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February 4, 2009
 
       
 

NOROVIRUS STRIKES
AGAIN!


For those of you interested in environmental issues, we invite you to our next Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze, with the CEO and Founding Chairman of the US Green Building Council, Rick Fedrizzi. BLT restaurant in DC, Thursday, Feb 12, sign up!


 

DC Department of Health confirms norovirus (aka viral gastroenteritis, aka Norwalk virus, aka worst cruise ever) is to blame for 23 sick students at Catholic University, following a similar outbreak at Georgetown this fall. Are two outbreaks in one school year unusual? “Not really,” says Howard Hospital Infectious Diseases division chief Vinod Mody, whom we tracked down on clinic duty yesterday.

 

Vinod suspects buffets are the root of the virus. (We’d argue they’re the root of all things evil and delicious, period.) Once stricken, drink fluids, wash hands (that goes for everyone), and avoid contact with others for 72 hours after symptoms disappear. This may seem basic, so we’ll admit ulterior motives for visiting Vinod: Great Anecdotes. Soon after launching Howard’s Infectious Disease program in 1965, Vinod treated Martin Luther King, Jr. (“At that time, where else could he go besides Howard?”) MLK returned the favor by granting Vinod’s daughter an exclusive interview. She was a student at Sidwell Friends and wrote for the school paper.

 
Apatoff Peters
 

Besides medicine, Vinod’s passion is writing fiction. He uses it to explore how people’s lives change when a disease, like AIDS, is no longer a death sentence. But you won’t find his name in Barnes & Noble because Vinod says his target market is India. Should he be nervous we caught him reading on the job? Probably not. His department chair is a former med student. And the dean? A former intern. Now that’s leverage.


Healthier Hospital Buildings
 

We snapped this Thursday at a pioneering healthcare forum at the DC Ritz, an idea exchange on how building design can improve patient health. Example: Nurses lift 1.8 tons per shift. How about ceiling mounted lifts? But the forum covered other “evidence-based design” methods such as harvesting organic waste for methane’s thermal energy and selling the remaining power. Above, CEO Emeritus at Ft. Belvoir’s DeWitt Hospital Eileen Malone talks with Inova’s Pat Walters and MedStar’s Frank Weinberg about design ideas for Inova Fairfax’s new 200-bed Women’s Hospital and patient tower.

 

The event also gave us our first look at Tim Tobin, CEO of the new Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center in Fredericksburg, with COO Terika Richardson and guest speaker Bruce Komiske, from Children’s Memorial in Chicago. The 126-bed HCA-owned “Spotsy” hospital will be completed in June 2010. Tim tells us it’s not too late to apply things he learned at this event, such as using modular furniture, creating more distinct family spaces, and planting a  healing garden to lift spirits.

 

Georgetown health systems professor Gary Filerman with architectural firm Perkins + Will’s Tama Duffy Day and Robin Guenther, explained how proper design can reduce falls and hospital-associated infections. Even better, reducing infections increases revenue because shorter stays increase volume, savvy healthcare consumers choose your safe facility and, as of Oct ’08, CMS does not reimburse for treatment of these infections. So, even if reducing patient falls doesn’t motivate you to build properly (schadenfreude, anyone?), perhaps a lighter wallet will.

Medical writer Curtis Raye would love to hear more about interesting patients you treated. Doctor-Patient privilege is so 2008. Send story ideas to Curtis@Bisnow.com

 
 
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