School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine
WSU hosts city-wide 'Make Your Date' initiative for healthy babies
In Headlines on May 15, 2014
Sonia Hassan, M.D., '94, speaks to a WWJ-AM radio reporter at the Make Your Date launch.

Sonia Hassan, M.D., '94, speaks to a WWJ-AM radio reporter at the Make Your Date launch.

Expecting mothers can log on to www.makeyourdate.org or call 313-577-1000.

Expecting mothers can log on to www.makeyourdate.org or call 313-577-1000.

Sonia Hassan, M.D., '94, left, and Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., listen to Meridian Health Plan's David Cotton, M.D.

Sonia Hassan, M.D., '94, left, and Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., listen to Meridian Health Plan's David Cotton, M.D.

Mayor Mike Duggan announces details of the Make Your Date plan.

Mayor Mike Duggan announces details of the Make Your Date plan.

Wayne State University, Detroit’s leading health systems, the city of Detroit and other key partners gathered today at WSU’s Margherio Family Conference Center to announce the Make Your Date campaign, a new initiative designed to help Detroit’s expectant mothers deliver healthy full-term babies.

“Carrying her baby to full term is the most important thing a mother can do for the development of her child,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “The Make Your Date program is designed to make sure every baby born in Detroit is given a chance at a healthy start in life.”

In Detroit, 18 percent of babies are born prematurely, a rate nearly 6 percent higher than the state average. Studies show that low birth weight accounts for almost 50 percent of the city’s infant mortality rate of 14 deaths in every 1,000 births, twice the national average.

The Make Your Date campaign will provide a consistent approach among local health care providers in how they deliver support and care to expectant mothers. The program builds on existing programs, such as the Perinatology Research Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/National Institutes of Health at WSU and the Detroit Medical Center, the Women & Infants Network led by Henry Ford Health System, and the Infant Mortality Project at St. John Hospital and Medical Center.

To lead this new initiative, Mayor Duggan selected Sonia Hassan, M.D. '94, associate dean for Maternal, Perinatal and Child Health for the WSU School of Medicine, along with Detroit Public Health Director Vernice Anthony.

“Being born full term is critical to long-term health. The goal of this campaign is to reduce the rate of preterm birth by helping all expectant moms in Detroit receive the best care possible,” Dr. Hassan said. “This program is bringing together civic leaders with a shared purpose through cross-sector collaboration and maximization of our combined resources to get our Detroit moms-to-be the care they need for their greatest chance at a healthy, full-term birth.”

Meridian Health Plan Chief Executive Officer David Cotton, M.D., was also asked to play a key role in the program.

Patients can sign up by visiting www.MakeYourDate.org or calling 313-577-1000, regardless of where they may already be obtaining their prenatal care to be guided through the process.

The program will include a media campaign that will consist of billboards, radio ads and printed materials.

An expectant mother who signs onto Make Your Date will have access to a range of support and evidence-based medical services being made available at no additional cost through the DMC, St. John Providence and Henry Ford Health System, including:

·         Connecting future mothers to prenatal care providers.

·         Preterm birth prevention education classes.

·         Regular ultrasounds for all pregnant women, which can identify the potential need for progesterone, a treatment that can reduce the risk of preterm birth by 45 percent in women with a short cervix. To support this part of the plan, Meridian Health Plan is offering progesterone on an immediate basis, waiving the need for pre-authorization.

·         Group prenatal care for expecting mothers, which already has been implemented by St. John Providence and the Detroit Medical Center and has been shown to reduce preterm birth among African-American women by more than 40 percent.

The Make Your Date campaign asks expectant mothers to do three simple things:

·         Make a doctor’s appointment to begin regular checkups.

·         Work with their Make Your Date doctor to develop a healthy mother, healthy baby plan, which includes everything from testing and treatment to nutrition and rest.

·         Join group prenatal care or pregnancy education classes, where they can share questions, ideas and concerns.

