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Medical Mission in Ethiopia - Week 6

November 07, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Facebook is a wonderful thing. My birthday was a couple of days ago and I felt that I received more birthday greetings than I ever have before. Several people sent personal emails, and my parents even called on the phone. I send everyone a HUGE thank you for your well wishes. Life is challenging, and every encouraging remark helps.

Mark went a little crazy and organized a party at our apartment guest house with Josh, Sonja, Janis and Stephan, the other ex-pats living here. We had traditional Ethiopian food, delivered to the door, a couple bottles of wine, and a real birthday cake with candles. Mark decorated the room with a string of holiday lights and frilly banners. Nuru, our most trusted Bajaj driver, apparently drove Mark all around town to find candles at one shop, the cake at another, lights somewhere else, the banners yet another. Josh and Sonja made decorative and artistic birthday cards. Mark’s big present was fixing BOTH toilets in our apartment. He was a little disappointed that I did not show more excitement when his gift was unveiled, because apparently it took several more trips with Nur and many hours to accomplish. I was appreciative, but chocolate and good wine from Janis and Stephan provided more immediate gratification. I think the initial pounds that I lost have been reestablished over the last couple of days of cake and left over injera, tibes, and shiro.

MEDIA ALERT: Swedish Launches Voices of Cancer Podcast

November 07, 2014

New program hosted by Thrive Through Cancer founder takes on common issues faced by cancer patients and their loved ones

What: Today, Swedish is launching “Voices of Cancer,” a weekly podcast sponsored by the Swedish Cancer Institute and hosted by cancer survivor and Thrive Through Cancer founder Rose Ibarra. The series tackles issues that people diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones commonly face—from dating and careers to parenting and research.

Episode I starts at the beginning—“The Diagnosis.” The series will continue with discussions around cancer and:

  • Careers
  • Relationships
  • Parenting
  • Friends
  • The latest research and treatment options

Two Swedish Hospitals Join National Nursing Skills Program

November 06, 2014

Swedish First Hill and Cherry Hill hospitals have joined the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACCN) Clinical Scene Investigator (CSI) Academy, a national quality improvement program designed to empower bedside nurses as clinician leaders.

“Involving nursing staff in a transformational leadership program such as the AACN CSI Academy truly helps inspire staff to take their nursing practice to the next level,” said June Altaras, Swedish’s chief nursing officer, in AACN’s news release announcing the program’s rollout in the Seattle region. “The evidence-based program supports nurses in their efforts to create relevant and lasting solutions for the health and safety of their patients.”

First Hill and Cherry Hill are two of the seven hospitals to offer this program in the Seattle region. Read the AACCN news release to learn more.

Swedish Honored for Achieving Quality Measures for Stroke Care

November 03, 2014

The American Heart/Stroke Associations recognize Swedish Cherry Hill with Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award

SEATTLE, Nov. 3, 2014 – Swedish Health Services announced today its Cherry Hill campus received the Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

The Get With The Guidelines Stroke program helps hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. The award indicates that Swedish Cherry Hill meets specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients. These measures include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

Swedish Specialty Dental Clinic for Low-Income Residents Receives National Recognition

October 16, 2014

Swedish Community Specialty Clinic’s oral surgery program receives Golden Apple award from the American Dental Association

SEATTLE—Oct. 16, 2014—The Swedish Community Specialty Clinic’s dental program, which has provided complex oral surgery care for more than 1,800 low-income adults, announced today that it received the American Dental Association’s Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Access to Dental Care Programs. The specialty dental program—a partnership between the Seattle - King County Dental Society, Project Access Northwest, Seattle Special Care Dentistry and Swedish — has provided more than $2.4 million in free care since its inception in 2011.

“Before this clinic opened, many low-income adults had nowhere to go but the emergency room when they had painful, acute dental conditions,” said Tom Gibbon, manager of the Swedish Community Specialty Clinic. “This program ensures that everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, has access to specialty dental care in the right place, at the right time.”

Swedish Receives Consumer Choice Award from National Research Corporation

October 13, 2014

Swedish announced today it has received the 2014/2015 Consumer Choice Award from National Research Corporation. The annual award recognizes hospitals across the country for the highest quality and best reputation among area consumers.

Medical Mission in Ethiopia - Week 4

October 11, 2014

Saturday October 11, 2014

Where shall I begin? I’ll just start chronologically.

At Monday’s morning report I learned that a newborn baby whom I observed being born by cesarean section had died about 18 hours after delivery. The cesarean section was done at 35w6d for placenta previa. The patient had presented with bleeding, the bleeding resolved, but the baby had intermittent episodes of fetal tachycardia. Given the concern for recurrent bleeding and the fetal tachycardia, the decision had been made to proceed with cesarean section. The cesarean section went well, and the baby was delivered screaming, with Apgars of 8 and 9. He was large, almost 4kg, and he looked full term. He was admitted to the neonatal ward for hypoglycemia. From the verbal report it sounds as if he was discovered “expired” while one of the pediatric residents was making routine rounds. There was no autopsy and the patient did not have a detailed fetal ultrasound during her pregnancy, so we have no idea if there was a cardiac defect or other malformation which contributed to the baby’s demise. Routine diabetes screening is not practiced here. A risk based approach is used to screen for diabetes. The patient had 8 other children, one of them had just graduated from nursing school and was at her bedside during her hospitalization. This was the patient’s first delivery in a hospital. I can’t help but think that this baby would have survived back home. Of course I don’t know that, but it is hard to comprehend a screaming and healthy appearing baby at delivery dying within a few hours.

A patient's experience with the Swedish Digestive Health Network

October 07, 2014

We recently received this post from a patient who asked us to share her story and her experiences with Dr. Schembre and Dr. Tschirhart with the Swedish Digestive Health Network. Thank you, Yevette, for sharing your story with us!


Dec 2nd, 2012 I was out of town doing some promotion for work when I collapsed in my hotel room. I went to the local hospital ER.  They found I had a gallstone lodged in my common bile duct. As they attempted to remove this, the surgeon ripped my intestine.  This created a whole host of life threatening problems. After 5 days I was airlifted to Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.  Dr. Tschirhart was assigned my case.  By June I was stable enough for surgery.  Dr. Schembre referred to this surgery as ...

Infectious disease protocols in place at Swedish

October 07, 2014

Swedish, like all U.S. hospitals, is prepared to follow Centers for Disease Control’s infectious disease recommendations and protocols. Due to recent infectious disease events, Swedish is increasing its use of screening measures to identify potential cases of infectious disease. These include:

  • Identifying a patient’s recent travel history
  • Diagnosing any physical symptoms a patient may be experiencing

If patients are identified to be at risk of having or spreading an infectious disease, Swedish caregivers are prepared to follow appropriate protocols, which may include patient isolation, distribution of appropriate protective equipment for caregivers and patients, restricting visitation and implementing environmental infection control measures. Disease testing only occurs after a screening threshold is met and the patient is identified as a risk.

Ready to Blossom - Omega 13

October 05, 2014

This post is an excerpt from a workshop participant that I put on at the Omega Institute in 2013. We witnessed a remarkable turnaround in mood and pain in the course of just a week. Sharing seemed to be a major contributing factor to the success of the seminar.

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