California Pacific Medical Center

Colorful Baby Keepsake Doubles as Medical Diary

Posted on Jan 8, 2020 in California Pacific Medical Center, Pediatric Care, People, Quality, Scroll Images

“Tiny Victories of Life” beads track critically ill and premature infants’ medical journeys

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – At Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital, Child Life Specialists help parents mark their critically ill or premature newborns’ milestones using colorful beads and charms with the “Tiny Victories of Life” program.

Just ask new mom Amanda Bates about her son Asher’s Tiny Victories strand of beads.

“Each bead that has a figure represents an achievement of that day,” says Bates, while holding a string with nearly 40 beads.

Critically ill and premature babies at CPMC spend their first weeks or months fighting to achieve crucial health markers. Child Life Specialists use the aptly-named “Tiny Victories of Life” program as visual storytelling to document and celebrate each baby’s remarkable journey.

Amanda Bates’ son Asher, who arrived six weeks early, is steadily hitting important milestones that babies in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are required to reach before discharge.

The program was started in 2016 by hospital Child Life director, Lori Denault, who modeled it after “Beads of Courage,” a similar national initiative that tracks patient progress using beads. (Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento participates in Beads of Courage.)

Blue beads represent individual days, while special charms represent significant or personally meaningful achievements such as a duck charm for baby’s first bath or a music note each time baby receives music therapy. Asher’s Tiny Victories strand includes a red bead to mark meeting Santa Claus because he spent his first Christmas in the hospital.

The Tiny Victories of Life program encourages parents to forge a strong bond with their newborns—which can be a challenge when a baby is very ill and must remain in the hospital for a long period of time after birth. Beads are added to the strands each week during one-on-one family sessions or at a NICU parent group meeting.

Bates Family
Kyle and Amanda Bates pose with baby Asher at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital.

CPMC Child Life Specialist Shannon Banahan says, “Tiny Victories is a way for parents to look forward to the progress their baby is making. Families can get overwhelmed in thinking about the long and seemingly never-ending days in the NICU. But once they look back on their beads and see how far their baby has come, it feels like there’s an end in sight and makes them hopeful and proud.”

On Asher’s discharge day, he received the final bead in his strand—the butterfly bead, which signifies he’s ready to spread his wings.

“Receiving the butterfly bead is always emotional for parents, both because they are leaving this community of nurses and new parent friends and also because they are finally being able to start this new chapter of life at home with baby,” says Banahan.

An Ounce of Prevention, a Hope for Cure of Cervical Cancer

Posted on Dec 30, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Innovation, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 13,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease can be prevented with vaccination and appropriate screening. Read how researchers in our network are discovering new ways to prevent and treat cervical cancer.

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Holiday Cheer is the GOOOOOOOAL!

Posted on Dec 20, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Uncategorized

San Jose Earthquakes players visit patients at CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Smiles stretched from ear-to-ear at California Pacific Medical Center’s Van Ness Campus hospital as players from the San Jose Earthquakes Major League Soccer team sought to unwrap joy for patients in the Sutter facility’s Novack Family Child Life Services and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

San Jose Earthquakes players Tommy Thompson and Shea Salinas visit patients at CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital for the holidays.
San Jose Earthquakes players Tommy Thompson and Shea Salinas visit patients at CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital for the holidays.

Quakes teammates Tommy Thompson and Shea Salinas weren’t shy about bringing their holiday spirit A game. Eager and excited, the duo visited with several patients and their families in their rooms. Patients’ faces lit up as Tommy and Shea talked with them, snapped selfies and handed out toys, games and Quakes soccer balls.

“Even patients’ parents got in on the action, especially the dads,” said Lori Denault, child life specialist at CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital. “It can be hard to get excited about the holidays when your child is in the hospital, so having this kind of fun distraction is beneficial for the health and well-being of the entire family.”

CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital is celebrating its first holiday season in its new facility, having opened in March 2019. CPMC offers many healthcare options for pediatric specialty care. These include a state-of-the-art birthing center, a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Novack Family Child Life Services. The adjacent Medical Office Building, emphasizing the benefit of Sutter Health’s integrated network, provides even more pediatric offerings, including CPMC’s Newborn Connections

Takin’ it to the Streets: ‘Magic Bus’ Brings Healthcare to Homeless

Posted on Dec 3, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Community Benefit, Expanding Access, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

New mobile service expands access to care for San Francisco’s most vulnerable

SAN FRANCISCO –Providing access to healthcare at the curbside to homeless people in the City’s Tenderloin neighborhood is the goal of HealthRIGHT 360’s new mobile healthcare service. The mobile clinic is a collaborative effort with major support from California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), a member of the not-for-profit Sutter Health’s integrated network of care.

“These are challenging times in healthcare, especially for the vulnerable populations we serve. Being able to provide Mobile Healthcare Services is a huge step forward,” said Vitka Eisen, MSW, Ed.D HealthRIGHT 360 president and CEO. “Over the years, our clients have gotten sicker, they have many more complex health challenges, more co-occurring mental health conditions, and fewer resources. Everyone is somebody’s child, somebody’s mother, someone who matters, we see the person and we’re here to heal.”

