Posts by zavorag

After Saving Teen’s Life, School Nurse Pleads for Training

Posted on Feb 7, 2020 in Cardiac, Pediatric Care, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Uncategorized

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Kathy Papa, a school nurse with the Live Oak Unified School District, spreads her duties among five schools. It was luck – some may say fate or providence – that she was at Live Oak High School just after lunch on Jan. 13 when she got a call to go to English teacher Dani Fernandez’s classroom.

Use of AED
Pediatric electrophysiologist Dr. Oleg Kovalenko of Sutter Children’s Center demostrates how to use an AED.

When she arrived, she found 14-year-old Annalese Contreras slumped in her desk in full cardiac arrest, not breathing and without a pulse. Having been a hospital registered nurse, Kathy knew immediately what was wrong and what needed to be done, but never did she think she’d come upon this situation outside the hospital without a skilled team to assist her.

Kathy immediately sprung into action, starting rescue breaths, directing the 911 call, having two classmates get Annalese out of the desk and onto the floor so compressions could be started, and sending Fernandez to get the school’s portable defibrillator, called an AED. The school had it for years, but it had never been used. After a few successions of CPR, the AED arrived and Kathy applied the pads. The second shock did the trick and Annalese’s heart was back beating. She was then stabilized by EMTs and airlifted to the Sutter Medical Center Children’s Center. 

Annalese suffered cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation, an event that is often fatal. Thanks to Kathy’s heroics and the care she received at the Sutter Children’s Center, Annalese is alive and now recuperating at home. Sutter Children’s Center pediatric electrophysiologist Oleg Kovalenko, M.D., pinpointed her ventricular arrhythmia and Annalese had a defibrillator called an ICD implanted by Sutter electrophysiologist Jonathan Man, M.D., to shock her heart into the correct rhythm when it detects irregular heartbeats.

“Cardiac arrest is an electrical abnormality in the heart. It leads to sudden death in many, many cases and leads to 2,000 deaths a year in children,” said Dr. Kovalenko, Sutter Medical Center’s medical director of pediatric electrophysiology. “In cardiac arrest, there’s no blood flow to your brain and your organs, and the longer a patient stays in this condition, the less chance of survival,” he said, noting that usually that’s just three to five minutes. “The only way to fix it is to shock.”

Annalese Contreras, center, was saved by school nurse Kathy Papa, left, who received the Heartsaver Hero Award from Liam Connelly of the American Heart Association.

Thankfully, Annalese received those shocks within a few minutes. For her efforts, Papa received a Heartsaver Hero Award from the American Heart Association. The AHA and Sutter Medical Center physicians urged all schools to have an AED on-site and train staff on CPR and how to use the defibrillator. Papa started working at the school district in 2019 and already had classes set up to train staff on both, and this event has made it even more important in the staff’s eyes.

As Dan Falco, co-medical director of the Sutter Medical Center Children’s Center said, “That school nurse is the real hero here.” However, Papa was quick to point out that the quick action on the part of Fernandez and the two classmates got Annalese out of the desk are heroes, too.

Annalese’s parents are so grateful to the school and Sutter Children’s Center staff for saving their daughter’s life that they traveled from Live Oak to the hospital to thank them personally and shared their thanks publicly through the media.

“I’d just like to give thanks to everybody – the school, the nurse, the emergency room, the ambulance, the helicopter, the EMS and the hospital – because if it wasn’t for all of them, my daughter wouldn’t be here today,” said Annalese’s father, Felipe Contreras. “I consider all you guys heroes.”

As for Papa, she had a plea: “I want the public to be aware that anyone can save a life, and it just takes a day of training or even just a few hours so that you know what to do in case of an emergency. And,” she said, holding up a portable AED, “this awesome device saves lives. And we all can see that that has happened.”

Here is a video of this story from Fox 40 in Sacramento.

