2003 News Stories

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When designers set out to create a brand new gamma camera, they began with the revolutionary concept of being able to image patients on any platform, bed or chair, in any position. The result is the SKYLight gamma camera, which was recently installed at the Nuclear Medicine Department at The Queen's Medical Center. Queen's is the first medical facility in Hawai’i to offer this advanced diagnostic imaging technology.

A gamma camera's rotating camera heads can detect radionuclides which have been injected into a patient, allowing physicians to monitor physiological functions in the body such as metabolism and blood flow. Abnormalities in an organ's structure or function can be detected very early, before symptoms are noticeable. The principal areas of nuclear medicine imaging at Queen's involve cardiology and oncology.

The ramifications of the SKYLight's ability to image patients on any surface are huge. Gamma cameras normally have a fixed imaging table with a weight limit of up to 400 pounds. Although the SKYLight's table can accommodate 500 pounds, it has no weight limit because imaging can even be done on the floor. In fact, Queen's is working with the manufacturer, Philips Medical Systems-on creating a special floor bed.

The SKYLight allows access for critically ill patients who may be on life support equipment. The openness of the SKYLight also helps accommodate other difficult to scan patients, such as children and those who are claustrophobic.

The SKYLight provides unprecedented imaging flexibility and positioning accuracy. Combined with the advantages of the other gamma cameras at Queen's, physicians and technical experts can decide which gamma camera is best suited for each patient.

There are over 81,000 people in America waiting for an organ, including approximately 300 in Hawai’i. Last year, organs were donated by only 6,617 donors out of an estimated 14,000 potential donors, or about 46 percent. As a result, an average of 17 people on the transplantation waiting list die every day.

In April 2003, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson joined with key national leaders and practitioners to launch the Organ Donation Collaborative. The Collaborative is "committed to saving or enhancing thousands of lives a year by spreading known best practices to the nation's largest hospitals to achieve organ donation rates of 75 percent or higher in these hospitals." The Queen's Medical Center, along with Maui Memorial Hospital, will participate in the Organ Donation Collaborative.

Queen's goal is to achieve 100 percent identification (75 percent by April 2004) and the appropriate referral of imminent death to the Organ Donation Center of Hawai’i (ODCH). ODCH is the non-profit organization authorized by the federal government to coordinate the recovery of organs and tissue in Hawai’i.

Practices used by large hospitals and organ procurement organizations (OPOs) that have high donation rates (75 percent or more) are known and can be replicated. The Organ Donation Collaborative will help OPOs and hospitals achieve their goals.

Queen's has initiated staff education on imminent death status and patients who have indicated their wish to be organ donors. A "non-beating heart donor protocol" will also be established. Queen's will focus on two key areas-the ICUs and the ER. In addition, participating hospitals and OPOs will send multi-disciplinary teams to participate in intensive learning sessions and will work together to rapidly learn, adapt and redesign processes to reach the goal.

Imagine an entrance that will at once be grand and yet commune with nature. Visualize a space that captures the historic essence of The Queen's Medical Center, of Queen Emma and the royal family, yet smoothly segues to the future. Envision a sense of place that is Queen's. This grand vision becomes a reality in September 2004, when Queen's new lobby opens to the public.

Visitors will enter via the porte cochere and follow a path leading to double automatic doors. A person entering will have a diagonal view of the entire lobby. One immediately notices a soaring ceiling, bordered on one side by clerestory windows which provide natural light (see architectural rendering 1). Wood floors add to the warmth of the room, as does a lanai and garden of greenery beyond, which can be seen through glass walls to the right.

In the garden, visitors will find a peaceful place dedicated to the royal family, where statues will eventually memorialize Queen's founders, King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma, and their son, Prince Albert. Visitors may also visit a new gourmet coffee bar. Women guests may have come to experience the comprehensive services of the new Queen's Women's Health Center--also opening in September 2004--which can be entered through doors just left of the centrally located information desk. At the far end, visitors will also find a new gift shop, a convenient stop just before moving on to the elevators.

The old, the new and the timeless will be represented in the new Queen's lobby. This grand, new entrance will set the tone for the healing environment that is The Queen's Medical Center.

Breakthrough technology from hip replacements to artificial hearts, new medications and even modifications to a procedure or device constantly benefits our health. However, few think about the clinical research which makes all of that possible. Even less so do they think about the support services necessary to make clinical research happen. Those support services is the Research, Planning and Development Department at The Queen's Medical Center.

Research, Planning and Development's role is to support medical staff and allied medical staff in clinical research. The staff firmly believes that good patient care is achieved through research. For some research at Queen's, the Department's role is limited to contract and regulatory issues. For others, they provide direct help in clinical trials and research support services.

Research, Planning and Development provides the support that many physicians would not otherwise have, allowing important clinical research in areas such as oncology, infectious disease, behavioral health, intensive care and women's health.

Of course, research in general--and clinical trials in particular--requires funding. The Queen's Medical Center actively seeks out applicants for grants from among Queen's medical staff and affiliated health professionals. The Queen Emma Research Fund provides funding for original clinical research at QMC or affiliated facilities. If successful, these studies can be used to apply for larger grants from institutions such as federal agencies and foundations.

Although it is most often a long process from a clinical study to clinical trials, and then to FDA approval, the benefit to patients is well worth the wait and the effort. For this reason, The Queen's Medical Center remains committed to clinical research and supporting the work of those who make it happen.

The new entrance to The Queen's Medical Center is just the beginning of a transformation that is redefining what people should expect at a hospital. In the fall of 2004, this process will reach a significant milestone with the opening of a Women's Health Center, a destination not just for the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, but also for life enhancing services in a resort-like setting.

Although Queen's has always offered the best in medical care for women, these services have never before been pulled together in one place. A guest of the new Women's Health Center will enter Queen's via the porte cochere, where valet parking is available. The Women's Health Center will have convenient weekend and evening hours so women can come after work. As she enters Queen's, the Women's Health Center will be easy to find, because it will be located right in the lobby.

Guests will be received much as they would be by a hotel concierge, and then directed to desired services. There will be a boutique offering specialty items for women. There will be an executive kitchen for healthy cooking demos, and a large multipurpose room for support groups and classes. Classes will be geared to enhance the mind, body and spirit, with topics on aromatherapy, art therapy, Tai Chi, stroke, heart, osteoporosis, hormone replacement and infertility.

For women diagnosed with cancer, a "nurse navigator" will guide her from diagnosis to treatment, pulling together all resources, from joining support groups to finding the right specialists. The Women's Health Center will also feature mammography suites, ultrasound rooms, bone density testing, stereotactic biopsy services, a radiology read area and treatment rooms that can be used for massages, facials, Healing Touch or continence treatments.

Although the Women's Health Center is still a year away, there are valuable opportunities for women going on today. Queen's Wisdom of Women (WOW) classes have provided a wealth of information for women. More than 50 sessions on mind/body topics have been already been given this year.

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