“Sutter and CPMC are proud to provide funds to help acquire and equip this medical bus. HealthRIGHT 360 addresses the healthcare needs of the City’s homeless population, including medical issues related to complications from behavioral health and substance use, with a focus on people seeking services in the high-need Tenderloin neighborhood,” said Dr. Warren Browner, CEO of CPMC.

HealthRIGHT 360’s new mobile service builds on its innovative, community-based healthcare model that integrates medical, dental, mental health, and substance use treatment for people who are very low-income and often marginally housed or experiencing homelessness. The street-based model is staffed by a range of medical providers and an outreach team, the mobile clinic has two complete exam rooms, a bathroom, and an elevator wheelchair lift. Currently operating in the Tenderloin neighborhood, the services will expand to the Haight Ashbury and other areas of great need across San Francisco.

“This mobile clinic is all about meeting people where they are and bringing quality medical care directly to the people who need it most,” said San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed. “It’s another great example of HealthRIGHT 360’s commitment to responding directly to the most pressing needs of San Franciscans, and demonstrates the importance of nonprofit organizations, the private sector, and government working together.”

In addition to Sutter Health and CPMC, other sponsors of HealthRIGHT 360’s Mobile Healthcare Services include Veritas Investments and Wells Fargo Bank.

HealthRIGHT 360 started in the 1960s during the historic “Summer of Love” in San Francisco, where two of its legacy organizations, Haight Ashbury Free Clinics and Walden House, provided medical care and substance use disorder treatment to the youth who came to the City, motivated by the anti-war movement, music, sex, drugs, and the desire to bring about cultural change.

The Cancer Treatment Within You

Posted on Nov 20, 2019 in Affiliates, California Pacific Medical Center, Expanding Access, People, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Transformation

How blood, urine and gene mutations may unlock secrets to lung cancer treatment options.

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Quelling the storms of seizures in people with epilepsy: Part 2 of a series highlighting Sutter epilepsy research

Posted on Nov 13, 2019 in Affiliates, California Pacific Medical Center, Innovation, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Neuroscience, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Epilepsy—a neurological disorder caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain—impacts almost 3.4 million nationwide. Despite advances in epilepsy treatment, approximately one-third of adults with the illness experience recurrent seizures. Read more to learn how Sutter researchers are uncovering new clues about how epilepsy develops and how it can be treated more effectively.

Stimulating the brain with neuromodulation

“Neuromodulation” is a technique that stimulates the brain or spinal cord with electrical pulses or chemicals. When used to treat epilepsy, the approach may be used as an alternative to traditional epilepsy surgical approaches or to work in synergy with them.

David King-Stephens, M.D., FAAN, Director of the Sutter Pacific Epilepsy Program in San Francisco, and Peter Weber, M.D., the program’s surgical director, were instrumental in the testing and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s approval in 2013 of one type of neuromodulation, the Responsive Neuromodulation System® (RNS) developed by NeuroPace.

Similar to a pacemaker that monitors and responds to heart rhythms, the RNS® System is a medical device implanted in the skull that monitors and responds to brain activity to help prevent seizures. The device is approximately the size of a stopwatch.    

CPMC was the highest enrolling site in the RNS® System Pivotal Study—a national, multicenter clinical trial of the RNS® System for the treatment of uncontrolled seizures in adults with epilepsy.

Peter Weber, MD“Many patients experience a 70-80% reduction in seizure frequency, and the severity of seizures is also significantly reduced,” says Dr. Weber, lead neurosurgeon at Sutter for the RNS® System clinical trial. He notes that the RNS® System plus medication-based treatment is usually, for these patients, superior to standard medical management alone.

Now, nine-years after completion of the pivotal study, follow-up data is still being collected and assessed. “Results show that, for many patients, the RNS® System led to substantial reductions in seizures, with additional benefits such as improved quality of life, cognition, and memory,” says Dr. Weber.  The RNS® System is also now available at the Sutter Sacramento Epilepsy Center.

Targeting the epicenter of epileptic seizures

To understand the nuances of a seizure, researchers study the brain cells (neurons) that misfire and cause the underlying electrical storm. When a seizure occurs, networks of brain cells involved in the seizure begin pulsing abnormally, leading to the symptoms patients experience during a seizure.

Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are designed to modify the way neurons “fire” and how they communicate with each other and the brain’s network, thereby stopping or preventing seizures. AEDs are categorized by their main mechanism of action, although many of them have several actions and others have unknown mechanisms of action. Most of these medications are anticonvulsants or sedative medications.

There is currently no FDA-approved AED that targets potassium channels that help regulate the communications between neurons involved in the cascade of synaptic events that promote seizures.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial called Xenon 1101, sponsored by Xenon Pharmaceuticals, is underway to test a new anticonvulsant that acts on potassium voltage-gated channels.

“The potassium channel is a novel area of epilepsy study and one that offers potential to prevent seizures through agents that target it,” says Dr. Laxer, principal investigator of the trial at CPMC with co-investigator Dr. King-Stephens. “Our epilepsy program is the only center in Northern California evaluating this new anticonvulsant.”

Three hundred patients will be enrolled in the Xenon clinical trial from enrolling sites across the U.S., Canada, Spain, and the UK.

Stay tuned later this month for Part 3 of this series on Sutter epilepsy research, which will include information on laser ablation surgery.

Read Part 1, which described new ways to map and monitor brain activity in people with epilepsy.

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