The Importance of Monitoring Chronic Illnesses During the COVID-19 Crisis

Many health care facilities have seen a decrease in people seeking care for chronic conditions due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This can be attributed to fears of being exposed to the virus in public places or the temporary suspension of certain services offered by healthcare providers.

Although the outbreak has caused alterations in the way we live, one thing that should remain unchanged for those living with chronic illnesses is monitoring their health. It is important that they pay attention to symptoms that warn of serious health problems, because ignoring them may put their lives at risk.

Symptoms of chronic illnesses that should not be ignored include:

  • Chest pain, pressure in your chest, shortness of breath or other heart attack symptoms
  • Sudden numbness, weakness, confusion, loss of vision or other stroke symptoms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heavy bleeding
  • High fever
  • Spikes in blood sugar (Diabetes)
  • Nausea

If these symptoms are persistent, please contact a physician for a medical consultation or seek emergency treatment. Medical facilities are well equipped to safely treat non-COVID-19 patients and many doctors are offering telehealth appointments. Some hospitals are also reopening their outpatient locations. 

In addition to monitoring symptoms, it is important to maintain healthy habits. This can be achieved by keeping routine appointments (virtually or in person), taking prescribed medications, exercising, and eating a well-balanced diet.  

If you have a non-COVID-19 related chronic medical condition or symptoms and would like to see a doctor, please contact Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001, to schedule an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Tips On How To Prepare for a Telemedicine Appointment

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we conduct our day-to-day routines.  To prevent the spread of the disease, most of our activities are now done from home. In some instances, this includes seeing our doctors for medical appointments.

Telehealth or telemedicine appointments have become the norm for many who require consultations from their physicians during the pandemic.  These appointments connect patients and doctors by utilizing video conferencing technology.  Although these virtual visits may not take place physically in a doctor’s office, they are private.  Information and conversations shared between participants remain confidential. Many of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s doctors are now accepting appointments for virtual visits.

To prepare for your telemedicine appointment at Jamaica Hospital, please follow these helpful tips:

  • Sign up for Medisys MyChart. (This is preferred, however, if you do not have MyChart, we can still schedule a virtual visit through Zoom directly through zoom.us/join). 
  • Have access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a camera enabled with visual and audio.
  • Download the Zoom video communications application.
  • Test your equipment before your scheduled virtual visit.
  • Close other running programs or unnecessary tabs to avoid delays or pauses in your connection.
  • Find a quiet space.
  • Adjust the lighting in your space. Utilize overhead lights if they are available and block sunlight from windows. ( This will prevent you from having too much background light)
  • Prepare to answer questions pertaining to your medical history, symptoms, lifestyle changes, or any aspect of your health.
  • Have a pen and paper ready to write down your doctor’s recommendations or information about your treatment plan.

It is important to note that while most virtual visits are like normal appointments, there may be limitations based on your condition.  Please contact your doctor’s office if you have questions about scheduling a virtual visit.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Jamaica Hospital Discharges New Mom After Battle With COVID-19

Jamaica Hospital’s doctors, nurses and other frontline staff have provided life-saving care to thousands of patients with the coronavirus since the onset of the outbreak. As a team, they have overcome several obstacles but when they were confronted with saving the life of a pregnant woman and her unborn child, the challenge became that much greater.


On March 24, Mrs. Tasnim Shaheen was 24 weeks pregnant with her third child when she was taken to the Queens-based hospital, located at the epicenter of the global pandemic with flu-like symptoms. She was initially admitted to the hospital’s labor unit for coronavirus, but within two days, her symptoms intensified and she was transferred to the intensive care unit and placed on a ventilator.


The ICU team closely monitored her condition over the next few weeks but became increasingly concerned as Mrs. Shaheen developed acute kidney injuries as well as pneumonia. The doctors determined that it was in the best interest of the patient and her unborn child if they performed a C-section. “At this point, Mrs. Shaheen was 28 weeks pregnant and we felt as if the baby had a good chance of survival if we delivered,” stated Dr. Kavitha Ram, Director of Obstetrics at Jamaica Hospital. “In addition, we felt that removing the fetus would give Mrs. Shaneen a better opportunity to resolve her kidney issues as well as her pneumonia.”

After consulting with the patient’s husband, the decision was made to perform the surgery on April 22nd. The patient was taken directly from the intensive care unit to the operating room where Dr. Ram and her team delivered a 940 gram (approximately 2 lb.) baby girl, the couple’s first daughter. According to Dr. Ram, “The baby came out kicking and screaming and was very healthy.” The baby was immediately taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and mom returned to intensive care.

Soon after the delivery, Mrs. Shaheen began showing signs of improvement. Within two days her kidneys began to recover, within three days she was taken off of the ventilator and after five days she was moved out of intensive care and back to the labor unit.

