IDEAL: Advancing Surgical Innovation

Advances in health care happen in a variety of ways.

Sometimes they occur as a matter of necessity – the desperate attempt to save a life.

Sometimes they occur as a matter of luck – the “eureka” moment of discovery.

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Robotic kidney surgery at Henry Ford Hospital.

Most of the time they occur as a result of thoughtful innovation, development and assessment, and then tested for reliability and safety.

When you take a prescription or an over-the-counter drug, you probably don’t give very much thought as to how that particular medication came to be; you know what it does, potential side-effects and why you’re taking it.

But there’s a strong process in place for developing new drugs and making them available to the masses, to ensure quality, safety and effectiveness:

  • The drug manufacturer tests it and submits evidence through a “new drug application” to the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).
  • A team of CDER physicians, statisticians, chemists, pharmacologists, and other scientists then review the data provided in the application and propose labeling, should it be approved for use.
  • After that a clinical research process continues to test the validity of the studies and role of the medication in the treatment process.

Clear. Effective. Tested.

Ever wonder how the tracheostomy came to be a surgical method of treating an obstruction in the trachea?

The technique was clearly an innovation at the time. But it was not required to go through a randomized controlled trial or other strictures required of new prescription drugs and medical procedures.

You can take a drug “off label” for other uses – there’s a clear method for researching alternative uses and effectiveness as such.

Shouldn’t we have something similar in place for new surgical techniques? For surgical and procedural cases, the “off label” uses are not as clearly understood or often as rigorously scrutinized.

Once the “off label” procedure is proven to work, how do we ensure that it is safely performed by other surgeons and proceduralists? Continue reading

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The Tradition of National Doctors’ Day

National Doctors’ Day dates back to March 30, 1933 in Winder, Georgia, when Eudora Brown Almond, the wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, decided to set a day aside to honor physicians.

Dr. Gaetano Paone performing a TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) procedure.

Dr. Gaetano Paone performing a TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) procedure.

It wasn’t until 60 years later that President George H.W. Bush signed Proclamation 6253, establishing National Doctors’ Day to “recognize our Nation’s physicians for their leadership in the prevention and treatment of illness and injury…”

Like the first observance in 1933, National Doctors’ day is still marked by patients thanking their physicians, mailing greeting cards, or sending flowers.

I want to take time to honor Dr. Hillier.  He delivered me and was our family physician when I was growing up in Troy in the 50’s.

In those days, Troy was a rural community and there were not a lot of doctors or health facilities there.  So, when we were sick, we went miles south on Rochester Road to the Palmer Woods area on Woodward to see Dr. Hillier.

I was very sick with tonsillitis.

My mom waited for my dad to come home from work, which was after 6 p.m. He took a look at me and said to call Dr. Hillier. Continue reading

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An “Edge” in Cancer Treatment

It is always nice to have an edge, an advantage, something in your favor.

Home court advantage or having a unique skill that helps to succeed over others is exactly what we want in a game – but also exactly what we want when we are facing the challenges in our health.

This week marked an exciting leap forward in giving all of us an “edge” in cancer treatment.

There’s now new technology designed to perform advanced, non-invasive cancer procedures anywhere in the body with extreme precision and low-toxicity.

And, I should mention that Henry Ford Hospital is the only location in North American – and among only two worldwide – equipped to give patients a new “edge” in the fight against cancer.

We are now home to the Edge Radiosurgery Suite, which uses new real-time tumor tracking technology and motion management capabilities, making it possible to protect healthy tissue with sub-millimeter accuracy, improving both safety and comfort for patients.

The Edge offers results comparable to surgery, but without the incision or hospital stay, treating patients in 15 minutes or less, and returning them to their everyday lives.

So when we say, “Game on Cancer,” we really mean it (and it’s not just because former Lions wide receiver Herman Moore attended the ribbon cutting for the Edge).

Herman Moore joins Drs. Siddique, Kalkanis, Conway, Movsas, Chapman and Bob Riney to officially launch the Edge.

Herman Moore joins Drs. Siddiqui, Kalkanis, Conway, Movsas, Chapman, and Bob Riney and myself to officially launch the Edge.

Herman is a perfect example of having an edge.

He was bigger, faster and better than defensive backs trying to stop him.  Megatron before Megatron.  He knows about the benefits of having an “edge.”

The Edge truly takes cancer radiation therapy to the next level.

And it’s no surprise that it’s happening here. Continue reading

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313 Day: Love for Detroit

#313DLove: Working at Henry Ford Hospital

#313DLove: Working at Henry Ford Hospital

“313 Day” has become an unofficial holiday in Detroit, growing in popularity during the past couple of years for offering Detroiters the chance to show their love and support for the city on March 13 (3-13).

The day trends on social media – across Detroit and beyond – with photos and inspiring words sporting the hashtags #313Day and #313DLove.

It’s a welcome break from the snow and Polar Vortex temperatures; an opportunity to focus on the positive and celebrate our city.

#313DLove: Detroit Made

#313DLove: Detroit Made

Since Detroit’s been our home for nearly 100 years, we have plenty to celebrate.

This is a day where “313” has no qualifiers.

You know what they are:

  • 313 is great, but…
  • 313 is fine for certain things, but…
  • 313 is coming back, but …

No “buts” on March 13.  

On 313 Day, we hosted a photo booth at the hospital so our employees could take part in the fun, showing the true spirit of the city, our history and bright future. Continue reading

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A Few Words on Colorectal Cancer

Can we talk?

I know it’s not a topic that you want to address, but people are dying not to talk about it.

That topic is your colon, specifically about colon cancer and how to improve diagnosis and cure of the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

Improving survival in this cancer is greatly increased by early detection and polyp removal by colonoscopy.

I know you may have a fear of this procedure.

