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Patient Success Stories

Silver Cross Hospital’s New Design Aids in Saving Orland Park Women’s Life

New Lenox, IL (April 12, 2012) — Orland Park resident Dianne D’Andrea suffered for years with pain in her right knee, so she decided to have total knee replacement surgery at the new Silver Cross Hospital. Little did she know the newly designed Procedural Care Unit (PCU), would aid in saving her life. The PCU is a new unit that consolidates all the traditional procedural areas found in hospitals including surgery, endoscopy, interventional cardiology/radiology.  The unit was designed to place clinical expertise and equipment with dedicated support services on one integrated “platform” to enhance the delivery of quality care to patients.

brokenheartpatientfinalPhoto Caption: Members of the Silver Cross Medical Team are gathered with patient, Dianne D’Andrea, who saved her life as a result of their medical expertise and ability to administer care quickly due to the department adjacencies in Silver Cross Hospital’s newly designed Procedural Care Unit. Pictured are Orland Park resident Dianne D’Andrea (center) with: Front row- Jen Stevensen, RT; Ish Ahmad OR RN; Andrea Hartong, OR RN; Natalie Stanger, OR RN; Kathy Pechotta, PACU RN. Back Row- Grace Connor, SPPR RN; MaryAnn Hutin, OR RN; John Lindenmulder, OR RN; Mary Egan, IPPR RN; Sheila Buroff, IPPR RN; Pat Kroesch, RN, OR Manager;  and Dr. Sheldon Cin, Anesthesiologist. 

To begin her preparation for knee surgery D’Andrea was escorted into a pre-procedural room in Surgery Pre/Post Recovery (SPPR) which is immediately adjacent to the operating rooms (OR) suites on the PCU.  Prior to any surgical procedure, patients are interviewed by nursing and anesthesia staff, and are seen by their surgeon one last time before going to the OR.  Once in the OR, as D’Andrea began to receive anesthesia, she developed ventricular tachycardia (V-tach) a fast, irregular heart rhythm that can be fatal. As the V-tach occurred, the heart monitor alarm sounded and her orthopedic surgeon Anuj Puppala, M.D., with Hinsdale Orthopedics, determined she did not have a pulse.  He instantly began heart compressions- the time noted at 8:26 a.m. - and the surgical staff called a Code Blue. 

At the same time, cardiologist John Dongas, M.D., with Heartland Cardiovascular, was prepping his patient in the nearby interventional cardiology suite.  Dr. Dongas is an electrophysiologist who specializes in treating abnormal heart rhythms.  He heard the Code Blue and decided to walk down the hall to the OR to see if he could help, and with his assistance D’Andrea was successfully resuscitated. 

At 8:48 a.m., just 22 minutes after the Code Blue was called, D’Andrea was urgently transferred to the Cardiac Cath Lab for a diagnostic heart catheterization to see if she had blockages that may have caused her cardiac arrest in the OR.  Dr. Abdul Sankari, an interventional cardiologist and partner of Dr. Dongas, performed the procedure that indicated her vessels were all clear of any blockages.  However, the bottom chamber of her heart was severely compromised resembling what is known as “tako-tsubo”, indicating she was suffering from “Broken Heart Syndrome”.  

Also known as “takotsubo cardiomyopathy”, Broken Heart Syndrome is a temporary heart condition brought on by highly stressful situations. In Japanese, “tako-tsubo” means “fishing pot for trapping an octopus,” and the heart of a patient with this clinical situation resembles this shape. People with broken heart syndrome may have sudden chest pain or think they're having a heart attack. These symptoms may be brought on by the heart's response to a rush of stress hormones. 

The nurses who interviewed D’Andrea in SPPR  prior to her procedure all agreed in retrospect that she was extremely nervous, which would explain a state of high emotional stress that could have caused her clinical presentation of “broken heart syndrome”.  “In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn't pump well, while the rest of the heart functions normally or with even more vigorous contractions,” said John Dongas, M.D., cardiologist on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. “In Dianne’s case, her heart was portraying all the signs of “broken heart syndrome”, so it was critical that the appropriate medical team assemble as fast as possible. In addition to the expertise of our staff, I believe Dianne’s life was saved because these key medical professionals were able to come together more quickly than ever before due to the fact that the PCU has brought all our areas adjacent and in close proximity to one another.”  

