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Archive for July, 2014

Robotic-Assisted Surgery in Urology

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

By Rajesh Laungani, MD & Nikhil L. Shah DO, MPH

From ATLANTA Medicine, 2014, Vol. 85, No. 2

da VinciHistorically, urology has embraced and even pioneered the use of innovative technology, especially with respect to integrating minimally invasive means for both diagnosis and treatment of disease.

This trend began with endoscopy – the use of a patients natural openings, in our case the urethra, to access the bladder, ureters and kidney with the intent to be both diagnostic and therapeutic. Then came the advent of laparoscopic and minimally invasive techniques for treatment of urologic cancer, namely kidney cancer and prostate cancer. Advocates of laparoscopy cite improvements in convalescence, such as decreased time to recovery, reduced hospital stay and decreased postoperative pain. In the prostate cancer patient, minimally invasive approaches also offer patients significant decreases in blood loss compared to open surgery.

The origins of robotic-assisted surgery date back more than a decade ago to around 2000 or 2001. Initially created for cardiac surgery, robotic-assisted surgery found its home in the male pelvis, as it has gained the most ground in the hands of urologists. It is currently used for the treatment of localized prostate cancer, kidney cancer and bladder cancer as well as a multitude of urological reconstructive procedures, including Ureteropelvic Junction (UPJ) obstruction as well as Sacrocolpopexy for treatment of vaginal prolapse.

More than ever, technology continues to influence our lives on a day-to-day and even minute-to-minute basis. Medical technology may not be changing as quickly as the newest smartphone, but its influence, particularly in the surgical arena, is evident. The goal of any surgeon continues to be to provide the best possible care for his/her own patient while minimizing morbidity and mortality and maximizing outcomes. Yet, the definition of outcomes has changed dramatically in the new healthcare environment, as patient safety and providing quality care must also encompass equal parts efficiency and cost savings.

What minimally invasive and robotic surgery has allowed the urologist to do is to perform an equivalent, if not superior, operation on the patient for his/her particular disease with a recovery period and morbidity far decreased compared to more traditional techniques.

For example, for a patient with localized prostate cancer, standard of care five or ten years ago would have the patient undergo an open radical prostatectomy. This would typically involve a large incision extending from just below the navel to just above the pubic bone. There was usually 500-800 cc of blood loss, catheterization for two weeks and five to seven days in the hospital.

Robotic surgery allows the same patient, with the same disease spectrum, four to five keyhole-sized incisions, 50-75 cc’s blood loss, catheterization for five days and an overnight stay in the hospital.

Smaller incisions lead to less pain, quicker recovery, a shorter hospital stay and less risk of infection. Decreased blood loss results in a transfusion rate of <1 percent. A shorter catheter duration and hospital stay result in a quicker return to work, friends and family. The same trends and benefits extend to patients for treatment of kidney cancer; robotic-assisted radical/partial nephrectomy; and robotic-assisted radical cystectomy for bladder cancer.

What drives the technology continues to be human hands, and what leads to superior outcomes continues to be greater experience in regards to case volume. Surgeons with high case volume and greater experience have been shown to have a significantly decreased complication rate along with superior overall outcomes as compared to those surgeons with a lesser volume.

It’s important to understand, both from a primary care perspective as well as a patient perspective, that just because a hospital has a robotic surgical system does not mean they have the urologists skilled enough to perform robotic surgery at a level that will significantly decrease complications as well as provide your patients with excellent outcomes.

The authors have a combined robotic surgical case experience of more than 5,000 cases dating back to 2002. They were both part of the pioneering robotics team at the Vattikuti Urology Institute – Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. It was there that robotic surgical techniques were established for robotic prostatectomy (2000), robotic-assisted nephrectomy (2003) and partial nephrectomy (2003) as well as robotic-assisted radical cystectomy (2004). They were both mentored by Dr. Mani Menon, who many consider the “godfather of robotic-assisted urologic surgery.”

The inherent advantages of the robotic surgical system lies in what the technology can provide.

1) 10x magnification with 3-D visualization, which allows for more precise dissection and tissue manipulation with identification of nervous tissue and blood vessels that are imperative to preserve for maintenance of urinary control and sexual function after radical prostatectomy.

2) 180-degree range of motion with stereotactic stabilization, which allows the human wrist to manipulate instruments in a way that would not be possible with traditional surgery with complete steadiness.

