Thursday, January 31, 2013
7 News Features: Doctoring from a Distance
Some doctors here in South Florida are helping save lives half a world away, even on the front lines of war. 7's Mike Marza shows us how they are doctoring from a distance.
WSVN -- From continuing care in the war zone of Iraq to helping people in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, no matter what time it is around the world, doctors right here in South Florida are standing by to save lives.
Orlando Vallone, Director, Specialty Telehealth Services: "They take calls here 24 hours a day."
You might have driven by this building near UM Jackson Memorial Hospital and never guessed the crucial things going on inside this little room run by Specialty Telehealth Services.
Orlando Vallone: "We use the satellites, we use Internet, we use fiber optics."
All that technology is helping doctors here stay connected with doctors in foreign countries. Even though most of our soldiers have left Iraq, a team of doctors from Ryder Trauma Center is on call 24/7 assisting with injuries and surgeries there.
Dr. Enrique Ginzburg, Professor of Surgery, UM Jackson Memorial Hospital: "We are providing the backup consultations for docs, as well as in civilian life in the hospitals there, for any injuries or diseases that they are not comfortable with."
For security reasons we can't show you any of the video calls from the military, but the morning we were there one of the doctors had already gotten two calls from overseas before 9 a.m.
Enrique Ginzburg: "We had a patient in the military hospital who had fallen, and now had neurologic symptoms. They weren't sure what to do with that patient, so I gave them a consultation on that patient."
If surgery needs to be done, cameras can clearly zoom in so experts can show and tell doctors exactly where to cut.
Enrique Ginzburg: "There was a patient with a hand injury. We were able to bring our hand specialist from Jackson. We were actually guiding the surgeon in Iraq on what to do while he was in the operating room."
The video satellite technology even helped our doctors reach Haiti.
Enrique Ginzburg: "During the earthquake, as well as after the earthquake, we've used telemedicine to provide backup and consultation work for Haiti."
And that's just the tip of the technological iceberg. You are looking at a live teleconference between the Ryder team and 13 different teaching hospitals and universities around the world, including Colombia, Panama, even Thailand.
Orlando Vallone: "This is 9 o'clock in Miami now, and what we have here is grand rounds, where we have a lot of hospitals from all over the world participate. and they discuss a case, always related to trauma."
The idea is to get doctors together to discuss the best way to handle a difficult medical case.
Orlando Vallone: "It was a case about an aortic stent with somebody that had a large infection, and they had many opinions, as you could tell."
Enrique Ginzburg: "It has driven the way medicine is being handled around the world. We like to feel like we're the experts. Yes, they are coming to our group."
So wherever you are in the world, you can get care from some of the best doctors on the planet. I'm Mike Marza, 7News.
The telehealth program has also worked with the Brazilian team for the 2012 London Olympics and have more big projects ahead.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
University of Miami Life Science and Technology Park