Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) recently celebrated a milestone anniversary of the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery (CBMS). June marked the fifteen years since the inception of this innovative and much needed program located in the Northern New Jersey area. To date thousands of patients have benefited from receiving the gold standard of transfusion-free treatment at HUMC. Many amazing and heartwarming experiences were presented on the evening of June 18th when Jo Valenti, BSN, RN the program’s director, gave the history of Hackensack’s Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Program.
The 7:30 PM presentation held in the Hospital Auditorium, was well attended. Several actual patient cases were discussed serving to illustrate the successful patient care delivered over a decade and a half. Many past patients were in attendance including the Rachel McKenna, the first patient treated under the care of bloodless program. Rachel was transferred from a nearby hospital with a rare condition that caused her to have a serious internal hemorrhage. Rachel was treated with a minimally invasive procedure called embolization. Fifteen years ago embolization was a new treatment modality. Rachel’s outcome was so successful that it revolutionized the approach to internal hemorrhage and became the standard of care for all patients. Now instead of thinking of surgery as the first line approach, physicians often consult with interventional radiology first to explore a non-surgical solution to the problem.
Nate Lebowitz, MD, a cardiologist spoke from a physician's standpoint. He showed how blood conservation and management has evolved into the gold standard of care. Dr Lebowitz said his patients have taught him about tolerance of anemia. Like many other clinicians, over time he came to understand that in most cases avoiding blood transfusion is much safer. From what has been learned from their “Bloodless” patients, clinicians have realized that treating without blood leads to superior outcomes. Appropriate patient blood management is now coming to the forefront of evidence based medical care, due to the pioneering efforts of places like Hackensack University Medical Center and innovative leaders like Dr Lebowitz and Jo Valenti.