Surgical Breakthrough Allows Discreet Scar for Pediatric Heart Patients

Posted on Aug 3, 2018 in Cardiac, Children's Services, Innovation, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Naruhito Watanabe is believed to be the first surgeon in the United States to repair an atrial septal defect (ASD) via a right mini-thoracotomy, with an incision just below the armpit. This minimally invasive approach reduces the healing time for the young patients and allows them to grow up without having embarrassing chest scars.

An ASD is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart, called the atria. Some of these holes may spontaneously close as the infant grows; however, it is one of the more common congenital heart defects requiring surgical repair, with about 40,000 children are born each year with congenital heart defects in the United States alone.

One of Dr. Watanabe’s patients, 3-year-old Taneigha Avila of Sacramento, recently underwent this minimally invasive procedure and now has a repaired ASD with an incision that is barely noticeable. The patient’s recovery was phenomenal and the family has been very pleased with the results.  Read More

Telepsychiatry program debuts at Sutter Health hospitals in the Central Valley

Posted on Aug 3, 2018 in Expanding Access

A workstation on wheels allows Sutter Health caregivers to connect patients in need with an on-call telepsychiatrist.

Increases to 13 the number of Sutter Health hospitals offering service

MODESTO, Calif. — In late July, Sutter Health’s telepsychiatry service launched at the emergency departments and inpatient medical units at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, Sutter Tracy Community Hospital, and Memorial Hospital Los Banos.

The technology augments psychiatry consultation services and continuing efforts to use a standardized approach throughout Sutter Health’s acute care hospitals.

First launched at seven Sutter Health hospitals in October 2017, telepsychiatry services have continued to roll out to other locations this spring and summer, with two hospitals in April, one in May, and now Sutter’s three South Valley hospitals in July.

“System-wide, the service has completed over 1,283 consults since the initial launch in October,” said Tim Jones, Sutter Health’s telepsychiatry program manager for Mental Health Services. “We anticipate that our telepsychiatry service will be available at all Sutter hospital sites by the end of this year.”

Here’s how the service works: Read More

Sutter Lakeside Hospital: An Inside Look From the Evacuation Zone

Posted on Aug 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

Wildfires loom in the background of Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport, Calif.

LAKEPORT, Calif.–Air purifiers buzz as a handful of hospital employees gather in a conference room. Chief Administrative Officer Dan Peterson wears a gray Sutter Lakeside baseball cap, a week’s worth of stubble and teal green scrubs as he fields an endless stream of phone calls. Behind him hang large vinyl status boards attached with painter’s tape. Sutter Lakeside Hospital has been closed for several days because of raging wildfires that threaten the Lake County community.

It’s day five of Incident Command, a systemized, standard approach developed by FEMA for organizations to respond to emergencies. The hospital has been operating for four days as a shadow of its typical bustling self, its halls dark, with no patients or staff. Behind the hospital, flames from the River and Ranch fires engulf the hillsides, and smoke paints the sky orange, gray and white. Lake County is in crisis, battling two wildfires that threaten the communities of Kelseyville, Lakeport and Upper Lake.

A small team remains on site at Sutter Lakeside, and Lakeport remains under a mandatory evacuation order.

Early in the week, the hospital staff transported patients to receiving facilities, clearing each room in the hospital, charting and tracking transfers, coordinating communication with county agencies and securing the hospital for closure. Next will come the enormous task of preparing the hospital for reopening: restocking supplies, complying with state and federal regulations for patient repopulation and assisting the traumatized staff emotionally and financially.

For now, the team’s job consists of securing the hospital campus, monitoring equipment and systems that must remain in operation and balancing delicate conditions such as humidity, temperature and air content. The team also keeps an eye on the surrounding fires, thankful for the fortunate favor of the wind thus far.

Small team works through crisis

Dan Peterson, chief administrative officer at Sutter Lakeside Hospital, is among a small group standing watch inside the hospital.

“I’ve witnessed an incredible display of sacrifice and bravery under duress,” said Peterson. “While our patients may have evacuated on Sunday, our work has not ceased. Since then, a team of brave individuals has remained on site with me 24 hours a day, ensuring the safety, security and continued functionality of the hospital. They have chosen to stay up throughout the night, foregoing the comforts of home or hotel, and they often find themselves well into the day without food or reprieve.

