Thursday, October 29, 2009

Start! Greater Baltimore Heart Walk Raises Money

More than 8,000 people put their best feet forward recently for the 2009 Start! Greater Baltimore Heart Walk in Federal Hill Park.

The gray day didn’t dampen any spirits as runners and walkers trekked along the 5K route to raise money for research in the battle against heart disease and strokes.

And raise money they did…$900,000!

In addition to the dollars and cents, The Start! Heart Walk was designed to be a rewarding fun experience that promotes physical activity.

While it’s up to individuals to make strides toward heart-healthy living, some businesses are also pitching in to help their employees.

“These companies are a part of an elite group of organizations nationwide who have been able to attain the American Heart Association’s Fit Friendly designation,” Neil Meltzer, the president of the American Heart Association and the president of Sinai Hospital, told the crowd.

“They lead the way to inspire healthy workplaces and a culture of wellness in our community. At Sinai Hospital, we take great pride in our designation as a Fit Friendly Company.”

The Greater Baltimore Walk was on of three walks in Maryland and one of many more across the country.

Cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke, is still the number one killer in the United States. More than 860,000 Americans died from it in 2005.

However, most people can dramatically reduce their risks by making a simple changes in their daily lives and by receiving early diagnosis and treatment.

To make an appointment with a cardiologist or to learn more about heart disease, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sinai Hosts Electronic Recycling Event

Perhaps you have a printer in your basement that's sat untouched for the past five years, or a series of cellular telephones sitting in your attic. Thanks to Sinai Hospital, you can finally break free from the various electronic items lurking in your house or office.

As part of the Sinai Hospital 50th Anniversary "50 Acts of Kindness," both employees and members of the community are invited to drop off their unwanted electronic materials on 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, November 6 and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 7.

We are accepting the following items:
  • A/V equipment
  • Biomedical devices
  • Cables/cords
  • Circuit Boards
  • Copiers
  • Diagnostic equipment
  • Fax machines
  • X-ray films
  • Gurneys/wheelchairs
  • Hard Drives
  • Keyboards
  • Lab Instruments
  • Light Fixtures
  • Loose wire/cabling
  • Mainframes
  • Manuals
  • Microwaves
  • Network Equipment
  • Pallets
  • Plastic trays/containers
  • Printers
  • Radios
  • Rigid Plastics
  • Scanners
  • Scrap metal
  • Software
  • Speakers
  • Stereos
  • Stretch wrap
  • Telecom equipment
  • Telephones (including cellular)
  • Typewriters
  • Wire
  • Toys
  • Bicycles
Unacceptable Items:
  • Televisions
  • Computer monitors
  • Tires
  • Batteries
  • Paint
  • Mattresses
  • Box springs
  • Regular recycling items like paper, aluminum, glass, etc.
For more information, call 410-601-9157 or 410-601-5022.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bariatric Division Recognized

Sinai Hospital's Division of Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery, led by Alex Gandas, M.D., was recognized for excellence this week. The American College of Surgeons Bariatric Surgery Center Network Accreditation Program granted Sinai "full approval" as an American College of Surgeons Level 1A Accredited Bariatric Center.

This designation means Sinai Hospital voluntarily met essential criteria of excellence in bariatric surgery care capability and institutional performance. Established by the American College of Surgeons in 2005 in an effort to extend established quality improvement practices to all disciplines of surgical care, the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program provides confirmation that a bariatric surgery center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality care for its bariatric surgery patients. Accredited bariatric surgery centers provide hospital resources necessary for optimal care of morbidly obese patients. They also show they have the support and resources necessary to address the entire spectrum of care and needs of bariatric patients, from the pre-hospital phase through the postoperative care and treatment process. Sinai Hospital's program includes monthly support groups for bariatric surgery patients.

To learn more about the bariatric surgery, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Monday, October 26, 2009

LifeBridge Health Mourns Passing of Dr. Alan Levine

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Alan Levine, the director of the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute at LifeBridge Health.

"Under the guidance of Alan Levine, the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute is a recognized leader in the care and treatment of cancer, not only in Baltimore, but beyond,” Sinai Hospital President Neil Meltzer says. “Alan's vision of a team approach always placed the patient at the center of care. This focus on the patient is what made Alan not only a visionary in the field, but also a man whose devotion to humanity rose above all else."