Make Your Date is a not-for-profit organization. Charter partners include the city of Detroit, Wayne State University, the Perinatology Research Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/National Institutes of Health, Detroit Medical Center, St. John Providence Health System, Henry Ford Health System, Meridian Health Plan, the March of Dimes and Yale University. Make Your Date has been endorsed by the Michigan Section of American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health, the Michigan State Medical Society and the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Today’s speakers included Mayor Duggan, WSU President M. Roy Wilson, M.D., and representatives from Meridian Health Plan, the Perinatology Research Branch, St. John Hospital and Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System and the Detroit Medical Center. School of Medicine Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., was the event emcee.

“I chair the governor’s Infant Mortality Task Force, and as an obstetrician and gynecologist, I take the battle against preterm birth very seriously,” Dean Parisi said. “For far too long, Detroit’s rate of preterm birth has been too high. The city’s rate is higher than the rate of the entire state, and higher than the national average. The members of this new coalition believe this is unacceptable, and we are going to change that number.”

To learn more about participating in the program as an organization, business or health care provider, email info@makeyourdate.org.

Pioneering study by award-winning WSU and Children’s Hospital of Michigan researcher shows children with cardiomyopathy can regain heart health
In Headlines on May 12, 2014
Steven E. Lipshultz, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.A.H.A.

Steven E. Lipshultz, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.A.H.A.

After two decades of arduous research, a National Institutes of Health-funded investigator with the Wayne State University School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Michigan at the Detroit Medical Center has published a new study showing that many children with an often fatal type of heart disease can recover normal size and function of damaged sections of their hearts.

The finding by WSU Chair of Pediatrics and CHM Pediatrician in Chief Steven E. Lipshultz, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.A.H.A., clearly demonstrates that nearly one-fourth of children treated for idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM (also known as congestive cardiomyopathy, when children with DCM become symptomatic by developing congestive heart failure) can be expected to fully recover normal size and function of left-ventricular heart muscle fibers within about two years of diagnosis. Left ventricle muscle chamber size is dilated and function is reduced and weakened in children with DCM.

The breakthrough from Dr. Lipshultz’ team of pediatric cardiology researchers, published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, also represents a major step forward in better understanding two of the key factors that determine survival-without-heart-transplant among children who struggle with this form of chronic heart disease, he said.

“Until now, investigators have known relatively little about specific outcomes among children who are diagnosed early with DCM,” said Dr. Lipshultz, who led the effort to found the nation’s only registry of pediatric cardiomyopathy cases, the NIH-funded North America Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Registry, or PCMR, established in 1994. “But this new study is going to help change that, because it provides some revealing metrics showing that more than 22 percent of DCM-diagnosed children can be expected to regain normal heart size and function, with appropriate medical treatment and management of their condition.”

Dr. Lipshultz said the recently published JACC study (http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleID=1833385) has the potential to provide “a new sense of hope and a new opportunity for more effective treatment in the future” for children diagnosed with DCM, which affects more than 100,000 children and adults worldwide, about 30,000 of them in the United States. Globally, DCM is the leading cause for heart transplantation in children and adolescents from 2 to 18 years of age.

“The really exciting thing about this study is that it gives us a way to begin predicting which children diagnosed with DCM are most likely to survive the disease with normal heart size and function,” he added.  “Knowing how to predict that could also be crucial in determining which children can be expected to survive without requiring heart transplants – a breakthrough that could allow clinicians to reserve that extremely complex and physically demanding procedure for those patients who need it most.”

The study was also written by James Wilkinson, M.D., who directs the administrative coordinating center of the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Registry. Dr. Wilkinson will join the Children's Hospital of Michigan as the associate director of the Children's Research Center of Michigan and the WSU School of Medicine as professor of pediatrics June 1.

Wayne State University School of Medicine Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., predicted that the appointment of Dr. Lipshultz as chair of the Department of Pediatrics last September will “continue to improve and strengthen what was already a very strong pediatric research program at Wayne State.

“This new study in the JACC represents an important step forward in our understanding of how young children with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy can often recover LV size and function,” she added. “Given Dr. Lipshultz’ extensive history as a researcher on pediatric cardiomyopathy and his national leadership role in building the PCMR, it’s clear that he’s well-equipped to lead Wayne State Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital of Michigan at the DMC into a bold new era of pioneering research in pediatric cardiology.”