A Hearty Milestone for Sacramento: Over 1,000 Lives Saved with TAVRs

Posted on Dec 17, 2019 in Affiliates, Cardiac, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Uncategorized

A few months ago, 87-year-old Margie Malaspino wouldn’t have been able to play Mrs. Santa for her local Soroptimist event. She was in heart failure due to a constricted aortic heart valve, called aortic stenosis.

“I tired out too easy,” she says. “I had no energy to even walk across the house.” And, way too little energy to play Mrs. Santa for children.

But all that changed by the time Malaspino’s role as Mrs. Santa came earlier this month. She was full of life and all smiles, thanks to a minimally invasive valve replacement known as a TAVR – transcatheter aortic valve replacement – that was performed at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. The hospital was one of the first TAVR centers in the nation, first implanting one in 2012, and in October 2019 became the first center in the Central Valley to perform 1,000 TAVR procedures. Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento has performed the most TAVRs in the greater region and is in the top five in the state, according to the TAVR’s maker, Edwards Lifesciences.

TAVR is performed without the need for open-heart surgery to replace a narrowed aortic valve. A team of interventional cardiologists and heart surgeons work side-by-side to thread a catheter containing the new valve through a vein and expanding it once it’s in place. It originally was used just in older patients – usually those in their 80s and 90s – and others who may be too weak to have an open-chest surgery. Just this year, it was approved by the FDA for standard-risk patients, too.

The TAVR team at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento has since pioneered several improvements to the TAVR procedure. Among them: In 2015 the team was the first in Sacramento and one of the first nationally to perform TAVR using conscious sedation rather than general anesthesia, providing inherent benefits to these elderly and frail patients, and in 2018 the team was the first in the Central Valley to perform an innovative catheter procedure called BASILICA followed by a TAVR, successfully preventing an often-fatal complication of a valve-in-valve replacement.

“We are so proud to be able to give people their lives back with this procedure,” said Thomas Rhodes, R.N., administrative director of cardiovascular services at Sutter Medical Center. “Margaret’s story is one of many successes that we love to hear. We have an incredible team devoted to improving our patients’ lives.”

Just two weeks after the procedure, Margie was back on the go, thanks to the team at Sutter Medical Center. Not only did she play Mrs. Santa, she is back calling bingo at least once a month and going out with her friends to dance and listen to music.

“She has a better social life than I do,” said her granddaughter, Erica. “She runs circles around her five great-grandsons.”

Margie Malaspino didn’t miss a beat as she once again played Mrs. Santa at her Soroptimist event in Jackson, Calif.

Sutter Health Park Launches Health Events with ‘Light the Night’

Posted on Nov 4, 2019 in Affiliates, Community Benefit, People, Scroll Images, Sutter Davis Hospital, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – At the newly renamed Sutter Health Park, Sutter employees, clinicians and community members gathered to support a cause close to the heart of many: leukemia and lymphoma.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Greater Sacramento Area Chapter’s “Light the Night” event was the first Sutter-sponsored community event at Sutter Health Park, home of the Sacramento River Cats. As the presenting sponsor of “Light the Night,” Sutter Health was represented by members of its executive leadership team, cancer specialists and hundreds of employees, who were there to celebrate the occasion and help shine light on the fight against life-threatening blood diseases.

“We had an incredible turnout, not just from Sutter employees and their families, but the entire community,” said Michael Carroll, M.D., medical director of the Blood & Marrow Transplant Program at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. “This Light the Night event helped to bring further awareness to the hundreds of thousands of patients with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood disorders. More importantly, the event raised funds to support patients and their families as well as laboratory and clinical research. Together, we can help find a cure for these diseases.”

When Sutter Health announced the naming rights to the home of Triple-A Baseball’s Sacramento River Cats, it announced a partnership with the River Cats and the greater community to bring more health-related awareness and services to the area. With this premier event, Sutter Health Park is now serving as a community gathering space that actively promotes health and wellness throughout the year. Other plans include health and wellness programming and local events from walks and runs, to health screenings, flu immunization clinics and more. During the season, attendees will see even more cause-related nights and nonprofit community partners featured and supported in their mission and activities.

