November 30, 2006
Contact: Claudie Benjamin
Manager of Marketing and Media Relations
Principal Public Information Specialist
Chief of Surgical Critical Care at University Hospital
Receives Important Award for Work in End-of-Life Care
Newark—The Society of Critical Care Medicine has awarded the prestigious Grenvik Family Award for Ethics to Dr. Anne C. Mosenthal, Chief of Surgical Critical Care, Surgical Palliative Care, an Associate Professor at New Jersey Medical School and a member of The University Hospital's Bioethics Committee.
At The University Hospital in Newark, trauma stops for no one. Over a typical week, Dr. Mosenthal leads a team of medical and nursing specialists, residents and technicians in the treatment of many patients both young and elderly who have sustained life-threatening injuries. They are transported to the Level I trauma Center by ambulance and helicopter as a result motor vehicle crashes, industrial accidents, falls and interpersonal violence. They arrive with broken bones, crushed limbs, and hemorrhaging internal organs.
Dr. Mosenthal's work over the past six years has emphasized research and implementation of services directed at promoting the ethical and humane delivery of critical care. "Traditionally, the focus in surgery, trauma and intensive care is on surgical procedures and curing," she explained. "Still, one to 20 percent of patients will go on to die. In the past, the full court press was placed on rescue -- saving each and every life, even if it is beyond saving-- or if it will result in a person living with no sense of being alive. Now, there has been a major shift. We are focusing, far more than in the past, on ensuring that a person has a peaceful death that is in keeping with their wishes."
Dr. Mosenthal said that, "the suddenness of trauma makes the process of considering end-of-life preparations particularly difficult both for healthcare providers and for the friends and families of patients. Yesterday, a person was fine. But, now they need life support." As a Faculty Scholar in the Soros-funded Project on Death in America, Dr. Mosenthal and her colleague Pat Murphy, RN, PhD have shown the way to other trauma centers as they made significant innovations at The University Hospital. These practices began with evaluation discussions about palliative care during trauma rounds and developed into practice changes in the trauma Intensive Care Unit.
Dr. Mosenthal’s work is recognized nationally and internationally. A graduate of Dartmouth Medical School, NH, she has been appointed to two visiting professor positions, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and University of New Mexico Medical School, and assisted them in integrating palliative care into trauma ICUs. She has served on the international Robert Wood Johnson "Promoting Excellence in End of Life Care" Workshop and the American College of Surgeons Palliative Care Task Force.