While describing the new study as “another compelling example of how the Children’s Hospital of Michigan is leading the way in providing high-quality pediatric care through advanced medical research,” CHM Chief Executive Officer Larry Gold said it also shows how Dr. Lipshultz’ appointment as the hospital’s pediatrician in chief is already beginning to pay “significant dividends” in pediatric research.

“Dr. Lipshultz is an internationally recognized leader with vast experience in his field of pediatric cardiology research,” Gold said, “and he’s been the principal investigator of several landmark studies on the causes and treatment of cardiomyopathy in children. His numerous clinical studies have also established the efficacy of therapies that can prevent heart disease in children with HIV and with cancer.”

The JACC study, “Recovery of echocardiographic function in children with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy: results from the pediatric cardiomyopathy registry,” looked at 741 children 18 or younger who had cardiomyopathy-linked depressed left ventricular function and LV dilation. Based on echocardiograms conducted at original diagnosis and during the next two years, the study found that “at 2 years, 22 percent had recovered normal LV function and size; 51 percent had died or undergone heart transplantation and 27 percent had persistently abnormal echocardiograms.”

The study also noted that younger age and “less LV dilation” at original diagnosis were predictors of “normal LV size and function,” before concluding that children with DCM can recover successfully from the disorder – and that further investigation of recovery factors such as medial therapy or “ventricular unloading with assist devices” should be the next important steps in learning more about how children respond to DCM.

“As a pediatric cardiologist who’s spent more than 35 years conducting research on the causes and treatment of heart disease in children, I’m very encouraged by studies like the one that just appeared in the JACC,” said Dr. Lipshultz, who has received commendations from both the NIH and the U.S. Congress for his pediatric medical research. “What those findings tell us is that we can use the tools of research to gain a much better understanding of which children with cardiomyopathy are likely to survive and return to normal heart functioning, and which are more likely to require a heart transplant. Being able to make that kind of distinction could prove very helpful in custom-tailoring each child’s heart care for maximum benefit over a lifetime.”

Dr. Lipshultz also commended and thanked the other authors of the study and their medical institutions for the “remarkable dedication and hard work that helped make this publication possible.” Those institutions include the Primary Children’s Medical Center, Salt Lake City, Utah; New England Research Institutes Inc., Watertown, Mass.; Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.; Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, Ill.; Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Fla. Columbia University, New York, New York; The Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.; Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx, New York; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.; Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Mass.; and the University of Alberta, Stollery Children’s Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

American Medical Association president meets with Wayne State medical students
In Headlines on May 8, 2014
American Medical Association President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D., met with Wayne State medical students on May 8, 2014.

American Medical Association President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D., met with Wayne State medical students on May 8, 2014.

A student asks a question during the AMA-Medical Student Section's visit with Dr. Hoven.

A student asks a question during the AMA-Medical Student Section's visit with Dr. Hoven.

Third-year medical student Christine Kang speaks with Dr. Hoven at Wednesday's forum.

Third-year medical student Christine Kang speaks with Dr. Hoven at Wednesday's forum.

The president of the American Medical Association met with Wayne State University School of Medicine medical students Wednesday as part of her visit to Detroit organized by the Wayne County Medical Society.

Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D., was the guest at the School of Medicine’s AMA Leadership Forum hosted in Scott Hall by AMA-Medical Student Section members.

The AMA-MSS is its own democratic, policy-making body dedicated to improving medical education, developing leadership and promoting activism for public health.

Dr. Hoven spoke to more than two dozen students interested in the future of medical education, health care policy and political advocacy.

“If I’m in a location with a medical school nearby, I like to meet with the students,” she said. “Students, for me, are the lifeblood. They are the future. Medical students are so much better and so much smarter than I was as a student. They’re learning early. They’re learning the democratic process and the tools they need to make a difference.”

