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Winter 2012

From the Editor

Date: February 1, 2012

Into the Limelight


We all have them in our lives.

The work colleague who cheerfully maintains the office birthday list, baking treats and delivering cards without missing a beat. The aging parent who drops whatever she’s got planned to babysit, no questions asked. The next-door neighbor who retrieves our newspaper each morning while he’s grabbing his own.

These are people who quietly go about the business of making our lives better, in ways big and small, never calling attention to their good works or kind deeds. It’s all too easy for us to take them for granted.

With this issue, we shine the spotlight on a group of such unsung heroes within the medical community at Johns Hopkins: members of the intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring team. As writer Christen Brownlee explains in “A Lot of Nerve,” p. 18, these are the technologists whose job it is to closely monitor a patient’s nerve function during neurosurgery. Their work is stressful. And it’s particularly critical to patient safety. By using electrical currents to stimulate various nerves throughout a complex surgery, IOM team members are often the first to spot and flag trouble—while there’s still time to fix it.

Few surgical patients ever meet their IOM technologist, much less follow up with a thank-you card. The team’s important work mostly goes unrecognized. We hope to remedy that, in some small way, with our story about Marichi Capino and her committed team of colleagues here at Johns Hopkins.

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