This past year, Mr. Samuel Lehrfeld, President and CEO of The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC), was joined by Mr. Mohammed Shahjahan, Director of Respiratory Care during a trip to Fujian Provincial Hospital in China . The trip had two distinctive purposes - one was to improve TBHC's relations with the Chinese population in the Brooklyn Community, and the other was to present a conference on the healthcare management of patients receiving mechanical ventilation.
In an effort to continue the exchange of information between the two hospitals, TBHC welcomed a visiting team of doctors from China 's Fujian Provincial Hospital on May 25, 2005 to examine and learn the setting of the Critical Care Unit. The team was composed of six doctors and one nurse, and the purpose of their visit was not only to observe, but also to bring what they learned at TBHC back to their health care facilities in China.
Ms. Kathleen Cheng , Patient Care Manager, Cardiac Catheterization Lab Division of Cardiology, explained that Mr. Samuel Lehrfeld coordinated the medical team vist from China, which lasted for a little over three months (they returned to China on August 2, 2005 ). Said Ms. Cheng, "It was my great pleasure to meet and welcome the medical team from China . When the team arrived, I was one of the representatives from TBHC to greet them. Because I speak fluent Mandarin, I became the 'unofficial' translator, conducting tours throughout the hospital and bridging the language gap." Nursing and various medical departments were also involved during their stay at the hospital - Mr. Paul Albertson , Sr. VP, Hospital Operations and Ambulatory Care; Dr. Ramesh S. Gulrajani, M.D., F.C.C.P . ; Anne C. Goonan, RN, CNO, Sr. VP, Nursing & Patient Care; and Reynaldo Rivera, RN, Senior Director of Nursing, were an integral part of their visit during their stay at TBHC. Ms. Cheng noted that Fujian Provincial Hospital 's teams are going to expand their ICU Unit, adding, "They wanted to review our policies and procedures in our ICU Unit, and in turn, apply what they've learned to their own units upon their return to China ." Due to the modernization in China , Ms. Cheng added, the hospital would like to upgrade and meet the standards of the American hospitals. In addition, the team also visited two other hospitals in New York City area, Bellevue Hospital and Cornell Medical Center.
Fujian Provincial's visiting team also took a tour of TBHC's Pharmacy Department during their stay. Ms. Cheng said that they were amazed by the Robot Dispenser system, particularly because it reduces the man-made errors and manpower used in traditional pharmacies. Additionally, Ms. Cheng stated that they admired the American method of intravenous medication, which comes attached with the drug and the IVs "piggy-backed" with the additional meds. Added Ms. Cheng, "They also remarked that when we administer medication, it is safe and maintains a sterile technique - they commented on our needle system, which reduces the chance of needle sticks."
Ms. Cheng added that by adhering to such simple procedures as proper handwashing and sharps disposal, hospitals are able to reduce disease transmittal from patient to patient and avoid unnecessary accidents. After observing these two basic procedures, the team learned that patient and employee safety is very important in the American healthcare systems.
However, Ms. Cheng commented, "The team found we have one common practice in both Chinese and American hospitals. During every procedure or surgery, China also conducts a "Time Out" to identify the following information before going forward with any procedure: if it is the 1) right patient, 2) right procedure, and 3) the right site."
Ms. Cheng concluded, "In China, medical attention is very costly; everyone can go to the hospital, but not every one will get the same treatment. Medication and medical supplies are very expensive in China. Ultimately, the team hopes that one day everyone will receive the same medical attention in China, regardless of income."