A year ago, I wrote about the really tiny babies in our neonatal intensive care unit. The NICU is a wonderful place, full of optimism.
The other day, I was curious. I received a copy of this email from one of our neonatologists to several nurses and people from several other departments.
I just wanted to say thank you for your hard work and help with this situation. You potentially helped save the life of one our smallest and most vulnerable infants. The teamwork that was displayed and the constant support with this urgent matter was phenomenal. I would just like to say thank you. It is a pleasure to be working with all of you. It is people like you that make BIDMC a special place to work.
I has no idea what it was about, so I asked for an explanation. Here it is:
We had a patient exposed to chicken pox. Since all of my preemies are considered immunocompromised, chicken pox is a potential life-threatening disease. There used to be an immunoglobulin that we could give to patients. It is no longer available. Our only option was to get emergency compassionate use of an experimental immunoglobulin. The hitch was it had to be given in a very short amount of time after the exposure to be effective. That meant we had to get emergency IRB* approval, pharmacy on board, and the company to ship us the immunoglobulin. It all happened within about 24 hours. It was really amazing.
Amazing indeed. That little baby will probably never, ever hear the story of how a group of adults banded together to help make sure that s/he would grow up!
* The IRB is the internal supervisory body of medical staff and outside reviewers that approves protocols for human subject experiments.