Health

Emory hospitals again ranked among best in country, state and metro area by U.S. News & World Report

euh-frontU.S. News & World Report has announced its 2015-16 rankings of America’s Best Hospitals and once again, our Emory Healthcare hospitals have been placed among the best in the country. For the fourth year in a row, Emory University Hospital has been named the number one hospital in both Georgia and metro Atlanta. Emory University Hospital includes Emory University Hospital at Wesley Woods and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital.

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital is ranked 5th in Georgia and 3rd in metro Atlanta. Emory University Hospital Midtown ranks 11th in Georgia in a two-way tie and 5th in metro Atlanta, also a two-way tie.

NATIONALLY, Emory University Hospital was TOP ranked in 12 adult specialty areas:

• Cancer – (#22 up from #24)
• Cardiology & Heart Surgery – (#15 up from #16)
• Diabetes & Endocrinology (#18 up from #23)
• Ear, Nose & Throat – (#45)
• Gastroenterology & GI Surgery – (#40 up from #41)
• Geriatrics – (#20 up from #21)
• Gynecology – (#26 up from #42)
• Nephrology – (#42)
• Neurology & Neurosurgery (#12 up from #15)
• Ophthalmology – (#12 up from #14)
• Orthopaedics – #31
• Urology – (#22 up from #25)

Emory University Hospital also ranked high performing in pulmonology. Emory University Hospital Midtown ranked high performing in cancer.

“We are proud of our rankings throughout our system in this year’s U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals issue,” says Michael J. Mandl, president and CEO of Emory Healthcare. “More importantly, we are proud of the people who deliver excellence, quality and safety in health care to our patients and their families every day.”

U.S. News & World Report began publishing their “Best Hospital” rankings twenty-five years ago to identify the best medical centers for the most complex patients — those whose illnesses pose unusual challenges because of underlying conditions, procedure difficulty or other medical issues that add risk. Rankings are based on performance in several primary areas of health care: structure, process, outcomes and hospital reputation.

The rankings have been published at http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals and will appear in print in the U.S. News Best Hospitals 2015-16 guidebook, available on newsstands on September 1.

Emory Metabolic Camp Helps Young Women Manage Metabolic Disorders

This summer marked the 21st annual Metabolic Camp hosted by Emory University. This camp helps girls and young women with inherited metabolic disorders, including phenylketonuria (PKU) and maple syrup urine disease (MSUD), learn how to better manage and live with their disorders. Metabolic Camp provides the girls with educational opportunities for handling the lifetime responsibility of managing their diets and health along with traditional camping activities.

These disorders are caused by the body’s inability to process proteins normally. In individuals with these rare genetic disorders even one gram of protein can cause irreversible brain damage or death. However through Georgia’s newborn screening program, metabolic disorders can often be detected early on.

“Metabolic Camp has had a tremendous impact not only on the quality of life of girls over the years but also on the outcome of the next generation of their children,” says Rani Singh, PhD, RD, camp director and director of Emory’s Genetics Metabolic Nutrition Program. “Most of these girls can’t attend other camps because of their special dietary needs, and this allows them to interact with others with their conditions and feel less isolated, while learning things that can save their lives and the lives of their future children.”

People with these disorders must learn as children to stick to a special diet of fruits and vegetables along with their specialized medical formula, and they are able to live normal lives if they adhere to this routine. It is important for females to follow specialized diets before and throughout pregnancy in order to avoid maternal PKU (MPKU) and prevent mental disabilities in their children. Emory University Metabolic Camp helps these girls and young women understand the importance of these diets and learn how to fit it into their everyday life.

The Emory University Metabolic Camp allows young women to be around others that can understand what they are going through and show them that they are not alone. The camp helps them learn skills and gain knowledge that will help them throughout a lifetime of managing and living with their disorder.

Metabolic Camp is a collaboration between the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute(ACTSI) and the Department of Human Genetics at Emory University Medicine.

For more information about Emory University Metabolic Camp visit the Emory News Center.

5 Common Summertime Emergencies

SummertimeEmergencies _ 7-9Summertime is fun time! The beautiful weather demands you come out and play. Enjoy your hiking, biking, gardening, and all the activities that are much more enjoyable when it’s warm and sunny, but be careful. Emergency visits tend to rise with the temperatures.

While many injuries are relatively minor and will heal quickly on their own, it’s important to understand when it’s appropriate to go to the emergency room. It could save a life.

