Arizona Respiratory Center Plans for the Southwest Ventilation Program To Improve the Lives of People with Complex Respiratory Needs
Jan and Jim Harrison were determined that their son, Jimmy, was going to live at home, and he was going to be able to go outside and play with other children, and someday go to school.
The natural things that all parents want for their children would be a challenge for the Harrisons. Jimmy was born with a rare disorder called Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome; in order to breathe, he would require ventilation assistance for the rest of his life. When Jimmy was a baby Jan Harrison searched all over the country to learn about equipment and therapies that would help improve her son's quality of life.
"It is an overwhelming experience being the parent of a child that requires breathing assistance 24 hours a day," she says. "Families like ours need in-depth advice, care and support services that extend well beyond what is possible during a traditional doctor's appointment."
Thousands of people in the Southwest depend on complex respiratory therapies to breathe. These individuals constitute a vulnerable population and include: adults with debilitating lung disease such as cystic fibrosis and advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); children like Jimmy Harrison born with rare disorders; and people of all ages with neuromuscular problems such as muscular dystrophy and ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Thousands more will develop a need for breathing assistance as a result of disease, traumatic injuries and surgeries. Each individual and family situation is unique and each requires customized care and treatment.
Unfortunately, no comprehensive ventilation center exists in the region. As a result, some patients and families travel thousands of miles to centers across the country to receive necessary treatment and equipment training. Worse yet, some patients receive only "hit-or-miss," crisis-driven treatment and experience a lower quality of life, increased medical problems, and even early demise. Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and others who work with these patients also lack a regional resource center that could provide them with expert consultation and continuing education.
The University of Arizona's internationally known Arizona Respiratory Center plans to fill this void by creating the Southwest Ventilation Program. The program will improve the lives of people with complex respiratory needs through research, education, and family-centered care using state-of-the-art technology and support services.
Customized care and comprehensive treatment will be provided by a medical team including specially trained adult and pediatric physicians and nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers, physical therapists and nutritionists.
The Southwest Ventilation Program also will serve as a regional resource for medical professionals through consultation, training, research advances, and telemedicine services.
Today, Jimmy Harrison is 13 years old and living at home. He goes to school and enjoys playing his favorite sports. Working closely with his physician, Wayne Morgan, MD, Associate Director of the Arizona Respiratory Center and UA professor of pediatrics and physiology, Jimmy breathes with implanted diaphragmatic pacers. The Southwest Ventilation Program will help patients like Jimmy Harrison and his family face daily activities with confidence and increase their autonomy and independence. Jan Harrison says "I am relieved knowing that our family, and families like ours throughout the region, will benefit from this important program."
The Arizona Respiratory Center is seeking private contributions to help establish the Southwest Ventilation Program. To make a difference in the lives of people who depend on complex respiratory therapies to breathe, please contact: Tara McMahon, Director of Development, Arizona Respiratory Center, P.O. Box 245030, Tucson, AZ 85724 (520) 626-7411.
The Arizona Respiratory Center was designated the first Center of Excellence at the UA College of Medicine in 1971. Today, the internationally known Center combines the highest caliber of research, clinical care and teaching. The Center is recognized as one of the top institutions for respiratory care.