others in the group and how the program helped him turn his life around for the better. Thanks to the positive reinforcement Bolden received from the VIP, he is now on the road to continuing his education and looking forward to a brighter future with his family.

Haiti Relief Event on March 2nd Features Live Video

By Bill Seiler
Assistant Director of Media Relations

Physicians, nurses and other health professionals from the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and the UM Institute of Human Virology will share their experiences in caring for earthquake survivors in Haiti at a day-long Haiti relief event at the University of Maryland Medical Center on March 2nd starting at 9 a.m.

People can follow the event on Twitter and by watching a live video stream on the UMMC Web site. At 1:20 p.m., the leader of the current medical team in Haiti will participate live with an update on the current situation.

Following the January 12 quake, UM medical teams, through a partnership with Catholic Relief Services, began treating survivors of the earthquake as part of a long-term commitment to provide ongoing medical care. The first UM team left for Haiti on January 28. The teams are rotating every week to 10 days and are working at the site of the St. Francois de Sales Hospital in Port-au-Prince.

People can help support UM’s medical relief efforts by making a tax-deductible donation to the Haiti Support Fund, or by calling 410-328-GIFT (4438).

Two Stories From Haiti

By Chris Lindsley
Blog Editor

Wonder what the situation is like in Haiti? Two members of the first University of Maryland Medical Center team there to provide relief for earthquake survivors — surgical technologist Jake Smith and trauma anesthesiologist Cynthia Bucci, M.D., both with the UM Shock Trauma Center — share their experiences.

Jake Smith: “It’s rough down there. The people definitely need our help.”

Dr. Cynthia Bucci: “The conditions were devastating … it was very chaotic.”