Here’s a list of five common summertime injuries and the symptoms you need to know:

Heat Stroke

As temperatures rise in the summer, it’s important to remain cool, well rested and hydrated. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures and dehydration are a lethal mix causing your body to overheat. This can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion and the most serious of all – heatstroke. Heatstroke is a very serious problem that causes internal organ failure. If left untreated, it can kill.

Seek help immediately if you experience extremely high body temperature (104 F or higher), fainting, nausea and/or vomiting, an intense headache, seizures, confusion, disorientation, rapid breathing or increased heart rate.

Head Injuries

Summer wouldn’t be complete without a few bumps and bruises. Most are harmless, resulting in minor pain or tenderness. Head injuries, though, can be tricky. Sometimes the symptoms of serious problems do not reveal themselves for several hours…or even days.

You will want to go to the hospital if, after a blow to the head, you experience a headache or stiff neck, sleepiness, vomiting, loss of movement in your arms or legs, or don’t seem to be thinking straight/acting normal.

Bee & Wasp Stings

Everyone reacts differently to bee and wasp stings. Some will barely notice a sting while others may have a life-threatening allergic reaction. Usually there isn’t anything to worry about. The pain will go away within a few hours. Swelling from more moderate reactions will go down within a few days. But severe allergic reactions are nothing to take lightly.

Call 911 if, after being stung, you have difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and tongue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness or fainting, or additional skin reactions such as hives.

Wrist and Elbow Fractures

Falls become more frequent in the summer as outdoor activity levels increase. Our natural tendency is to catch ourselves, causing our wrists and elbows to pay the price. Early detection and treatment of fractures can help speed the recovery process and prevent complications in the future.

Head to the emergency room after a fall if you notice an obvious deformity, difficulty using the injured area, pain, swelling, warmth, bruising or redness.

Snake Bites

Most of the time, snakes are not aggressive and they will try to avoid people. Even if they do attack, many bites are not life-threatening. However, you should treat every bite as a medical emergency unless you are absolutely positive the snake was not venomous.

General symptoms of a bite may include bleeding from the puncture wound, severe pain, swelling and burning of the skin, blurred vision, dizziness, diarrhea, fever, fainting, increased thirst, and weakness.

For more information, download our Know When to Go Quick Reference that outlines the top 10 medical conditions that should prompt you to go to the emergency room.

Additional resources:
Prevent Sunburns & Other Skin Burns this Summer
Infused Water Recipes: Hydrate & Improve Health
Your Heat and the Heat

Partial Hospitalization Program – What is It?”

Partial Hospitalization ProgramI have been a part of the Emory family for 6 years. Over the past 6 years, I have worked in the Transitions Seniors Program, better known as PHP. When attending different community events, a question I hear all too often is, “PHP? What’s that?” PHP is short for Partial Hospitalization Program. I hope this blog can answer the question, “PHP? What’s that?”

What is Partial Hospitalization Program?

Partial hospitalization is defined by the American Association of Partial Hospitalizations as: A distinct and organized intensive psychiatric outpatient treatment that closely resembles short-term inpatient program. The Medicare psychiatric partial hospitalization benefits were established to provide patients with an acute mental illness, services in lieu of inpatient psychiatric care (Block & Lefkovitz, 2009). The PHP patient care is an individualized treatment plan developed by the physician and a multidisciplinary team with input from the patient.

Who is part of the multidisciplinary PHP team?

Our team includes a physician, a program director, four licensed therapists, a registered nurse, and an advanced practice nurse. All team members are very experienced in the mental health field and serve our patients with pride, compassion, and integrity.

Who should use PHP?

Patients admitted to a PHP program require a minimum of 20 hours per week of therapeutic services. Here at Emory Wesley Woods, we have a PHP program that is geared specifically towards older adults. We target patients who are 60+ struggling with a mood disorder (such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc.) and need a higher level of care than outpatient treatment. Patients do not need a doctor referral; however, they must meet certain diagnostic criteria.

About Our Program

Emory Healthcare’s Transitions Senior Program (PHP) of Wesley Woods was established in 1997. It is a hospital based program represented by the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems and is part of a larger continuum of care for older adults. As of 2013, we were also recognized under the Joint Commission as a “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures.” According to the Joint Commission website, to be recognized, is a “symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.” We are honored to have this. Click here for more information on Joint Commission.

