Friday, June 24, 2011

Thanks for Helping Save the Lives of Babies

We frequently talk about GBMC’s top-rate cancer care, women’s services and our Emergency Department, but we don’t laud our pediatrics department as often as we should. Pediatrics is an important part of GBMC, meeting the healthcare needs of the children of our community. A critical part of pediatrics and our organization is our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and with more than 4,500 babies born at GBMC annually, we are very fortunate to have such a high level NICU to care for those babies born too small, too sick or too soon.  While many people expect to find large NICUs in the big academic medical centers, isn’t it good to know that one of the area’s leading NICUs is right here in the community – at GBMC? The vast improvements that have been made in neonatal care through the years have certainly been extraordinary. We can care for babies born weighing a mere two pounds or less and help them thrive.

I had the opportunity to meet many of the “graduates” of our NICU at GBMC’s 23rd annual Father’s Day 5K last weekend. The outpouring of community support was incredible. It was great to see so many parents of former NICU babies, as well as so many dedicated members of the community and the GBMC staff come out and run for this terrific cause – raising money for the NICU and the technological needs that help us care for so many babies. I’m proud to report that this year’s event raised more than $97,000 for the NICU, which is phenomenal! I thank everyone involved for your outpouring of support.

Last year was my first Father’s Day 5K race (within only five days of arriving at GBMC) so this year I knew the drill! Not only did I get to meet our long-time MC Denise Koch from WJZ-TV, who is also a former GBMC NICU parent, but I met so many wonderful people, handed out awards and truly felt so much pride for the wonderful volunteers as well as GBMC’s NICU doctors, nurses, technicians and others who dedicate their lives to the health of babies.
I ran again in the race this year too…I’m not divulging my time, but will say I’m grateful that running with me was with C.J. Marbley, our wonderful clinical nurse manager in the medical intensive care unit and Dr. Jeff Sternlicht, our Chairman of Emergency Medicine! I knew I was in good hands with the two of them by me if anything went awry during my race!

I also want to mention our mock Joint Commission survey that was held last week… not only do these mock survey exercises help us to be continually ready for a joint commission visit, but proves that GBMC is constantly working toward improving how we deliver healthcare to everyone’s loved ones. I’ve been in healthcare a long time and used to fear surveys by the Joint Commission.  I don’t anymore. I realize that these surveys are a mark of approval and that we must be ready all the time. GBMC is continually improving and we are at the ready for our next survey. 

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