Enterovirus D68: What is it and what do I need to know about it?

The Michigan Department of Community Health revealed today, Oct. 1, that there are now 25 confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in the state of Michigan. This virus spreads fast and is very contagious, according to Dr. Arsala Bakhtyar, an Oakwood-affiliated pediatrician and pediatric infectious disease specialist.

Here is a quick overview of what you need to know about EV-D68 from Dr. Bakhtyar:

Arsala Bakhtyar, MD

Arsala Bakhtyar, MD

What is it?
EV-D68 is one of more than 100 non-polio enteroviruses. It has been around for decades, but we are hearing about it now because of the way it has been spreading in the Midwest since school started last month.

How does it spread?
The virus spreads from person-to-person. When an infected person contaminates a surface by coughing or sneezing and another person touches it, that other person becomes infected.

Who is most at risk?
Infants, children and teens are more at risk because they do not have immunity from previous exposures. This virus in particular is infecting more asthmatic children.

What are the signs and symptoms?
Symptoms range from mild, including a cough and low grade fever, to more severe symptoms such as:

  • difficulty breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • fast heart rate and
  • fast breathing rate
  • irritability
  • body aches

What are some steps to keep kids from becoming infected?
This virus is difficult to prevent, but parents should make sure children are washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom. Children should also avoid kissing, hugging, or sharing utensils with infected people. It is important to disinfect frequently touched surfaces like toys and doorknobs.

Call your doctor if your child feels sick or has a fever and do not send him or her to school.

What treatment is available?
This is a virus and there is no treatment or vaccination for it – it has to run its course. Symptoms are treated as needed, such as fevers and shortness of breath.

How long does it usually last?
Most severe cases last between four and five days. Symptoms may linger for a couple of weeks, but the peak illness does not tend to last more than five days.

Listen to Dr. Bakhtyar discuss EV-D68 in detail in the Champions of Care recording below.

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Colonoscopy myths and facts

A colonoscopy is the preferred way to detect colorectal cancer early and treat it effectively, but misconceptions continually prevent people from scheduling the potentially life-saving procedure.

 Whether they are concerned over the accuracy of and need for the test or are put off by the procedure itself, men and women tend to postpone a colonoscopy based on common misunderstandings of the process.

Here are some common myths about colonoscopies and why you should consider scheduling one, anyway.

Myth #1: “I’m not at risk for colon cancer.”
Certain genetic traits and ethnic backgrounds increase risk factors for colorectal as well as other types of cancers, but the truth is everyone has some risk of developing the disease. Oakwood physicians recommend a colonoscopy beginning at age 50, or earlier if you have a family history of the disease.

Dr. Fuad Azrak head shot

Oakwood Dr. Fuad Azrak

“Genetics and environmental factors can increase the likelihood of developing cancer, but most cases are sporadic, rather than familial,” said Fuad Azrak, MD, an Oakwood-affiliated gastroenterologist.

Other risk factors include irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, smoking and alcohol consumption.

Myth #2: “I don’t have any symptoms, so I don’t need a colonoscopy.”
Colorectal cancer is often dubbed “the silent killer” because it usually presents no symptoms. Colonoscopies are effective because they can detect cancer in polyps long before they become an issue. Symptoms like blood in stool, anemia and stomach pain are usually only present when the cancer has taken hold.

“Symptoms usually only happen in advanced cases,” Azrak said. On average, endoscopists performing colonoscopies find precancerous polyps in 15 percent of women and 25 percent of men age 50 or older.

Myth #3: “A colonoscopy isn’t accurate.”
Advances in technology have greatly improved the diagnostic capabilities of colonoscopies as well as the overall patient experience, according to Dr. Richard Grucz, an Oakwood-affiliated family medicine doctor with offices in Canton. They are among the best, safest ways to detect the presence of pre-cancerous growths.

Myth #4 “I won’t be able to handle the prep.”
It’s no secret that preparing for a colonoscopy is often the worst part of it. You will be on laxatives for at least a day prior to the procedure and you’ll need to stay close to a bathroom.

“I admit that the prep for the test isn’t much fun,” Grucz said in a Fast Facts from a Physician video. “But you are under anesthesia for the procedure. It doesn’t hurt. If a doctor does find a polyp, they can usually address it during the procedure.”

diagram of a colonoscopy

Polyps detected during a colonoscopy can often be removed during the procedure.

Myth #5: “Colonoscopies are painful.”
At Oakwood, doctors focus on prevention, comfort and safety during colonoscopies. Patients will receive a mild anesthesia prior to the procedure and will not feel any discomfort during it, said Dr. Charles Slone, an Oakwood-affiliated gastroenterologist.

“They actually sleep through the procedure,” he said. Most say it’s some of the best sleep they’ve had in a long time. Our objective, as a team, is that the patient does not feel like he or she is having a surgical procedure.”