The Transitions Senior Program is designed to provide intensive therapy to older adults experiencing behavioral health difficulties. The structured format provides medical monitoring as well as therapeutic groups on a wide range of topics. The program can be used as a step down from inpatient treatment for older adults needing an intensive level of care, but not hospitalization. Additionally, the program can be a preventive measure for patients at risk of inpatient hospitalization. The advantage of this program is that patients are able to continue their normal life activities with very minimal disruption. After assessment of needs, each patient receives a personalized treatment plan. The therapy program is voluntary and is conducted daily from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm, Monday through Friday. The average length of stay is between 4 to 6 weeks. Our program is the only senior-specific partial program in the metro Atlanta Area as well as the only one to provide free transportation to and from the facility.

In addition to the PHP program, we have also launched an IOCP (Intensive Outpatient Counseling Program) in September 2014. This is a 3 day program (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) in a less intense setting than PHP, where patients can attend for up to 36 treatment days (roughly 3 months). This program takes the concepts learned in PHP and teaches patients how to apply and use them in their daily lives. A patient does not have to go to PHP in order to join. Patients do need to provide their own transportation for this program. IOCP is Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 11:30am to 2:15pm.

I am proud to say I work in the Transitions Senior Program. The psychiatry department is thriving as PHP and IOCP continue to grow daily. If you are ever at Wesley Woods, feel free to stop by to speak to anyone on our team. We are on the first floor of the hospital, adjacent to the cafeteria. Both PHP and IOCP are housed in the same suite (B-1200). For more information on either program, please call 404-728-4776 or our program director, Ed Lawrence, at 404-728-6975.

We look forward to accommodating your geriatric psychiatry needs soon.

Spotlight: Men’s Fitness

Men's Health MonthJune is Men’s Health Month. It’s also the time of year when many men become more active. The warm temperatures and long days make it easier (and more fun) to play on a softball team, tend to the yard, or start a new exercise routine, like biking or swimming. But after months of rest, the sudden explosion of activity can wreak havoc on the body.

If you’re about to ramp up a new summer workout, keep these injury prevention tips in mind:

1. Get Professional Help

If you are new to exercise, or just haven’t been active in a while, see your doctor for a physical to make sure you are healthy enough to take on strenuous activity. Also consider hiring a professional trainer or coach who can teach you proper form and technique.

2. Wear Proper Clothing

Always wear appropriate footwear. Not only will you be more comfortable, but you will also be able to alleviate undue stress to your ankles, knees and hips by providing much needed support. Also choose appropriate clothing that fits well, allows you to move naturally, and doesn’t interfere with your safety.

3. Warm Up

Never start a workout in full throttle. Begin slowly and build the pace. This gets the blood flowing to your muscles gradually, giving them time to warm up and acclimate to the activity. This also gives you time to listen to your body and identify any aches or pains that may be red flags to more serious problems.

4. Leave Your Ego At The Door

Many men start a workout program thinking too much about what they should be able to do rather than what they are honestly capable of at the time. Attempting too much too quickly invites injury. So, take the pressure off. Concentrate on your individual progress rather than comparing yourself to or competing with others.

5. Stretch

When your muscles have warmed up, stretch. Many men skip this part of a workout. After all, stretching is for girls, right? But, as your muscles get stronger and tighter they start pulling on one another. Eventually, this tug-of-war affects your body posture and you start to feel aches in your back, hamstrings, and shoulders. These minor aggravations can turn into serious problems, all preventable if you take the time to stretch.

6. Take A Day Off

Rest is important. It gives your body time to recuperate and repair. If you’re just starting an exercise program, make sure you take two days off each week. Listen to your body and respond accordingly. Pain and fatigue are subtle signs of overtraining that can lead to more serious problems.

7. Eat Well

Pay attention to nutrition. In order to maintain healthy energy levels and have the physical endurance to push through tough workouts, you need to fuel your body with good, healthy food. Avoid high-fat foods and sweets and drink lots of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Related Resources:

Emory Johns Creek Hospital Offers State-of-the-Art Vein Illumination Technology

Vein IlluminationHave you ever gone to a physician’s office to have blood drawn only to be stuck three or four times to hit a vein? Or, when receiving an IV, have clinician had to search for a good vein because you are dehydrated? Emory Johns Creek Hospital has added new, innovative technology that greatly decreases the number of attempts needed to find a good vein for needle placements, making the process of drawing blood, starting intravenous solutions and other procedures easier on both the patient and clinician.

