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FMH ICU Recognized for Excellence in Critical Care


As the only adult intensive care unit in Frederick County, Frederick Memorial Hospital’s ICU cares for our community’s sickest and most vulnerable patients. In recognition of their excellent clinical outcomes, the program was recently presented with Healthgrades® America’s 2016 Critical Care Excellence Award. This distinction places the FMH ICU among the Top 10% in the nation.

ICU Manager Jennifer Kramer, MSN, RN credits the hospital’s responsive leadership, the unit’s highly credentialed nursing staff (nearly half have earned advanced certifications in critical care), and the progressive policies and procedures in place at FMH for this achievement. In addition, says Kramer, FMH has a dedicated clinical nurse specialist and a pharmacist in each area of the Intensive Care Unit. And unlike some hospitals who use telemedicine to monitor critically ill patients, the FMH ICU has a physician who specializes in critical care on the floor, around the clock, every day of the year.

Kramer also attributes the program’s outstanding clinical outcomes to the Emergency Department staff. “The ED is where critical care begins,” she said. “They do a great job transferring critically ill patients to us, so that we can begin the appropriate care immediately. This outstanding recognition from Healthgrades® belongs to them, too.”

What is Healthgrades®?

Healthgrades® provides objective, comprehensive information about healthcare quality in America’s hospitals to help consumers make informed decisions about their care. Using rigorous scientific methodology, Healthgrades® measures hospital performance by analyzing the clinical outcomes for 32 of the most common in-hospital procedures and conditions, adjusting for each patient’s age, gender, and medical condition. During the 2016 study period, FMH showed superior performance and outstanding clinical outcomes in at least 21 of these 32 conditions and procedures, earning it Healthgrades’ recognition as a Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence—one of only 260 out of nearly 5,000 hospitals nationwide to receive the Award.

“Standardized, risk-adjusted quality performance data from Healthgrades® gives consumers the information they need to understand, compare, and evaluate their options for care,” said Frederick Regional Health System’s President & CEO Tom Kleinhanzl. “Healthgrades data also helps hospitals like ours focus quality improvement efforts, and assists us in improving processes related to our core mission: to provide the highest quality healthcare to patients.”

FMH also received the Critical Care Excellence Award™ in recognition of its superior outcomes in the treatment of pulmonary emboli, respiratory system failure, diabetic emergencies and sepsis. For Frederick resident Lynn Harris, this Award is more than a trophy; in fact, she says, it represents a level of care that saved her life last year.

After a trip to Arizona in April of 2015, Harris developed some upper respiratory symptoms. Even after an antibiotic was ordered, her condition continued to decline. She became dizzy and disoriented. Her blood pressure plummeted. Her heart began to race, and her breathing became shallow and rapid. On April 28, 2015, Lynn Harris arrived at the FMH Emergency Department dangerously ill. Tests at the FMH ED revealed that she was in septic shock, the result of a massive immune response to a bacterial infection that had gotten into her blood. And in a strange and dangerous twist of fate, she had also developed two blood clots in her lungs as a result of a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in her right leg.

Her exhausted body was fighting to control the infection and maintain blood flow, but her major organs were shutting down—including her kidneys, adrenal glands, and liver. Within several hours of arriving at FMH, Lynn’s heart stopped. She was revived, only to code six more times in the ICU.

Fortunately for Lynn, the FMH Intensive Care Unit staff had recently participated in a state-wide initiative to reduce the number of deaths from sepsis. A collaboration between the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) and the Maryland Patient Safety Center (MPSC), this project provided opportunities for hospitals to share information about evidence-based guidelines for treating sepsis. Through this collaboration, FMH developed “Code Sepsis,” an aggressive treatment protocol for patients in advanced stages of condition.

“Unfortunately, not all hospitals perform equally when it comes to clinical outcomes,” said Heathgrades’ Chief Strategy Officer Evan Marks. “So it’s important that consumers do their research in order to find the right care for them.”

With expert critical care at Frederick Memorial Hospital—first at the ED, then in the ICU—Lynn recovered. She spent a week in intensive care and three weeks in an FMH step-down unit before recovering enough to be released to a rehab facility. For the next year, she faithfully saw the many specialists in charge of her follow-up care and has now been given a clean bill of health.

“I’m convinced that had it not been for the doctors and nurses in the ED and ICU, I would have died that day,” says Lynn. “The fact that I’m here at all is a testimony to the skill of the entire FMH critical care team.”

To read more about the programs and services recognized by Healthgrades, visit


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