D’Andrea was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at 9:13am, less than one hour after her cardiac arrest in the OR and after a couple days was discharged home. 

“It was amazing to witness our esteemed healthcare team as they provided multi-disciplinary care to Dianne.  We had specifically designed the  Procedural Care Unit to be an environment with the clinical expertise and equipment readily available when needed to care for critically ill patients and this situation confirmed it was the right thing to do.  We never imagined we’d know this so soon after our move, but are pleased Dianne was the beneficiary of our vision,” said Marybeth Antone, Administrative Director of Surgery and Cardiology. 

“I am forever grateful to all the physicians, nurses and others who quickly reacted to save my life,” said 56-year-old Dianne D’Andrea. “The high quality care I received from everyone was just wonderful, and I am so relieved that I chose to have my surgery at Silver Cross Hospital.” Dandrea is still determined to have her knee fixed and has scheduled her knee surgery for this spring. “I have such peace of mind knowing that I will once again be in such capable hands with all the staff at Silver Cross Hospital”. 

About the Procedural Care Unit (PCU)

The PCU is located on the second floor of the new hospital.  Surgery, endoscopy, interventional cardiology and radiology areas are now conveniently adjacent to the PCU Family Lounge and a total of 66 private pre/post procedural rooms.  The PCU has been designed for flexibility, operational efficiencies, and advanced technology. 

“Consolidating these surgical services into a central location minimizes unnecessary patient movement, and promotes quality outcomes and safety,” said Marybeth Antone, Administrative Director of Surgery and Cardiology.

Advanced Technology

In designing the PCU, Silver Cross has brought in some of the latest and greatest technology available. There is special green surgical lighting which makes seeing patient’s anatomy easier. Also each of the 11 state-of-the-art operating rooms have overhead equipment and video booms to improve procedural ergonomics and digital imaging.  Staff in 6 of the ORs are able to browse through images that can be displayed on several monitors hanging from the ceiling so that everyone involved in the case knows what is going on. 

In one of the ORs, the Hospital has a DaVinci surgical system, which is a robotic surgical system designed to facilitate complex surgery using a minimally invasive approach. 

The new Silver Cross Hospital also has anesthesia Pyxis (medication) machines, a negative pressure endoscopy lab to accommodate bronchoscopies and Bronchial Endoscopic Ultrasound and an automatic glide system for instrument loading in Sterile Processing. 

Operational Efficiencies

To enhance the patient-family experience, the PCU is supported by a standardized process for patient scheduling and pre-procedural preparation, inventory management, charge capture, environmental service and best-practice nursing care.  

For example, the Anesthesia Department provides services to every area in the PCU. At the previous campus, these services were needed in various areas throughout the hospital.  In the new hospital, the anesthesiologist only needs to travel down a hallway saving valuable time. 

Some of the other ways that we have improved operational efficiencies include:

•           Placing storage closer to point of use

•           Dedicating a trauma elevator from the Emergency Department to the PCU

•           Having 2 physician/family consult rooms with dual access

•           Storing surgical/interventional supplies in the Sterile Processing Department

•           Dedicating two pediatric recovery rooms with external access for patients

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 Listen To Your Heart:  Local Woman Hears Warning Signs, Saves Her Life

Silver Cross offers a free program for women February 17 about heart disease. 

Joliet, IL (February 2010)-- Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in the United States. At every age, more women die of heart disease than all types of cancer combined, including breast cancer. Consider the story of Mary Pat Falloon of Orland Park.  Despite a very active and healthy lifestyle, she developed chest pain at age 46. 

Mary Pat was hiking with friends in Arizona when she began to experience unusual pain in her chest and arms. While she experienced discomfort, she was not alarmed until the pain continued to recur after returning home. Mary Pat came in to see Dr. Drinan and received immediate care. A stress test was abnormal, and suggested the presence of a blockage in her right coronary artery. Dr. Drinan immediately scheduled an angiogram of her coronary arteries, and a stent was inserted into her right coronary artery after a 95% blockage was found. 