The vein illuminating device, made by AccuVein Inc., uses a visible laser to show a map of veins on the surface of a patient’s skin, which allows the clinician to choose veins that will offer the greatest chance of success for needle placement on the first try. Since the vein finder does not make contact with the skin, it is painless and easy to clean. It is also effective on a range of skin tones. Clinicians can dock the device on an easy-to-position mobile stand when they need to work hands free.

According to Lisa Aiken, RN, MSN, Nurse Educator for the Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Department, Emory Johns Creek uses the vein finder in several areas of the hospital, including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where veins in premature babies are very small and hard to find. It is also used in the Emergency Department and Outpatient Surgery.

Aiken explains that suitable veins are often more difficult to locate in patients who are dehydrated, overweight or diabetic. Veins are also harder to find in older patients, and Aiken adds, anxiety can make veins harder to find, which is often the case in people who are about to give blood or undergo a procedure. Though new to the hospital, Aiken says patients have already expressed appreciation and satisfaction with the new device.

For more information on this exciting new technology, please visit Emory Johns Creek Hospital at www.emoryjohnscreek.com or call 678-474-7000.

Join Team Emory and Walk to End Lupus Now

Emory Lupus Team

Members of Emory’s 2014 team celebrate at last year’s Walk to End Lupus event.

It is estimated that 1 in 2,000 people in the United States has lupus, a widespread and chronic (lifelong) autoimmune disease that, for unknown reasons, causes the immune system to attack the body’s own tissue and organs, including the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, blood, or skin.

Normally, the function of the body’s immune system is to protect it against viruses, bacteria and other foreign substances. In an autoimmune disease like lupus, the immune system loses its ability to tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissue, so the immune system then makes antibodies and begins attacking itself.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, lupus can strike men and women of all ages, but 90 percent of individuals diagnosed with the disease are women, mostly between the ages of 15-44. With no known cause and no known cure, lupus can be difficult to diagnose since there is no single test to confirm its presence. The importance of research and funding to support the development of better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent lupus is crucial.

Emory’s Division of Rheumatology and Lowance Center for Human Immunology, lead by Division Director Ignacio Sanz, MD, and Clinical Director Sam Lim, MD, has become a hub for lupus patient care and research across the Southeast. There, the dedicated team of scientists, physicians and nurses are working tirelessly together to not only find a cure for this for this complex disease, but also prevent it from developing in high risk patients.

Support Team Emory Lupus Research and the “Walk to End Lupus Now.” This annual walk is sponsored by the Georgia Chapter of Lupus Foundation of America and 90% of all funds raised go toward lupus patient/family educational and support services which currently reach 139 of Georgia’s 151 counties.

Event Details:

Event Date/Time: Saturday, May 2 at 11:00 a.m.

Event Location: Piedmont Park

To donate to Team Emory Lupus Research or register to participate in the event, visit http://www.lupuswalkatlanta.com/emorylupusresearch.

Fecal Incontinence: Talk to Your Doctor Today

fecal incontinenceFecal Incontinence (FI) is the accidental or involuntary loss of liquid or solid stool from the rectum. The two most important things to know about FI are:

  1. It is not a normal part of aging. And
  2. You are not alone.

Fecal incontinence affects nearly 18 million adults in the United States and has a profound impact on one’s quality of life. Still, many women are hesitant to talk to their doctors about this condition because they are embarrassed or think that there is nothing that can be done about it.

What Causes Fecal Incontinence?

There are many different factors within the body that have to all work together to keep us continent. These include intact mental function, normal volume and consistency of stool, and intact muscles, nerves, and reflexes within our colon and anal canal. A problem with any of these factors can lead to fecal incontinence.

Some examples of factors that can cause fecal incontinence include:

  • Neurologic conditions such as dementia, stroke, or multiple sclerosis
  • Diarrhea (from infection, irritable bowel, lactose intolerance, colitis, etc.)
  • Obstetric injury or trauma
  • Previous surgeries (hemorrhoids, fistulas)
  • Anatomic issues (tumors, hemorrhoids, fistula, rectal prolapse)
  • Medications
  • Radiation

Receiving Treatment for Fecal Incontinence:

The physicians of the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery division of Emory Clinic’s Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics are here to help you deal with this devastating condition. Your care with us often involves a team approach in which we collaborate with our colleagues from colorectal surgery and gastroenterology (GI), as well as a fantastic group of physical therapists.

What Can I Expect from My Visit?