Dr. Levine, 61, also the head of the Division of Orthopedic Oncology, was renowned in his field. An expert on scoliosis, he was the editor-in-chief of the Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons for eight years, and his published works included “Skeletal Trauma” and “Nonoperative Musculoskeletal Care.” After receiving his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Levine completed a general surgery internship at the University of Colorado Hospital, after which he completed an orthopedic surgery residency at Yale.

Erik Wexler, president of Northwest Hospital, says Dr. Levine was a critical component to the success of the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute.

"I will miss Alan's passionate interest in advancing oncology services at LifeBridge Health," Wexler says. "His impact is far and wide within the Baltimore region. He exemplified the type of leadership we depend on from our physician leaders to enhance services on each of our campuses. There is no doubt that Northwest Hospital's development of cancer infusion services and the breast care center happened due to the vision of this highly dedicated leader. I will miss him very much."

From an early age, Dr. Levine was fascinated by medicine – his father, Dr. Leon Levine, was an orthopedic surgeon and his grandfather was a dentist. He told the AAOS News in 2007, “In general, the sort of things that we do in orthopaedics, and especially in orthopaedic oncology, can make a huge difference in people’s lives. I had a patient recently whom we treated for a spine tumor. His wife said to me, ‘You gave me my husband back.’”

LifeBridge Health radiation oncologist Mark Brenner, M.D., who met Dr. Levine in 1991, says his colleague and friend's death has created a tremendous void.

"I'm going to miss him terribly," Dr. Brenner says. "If someone, anywhere, called me with a soft tissue or spine tumor, it was a no-brainer - you sent them to Alan Levine. He was a giant presence, and the Cancer Institute was really his baby."

In addition to his professional success, Dr. Levine was active in charitable works. In his spare time, he would make teddy bears for his pediatric patients. He was featured in an American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Exhibition of Orthopedics in Art, and told AAOS the bears were “a non-threatening way for some of my younger patients to deal with scoliosis. The nature of the interaction of the physicians with the child and parents is paramount.” Dr. Levine also donated his time to braVo!, designing a bra called “Bear Breasted.”

In addition to his father, Dr. Levine is survived by his wife, Barbara Portnoy Levine, and his children: Dana Levine of San Francisco, Calif; Alissa and Greg Wong of New York, N.Y.; and Andrea Levine of Baltimore, Md. He was the brother of Francea McNair, brother-in-law of Tim McNair, and son-in-law of Rae and Murray Portnoy of Connecticut. He was preceded in death by his mother, Felice Levine.

"He was really a family man," Dr. Brenner says. "He was really proud of his kids. He adored them. His life may have been cut short, but he was someone who stopped and smelled the roses."

Services will be tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane. Interment will be at Garrison Forest Cemetery of Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Owings Mills. Please omit flowers. The family will be in mourning at 1805 By Woods Lane, Stevenson, MD 21153.

Friday, October 23, 2009

braVo! Breakfast Held at Regalo

The designer Jay Strongwater creates pieces found in the most exclusive stores or in the homes of top celebrities. But on Friday, those purchasing his frames, vases or other beautiful objects not only got a collector's item - they also helped out women and men with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Regalo, located between sponsors Renaissance Fine Arts and Radcliffe Jewelers, joined forces with Strongwater and LifeBridge Health in holding a breakfast to benefit the braVo! Financial Assistance Fund at LifeBridge Health.

"This is amazing for us," says Renaissance Fine Arts Vice President Merritt Miller, pictured above with Ronnie Footlick, chairwoman of the LifeBridge Health Board of Directors. "It feels good to work together with Jay and LifeBridge Health in order to give something back."

Each year the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute diagnoses more than 2,000 new cases of cancer and has 25,000 outpatient visits. For some patients, the costs associated with treatment can be overwhelming. The braVo! Fund was established nearly four years ago to help patients in need obtain supplemental services that are not covered by insurance, such as wigs, massage therapy, medications, and transportation.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spread the Word, Not the Germs

It's important for everyone to wash their hands. But there are some professions where hand washing is a critical part of the job: health care workers, teachers, and anyone involved in the food industry.

That's why LifeBridge Health is so excited that the Restaurant Association of Maryland has joined us in the promotion hand washing. A variety of posters, including the one pictured here, are available free to RAM members. Each poster is available in a laminated 8 1/2 x 11 format. You can read more about it on the Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation Web site.

The hand washing campaign continues to "spread the word, not the germs." When you click on Wash Your Hands Maryland, you'll not only see our PSA but see the variety of downloadable hand washing tools available.

