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Robesonian Article: Intensivists Enable Critically Ill to Remain Close to Their Home
Robesonian, The (Lumberton, NC) Intensivists enable critically ill to remain close to their home Staff Published: March 9, 2010
LUMBERTON - Having a critical health concern can be frightening for patients as well as their family members. There are many decisions that must be made regarding where to seek care and what types of treatments are necessary to ensure a fast recovery. Kalita Locklear, of Shannon, and her family were faced with many of these important decisions in September when she suddenly began to have tightness in her chest and shortness of breath at the age of 26. With no previous medical history other than asthma as a child, she chose to seek care at Southeastern Regional Medical Center. She has worked as an emergency medical technician with American Medical Response and as a rescue technician for Red Springs Rescue Squad since 2003, providing her with many opportunities to observe medical care at Southeastern first-hand. She was admitted to the intermediate unit through the hospital's direct admit service, which is coordinated by a primary care physician and allows patients to be directly admitted to a unit by registering in the Emergency Department. Once admitted, Locklear's health was quickly declining due to respiratory problems. Her family was faced with another medical decision on the next course of action. Her family wanted her transferred to another facility but Locklear said Southeastern was home and where she would stay. Locklear was then moved to the intensive care unit, where she was seen and cared for by a specially-trained group of physicians called intensivists. Southeastern was the first medical center in the region to begin an intensivist program, which began offering specialized physicians in the ICU in 2007. The physicians, trained and certified in critical care medicine, are committed to provide up-to-the-minute care to the medical center's most critically ill patients, like Locklear. "The intensivists are stationed in the ICU and totally dedicated to caring for critically ill patients in this community," said Renae Hester, director of critical care services at Southeastern. Four physicians, Drs. John Hoyt, Milt McPherson, Adi Miro and Richard Woerndle, each provide critical care medicine in the ICU one week per month. These doctors are available to patients on the unit from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. and are on call during the evening hours. Hester said there are many benefits associated with the intensivist program including, but not limited to, improved patient outcomes; reduced length of stay in the ICU; fewer clinical and procedural complications; improved morbidity and mortality rates; and improved patient, family, private physician and staff satisfaction. Hester added that there is very little that the staff at Southeastern can't do in the intensive care unit. The facility rarely sends critical care patients to other facilities unless specialists are needed who are not available at Southeastern. "The goal of Southeastern Regional Medical Center is to provide excellent care to the patients we serve," Hester said. "Through this innovative intensivist program, we are able to do so." Locklear and her family can testify to the many benefits of Southeastern's intensive care program, as she was a patient in the ICU for more than five weeks. Even though she was in a medically-induced coma because of respiratory problems during much of her hospitalization, Locklear and her family were very pleased with her care. "I received good reports from my family and friends about the care I received at Southeastern and how nice the staff was there," Locklear said. "We did benefit by staying at the facility, and I would definitely recommend Southeastern to others." Once released from Southeastern, Locklear was transferred to an inpatient rehab facility but continued to receive phone calls and emails from the staff at Southeastern monitoring her care. "It was more than a hospital stay," she said. "The staff at Southeastern went out of their way to make sure that I was taken care of, and I couldn't have asked for any better care." For information about the intensivist program at Southeastern, call (910) 737-3130.



Dr. Hoyt Speaking on the Intensivist Program for SRMC
Morris Bullock (VP of Physician Services for SRMC) Speaking about Dr. Hoyt