Medical Staff Pulse Newsletter

Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee Approvals

Pharmacy Focus

Highlights of the June meeting of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee are summarized in the PDF link below.

P and T Approvals - June 2016 (PDF)

Meetings and Events

Grand Rounds

Click here to view upcoming grand rounds.

Upcoming CME Conferences

Click below to view a complete list of all scheduled Continuing Medical Education conferences.

CME Newsletter - July 2016 (PDF)


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Cedars-Sinai Stages Extensive Ebola Drill

Eileen Dulce, RN, (left) and Nathan Whitehouse, RN, participate in a recent preparedness drill for treating patients with highly infectious diseases like Ebola.

Inside zipped coveralls, a hood, mask and three layers of gloves, Isabel Pedraza, MD, inserted a needle into an arm. With the help of two nurses wearing protective suits and respirators, Pedraza then readied a catheter for an Ebola patient.

Later, the team strictly observed sterile procedures before handing off specimens to local health department representatives for a final diagnosis.

Fortunately, the careful choreography was only a drill, part of a recent preparedness event at Cedars-Sinai to help train healthcare teams how to manage highly infectious diseases.

The response team practices inserting a needle into a dummy arm during the drill.

Cedars-Sinai has conducted similar drills before, but none as extensive. The latest exercise marked the first one since Cedars-Sinai was selected as a federally designated regional treatment center for Ebola and other highly infectious diseases.

In June, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tapped Cedars-Sinai to become part of a national network of 10 regional centers. The designation means Cedars-Sinai will play a critical role in bolstering the nation’s front-line defense against Ebola and other highly communicable diseases.

"Being part of this Special Pathogen Response Team means belonging to an elite club with the skill set to provide care to the most challenging of patients," said Jonathan Grein, MD, medical director, Department of Hospital Epidemiology, and infection control officer. "It makes us unique in being able to care for people with very limited options as to where they can go."

The Cedars-Sinai drill began by converting a couple of rooms and a connected anteroom in the Saperstein Critical Care Tower into an isolated lab, patient room and observation area.

Eileen Dulce, RN, a critical care nurse, and her fellow volunteers helped each other put on the cumbersome protective suits. Each was outfitted with an ice-packed vest to help combat the heat inside the bulky suits.

With respirators turned on, the team made their way to the ambulance bay to collect the pretend patient, Nathan Whitehouse, RN. After wheeling him back to an isolation room, the nurses connected their pretend patient to monitors and inserted an IV into a fake arm lying next to him.

Charlene Bugais, RN, a clinical nurse specialist, supervised from the observation area, while other nurses handed instruments to the healthcare workers inside the patient room. They could leave only when their shift was over, and they must carefully remove each layer of clothing while disinfecting their gloves.

The environment requires extreme care in order to avoid contracting the virus through direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids or contaminated objects. That means the team must continually clean everything used throughout the process.

Even the garbage bags have to make a coordinated exit. Wiped down with sterilizing cloths, nurses placed them in a trash bin dragged to the doorway, and repeated the process before handing over the waste to Environmental Services

In a nearby lab, technicians mimicked running standard diagnostics on blood samples. They handed off a specimen to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health colleagues, who placed the test tube sample inside an elaborate series of protective containers that looked like a set of Russian nesting dolls.

Cedars-Sinai is constantly updating its protocols by learning from other regional centers and with data received from the few hospitals that have already treated Ebola patients. This latest drill helped identify areas that needed to be tweaked, such as figuring out better ways to communicate when wearing the suits.

"I was extremely proud of the way our team practiced our safety protocols while still providing optimal care," Grein said. "They were poised, confident and professional."

The response team is still recruiting nurses, physicians and respiratory therapists. Anyone interested can contact Nursing Director Joanne Laguna, RN, at joanne.laguna@cshs.org or 310-423-2037 or Grein at jonathan.grein@cshs.org or 310-423-5574.