May 2011
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May 2011 posts

Hold the baby

In the US, we have a culture that encourages independence but are we performing our babies a disservice by isolating them in a car seat carrier or stroller?

Think about what we do when we’re holding the baby and walking around. We are bonding through touch, smell, eye contact, and talking. We can talk to them and teach them about the trucks and airplanes, the art work on the walls and flowers or the different colors on the packages at the store. Even when they listen to us talk to a companion or on the phone, they’re being exposed to communication. The more you talk with your baby the better. All of this starts with the children as newborns.

What sort of interaction do babies get when they’re isolated in a car seat carrier or stroller covered with a blanket or staring at the ceiling?

Issue 5 - Swedish Presents to SEIU 1199NW

Focused on a Fair and Balanced Outcome 

On Wednesday, May 25, Swedish presented an overview of its approach to the current contract negotiations. The presentation focused on the dramatic shift in the healthcare landscape and its impacts on Swedish and all who rely on us – our patients, employees and community. June Altaras, Nurse Executive at Swedish’s First Hill campus and Joanne Suffis, Vice President for Human Resources, presented to the Union.

Our continued commitment to all who rely on Swedish - our patients, employees and community - in the “new normal” of healthcare


Changes in the way hospitals are paid, healthcare reform and the economy have hurt Swedish’s financial stability. As part of this trend, Swedish has seen a dramatic increase in patients with government insurance (Medicaid and Medicare), which pays Swedish 50 percent less than patients with private insurance. Swedish has also seen an increase in patients with no insurance. The results of these trends mean we have less money to run Swedish. Unfortunately, these changes are not going away – these changes are not temporary – this is the “new normal” in healthcare.

The impact of this “new normal” on Swedish’s financial stability is dramatic. If Swedish does nothing and continues to follow this current path through 2014, we will spend more money than we bring in with a projected loss of more than $247 million.

Mike Carter of Swedish/Edmonds Named Chief Administrator of Swedish/First Hill and Former Harborview CEO David Jaffe Appointed as Interim Chief Administrator of Swedish’s Edmonds Campus

Riding to make a difference for people with diabetes

When the alarm went off, I could hear the rain. Not exactly the weather I had hoped for on Saturday as it was the Tour de Cure bike ride to benefit the American Diabetes Association (ADA). By the time I got to Marymoor Park in Redmond, the rain had stopped and I greeted my teammates and friends, ready to ride 45 miles (some more, some less) for the cause. The Washington Tour is one of 80 Tour de Cure events around the country, now celebrating the 20th year for this fun fundraising event.

For avid cyclists like me, this is a great chance for an early season century ride (100 miles!) or a fun fast 45. Or, for anyone looking to pedal for the cause, a moderate 15 mile route is available as well. Anyone can join in the fun for this important cause that affects all of us – diabetes.

Who doesn’t know someone with diabetes? Almost 26 million children and adults in the United States are living with diabetes and another 7 million remain undiagnosed. The Centers for Disease Control National Diabetes Fact Sheet spells out the alarming statistics and rate of growth in our country. Not to mention the devastating complications that can result.

Why do I ride?

Spring has sprung, and so have our allergies

For many, spring is time to celebrate the end of constant rain and cold weather. For those with allergies, however, spring signals the beginning of misery. Often it starts with a little runny nose and tickle in the throat, but then becomes constant congestion, itchy eyes and nose and coughing.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis, or “hay fever,” affects more than 20% of people in the United States. Allergies are triggered by allergens such as pollen or mold spores. Many trees, grasses and weeds contain small and light pollens that are easily carried by the wind, causing allergy symptoms to flare up during their pollination season.

Unless an allergy sufferer decides never to go outside during the allergy season, preventing exposure to pollens will be difficult. Some tips that can decrease exposure include keeping the windows closed when pollen counts are high, washing hands and face after coming indoors or showering before bed, and wearing a mask when mowing the lawn or gardening. Peak pollen times are between 5 AM-10 AM, so minimizing outdoor activity during this time will also decrease exposure.

Allergies not only cause nasal and eye discomfort...

Cutting Edge Concept in the Treatment of tongue, tonsil, and throat cancer

Cancers of the tongue, tonsil, and throat are being diagnosed at an increasing rate, even in the non-smoking population. Transoral Laser Microsurgery (TLM) and Trans Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS) are some of the newest intervention available for patients with these cancers.

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During my first 3 years of medical school in Cleveland, I frankly did not know anything about cancers of the mouth and throat (otherwise called "Head & Neck Cancer").  Really, I did not know you could get cancer in the tongue or tonsil!  It wasn't until the final year of medical school that I was exposed to the field of Head & Neck Surgery, that I realize the impact of these cancers on the quality of life of patients.

Those cancers are generally not featured in the media, and I would argue that most of us will live a lifetime without meeting more than a handful of patients who have this type of cancer.  There is no marathon, 10K walk, or charity gala on behalf of Head & Neck Cancer... right?  Well, we did have some high-profile patients in the past few years.  We all remember Michael Douglas (actor), George Karl (former coah of the now defunct Supersonics...moment of silence), and Roger Ebert (movie critic)...

Well, this type of cancer is now being diagnosed at an increasing rate.  And not just in the smoking population!  We are now seeing many young patients, who have never smoked, who get diagnosed with Head & Neck cancer.  I mean, we are talking about patients in their 20's and 30's!  This is possibly due to generational lifestyle changes, as there is now strong scientific evidence that certain types of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) are causing this cancer.  Yes... It's the same virus that causes cervical cancer in women.  This topic probably warrants its own separate blog, and I'll get on it next time!

The symptoms, diagnosis, and pathophysiology of this cancer is beyond the scope of this blog.  If you want to know more about symptoms, diagnosis, etc..., just leave a comment, and I'll try to answer your questions and comments as promptly as possible. 

The goal of this blog is to highlight some of the new treatment paradigm for this type of cancer.  More specifically, new minimally invasive surgical procedures called Transoral Laser Microsurgery (TLM) and Trans Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS).

Traditionally, Head & Neck cancers require either major surgery or intense chemo-radiation, or sometimes even a combination of surgery and chemo-radiation.  Surgery will often result in difficulty swallowing and speaking.  Chemo-radiation has improved results in swallow and speech, but even the non-surgical treatment protocol will often leave the patient with significant deficit.   

So what are the new options?  What if we could remove the cancers through the mouth?  What if we didn't have to break open the lip and jaw to get to the throat?  What if we could excise the cancer and still allow the patient to swallow and talk normally?  What if we could decrease the amount of radiation and chemo?  Well, many innovators have asked themselves these questions, and we have now some answers to these questions.  Evolving answers, obviously, as new technology will continuously allow us to push the cutting edge even further.

Time's Up

With Swedish Issaquah about to open and new responsibilities at all 5 of our campuses I've been pretty busy so shooting video for the blog has been a challenge to get done. I really want to keep everyone updated so we'll forgo the video for this post. 

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