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Pregnancy & H1N1 Facts for Healthcare Workers

July 2, 2013- DMC Harper Hospital’s Bariatric Medicine Program Wins Fourth-Straight Accreditation from Joint Commission

Pioneering approach to helping patients overcome morbid obesity – a major cause of diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure – earns key “symbol of quality” from hospital accrediting organization.

Michael H. Wood, M.D., FACS 
The Detroit Medical Center (DMC) bariatric medicine program at Harper University Hospital has received its fourth straight accreditation from The Joint Commission, the national certification body that evaluates the effectiveness of healthcare programs at more than 20,000 hospitals and other health care organizations in the U.S.



The two-year certification by The Joint Commission, recognized nationwide as a “symbol of quality” that describes a health organization’s commitment to the highest professional standards of patient care, is the industry-wide “seal of approval” by the authoritative nonprofit reviewing agency.


The program is led by a nationally recognized pioneer in the treatment of morbid obesity, Michael H. Wood, M.D., FACS, Medical Director of the Harper University Hospital Bariatric Surgery Program at the DMC. He has performed more than 4,000 bariatric surgical procedures in the past 17 years. The Harper-based Bariatric Medicine Institute (Harper BMI) has achieved notable success in recent years in treating morbid obesity, a health condition that often results in life-threatening diabetes, heart disease and kidney failure.


In the Detroit area, where obesity-linked illnesses are a major public health problem, the DMC’s bariatric medicine program has long been regarded as a first line of defense against the highly destructive health disorders frequently triggered in patients who are severely overweight.


“Accreditation by The Joint Commission is one of the ‘gold standards’ by which bariatric medicine programs are measured,” said Dr. Wood, a widely published bariatric surgical innovator and researcher with more than 25 years of experience in his specialty, “and the announcement [on May 10] that the Harper BMI has once again been certified is very encouraging for all of us.


“We certainly don’t intend to rest on our laurels, however.  The outstanding team at Harper BMI – the doctors, nurses, mid-level providers, quality staff, administrative staff and other support staff – all  work together to help improve quality of care for all of our weight-loss patients.”


Under Harper BMI Medical Director Dr. Wood’s leadership, the bariatric medicine program has been increasingly successful at treating the underlying obesity responsible for chronic, Detroit-area health problems such as diabetes, sleep apnea and heart disease.  “While using a wide variety of state-of-the-art bariatric surgical procedures designed to help obese patients lose weight (including the Lap-Band System, Sleeve Gastrectomy, Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery and other minimally invasive tools such as robotic surgery), the HBMI team has in recent years seen, on average, an 80-percent reduction in diabetes and a 60-percent reduction in high blood pressure among patients who successfully met weight-loss goals,” said Dr. Wood.


“It’s really gratifying for all of us at the HBMI, when we see the changes that occur in people’s lives after they have been successfully treated for their obesity,” he added.  “We’re very passionate about that at Harper Hospital, because when we help a patient to overcome morbid obesity, we are often helping to give that patient a second chance at life.”


To illustrate his point, Dr. Wood described the extraordinary case of a Detroit-area patient – herself a veteran health care professional – that resulted in a weight loss of more than 280 pounds.


The patient, 65-year-old Wilhelmina Hill (“Mina”) Horton, the former Vice President for Clinical Programs at New Center Community Mental Health in Detroit, had become morbidly obese over a period of more than 20 years.


A West Bloomfield Township resident with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree who had enjoyed a highly successful career as a social worker and mental health counselor, Ms. Horton by the spring of 2008 weighed 470 pounds and was struggling with a host of life-threatening ailments as a result.


Referred to Dr. Wood and Harper BMI by her family physician, Ms. Horton first lost 140 pounds during a custom-tailored, 15-month nutritional program.  That program was managed by a nutritionist from the Harper BMI team.  “The nutritional plan we developed was part of the pre-surgical program,” she recalled, “and we worked it out right there in Dr. Wood’s office.  That made it very easy and convenient, and the bariatric team did an outstanding job of helping me to deal with all aspects of my weight-loss program.”