3) Instruments that are approximately the width and length of the human pinky nail, allowing for small incisions, less pain and decreased infection risk post operatively.

The technological advantages inherent to the robotic surgical system along with a skilled, fellowship-trained urologist have resulted in better patient outcomes. It has become evident that robotic surgery continues to gain ground, although slowly, but it will surely establish itself as the standard of care for many urologic surgical procedures.

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Treating Melanoma and Sarcoma

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

By Helen K. Kelley

From ATLANTA Medicine, 2014, Vol. 85, No. 2

Jonathan Lee, MD

Jonathan Lee, MD

According to American Cancer Society statistics, melanoma will account for more than 76,600 cases of skin cancer in 2014. Additionally, more than 12,000 sarcomas, a cancer that develops from certain tissues, will be diagnosed this year.

A team of experts who comprise the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s Melanoma and Sarcoma Program are providing a full continuum of care for patients with these rare and deadly types of cancer. The multidisciplinary approach has contributed to making it one of the fastest growing such programs in the state.

Jonathan Lee, M.D., surgical oncologist and Medical Director of the Melanoma and Sarcoma Program, says that providing an approach that addresses all facets of the patient’s experience — education, screening, diagnosis, treatment, research, support and survivorship — fits in well with Northside’s mission as a community cancer center.

“We are in the unique position of building this program from scratch and we have had the luxury of going back to the basics and forming it in a comprehensive and robust fashion. This is a great opportunity for a physician!” Lee says.  “While we already had the resources for diagnosis, treatment and surveillance of patients, we wondered, ‘What more can we deliver?’ The answer to that question included screening, education, counseling, survivorship and patient-oriented research. The goal of our program is to provide a combination of clinical care and research that delivers a full spectrum of care, all integrated into a seamless package for our patients.”

To accomplish that goal, the Melanoma and Sarcoma Program draws on the knowledge and experience of a team of experts that include:

  • Dermatology
  • Dermatopathology and Sarcoma Pathologist
  • Medical Oncology
  • Surgical Oncology
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Nuclear Medicine and Radiology
  • Nurse Navigation
  • Researchers
  • Extended healthcare professionals
B. Scott Davidson, MD

B. Scott Davidson, MD

These combined specializations, incorporating the latest in technology and research, allow for the provision of highly personalized care for each patient. A melanoma and sarcoma specific tumor board, comprised of representatives from all of these areas, meets regularly to discuss individual cases, share information and co-manage the patients.

Education also plays a large role in the Melanoma and Sarcoma Program’s comprehensive approach to patient care. Patients learn about the concept of their disease, what their treatment options are and what they can expect once they begin treatment. They also learn what to expect and what to do after treatment. Nurse navigators are on hand to guide patients through the entire process and facilitate the patients’ access to this full spectrum of care, including Palliative Care, Genetic Counseling and Behavioral Health.

“It’s important to follow patients through the entire treatment process, including their progress afterward. As part of our survivorship initiative, patients can take part in support groups and we continue to monitor them,” Lee notes. “Also, we know so much about other types of cancer due to the wealth of research and data available for those cancer types. Therefore, we’re actively collecting melanoma and sarcoma biospecimens, and are in the process of building melanoma and sarcoma databases that will be helpful in future research and in finding the most effective treatments for these cancers.”

Addition to program brings comprehensive help for sarcoma patients

The Melanoma and Sarcoma program, which was launched in 2012, initially focused solely on melanoma. Despite the fact that it’s still a very young program, Lee says the response from the community has been overwhelming so far.

And the recent addition of more specialists to the program has expanded the ability to treat patients with an even more rare form of cancer – Sarcoma.

Only 1% of all cases will be sarcomas,” explains B. Scott Davidson, M.D., a surgical oncologist with Northside’s Melanoma and Sarcoma Program. “So it is important to assemble practitioners who have experience and expertise in handling this rare cancer.”

“Medical, radiation and surgical oncologists are not able to manage these patients alone. We also need plastic surgeons, nurse navigators, researchers, geneticists and more,” he states. “A multidisciplinary approach is crucial in the management of these complex cancer cases.

Progress in treatment and research

Treating Melanoma and SarcomaMelanoma is an aggressive form of cancer that carries a high risk of metastasis to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. While the best possible treatment for melanoma is surgical removal, patients with advanced stages of the disease may require other forms of treatment.