One of the factors that Dr. Ram attributes to Mrs. Shaheen’s recovery was the hospital’s ability to connect her to her family despite not being able to see them due to visitation restrictions. “Throughout the entire admission, our Palliative Care team did an excellent job of communicating with the patient’s family through video conferencing. Mr. Shaheen had daily contact with his wife even when she was on a ventilator, which allowed him to be involved in her care.” Dr. Ram added, “When Mrs. Shaheen was eventually taken off the ventilator, she was able to not only see and speak with her husband and sons, but also her extended family in Bangladesh. We feel this greatly contributed to her recovery.”
Perhaps the greatest moment, however, was when Jamaica Hospital was able to connect Mrs. Shaheen from her hospital bed to her baby girl, Reeda Birt Shaheen in the NICU. ‘We were overjoyed to be able to provide her with the opportunity to see her daughter for the first time,” stated palliative care physician Dr. Medha Chunduru.

Now, approximately seven weeks after being admitted, Mrs. Shaheen is being discharged. Jamaica Hospital is inviting members of the media to share in this joyous occasion and even see baby Reda through video conferencing technology.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Q & A: Can COVID-19 Affect My Pregnancy?

A:   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result.”

COVID-19 is a new disease. Therefore, we are learning more about how it spreads and the effects it can have on our health every day.  While we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we encourage women who are pregnant to exercise all recommended precautions to protect their health.  These measures include:

  • Frequently washing and sanitizing your hands
  • Frequently cleaning surfaces of your home
  • Avoiding people who are sick
  • Practicing social distancing

If you are pregnant and experiencing symptoms that include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chills, headache, a new loss of smell, or taste please inform your doctor. Testing may be required to see if these symptoms are the result of COVID-19. If you have tested positive, you may require specialized care during pregnancy and delivery. After giving birth, there is the possibility that your baby may need to be separated from you. This separation helps to prevent you from infecting your baby.

It is important to remember that prenatal care is unique to each individual. Speak with your OB/GYN about their plans to monitor your pregnancy and protect your health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Stay At Home Tips

Practicing social distancing and staying at home is crucial in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, but isolating ourselves from others and disrupting our daily routines can be challenging.

Here are some tips to help you during this difficult time:

  • Structure your day – Try creating a daily schedule. Make your own routines and break up the day in order to stave off monotony and keep everyone as busy as possible.
  • Stay active – Try an at home workout that can help keep you moving and combat the sense of malaise and boredom that can come from being stuck inside day after day.
  • Identify new activities – Whether it is tackling a project at home that you have been putting off or discovering a new hobby, new activities can provide a sense of purpose or achievement.
  • Communicate – Staying in contact with others via telephone, text or social media not only staves off boredom, but it is also critical for minimizing the sense of isolation.

We hope these tips will help you get through this challenging time.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Do’s and Don’ts: Wearing A Surgical Mask

We’re sharing some Do’s and Don’ts of wearing surgical masks to help you to protect your health.

DO:

1. Wash and sanitize your hands before putting on the mask

2. Check for defects such as holes or tears

3. Make sure that the mask fits snugly to your face

4. Wash and sanitize your hands after removing the mask

DON’T:

1. Touch the mask once it’s on your face, doing so can expose you to pathogens

2. Hang the mask around your neck

3. Reuse single-use masks

4. Touch the front of the mask when removing it

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Jamaica Hospital Makes America’s 250 Best Hospitals List

There are over 5,000 hospitals in the United States, so to be listed as one of the top 250 in the country is quite an accomplishment.

Healthgrades, a leading resource that connects consumers, physicians and health systems, announced its list of America’s 250 Best Hospitals for 2020 and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center was one of only a select few in New York City to be recognized.

This accomplishment places Jamaica Hospital in the top 5% of hospitals in the nation, demonstrating the hospital’s commitment to delivering superior patient care outcomes year after year.

To determine America’s Best Hospital recipients, Healthgrades analyzed the performance of all participating hospitals nationwide. Clinical quality outcomes for 32 conditions and procedures, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis and stroke were evaluated over a three year period. Healthgrades recognized only those hospitals that “consistently exhibit exceptional, comprehensive quality care.”

Healthgrades has concluded that hospitals receiving this award provide significantly better care and, the most important measurement of any hospital, superior outcomes to its patients.

In addition to the recognition as one of America’s Best Hospitals, Healthgrades also awarded Jamaica Hospital with the following:

  • America’s 100 Best Hospitals For Coronary Intervention Award – 2020
  • America’s 100 Best Hospital for Stroke Care Award – 2020
  • Neurosciences Excellence Award – 2020, 2019
  • Patient Safety Excellence Award – 2018, 2017

“We are honored to be recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s Best Hospitals. This achievement signifies Jamaica Hospital’s commitment to delivering the highest quality care to our patients,” stated Bruce J. Flanz, President and CEO of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. “Over the years we have initiated many programs and services that focus on providing patient-centered care to our community, knowing that it would ultimately lead to better patient outcomes.  This acknowledgment by Healthgrades reaffirms that we are on the right path to becoming a high-reliability organization.”

