Hitting the snooze button on hospital noise (Infographic)

UMHS10427ReduceHospitalNoise-v3Monitors. Alarms. Pagers. People. Hospitals can get as noisy as other places we hang out during the day and there’s a negative side to all that noise. Patients can’t sleep soundly and noise interferes with healing.

The University of Michigan Health System has established quiet hours and tested sound diffusion panels — similar to ones used in music rehearsal rooms — to reduce hospital noise. Look at a breakdown of how hospital noise compares to everyday sounds. Continue reading

Surgeon plays soccer on world stage

Dr. David Machado-Aranda joins physicians in 2015 World Medical Football Championships

There’s a World Cup for soccer-playing physicians, and University of Michigan surgeon Dr. David Machado-Aranda will play defense for the U.S. as 18 countries including Germany, Brazil, Great Britain and Austria compete in the 2015 World Medical Football Championships. Before play begins June 28 in Long Beach, Calif., the Venezuelan-born physician shares what soccer has taught him about the importance of team work – on the pitch and in the operating room.

UPDATE: U.S. team outmatched Venezuela 2-0 to advance to the semifinals on July 3.

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Seeing both sides of bariatric surgery

Gastric bypass helps surgical nurse lose nearly 160 pounds


Mandy Pate, R.N., with Oliver Varban, M.D., has a lot in common with those seeking weight loss surgery.

Mandy Pate, R.N., is an operating room nurse whose patients are obese. They are here at the University of Michigan Health System for either a gastric bypass or a sleeve gastrectomy. Mandy, age 34, has more in common with her patients than you might suspect, seeing her trim size-12 figure. A year ago, Mandy was a patient herself and had a sleeve gastrectomy performed by members of her own surgical team, including Oliver Varban, M.D.

“It’s been a battle with my weight since I was three or four years old,” she says. “I’ve spent my life constantly dieting and I’ve probably taken every weight-loss medication there is, but in the last few years, I couldn’t even bend over to tie my shoes!”

Since her surgery on April 4, 2014, Mandy has lost 157 pounds, down from a pre-surgery weight of 333 pounds. Before surgery, she wore size 5XL scrubs and size 30 street clothes. Today she wears medium scrubs and size 12 clothing, and says she has much more energy. Continue reading

Celebrate National Nurses Week 2015

A heartfelt “thank you” to those who touch patient lives in so many ways

As we celebrate National Nurses Week from May 6-12, I’d like to share a quote from a recent patient letter that I believe sums up the way many of us — staff and patients alike — feel about Nurses at Michigan and the important contributions they’ve made to patients, their families and our profession.

The patient wrote:

“I just wanted to write and thank you for hiring great nurses … I have never seen the dedication, the expertise and compassion that we all found at UMHS. The nurses here are absolutely exceptional.”

Over the years, I’ve read countless letters that express a similar message. This is the kind of feedback we love to hear as it makes our dedicated work as nurses all the more meaningful. Our long-standing tradition of contributing to the profession of nursing continues as we come together to fulfill our promise to “transform patient care.”

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Spirituality and health: Is there a connection?

Faith and support help people deal with stress, add to overall health

person praying on beach

Studies show that spirituality can impact the healing process of someone who is experiencing a health challenge

Do religion and spirituality impact our health? Scientific researchers and clergy alike believe in the positive relationship between spirituality and health. Regardless of the religion, evidence points to a connection between the two.

Rev. Jamie D. Hawley, M.Div., is an ordained United Church of Christ minister and staff chaplain with the University of Michigan Spiritual Care Department, believes that spirituality can impact the healing process of someone who is experiencing a health challenge. He references studies from the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health Sciences, the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and Harvard Health Publications to support this belief.

Rev. Hawley says the U-M spiritual care team offers support to all faiths, using a holistic approach that takes into consideration the body, mind and spirit. “Even if we don’t have the faith represented in the department, we will get that patient the right care. We often partner with faith communities outside the hospital, so that a patient knows he or she is supported via prayer or pastoral visits.” As a Christian chaplain, Rev. Hawley says that “Holy Week is a humble reminder that our task as spiritual care providers often includes journeying through the gloom of a patient’s Good Friday experience all the way to an Easter vision, whatever that may be for the patient.” Continue reading

How to grow human lungs in a dish

Scientists coax stem cells to form 3D mini lungs for study

Lung organoid recipe illustration (blog)Scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School have figured out how to grow human stem cells into three-dimensional mini lungs. Having the ability to probe a 3-D model could help researchers better understand lung conditions, especially those linked to genetic mutations, and test new therapies.

Working with colleagues from across the country, U-M researchers Jason R. Spence, Ph.D., and Briana Dye, succeeded in growing structures resembling both the large airways of the lungs and the small air sacs.

The advance, published in the online journal eLife, provides an unprecedented view of human lung anatomy and takes research to a new level by devising a system to form self-organizing lung tissue in a dish. Continue reading