At this joyous time of the year, I would like to wish all the friends and supporters of MHAUS best wishes for the holidays and the New Year. Your support and encouragement of our activities and programs motivates the entire team to continue to bring the latest information and educational programs to those with an interest in this complex, potentially fatal disorder first described over 50 years ago.
Next month I, along with Dianne Daugherty, our executive director, will review the highlights of 2011 for MHAUS and discuss some of the plans for 2012. I hope that our new web site has been helpful in keeping up with the activities of MHAUS and advances in the field.
Rather than an extensive blog, this month, I just wanted to comment on a letter we received this month. The letter was from the chief operating officer and administrator of a surgery center in New York City. He had attended a conference for Ambulatory Surgery Center managers and administrators in Albany, New York this past fall. He praised the presentation that Dr. Bob Brislin, one of our hotline consultants on staff at DuPont Children’s Hospital in Delaware, gave on MH and the conversations he had with the MHAUS staff at the meeting. He was impressed enough with all he heard to acquire some of our material and went back and helped create an MH drill in the center in mid October. Well, a few weeks later that information and practice came in handy when a patient actually developed MH. He commented that the identification, management and resolution of the crisis was greatly facilitated by the information from MHAUS as well as the guidance in conducting an MH drill. This letter and expression of gratitude for the work that our staff and consultants do means a lot and encourages us to do more.
Furthermore, I cannot help but contrast this story with a tragic one that also took place in a surgery center in NYC about 5 years ago. In that case, a young man was undergoing a urologic procedure and at the end of the anesthetic “suddenly” experienced a cardiac arrest. The emergency team that responded described that the patient was extremely hot and rigid. The anesthesiologist was not monitoring the patient’s temperature. Furthermore, there was not a coordinated response to the emergency and dantrolene was not easily available. By the time the patient was brought to the nearby hospital his temperature was over 107 degrees and he expired. The medical examiner was astute enough to think of MH and eventually genetic testing revealed that indeed he was MH susceptible. Without being there one cannot say what exactly happened, but a patient does not develop a temperature to 107 degrees without other physiologic changes taking place that should have alerted the caregiver to the possibility of MH. Furthermore, a well thought out and practiced response to an MH crisis is critically important to saving a patient’s life.
The consequences of the death was devastating for the patient’s family and lead to major changes in the management of the surgery center (I am told). A law suit was filed and settled prior to trial.
These two stories exemplify how the contributions of our hotline consultants, professional advisory members and staff really do make a difference. We hope we never hear of a story such as the one that occurred five years ago and still occurs periodically.
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome and help guide us in future program development. We have done a lot in recent years and have plans to do much more in the near future.
Again, thanks for your support and my best wishes for a wonderful Holiday season. May you experience good health, happiness and peace.
The opinions expressed in these blogs do not necessarily reflect the opinions or recommendations of MHAUS. Permission required for all quotations from my blogs.