Lee cites the use of lymphoscintigraphy (sentinel lymph node mapping) — an imaging technique used to find the sentinel lymph node (the first node to receive lymph from a tumor), which can be removed and checked for tumor cells — as an advancement that could help determine patient’s risk and additional  therapies from which an individual patient could benefit.

“We’re looking to provide better diagnostic capability,” he says. “By using this type of lymphatic mapping and then a biopsy of the sentinel lymph node, we can determine whether or not the regional lymph nodes contain cancer. And that helps us determine which therapies — surgery, radiation or drugs — are most appropriate for the patient and can improve his or her outcome.”

For patients with late stage melanoma, progress is being made in immunotherapy and targeted-therapy treatments.

“There are several new agents that have been approved in the past year, and there are several more that will be approved in the near future that have increased activity in advanced melanoma,” states Davidson. “Additionally, there are clinical trials now underway that are examining the use of these new erimmunotherapies for patients with Stage III melanoma.”

While sarcoma is largely treated with surgery, it can also be treated with a combination of radiation and surgery or with systemic therapy . And because sarcomas originate in the soft tissues — muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons and synovial tissues that connect, support and surround other body structures — limb preservation is an important consideration.

“The addition of radiation therapy in the treatment of extremity sarcomas allows for limb preservation,” explains Davidson. “For example, if a patient has a sarcoma on the thigh that is intimate with the femoral or sciatic nerve, we can add radiation therapy followed by surgery and preserve nerve function: brachytherapy catheters are placed at surgery around the nerve to eradicate any remaining microscopic tumor cells. Obviously this avoids amputation of the affected limb but maintains solid oncologic principals of treatment.”

Davidson adds that IMRT (Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy) is another effective treatment for sarcoma because it allows for a very specific dose of radiation to be administered to challenging anatomic sites without increasing the deleterious effects of radiation on normal, adjacent tissue..

“IMRT reduces morbidity of the treatment, but it doesn’t reduce its effectiveness,” he notes.

Multidisciplinary architecture is key

Lee stresses the importance of the team approach in treating patients effectively, successfully and holistically.

“One of the biggest advances that the oncology community has made, and that we have adopted in our program, is the concept of multidisciplinary and multi-modality care,” he says. “By gathering specialists — not just doctors, but the extended medical disciplines as well — in the same room to discuss individual cases  in a team approach, we have made huge advances in patient care and created a tangible defense in patient management.”

Melanoma Facts

Melanoma occurs in melanocytes, the cells that color the skin and make moles, or nevi. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer because it can spread to lymph nodes and distant organs. Although it accounts for less than 5% of all skin cancers, it is responsible for about 80% of skin cancer deaths.

Melanoma is classified in a few different ways:

  • Cutaneous melanoma, which occurs on the skin and is the most common type of melanoma
  • Mucosal melanoma, a rare form of melanoma that occurs in the mucous membranes, such as the nasal passages, throat, vagina, anus or mouth
  • Ocular melanoma (or uveal melanoma), a rare form of melanoma that occurs in the eye
  • Metastatic melanoma, not a type of melanoma, but a term used for melanoma that has spread beyond the original site to the lymph nodes or to distant organs

—Melanoma Research Foundation

Sarcoma Facts

Sarcoma is a cancer of the connective tissues, such as nerves, muscles, cartilage, joints, bone or blood vessels. It can arise anywhere in the body, frequently hidden deep in the limbs.

  • About 1% of all adult cancers are sarcomas.
  • Between 15-20% of all children’s cancers are sarcomas.
  • When possible, sarcoma patients have surgery to remove the cancer. Surgery is often combined with chemotherapy and/or radiation.
  • Sarcomas are often misdiagnosed. Sometimes they are thought to be sports injuries. When they are diagnosed, they may be large and difficult to remove surgically and they may have metastasized.
  • Because sarcoma is so rare, many physicians have never seen a case.
  • Many sarcomas resist current treatments.

 —Jim Hauser Sarcoma Foundation

 

 

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Georgia CORE Announces the 2014 Recipients of the Georgia Access to Care, Treatment and Services Grant

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Georgia CORE has announced the 2014 recipients of the Georgia Access to Care, Treatment and Services Grant. The grant is funded by Georgia’s breast cancer license tag program, which contributes $22 from each tag purchased or renewed with the Georgia Department of Revenue into the ACTS fund.

