Emergency Department Uniquely Designed for Cancer Patients

When the new home of The James opens in December 2014, it will house the first truly integrated cancer emergency department in the country. Why is a cancer ED important? It will provide continuous access to unmatched emergency services that are specially designed for cancer patients.

“Patients with cancer conditions have emergency complications and emergency conditions that arise as a result of their disease or treatment frequently,” says Thomas E. Terndrup, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. “We need to be ready for that.”

To be ready for cancer emergencies, such as pulmonary embolisms and serious infections caused by depressed immune systems, experts from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the OSUCCC – James have been working closely to design the very best situation for patients in central Ohio.

Terndrup explains that the cancer ED in the new home of The James will aim to eliminate the concept of a “waiting room” for cancer patients. “That’s not a valuable place for patients to be,” Terndrup says. “Because of their susceptibility to infection, we’d like to move them and get them into a condition where we can recognize what’s wrong and work together to make sure that they get the right treatment and evaluation.”

The cancer ED will be staffed by emergency medicine physicians and oncologists working together to share knowledge and provide the best possible care for cancer survivors.

“Nobody’s cancer condition is routine,” Terndrup says. “Nobody’s emergency is routine.” At the cancer ED in the new home of The James, no cancer emergency will be routine, either.

“We hope to provide the best care for all the patients with oncology emergencies,” says Terndrup, “and we want to provide access to that care immediately and in a coordinated fashion.”