Myth #6: “Colorectal cancer can’t be prevented, so the test is not necessary.”
Colorectal cancer is among the most preventable forms of the disease. It is easy to detect in its pre-cancerous stages through screening methods like colonoscopies. Because it is such a slow-growing cancer, if a patient’s initial colonoscopy is negative, they usually won’t need one for another decade, although those with genetic risk factors may require one more frequently.

Are you at risk? Find out here.

An inside look at Oakwood’s emergency rooms

Oakwood’s emergency rooms are rapidly changing for the better.

The surveys patients fill out don’t get tossed in the circular file. We read and pay attention to them, and we appreciate the time you take to complete them.

As a result of your comments coupled with a desire to provide excellence in care, Oakwood is changing its approach to emergency medicine.

  • Probably the largest, most recent change is partnering with TeamHealth, one of the nation’s leading providers of ER staffing and management services. TeamHealth is dedicated to enhancing the level of care at Oakwood’s five emergency rooms in several ways. TeamHealth is, for example, addressing wait time and realigning some of our procedures to reduce it.
  • Another change you might notice right away is in triage. We’re sure you’re familiar with the pattern of going to any ER, seeing a receptionist and then, in many cases, being sent back to the waiting room until your name is called.

At Oakwood, we’ve instituted a set of treatment protocols – pre-approved order sets for a variety of different conditions.

Very soon, for example, when you go to one of our ERs with a suspected broken bone, the triage nurse will send you directly to the X-ray department. Once the X-rays are completed, you’ll be brought back to the emergency area. Shortly thereafter, you’ll be called in to see a physician who will already have your X-ray results to discuss with you. Sounds better and far more efficient, doesn’t it?

  • At Oakwood Hospital – Southshore, another new triage process has been put into place. This new process allows patients to be seen immediately by a nurse, who will guide the patient to a bed within two minutes of the patient’s arrival.

“We have been refining this process that allows patients to be seen faster, without waiting and frustration,” said Troy Adamen, director of Oakwood Southshore’s Emergency and Trauma departments.

On a related note, at Oakwood Southshore so far this month, more than 50% of patients who came to the emergency room for suspected heart attacks drove themselves to the hospital.

Calling 9-1-1 if you think you are having a heart attack is critical.  The EMS providers can begin lifesaving treatment with special technology they have in the rigs that put them in contact with the hospital and physician immediately.

So while we don’t want to say, “See you soon,” we do want you to know that things are changing for the better at a pretty fast clip at Oakwood.

Oakwood has five emergency rooms to serve you – in Dearborn, Taylor, Wayne, Trenton and Canton.


New Beaumont Health launched; Beaumont, Botsford, Oakwood complete affiliation

Beaumont Health System, Botsford Health Care and Oakwood Healthcare have completed their affiliation agreement to combine operations as a new organization called Beaumont Health. Federal and state regulatory officials have reviewed and approved the affiliation and granted tax-exempt status as a new $3.8 billion not-for-profit health care organization.

Beaumont Health was officially launched on Sept. 2.


Visit beaumonthealth.org to read more about the new Beaumont Health including the latest press release and frequently asked questions.

Weekly roundup: August 29, 2014

Oakwood physicians treated a variety of ailments this week. From bacterial sinus infections to itchy bug bites, here’s a brief recap of what’s going around:

  • Sinus pain

    Pressure or pain around the face and eyes is a common symptom of a sinus infection.

    Doctors at Oakwood Healthcare Center – Southgate and Oakwood Healthcare Center – Canton treated a large number of patients with sinus infections. Sinus infections typically follow a common cold and are accompanied by thick, yellow nasal discharge and pressure or pain around the face and eyes. Sinus infections are most often treated with antibiotics, and decongestants can help decrease the swelling in your sinuses and nasal passages. Steam and hot showers may also be recommended to help loosen mucus.
  • At Oakwood Hospital – Wayne, doctors reported several patients with a stomach virus, which was characterized by abdominal pain with nausea.
  • Finally, the Emergency Department at Oakwood Hospital – Dearborn saw several patients coming in with insect bites, rashes and bee stings. Insect bites and stings are particularly common during the summer months, but can be prevented with the proper precautions.

Teamwork at its finest:’ more Stories from the Flood

As ‘Stories from the Flood’ continue to trickle in, it’s clear that even though Oakwood Hospital – Dearborn suffered significant damage during the historic rainfall on Aug. 11, it could have been a lot worse.

When water began to appear inside the lower level of the hospital, many team members started taking additional actions to protect patients and products alike—long before they knew how severe the issues would be.

“The frontline staff were the heart and core of why our disaster recovery was so successful,” said Kelly Smith, division president of Oakwood – Dearborn. “We had many, many staff and many, many physicians stay here overnight. Many team members pulled double shifts, many did things outside of their normal job description and pitched in in ways that far exceeded whatever would normally be expected of them.”

Story 1
Lynn McConnell was the clinical manager on duty in the Emergency Department when the flood waters rose.