The 2014 winners include Central Georgia Cancer Coalition and Meadows Regional Medical Center, both of which won grants of approximately $100,000 for treatment programs. Additional winners are Athens Regional Foundation, Center for Black Women’s Wellness, Center for Pan Asian Community Services, East Georgia Cancer Coalition, Gwinnett Medical Center, Hearts & Hands Clinic, Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, and Susan G. Komen Atlanta Affiliate, all of which won grants of approximately $50,000 for education programs.

“We were also able to allocate $48,000 to the Georgia Department of Public Health for the Breast & Cervical Cancer Prevention Program for underserved women,” said Georgia CORE vice president Angie Patterson. “This is incredibly good news since many of these women are on waiting lists for mammograms, and the state has not been able to increase funding for BCCP.”

Georgia CORE administers the ACTS Grant on behalf of the Georgia State Office of Rural Health within the Department of Community Health. Over the past several years, cancer centers and nonprofit organizations throughout the state have applied for this funding to pay for screenings, education and treatment for Georgians without insurance that are also below the poverty level.

Starting in 2014, supplemental funds from the breast cancer license tag program have gone to administer genetic testing for those in need as well; twenty people have been tested to date with these funds.

To find out how to purchase a breast cancer awareness license tag, please visit the Georgia Department of Revenue website or visit your local county tag office. For more information on this and other cancer care initiatives, as well as trials, treatments, oncologists and resources currently available throughout the state, please visit www.GeorgiaCancerInfo.org.

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Piedmont Brings MD Anderson Cancer Network to Georgia

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Piedmont is now the first health system in Georgia to become an affiliate of MD Anderson Cancer Network, a program of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

It is Piedmont’s dedication to Georgia residents affected by cancer that led the organization to raise its degree of collaboration in managing patient care with MD Anderson and become certified by MD Anderson Cancer Network. Currently, there are only 12 others in the nation.

MD Anderson’s practices and protocols will be implemented at Piedmont Atlanta and Piedmont Fayette hospitals. In the future, Piedmont Henry and Piedmont Newnan hospitals are expected to become MD Anderson Cancer Network certified members as well.

“By teaming up, we’re combining the best of what we provide locally with the world-renown expertise of MD Anderson,” said oncologist Perry Ballard, M.D. “This collaboration provides those Piedmont physicians also certified by MD Anderson Cancer Network with access to evidence-based, disease-specific guidelines for cancer treatment, prevention, early detection and follow-up care developed by a national leader in cancer care.”

 

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Thomas P. McGahan, M.D., Receives Hospital’s Highest Honor

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Dr. Thomas McGahanThomas P. McGahan, M.D., an Emory Saint Joseph’s physician with Metro Atlanta Gastroenterology, was awarded the hospital’s E. Napier “Buck” Burson Physician Award of Distinction.

The award is Emory Saint Joseph’s highest honor for physician service, and is named for Burson, a respected internist, gastroenterologist and influential medical staff leader at the hospital. The late physician was a pioneer in the field of gastroenterology, establishing Emory Saint Joseph’s first gastrointestinal diagnostic unit.

Burson Award recipients are selected for their leadership as a member of the medical staff and contributions to the quality of medicine practiced at the hospital. Shortly after joining the Metro Atlanta Gastroenterology practice in 1994, McGahan was instrumental in establishing the endoscopic ultrasound department, making Emory Saint Joseph’s the first hospital on Atlanta’s north side to have endoscopic ultrasound. During this time, McGahan also expanded the hospital’s GI medical conferences, and continues to serve as moderator of the semimonthly abdominal tumor conference.

Burson Award recipients are also selected for their adherence to Emory Saint Joseph’s Mercy philosophy and contribution to the Mercy Mission in Atlanta. Emory Saint Joseph’s, Atlanta’s first hospital, was established in 1880 by the Sisters of Mercy to care for the sick with dignity, respect and compassion. The hospital continues to further their healing ministry through the Mercy Mission, by providing health care to those in need.

