If you’re willing to give, the Blood Bank still needs you. Donors have been coming in all week and the blood mobile’s been logging some miles, but stocks are still low. We had 76 O positive and and 89 O negative units in stock this afternoon. Shriners and UTMB use 50 units on an average per day; a major trauma can make the need on any day spike way up.
Archive for September, 2006
A report on the region’s less-than-stellar air quality is making a splash today in the news. Jonathon Ward in PMCH was the UTMB researcher who collaborated on the findings; scientists from Rice, Baylor, TSU and UH looked at benzene, 1-3 butadiene, formaldehyde and diesel particulate matter. They call for replacing the current toothless guidelines with enforceable regulatory standards to begin to lower the concentrations of this hazardous stuff floating in our air. Over a lifetime of exposure, the report suggests that current concentrations of these airborne substances cumulatively can cause hundreds of people to get seriously sick. So maybe rolling up my windows when I drive down Hwy 146 isn’t enough. Let’s hope this gets some traction. Here’s the Chronicle story and the executive summary of the report.
Sorry. Blood. We need blood. I guess all the Halloween stuff in the stores has me thinking of vampire bats and guys in capes with fangs and bad accents.
Our blood supplies hit rock bottom yesterday; I think we were down to four units of O blood, and had only 19 donations in the past three workdays. We need on average 50 units a day. Because the shortage is national and regional, there haven’t been stocks available elsewhere to bolster our supplies. Our standing external orders for blood haven’t been able to be filled since early September. It wasn’t looking good.
So, what’s one to do when lives are in the balance, when kids are bleeding and important surgeries are scheduled? You put out a special call to the remarkable people at UTMB, and as usual, they respond. The Blood Bank staff collected 38 units in the donor room today and another 16 in a mobile drive. Combined with some hustling by Blood Bank staff, we ended the day today with 16 O positive and 81 O negative units. I never cease to be humbled by the compassion, concern and sharing that members of our campus community show when the going gets tough. You are remarkable.
Hopefully more of us will show up tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. The crisis is expected to last a few more weeks nationally, and our stocks remain critically low. Remember, 50 units a day for UTMB and Shriners. Will you roll up your sleeves?
This doesn’t bode well. So we know there’s a vulnerability, but Microsoft doesn’t expect to have a fix togther for a few weeks? If the vulnerability is in IE, it sounds like a good reason to start using Firefox, an alternative web browser to Internet Explorer. It’s what I use at home. You can get info on it here. And, it’s probably a good idea to heed this advisory from our IS security team:
Internet Explorer vulnerability leaves computers open to attack
Information Services (I.S.) has learned of a vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer which could allow an attacker to take control of your Windows PC. The attack comes in the form of an Internet link (URL); these links may be received through email, instant messages, web forums, or internet relay chat (IRC) channels.
A fix for this vulnerability is not expected until October 10, 2006. I.S is currently monitoring the threat and is investigating a potential work around to secure PCs until the Microsoft patch is released. In the meantime, users are reminded to follow computer security best practices.
Don’t click on un-trusted/ unknown or unsolicited Internet links
Don’t open email from unknown sources
Don’t open suspicious attachments
Don’t download unapproved software
Use common sense
More information regarding this advisory can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/925568.mspx. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
My hat is off to the folks in Hospital Patient Financial Services. They recently introduced a new format for UTMB’s hospital and clinic bills, one that should help clarify and simplify charges for patients. The feedback has been very positive. We went through a lot this past summer as an institution. It’s encouraging to see good things, important things, the right things, start to happen. See a sample of the bill or read more about it…
I don’t get to the hospital cafeteria as often as I should, given how close and convenient it is. Usually lunch for me is a Quaker raisin granola bar and a piece of fruit muched in front of my PC, like I’m doing right now. Once a week or so I get off campus, usually to eat too much of something not good for me. Yesterday I strolled over to Cafe on the Court at about 1 pm and was surprised to see a still-bustling crowd, eating and looking pretty happy. I made a trip for the sushi; I’d had it from there before and it’d been pretty good.
I’ve been eating sushi for about 20 years; I had it for the first time in Key West as a young man, a rite of discovery that sparked in me a still-present interest in many Asian things. Three or four years ago I started making sushi myself at home and have become pretty good. My spicy tuna handroll is wicked. There are two secrets to sushi: the fish has to be fresh (no surprise), and the rice has to be perfectly cooked and seasoned. Too often, supermarket sushi (the packaged stuff like we have in the cafeteria) falls short. Sushi was meant to be eaten as it’s made, and it’s difficult to make it in a way that “keeps,” that can be parked it in a cooler for a few hours without making some culinary compromises. In spite of this, the Cafe on the Court sushi holds its own. The selection is good, what I’ve had has been fresh, and the price is fair. All we need now is some miso soup and we’re good to go.
