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Pam Smith, MD, Team Award

22 Jan 2017

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Last summer, a young patient arrived in ED, presenting with renal failure and other issues requiring immediate care, including a biopsy. Dr. Smith, on-call pathologist, was willing to stay late to view samples to ensure biopsy was sufficient. Without her help, it would not have been determined the biopsy was insufficient. With her help, we avoided a significant delay in treatment. She was an integral part of Salem Health’s Team Award.

Read the whole story of remarkable collaboration and persistence… <<LINK TO COMPLETE STORY BELOW>>

Last summer, a young patient arrived in the ED with renal failure and 'echogenic kidneys' on ultrasound, a diagnosis that required urgent attention. The attending nephrologist ordered a renal biopsy for further clarification. Normally, renal biopsies ordered in the afternoon are prepped overnight to be performed the following morning.

In this case the AM schedule was full. Because Friday was the next day, if the procedure could not be done in the AM, diagnosis and treatment would be delayed … for too long.  The team successfully executed a difficult biopsy and helped provide the treatment team with samples for a diagnosis.

The decision was made to perform the difficult biopsy then. Despite being unfamiliar with renal biopsies specifically, Stephanie Johnson showed exemplary bravery by offering to learn on-the-fly with Dr. Hanson. Their persistence showed their willingness to do what was right and helpful.

Without Dr. Smith staying late and giving her preliminary read, the team could not have known that the first biopsy was insufficient. As a result, we avoided a significant treatment delay.

Cindy Goyins, RN, was responsible for patient monitoring during the lengthy procedure. The whole effort would have been unsuccessful without her willingness to clear her schedule and quickly 'switch gears' to help with this biopsy at an unusual time.

Last but not least, Unit Clerk Ali Zamudio showed commitment to patient care and teamwork by staying late to handle logistics. Her cool head and calm manner was extremely helpful.

As with all great teams, each member was indispensable. It is not an exaggeration to say that without any one member, the whole effort would have been unsuccessful. Many things were unusual or new about this particular case: the time of day, the age of the patient and knowledge of the procedure for the technologist. But because of the team's dedication to patient care, these obstacles were overcome and a successful diagnosis was obtained.