During your visit you will have an in-depth conversation with your doctor, where we will review your medical history, including other medical conditions, surgeries, medications, etc. You will also undergo a full physical exam including a rectal and vaginal exam. Your doctor may order additional tests depending on your situation, including:

  • Endoanal ultrasound: This is done to see if your anal sphincter may have been torn or injured
  • Pelvic MRI or Defecography: This looks for possible anatomic causes and demonstrates how you eliminate stool during a bowel movement
  • Anal Manometry: This tests the reflexes, sensation and the function of your internal and external anal sphincter
  • Endoscopy: You may be asked to undergo a colonoscopy or another similar type of imaging procedure to rule out inflammatory conditions or cancers

Is There Hope? Treatment Options for Fecal Incontinence

Yes, there is hope. Treatment will be tailored to your specific cause of fecal incontinence as well as the severity of your symptoms. Our treatment approach will take into account your other medical conditions as well as your personal limitations or constraints. A large part of the treatment plan requires your participation, as it involves behavioral approaches and lifestyle changes. Some of these include:

  • Diet and fluid management
  • Bowel retraining/toileting techniques
  • Weight loss
  • Fiber supplements
  • Medications
  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises
  • Biofeedback

If these more conservative therapies fail, other more advanced treatment options your doctor may discuss with you include:

  • Anal injections with bulking agents
  • Sacral nerve stimulation (Interstim)
  • Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS)
  • Anal sphincter repair
  • Colostomy

About Kristie Greene, MD

Kristie Greene, MDKristie Greene, MD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine. She is a member of the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery division, also known as urogynecology. Dr. Greene sees patients at the Emory Clinic at 1365 Clifton Road, in Building A on the 4th floor. She completed medical school at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine and went on to complete both her residency and her fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of South Florida. To make an appointment with Dr. Greene or any of our urogynecologists, please call 404-778-3401.

Sexual Dysfunction: When To See A Specialist

What is sexual dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction is a general term that refers to a problem during sexual activity that interferes with an individual’s ability to enjoy the sexual experience. Sexual problems typically fall into one of four categories:

  1. Desire disorders
  2. Arousal disorders
  3. Orgasm disorders
  4. Pain disorders

What causes sexual dysfunction in women?

Many things, including physical or medical conditions as well as psychological causes, can contribute to sexual dysfunction. Some examples may include:

  • Medical problems, such as depression
  • Medications
  • Smoking, alcohol, and drugs
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Relationship problems
  • Prior negative sexual experiences
  • Hormone changes/menopause

What’s the link between sexual function and menopause?

Sexual function can affect both men and women of all ages. However, there are specific changes that occur around menopause that can impact a woman’s sexual experience. During menopause, declining hormone levels cause changes in our body that may affect our sexual function. For example, lower hormone levels may decrease your sex drive or cause changes in the vagina that may make intercourse uncomfortable.

What causes sex to be painful?

There are many reasons why sex may be painful. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • Vaginal atrophy: Loss of estrogen after menopause causes the vaginal lining to become thin and dry. We call this vaginal atrophy. Vaginal atrophy can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable or even painful. Although this is most commonly associated with menopause, a woman might also experience vaginal atrophy after surgical removal of her ovaries. Your doctor may treat this condition with vaginal estrogen in a cream, tablet, or ring form. Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers can also help.
  • Pelvic floor muscle spasms: Similar to a “Charley horse,” women can also develop muscle spasms or “trigger points” in their pelvic floor muscles. When this happens, it can make penetration difficult and painful. Treatment involves working with a pelvic floor physical therapist to help you rehab and appropriately relax these muscles.
  • Infections
  • Cysts
  • Endometriosis

When should you see a specialist about sexual dysfunction?

Most conditions can be managed with the help of your gynecologist or primary care physician. However, there are some conditions, like the ones listed below, that may require consultation with a specialist known as a urogynecologist, who has advanced training in these areas.

  • Pelvic organ prolapse: Pelvic organ prolapse is a weakening of the pelvic floor, which allows the vaginal walls along with some of your pelvic organs to herniate through the vaginal opening. This often presents as a vaginal bulge or an appearance that something is protruding outside of the vagina. Sometimes women describe a sensation of feeling like they are sitting on an egg. Although prolapse should not cause pain per se, the vaginal bulge may interfere with one’s ability to experience penetration and may cause discomfort during intercourse.
  • Previous surgeries: Sometimes women experience pain with intercourse after having undergone previous surgeries. This may be due to a complication of the surgery, distorted anatomy, or perhaps a residual foreign body in the vagina such as suture or mesh.

