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Critical care and eICU teams help diabetic rebound

Robert Edwards suffered from a multitude of critical conditions and almost went into multiple organ failure. Clinicians bedside and monitoring via eICU helped him recover quickly.

Robert Edwards was being rushed in an ambulance to Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Valley Stream, he was completely unaware of the serious health crisis he was having. He was unconscious.

"I don't remember much of it," said Mr. Edwards. "My daughter found me on the floor at home blacked out. I scared everyone in my family."

His family was scared, especially after Mr. Edwards was admitted.

"He was so sick with a whole range of issues going on," said Lisa Chen, DO, director of the ICU at LIJ Valley Stream. "He had to be put on a respirator, his blood pressure was low and we had to emergently raise it. His blood sugar was extremely high, so we put him on an insulin drip. On top of that, we were treating him for sepsis. It was a very intense couple of hours from when he was admitted to when we got him stabilized."

"I'm a diabetic and I keep my medicine on the table and I check my blood. But for some reason it just got away from me," said Mr. Edwards. "When I came here my sugar was 1,000 it should have been 100."

Critical care's rapid response

With everything failing in his body, now being treated, Mr. Edwards began to rally. He says there's a lot he doesn't remember, but his wife does. Gail Edwards, who is a licensed practical nurse with Northwell, attributes her husband's recovery to the staff at LIJ Valley Stream.

"He was so sick, it was scary," said Mrs. Edwards. "But I have to say the response here was absolutely amazing. They got him into the critical care unit, and everyone was right on top of their game, it was wonderful to see. I'm in the field, but even my family said: 'wow they really did their job, they diagnosed him fast, and they started treating him immediately.' I am sure that's why he turned around so quickly."

"Mr. Edwards could have gone into multi-system organ failure, but we were right there," said Dr. Chen. "I don't think the nurse left his bedside until we got him stabilized."

quotation mark I could have died from this, and now I realize I need to change my diet and my lifestyle, and talk to somebody. This really changed me a lot.
Robert Edwards

eICU monitors round-the-clock

The nurses on staff at LIJ Valley Stream's ICU cared for Mr. Edwards by his bedside, but there was another team of nurses also caring for him, remotely. Through Northwell's eICU, an off-site facility in Syosset, critical care nurses monitor patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nurses in the eICU have audio and video capabilities to watch over patients and zero in on physical trends that may need immediate attention. They can 'camera-in' to communicate directly with ICU staff and family members who are at a patient's bedside.

"I had never heard of the eICU and I was amazed when I saw it," said Mrs. Edwards. "I actually used it and I didn't think I would have to because the ICU staff were so on the ball. But there was a point when I wanted an update on my husband's medications and his condition. I just hit the button and there was this beautiful nurse, Christina on the camera, I could see her and speak to her and she answered all of my questions. And I got that by just hitting a button. She came up on the screen from Syosset, it's incredible."

Mrs. Edwards said that when people have family members in the ICU, they are naturally concerned. "To have someone available like that 24 hours a day, watching your loved one in their room, you cannot ask for more than that. I think it's fantastic."

"Remote monitoring is a big benefit for us," said Arlene Ramirez, RN, former ICU nurse manager and current ED director "We were the first Northwell site to go live with this in December 2014. It's really a collaboration between the nurses here in the ICU and the critical care nurses who monitor our patients remotely. It's continuous. They are always watching the patient's trends, vital signs, laboratory changes in status, medications, anything that is continuous. And it provides the families with reassurance."

Mrs. Edwards says she was also happy that the hospital provides patient education. "Staff members are explaining to my husband how important it is for him to take his medication. They got through to him, I've been married to him for almost 37 years and I haven't been able to get through to him, they did."

"I turned around very fast because of the care here," said Mr. Edwards. "The doctors and nurses really did a good job. I could have died from this, and now I realize I need to change my diet, my lifestyle, and talk to somebody. This really changed me a lot."

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