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This file is provided for reference purposes only. It was current when it was produced, but it is no longer maintained and may now be out of date. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing information may contact us for assistance. For reliable, current information on this and other health topics, we recommend consulting the NIH Clinical Center at

past issues

 Published monthly for CC employees by Clinical Center Communications

December 1998

Main lobby flood

Internal medicine experts

Parkinsonian Society

Code team trial run

News briefs


When a six-inch pipe burst in Phlebotomy, five- to ten-thousand gallons of water were released throughout the CC. Up to three inches of water could be found from the main lobby to the film library, and everywhere in between.


When it rains, it pours

Sprinkler system causes flood from main lobby through film library

The flood came at 8 p.m. on Nov. 10. The culprit--a six-inch pipe, which broke after repairs on the hospital's sprinkler system. The result--five- to ten-thousand gallons of water were released into offices, patient-care areas, and throughout the first floor hallway.

"The flood was the result of a break in the compression fitting in a sprinkler pipe," said Jim Wilson, chief of the Office of Facility Management. "The fitting is supposed to keep the pipes connected. When it blew, it resulted in the flood of water as high as three inches in many areas."

According to accounts of staff present when the pipe broke--after the initial shock-- they all banded together to try to save equipment, papers, and computers. "I looked down the hallway and just saw a rush of water coming at me," said Brandon Coleman, admissions assistant in the Outpatient (OP) Department. "Our department immediately contacted emergency personnel and then tried to move as much as we could onto chairs and desks so that it wouldn't get wet."

The water seemed to keep coming, leaving many staff members feeling helpless. "I thought, I don't believe that this is happening and there's nothing we can do except make sure that everything is turned off and moved from the floor," said Stewart Hill, lead admissions assistant. At the same time, many staff were also concerned about how high the water would actually get. As they put it, it seemed that no end was in sight. "I have never seen anything like it before in my life," said Jawanna Clark, OP admissions assistant. "I have been through snow emergencies and other events but I have never seen anything like that."

One of the areas to receive the most damage was Phlebotomy because when the pipe burst, the 160- to 170-pound pressure blew all the tiles out of the ceiling. "It was devastating," said Veronica Washington, supervisor of Phlebotomy. "It looked like a bomb went off."

Several staff members attempted to keep the water--which was rushing from Phlebotomy--from entering under the door of unoccupied offices by using blankets and towels. According to Wilson, that quick action helped to keep more damage from being done. "CC staff in several departments and areas, including Clinical Pathology, Phlebotomy, Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic Radiology, Outpatient, Housekeeping and Fabric Care, Maintenance, and Information Systems, should be commended for their efforts in handling this emergency," said Wilson.

One such area that was saved from damage thanks to blankets and towels is Diagnostic Radiology. According to Tim Smith, senior lab technician, the blankets worked for offices but they were unable to keep water from entering the reception area, which suffered carpet damage.

The Budget Office had major damage, losing computers and hard copies of files dating back 10-15 years. "Although we had a lot of damage, I feel that the Office of Facility Management and Housekeeping did a lot to make sure that we didn't lose more," said Carol Verderese, nurse consultant to the Budget Office. "We are very thankful for their help."

Efforts by the Office of Facility Management, as well as the Division of Engineering Services, were to attempt to get the affected areas as close to normal for those returning after the Veterans Day holiday. "Our main goal was to have the patient-care areas functional for the next day that patients were to be seen," said Wilson. According to many staff upon return, they could barely tell that such devastation had occurred. "It is remarkable that they were able to get the area back together," said Washington in Phlebotomy.

"It was truly a collaborative effort and everyone deserves a lot of praise for their involvement," said Karen Kaczorowski, OP deputy chief. "From the NIH police to the fire department to the page operators, housekeeping and others, everyone really came together."


-by LaTonya Kittles



Heading the new internal medicine
consultation service will be Dr. Fred Gill
and Laura Shay.



Internal medicine experts serve CC patients

The Clinical Center is now staffed with experts in internal medicine to enrich the breadth of care provided to patients here.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the CC to make a substantial contribution to the quality of care provided to our patients," said Dr. David Henderson, deputy director for clinical care.

The service, which was initiated late last month, was developed as a result of suggestions from the Clinical Research Revitalization Committee, as well as the Medical Executive Committee.