“The remainder of the hospital leadership team has worked nonstop from various evacuation sites—hotels, friends’ homes, even campgrounds—to meet patient needs, all while staying in touch with their friends and families.”

Looking to the future

Sutter Lakeside has assembled a task force dedicated to planning its reopening. Leaders call in to provide direction for the onsite team about how to keep the equipment safe. Team members from Lake County to Utah are responsible for ensuring that patients continue to get the care they need, and an assistance group is dedicated to ensuring the emotional, physical and financial well-being of evacuated employees.

From the hospital roof, Peterson and his team can survey the hospital surroundings.

“When the smoke clears and the flames die down,” he says, “Sutter Lakeside will continue to serve our patients with compassion and excellence.”

Sutter Lakeside Hospital Evacuation Update

Posted on Jul 31, 2018 in Uncategorized

Update: 5 p.m., July 31, 2018

Clinical teams making every effort to reschedule appointments


SACRAMENTO, Calif.–While Sutter Lakeside Hospital and Sutter Care at Home offices in Lakeport remain closed due to the Mendocino Complex fires, clinical team members are making every effort to reschedule patients with immediate needs at nearby facilities.

Clinical team members are contacting patients with immediate treatment needs first to discuss various alternatives for care. They will contact patients with non-immediate treatment needs soon thereafter.

“This is a very fluid situation, as the Mendocino Complex fires continue to be unpredictable,” said Dan Peterson, chief administrative officer for Sutter Lakeside Hospital. “We are working very hard to connect with patients and are committed to providing them the latest information.” Read More

Sutter Health Donates $100,000 to Help Fire Relief Efforts in California

Posted on Jul 30, 2018 in Community Benefit

Funds help support those affected by devastating Carr and Mendocino Complex fires

Sutter Health Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Sprague presents a check to the American Red Cross during a telethon hosted by NBC affiliate KCRA 3 in Sacramento. KCRA 3’s Brian Heap interviews Sprague about Sutter’s commitment to the community.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.,—Sutter Health made a $100,000 donation today to support fire relief efforts across California, including several Northern California communities.

Sutter Health’s donation will go to the American Red Cross California Wildfires Fund. The fund will help bring food, water and emergency shelter to the families affected by this summer’s wildfires, including the massive Carr Fire still raging in Shasta and Trinity counties, and the River and Ranch Fires—also known as the Mendocino Complex Fire—still burning in Lake and Mendocino counties.

“We’re deeply saddened by the mass destruction these fires have caused in our communities,” said Sarah Krevans, president and CEO of Sutter Health. “Our hearts are with our patients, co-workers and all those facing loss and uncertainty in the wake of these wildfires. Our donation will help bring relief to those most in need, and we offer our sincere appreciation to all the firefighters and volunteers.” Read More

PAMF Physicians Award Scholarships to Aspiring Future Doctors

Posted on Jul 30, 2018 in People, Uncategorized, We're Awesome

PALO ALTO, Calif.–Three recent high school graduates are the latest recipients of college scholarships awarded by Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) physicians. The annual scholarships, created to help meet the need for future physicians, are awarded to deserving local students who are committed to becoming medical doctors.

The students, who are chosen through a competitive process, receive $25,000 or $12,000 scholarships that are paid over several years to help cover the costs of undergraduate studies and medical school.

Since 1993, PAMF physicians have funded and awarded more than 50 scholarships to outstanding local high school students who attend a four-year college and plan to pursue careers as doctors. In addition, PAMF’s philanthropy department has awarded eight scholarships over the years thanks to generous community donors. Read More

Patrizio Begins Role as Memorial Medical Center Chief Executive Officer

Posted on Jul 30, 2018 in Memorial Medical Center, People

MODESTO, Calif. — Sutter Health leaders have announced Eugene “Gino” Patrizio as the new chief executive officer of Memorial Medical Center (MMC), a 423-bed Modesto hospital that has long been an integral part of the Sutter Health network. Patrizio began his new role July 30.

“Gino is a dynamic leader with a distinguished healthcare career who has long been an advocate for patient care excellence,” said Grant Davies, President and CEO of Sutter Health’s Valley Area Hospitals. “He is a thoughtful leader who understands the value that our integrated health care delivery system brings to patients in the Northern California communities we serve. We are excited to have him at Memorial.”

Read More