October 2011

Patients visiting Heart Hospital Emergency Unit advised to go to HGH, Doha, 31 October

Patients and their families needing cardiac emergency care are advised to go the Hamad General Hospital (HGH) Emergency Department for urgent medical support and care. For the time being, they should not go to the Heart Hospital Emergency Unit

“All emergency heart cases will continue to be looked after by the HGH Emergency Department as the Heart Hospital’s emergency unit is not yet operational,” said Mr. Mahmoud Saleh Al Raisi, Executive Director of New Heart Hospital.

A total of 70 heart patients were recently transferred to the new heart hospital facility, comprising heart intensive care patients, heart surgery patients and heart inpatients.

The new specialized Heart Hospital has 114 rooms and will provide all necessary medical services for heart patients, such as catheterization, surgery and electronic display of X- ray images and reports.

This specialist facility will provide easier access to expert diagnosis, cutting-edge technology and surgical techniques in a hospital specially designed for the treatment and recovery of heart patients.

Source: Marketing and Public Relations Department

The Emiri Guard Congratulates EMS of HMC For Achieving JCI Accreditation, Doha, 29 October

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) received a message of congratulations from Qatar Emiri Guard on the occasion of its Ambulance Service achieving Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation.

Dr. Hanan Al-Kuwari, Managing Director of HMC, received Staff Brigadier Saleh Matar Al-Dhabit who conveyed to her the congratulations and well-wishes of His Excellency Major General Haza’a Bin Khalel Al-Shahwani, Commander of the Emiri Guard, for the management and all staff of HMC on the occasion of the accreditation of EMS by JCI.

Dr. Hanan expressed the gratitude to the Emiri Guard Command for their gesture and presented the representatives of the Emiri Guard with a commemorative plaque on behalf of HMC.

Dr. Robert Owen, Executive Director of the Ambulance Service; Mr. Mohamed Mubarak Al-Noimi, Executive Director of Corporate Communications; Mr. Ali Al-Khater, Director of the Managing Director’s Office and Mr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Raisi from the Ambulance Service, were present at the occasion.

Source: Marketing and Public Relations Department

HMC’s Ambulance Service Achieves JCI Accreditation, Doha, 25 October

Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Ambulance Service has received accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI). With this achievement, the Ambulance Service, formerly known as Emergency Medical Services, becomes the first in the region – and the first national ambulance service – to be accredited by the JCI.

HMC’s Ambulance Service would also be the fifth such service in the world to achieve JCI accreditation, as well as the biggest ambulance service in the world that has been assessed by the JCI.

The JCI is a global, knowledge-based organization that provides leadership and innovative solutions to help international healthcare organizations across all settings improve patient safety and quality. It is the international arm of The Joint Commission, the United States’ oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare. The JCI has been working with healthcare organizations, ministries of health, and global organizations in over 80 countries since 1994.

Dr Robert Owen, Executive Director of the Ambulance Service, said this was the first time they have sought accreditation from the JCI. “We developed a comprehensive JCI accreditation plan which we implemented over 18 months. We worked very much with our partner organizations within HMC such as Quality Management, Occupational Health and Safety, and Infection Control. Through our committee structure, we developed a plan and monitored our progress against that plan.”

“We then had a mock survey in May-June where we did very well. There were 658 measurable elements in the assessment, and we were fully compliant with over 98 percent of those, which is a very good result for a JCI accreditation,” said Dr Owen. “We scored 100 percent on governance, leadership and direction, quality management, access to and coordination of services, assessment of patients, and patient and family education, and in the rest we scored in the high 90s.”

“Congratulations to you, and all the other leaders and staff of the Emergency Medical Services (now the Ambulance Service), HMC in achieving this recognition of your commitment to provide quality care on an ongoing basis,” said the JCI letter addressed to Dr Owen, which advised of the JCI’s decision to grant accreditation. “The citizens of Qatar should be proud that EMS-HMC (the Ambulance Service) is focusing on this most challenging goal – to continuously raise quality to higher levels.”

The Ambulance Service accreditation is another milestone for HMC, which is the first healthcare organization outside the United States to achieve simultaneous JCI reaccreditation last year for all of its then five highly specialized hospitals, namely, Hamad General Hospital, Rumailah Hospital, Women’s Hospital, National Center for Cancer Care & Research and Al Khor Hospital. The two new hospitals added to HMC’s portfolio, Heart Hospital and Al Wakra Hospital have been opened only this year and thus were not included in the previous accreditation.

