Local News

Open Letter to the Community

LAWRENCEVILLE (June 18, 2013) - Earlier today Gwinnett Medical Center officials held a press conference to reach out to the public via local media in order to make everyone aware that GMC has discovered that some patients and employees have been exposed to an active case of tuberculosis (TB). 

As you may know, TB can be spread when someone with active TB disease coughs into the air and other people close by breathe in the contaminated air. The timeframe for this exposure was between February 1, 2013 and May 10, 2013. 

We have identified 133 patients who may have been affected. These individuals should have already received a return-receipt letter from Gwinnett Medical Center. The letter strongly encourages them to take a TB skin test – the most common way to tell if a person has been exposed to an active case of TB.

If you received a letter, please get tested promptly at the site listed in the letter. Testing is free by going to the health department location in the county.  

We want to emphasize that the risk of contracting TB from casual exposure is low, but it is important to get tested. The Department of Public Health is responsible for tracking infectious diseases and ensuring that individuals with active TB receive appropriate medical treatment. We are working closely with them to rapidly facilitate completion of TB skin tests for all potentially exposed individuals. 

As background, in mid-May 2013, an employee of Gwinnett Medical Center was diagnosed with active TB. Employees take a TB skin test annually based on best practices.  This employee tested negative in both 2011 and 2012 and was due for the annual test this month. As soon as GMC became aware of the situation, we began working closely with the Gwinnett County Health Department to ensure the appropriate individuals were notified and encouraged to be tested.  We have also identified and tested a number of hospital employees. All tests to date have been negative.

To avoid confusion and community concern, our goal is for the facts of this situation to be shared so that everybody involved – from the affected patients to the community at large and those of us who are managing the response – will be better informed and can react effectively. 

Serving and caring for the people of this community is our privilege. Gwinnett Medical Center has a long, successful history as the primary healthcare provider here and our services have expanded as the needs of the people living here have increased. We strive to do everything we can to keep patients, visitors and employees safe.  This includes actively communicating important safety information to employees and members of the community we serve  We will continue to work with Public Health and all other officials to meet the needs of our patients and employees and continue to provide outstanding care to the community. 

Thank you. 

Philip Wolfe, President and Chief Executive Officer
Alan Bier, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

Storyteller and New York Times best-selling children’s book author Carmen Deedy joins the following GCPS Broadcast and Distance Learning team members (L-R): Faraz Ahmed, producer and Brookwood High graduate; Greg LaHatte, GCPS director of broadcast and distance learning; Carmen Deedy, author and host for "Love that Book!"; Kolinda Scialabba, information specialist and writer/producer for "Love that Book!"; Bruce Lennox, broadcast production specialist; Glenn Ballard, media technology manager and director for "Love that Book!"; Randall Tolliver, editor.

The Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recently presented Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) with an EMMY Award for “Love that Book!” a local GCPS TV production. GCPS TV was announced as a winner during the 2013 Southeast Regional EMMY Awards Gala on Saturday, June 8, 2013, in Atlanta.

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Gwinnett Medical Center receives American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Silver Quality Achievement Award for heart attack care
Award demonstrates GMC’s commitment to care for heart attack patients

Lawrenceville - Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® Silver Receiving Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes GMC’s commitment and success in implementing an exceptional standard of care for heart attack patients.

Each year in the United States, nearly 300,000 people have a STEMI, or ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, the most severe form of heart attack. A STEMI occurs when a blood clot completely blocks an artery to the heart. To prevent death, it’s critical to immediately restore blood flow, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.

Hospitals involved in Mission: Lifeline are part of a system that makes sure STEMI patients get the right care they need, as quickly as possible. Mission: Lifeline focuses on improving the system of care for these patients and at the same time improving care for all heart attack patients.

As a “STEMI Receiving Hospital,” GMC meets high standards of performance in quick and appropriate treatment of STEMI patients to open the blocked artery. Before they are discharged, patients are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, aspirin, ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers and they receive smoking cessation counseling if needed. Hospitals must adhere to these guidelines-based measures at a set level for a designated period of time to be eligible for the achievement awards.

“With our full continuum of cardiac care – beginning even before a patient arrives in our emergency department and continuing throughout the Strickland Heart Center,” said GMC President and CEO Phil Wolfe, “we are dedicated to making our cardiac services among the best in the country.  The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by making it easier for our professionals to improve the outcomes of our cardiac patients. We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in cardiac care, and I am very proud of our team.”

About Gwinnett Medical Center
Gwinnett Medical Center is a nationally-recognized, not-for-profit healthcare network with acute-care hospitals in Lawrenceville and Duluth. Offering cardiovascular, orthopedic and neuroscience specialty care as well as a full continuum of wellness services, GMC’s 4,500 associates and 800 affiliated physicians serve more than 400,000 patients annually. To learn more about how GMC is transforming healthcare, visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org or follow us at https://www.facebook.com/gwinnettmedical, twitter.com/gwinnettmedical or youtube.com/gwinnettmedical.

About Mission: Lifeline
The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology clinical treatment guidelines.  For more information, visit heart.org/missionlifeline and heart.org/quality. 


Stan Hall

Apparently, I am from the old school. Who knew? I’ve always fancied myself as one who kept abreast of modern technologies, current events, social rhythms, and etcetera. I have never denied my chronological age; in fact I enjoy it. I’ve earned every day of it. But, I have never wanted to be one of those guys who finds a chair in the corner and watches the world go by.

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