Tell us: are you washing your hands more these days? Are you carrying hand sanitizer everywhere, or using our LifeBridge Health towelettes? Post your thoughts in our comments section!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Seasonal Flu Vaccines Available Saturday

Have you had your seasonal flu shot yet? Northwest Hospital is hosting a Community Seasonal Flu Vaccination Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, October 24. Vaccinations will take place in the Pikes-Reister-Owings Educational Rooms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccine is the most important step in protecting against seasonal flu, as it protects against the three most common seasonal viruses. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of serious flu complications, including young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people over the age of 65. Each year more than 200,00 people in the United States are hospitalized with seasonal flu complications, and 36,000 die.

This vaccine does not protect against H1N1 influenza.

You should not get the flu shot if you have:
  • Severe allergy to eggs or egg products.
  • Allergy to Thimerosol (a preservative), other than having a contact lens sensitivity.
  • A history of Guillain-Barré syndrome.
  • Previous severe (life-threatening) allergic reaction to the flu vaccine.

Community members wishing to obtain the vaccine will be directed to park on the physician's parking lot and will enter through the physician's entrance.

In order to provide a smooth flow of traffic and adequate parking for employees and community members obtaining the flu shot, the receiving court driveway on Carlson Lane (leading to the physician's lot) will be closed to employee traffic between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday. Employees arriving at and leaving Northwest Hospital during those hours will be required to enter via the Emergency Room Ambulance and directed by Security to park in the B-Lot. Physicians are asked to park in the C-Lot, the E-Lot (ER) physician spaces, or security will gladly direct them to spaces on the A-Lot adjacent to the ASB Building. We ask that physicians also please enter via the employee entrance to avoid any line may accumulate waiting to obtain the vaccination.

We hope to see you on Saturday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

How I Became an Environmental Health Nurse

by Janel C. Parham, RN, MS, O.R. Liaison Nurse, General Operating Room, Sinai Hospital

I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was in the third grade, so it was no surprise when I graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. During my undergraduate clinical rotations, I’d fell in love with maternal/child health and that’s where I started my career. Back then, I had no idea that my path would eventually lead me to Environmental Health Nursing (EHN). I had never even heard of EHN and wasn’t thinking of health problems related to exposures to toxins.

It wasn’t until I left the hospital to work in community health that I found a new area of interest. I was not only able to care for my patient, but play a role in preventing health problems. My work in community health led me to pursue a master’s degree in Community/Public Health from the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

One of the requirements for the master’s degree was a course in Environmental Health Nursing. The course, taught by Dr. Barbara Sattler, both intrigued and frightened me. It was a lot of information to process, learning the everyday exposures that everyone encounters. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know. It seemed that the toxins were everywhere- our food, water, air, clothing, cosmetics - the list was endless. At first I felt there was nothing to be done - how could anyone escape toxins? - but what I came to realize was that the knowledge was actually empowering. I was able to use my resources to reduce my exposure and I was excited to share what I learned. I eventually went on to get post-master’s in EHN. Even better was the information could be used in conjunction with my other passion- maternal/child health. I looked at how all these toxins effected female reproduction and fetal development.

I eventually went on to work for Dr. Sattler in the Environmental Health Education Center at UMSON in addition to teaching a clinical course in community health nursing, with a focus on the health effects of environmental exposures. Even though I’ve since moved on from the academic world, I still teach everyday with patients and coworkers.

My current position at Sinai Hospital is O.R. Liaison Nurse. I work as the coordinator for/and between the various areas within Peri-Operative Services (O.R., P.A.S.S., Pre-Op/ Holding, and PACU) I also provide support to waiting family members of our surgical patients. As the Liaison Nurse, I often attend meetings with other hospital departments as a representative for Peri-Operative and serve as the co-chair for our Education and Practice Committee. On the LifeBridge Health Green Committee, I use my clinical and advanced training to offer input on some of the green initiatives that directly effect patient care areas, including working closely with Reduction in Motion to help implement the blue wrap and saline bottle recycling program programs in the Operating Rooms on the fourth floor.

The Environmental Health option prepares nurses to address the human health effects associated with environmental risks. Special vulnerabilities of children, pregnant women, older adults, minorities, and the chronically ill are explored.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Debate on Breast Cancer Campaigns

by Deb Kirkland, RN, BSN, MPH
Save Second Base” and “Save the Ta Tas” are common slogans used today in creating breast cancer awareness. Recently, there has been some controversy over the latest public service announcement, “Save the Boobs”* for breast cancer awareness month. One thing everyone would agree on, this video made an impact! If that was the purpose, it was accomplished. Some state it was too provocative and seemed more like a beer commercial. Others agree it served a purpose and created an impact, one that most of us will not forget.

