Thursday, October 18, 2007

Quick teamwork for one baby

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.


Anonymous said...

How was the baby exposed to chicken pox? Can anyone figure that out? How did they know it had happened?

Anonymous said...

The older sibling came to visit and developed chicken pox the next day.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, that's an example of why our old, "outmoded" and "cruel" policies of once keeping children out of hospitals had an underlying rationale. I'm not necessarily saying I'm for reinstating it, just making an historical observation.

Michael D. Miller, MD said...

Great that this happened so quickly. When I worked at Pfizer we got an antimicrobial to an ICU infectious disease doc for a kid in under 24 hours. It can be done when people at the hospital, company and at the FDA understand the clinical need and act responsibly. Good work guys!!!

Anonymous said...

hi, (I dont know if this is the right place to write this or not)
but anyway , I would like to know your opinion on something that is bothering me.
1)Why is it that most hospitals are runed by previous physician's or surgeons?
my point is: They are trained to perform operations, suture wounds, resuscitate, take history and perform physical examination, and thats what they do for about 25 years.
Then all of a sudden they shift towards something totally different, that is running a hospital!
Something which they were "NOT trained to do"
2) in your opinion, what are the degrees that a competent hospital CEO must have?

I hope I made my self clear and I would really appreciate it if you answer my queries.
thanks in advance :)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

It's a movement!