Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fauquier Health's H1N1 Summit Held September 17

The Northern Virginia Hospital Alliance has been working since early summer on plans to mitigate the effects of the H1N1 pandemic flu, which the state has recently classified as "widespread." In one initiative, the Alliance gave its 12 member hospitals the opportunity to sponsor a community education event about H1N1. Fauquier Health jumped at the chance to organize an evening and became the first health system to stage an event.
Fauquier Health teamed up with the Virginia Department of Health to offer the community an H1N1 Summit for Caregivers. More than 100 physicians, nursing home leaders, government officials and hospital staff attended the three-hour forum, held on September 17 at Fauquier Springs Country Club.
It was a good night. I have been immersed in H1N1 education for months, and I learned a lot. Presentations combined the technical with the common sense. The latest research was shared, and lines of communication were established. The audience was very engaged, eager for good information and for strategies for coping with the pandemic.

Rodger Baker, Fauquier Health’s president and CEO started off the evening with a few words of welcome. He was followed by Dr. Mark Levine (at right), the Virginia Department of Health’s deputy commissioner of Emergency Preparedness and Response, who gave an illuminating overview of the H1N1 pandemic in the commonwealth.

Fauquier Health’s vice president of Support Services, Tracy Turman, shared details on how Fauquier Health is preparing to cope with a possible surge in flu patients during the coming months.

Dr. Joseph Servideo, head of the Emergency Department, talked about the potential effect of the pandemic on ED services. Dr. Tam Ly, infectious disease physician with Fauquier Health
Physician Services, touched on prevention and treatment of the H1N1 flu.

Dorothy Seibert, Fauquier Health’s specialist in infection control, offered advice to everyone on keeping patients and employees healthy.

A lively question and answer period concluded the evening, with Dr. Dana Bradshaw of the Fauquier office of the Health Department joining the other speakers. Physicians and physician office staff inquired about everything from infection control to legal liability for the vaccines they would be giving.
There are those who claim that the H1H1 flu has generated a lot of hype. They ask "What's the big deal?"
It's true that symptoms of the illness are proving to be relatively mild in most cases. But H1N1 is very contagious, as we've seen on college campuses all over the country. If the strain were to become more virulent than it is now, I think we might see more clearly that the concern over H1N1 has been justified.
We'll all hoping the H1N1 virus will remain relatively mild, but in any case, it's best to be prepared.

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