Breast cancer was once considered an older woman’s disease; today we are changing the face of breast cancer, as it is being seen more in younger women. Awareness campaigns have become more creative in attempts of targeting younger audiences. These slogans target younger women, as well as younger men. In breast cancer, due to ineffective diagnostic screening tools in this younger population, breast self awareness (BSA) is the best tool we currently have. In women under 40 diagnosed with breast cancer, 80 percent of these lumps are detected by younger women themselves or by their significant other. While some may find this PSA inappropriate, it can also be taken as creative and targeting young men, making them aware. It is a sensitive topic and if educational statistics are provided in a dry manner, people may not always remember. In a flashy commercial…they do not forget! I personally like “Feel Your Boobies”. The slogans are trendy and catchy, as they are targeting younger women. It may seem more fun wearing one of these slogans, instead of the standard pink ribbon.

If you are participating in the local Komen MD race this Sunday, you can view their local campaign, “Support Your Local Breasts” (where you will see my picture) on their Web site to promote their Race for the Cure.

I think we have come a long way, as traditionally people did not talk about breast cancer. Today it is out of the closet and awareness campaigns are everywhere, from clothes, milk cartons, to golf clubs year round. The key to remember is the message behind all of it.

*Please note the video is only allowed for users 18 and older.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Men and Their Hand Washing

At this point, it would be hard not to know that LifeBridge Health is in the midst of a massive hand washing campaign. We've also had great response to our Harris Interactive poll, which shows that when in a public restroom without soap or towels, 74 percent of American adults who use public restrooms would rinse their hands with water and let them air dry.

Sadly, it would be no surprise to learn that researchers report in the American Journal of Public Health that roughly a third of men wash their hands with soap after using a bathroom, versus 64 percent of women.


Today is Global Handwashing Day, and what better way for LifeBridge Health (@LBHealth) to show its support than by hosting a hand washing Tweetup at Little Havana from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.? There will be cool prizes, including a Garmin GPS, a Bodum french press, lots of hand sanitizers, and a chance to meet Sinai's John Cmar, M.D., in person. Come meet the man behind many a flu story!

A Brief Case for Saying Thanks

Have you ever worked with a case manager at a hospital? They are the people who help patients understand their health status, what is being done, and what treatments to expect.

The case department managers at LifeBridge Health institutions are composed of nurse case managers, clinical social workers, utilization review nurses and case management support staff. They collaborate with physicians, nurses and all the ancillary support departments to facilitate access of care for patients, and help them through the often confusing process of health care options.

National Case Management Week is this week, so if you see a case manager, it's a good time to say "thank you!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Depression, Medication and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant and clinically depressed, you may be worried about stopping your medication. You are not alone.

Julie Jacobstein, M.D., Sinai Hospital Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, says many pregnant women ask about whether they should stop taking their antidepressant. According to the March of Dimes, out of every 10 women who are pregnant, one or two have symptoms of major depression.

“The goal is to keep you on the lowest possible does that is still therapeutic,” Dr. Jacobstein says. “I am a big proponent of psychotherapy, but it’s often putting the two together that works best.”

While a woman may worry about the potential risks of medication, Dr. Jacobstein points out that the benefits of a having a mentally healthy mother should not be overlooked.

“It is more detrimental to the baby’s growth and development to have a mom who is not sleeping, not eating, and not functioning,” she says.

However, a medical professional can work with the woman to taper down levels of medication. Dr. Jacobstein also encourages physicians and family members to keep an eye out for symptoms of depression that arise in pregnancy, especially if the pregnancy was not planned or desired. These symptoms may include trouble sleeping, sleeping too much, family history of depression, lack of interest or difficulty concentrating on the pregnancy, or simply “not being herself.”

“I look for people who are withdrawn,” she says. “I have some women who look at that picture on the ultrasound and there is a detachment. I look at women who are losing weight - are they not eating because they are withdrawn or because they are having difficulty with pregnancy? You ask them, ‘are you excited, have you thought about a delivery plan, have you thought about a pediatrician? ”

Above all, if you are taking an antidepressant and find out that you are pregnant, do not stop taking your medication without talking to your health provider.