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Eosinophilic esophagitis is a condition where a large number of white blood cells accumulate on the lining of the esophagus as the result of a reaction to certain foods, acid reflux or allergens.

The accumulation of white blood cells can cause irritation and scarring in the esophagus. This eventually can lead to severe narrowing, and the potential obstruction of the esophagus.

What are the symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis?

In adults this can include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Heartburn
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Food getting stuck in esophagus

In children the symptoms can include:

  • Frequent regurgitation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Food getting stuck in the esophagus
  • Weight loss
  • Poor growth

There are several environmental and genetic factors that may put some at risk of eosinophilic esophagitis more than others.  The condition tends to run in families and is more common in males than females. It is seen more frequently in colder climates. There are more diagnoses in the spring and fall due to higher levels of pollen in the air.

How is this condition diagnosed?  A physician will take a complete medical history, and order a test to check the levels of eosinophils in the blood. Doctors may also order an endoscopy to visually inspect the lining of the esophagus or a biopsy of the lining of the esophagus.

Treatment for this condition will require eliminating exposure to whatever is determined as the cause of an allergic reaction.  Doctors may also recommend keeping the head of the bed elevated at night to prevent acid reflux and maintaining a healthy weight.  They may also eliminate certain foods from a patient’s diet. Medications can also be prescribed to help keep symptoms under control.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Jamaica Hospital Makes America’s 250 Best Hospitals List

There are over 5,000 hospitals in the United States, so to be listed as one of the top 250 in the country is quite an accomplishment.

Healthgrades, a leading resource that connects consumers, physicians and health systems, announced its list of America’s 250 Best Hospitals for 2020 and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center was one of only a select few in New York City to be recognized.

This accomplishment places Jamaica Hospital in the top 5% of hospitals in the nation, demonstrating the hospital’s commitment to delivering superior patient care outcomes year after year.

To determine America’s Best Hospital recipients, Healthgrades analyzed the performance of all participating hospitals nationwide. Clinical quality outcomes for 32 conditions and procedures, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis and stroke were evaluated over a three year period. Healthgrades recognized only those hospitals that “consistently exhibit exceptional, comprehensive quality care.”

Healthgrades has concluded that hospitals receiving this award provide significantly better care and, the most important measurement of any hospital, superior outcomes to its patients.

In addition to the recognition as one of America’s Best Hospitals, Healthgrades also awarded Jamaica Hospital with the following:

  • America’s 100 Best Hospitals For Coronary Intervention Award – 2020
  • America’s 100 Best Hospital for Stroke Care Award – 2020
  • Neurosciences Excellence Award – 2020, 2019
  • Patient Safety Excellence Award – 2018, 2017

“We are honored to be recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s Best Hospitals. This achievement signifies Jamaica Hospital’s commitment to delivering the highest quality care to our patients,” stated Bruce J. Flanz, President and CEO of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. “Over the years we have initiated many programs and services that focus on providing patient-centered care to our community, knowing that it would ultimately lead to better patient outcomes.  This acknowledgment by Healthgrades reaffirms that we are on the right path to becoming a high-reliability organization.”

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

NYPD Recognizes Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Trauma Service

Last month, the NYPD Patrol Borough South recognized the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Trauma Department for its many years of service to the community and to the NYPD.  A plaque of appreciation was presented to the hospital by Assistant Chief Ruben Beltran the new Commanding Officer of  Patrol  Borough Queens South and his predecessor Chief David Barrere. Both Chiefs lauded the hospital’s personnel for their unyielding commitment to serving the public and the men and women of the NYPD. Chief Barrere stated “I’ve been at this hospital for officers with ankle injuries and wrist injuries and I’ve also been here for officers with gunshot wounds to the head. There are officers who are walking around today and who are still serving as police officers because of the work you do here.”

Accepting the award on behalf of Jamaica Hospital were Bruce J. Flanz, President and CEO and Dr. Katherine McKenzie, Medical Director of the Trauma Department. Mr. Flanz stated “ I’ve been working at the hospital for 44 years and throughout that entire time the collaboration we’ve been doing with the police department is just second to none. Everybody, our entire team is privileged to serve you and what you do every day to keep us all safe is just amazing and words cannot adequately thank you and your team.” Dr. McKenzie commented that “It is not only our great privilege to care of police officers who become our patients but to also care for patients that are victims of crime and we frequently interact with the police department here in providing care for those patients.”

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.