Cushing’s on the Dr. Oz Show!

More than 150 staff members will receive the BRAVO! Team Values in Action Award for their collaborative efforts when The Dr. Oz Show came to videotape an inspirational patient story at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.

Lori Burkhoff (Cushings-Help board member cmondwn), a 34-year-old mother from Long Island, NY, who came to Ohio State seeking a cure for Cushing’s disease, will be featured on The Dr. Oz Show along with Neurosurgeon Daniel Prevedello, MD, and Otolaryngology (ENT) Surgeon Ricardo Carrau, MD.

With only four days notice, staff members at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center and James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute collaborated to make this visit a success for all — the patient and The Dr. Oz Show video crew.

Along with Collaboration, the Ohio State team also demonstrated the values of Leadership and of Acting with Integrity and Personal Accountability, as they worked to ensure the patient’s safety while accommodating the video crew.

Staff directly involved with this project spanned a broad spectrum of departments, including Admissions, Ambulatory Surgical Unit, Anesthesiology, Housekeeping, Pre-Op, Operating  Room, PACU/Post-Op/ Recovery, In-patient recovery on 7 East James, Marketing and Strategic Communications, Nutrition Services, Patient Experience, Security, and Media Relations.

Each year, our Media Relations team routinely handles hundreds of media escorts and requests for interviews with our expert staff members. But there was nothing routine about this media request. For starters, TV celebrity Dr. Oz would be on site for the entire shoot, starting at 5:30 a.m. Sept. 17, chronicling Burkhoff’s efforts to be cured of a debilitating disease she has battled since she was a teenager. Media Relations staffers escorted the crew throughout the visit.

Cushing’s disease is caused by the pituitary gland releasing too much adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).  People with Cushing’s disease accumulate an excessive amount of ACTH, and this stimulates the production and release of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. If left untreated, Cushing’s disease can cause severe illness and even death.

In Burkhoff’s case, despite three previous surgeries to remove benign tumors on or near her pituitary gland, the disease had returned with a vengeance, causing her to gain weight and putting her at risk for diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease, among other complications.

In an effort to raise awareness about the often-misdiagnosed Cushing’s disease, Burkhoff had contacted The Dr. Oz Show.

In the meantime, she learned about the innovative surgical procedure performed at Ohio State. Burkhoff met with Prevedello, the Ohio State neurosurgeon who works in tandem with ENT surgeon Ricardo Carrau, to perform endoscopic endonasal surgery. This is a minimally invasive neurosurgical technique that gives surgeons access to the base of the skull, intracranial cavity and top of the spine by operating via the nose and paranasal sinuses.

Prevedello is one of only a few neurosurgeons worldwide trained in this approach that leaves no facial incisions or scarring, causes less trauma to the brain and nerves, has fewer side effects and results in quicker recovery times.

Burkhoff and the surgeons agreed to be videotaped “documentary style” — meaning that Dr. Oz wanted to capture everything that happened to Burkhoff leading up to and including her surgery. Cameras were rolling at 6 a.m. when Dr. Oz warmly greeted Burkhoff as she walked through the main lobby doors of Rhodes Hall.

Dr. Oz and his video crew remained with Burkhoff as she was admitted to the hospital and during a pre-op discussion with her surgeons in the Ambulatory Surgical Unit. They were with her during the 2.5-hour surgery in University Hospital OR 16, and they followed her into the Post Anesthesia Care Unit recovery area after surgery. By noon, Dr. Oz had departed and the video crew had called it a “wrap.”

During the surgery, Prevedello removed two benign tumors near the pituitary gland. However, Burkhoff did not respond as well as doctors had hoped.

Within a few days, Prevedello and Carrau decided to schedule an unprecedented fifth surgery on Sept. 22.

Even though Dr. Oz couldn’t make it back for the fifth and final surgery, his video crew arrived at 6 a.m. on a football home-game Saturday. The crew interviewed Burkhoff and the surgeons before the four-hour surgery, and the surgeons again after the operation. This surgery proved successful, and Burkhoff continues to improve.

Prevedello and Carrau, members of Ohio State’s Cranial Base Center, will join Burkhoff on the set of The Dr. Oz Show in New York City to share her inspirational story with an international audience during an episode slated to air on Thursday, December 20, 2012.


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One Response

  1. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?


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