“This is something that the whole of Qatar can be proud of. It demonstrates that HMC is committed to providing the best care possible – and that the Ambulance Service as part of HMC is committed to achieving the international benchmark for providing quality care, and this commitment has born fruit,” said Dr Owen.

Dr Owen explained, “It is important to note that the Ambulance Service has implemented a lot of plans to change the way we deliver services to our patients. These were about improving access to care, and ensuring the quality of the care that is delivered; and I think the JCI process has validated them. The JCI has come often and inspected us as we implemented these plans, and they clearly met with the requirements for accreditation.”

“What I have personally learned from the JCI process is what an amazing team we have working at HMC. The whole organization pulled together hugely for the JCI accreditation and are completely committed to it. We have some talented, very committed people, and the success of the JCI process has reemphasized that,” said Dr Owen. He added that the Ambulance Service will seek reaccreditation in three years’ time. “I am confident we will be successful in that as well.”

Source: Marketing and Public Relations Department

EMS Begins LifeFlight Night Operations, Doha, 12 October

Hamad Medical Corporation’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) rolled out the first phase of its night operations on October 1, enabling it to be ready to respond to emergencies in the outlying parts of Qatar from 6am until midnight.

“When we started four years ago, we only operated during the daylight hours of 6am to 6pm. Now we have extended our operations until midnight,” said Khalid Shaheen, Operations Manager for Special Events and Public Relations at EMS. “The LifeFlight serves areas outside Doha, including the northern and southern parts of the country.”

The LifeFlight service uses an aeromedical helicopter to ensure faster access for critical emergency care to areas which are too distant for road vehicles to reach quickly, improving survival rates. The helicopter is fitted out with advanced life support medical equipment as well as a radio device which communicates with the command center. It can carry three crew members – the pilot, a critical care paramedic and a Flight EMT and one patient in a critical or serious condition.

The LifeFlight crew is part of a highly trained team of experts specialized in Emergency Medical Services, providing high quality critical care services throughout Qatar with a range of rapid response vehicles, ambulances and the LifeFlight aeromedical helicopter. Last year, the LifeFlight crew received 799 calls, treating 425 patients at the scene of the emergency and transporting 288 patients to the hospital.

The EMS responds to 100-150 emergency calls per day, with about 32 percent of them being potentially life-threatening. Deciding whether a patient needs to be transported through the LifeFlight service is based on various factors, for instance, whether the patient is conscious or unconscious, if he is breathing or not, or if there is severe bleeding.

“The most common emergency cases are road traffic accidents or trauma patients. We also dispatch the LifeFlight for medical cases such as patients who have had a cardiac arrest, or are unconscious or not breathing, or otherwise very ill,” said Shaheen. On average, response time takes about 18 to 20 minutes, depending on the location of the emergency.

“At the moment we are responding to about 60 calls a month during daylight hours. With the extension from 6pm to midnight, we expect this to increase to 70-80 calls a month,” said Wayne Thomson, Manager of the Aeromedical Unit at EMS. “The vast majority of the calls are trauma emergencies: road traffic accidents or industrial accidents. Very few are actually medical calls.”

“Historically, the demand for emergency service in the Life Flight’s operational areas between midnight and 6am decreases substantially,” Thomson added. Residents of Qatar – of which about 85 percent reside in Doha – will continue to have access to the ground-based critical care paramedic units 24 hours a day.

“The LifeFlight night operations’ capacity is currently limited to a set of predetermined landing zones. In the future the number of landing zones will expand which will allow the service to access more areas at night.” said Thomson. “As we expand, we will undertake training with all emergency services to assist with the safety of the landing zones.”

Source: Marketing and Public Relations Department

HMC Research Concludes Camel Milk a Safer Choice for Children Allergic to Cow’s Milk, Doha, 11 October

Two unprecedented studies conducted by the Pediatric Allergy-Immunology Clinics of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) have concluded that children with cow’s milk allergy (CMA) can safely consume camel milk as an alternative milk source. Recently published in two international medical journals on allergy, the studies – the first of their kind worldwide – were conducted between April 2007 and February 2010 on children with CMA attending the clinics.

Both studies were designed to determine whether children with CMA could safely consume camel milk without experiencing the same allergic reactions as they had to cow's milk. The first study was conducted on 35 children aged 6-12 months, who had CMA-related symptoms. The children were exclusively breastfed for 15.1 months (range of 3-24 months). The research also studied whether a skin prick test to camel milk could be used as a reliable clinical diagnostic tool.

“The study was published in the May-June issue of the journal Allergy and Asthma Proceedings under the title Camel milk: An alternative for cow’s milk allergy in children, said Dr Mohammed Ehlayel, Consultant Pediatrician and Head of Pediatric Allergy-Immunology, Department of Pediatrics at HMC, and Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. “Results indicated that 80% of children with CMA were safely able to consume camel milk without developing any adverse allergic reaction.”