To make an appointment with one of Sinai’s ob-gyns, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Spreading the Facts About H1N1

I've been directly involved in quite a bit of public outreach over the past few weeks concerning the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, vaccination, and prevention. One of the biggest challenges is to address and clarify some of the important misconceptions about the virus and it's prevention and treatment, to avoid unnecessary illness and loss of life. While reaching out through traditional news media means is critical, as my friend Joe recently pointed out on Twitter, more needs to be done.

To this end, several creative ways to spread the facts about H1N1 have surfaced of late:
  • We at Lifebridge Health will be holding a Tweet-up for influenza prevention on Thursday evening from 5-7pm at Little Havana. Not only will this be an excellent opportunity to interact with myself and other Lifebridge experts in a casual setting, but it will also afford an unhurried opportunity to discuss any influenza-related questions. Go here to get the details, and please stop by if you can - it should be quite the fun time!
  • John D. Clarke, MD, a physician in New York, has created an H1N1 informational rap video as a part of his educational efforts.

Diabetes and Pregnancy Quilt Wins Honors

by Anna Ostreicher, M.S, CRNP, CDE, Diabetes and Pregnancy Education and Management Program, LifeBridge Health

Our Diabetes and Pregnancy Education and Training Program started in 2001 and is the only program in Maryland that's dedicated strictly to diabetes in pregnancy. The cornerstone of diabetes education is to follow the diet plan that we provide.

In honor of the program, Dotsy Selway, a medical practice associate at Sinai, and I made a quilt that represents healthy choices from the fruit and vegetable food groups, and it won the first prize in the beginner category in the Harford County Fair and the second prize in the Maryland State Fair. We are pictured here with the quilt.

The Diabetes and Pregnancy Education and Training Program serves approximately 200 diabetic and gestational diabetic women per year. The majority of these women of childbearing age residing in Baltimore and surrounding counties in Maryland.

The objective is to have patients understand more about diabetes and, perhaps more importantly, how to adopt a healthier lifestyle that will contribute to better health and outcomes for mother and baby. For example, we include regular monitoring of blood glucose that will help them to achieve optimal glycemic control prior to conception, during pregnancy, and after the baby is born, plus better understanding of food choices and the difference healthy eating will make in their ability to manage their diabetes.

The benefits of the program are primarily the prevention of birth defects, and adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes of pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, macrosomia, neonatal hypoglycemia and other metabolic derangements. All these preventive efforts have multiple benefits for the patient, the hospital, physician providers and the community at large.

The direct impact manifests in lower length of stay for mothers and their babies: less NICU and ICU admissions, better maternal-infant bonding, less physician time spent with patient education and following blood glucose levels, and a more effective and efficient patient management process.

Many of our referred clinic patients have no health insurance or inadequate coverage, thereby inhibiting and sometimes preventing them the ability to secure necessary medical supplies to help manage their condition during pregnancy. We work hard to help those in need of financial assistance.

To learn more about the Diabetes and Pregnancy Program, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Guidance on Neuroenhancement Drugs

Neuroenhancement drugs are a hot topic these days, especially among students. The New Yorker looked at the issue in April, reporting that "white male undergraduates at highly competitive schools—especially in the Northeast—are the most frequent collegiate users of neuroenhancers." Now Michael A. Williams, M.D., FAAN, the medical director of the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute has co-authored a report titled "Responding to requests from adult patients for neuroenhancements," which was published in the September 23 online issue of Neurology.

The report provides guidelines for neurologists prescribing the drugs, which were originally created to help those with attention deficit disorder or memory problems from diseases like Alzheimer's. There is limited research on the safety and efficiency of the drugs in healthy adults.

To learn more about the institute, click here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

And Now, For Something Completely Different

The health buzz of recent weeks has been influenza and vaccination, and the political talk of today is the Nobel peace prize. Frankly, I could use a break from hearing about both... at least in a completely serious context.

The Ig Nobel Prizes are awards given out annually by the scientific humor journal the Annals of Improbable Research. Parodied after the Nobel Prizes, and given out at Harvard University with Nobel Laurates in attendance, they are awarded to "achievements that first make people laugh then make them think" across ten categories of science, medicine, and technology. This year's 19th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony was held on October 1 at Harvard's Sanders Theater, and saw the awarding of the following topical prize:

PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Elena N. Bodnar, Raphael C. Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago, Illinois, USA, for inventing a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of protective face masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander.
REFERENCE: U.S. patent # 7255627, granted August 14, 2007 for a “Garment Device Convertible to One or More Facemasks.”

