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Ensuring Critically Ill Patients Receive the Care They Need

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A Q&A with Dr. Claire Raab

Posted by Temple Health

Claire Raab, MD

Multiple times a day, Dr. Claire Raab sees the impact Temple University Hospital has on the region’s most critically ill and injured patients.

As Temple’s Associate Chief Medical Officer, she oversees the hospital’s transfer center and critical care transport team. These services ensure that thousands of patients each year can quickly and efficiently reach the lifesaving specialty care found at Temple.

Q: Temple receives a large number of patients from other hospitals each year. Why is that?

Dr. Raab: Most people receive their routine medical care at a community hospital. But sometimes an illness or injury that starts off as simple can turn more complex.

A community hospital—and even some large medical centers—may not have the resources and expertise required to help that patient. At that point, the patient needs the advanced care of an academic medical center like Temple.

Here, we have all the specialty physicians and the latest technology, medical devices and surgical options that these patients require.

Q: How many hospitals transfer patients to Temple each year?

Dr. Raab: On average, 70 different hospitals from around the Philadelphia region and beyond transfer their most critically sick patients to Temple each month. Annually, that number is over 200. These hospitals are confident that when they send their patients to Temple, they’re going to receive excellent care.

Q: Temple is known for its ability to take transfer patients quickly. Why is that important and how does the transfer system work?

Dr. Raab: We can often take patients within 8 hours, whereas other hospitals may take several days. When outside physicians need to transfer a patient to Temple, they call our transfer center. Within minutes, one of our specialty physicians gets on the line to discuss the case and a transfer is arranged if needed.

I’ve been on these calls and it’s sometimes clear that the referring physician needs help. It’s a terrible feeling when you have a very sick patient and you don’t have the services they need. So having the ability to call Temple and get that patient the care they need is very comforting.

Q: What are some examples of the specialty care Temple provides?

Dr. Raab: Many of the patients who are transferred to Temple have very serious heart or lung problems, neurological emergencies like stroke, or have been involved in a traumatic accident. 

  • We have been the number one lung transplant center in the nation for the last 2 years. We offer lung procedures others don’t. 
  • Our cardiac program is widely respected and can offer patients options they won’t find everywhere, like mechanical heart pumps. 
  • Our burn center and trauma program are nationally known for their high level of care. 

What’s great about a hospital like Temple is that we have highly experienced physicians and surgeons available 24/7. If you need emergency heart surgery, we can do it in the middle of the night or on the weekend. No matter the patient we receive, we’re able to care for them. 

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