• Tulane University professor Benjamin Lee received the Arthur Smith Award at the World Congress of Endourology in Shanghai, China, in December 2008 for his contributions to his field in the first 10 years of his career. Dr. Lee’s most recent accomplishments at Tulane involve Robotic Partial Nephrectomy, a minimally invasive procedure wherein doctors utilize robotic arms to remove unhealthy tissue from the kidney in order to save as much healthy tissue as possible. At present, more than 80 percent of Tulane kidney surgeries are minimally invasive.
  • Ochsner Health System received a Gold Award from the American Stroke Association at the International Stroke Conference in San Diego, Calif., for offering a high level of care for stroke patients as proven over 24 or more consecutive months.
  • The National Institutes of Health awarded LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans medical student David Stark the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award. The award, and $28,594 grant, goes to a student showing great potential as a physician/scientist. Currently, Stark is working on a project to discern whether molecules from omega-3 fatty acid can protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found more than 60,000 people were exposed to hepatitis – and at least 400 people were infected – in 33 outbreaks in nonhospital health care settings from 1998 to 2008.

In each setting, infection was patient-to-patient, caused by failure of health care personnel to adhere to fundamental principles of infection control and proper sterility techniques.

Blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis and AIDS can seep into syringes after an injection into an infected patient. The virus can seep back into the syringe barrel and stay alive and subsequently enter another person, even through a sterile needle.

Worse, hepatitis might not manifest any symptoms initially, allowing the virus to go undetected for years. In response to the outbreaks, the CDC is working to raise doctor and patient awareness about the importance of single-use syringes and safety violation reports.