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Children’s Hospital specialists report on child abuse cases during holiday season

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of happiness and peace for many families and friends.  But for some children, it can represent pain and sorrow.  Specialists at T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital at Erlanger are treating approximately two to four children every week for injuries they receive from abuse.  While abuse is evident throughout the year, child abuse can be just as prevalent during the holiday season.

The holiday season can be especially difficult for families in stressful situations.  Some adults may experience financial burdens and are unable to provide for the children.  Others may be overloaded with too many tasks trying to make the holiday perfect for everyone else.

“Unfortunately, these are the times when children are caught in the middle,” said Dr. Karla Garcia, team member of Children’s Hospital Child Protection Team.  “Stress and tension become too much to bear, and children are inadvertently neglected or abused.  Adults must remember that lashing out does not mean they are terrible parents.  Everyone, in all economic and educational levels, can feel stress and tension.  What is important is that the adult recognizes the tension before it gets out of control and removes the child or themselves from any possible danger.”

Placing a child in a safe place and walking away from the situation will allow adults to find ways to calm down through deep breaths or focusing on something completely different until they are comfortable enough to safely interact with the child.

It is a personal decision of another adult to either intervene or report the suspected abuse.

“Some lashing out could be a minimal occurrence that requires the adult to see through the actual situation,” said Dr. Annamaria Church, team leader of Children’s Hospital Child Protection Team.  “Approaching the caretaker in a supportive way or acknowledging the child could possibly give the adult just enough time to realize the situation.  However, if the individual suspects abuse and the abuse has reached a level of reporting, then Tennessee law requires the individual to report it to local authorities or child and protective services.”

Child abuse can be presented in many different forms whether it is physical, sexual, neglect or drug abuse.  Signs may include bruising, cuts and scrapes, poor hygiene and personal care and behavior characteristics such as unusual acting out, withdrawing from situations, lack of focus or possessing extreme behaviors that are not normal for the child of the same age.

“Child abuse is more likely to be caused by a member of the family or someone the family knows,” said Dr. Darwin Koller, director of Children’s Hospital Emergency Services.  “Supervision is strongly encouraged if the child is spending time with acquaintances or people who are prone to abusive behavior.”

Tennessee offers a free helpline at 1-800-356-6767 for adults searching for support during stressful situations.  To report suspected abuse, individuals are encouraged to call 1-877-54-ABUSE (22873) or 911 for medical emergencies.

Erlanger LIFE FORCE — Increasing capabilities to stop life threatening hemorrhage


The philosophy of Erlanger’s LIFE FORCE Air Medical is simple. Bring as much of the Erlanger Health System as possible to the patients side in the most expedient manner. While EMS helicopter services are typically thought of for their rapid transport capabilities, just a fast transport is not always what is best for the ill or injured individual. Maintaining a balance of rapid transport and critical care capabilities are some of the many things that Erlanger LIFE FORCE does best.

Completing over 2,000 patient transports by helicopter per year, treating those who are experiencing life-threatening hemorrhage is a common occurrence for the flight crews of LIFE FORCE. Controlling life-threatening hemorrhage to a patient’s extremity can be accomplished with a commercial tourniquet. Hemostatic dressings can greatly aid in bleeding control and commercial wound closure devices can be successful in controlling external bleeding. However, not all bleeding is external. For example, when a patient is losing significant amounts of blood internally from a liver laceration, or when an elderly patient who is on blood thinners is at risk of dying as a result of an intracranial hemorrhage, how will those commercial devices be effective? The answer is simple, they won’t.

On Monday, December 8th, LIFE FORCE added a tool to its capabilities to greatly aid in reducing blood loss. Liquid plasma was added to all LIFE FORCE helicopters as it newest addition to providing critical care. Liquid plasma will provide crucial clotting factors to help minimize bleeding. Typical intravenous fluids that are carried by pre-hospital providers do not have the clotting factors found in plasma or oxygen carrying capabilities found in packed red blood cells. LIFE FORCE will be the first air ambulance service to offer liquid plasma on-board each of its helicopters in the State of Tennessee and Georgia. This capability not only serves as a valuable asset on scene flights with ambulance service providers but also is valuable to rural hospitals that do not have rapid access to plasma. Most hospital systems have fresh frozen plasma that can take up to 45 minutes to properly thaw before it can be administered to a patient. In most cases, LIFE FORCE can be at the patient’s bedside of any hospital in the region and begin plasma administration and transport in less than 45 minutes. This capability allows the patient to receive critical blood products in a more expedient time as opposed to just a fast ride.