Dr. Hoven gave an update on the AMA and its involvement in the changing health care landscape, including possible changes and innovations at academic medical centers for better efficiency in undergraduate medical education, more residency positions, less student debt and a stronger emphasis on primary care as a valuable specialty option.

“This is such a unique opportunity to have someone of such influence come and speak to us and guide us as medical students about our possible impact on future policy,” said Christine Kang, a third-year medical student and AMA delegate for the Michigan State Medical Society-Medical Student Section.

Vice Dean of Medical Education Maryjean Schenk, M.D. '83, M.P.H., M.S.; Wayne County Medical Society President Mohammed Arsiwala, M.D.; and WCMS Trustee Cheryl Gibson Fountain, M.D. '87, also participated in Wednesday’s discussion.

Students were given the opportunity to ask Dr. Hoven questions about her stance on a single-payer health care system, the Affordable Care Act and the cost of medical education.

“The status quo is unacceptable. We have to move medicine ahead and it is our job to move this forward. You will be the leaders,” she said.

Dr. Hoven is an internal medicine and infectious diseases specialist in Lexington, Ky., and has been a member of the AMA Board of Trustees since 2005.

More than 480 WSU medical students belong to the AMA-Medical Student Section, which includes a dual membership in the Michigan State Medical Society, of which the WCMS is part.

Karmanos' Dr. Rod Ramchandren launches LLS fundraising campaign
In Headlines on May 8, 2014
Rod Ramchandren, M.D.

Rod Ramchandren, M.D.

Each year the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society invites people whose lives have been touched by blood cancer to participate in its Man & Woman of the Year campaign. Rod Ramchandren, M.D., assistant professor of oncology for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and a member of the Malignant Hematology Multidisciplinary Team at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, has been nominated for this year’s LLS Man & Woman of the Year.

“It is a privilege to work with the LLS for such a good cause,” Dr. Ramchandren said. “It is our hope that the money raised by the LLS will lead to a better understanding of cancer and ultimately aid in future cancer treatments.”

The Man & Woman of the Year is a 10-week fundraising campaign that culminates in the grand finale event June 6. Dr. Ramchandren has set a goal to raise $50,000 by that date.

“Due to the courage of patients, funding organizations such as LLS, and the efforts of researchers and physicians, we have made numerous advancements benefiting patients with cancer,” Dr. Ramchandren said. “Patients here at Karmanos as well as those around the world have benefitted from cancer research funded by the LLS and organizations like it.”

One hundred percent of donations go to the society. LLS-supported therapies help blood cancer patients and are used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers as well.

To learn more about Dr. Ramchandren’s LLS Man of the Year Campaign, visit his fundraising page at http://www.mwoy.org/pages/mi/detroit14/RodRamchandren.
Ukrainian teen injured in protests flies to Detroit for eye surgery at Kresge Eye Institute
In Headlines on May 7, 2014
Dmytro, 17, flew to Detroit in March for eye surgery at Kresge Eye Institute. Photo by John Martin.

Dmytro, 17, flew to Detroit in March for eye surgery at Kresge Eye Institute. Photo by John Martin.

Mark Juzych, M.D., checks Dmytro's eye at a recent appointment. Photo by John Martin.

Mark Juzych, M.D., checks Dmytro's eye at a recent appointment. Photo by John Martin.

Dmytro, right, came to the United States with Volodymyr, his older brother. Photo by John Martin.

Dmytro, right, came to the United States with Volodymyr, his older brother. Photo by John Martin.

Seventeen-year-old Dmytro didn’t know he had been shot until he felt blood pouring out of his right eye. He gasped for air seconds later, repeatedly coughing before realizing the rubber bullet shot by Ukraine’s special police force, the Berkut, had traveled through his eye and nasal cavity before landing in his mouth.

In the hours that followed Feb. 18, Dmytro, a sophomore studying psychology at a university in Kiev, had two surgeries, including one to remove his damaged eye.

Dmytro and his 26-year-old brother Volodymyr flew to Detroit March 28. Late last month the injured teen had the first of three surgeries at the Kresge Eye Institute to repair the area around his eye socket.