Dr Ehlayel explained that children with CMA were previously advised to avoid dairy products and usually received substitutes that include soy milk or highly processed milk. “Although extensively hydrolyzed and soy-based formulas are highly nutritious, they are also more costly and not always palatable to children due to their strong state. Consequently, numerous studies have been conducted to find alternative sources of mammalian milk, including that of sheep, goats, mares, buffalo and donkeys, but this is the first time that camel milk has been researched in this way.”

The second study, which included 38 children with CMA, concluded that 80% of children with CMA could consume camel milk without showing any allergic symptoms, while only 36.8% of them can consume goat milk with no allergic symptoms. The research results were published in the July issue of the International Scholarly Research Network on Allergy under the title Camel milk is a safer choice than goat milk for feeding children with cow’s milk allergy.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has concluded that the composition of camel milk is closer to that of human’s milk compared to that of cow's milk, and considered camel milk of high therapeutic and nutritional value.

Source: Marketing and Public Relations Department

HMC and Qatar Foundation Promote Music Therapy in Qatar, Doha, 9 October

HMC’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department and Qatar Music Academy Organize Workshop to develop music therapy skills: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Qatar Music Academy – a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development – are organizing a specialist training workshop to promote the concept of ‘Music Therapy’ in Qatar. Music Therapy is an established form of therapy where music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.

A qualified music therapist evaluates the needs and abilities of clients in order to recommend relevant treatment that may include creating, moving to as well as listening to music. The therapeutic use of music can help individuals, who may have difficulty in expressing themselves, to find avenues for communication through music. Often the individual can gain confidence and strength through this form of therapy that may help them in other areas of their life.

Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas including overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing their motivation to engaged more in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.
A weeklong training workshop for 20 rehabilitation and allied health service professionals and therapists from HMC, Al Noor Institute, AL Shafalah Centre and MADA (Qatar Assistive Technology Centre) has been organized with the aim of introducing these professionals to music therapy.

The workshop is conducted by Ms. Barbara Aeberhard, an experienced music therapist from Switzerland, who has to her credit many years of training and teaching. Explaining the role and scope of music therapy Ms. Aeberhard said, “Music therapy is an allied health profession and one of the expressive therapies, consisting of an interpersonal process in which a trained music therapist uses music and all of its facets: physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic and spiritual – in order to help clients to improve or maintain their health”.

She further stated that music therapists primarily help clients improve their health across various domains, such as emotional and affective development, improvement of self esteem, cognitive functioning, social and motor skills, by using music experiences and improvisations with musical instruments, voice and body to achieve treatment goals and objectives.

The Music Therapy workshop launch was held at Katara Cultural Village and was presided over by Dr Wafa Al-Yazeedi, Acting Chairperson of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department at HMC and Dr. Abdul Gafour Al Heeti, the Principal of the Qatar Music Academy. Both have provided key leadership to the introduction and development of this concept in Qatar.

Talking about the launch of Music Therapy Dr. Wafa said, “Through this initiative, The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at HMC is offering local allied health professionals the opportunity to learn more about music therapy as an established form of expressive therapies in the promotion of good health. We are looking to provide professional music therapy in the near future, as part of a comprehensive set of allied health services for the benefit of our patients. For this to happen, we need to encourage more credentialed professionals who have completed an approved music therapy program to provide this service”.

Dr. Abdul Ghafour Al Heeti, Principal of Qatar Music Academy, noted that “The power of music therapy is recognized around the world, and our vision is to offer the immense benefits of the treatment to the population of Qatar. Working together with Hamad Medical Corporation and our other esteemed partners, we will strive to make this a reality.”

Ms. Aeberhard is currently employed as music therapist in the Neurological Rehabilitation Clinic and the HELIOS Zihlschacht Clinic in Switzerland. She has studied at the University of Music and Art, Zurich, Switzerland, and has also completed additional studies at the prestigious Paul Boyesen Institute, Paris, France.

Source: Marketing and Public Relations Department

Emergency First Responder (EFR) & Life Support Course, Doha, 4 October

Held collaboratively by Health Professions Awareness Program and Hamad Int. Training Center: In collaboration with Hamad International Training Center (HITC), the Health Professions Awareness Program organized the Emergency First Responder & Life Support Course. The event was held at Hamad Medical Corporation’s Club Hotel in Hamad Medical City, from 25 – 29 September 2011, and was attended by 40 secondary school students together with their parents.

