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Awards / Honors

Activities Board recognizes the Veterinary Teaching Hospital's Anesthesiology Team

February 9, 2010

The Anesthesiology Team at Colorado State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital have full, busy days. Not the kind of day where you go from one meeting to the next with barely any time to stop at Starbucks, but full days on their feet caring for patient after patient. They start between 7 and 7:30 a.m. by going over charts, patient protocols, and getting equipment ready to safely anesthetize patients scheduled for surgery and other procedures that day.

Patient care, teaching, research

At 8 a.m. they teach the nine students currently on their 3-week anesthesiology rotation, and at 9 a.m. they start cases. They don’t stop until they have seen all of the patients, which on busy days can include 20 small animals, mostly dogs, 3-4 horses, and the occasional emergency. And somehow, in between teaching and caring for patients they also find time for research dedicated to improving pain management and anesthesia for all animals.

During just one hour, on a recent Wednesday, they were in the middle of researching a new compound for pain relief in dogs, preparing a German Shepherd and Rottweiler for surgery, and running a CT scan on an English Bulldog before taking him into surgery. With the need for dedicated and specialized care for many of their patients the staff and faculty were in constant motion.

Very low staff turnover

The team has a total of 11 staff and 5 faculty that work on a rotational basis. The turnover among the staff is very low with one supervisor in her 25th year, another staff member approaching 20 years, and at least 4 people reaching their 5 and 10 year milestones.

“Our staff are highly committed to providing excellent patient care and teaching students,” said Dr. Khursheed Mama, who currently serves as the section head for the Anesthesia Service.

“They are unbelievable.” As a teaching hospital they emphasize being safe, learning resources well, and recognizing when one has reached the limit of one’s knowledge and ability to help a patient. They also give students the ability to think critically by allowing them to perform exams, evaluate laboratory findings, and devise a patient plan that they then discuss in depth with the team.

Students learn from the best

These students are learning from the best in the nation. The VTH is one of the few places that will perform heart surgery and is also well known for its cancer program. In addition to excellent anesthesia care, members of the service also provide both systemic and regional pain relief in patients undergoing a wide range of procedures, including MRIs, CT scans, radiation therapy, and surgery. The experience of the faculty and staff allows them to provide this care for all types of animals, having even treated the occasional Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Lion, and Brown Bear.

Most of the patients’ owners will never meet directly with any of the Anesthesiology team, as the work they do is mainly behind-the-scenes. For this reason, Hollie Ellis, a certified veterinary technician with the VTH, nominated the team to be recognized by the Colorado State University Activities Board.

Special care and attention to each patient

“We work with members of all the services within the hospital,” said Hollie, “and we are always available to manage patients with students, giving each patient the same care that we would give to our own animals.” Even though patient owners may never meet with a member of the Anesthesiology Team, they would like you to know that they welcome questions and concerns about any patient and are happy to discuss services they can provide.

The CSU Activities Board was pleased to recognize Anesthesiology Team in January with a luncheon, which they had to take in shifts in order to maintain care to all patients. The Activities Board recognizes an academic unit, department or office each month. If you would like to n nominate a group to be recognized, go to www.csuab.colostate.edu.


Contact: Kelly Kimple
E-mail: kelly.kimple@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-5506