Trust me; I wasn’t the first to step to the line either.

The preparation the day before is not quite as bad as the rumors, although it is important to stay close to a “facility.”

The procedure itself is painless, quick and easy. After mine, I asked the recovery nurse when we about to start – that was about 30 minutes after the procedure was finished. Continue reading

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The Heart of Henry Ford Hospital

February is American Heart Month, offering a remarkable opportunity to raise awareness about the country’s leading cause of death among both men and women, and to educate our community about preventing and controlling heart disease.

The Heart & Vascular team "Go Red" in support of women's heart health last Friday.

The Heart & Vascular team “Go Red” in support of women’s heart health last Friday.

With all of the work being done by our hospital team in support of American Heart Month, I wanted to take a moment to recognize the incredible work they do each and every day of the year to keep Henry Ford Hospital at the forefront of heart and vascular care and cutting-edge treatments.

Looking back on the past year, the Edith and Benson Ford Heart & Vascular Institute had some remarkable accomplishments.

Among our “firsts” in 2013:

- Performing a world-first transcaval TAVR to create a new route to the heart by temporarily connecting major blood vessels that do not normally intersect. The Structural Heart team, led by Dr. William O’Neill, is pioneering new methods to reach and repair damaged heart valves seemingly every day.

- First in the U.S. to implant an aortic replacement heart valve in the mitral valve. Continue reading

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Henry Ford Hospital Celebrates Dr. King

Each year at Henry Ford Hospital we take time to honor and celebrate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“50 Years on the Road to Freedom” by Words I Speak Entertainment at the HFH event.

“50 Years on the Road to Freedom” by Words I Speak Entertainment at the HFH event.

Growing up in the 1960s, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a profound impact on me and so many others in our country.

His teachings during the civil rights movement approached the inequalities present throughout this country.

He was an incredible spokesman in dealing with the injustices of the war we were fighting in Southeast Asia that many of us didn’t understand, especially when we had so much to accomplish at home.

For those of us at that time who were looking to become health care professionals, his themes resonated and influenced the way in which we would approach and practice medicine, as well as policies.

The statement that Dr. King made at the 1966 convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights is worth repeating:

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health
care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

Continue reading

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Don’t Just Fly – Soar in 2014

SOAR (verb): To fly upward, as a bird; to rise or aspire to a higher or more exalted level.

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Each year that I’ve been President and CEO of Henry Ford Hospital, I’ve made it a tradition to send my colleagues and my team a New Year’s card with a very special message.

In 2011, that message was BELIEVE. Our belief in our mission, each other, our work and our city is what drives our relationships and emotional engagement in what we do every day.

In 2012, I challenged our team to DREAM big, consider the thoughts and possibilities that our beliefs would create.

Last year, the word was ACHIEVE.  When you truly believe in your dreams, it is time to ACHIEVE.

This year my message is to SOAR.  Don’t just achieve the reachable, stretch to the possibilities.  Don’t just fly, SOAR.

Below is my New Year’s card, which I now share with you.

Happy New Year!

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Baby Wings

A few “Baby Wings” and their parents at Henry Ford Hospital had a special visit today from one of the Detroit Red Wings, someone who has been with the NHL for nearly 20 years – Daniel Alfredsson.

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“Baby Wing” Thaddeus, who joined the world at HFH this week, sports his new Red Wing beanie with his mom and Alfredsson.

For those of you who do not follow hockey, Alfredsson is a near lock for a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Before he joined the Wings this year, he was captain of the Ottawa Senators from 1999-2013 with almost all franchise scoring records. He played for the Swedish National team 13 times and won an Olympic gold medal in 2006.

Alfredsson – joined by Sandy Pierce, CEO of FirstMerit Michigan and Chair of the HFHS Board, and FirstMerit Mascot Franklin the Moose – visited a couple of families on the HFH labor and delivery unit to officially launch our new “Baby Wings” program.

Dr. Munkarah, Sandy Pierce, Alfredsson and Franklin the FirstMerit moose with our team on H3.

Dr. Munkarah, Sandy Pierce, Alfredsson and Franklin the FirstMerit moose with our team on H3.

Continue reading

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Doc in the “HS”

Some of you know I have dual roles – that of “Doc in the D” and “Doc in the HS,” as the Chief Medical Officer of Henry Ford Health System.

In that role, we are making some great strides in linking our physicians and clinicians in a more integrated sense.

This is by no means a solo effort.

Dr. Joanna Pease, the Assistant System Chief Medical Officer and Chief Medical Officer of Henry Ford Macomb, has been an amazing partner in moving forward these efforts. She is a warrior for extraordinary care, quality and support of our clinical work in the System.

A major goal is to get all of our programs and services working together throughout the System.

This is called clinical program integration.

And, as challenging as it is, it offers us tremendous opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of the Henry Ford Medical Group, employed physicians, and private practice physicians working together with the care teams, as well as the potential for seamlessness of care within our System.

Dr. Steven Harrington, the cardiovascular lead surgeon at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, is now an affiliate staff at Henry Ford Hospital.

Dr. Steven Harrington, the cardiovascular lead surgeon at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, is now an affiliate staff at Henry Ford Hospital.

Some of these activities are occurring right now. 

For example, Dr. Steven Harrington, the lead cardiovascular surgeon at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, is now an affiliate staff at Henry Ford Hospital, bringing his most complex cases to Detroit; a great surgeon and a great story.

It is wonderful to hear Steve talk about the expertise of the Henry Ford Hospital cardiovascular team — from pre-op to the OR to the ICU.

We’re very glad to have him on the team. He brings innovation and a way of thinking about quality that is priceless.

Don’t worry: The “Doc in the D” team has been at work on the Boulevard as well.  Continue reading

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