Perhaps not listed in the CDC's official guidelines for masks to prevent influenza spread, but it has potential...

A full list of the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize winners can be found here. Details of the ceremony, including lectures and video, live here.

Knee Screenings and Lectures Offered

Do you have knee pain? LifeBridge Health's Know Your Health program is hosting a free knee screening on October 15 and a lecture on October 20 with Wayne Leadbetter, M.D. The title of the 7 p.m. lecture is "We're All On Our Last Legs! How to Safely Exercise with Your Arthritic Knee/Hip" and will be at Women's Mill Club House, 2470 Stoney Creek Road, Frederick. Dr. Leadbetter will discuss ways to keep your knees healthy.

Dr. Leadbetter graduated from the Creighton University School of Medicine. After receiving his surgical and orthopedic training at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, he spent two postgraduate years at Bethesda Naval Hospital, where he directed both the adult joint reconstruction and spine surgery programs before entering practice. Dr. Leadbetter is an experienced clinical researcher and has held several academic appointments. He has been an invited lecturer on four continents. The author of numerous articles and book chapters, he has edited scientific texts that include Sports Induced Inflammation and Tendon Injuries.

To schedule an appointment or to sign up for the lecture, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

No Soap? Then Hand Washing Is A Waste of Time

I hear there's some sort of "flu virus" going around. There will be plenty more to say about that soon.

For now, it's worthwhile to call your attention to this piece Lifebridge Health submitted to Newswise concerning exactly how poor of a job many of us do at washing our hands. Hint: soap is important.

Newswise — A poll conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of LifeBridge Health reveals that when in a public restroom without soap or towels, 74 percent of American adults who use public restrooms would rinse their hands with water and let them air dry.

“They might as well not even bother,” says John Cmar, M.D., an internist at LifeBridge Health’s Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and expert on infectious diseases. “Washing with water alone does not get rid of microbes – the action of working up a lather with soap, and then rinsing it off, is what washes them away. Plus, by touching the sink faucet – one of the dirtiest things in a restroom – these people could be adding even more germs to their hands.”

The survey, which was conducted between September 17 and 21, surveyed 2,257 U.S. adults aged 18+, of whom 2,208 use public restrooms. The poll also revealed that only 12 percent of public restroom users would immediately go find another place to wash their hands in that situation, though that number increases to 17 percent among those aged 18 to 44 and 19 percent among females in that same age range.

Six percent of males aged 18 to 34 who use public restrooms said if there were no soap or paper towels in a public restroom then they would give themselves a “free pass” and not wash their hands at all. This self-reported number is much lower than what past observational studies have revealed; an August 2007 study (1) conducted in four U.S. cities observed 34 percent of men (presumed to be aged 18+) neglecting to wash their hands at all in public restrooms, despite the availability of soap, towels and running water.

“To avoid getting sick, it is critical that people know how to wash their hands the right way,” says Jackie Daley, director of Infection Prevention and Control at Sinai Hospital. “Many people think the water temperature kills the germs on their hands, but water from a faucet could never get hot enough to do that,” she says. “The keys are the soap, the length of scrubbing time and drying your hands thoroughly with towels afterwards.” Daley stresses that people need to scrub their hands with soap and water for at least 15 to 20 seconds – about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” through twice. If soap and water are not available, then an alcohol-based hand rub will work to destroy germs.

American adults also said that concern over H1N1 “swine” flu has affected their hand hygiene habits. Nearly 8 out of 10 adults claim to wash their hands more frequently or thoroughly – 54 percent wash their hands more frequently in general; 45 percent wash them more frequently after being in a public place; and 44 percent wash them more thoroughly now than they did before concerns about H1N1.

Overall, while 85 percent of adults 55 and older say they are now washing their hands more often or more thoroughly, this number drops to 71 percent of those aged 18 to 34. This finding is somewhat ironic given that unlike seasonal flu, which tends to disproportionately affect the elderly, so far H1N1 has taken a heavier toll on young people. For more information on LifeBridge Health’s initiative to encourage Marylanders to wash their hands more often and more effectively, visit

(1) Harris Interactive observed the behavior of 6,076 adults (3,065 males and 3,011 females) in public restrooms (sufficiently equipped with soap, running water and towels) at six locations in four major U.S. cities and recorded whether or not they washed their hands after using the facilities from August 17-25, 2007, on behalf of the American Society for Microbiology and the Soap and Detergent Association

Come on, people! Wash your hands. Getting them wet doesn't count.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sinai Hosts ENA Nurses

Emergency nurses are a vital part of Sinai and Northwest hospitals. They are on the front line when you enter the emergency department, and next week we celebrate them during national Emergency Nurses Week.

