Innovative mind: cancer researcher comes to CC

Dr. Ajit Singh, a leader in cancer research and treatment, is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. April 26 at Colorado College as part of the inaugural event in school’s Visiting Innovative Minds series.

Singh will discuss advances in cancer treatment, as well as new technology available to treat various cancers.

An expert in radiation oncology, he has served on the faculty of Columbia University and Princeton University, and holds several patents in the field of image analysis and medical imaging.

Singh has been the president of the Oncology Care Systems Group of Siemens Medical Solutions in Concord, Calif., since August 2001.

Under his leadership, Siemens has pioneered cancer therapies, using biology-guided radiation therapy and adaptive radiation therapy, which are increasingly tailored to individual patients through sophisticated feedback methods.

One of the leading cancer care technologies that has emerged is the PRIMUS Linear Accelerator, which as its name suggests, is a working particle accelerator that is able to target the specific protons or electrons of cancer cells.

A Colorado Springs company, Pioneer Manufacturing, supplies components of the PRIMUS.

JCAHO issues tubing warning

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has issued a special alert that urges health care organizations to pay special attention to how tubes and catheters are connected to patients, and challenges manufacturers to redesign the devices to make dangerous misconnections less possible.

Reports show that tubing and catheter misconnection errors occur frequently and lead to deadly consequences in many instances, JCAHO officials said.

“The basic lesson from the reported cases of tubing and catheter misconnection error is that if it can happen, it will happen,” said Dr. Dennis S. O’Leary, president of the Joint Commission. “Thankfully, many tubing misconnections are caught before the patient is injured, but these errors pose a real threat to patient safety that can be overcome through heightened vigilance and a systematic approach to avoiding misconnections.”

The findings prompted the Joint Commission to issue the alert to more than 12,000 health care organizations nationwide – including hospitals, ambulatory care centers, home care agencies, nursing homes and behavioral health care facilities. JCAHO issues alerts to create awareness about problems and to offer solutions for avoiding occurrences.

Warning signs of a possible misconnection, according to JCAHO, include having to force-fit tubes together or having to use an adaptor. Using a tube or catheter for something other than its intended purpose also could cause a misconnection. To reduce the risk of errors related to tubing misconnections, the Joint Commission recommends that health care organizations take the following specific steps:

  • Avoid purchasing non-intravenous equipment with tubing connectors that permit connection with intravenous connectors.
  • Conduct tests on and assess the risks of new tubing and catheter purchases to identify the potential for misconnections, and take appropriate preventive measures before using.
  • Always trace a tube or catheter from the patient to the point of origin before connecting any new device or infusion.
  • Route tubes and catheters having different purposes in different, standardized directions, e.g., intravenous lines are routed toward the head; enteric lines are routed toward the feet.
  • Recheck connections and trace all patient tubes and catheters to their sources as a standard of care when a patient arrives in a new care setting.
  • Emphasize the risk of tubing misconnections in clinician orientation and training programs.
  • Inform patients and their families about the importance of getting help from nurses or doctors whenever there is a real or perceived need to connect or disconnect devices or infusions.

Parkview offers nursing scholarships

The Parkview Foundation is offering two scholarships to nursing students graduating in May 2007 from Pueblo Community College or Colorado State University- Pueblo.

This will be the 25th year the Parkview Foundation has awarded nursing scholarships.

Each scholarship will pay for tuition, fees and books during the 2006-2007 academic year. The maximum amount is $2,000. In addition, up to $500 will be allowed for book reimbursement.

The scholarship applicant must be a resident of Pueblo County, in their senior year of a nursing program and expect to graduate in May 2007. Nurse interns are eligible and all applicants must have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average or better.

The applicant must agree to work at Parkview Medical Center for one year for each school year of tuition paid for by Parkview Foundation following completion of the nursing program.

Applications are available at or, may be picked up at the Parkview Foundation and Marketing office, 405 W. 15th St., Suite 100. Applications are also available in the nursing departments at PCC and CSU- Pueblo.

The deadline is May 31. For more information, call 584-4526.

Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.