Treating Oncologic Emergencies

A cancer emergency department is among the unique features of the new Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, opening in 2014.

The James Cancer Emergency Department (ED) will be contiguous with the traditional Ohio State Wexner Medical Center ED. “It will be among the first fully integrated cancer EDs in the nation,” says Richard Goldberg, MD, physician-in-chief at the OSUCCC – James.

“The cancer ED will provide specialized emergency oncology care,” says Thomas E. Terndrup, MD, professor and chair of Emergency Medicine. “Those who arrive with a trauma or heart attack will be treated in the Wexner Medical Center ED, coordinated when appropriate with their cancer history and James staff.”

ED physicians trained in oncology will staff the department, along with a dedicated team of nurses. They will be expert in treating such oncologic emergencies as treatment-associated infections, tumor lysis syndrome, surgical problems such as bowel or kidney obstruction, or pain or weakness due to brain tumors or spine metastases.

“Additional diagnostic or treatment services will be available just an elevator ride away in The James,” says Goldberg, who is also professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and the Klotz Family Chair in Cancer Research.

The department will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will have a capacity of 15 patients, and it will have a waiting room designed for patients with compromised immunity.

“The cancer ED will accept patients treated at other centers, but we will be particularly well prepared for James patients needing emergency care,” Terndrup says.

Cancer ED physicians will open the patient’s electronic chart and immediately learn the patient’s history, treatment regimens and other details. “That permits high-quality, personalized care,” Terndrup says.

“The James Cancer ED, true to the goals of the new cancer hospital, will enable us to maintain coordinated, integrated care of our patients, while optimizing efficiency and quality of care,” Goldberg says. 

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