“I saw ED teamwork at its finest during this time,” she said. “When the ED team got the news to evacuate the patients, they all took responsibility and lined up at the Skillman elevators with patients on carts. All four Pods were evacuated in record time. Staff sloshed through ever rising waters and waited patiently for the elevator in order to get patients to the second floor. After we all arrived on the second floor the ED staff continued to excel providing for patients and helping organize the halls outside of Short Stay Unit where the ED patients now resided. I could not be more proud of this Emergency Department Team!”

Staff Nurse George Hellmer said when he heard that patients were being relocated up to the Short Stay Unit, he hopped into his Mini Cooper and tried to navigate back to assist his team.

“I didn’t get far before traffic and rising water stopped me,” he said. “I parked my car at the Lowe’s in Allen Park, rolled up my scrubs and waded and walked into work.” Along the way, he stopped to check on people as he made his way to the hospital.

Hearing differing accounts of the damage, Dr. Nabil Khoury headed back to the ED to help out, and said he was stunned at what he saw.

“I couldn’t believe that we had a foot and a half of water right outside the ambulance entrance,” he said. “I tried to walk through the ED and quickly realized I needed rubber boots to make my way through.”

“The most important thing, by that point, was that the patients were evacuated from the ED and I think one of the greatest memories of that evening is that we had 70 patients in the ED and they were evacuated within 17 minutes,” Khoury added. “When you think about that, that’s about one patient every 15 seconds. That’s probably the greatest accomplishment this department could have ever done.”

Story 2
The Inpatient Pharmacy team had seen a few leaks and water issues in the past, but nothing on a scale like they experienced on Aug. 11, said Neha Desai, clinical pharmacy manager. This time, it was the entire pharmacy—and a number of our employees continued to work slogging through 4-5 inches of water so medication deliveries would not be interrupted.

Brett Clarke navigates the flood waters in the Inpatient Pharmacy at Oakwood Hospital -- Dearborn on Aug. 11

Brett Clarke navigates the flood waters in the Inpatient Pharmacy at Oakwood Hospital — Dearborn on Aug. 11

“Actually, the employees stayed in the pharmacy (with zip-lock booties) until we were told to evacuate because water had reached an electrical panel and it was no longer safe to work there,” said Clinical Pharmacist Jessica Kiesznowski. “Half of the employees relocated up to the Operating Room pharmacy so they would be able to supply medications to Critical Care areas. The other half went to areas with spare computers so orders could continue to be processed.  Even though our department was completely ruined, medication delivery was never paused. “

Pharmacy Director David Batkie, stayed throughout the night and did not leave until after the 7 a.m. disaster meeting was complete and staffing for the day was assessed and the department was stabilized for Tuesday operations. Monday night pharmacy staff included: Erin McGuire, Eric Munson, Mona Sabri, Brett Clarke, Lori Stocchi, Julie Lee, Patricia Liangos, Denise Ossiff, Louis Cancel, Paula Samul, Saju Geevarughese, Mariely Arellano, Kathy Kovach and Juan Miretti.

“They did not miss a beat in providing medications to all the patients in the hospital, even while the department was flooding,” said Desai. “The pharmacy department not only continued to function with wet walls and wet carpet, they also supported several departments as they were displaced and transplanted in a new location.”

The inpatient pharmacy is the last department to move out of the basement. The move will take place within the next two weeks with no interruption of patient care.

Intermediate Care nurse honored for compassion, dedication

Compassion for her patients and dedication to her job have earned Sara Rasizzi, RN, a staff nurse in the Intermediate Care Unit at Oakwood Hospital – Taylor, the July Daisy Award for nursing excellence.


Sara Rasizzi, center, a staff nurse in the Intermediate Care Unit at Oakwood Hospital — Taylor, earned the Nurse Daisy Award in July.

Rasizzi, who has worked with Oakwood for nearly 15 years, was nominated for the award following an incident that took place in May. A patient who was admitted to Oakwood – Taylor was very upset because he had just signed his wife of 54 years into Hospice care. She was at Oakwood Hospital – Dearborn and he was not well enough to go there to see her and distraught because he did not think he’d be able to say goodbye to her.

Rasizzi worked with her patient’s doctor and had the patient transferred to OH-D, where he was able to see her again.

“We were very impressed by her compassion and dedication to giving great care,” the patient’s family wrote. “She is a great example of nursing excellence! Great job!”

Rasizzi began her career with Oakwood as a nurse aide in 1999. She became a nurse extern in 2000 and a registered nurse with an associate’s degree in 2001. She continues to work as a room mom in her children’s elementary school, where she educates students and teachers alike on the importance of hand hygiene. Currently, Sara is a unit preceptor and council member for CPC. She has participated in CAP projects consistently as a nurse.

“Many of her patients rave about the love and affection she demonstrates when she cares for them. Her teammates truly respect and appreciate how freely Sara shares her nursing knowledge with them,” said her manager, Ilene George. “We are very fortunate to have Sara as an IMC nurse. She is truly an asset to the team and the healthcare system.  Thank you Sara for all that you do to make our patient’s come first!”