Alta Bates Summit Medical Center

An Unintended Side Effect of Sheltering in Place

Posted on May 8, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Cardiac, Safety, Scroll Images

Fears of the coronavirus are causing some patients to delay or avoid seeking emergency care for a stroke or heart attack. Doctors say every delayed second could put patients at risk for a worse outcome.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an emergency, seek care immediately by calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency department.

OAKLAND, CALIF. – For some people, fear of exposure to COVID-19 outweighs the risk of a heart attack. In “Afraid of going to the hospital,” the San Francisco Chronicle describes how patients like Oakland resident Hany Metwally are delaying critical evaluation and care for fear of the virus. Says Metwally, “I was afraid to have communication with anybody because I am 64 and at high risk for the coronavirus.”

Metwally suffered severe chest pain at home for four days before his son Mohammed Metwally finally convinced him to seek care at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland. When he arrived at the Alta Bates Summit emergency department in Oakland, the senior Metwally was impressed with how patients with upper respiratory symptoms are kept separate from those experiencing non-respiratory symptoms like himself.

Ronn Berrol, M.D., medical director of the emergency department at Alta Bates Summit in Oakland, understands why some patients may be concerned but, “We want to reassure people that Sutter hospitals and emergency departments have plenty of capacity to care for them and we are taking every precaution to maintain stringent safety guidelines. So if you or a loved one are experiencing severe pain or illness or have a serious injury, please don’t delay care. We are prepared to care for you and protect you from the virus while you are receiving care.”

Junaid Khan, M.D., director of cardiovascular services at Alta Bates Summit, who performed a successful triple bypass on Metwally, says it’s critical for patients to continue to seek care for serious conditions without delay, despite the virus. “People are correct to be afraid, but their risk of delaying cardiac or stroke care puts them at much greater risk than the risk of acquiring COVID-19.”

Read more about the steps Sutter hospitals and emergency departments have taken to protect patients.

Healthcare Hero Salute: Alta Bates Summit Honored by First Responder Parade

Posted on May 8, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Scroll Images

OAKLAND, CALIF. –Members of local fire and police departments lead a grand procession of first responders to four hospitals to show their appreciation and highlight the dedication of the healthcare professionals working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s Summit and Alta Bates campuses were saluted by a mile-long parade featuring dozens of fire trucks and police vehicles, ambulances, motorcycles, two helicopters –and even two mounted police at the Summit campus. The first responders represented local fire departments, law enforcement agencies and medical transport teams from the cities of Oakland, Berkeley and Piedmont, plus Alameda county and U.C. Berkeley.

Sirens wailing, lights flashing and posters waving, the first responders cheered enthusiastically to show their appreciation and respect for Alta Bates Summit staff, nurses and physicians who have worked selflessly to care for our patients and the community in this unprecedented emergency.

“We are thrilled and humbled that the Oakland fire and police departments are honoring Alta Bates Summit Medical Center staff and physicians with this very special salute. We are all in this together and it is our honor to serve our community alongside the first responders during this unprecedented time,” said David Clark, CEO of Alta Bates Summit.

As partners in our collective work to keep the community healthy and safe, a the Oakland Fire Department is honored to join first responders from the East Bay to show our appreciation for all the dedicated health care workers and staff who provide essential care every day, and especially as we grapple with the local impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic,” said Oakland Fire Department Interim Chief Melinda Drayton

Oakland Police Chief Susan E. Manheimer said, “This is our way of showing appreciation to our frontline medical personnel during this health pandemic. We appreciate the hard work being done each day during this challenging time.”

The procession began at Highland Hospital in Oakland, proceeded to Kaiser Oakland, and then visited Alta Bates Summit’s Oakland and Berkeley campuses.

Don’t Let Fear of COVID-19 Deter You from Getting the Care You Need

Posted on Apr 28, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Safety, Scroll Images

Sutter Hospitals and Emergency Departments are Prepared to Treat You, Keep You Safe

If you or someone you know is experiencing an emergency, seek care immediately by calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency department.

OAKLAND, Calif. – Given scenes of overwhelmed hospitals on the East Coast, many people are delaying going to the emergency department—even if they are experiencing severe chest pain, stroke symptoms or have sustained a serious injury—out of fear they will be exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

Ronn Berrol, M.D., medical director of the emergency department at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, understands the concern. “We’ve seen a decrease in patients with less-urgent conditions coming to hospitals and emergency departments—this has allowed us time to build up resources to deal with a potential surge of COVID-19 patients and helped to prevent the spread of the virus,” he says. “But we want to reassure people that Sutter hospitals and emergency departments have plenty of capacity to care for them and we are taking every precaution to maintain stringent safety guidelines. So if you or a loved one are experiencing severe pain or illness or have a serious injury, please don’t delay care. We are prepared to care for you and protect you from the virus while you are receiving care.”

Berrol explains Sutter facilities have put in place safety measures for masking patients and visitor restrictions (with a few exceptions); keeping patients with COVID-19 symptoms away from common waiting areas, entrances and other patients; arranging for environmental service staff to perform extra cleaning and disinfecting; and requiring all staff to have their temperature taken before each shift.

Unsure if you should make a trip to the emergency department?
If your symptoms don’t seem to rise to the level of an emergency, contact your doctor. Your doctor will determine whether it’s best to schedule you for a video visit or have you come in to a care center or clinic for evaluation.

Check this guide for more information about when to seek emergency or urgent care.