“It’s hard to believe this could happen to me because I live a very healthy life, but my instincts told me something was not right,” said Mary Pat. “Dr. Drinan listened to me—due to her compassion and efficient service, she saved my life.” 

“Cases like Mary Pat’s remind us that we all need to be aware of the symptoms and signs of heart disease, especially in women,” says Dr. Kathleen Drinan, cardiologist at Silver Cross Hospital. “Risk factors aside, her case shows why every woman should take control of her heart health and learn about the tools available to screen for heart disease.” 

“I feel fortunate to be alive, and am grateful that I came in when I did,” exclaims Mary Pat. “The cardiac team was so surprised, and impressed at how quickly I was treated. They said that all too often women were not getting diagnosed quick enough  and  that I was normally someone they would find dead on the kitchen floor.”

Women who have high blood pressure, stress, extra weight, smoking, high cholesterol, or a family history of heart disease, are at increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Women who have been treated for certain types of cancer also have increased risk for cardiovascular disease.  Despite the statistics, it is alarming that many women remain unaware of the risks and warning signs of heart problems. Women can learn how to be proactive and protect their heart at a free lecture, Take Heart—You’ve Got Control!  Join Dr. Kathleen Drinan, Cardiologist, for this informational program on Wednesday, February 17 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the new Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health, 1870 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. To register, call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325). 

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Silver Cross Saves Local Man’s Life after Suffering a Heart Attack 

Joliet, IL (August 9, 2010)— Silver Cross Hospital recently set a new record for re-establishing blood flow to a patient having a heart attack—36 minutes from time of arrival in the emergency department to opening of the arteries in the catheterization suite.  

On June 29, Mokena Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel arrived at the scene of a 52 year-old, Michael Cain, who was complaining of chest pain. The EMS team performed a 12-Lead EKG and diagnosed an acute myocardial infarction or heart attack. While in transport to Silver Cross Hospital, they called ahead and alerted the Emergency Department staff that in turn called a “Code STEMI”. This code alerts key emergency and cardiology physicians and staff that an acute heart attack patient is en route and will need to be prepped for treatment in the emergency department and one of two cardiac catheterization suites. The desired outcome for every heart attack patient is to open and unblock the artery within 90 minutes of arrival to the hospital. 

stemi-teamPhoto Caption: Pictured (l-r) are Silver Cross Hospital’s Code Stemi team Daniel Zelehovitis, Chris Paxson, April Veerman, Frankie Pustelnik, Patty Gabrys, Peggy Capecci, Carrie Baumann, Patty May, Lisa Dejarld, Cris Gramza, Jill Monteleone, Mary Kinsella, and Melissa McPhail.

When Cain arrived at Silver Cross, the staff was ready and waiting. After a very brief stop in the emergency department, Cain was taken to the catheterization suite where he was found to have a totally blocked right coronary artery. The artery was opened up by removing the clot and deploying a drug eluting stent at the site of the blockage. The time it took from Cain’s arrival in the emergency department to opening his artery was record breaking—only 36 minutes. 

Cain had wonderful things to say about the care he received from Silver Cross’ team. “I was amazed at how quickly I felt better. It was fantastic!”  Cain was discharged home two days later and is doing well. 

“This is superior work and can only be accomplished by the collaboration of many departments,” said Brendan Casey, Manager Cardiology & Interventional Radiology at Silver Cross Hospital. This collaboration starts with the EMS staff and continues with the emergency department staff, emergency physicians, cardiologists, and catheterization staff. The national door to reperfusion time is around 90 minutes, but here at Silver Cross, we achieve this on average in just around 64 minutes! “This great team work happens again and again, bringing a high level of care to our heart attack patients,” said Casey.

If you or a loved one is experiencing chest pains, call 911 immediately.  For more information about the Silver Cross emergency department or free-standing emergency center in Homer Glen, visit www.silvercross.org.

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Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care.  These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.