Innovating Care for Gastrointestinal Disorders

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“Dinner with the Doc” honoree Dany Raad, MD, is elevating and standardizing GI care at UH Parma Medical Center

UH Clinical Update | May 2022

Dany Raad, MD GastroenterologyDany Raad, MD

Even a casual observer could see the patient’s problem right there in the X-ray that Friday night in the ED at UH Parma.

There was a startlingly clear image of a cell phone in his stomach.

The young man had swallowed the phone during his arrest earlier that evening, likely trying to keep the police from finding evidence of any criminal dealings. But he apparently hadn’t studied anatomy – there was no way for something the size of even this rather small cell phone to wend its way through the intestines to be excreted, which had been his plan.

Dany Raad, MD, a specialist in gastroenterology and Medical Director of the Digestive Health Institute at UH Parma, was called in from home for this GI emergency.

“I knew the best way to get it out was to bring the cell phone up the same path it had gone down,” he says. So the patient had an upper endoscopy, during which the cell phone was snagged and brought up through esophagus, then given to a police officer standing by.

Naturally, that was a slightly unusual procedure for Dr. Raad – at least, the swallowed object being a cell phone was odd. Typically he spends his work days treating patients for a variety of conditions that range from severe acid reflux to liver disease, colon cancer prevention, inflammatory bowel disease as well as all sorts of gastrointestinal problems.

He also has dramatically grown the Digestive Health Institute at UH Parma Medical Center to one of the busiest GI practices in the region, and on top of that has managed to create a fully functional esophageal testing and treatment program along with surgeons, nurses and administrative partners creating a fully functional esophageal testing and treatment program.

Among Dr. Raad’s accomplishments are his being the most active recruiter of GI providers among his peers, and his standardizing of care gaps for PEG tubes and GI Foreign Body management (such as in the matter of the cell phone.) He’s known for being generous with his time and energy for patients and caregivers alike.

Because of these and other qualities of excellence, Dr. Raad was a recent “Dinner with the Doc” winner.

He also has streamlined the process to help ED staff know when to call in a GI specialist, or when they can easily perform a procedure themselves. The size, sharpness and location of the object within the GI tract of the object make a difference.

“If something needs to be done at 2 a.m. and you need to call in a specialist, you want to optimize when that decision is made,” he explains. “So I piloted a standard of care that lets ED physicians know when to call the GI doctor and the GI team and when it is not necessary. We all need to best use the resources we have.”

Dr. Raad is a native of Lebanon, who went to college and medical school in Beirut. But he always wanted to be a physician in the U.S., and to do his training, residency and fellowships here, as his mentors had. He moved to the U.S. for a residency at SUNY Buffalo and then came to UH in 2013, first as a Fellow and then as Chief Fellow of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at UH Cleveland Medical Center.

In his current role, he says he is particularly proud of bringing a practice that diagnoses and treats esophageal motility and heartburn disorders. “That is a unique specialty,” he says. “We developed this idea of a heartburn esophageal center, which was an innovation in endoscopy for UH.

“We brought in new equipment and are able to do the kinds of testing that was previously unavailable in the Parma area. Now, we have one of the highest numbers of referrals for heartburn and esophageal disorders. We’ve also streamlined the referral process to make it much easier and simpler for all primary care and particularly GI doctors to refer patients with difficult esophageal diseases.”

Congratulations to Dr. Raad on his “Dinner with the Doc” honor.

To nominate a physician for this honor, please visit the UH Digital Workplace. The next deadline is July 22.

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