“Thank you to everyone who joined in and supported Sacramento’s Light the Night,” said President and CEO of Sutter Health Sarah Krevans. “Sutter Health was proud to sponsor this very special event and walk alongside thousands of families, friends, colleagues, patients, caregivers and community members to support and remember all those touched by leukemia and lymphoma. The light, warmth and support everyone generated at the event together delivers hope, and the thoughtful donations of so many people will help advance life-saving research to benefit cancer patients and their families.”

For more information on the Sutter Health-River Cats collaboration, go to this story in the Newsroom.

Show executive leadership at event
Sutter Health Senior Vice President Jill Ragsdale and CEO Sarah Krevans helped to ”Light the Night” at the newly renamed Sutter Health Park Saturday evening.

Sacramentan Still Going Strong 25 Years After Heart Transplant

Posted on Nov 1, 2019 in Cardiac, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – When Mick Doughty, 68, was put on the heart transplant list in the 1990s, Sutter pioneering heart surgeon Paul Kelly, M.D., said a new heart would extend Mick’s life by 10 years … 20 years at the most.

“I told him, ‘Oh, I’ve got to beat that.’” Doughty says with a smile.

It’s now been 25 years since his transplant, and Doughty credits his longevity to the incredible care he’s received at Sutter Medical Center, close to his home in Sacramento.

To celebrate Doughty’s milestone, the Sutter Heart Transplant Program at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, threw the native Irishman a party and presented him with a few gifts, including a new “Irish ticker” to replace the one that was taken out: a pocket watch from Ireland.

During the event, which also featured talks by Dr. Kelly – who began Sacramento’s only heart transplant program in 1989 – and the current medical and surgical directors of the program, John Chin, M.D., and Robert Kincade, M.D., Mick entertained the audience with funny stories in his Irish brogue. The physicians say that Mick has done everything he’s had to do to ensure a long life, and that includes his sense of humor.

“He does everything he is supposed to do” to keep himself healthy, says Dr. Kincade. “And he’s just a character, he’s the life of the party.”

The Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento Heart Transplant Program, the only heart transplant center in the Central Valley, has consistently shown quality measures that are among the best in the nation, and Doughty’s longevity is living proof of that quality.

In the 30 years, the cardiac surgeons, cardiologists and care teams at Sutter Medical Center have transplanted 216 heart patients throughout Northern California to incredible success. Doughty is one of a handful of their patients who have reached the 25-year mark. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average life expectancy for a heart transplant is 9.16 years, and a relative few live past 20 years with a new heart. With his active lifestyle, Doughty believes he’ll outlive the current Guinness world record holder, who lived 34 years with his new heart.

“People ask me all the time how I’m feeling, and I say, ‘Never better,’” Doughty says.

“That’s what it’s all about, giving people back their lives, and giving people a quality of life,” says Dr. Chin. “It’s very, very gratifying. It’s why we do this.”

When asked what 25 more years of life have given him, Doughty started to list off a number of family and professional events, including his 25th wedding anniversary, his children’s graduations, his son’s wedding, being named “Sacramento’s Financial Planner of the Year.” Then he paused and said, “You know what, I think it’s the day to day, waking up every morning, living life – that is as important as all the milestones.” View a news story on Doughty’s party by clicking here.

Mick Doughty, center, thanks Drs. Paul Kelly and John Chin for the heart transplant that has extended his life for 25 years … and counting.

Stroke Patient on Integrated Health Network: ‘This Is How Medicine Should Work’

Posted on Oct 25, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Innovation, Neuroscience, Novato Community Hospital, Quality, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

When Patricia Mosier had a stroke, she was worried she wouldn’t be able to stay active. However, the integrated network of care from her community hospital in Novato to the more advanced neuroscience services at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center got her back doing the activities that she loves. “This is how medicine should work,” she says about the continuum of care she received from Sutter’s integrated network. See her story in the following video:

For more on Sutter’s integrated network and how it leads to healthier communities, go to www.sutterhealth.org/newsroom/can-expect-integrated-network.