Support for Victims of Sexual Assault.
Funded by Mercy Medical Center’s Forensic Nursing Program, bMOREsafe, a GPS-enabled smartphone app, helps victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The app is organized as a list of questions—“What if I have been forced to have sex?” for example—that link to resources, including an explanation of what will happen during an exam. It also explains that Maryland is a blind reporting state. “People assume that hospitals are automatically going to call the police,” says Debra Holbrook, a forensic nurse and the app’s co-creator. “But no one will know about [the assault] until someone wants to report it.” As of February, bMOREsafe had been downloaded more than 60,000 times worldwide. —Jennifer Walker
Telemedicine Sweeps the State.
At the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, doctors and critical care nurses use telemedicine—i.e., computers and accompanying equipment—to remotely monitor patients’ test results, X-rays, vital signs and more in ICUs at 11 rural Maryland hospitals, including Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin and Union Hospital in Elkton. The program has been shown to decrease patients’ complications and reduce their hospital stay. Providers at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital also give remote consultations to sick kids at five Howard County schools, while Sheppard Pratt Health System’s telepsychiatry program provides 66 hours of mental health services weekly to children, adolescents and adults. —J.W.
Catching Lung Cancer Early.
Early diagnosis of lung cancer, which represents 28 percent of cancer deaths, has been shown to reduce mortality rates by nearly 30 percent. So Saint Agnes Hospital uses early detection technology to locate nodules on the lungs that were previously difficult to biopsy because they could only be reached with more aggressive surgical techniques. Called Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy, the technology “is akin to a GPS for your car,” says Dr. Kala Davis-McDonald, chief of pulmonary medicine. “It generates a path through the airways to get to a particular nodule so we can do a biopsy.” Saint Agnes performs about 40 early detection procedures each year. —J.W.
Hope for Hep C.
It’s the most common blood-borne viral infection in the country, but around 75 percent of the more than 4 million people affected by the liver-damaging Hepatitis C—the majority being baby boomers—have no idea they have it. Past treatment involved injections of an immune stimulant, Interferon, which came with nasty side effects like severe anemia. Thankfully, research by physicians, including Mercy’s Dr. Paul Thuluvath, Dr. Hwan Y. Yoo and Dr. Anurag Maheshwari, has led to the development of a new class of Interferon-free drugs with very few side effects and a 95 percent cure rate—as long as patients take one pill a day for three months. All the more reason to screen today. —Ian Zelaya
Help for a Baby Born 17 Weeks Early.
Born at 23 weeks gestation and weighing 1 pound, 6 ounces—the size of a Coke can—baby Camilla would never have survived 20 years ago, says Dr. Carolyn Moloney, a neonatologist at Saint Agnes. Spending a total of four mouths in the NICU, Camilla was on a high-frequency ventilator for the first three weeks of her life. IV lines in her umbilical cord supplied her with nutrition, hydration and medication. She was placed in a special isolette to maintain her body temperature and humidity. Despite this, Camilla, who will be 4 in September, has no physical or developmental disabilities today. “That’s Camilla’s miracle,” says her mom, Shanna Evering. —J.W.