“We are fortunate that the Institute has broad expertise in ophthalmological specialties including the ability to address complex ocular trauma patients,” said Mark Juzych, M.D., M.H.S.A., Class of 1989, KEI director and Department of Ophthalmology chair at Wayne State University School of Medicine.

In this case, the physicians are providing their care pro bono as they do to patients from many countries, and to local patients when necessary.  “As physicians, our first concern is to provide necessary care for patients, regardless of their ability to pay,” Dr. Juzych said.

“The plan is for a staged right lower reconstruction with eyelid sharing procedure and skin graft. In about three to four weeks, we will open this flap as a second stage. Once we have a reasonable, rebuilt lower eyelid, we will likely graft some fat into the eye socket to add volume to better support an ocular prosthesis,” added Evan Black, M.D., Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of ophthalmology and oculoplastics specialist.

Dr. Juzych and his wife Nadia are first-generation Ukrainian-Americans raised with the Ukrainian language, traditions and culture. Dr. Nadia Juzych, a senior research scientist at the Michigan Public Health Institute, is serving as the brothers’ facilitator and translator.

On a recent visit to KEI, the brothers described the start of Feb. 18 as any normal day in the Kiev-based Euromaidan, or Eurosquare, the name given to a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest launched in November 2013 by protestors calling for closer ties to Europe. Like thousands of Ukrainian students, educators and business professionals, the brothers spent nearly three months peacefully protesting government corruption and abuse of power. The movement was well organized, with food, shelter and health care being provided in a city square, which the protestors – nearly 1 million at one point, they said – had transformed into a small village. The protestors used social media to message each other about where and when to meet, how to get rides and more. A number of cars, called the Automaidan, was created to patrol and track where Ukraine’s special police force, the Berkut, was located on any given day.

Dmytro recalled his first protest in late November, demonstrating with a group of fellow college students. Officials declared the next day that students were forbidden from protesting, but the brothers, who lived together with roommates, returned the next day.

“Why is this happening in a democratic state,” they asked. “Why isn’t the government listening to the people?”

The younger brother continued to support the Maidan efforts while attending classes. He tried to sign up as an official volunteer for Maidan’s psychiatry service, but was turned down and told he was too young. Instead, he joined a volunteer group that delivered supplies and other goods – the leaders didn’t ask his age, he said – and handed out pamphlets about the demonstrations on campus, despite his older brother’s growing concern for the teenager’s safety.

“He knew he was at risk for being arrested. They were taking away students for doing things like that,” Volodymyr said through Dr. Nadia Juzych. “There was a lot of intimidation, especially of students.”

Volodymyr’s law school president was among the educators who organized groups. “He led groups of students and professors out to the Maidan, showing that these were also sophisticated and educated people supporting the protest,” he said.

Things quieted after the New Year, but violence escalated in February after parliament failed to restore the country’s constitution to a version that lessened presidential power and provided more government balance.  More radical protestors started burning cars and throwing Molotov cocktails. The Berkut used grenades wrapped with rocks and nails to injure protestors. 

“Many protestors started going missing,” Volodymyr said.

Volodymyr forbid his brother from returning to the Euromaidan.

“It was too dangerous,” he said.

The younger brother protested anyway, and was nearly hurt when a grenade exploded only two meters away while he was taking photographs of the protest. On Feb. 18, Dmytro met friends from his university around 11 a.m. in front of the Parliament building.  The students then traveled to the Government Quarter to Mariinsky Park near the Party of Regions building. Seeing the police special forces, the Berkut, lining up near the barricades, Dmytro tried to engage the militiamen. “They put their masks down and said, ‘We’re not allowed to talk to you,’” he recalled. 

Later he saw a number of Berkut enter a building across from the Maidan who made their way to the rooftop and began shooting with rubber bullets and throwing gas and smoke grenades wrapped with nails and small rocks on to the protesters below.  The protesters threw rocks and bricks dug up from the streets in retaliation.  Dmytro, who sustained a grenade hit to his shoulder, joined with about six other protesters, ran to the building, up several flights of stairs and broke a door to get roof access to speak with the Berkut.  Armed with fireworks and using the door as a shield, the group convinced the militiamen to leave the building.  During the exchange, Dmytro was hit by rubber bullets on the side of his abdomen and his leg and also injured a finger.  After leaving the building, he made his way to a medical tent to receive treatment.

