It’s not often that a hospital sends out an SOS, but last November,
Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo., found itself
in desperate need of a few extra trauma surgeons. One of its trauma
physicians, who commutes from the Florida Keys, had to have
emergency surgery and was unavailable for a couple of months.
So Rob Grayhek, Saint Francis’ director of trauma and disaster
services, sent a request to a number of Missouri hospitals to fill
the holes in their trauma service. Julie Nash, RN, Barnes-Jewish
Hospital’s manager of trauma and acute care services, Douglas
Schuerer, MD, trauma medical director, and Grant Bochicchio, MD,
chief of acute and critical care surgery for Washington University
School of Medicine, were eager for their team to offer assistance.
For this outreach effort, help came in the form of
Kareem Husain, MD, one of the trauma surgeons
that make up the Section of Acute and Critical Care
Surgery in Washington University’s Department
of Surgery. Husain, who did not have a clinical
shift to cover that day, was happy to oblige.
The medical center was able to get Husain St. Francis credentials
quickly, allowing him to be on staff for the day. “In Missouri, we
frequently work with multiple hospitals on time critical diagnosis
and trauma-related injuries. We’re incredibly blessed as a state to
have a number of hospitals performing at such high levels that,
between local physicians and a few from other area hospitals,
it wasn’t too difficult to fill the shifts,” says Grayhek.
During the 24-hour period, there was a spleen injury and a spinal injury.
The patient with the spinal injury was referred to Barnes-Jewish
for additional treatment. “This was particularly interesting for me,
because I’m usually on the receiving end of the referrals. This time I
was the one calling for the transfer,” says Husain.
According to Husain, the entire experience was rewarding.
“The hospital was beautiful, the people were kind and attentive,
and there was a great team atmosphere between the nurses and
other surgeons. I was very impressed with the level of service
from the attending level on down.”
Husain’s visit to Saint Francis helped establish a stronger relationship
between the hospitals. Shortly after Husain returned, Michael Heid, DO,
medical director of trauma services at Saint Francis, came to St. Louis
for a rib-plating course taught by Husain and his partners, and sponsored
by Synthes, Inc. Heid also plans to come to Barnes-Jewish to learn how
to perform a percutaneous tracheostomy.
“This is a great way to share information and
experience with other hospitals. I would go back
to help again in a heartbeat,” says Husain.