New Milford Hospital and its medical staff have a tradition of recruiting the best: well-trained, knowledgeable physicians, nurses and other professionals who are prepared to treat your complete medical and/or surgical needs supported by a broad array of medical sub-specialists and sophisticated technology.
We provide skilled in-patient nursing care, as well as progressive step-down services for patients who require cardiac telemetry, chemotherapy, respiratory, general and orthopedic surgery, and other specialty needs.
Care is provided by an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, case managers, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, dietitians, pharmacists and professionals in other health disciplines. An emphasis is placed on patient education so that the individual and family will feel comfortable caring for themselves at home. Appropriate planning for home discharge needs will result in a healthier outcome.
New Milford Hospital offers comprehensive critical care services for coronary, surgical and medical patients. The intensive care unit is equipped with sophisticated monitoring technology, offering a team approach and individualized care planning, to ensure patients and families are well-informed and educated about their options for care.
Facts about Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases are caused by microscopic organisms - including bacteria, viruses, fungi and animal parasites - that penetrate the body's natural barriers and multiply to create symptoms that can range from mild to deadly. Although progress has been made to eradicate or control many infectious diseases, humankind remains vulnerable to a wide array of new and resurgent organisms. The problem is complicated by rapid biological processes that result in new, potentially dangerous bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites emerging, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). In addition, previously recognized germs can evolve to become resistant to available antibiotics and other treatments. Factors such as population crowding and easy travel also make us more vulnerable to the spread of infectious agents. Recent concerns about bioterrorism have focused new attention on eradicated or rare infectious diseases such as smallpox and anthrax.
Types of Infection
Some infections, such as measles, malaria, HIV and yellow fever, affect the entire body. Other infections, however, affect only one organ or system of the body. The most frequent local infections, including the common cold, occur in the upper respiratory tract. A serious and usually local infection of the respiratory tract is tuberculosis, which is a problem worldwide. Other common sites of infection include the digestive tract, the lungs, the reproductive and urinary tracts, the eyes or ears. Local infections can cause serious illnesses if they affect vital organs such as the heart, brain or liver. They also can spread through the blood stream to cause widespread symptoms. The outcome of any infection depends on how strong or deadly the infectious agents, the number of organisms which get into the body and the response of the immune system. A compromised or weak immune system, which can result from diseases such as AIDS or from treating diseases such as cancer, may allow organisms that are ordinarily harmless to multiply and cause life-threatening illness.
Modes of Infection
Common ways in which infectious agents enter the body are through skin contact, inhalating airborne microbes, ingesting contaminated food or water, bites from ticks or mosquitoes that carry and transmit organisms, sexual contact and transmission from mothers to their unborn children via the birth canal and placenta.
Prevention and Treatment
Modern vaccines are among our most effective strategies to prevent disease. Many devastating diseases can now be prevented through appropriate immunization programs. In the United States, it is recommended that all children be vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, polio, measles, rubella (German measles), mumps, Haemophilus influenzae type B (a common cause of pneumonia and meningitis in infants), hepatitis B, varicella (chickenpox) and influenza. Travelers to foreign countries may require vaccinations against yellow fever, cholera, typhoid fever or hepatitis A or B.
- Public Health Measures
Clean water supplies, adequate sewage treatment, and sanitary food and milk handling also are important to control the spread of infectious disease.
The fight against infectious diseases requires worldwide surveillance by physicians, scientists and public health officials who gather information on communicable diseases, report new or resurgent outbreaks of disease, and develop standards and guidelines for treating and controlling disease.
The development of antibiotics and other antimicrobials has played an important role in the fight against infectious diseases, but some microorganisms develop resistance to the drugs used against them. Modern physicians must prescribe antibiotics carefully, and new drug research and development is needed. The more widely antibiotics and anti-virals are used, the more likely it is that new strains of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and animal parasites will emerge.
What is an ID Specialist?
An infectious diseases (ID) specialist is a physician with advanced training in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses caused by microorganisms or germs. Because their training and experience cover a unique cross-section of medicine, ID specialists often are asked to evaluate and oversee challenging cases. ID specialists practice both in hospitals and in office settings.