He was getting treatment for his initial injuries about 2 p.m. in a medical tent when he saw hundreds of protestors running toward him.

“I had been feeling proud that we talked the guys down, and wanted to know why people were running. So I convinced them to turn around and again attempt to hold them off.  But, the Berkut formed lines and started beating the runners one by one,” Dmytro said.

He threw street pavers to retaliate. “It was very emotional. The protestors pushed the Berkut back. We were very proud of the fact that we were able to do that,” he said.

The Berkut then disassembled and crossed the Euromaidan’s 15-foot-high barricade of metal, wood and tires, and continued beating protestors. Dmytro was given a bullet proof vest for protection. Grenades were thrown. He hid behind a tree. He heard someone scream, looked to his right, and was shot in the eye. He ran back to the medical tent, covered in blood and soot, and was carried to a car and driven to a makeshift hospital. He began choking again, and spit a second bullet into his hand. They left the building after one of the volunteers deemed it unsafe, and drove to another hospital, where he was told he would need surgery.

He was on the operating table when he called his brother, who was working and unaware Dmytro was protesting that day. He told him only that he was injured and at the hospital.

He hoped they could save his sight. Then worries sank in.  “Is the militia going to take me from the hospital and kill me? What will my family think?”

Volodymyr left work early and gathered all the money he had.  He was sitting next to his brother, post-surgery, when blood began flowing out of the teen’s nose, mouth and eyes. At midnight, he had a second surgery to remove the eye and make other facial repairs that lasted seven hours.

To protect himself, Dmytro gave a fake name and address at the hospital, and a doctor entered a completely different name and injury into a medical record, removing any evidence that he was on the Maidan.

Physicians encouraged him to leave the hospital shortly after since the Berkut were identifying Maidan patients and removing them from hospitals and beating them, or worse. Using transportation found through social media, Dmytro traveled by car on Feb. 20 to a safe house in Lviv, where 23 other protesters with injuries were staying. A pro-European Union organization paid his medical bills; other people brought food.

Fighting continued after the brothers left Kiev. The Euromaidan forced the resignation of former President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb 21.  Dmytro had one more surgery in Lviv and returned to a now safer Kiev soon after.

Pro-EU organizations coordinating care for injured activists like Dmytro suggested he travel to the United States to receive proper follow up treatment and a prosthetic eye. Volodymyr spent the next few weeks securing visas for both brothers. A non-governmental organization associated with the U.S. Embassy contacted Dr. Juzych, asking if he and his staff were willing to accept patients with ocular injuries from the movement.

“I think most doctors enjoy helping people in need, regardless of their ability to pay. Whether patients are local, national or international, we feel that our role in improving the quality of life for people is paramount,” Dr. Black said.

The brothers were told on a Wednesday that they would be on a plane Friday, arriving at Kresge Eye Institute in Detroit by taxi.

National and international media have reported since February that despite the removal of Yanukovych, a new government and provisions outlined in the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement, protests have continued in other areas of Ukraine, specifically to counter pro-Russian protests and reject possible Russian occupation.

Dr. Juzych estimates Dmytro will require two to three additional surgeries to reconstruct his orbit, his eyelids and to fashion the prosthetic eye.  “I cannot imagine my 17 year old nephew having to experience such trauma, and Dmytro has faced it all with great courage and dignity,” he said.

Upon their return to Ukraine, Dmytro plans to return to college. For now, the brothers are enjoying their home away from home, giving an enthusiastic thumbs up when asked their impressions of the U.S., Michigan and the Detroit area. “It’s beautiful,” they told Dr. Nadia Juzych.

