Intensive care in real time

Ray Janess doesn’t remember being admitted to Bayhealth Milford Memorial’s Intensive Care Unit in September 2015. The 8-bed department at the northwest corner of the hospital’s second floor is reserved for patients who require constant monitoring and skilled attention.

Diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, Janess said prior to his admission he spent two days outdoors working on his classic sports car. “It was still warm, and I wasn’t drinking enough water.”

The result was total renal shutdown. Janess, 51, of Felton, was transported to the emergency room. He spent five days in the hospital, and credits the staff for his recovery.

His care involved two intensivists — physicians who specialize in intensive care medicine. The doctors, Elvina Khusainova, MD, and Pang Lam, MD, alternate seven days of 12-hour shifts, 7 a.m.–7 p.m., in this unit. Their presence eliminates the need for staff to call another doctor and then wait for a response.

“Dr. Lam listened to what I was saying,” said Janess. “In most hospitals, they don’t listen.” Janess added that the nursing staff was “top-notch.”

The unit has a team approach that starts with morning rounds. The rounding is thorough and systematic, organ by organ, from top to bottom. The rounds offer a time for staff to ask questions, to learn from board-certified critical care specialists.

In a very active environment, where things happen instantly all of the time, interventions can take place in real time. The intensivist’s response to potentially life-threatening situations is immediate.

“It’s a small program, but it’s very nice, a very personal place,” said Dr. Lam. “We are here not only for the patients, but also for the families.

National trends show that family physicians are no longer being called into the hospital setting. “There is a need for someone on site to coordinate a patient’s care,” said Dr. Lam. “There’s less delay and less error.”

Janess and his wife Debra were so pleased with the quality of his care that they sent thank-you notes to each of their caregivers. “We believe when thanks is due, we give it,” said Janess.