What kind of training do ID specialists have?
Ten years of education and training. After four years of medical school, there were three years being trained as a doctor of internal medicine. This was followed by three years of specialized training in infectious diseases. Your ID specialist is board-certified, which means he has passed a difficult examination and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in both internal medicine and infectious diseases.
When should I see an ID specialist?
Not all infectious diseases require you to see an ID specialist. Many common infections can be treated by your personal physician. Your doctor might refer you to an ID specialist in cases where an infection is difficult to diagnose, is accompanied by a high fever or does not respond to treatment. The specialized training and diagnostic tools of the ID specialist can help determine the cause of your infection and the best approach to treatment.
What kinds of tests, procedures and treatments are typical?
Infectious diseases specialists are like medical detectives. They examine difficult cases, looking for clues to identify the culprit and solve the problem. If you are in the hospital or ICU with a severe illness, you may not be aware of your ID specialist's visits, constant attention and care.
Much of their work is done behind the scenes. Examining germs carefully under the microscope, ID specialists make a diagnosis and coordinate a plan to treat your disease. They will review your medical data, including X-rays and laboratory reports such as blood work and culture data. They also may perform a physical exam to help determine the cause of the problem.
ID specialists often order laboratory tests to examine samples of blood or other body fluids or cultures from wounds. A blood serum analysis can help the ID specialist detect antibodies that indicate what type of infection you have. Often these advanced studies can further explain the results of earlier tests, helping to pinpoint the problem.
Treatments consist of medicines-usually antibiotics-to help battle the infection and prevent it from returning. These medicines may be given to you orally (in the form of pills or liquids) or administered directly into your veins, via an IV tube. Many ID specialists have IV antibiotic therapy available in their offices, which decreases the likelihood that the patient will need to be hospitalized.
How does my ID specialist work with other medical professionals?
The ID specialist works with your personal physician to determine which diagnostic tests are appropriate. If treatment is necessary, your doctor and the ID specialist will work together to develop a treatment plan best suited to your needs.
What information should I give my ID specialist?
Be sure to give your ID specialist all medical records related to your condition, including X-rays, laboratory reports and immunization records. Often your personal physician will forward this information to the specialist before your scheduled appointment. You should also provide the ID specialist with a complete list of all medications you are taking and any allergies you have. This list should include over-the-counter (nonprescription) medications as well. Also, be sure to tell the ID specialist if you are taking birth control pills; some antibiotics may interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
What can I do to help reduce the risk of getting an infectious disease?
One of the best strategies for preventing infectious diseases is immunization. Make sure you and your children receive all recommended vaccinations. Ask your doctor for advice about other things you and your family can do to prevent infectious diseases.
Where can I get more information about prevention and treatment of infectious diseases?
Your doctor is your best source of information. In addition, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), a professional organization of more than 7,500 ID physicians, scientists and other infectious diseases experts, can help point you in the direction of resources and additional information.
New Milford Hospital provides a 24/7 team of physicians and nurse practitioners who specialize in caring for patients who are hospitalized. These "hospitalists" are typically board-certified in internal medicine or family medicine, and have extensive experience in managing the unique needs of hospitalized patients to maximize their safety and comfort, while providing timely answers to their questions and concerns. The hospitalist can communicate with your primary care doctor to ensure that your ongoing needs are met after you leave the hospital.
Hospitalists provide many benefits to you and your doctor:
- Hospitalists keep a close eye on you.
In case of emergency, your hospitalist is never more than a few minutes away. That's because they work in the hospital and will see you more than once a day, if needed. Our hospitalist assists you in making a smooth and speedy recovery process by following up on tests and adjusting your treatment regimen throughout the day based on those test results.
- Hospitalists may answer your family's questions.
Hospitalists are here to provide the answers in person, whenever possible! Since the hospitalist is available around the clock, he or she is able to spend more time talking to you, and, with your permission, your family about your care.
- Hospitalists help your primary care doctor to be more available to you.
Because the hospitalist is in the hospital all day, your doctor can be with you in the office with fewer delays and interruptions during your visits.