On November 30, the BCU conducted its latest quarterly drill. The drill involved a pregnant patient who went into labor in the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Clinic, but was quickly identified as suspect for an unknown, novel and highly pathogenic respiratory illness. As such, the patient was transported via LifeLine in an IsoPod to the BCU. The patient was rapidly admitted under the care of BCU nurses, an Obstetrics team and a neonatal team, all donned in enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE). The birthing process was simulated using a manikin controlled by the JHH Simulation Center that included expulsion of imitation bodily fluids, blood and afterbirth. Upon birth, the neonatal team resuscitated the infant, which included a simulated respiratory arrest requiring rapid intervention and intubation. The infant was stabilized and then transported to patient room #2 for further management at the recommendation of the Maryland Department of Health in an effort to reduce transmission of respiratory pathogen from mother to baby.

This drill challenged several components of the institution’s capacities and preparedness including communication, patient screening/triage, interdisciplinary collaboration, incident command structure,and transport. It also allowed us to test two critical subspecialty service lines: obstetrics and neonatology. The drill uncovered a number of important opportunities to improve our processes and protocols, and highlighted the incredible innovation, creativity, perseverance and dedication of the BCU and all of our collaborators.

The BCU would like to especially thank Dianne Whyne for leading the BCU exercise committee for the last two years. This was Dianne’s last BCU drill before she retires in February, and her contributions to our current preparedness are immeasurable. We would not be where we are today without her experience and vision. Jen Andonian will be taking over as co-chair of the committee.

On December 4, Jade Flinn and Sam Gutner presented a poster at JHH’s Scholars’ Day highlighting the purpose of the BCU as well as the collaboration involved in the creating and maintenance of our endeavor. They dressed up in PPE and utilized this as an opportunity for recruitment, piquing interest from nurses across the hospital from oncology to neurosciences and psychiatry. The BCU is currently working on active recruitment and are calling on all specialties. Contact our BCU program manager, Jen Andonian (jandoni1@jhmi.edu), or our nurse educator, Jade Flinn(jborrom1@jhmi.edu), for more information about joining the team.

Thank you to everyone who has helped to build and test our capabilities over the last three years. If you would like to learn more about the unit or become a member of our team, please contact Brian Garibaldi (bgariba1@jhmi.edu).

-The BCU team

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