My point? Food is important in our lives. We come together as families, friends and co-workers around the dining table, celebrate holidays and build traditions on food, seek comfort from what we eat. While cafeterias and hospitals aren’t typically known for great food, I’m very pleased that here, any day I want, I’m a short walk from many good choices and something I’ll probably enjoy. And it might—or might not—be very pretty bait.
is likely what the project planners and construction bosses are saying about the University Plaza Project. Things were looking pretty good a few weeks ago in terms of meeting their end-of the-month deadline. Throw in a couple of weeks with days of heavy rain and that “we’re gonna make it” feeling washes away like mud down the storm sewer. It sounds like they are going to need to push back the opening of the loop road and parking garage a couple of weeks, hopefully not much more. They’d started the landscaping and put in some small oak trees on the east side of University Blvd., but Sunday night’s storm blew many of the saplings over (they were staked and wired in place, so that gives you an idea of how hard it blew). In the next few weeks they are planning to bring back some of the big trees they’d moved early in the project. The forms are in for the sidewalk on the west side of the boulevard, but some of the areas that were starting to look like they were ready for sod now look like a swamp buggy pit. The Parking Office has been contacting people who were on the Admin Garage waiting list, to see who was interested in spots in the new garage. That’s a good sign.
There’s a great piece in the online Impact today about a group on campus raising butterflies as an office hobby. They hatch ‘em and release them in the rose garden. It’s a neat story. I have my own experience hatching butterflies, although it was far less intentional. Last year just before Hurricane Rita, my daughter and her class were hatching some monarchs (I think they were monarchs). When the school closed and the kids all evacuated, I was left in charge of the hatchery and its half-dozen cocoons (“Chrysalis,” my daughter would correct.) Even though “pets” are forbidden when we’re in emergency mode, I brought the insects to campus (along with my water and clean underwear) and stuck them in my office. I figured a few more bugs in my office wouldn’t be a problem. All but one hatched, the day after the hurricane. With all the destruction east of here, and all the downed trees and deserted streets in Galveston, it felt nice to give Mother Nature a little boost on her road to recovery.
I read on the Internet that butterflies were originally called “flutter-bys.” It may not be true, but that would make a lot more sense.
While most of us don’t love our computers (some of us do), we recognize that many of our jobs would be very difficult without them. If you look at the big picture, the information technology systems we have in place at UTMB work pretty darn well. The network is reliable. Our servers hum along. We’re protected from most viruses and spam. We have a sweet deal on institutional software, our computers aren’t relics from the days of monochrome monitors, and when you forget your password, there’s someone to reset it 24-7.
So now, inject into this peaceful little world the summer’s dreaded “C” word: CHANGE. Yes, it’s coming. For the first time, we have a chief information officer. We are merging information technology areas. Our friends at ATOS are moving on. The charge is to work smarter, do more, but spend less. And the questions are flying: Will someone take my PC? Who’ll do my desktop support? What about email and the helpdesk?
Trust me, it will be OK. No one will take your computer—you’re not going to need to make a midnight run to Sam’s Club to buy new PCs. IT life as you know it will not cease. Think gradual evolution, not revolution. It will be business as usual for most of us.
Does that mean substantive changes aren’t going to be taking place? No. There’ll be change. The biggest single issue will be merging three different and large IT entities: our outsourced provider ATOS Origin, Administrative Systems (the IT arm of Finance), and the Department of Information Services proper. It’s in everyone’s best interest to make this a smooth melding, and I expect that is how it will play out. There’s time, and there’ll be plenty of opportunities to get details and weigh in on what’s happening.
On a personal note, as part of my job I interact a fair bit with people in various IT roles. The people I’ve spoken with have been very jazzed that one of their own, Ralph Farr, got the nod for the CIO job. They know him, have faith in him, think he’s the right guy to carry a good team even further along.
I don’t golf (unless you count the occasional course with windmills and giant concrete octopi), and I’m not much of a social butterfly when it comes to galas, but I do have a special spot in my heart for our UTMB nurses and nurses-in-training. I’ve been around the Salute to Nursing since its first days, when I worked in publications and we helped with their invites and promotional material. I’m very pleased to see they’ve passed the cumulative million-dollar mark in scholarship dollars raised; those dollars help many promising students. If you golf, I know they have a good time and it’s for a great cause.
The Salute to Nursing 2006 Golf Tournament will be held Friday, October 13th, at the Galveston Country Club with the Tournament Party that evening at The Yacht Club from 6:30p.m until 9:30 p.m.. Proceeds from this tournament provide significant and much- needed financial assistance to nursing students of The University of Texas Medical Branch. By participating in the Salute to Nursing, you make a difference not only to our students but also to the patients they will one day serve. Your investment in nursing education is an investment in the future of health care. Contact Julie Best, Special Events Coordinator, 409.772.8264, email@example.com.