LIFE FORCE is one of the first few flight programs in the United States to implement liquid plasma in the transport environment. This is an important addition to the extensive capabilities already offered by LIFE FORCE. All LIFE FORCE aircraft have the capability to provide blood analysis via iStat portable lab machines, and the ability to administer packed red blood cells and tranexamic acid (TXA). The En-Flow fluid warmer device allows flight crew to administer warm fluids to patients to help maintain warm body temperature and prevent shock.

For more information liquid plasma or how LIFE FORCE can help you better serve your patients needs, contact Clinical Educator, Jason Clark at

Erlanger Health System’s Baroness Campus Receives Prestigious International “Baby-Friendly” Designation

Erlanger Health System’s Baroness Campus is the first hospital in the state of Tennessee and one of only a few hospitals in the Southeast to receive prestigious international recognition as a “Baby-Friendly” designated birth facility.

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc., is the US authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

“We are very proud that the Baroness Campus is the first ‘Baby-Friendly Hospital’ in Tennessee and one of the first few hospitals in the southeastern United States,” said Traci Josephsen, Erlanger Clinical Administrator for Women’s Services.

“Our nursing staff and physicians have worked hard for the past 2 ½ years to implement the ‘Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding’ and earn this prestigious international award,” added Jan Keys, Erlanger Chief Nursing Executive. “This is a great achievement for any hospital that provides maternity care and shows that we have attained a level of excellence in maternity care services.”

The Baby-Friendly designation recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which are:

  • Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  • Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  • Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  • Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one half-hour of birth.
  • Show mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation, even if they should be separated from their infants.
  • Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, not even sips of water, unless medically indicated.
  • Practice rooming in, allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  • Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  • Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
  • Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are 219 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States.

Erlanger introduces the 2015 Miracle Children during annual tree lighting event


Erlanger Health System introduced 21 Miracle Children during the annual tree lighting event yesterday in the Baroness Campus Medical Mall.

Children’s Hospital Foundation officially kicked off the holiday season at Erlanger with the introduction of the children and tree lighting.  The event also included music from the Scenic City Chorus, arts and crafts, and Erlanger departments participating in a parade of presents to support the Child Life program.

The Miracle Children will represent Children’s Hospital at Erlanger throughout the coming year as part of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  The Miracle Children are:


Cheyenne, Age 4

Cerebral Palsy & Hydrocephalus w/ VP Shunt

Chattanooga, TN


Liam, Age 1

Respiratory/Cardiac Arrest

Jasper, TN


Emerson, Age 3

Congenital Profound Hearing Loss

Hixson, TN


Jaxon, Age 6

Brain Tumor

Rocky Face, GA


Daniel, Age 3

Sickle Cell Disease

Lookout Mountain, TN


Danis, Age 11

Ewings Sarcoma

Ringgold, GA


Kylie, Age 4

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Chattanooga, TN


Shelby, Age 4

Down Syndrome/Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Cleveland, TN


Anna, Age 1

Premature at 25 weeks

Harrison, TN


Benjamin, Age 1

Premature at 35 weeks

Cleveland, TN


Jaxon, Cameron and Brooklyn, Age 1

Premature at 35 weeks

Ooltewah, TN


McKenzie, Age 8

GBS Sepsis

Ooltewah, TN


Mia, Age 1

Premature at 29 weeks

Chattanooga, TN


Audrey, Age 4


Cleveland, TN


Cobi, Age 19


Ringgold, GA


Jacquie, Age 17

Lupus Nephritis

Chattanooga, TN


Colton and Peyton, Age 3 and 4

Cystic Fibrosis

Cleveland, TN


Phillip, Age 16

Transverse Myelitis

Rossville, GA


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Hospital Authority Board Welcomes New Trustee

Hoss,HenryHenry A. Hoss, CPA, has been named to serve on the Chattanooga Hamilton County Hospital Authority Board of Trustees, the governing body of Erlanger Health System.