"Recently, numerous Institutes expressed a need for a consultant who is knowledgeable about complex and complicated cases of internal medicine," said Henderson. "The talent and expertise of our new consultants will be a valuable asset to the clinic staff here."

Leading the service will be Dr. Fred Gill, who has been practicing internal medicine in Bethesda for more than 20 years. He is a member of the Montgomery County Medical Society, as well as past Clinician of the Year. Joining Dr. Gill in the endeavor is Laura Shay, a nurse practitioner who has worked with many NCI physicians in support of the Infectious Diseases Consultant Group.

"We are excited about the arrival of our new consultants, and they are eager to assist in the evaluation and management of patients," said Henderson. "I encourage all of the Institutes to involve our consultants in the care of their patients."

If you are interested in the service, call 6-9490.



Three originators of the Parkinsonian Society of Greater Washington. They are (left to right) Marge Gillespie, Ruth Kaneshiro, and Cindy White.



Twenty years later, group still helps patients

Who says that collaborations don't pay off? Certainly not anyone who knows about the Parkinsonian Society of Greater Washington, which after twenty years still serves the community.

The organization was formed in 1978 by a group of individuals at NIH who shared a common goal--a desire to cope with a chronic ailment, Parkinson's disease. Patients and staff involved in a support group for the disease quickly noticed that many patients found it easier to cope when they were able to talk about their problems, thus the group was formed.

"Often when you have a chronic disease you become more isolated," said one of the group's founders NCI social worker Ruth Kaneshiro. "This organization in essence provides patients and their families with a safe environment."

Kaneshiro, along with Recreation Therapy's Cindy White and NCI research nurse Marge Gillespie, represented NIH in helping get the group off the ground. The organization, which is entirely independent of the NIH, includes family, friends, and caregivers as well as people with Parkinson's. They provide information meetings, weekly exercise and rap sessions, a newsletter, a public information program, and a summer camp.

"It is truly rewarding to have been involved since the advent of the group because we were able to witness the development of long-term relationships among its members," said White. "It's good to see the group is still going strong."




Code team trial run

The code team, which responds to emergencies in the CC, recently conducted a trial run at the south entry. The south entry will soon become the main entrance for the CC as construction on the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center continues out front. Revolving doors are the entry of choice for the south side, and the trial run helped the team get acclimated to the new way of gaining access to the building.




News briefs

Open season

The Thrift Savings Plan is having another open season. It runs through Feb. 1, 1999. FERS employees who were hired before July 1, 1998, as well as CSRS employees have an opportunity to change their current election or make an initial participation election. For more information contact human resources at 6-6219.


Specialist honored

Sue Fishbein, personnel management specialist in the Office of Human Resources Management, recently received an NIH Quality of Worklife Award. She was honored for her proven ability as an innovator and advocate for improving the quality of worklife for CC employees.


Holiday bazaar

The Friends of the Clinical Center Holiday Bazaar will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 10 in the Visitor Information Center and the main lobby.


Resolve conflict

The education and training section will sponsor "Resolving Team Conflicts," on Jan. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the first floor conference room of 6100 Executive Boulevard. Attendees will learn why conflict is both inevitable and invaluable, as well as ways to manage conflict by improving interpersonal communication, using negotiation, and building consensus. To register, call 6-1618.


Study open

The Department of Transfusion Medicine's HLA Laboratory is looking for healthy identical twin pairs of any age, race, or sex for a blood study. Participants must undergo a thorough medical history exam and blood work. Call 6-8852 for more information.


A letter of thanks

OP staffer thanks coworkers

CC Outpatient Department's Joseph Weeden recently extended sincere appreciation for the support he has received since he has been out of work on disability.

"Thanks to my friends and associates. Your support for me during my illness is and was appreciated. I now realize that working for the NIH isn't just having gainful employment, but its more like belonging to a family. A family that I am both grateful and proud to be a part of. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as you are always in mine," he said.


 Editor: LaTonya Kittles

Clinical Center News, 6100 Executive Blvd., Suite 3C01, MSC 7511, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7511. (301) 496-2563. Fax: 402-2984. Published monthly for CC employees by the Office of Clinical Center Communications, Colleen Henrichsen, chief. News, articles ideas, calendar events, letters, and photographs are welcome. Deadline for submission is the second Monday of each month.

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