Talk to your health care provider

The good news is that most causes of sexual pain and sexual dysfunction are treatable. Treatment will depend on the underlying etiology and often requires a team approach including your partner, doctors, physical therapist and psychologists. Remember, communication is key. Talk to your health care providers today to see how they can help you with any concerns you are having.

About Kristie Greene, MD

Kristie Greene, MDKristie Greene, MD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine. She is a member of the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery division, also known as urogynecology. Dr. Greene sees patients at the Emory Clinic at 1365 Clifton Road, in Building A on the 4th floor. She completed medical school at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine and went on to complete both her residency and her fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of South Florida. To make an appointment with Dr. Greene or any of our urogynecologists, please call 404-778-3401.

Special Emory Clinic Seeks to Diagnose Rare Diseases

Emory Special Diagnostics Patient

Rheumatologist Heather Gladue, DO, sees patient Drew Crenshaw during a check-up at Emory following his diagnosis of severe gout.

Emory Healthcare patient, Drew Crenshaw, was just 18-years old when he started down his six-year journey to diagnosis. After seeking medical help for crippling ankle pain, X-rays revealed that Drew had minor stress fractures in both his feet. Wheelchair bound for six months with casts on his feet, Drew withdrew from college and returned home to recover. But even after his casts were removed, Drew’s pain not only continued, but spread to all of his joints.

“Some days, the pain was so bad I could not even get out of bed,” says Crenshaw. “My shoulders, knees, elbows, fingers and ankles were all affected. Everything hurt.”

After visiting doctors and health care facilities in several states, Drew came to Emory’s Special Diagnostic Services (ESDS), a year- old practice dedicated to evaluating patients with undiagnosed symptoms and/or illnesses. There, the multidisciplinary team strives to improve each patient’s health by thoroughly reviewing his or her medical history before referring on to the appropriate Emory specialist for treatment.

Rare and hard-to-diagnose diseases present extremely difficult problems not only for patients and their families, but also for their physicians who struggle to identify and treat these disorders. Often, patients experience symptoms that can last for years without a diagnosis, which can result in treatment delays, repeated diagnostic testing and increased spending.

After spending five days in Emory University Hospital, Drew’s care team diagnosed him with a severe case of gout, a condition often characterized by recurrent attacks of severe inflammatory arthritis, but uncommon in patients his age.

“With a diagnosis confirmed, the team ordered specific medications for Drew while getting all of his biochemical levels back in balance,” says Debra Cohen, RN, nurse navigator at Emory Special Diagnostic Services. “Our specialists really worked together to help this young man, who had been suffering with extreme pain and discomfort for months.”

For every case presented, the physicians and care team at ESDS take time to review and form a complete picture of the patient’s condition. Led by medical director Clyde Partin, MD, ESDS physicians work with experts across every specialty area at Emory, coordinating efforts to evaluate and diagnose each patient’s illness. This multidisciplinary care team approach allows patients to be seen and evaluated by a team rather than going from one doctor to the next in search of a diagnosis.

While an absolute diagnosis is not always possible, the ESDS team devotes as much effort as needed in an attempt to determine the source of the problem.

“Our mission is to bring our best resources together to illuminate the patient’s problem and where possible, provide a diagnosis to empower patients to manage their disease,” says Partin, associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. “We believe this service will benefit many people who have been in trying to identify an unknown illness.”

Today, Drew is back in college, pain-free and thriving, almost six years after his pain first began. He returns regularly to visit the Emory Special Diagnostic Services for check-ups.

“I’m not sure where I would be today without the outstanding care from the Emory Special Diagnostic Services,” says Crenshaw. “They truly saved my life.”

Check out this video to see more of Drew’s story

To see if you are eligible to become a patient at the Emory Special Diagnostic Services, view our online questionnaire or call 404-778-0990 to speak with a member of our team.

Additional Resources

Learn more about our ESDS team including: David Roberts, MD, the Charles F. Evans Professor of Medicine; Jonathan Masor, MD, associate professor of medicine; Thomas Jarrett, MD, assistant professor of medicine; Sharon Bergquist, MD, assistant professor of medicine and Debra Cohen, ESDS nurse navigator.

For additional questions, please view our Frequently Asked Questions.