U.S. News and World Reports recently ranked Nebraska Medicine as one of the best hospitals in the country for its expertise in six adult specialties: cancer care, gastroenterology and GI surgery, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, pulmonology and urology. This is the best performance for the hospital in terms of national recognition in these rankings.
In a series of blog posts, the experts from each nationally-ranked department will highlight what makes Nebraska Medicine a leader in providing care to its patients.
We’re ranked as the 29th best hospital in the country for Gastroenterology (GI) and GI Surgery, according to this year’s U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals in America report.
That’s excellent news!
If you’ve been diagnosed with a digestive or liver disorder, it’s important to know you’re seeing the “best of the best” when you come to our clinic. Our specialists diagnose and treat all GI problems—including inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatic disease, cancer of the GI tract and motility disorders.
We have special expertise with the most complex disorders—intestinal failure, pancreatic disorders, chronic liver disease, cirrhosis complications, liver tumors and viral hepatitis, especially hepatitis C.
When we added specialized endoscopy to our liver service, we brought a level of care unique to this region. Endoscopy of liver bile ducts and liver transplant are mainstays in our referrals.
Our colleagues around the world tell us they would send family members to Omaha if they needed a liver transplant. We heartily agree!
A revolutionary new therapy
We have another gem in our practice—an innovative therapy drawing international attention. Perhaps you’ve heard about it in the news. It may sound “different”—but it’s been tremendously successful in helping very sick patients.
Fecal microbiota transplantation therapy is proving to be an excellent treatment for patients who are fighting a bad intestinal bug–Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. Alex Hewlett, DO, is leading the team to provide this novel therapy.
Here’s how the problem develops—and how fecal therapy works:
When patients are prescribed antibiotics too often, the drugs can wipe out the beneficial bacteria in the gut. That leaves the intestine vulnerable to attack by C. diff bacteria, which invade the intestine. Patients get very sick, with bloody diarrhea and dehydration. The colon can be damaged; some patients have died.
In many cases, C. diff can be controlled with antibiotics, but at times that fails. Fecal therapy is the only treatment that has been shown to work for 88 percent of patients treated.
What exactly is fecal therapy? It involves taking a watered-down stool from a healthy person (often a relative) and transferring it into the patient’s digestive tract via a tube down the mouth or nose, or into the colon. This “new” healthy bacteria helps to repopulate the digestive tract to combat the C. diff overgrowth.
With fecal therapy, these very sick patients have a chance to get well. The results can be very dramatic—even life-saving. In medicine, we view it as another way for the body to naturally heal itself.
Our international reputation
These complex digestive and liver problems require a robust, comprehensive team with the best medical, nursing, diagnostic, surgical and therapeutic resources—which many hospitals simply don’t have.
For patients who need this level of diagnostics and treatment, we serve as a referral and second-opinion hospital. Physicians need a destination for their sickest patients—and that’s where we excel.
Nebraska Medicine is known nationally and internationally for our work. Patients come here from all over the U.S. –North Carolina, New York City, California—even as far away as the Middle East. We offer a language translation service for those patients, to help them feel comfortable in their interactions here.
Patients like coming to Omaha because of our world-class medical care—and because Omaha isn’t such a big city. They’ve heard it’s easy to get around. They’re right!
Caring for the sickest patients
Referring physicians need a clinic like ours to treat their sickest patients. We’re equipped to do that. But we know that medicine is far more than medical services and technology. We understand the stress our patients are feeling.
Every patient comes to us after receiving bad news from their local physician. They know it’s a potentially life-threatening medical problem. We do our best to allay their fears, address their concerns and provide reassurance and hope.
We want our patients to feel like we’ve wrapped a warm blanket around them. We want them to feel safe, warm and looked after during this very critical time in their lives.
We have a comprehensive team—a nurse coordinator, nurse practitioner, surgeon, physician, social workers, physical therapists, pharmacists – all focused on their care.
This team approach provides great continuity of care. From clinic to hospital to outpatient care to home—we make sure the patient’s care is seamlessly connected. We make sure each patient feels secure, and in expert hands, while facing critical health problems.
With world-class surgeons and physicians—and the best care possible—we give patients the best outcome possible. This is the mission we embrace every single day.