Once her weight was down to about 310 pounds, she became medically eligible to undergo a high-tech bariatric surgical procedure designed to eliminate her morbid obesity.


The surgical procedure, known as “minimally invasive, robotic-assisted Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass,” involved two basic steps.  After creating a small food pouch (about the size of a medicine cup) by restricting access to the patient’s stomach, they shortened her bowel surgically so that it would absorb fewer nutrients.


Ms. Horton, a Licensed Master of Social Work, successfully underwent the procedure on August 17, 2010.  “I was a little frightened at first, but Dr. Wood and his outstanding team took me through it step by step,” she recalled.  “He has a very gentle demeanor, very fatherly and supportive, and he also has a great sense of humor.  What helped me the most was that I came to trust Dr. Wood – and I think that trust was the key to my successful treatment.”


After the two-and-a-half-hour procedure, Ms. Horton spent five days at Harper University Hospital and then returned to her home in West Bloomfield.  During the next 18 months, she continued to lose weight and today tips the scales at only 163 pounds.  



As a result, she is no longer diabetic and no longer requires daily insulin shots.  Once unable to walk without a walker or cane, she now moves about freely without either.


Another recent patient who experienced significant weight loss while being treated in the Harper bariatric medicine program is 67-year-old Linda Brown, a Dearborn resident who has taught in the Detroit public school system for 28 years.  Ms. Brown, who owns two different teaching-related master’s degrees, first brought her daughter Simone to Harper for treatment in 2009.  Simone lost more than 130 pounds after undergoing gastric bypass surgery.  Linda Brown then underwent the Lap-Band procedure herself in 2010, as therapy for her own obesity.


“For both of us, the results were just amazing,” said Ms. Brown.  “My daughter and I are very grateful for the way Harper BMI helped us both to transform our lives for the better.” 

H1N1 influenza is a respiratory disease that is caused by a type A influenza virus. The current H1N1 virus contains unique genes from pig and human influenza viruses and hence is called the “Novel H1N1 Influenza Virus”. This strain of flu germ spreads from human to human and can cause illness.

Does H1N1 INFLUENZA pose special risks for pregnant women?
Pregnant women are at an increased risk of catching H1N1 or seasonal flu. Pregnant patients with H1N1 infection have an increased risk of complications. Although influenza viruses do not infect the baby while in the uterus, the high fever and any complications caused by the flu can potentially be harmful to the baby.

The best way to protect yourself and your unborn baby is to have a vaccination (which is safe during pregnancy). You should also make sure you follow good hygiene practices including:


  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Alcohol-based gel hand cleaners are also good to use.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Talk to your doctor about your concerns.

The symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and may include acute onset of:

  • Fever (greater than 100 F or 37.8 C)
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with H1N1 flu.

Yes, the symptoms of flu will be the same as in women who are not pregnant.

If you get sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home, limit contact with others, and call your doctor as soon as possible.

  • Treat any fever right away. Tylenol® (acetaminophen) is the best treatment of fever in pregnancy.
  • Get plenty of rest and drink clear fluids.
  • Your doctor may test you for flu or will decide if you need medications to treat the flu.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash and cleanse your hands.
  • Clean hands often with soap and water or alcohol- based hand rub.
  • Do not go to work, school, or other public places while you are ill.
  • Avoid close contact with other people.
  • Get emergency medical care right away if you have trouble breathing, chest pain, purple or blue lips or skin, severe vomiting and are dehydrated and/or dizzy, unresponsive or confused.


  • Do not stop breastfeeding if you are ill. This will help protect your baby from infection.
  • Be careful not to cough or sneeze in the baby’s face, wash your hands often.
  • Your doctor might ask you to wear a mask to keep from spreading this new virus to your baby.
  • If you are too sick to breastfeed, pump and have someone give the expressed milk to your baby.

Yes, an H1N1 virus vaccine is expected to be available in mid- to late October 2009. The CDC recommends this vaccine for pregnant women when it first becomes available. This vaccine has been tested in pregnant women and found to be safe and effective.

REMEMBER: The seasonal flu vaccine is not expected to protect against the H1N1 flu, therefore individuals are encouraged to get both types of vaccines.



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