“They have become celebrities here in the Ukrainian community,” she added. “Anyone protesting against corruption and for a democratic Ukraine is considered a hero.”
Cancer specialists test Google Glass to promote better patient care
In Headlines on May 7, 2014
Photo via Mashable.com

Photo via Mashable.com

S. Naweed Raza, M.D., F.R.C.S.

S. Naweed Raza, M.D., F.R.C.S.

Sagar Patel, M.D.

Sagar Patel, M.D.

Doctors with the Head and Neck Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center and the Wayne State University School of Medicine are using Google Glass to enhance communication following a patient’s surgery.

Google Glass is a hands-free, eyewear device that facilitates communication and interaction within the wearer’s surroundings. The device combines a computerized central processing unit with a display screen, touchpad, high-definition camera and wireless connectivity. Google Glass is fully controlled by a combination of voice commands, head tilts and touch.

Karmanos, in partnership with the Wayne State University School of Medicine, has purchased two Google Glass devices for a study involving surgery in which transplanted tissue must be monitored continuously to ensure good patient outcomes, as well as for other areas of patient care. Karmanos is among the first medical centers in the world to use Google Glass to disseminate patient information among medical staff.

Doctors will use the device in the Karmanos inpatient unit and in the Intensive Care Unit.

The focus of the pilot study will test various areas of communication involving microvascular free tissue transfer surgeries conducted by Naweed Raza, M.D., F.R.C.S., assistant professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery for the School of Medicine and Karmanos. These surgeries entail the transfer of tissue, also called a “flap,” for reconstruction within the patient being treated for head and neck cancer. In the early, postoperative period, blood supply to the flap can be tenuous and must be closely monitored.

For the first 48 hours after surgery, nursing is required to check the flap every hour and physicians are required to check it every four hours. Any changes in flap status must be immediately noted since survival of the flap after an initial failure is much higher the sooner it is detected.

“We plan on utilizing Google Glass to transmit and record the status of the flap between resident physicians and their supervising physicians,” said Sagar Patel, M.D., a resident with the Head and Neck Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at Karmanos.

Doctors will also use Google Glass to allow residents to transmit patient information during transition of care.

“Instead of transmitting this data verbally over the phone, an attempt to visually transmit data ‘face to face’ will occur,” Dr. Patel said. “It is our hypothesis that this in-person communication will lead to greater surgical success and will improve communication between medical staff. We are extremely excited to use this new technology for the benefit of our patients.”

Google Glass is particularly helpful in the kinds of surgery that the Head and Neck Oncology Multidisciplinary Team conducts, said Dr. Patel. Many surgeries are reconstructive in nature and may involve the patient’s tongue, jaw, scalp, palate, cheek or in some cases, even the full face. While a free tissue transfer provides what Dr. Patel described as “great” reconstructive results, communication between the medical staff is crucial in monitoring how well the patient is doing immediately after surgery.

“Detailed and visual patient transfer information between nursing and the physician teams is especially important since these patients are often very sick at the time of surgery, given that their cancer often prevents them from receiving adequate nutrition and hydration,” Dr. Patel said. “In addition to that, these patients undergo long and extensive surgeries. Having the highest-quality communication is an invaluable asset in a patient’s post-operative care.”

He added that the study will be ongoing, considering that Google Glass is so new. Dr. Patel and his team plan to document various aspects of the technology, including ease of use, its use in a variety of applications and clinical utility. They plan to publish their findings in medical literature.

Dr. Patel’s colleagues testing Google Glass include Michael Carron, M.D., associate professor of otolaryngology at the school of medicine and KCI; Ho-Sheng Lin, M.D., leader of the Head and Neck Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at Karmanos and professor of otolaryngology at WSU; Dr. Raza; Mahdi Shkoukani, M.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery at WSU and KCI; Peter Svider, M.D., an otolaryngology resident; and Giancarlo Zuliani, M.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology at WSU and KCI.

“We really are pioneers, using this new technology, and we expect to encounter challenges and discover novel applications for the device during our pilot phase,” Dr. Patel said. “We will end ‘testing’ when we determine that a particular aspect of our pilot study has enough of a significant utility to be used on a larger scale.”

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