Elaborating on the event, Ms Balqees Al Kharji, Director of Medical Professions Awareness Program, said: “We are trying to develop and diversify medical awareness programs at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). In this particular course we are focusing on the role to be played by the emergency doctor in saving lives of urgent and critical cases. Building on its active social participation, HMC is striving to disseminate the culture of health education and voluntary work among various sectors of the community, particularly in the vital field of life saving and disaster management.”

During the course, instructor Abdul-Nasser Saleem tackled a variety of specialized issues including first aid and life support programs, as well as and how to handle emergency cases of burns, fractures, injuries, sunstrokes, epilepsy and poisoning. Moreover, he practically demonstrated and explained how to use a defibrillator in case of heart attack. Additionally, he familiarized the attendees with the ways and means to deal with major disasters.

The trainees have to complete 25 credit hours in order to be awarded a training certificate accredited by (HITC). Students showed remarkable levels of interaction with the instructors and parents expressed satisfaction over the considerable benefits gained from the course which will have a positive impact on the students’ lives. They finally expressed appreciation and gratitude for HMC for availing them of the opportunity to benefit from this training.

Source: Marketing and Public Relations Department

Al Wakrah Pediatric Emergency Center relocated to Al Wakrah Hospital, Doha, 3 October

From today onwards, Al Wakrah Pediatric Emergency Services have been relocated from Al Wakrah Health Center to the new Al Wakrah Hospital.

This development is part of Qatar’s ongoing drive to enhance healthcare services throughout the country. Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) will deliver specialist healthcare services, such as this Pediatric Emergency Center (PEC), to the population of Al Wakrah and other southern districts of Qatar.

HMC has additional pediatric emergency centers located at Al Sadd, Al Rayyan, Airport, Al Wakrah, Al Ruwais and Al Khor, in addition to the PEC newly opened at Al Dhaayan.

Source: Marketing and Public Relations Department

Former US ski and snowboard team physician brings latest arthroscopic procedures to treat sports injuries at HMC, Doha, 2 October

Hamad Medical Corporation ( HMC) as part of its constant endeavor to bring  world’s best surgeons and practitioners to Qatar, recently saw the visit of Dr. Charles L Beck Jr., a leading American knee and shoulder surgeon. Dr. Beck, a former team physician to United States Ski and Snowboard teams Real Salt Lake, and Granite School District, is a pioneer and key researcher in the treatment of knee ligament injury suffered by athletes.

 A specialist in using arthroscopic surgery to treat knee and shoulder injuries, Dr Beck is credited with innovating a device called Femoral Intrafix, a sheath and screw system, which is considered one of the best ways to treat anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.

“Patients with ACL injuries due to sports or old age have knee instability and can develop additional problems due to torn meniscus cartilage. Fixing the ACL and meniscus early can prevent development of arthritis in later stage. In arthroscopic surgery we take a small piece of tendon from somewhere else in the leg and rebuilt the ACL. We can also repair other common injuries accompanying ACL tears such meniscus, medial collateral ligament (MCL) and knee cartilage tears,” said Dr. Charles Beck.

According to Dr. Beck, the advantage of arthroscopy over traditional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be opened up fully. Instead, for knee arthroscopy for example, only two small incisions are made one for the arthroscope and one for the surgical instruments to be used in the knee cavity to fully repair injuries. This reduces recovery time and may increase the rate of surgical success due to less trauma to the surrounding tissue.

“It is especially useful for professional athletes, who frequently injure knee joints and require fast healing time. There is also less scarring, because of the smaller incisions.” Dr. Charles Beck added.

Talking about arthroscopic surgery for shoulder injuries Dr. Beck said that the procedure is used for treating torn rotator tendons and instability. He also explained the advances in reverse total shoulder replacement for patients who have lost their rotator cuff and have also developed arthritis.

“The reverse total shoulder replacement, arthroscopic cuff repair and cartilage regeneration and meniscus transplant are some of the most advanced procedures being developed in the Western countries. I want to bring my expertise in these fields of orthopaedic surgery to Qatar,” said Dr. Beck, who was on HMC visit from 18 to 22 September.

Dr. Charles Beck currently practices orthopedic surgery in West Jordan, Utah in America.

Dr. Beck completed his medical degree and subsequent orthopedic residency at Louisiana State University in New Orleans in 1987. He moved to Salt Lake City to complete a one-year fellowship in knee and shoulder surgery and sports medicine. He later completed a prestigious European traveling fellowship in sports medicine. He still takes time to teach locally, nationally and internationally.

Source: Marketing and Public Relations Department