McGahan’s commitment to Emory Saint Joseph’s and the Mercy Mission includes many leadership positions at the hospital and within Emory Healthcare. He serves as chairman of the hospital’s Department of Medicine and the Hospital Medical Records Committee, and is a member of the Emory Saint Joseph’s Board of Directors and the Hospital Staff Executive Committee. Additionally, McGahan serves as a member of Saint Joseph’s Mercy Care Services Board of Directors. Mercy Care Services was formally established in 1985, and provides medical care to children and adults in need through various clinic sites throughout Atlanta and in Rome, Ga.

A Columbus, Indiana native, McGahan was raised in Atlanta and attended Saint Jude the Apostle School in Sandy Springs. He graduated from the Marist School in 1981 and as an alumnus, has introduced rising seniors to a career in the medical field through the Marist Career Connections Summer Internship program.

McGahan earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and medical degree from Emory University. Following his residency at Emory and fellowship at the University of Cincinnati, McGahan joined Metro Atlanta Gastroenterology. He also serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor with Emory University’s School of Medicine Division of Digestive Diseases.

 

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Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Files Demolition Permit

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta recently requested a demolition permit for property at the corner of I-85 and North Druid Hills Road. The demolition includes a 19-story tower that was formerly Executive Park Motor Hotel.

After a thorough evaluation, Children’s determined that renovation was not a viable option for this building. The current structure, with its outdated construction and design, would not be able to serve any potential future needs of the pediatric health care system.

In addition, removing the building will contribute to the safety and beautification of the surrounding neighborhood.

Children’s is currently working on plans surrounding the demolition of the building. Current timing for implosion of the tower is fall 2014.

“We are continuing to assess and plan for the needs of our pediatric health care system to determine future use of the property,” said Donnie Reed, Vice President of Facilities at Children’s.

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Dr. DeLurgio Joins Emory Heart and Vascular Center at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital welcomes David B. DeLurgio, MD as the new director of Electrophysiology (EP) at the Emory Heart and Vascular Center. DeLurgio joins 17 other physicians with the Emory Heart and Vascular Center and Emory Cardiovascular Specialists.

David DeLurgio, MD

David B. DeLurgio, MD

An industry leader in complex Electrophysiology cases and research, DeLurgio uses the most advanced technology to detect, diagnose and treat arrhythmias. While some patients can be treated through the use of medication or even pacemakers, DeLurgio also offers treatment through a procedure called a cardiac ablation. During this safe, minimally invasive procedure, DeLurgio uses high tech 3D images that provide an advanced map of the heart. He is also focused on the development of new cardiac ablation techniques and emerging therapies for the cure of atrial fibrillation.

DeLurgio also focuses on stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation patients by using the innovative non-surgical LARIAT procedure. During the LARIAT, two catheters are guided into a patient’s heart to seal the left atrial appendage (LAA ) with a pre-tied suture loop, which is similar to a lasso. The LAA is the primary source of blood clots leading to stroke. DeLurgio is a leader in the state of Georgia for completing the most LARIAT procedures, which have been shown to decrease a patient’s risk of stroke.

DeLurgio’s research is concentrated on the development and testing of cardiac stimulation devices for the treatment of congestive heart failure and the prevention of sudden cardiac death, as well as treatment of complex arrhythmias with novel ablation techniques.

DeLurgio earned his degree from the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, and completed his residency at the Emory University School of Medicine. He joined Emory Healthcare in 1996 and served as the director of the Arrhythmia Center and Electrophysiology Lab at Emory University Hospital Midtown before relocating to Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital.

 

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Northside Hospital’s Blood and Marrow Transplant Program Reported to Have Excellent Survival Outcomes

Friday, July 18th, 2014

For the fifth consecutive year, Northside Hospital’s Blood and Marrow Transplant Program has been reported as having among the best survival outcomes in the country.  The Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) and the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) released the 2013 outcomes data for blood and marrow transplant programs using related and unrelated donors.  The most recently reported data spans from years 2009 through 2011.

In 2013, nearly 200 transplants were performed at Northside, placing the hospital among the top BMT programs in the nation in terms of volume.  The one-year survival of patients transplanted at Northside was 78 percent, among the best of any BMT program in the country and exceeding the survival expected by CIBMTR and NMDP for Northside.  Northside is one of only two transplant programs in the country (out of 169), who have performed significantly better than their expected range for the past five consecutive reporting cycles, and is the only program in Georgia to have one-year survival outcomes that exceed expectations.

