Carilion Clinic: December 2007

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Virginia Team Brings Home National Championship.

Pictured from Left; Linda Cochran, RRT; Chase Poulson, RRT; Jeffrey Bobbitt, RRT; not pictured, Linda Stone, RRT

A team from Virginia brought home a coveted national championship in December. The field of competition was not athletics, it was health care. The team of four respiratory therapists representing the Jefferson College of Health Sciences (JCHS), Carilion Clinic and Northern Virginia Community College won the 30th Annual “Sputum Bowl” competition at the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) Annual meeting on December 4th in Orlando.

While the name is intended to be humorous (sputum is defined as stuff you cough up – the trophy is a giant golden spittoon) the 30-year-old competition itself is quite serious. Respiratory therapists help people breathe, and are critically important health care providers. The competition focuses on improving clinical knowledge and decision-making skills.

“The questions that they ask you are very technical, its not trivia, there is a lot of application,” said Chase Poulson, who is a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) on the JCHS faculty. JCHS faculty member Linda Cochran, RRT, called the win “one of the biggest rushes of my professional career, above my degrees and getting my diploma.” The four person team also included Jeffrey Bobbit RRT, a respiratory therapist with Roanoke’s Carilion Clinic, and Linda Stone, RRT, an instructor at Northern Virginia Community College.

The road to the Sputum Bowl begins with state and regional competitions which culminate in the annual “Final Four” matches at the AARC national convention. The competition uses “Jeopardy-style” questions that would likely challenge the best Jeopardy players. This year’s finalists had to identify a picture of Amedeo Avogadro, the Italian physicist who developed Avogadro’s Law, which relates to the number of molecules contained in equal volumes of gases at the same temperature and pressure. They also were asked to describe the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation (pH = pKa + log [base]/[acid]) which is used to measure acidity (pH) in biological and chemical systems. All of this to take home a replica of the giant golden spittoon (aka, The Sputum Bowl) and the bragging rights of a national champion.

“This is huge in the respiratory field,” said Bobbitt. “It really means a lot to us, we are national champs for one whole year.”

Friday, December 14, 2007

Recent News Media Coverage

In case you missed it, Carilion was in the news on WDBJ-TV this week. Click on the video below to watch:

Healthcheck story on Carilion Clinic Pediatric Emergency Department. (Sorry about the video distortion at the beginning - bad tape) 12/13

Coverage and Reaction to Governor Kaine's announcement about higher education funding, that includes $59 million for construction of the joint medical school planned by Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech. 12/13

Coverage on the ongoing construction on the Riverside Development at the Jefferson and Reserve site. 12/12

A Cancer Survivor comes back to Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital to release balloons and bring a message of hope to patients.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Media Advisory - Potential Stories

During the holidays, it can be difficult to find non-holiday stories. Here are some possibilities. If you are interested, email me to arrange an interview.

Protect Yourself From Head Injuries.
Whether you're into roller blades, skateboards, extreme sports or just driving down the interstate, an accident can change your life forever if you sustain a serious head injury.
A surgeon with Carilion Neurosurgical Care is available to talk about protecting yourself to
avoid serious disability.

In addition, Carilion neurosurgeons can discuss

  • Sports-related head injuries, when to get back into the game after a concussion
  • Breakthroughs in brain tumor treatment
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Spinal fractures and spinal cord injury (when is surgery useful to treat pain from back injuries?)
  • Surgical treatment for Epilepsy and Parkinson's Disease

High profile medication overdose in
California could boost the use of medication bar code systems.

Actor Dennis Quaid and his wife recently filed a lawsuit related to a mix-up that caused their twins to receive a medication overdose. Apparently a pharmacy tech placed vials containing 10 units and 10,000 units of the medication in the same drawer.
Bedside bar code technology, used by Carilion hospitals for the past few years, can prevent such accidents.

Hospital Emergency Rooms unprepared for children.

A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that most hospital ER's are not well prepared to treat children. Only 6% of the hospitals who responded to the survey had all the recommended medicine and equipment. Fortunately here in Western Virginia, the Carilion Clinic Children's Hospital features a Pediatric Emergency Department. Our specialist in pediatric emergency medicine, Lisa Uherick, MD, can talk about our focus on peds emergency care. She could also talk about holiday and post-holiday injury prevention.

Peanut Allergies Striking Younger Children

A Duke University study finds that children are being exposed to peanuts at a much younger age, and are having allergic reactions much earlier as well.

This despite recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics that children avoid peanuts until age 3. Contact me to arrange an interview with a Pediatric Allergy Specialists.

Carilion Clinic Rehabilitation Using Christopher Reeve Exercise Cycle
One of the challenges people with spinal cord injuries face is maintaining muscle tone, in hopes that one day researchers will find a way to repair the injury. Following his accident, Christopher Reeve used the ERGYS 2. Carilion Rehabilitation Services now has an ERGYS 2 that is being used by area patients. We can arrange an interview with a rehabilitation specialist and a patient currently using the machine. Check out video from the ERGYS 2 site here.

Carilion Family Medicine Recognized for Improving Childhood Immunization
The American Association of Family Physicians Foundation and Wyeth Vaccines have given Carilion Family Medicine a 2007 "Most Improved" award for their work to increase the number of children receiving vaccinations. Carilion used data from its electronic medical record to identify children whose vaccines were not current.

Monday, December 3, 2007

"Mr. Smile"

Why is Tom Adams smiling? 6 years ago, the room where he is standing at Carilion Roanoke Community Hospital was an empty shell, and thousands of children in the region who needed dental care were in pain because no dentists accepted Medicaid. In addition, pediatric dentists were nearly impossible to recruit.
Today, Tom stands in the newly-expanded Carilion Dental Care - Pediatrics - having raised $1.5 million for the expansion. Tom would also want us to thank the Virginia Health Care Foundation for its continuing support of the project.
The original Pediatric Dental Clinic was dedicated in April, 2001 with one very busy dentist.
The Clinic now has 3 dentists providing care for children, has doubled in size to 3750 square feet, and treated more than 900 patients last month. Carilion is honoring Tom this week because he is retiring... sort-of, he'll still be working with the Dental Clinic part-time. Thanks Tom!! You've helped put smiles on thousands of tiny faces!

The Roanoke Times had more nice things to say about Tom this article in Wednesday's business section.