Still have questions?
Visit Sutter’s website to find out more about the steps Sutter facilities have taken to prepare for COVID-19 and answers to frequently asked questions.

Paying it Forward: Sutter Teams with Vitalant to Offer COVID-19 Survivor-Donated Blood Plasma to Patients

Posted on Apr 27, 2020 in Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, California Pacific Medical Center, Community Benefit, Expanding Access, Innovation, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, Transformation

Convalescent plasma, rich in protective antibodies, is the liquid component of blood.

With experts predicting that a vaccine for COVID-19 is at least a year away, Sutter and Vitalant are collaborating to offer investigational treatment with convalescent plasma—blood plasma collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19—to hospitalized patients with severe cases of the disease under requirements recently outlined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Convalescent plasma, rich in protective antibodies, is the liquid component of blood. Not-for-profit Sutter Health is the first non-academic hospital system in California to participate in this research, launching expanded access program testing the use of convalescent plasma at its affiliates California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), Sutter Medical Center Sacramento and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, with other Sutter sites beginning the clinical trial in the coming weeks.

“By collaborating with community partners like Vitalant, we’re bringing an opportunity for the latest cutting-edge research to our patients,” says Sean Townsend, M.D., an intensive care medicine specialist in CPMC’s Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care. “Convalescent plasma is a potentially promising treatment for COVID-19 that we will test in clinical trials across the Sutter integrated network of care. We hope to build a supply of convalescent plasma that will add to our arsenal of emerging treatments to fight the virus.”

Vitalant physician colleague, Chris Gresens, M.D., adds, “We hope this therapy will serve as a type of ‘stop-gap vaccine substitute’ by providing severely affected patients just enough of an ‘immune boost’ to help them to recover more fully and quickly.”

The plasma donor must test negative for COVID-19 and be otherwise healthy. Convalescent plasma from one donor may be used to treat as many as four hospitalized patients with the illness who consent to participate in a clinical trial of the treatment.

Convalescent plasma has been studied for the treatment of numerous illnesses, most recently for infectious diseases such as Ebola, SARS, MERS and H1N1.

How you can help:

  • Under the new U.S. FDA guidelines, eligible blood donors who have had a documented diagnosis of COVID-19, and remain asymptomatic for at least 14 days post-recovery, may donate their plasma.
  • Sutter patients and health care workers who previously tested positive for COVID-19 can book an appointment for free donor screening at Sutter walk-in clinics: make a video appointment through My Health Online or call Sutter’s COVID-19 Advice Line (866) 961-2889 for more information.
  • Vitalant will only accept donors who meet all FDA-required general donor eligibility criteria in addition to the COVID-19 convalescent plasma qualifications.
  • Non-Sutter affiliated potential donors may apply to donate plasma at a Vitalant site by completing the form at Vitalant.org/covidfree. Donors cannot walk in for this procedure; they will be contacted by Vitalant to schedule an appointment.

Remember to Breathe: Doctor’s Mindful Breathing Practice Helps Foster Calm

Posted on Apr 14, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Scroll Images, Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation, Wellness

Leif Hass, M.D.


OAKLAND, Calif. — The world-wide pandemic is causing worry and uncertainty for many. Leif Hass, M.D., a family practitioner with Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation and a hospitalist at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, is working to reduce his stress one breath at a time, through his mindful breathing practice.

In a new “Science of Happiness” podcast, Dr. Hass shares his mindful breathing tips and describes how the practice helps him stay calm, focus his attention and be present for his patients. The podcast is fittingly called, “Remembering to Breathe. How a doctor stays calm and centered during times of uncertainty, one breath at a time.”

Listen to the podcast.

Says Dr. Hass, “Mindful breathing prompts us to follow our breath, getting into a nice deep rhythm of breathing. And we know that mindful breathing can reduce anxiety and depression and help people handle pain.”

Oakland Nurse Mobilizes Extraordinary Mask Donation Effort

Posted on Apr 10, 2020 in Affiliates, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Scroll Images

OAKLAND, Calif. –Minfen Ding, RN, doesn’t consider herself a hero, but in the last two weeks, the oncology unit nurse at the Summit Campus of Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland has facilitated donations of more than 13,000 surgical masks for the hospital.

Watching the Coronavirus pandemic unfold in Wuhan, China was the catalyst that motivated Ding to help start a PPE donation drive here in the Bay Area.

“Many clinicians in China were also contracting the virus because they didn’t have enough safety protocols in place or were not wearing appropriate PPE,” said Ding. “But once the health care workers in Wuhan started using more PPE, their infection rates went down.”

Once the virus started to spread in the Bay Area, she immediately went into action and appealed for donations to help ensure hospital workers would have enough protection while caring for their patients.

Ding reached out to several East Bay Chinese-American community groups as well as the Silicon Valley Chinese Association Foundation and the Chinese Alumni Association of Renmin University. She and friends also used WeChat, a Chinese messaging and social media application, to promote her cause.

The donation offers started coming in very quickly, and during the last two weeks more than 13,000 masks have been donated to Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.

“The real heroes are the individual donors and the large Chinese community who are raising money and making donations to hospitals all over the Bay Area,” says Ding. “Even the people living in China love us and are sending donations. I’m so happy that that so many people are getting behind us and supporting this worthy cause.”

“I am so overwhelmed by our community and their donations of love for our health care staff,” says Ding. “By working together as a whole community, we will definitely win this battle.”