A group of nationally recognized physicians, along with a team of highly trained professionals, spearhead the work that takes place at Northside’s BMT Program.  It is one of the largest and most comprehensive programs in the nation, serving patients who require bone marrow or stem cell transplants.  The Program offers the full range of available hematopoietic transplants including those from matched related, matched unrelated and haploidentical donors and cord blood transplants.

In 2011, Northside’s BMT Program was asked by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to join the group of Core Clinical Centers for the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network.  Northside is one of only 20 such BMT programs to be awarded this status.  Northside is also the only metro Atlanta hospital chosen by NCI to be a Community Cancer Center, which gives patients access to the latest cancer research and treatments.

For more information about the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Northside Hospital, visit www.northside.com and www.BMTGA.com.

For more information about the national survival outcomes for blood and marrow transplant centers, visit www.cibmtr.org

 

 

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The Partnership between Emory Healthcare and Select Medical is Official

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

After an extended period of intense planning and preparation, a partnership between Emory Healthcare and Select Medical, one of the nation’s largest providers specializing in outpatient rehabilitation, inpatient rehabilitation and long-term acute care, is official. Effective July 1, 2014, the joint venture will provide teams of post-acute care specialists committed to helping each patient recover in exactly the right setting, while also offering more convenient locations for patients in Georgia.

Emory’s Center for Rehabilitation Medicine, known for providing inpatient and outpatient services to patients following stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, musculoskeletal problems and amputation, has been renamed Emory Rehabilitation Hospital. It will be jointly owned and Select Medical will provide its management services. Eric Garrard has been named CEO of Emory Rehabilitation Hospital.

Select Medical currently has 23 outpatient clinics around metro Atlanta. To create a more seamless plan of care between inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, these clinics are also part of the joint venture. Formerly operating as Select Physical Therapy, the outpatient centers have been renamed Emory Rehabilitation Outpatient Center.

In addition, as part of the joint venture Select Medical will be majority owner and manage three long-term acute care (LTAC) hospitals in the greater Atlanta area, including LTAC services located at Emory Wesley Woods Hospital. As a hospital entity of its own, it will operate as Select Specialty Hospital-Northeast Atlanta.

The other two long-term acute care hospitals included in the joint venture are Select Specialty Hospital – Atlanta and Regency Hospital.

Select Medical and Emory Healthcare have collaborated on post-acute care since 2000, when Select Medical began leasing space from Emory University Hospital Midtown on Peachtree Road for its long-term acute care hospital. Select Medical’s long-term acute care hospitals are highly specialized facilities for chronic, critically ill and medically complex patients in need of additional recovery time. Select Medical lease space from larger health care systems such as Emory Healthcare for more than two-thirds of its long-term acute care hospitals.

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New WellStar Pediatric Center Opens

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

WellStar Health System is expanding the quality and accessibility of pediatric care in Northwest Georgia. WellStar Pediatric Center opened its doors in Kennesaw July 7, offering a range of medical services specifically designed for patients from newborns up to 21 years old.

Families in Northwest Georgia often travel long distances to receive pediatric care tailored for young patients. With WellStar Pediatric Center, families can stay close to home and receive a wide range of services. Patients will have access to low-dose radiation imaging tests, sports injury rehabilitation, pediatrician office visits and after-hours care.

Surrounded by aquatic décor and caring team members, pediatric patients will enjoy playing with kid-friendly technology including an interactive fish tank wall in the waiting room. The center’s specially trained pediatric experts include radiologists, pediatricians, subspecialists, physical therapists and supportive child life specialists – professionals who guide and reassure children and their parents during tests and procedures. Pharmacy services will also be available as a benefit to save parents an additional trip to the pharmacy for commonly prescribed medicines.

Children often do not understand medical tests – something that may cause anxiety or scare them. At WellStar Pediatric Center, a child-sized CT, known as a “kitten Scanner,” paired with an interactive cartoon will allow young kids to scan an alligator, a robot and other toys. They’ll see the scan of the toy on the screen and hear the story of how the toy ended up needing the scan.

Once in the imaging suite, children will be soothed by choosing a living projection of environments such as a seascape view from a submarine window or a cartoon jungle scene with monkeys and zebras. Accompanying music and natural light will further set the scene with the goal of making the patients as comfortable as possible.

The OrthoSport WellStar Rehabilitation area will feature the use of a low-impact Hydro Track, an underwater treadmill that cuts recovery time in half in a safe environment.

 

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