The Emergency Nurses Association chose Baltimore as its conference location this year, and is blogging live from their sessions. Sinai Hospital is proud to host close to 50 nurses and ENA leadership tomorrow afternoon. The group will be touring Sinai ER-7 and the units intimately connected to it, such as the Intermediate Care Unit, the operating rooms and Intermediate Care Unit.

"They chose Sinai because it's a unique model in its care center pod design," says Diane Bongiovanni, RN, MA, CNAA, director of patient care services for emergency services at Sinai. "We're very proud and honored. We have a lot of things to show them."

To learn more about Sinai Hospital's ER-7, click here.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

LifeBridge Health is proud to be a part of many exciting events celebrating breast cancer awareness in October.
  • Sunday, October 18: Join the LifeBridge Health team for the 2009 Komen Maryland Race for the Cure! This year's race is in Hunt Valley. There is a $35 donation registration fee before race day/$40 on race day.
  • Friday, October 23: 9 a.m. braVo! breakfast at Regalo, 1848 Reisterstown Road. Tickets are $25. Reserve early, as seating is limited. Call Tiffany at 410.484.9640 or at regalo (at) A portion of the proceeds from items purchased at the event will benefit the braVo! Financial Assistance Fund at LifeBridge Health.
  • Saturday, October 24: The Red Devils Swim for Survivors! Register to swim as a team or join a team of four for the event, held at LifeBridge Health & Fitness. Each team will be assigned a lane for their 30-minute swim between 8 and 11 p.m. Prizes will be given to the team and individual raising the most money. A $30 registration includes food and beverages, T-shirt and raffle tickets. Click here to register.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Journey Bead Program Helps Kids with Cancer

Losing a child is every parent's worst nightmare. But two parents have found the strength to help other children fighting cancer.

After the death of their son John Eric from a cancer called neuroblastoma, Jay and Alisha Bartels created the The JEB Foundation to aide families with children receiving treatment at the Herman & Walter Samuelson's Children's Hospital at Sinai, specifically the Hematology/Oncology Department. The foundation provides a Journey Bead program to provide encouragement and inspiration to children. Each bead has a meaning, for example the child receives a red heart after a blood transfusion.

In a recent WBAL news story, Sinai social worker Mary Bohlen said the program allows children a way to document their strength.

"It's a way to visually see 'wow, look what I have done; look what I'm surviving," she said.

You can learn more about the JEB Foundation and Journey Bead Program by clicking here. For more information about the Children's Hospital, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Krieger Eye Institute Hosts Cataract Screening

What does Latin etymology have to do with your eyes?

In Latin, the word cataracta means "waterfall." That's the feeling many people have when there are cataracts in their eyes - the clouding of the lens of the eye is similar to the distortion you'd see if you were looking through a waterfall. Other symptoms are

  • Frequent eyeglass prescription changes
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Need for brighter light to read
  • Poor night vision
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
According to a report from National Eye Institute and Prevent Blindness America, cataracts affect nearly 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older. By age 80, more than half of all Americans have cataracts.

While surgery is the only way to remove a cataract, new eyeglasses may also help. If you or a loved one suspect you may have cataracts, a free screening is being offered Tuesday by the Krieger Eye Institute. The screening is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Quarry Lake Office, 2700 Quarry Lake Drive. Call 410-601-WELL (9355) to register.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sinai Hospital Celebrates Ravens

It's football season, which means Ravens fever has hit Sinai Hospital.

As a "Feel Good Friday" event, the Employee Activities Committee sponsored a contest last Friday to see which department could best decorate around the Ravens theme as they prepared to take on the Cleveland Browns. The winner was Materials Management/Purchasing, pictured at right.

Honorable mentions went to the Krieger Eye Institute (pictured above), Ultrasound, Radiology, Patient Financial Services, B6 (pictured at left), Academic Hospitalists, Food and Nutrition, Inpatient Pharmacy, Blood Bank, Outpatient Cardiology/GI, RIAO Fifth Floor, PACU, Labor and Delivery, and Employee Services.