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The Cutting Edge - If moved to Hopkins, he may have died en route.


If moved to Hopkins, he may have died en route.

By: Michael Zenilman, M.D.
Date: June 25, 2013

Michael Zenilman
Michael Zenilman

Patients with Crohn’s disease face a lifelong challenge with medications, surgery and the risk of intestinal perforation. But the moment Paul Castaldo developed peritonitis, the clock started ticking. Because of an intestinal perforation, he developed sepsis. If you don’t operate quickly enough for peritonitis, it can be fatal. 

Fortunately, Hopkins-quality care is not limited to downtown Baltimore. As Johns Hopkins Medicine has extended its reach across the Washington, D.C., region, the opportunities for us to help patients with complicated and life-threatening problems have increased. It’s a huge benefit for patients like Mr. Castaldo, who might otherwise find themselves torn between the convenience of their nearest hospital and the benefits of receiving academic-level care. 

Of course, surgery alone did not save this patient. Credit must also be given to the dedicated staff at Suburban—our nurses, the full-time intensivist program in our ICU and our hospitalist program. The hospital was perfectly suited to care for him, but most importantly, both Paul and his wife, Atsuko, had the courage to fight this disease with us.