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Message from the President

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013

Dr. David L. Callender, President

UTMB/CMC staff and physicians work wonders for victims around the state

True to form, UTMB staff and physicians have once again gone "above and beyond" to provide extraordinary care for patients in the midst of extraordinary circumstances. Members of our UTMB family responded valiantly this week to help those wounded in the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas and in a refinery fire in Beaumont.

Two of our Correctional Managed Care nurses, Stefanie Woosley and Katherine Vrba, who work and live in the West area, were part of the first responder team for the fertilizer plant explosion, working triage through the night of Wednesday, April 17.

That same day, seven victims from a fire at a Beaumont refinery were brought to UTMB’s Galveston campus — four in critical condition, three in serious condition. Throughout that afternoon and evening, our physicians and staff worked tirelessly to ensure these patients received the best possible care.

I'd like to share an inspiring account of just some of the amazing "above and beyond'' efforts of our UTMB family, as related by Clinical Operations Administrator Christina Myers, who was on duty when these patients arrived.

"Most days, we are challenged with many incoming admissions. Some are planned and others are unexpected. Wednesday we were asked to take on the care of seven unexpected patients needing our expertise and help. While this is not the first time we have joined together and faced a busy day, Wednesday deserved special recognition. I just wanted to take a moment to extend my thanks and respect to several areas/individuals who were shining stars in this week’s success. Thank you to:

·         Carrla Ellyson and the TDCJ ICU staff who, despite unexpected admissions of their own, somehow found a way to accept a patient from the burn unit at a moment’s notice. Their willingness to accommodate this extra patient ensured we had an available bed in the burn unit. Also I must thank Oyebamiji Adebayo and Diane Fontenot in TDC bed placement for their assistance with patient movement. Their work was pivotal in making the necessary moves despite their already busy workload.  

·         The ER staff who worked tirelessly in their provision of care in the ER and coordinated with me to determine placement needs and arrival times. I could not have asked for a better outcome than the flow that happened with each of the incoming patients. Their work, as always, was exceptional.

·         The SICU staff, including Lee Alviza who quickly moved patients to accommodate overflow Blocker Burn Unit ICU needs, rapid response admissions and numerous OR admissions. Their willingness and ability to handle their patient needs and flow never ceases to astound me.  

·         Susan Court and the MICU staff, who rearranged assignments and floated to assist other ICUs with additional admissions. Their actions reminded me that despite unit boundaries, we are all one under the UTMB team umbrella. I must also extend a special thank you to Susan Court and Bennie Victor who offered assistance to the Blocker Burn Unit and the SICU during the busiest of times.

·         Brenda K. Mears and the housekeeping staff who coordinated all the bed cleans to ensure the rooms were ready for the arrival of our new patients. 

·         The Respiratory Department who assisted in transport, vent set ups, and even room preparation.

·         The 7C staff who efficiently expedited discharges and accepted multiple admissions at the same time from the ER, BBU, OR and the clinics to ensure all our patients' needs were met.

·         Patient Placement Center— need I say more! Every time I stand in the PPC for one moment, I am amazed at the job these employees do. Wednesday was a true testament to their abilities.

·         Finally to the Blocker Burn Unit and nurse manager Jamie Heffernan; Jamie has always been an exceptional individual in her ability to change hats. In the past she has assisted the unit, no matter the hour, to ensure her patients received needed care. Wednesday, she rallied her team and worked side by side with her staff to tub each patient as soon as they were cleared through the ER. There was not a single patient delayed in receiving care. I am simply unable to find the words to properly applaud the burn team. Please know they each have my admiration and respect.

I know this list is long and I am certain there were others I failed to mention. While I am always proud to work at UTMB, Wednesday reminded me how truly blessed I am to work here—with exceptional individuals who put our patients first. To each of you, please accept my most sincere thanks for the work you do and the performance you gave. Many more than the seven patients I referenced benefitted from your care. You were each shining examples of UTMB and the care we provide."

On behalf of our entire UTMB community, I want to express heartfelt thanks to everyone who provided extraordinary service to people in need during particularly challenging situations on our Galveston campus and in West, Texas. We know there are many more examples of amazing patient care that occurred that day — and that occur every day — which is why each of us can take immense pride in being part of this outstanding institution.


David L. Callender