Mr. Hoss, appointed to the Board by the Legislative Delegation, opened Henry A. Hoss & Company, CPAs, in 1982. In November 1993, his firm merged with Michael Barto & Company to form Barto, Hoss & Company, P.C., providing auditing, accounting, tax preparation and compliance services and consulting services to individuals and businesses.

Mr. Hoss is a member of numerous professional organizations and an active civic leader. He was appointed by Governor Haslam to the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy to serve a three-year term from 2012-2015.

“We welcome the addition of Henry Hoss, an active civic leader who is well known throughout the state, to Erlanger’s board,” said Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, Erlanger’s President and CEO.

Erlanger Trustees are appointed to the Board by the City of Chattanooga Mayor, the Hamilton County Mayor, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, the Chancery Court, and the Legislative Delegation. Trustees, who serve without compensation, are appointed for an initial term of four years and may serve for no more than eight consecutive years.

Donnie Hutcherson serves as the Chair of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority Board of Trustees. Other trustees include Michael J. Griffin, Vice Chair; Jack Studer, Secretary; Daniel F. Fisher, MD, Chief of Medical Staff; Phyllis E. Miller, MD; Nita W. Shumaker, MD; Jennifer E. Stanley; Gerald Webb, II; Tom Edd Wilson; and Richard G. Youngblood.

Erlanger Executive Receives Top Management Award

WinickJoseph 8x10 headshot 12-05Joseph M. Winick, FACHE, Senior Vice President of Planning, Analytics and Business Development for the Erlanger Health System, received the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Senior Level Healthcare Executive Award at the recent meeting of the Tennessee Hospital Association in Nashville.

Mr. Winick received the award in recognition of significant contributions toward the achievement of the goals of the ACHE and the advancement of healthcare management excellence. He is one of only 7,500 healthcare executives to achieve the status of Fellow in the ACHE, the nation’s foremost professional society for healthcare leaders.

Mr. Winick joined Erlanger in 2005. He leads the strategic planning process at Erlanger in collaboration with the executive team, medical staff and Board of Trustees. He is involved in developing the master plan and major capital initiatives, conducting feasibility studies, and preparing Erlanger’s annual statistical forecast.

Before his tenure with Erlanger, Mr. Winick worked with Albert Einstein, Humana and American Healthcare in similar roles. He has more than thirty years of healthcare experience.

“We are extremely proud that the ACHE has honored Joe with this award,” said Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, Erlanger President & CEO. “He is very deserving of being honored by such a prestigious society, and we at Erlanger are fortunate to have him on our executive team.”

Mr. Winick holds a Master’s degree in Hospital Administration from The George Washington University and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Florida (BSBA). He is a board member of Cyberknife of Chattanooga, LLC, Ronald McDonald House, and Choose Chattanooga.

Erlanger’s Chief Nurse Executive Earns Top Management Credential


Erlanger President & CEO, Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, congratulations Chief Nurse Executive Jan Keys, DNP, FACHE, on achieving fellow status with the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Erlanger Health System Chief Nurse Executive, Jan Keys, DNP, FACHE, recently became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the nation’s foremost professional society for healthcare leaders.

Fellow status represents achievement of the highest standard of professional development. Only 7,500 healthcare executives hold this distinction, according to the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). To obtain fellow status, candidates must pass a comprehensive examination, meet academic and experiential criteria, earn continuing education credits, and demonstrate professional and community involvement. ACHE fellows must undergo recertification every three years.

Dr. Keys has been Chief Nurse Executive of the Erlanger Health System since 2013. She is a graduate of Dalton State College of Nursing and earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in Nursing from State University of West Georgia. She has a Wharton Business School Fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania and has a doctorate degree in nursing practice from the University of Tennessee.

She is a member of several regional, state and national healthcare organizations and has served as a member of the board of directors of several local and state organizations.

“It is an honor to become a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives,” Dr. Keys said. “The mission of Erlanger Health System is to deliver healthcare services of the highest quality to all those in need. The community deserves that level of care, provided by staff that is committed to standards of excellence. I am proud to be recognized by ACHE for achieving this level of professional development.

“We are extremely proud of Dr. Keys and her achievement of obtaining fellow status in such a prestigious society,” said Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, Erlanger President & CEO. “She truly represents the highest standards of healthcare leadership, and we at Erlanger are fortunate to have her on our team of professionals.”


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