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2013 Health Care Heroes: Michael Guzman, M.D.

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Health Care HeroesFINALIST: Advancements In Health Care

Michael Guzman, M.D.

Anesthesiologist, Medical Director, Community Surgery Center East

Michael Guzman, M.D., is an inventor with a single purpose: alleviating pain. His first innovation in 2007 was a simple infusion-filling device he created from IV tubing and stopcocks. That garnered him his first patent. He now has three patents to his credit with one in the works.

Since then Guzman, 59, a board-certified anesthesiologist who’s been affiliated with Community Health Network for more than 20 years, has come up with numerous innovations to minimize post-operative pain.
 

guzman02-michael-258.jpg(IBJ Photo/ Gene Herndon)

It was in New Orleans in 2009 while presenting a paper to the American Society of Anesthesiology that Guzman got what he calls his “big break.” While networking at the conference, he learned Virginia Mason Medical Center had found a way to relieve the pain of abdominal surgeries without using spinal or epidural narcotics, which necessitate bed rest and have side effects such as nausea, severe itching and urine retention, among others.

This procedure, a Transversus Abdominis Plane block or TAP block, applies local anesthesia between the stomach muscles. The TAP block was reported to be 80-percent as effective for relieving pain as an epidural, and without the associated side effects. This single TAP block relieved pain up to 24 hours.

When Guzman returned home, he discovered a technique to provide continuous pain relief far beyond 24 hours using a TAP block. He received a provisional patent for his continuous TAP block kit, and in 2011 sold the rights to a Fortune 500 company.

“It was just a fluke chance,” said Guzman, who grew up in the small farming community of Morocco, Ind. “It all came about because I was invited to New Orleans. I don’t think anybody saw this coming—the concept that an anesthesiologist can change patients’ post-operative outcomes.”

Soon after, Guzman had another “aha” moment. “I realized this device could be used for any peripheral nerve block commonly performed by anesthesiologists. My TAP kit had many more applications.” Again, Guzman received a provisional patent for his peripheral nerve block kit.

Among the new applications is providing pain relief for any abdominal procedure using a laparoscope. Guzman trademarked this use as LAP TAP-Laparoscopic Assisted TAP block. LAP TAP has been used successfully on bariatric patients in the Community Health Network.

Today many surgeries—hernias, hysterectomies, rotator cuffs, total knees, total hips, minimally invasive spine surgery and others—are being performed using the TAP block. Post-operative patients are 80-percent pain-free and typically enjoy quicker recovery times, shorter hospital stays and reduced health care costs.

“Guzman’s innovations in pain management—which have captured the attention of some of the nation’s top physicians and health care companies—are evidence that groundbreaking health care ideas can emerge wherever caregivers are dedicated to improving experiences and outcomes for their patients,” said Pete Turner, vice president of Innovation for Community Health Network.

Anesthesiologists and surgeons from more than 75 hospital systems, including Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and the University of Pennsylvania, have visited the center to learn the TAP block technique.

Although Guzman’s innovations have improved the lives of many patients, he considers his most significant achievement to be a variation of his device that provides continuous relief for mastectomy patients. Chronic pain after mastectomy with breast reconstruction can be present for up to one year after the procedure.

“Patients at Indiana Surgery Center East have experienced low post-operative pain scores which have exceeded our expectations,” Guzman said. “When these women come in they’re just mentally beat up and devastated because they have a terrible disease. This is something we’re doing that can help their outcomes.”• 

 

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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