Cisco Systems employees give a young VMC patient a Valentine’s Day for the ages

Cisco employee Karen Spicer isn’t one to take Valentine’s Day lightly. To her, it’s not just a holiday for sweets and maybe romance, but an opportunity to give back. For several years, Spicer and her colleagues at Cisco Systems have raised donations to purchase toys and other Valentine’s gifts for children hospitalized in VMC’s Burn Unit. The gifts help bring a smile to children facing long hospital stays and difficult recoveries. This year, they raised over $5000 in donated cash and toys.

For one young patient, Edgar Flores, the day was extra special. Flores was a former VMC patient who experienced massive burn injuries at the age of 5. The ongoing costs associated with his injury have been difficult for his family to absorb. Last year, Cisco employees raised $1400 for Edgar. This year they nearly doubled that result, presenting Edgar’s family on February 15th with a check for over $2700.

The donation drive is an all-volunteer effort led by Karen and her colleagues at Cisco. Pooling modest donations of $5, $20 and even $100, they turn Valentine’s Day into one of the best of the year for dozens of young patients.

And for the Flores family, a chance to get back on their feet.

Once again, Cisco proves that it’s not only an industry leader in networking and IT services, but one of the Silicon Valley’s best when it comes to philanthropy and employee involvement.

To see Karen and the Flores family together, check out this video.

VMC’s award winning research seeks safer C-sections

Some expectant physicians in VMC’s OB/Gyn Department got terrific news last week, and it had nothing to do with the birth of a child. A team led by VMC’s Dr Neena Duggal learned they had been awarded a top prize by The Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) in recognition of theirresearch to reduce infection rates associated with a cesarean section. Of nearly 1,500 projects submitted for review by the SMFM, VMC’s was one the few to be recognized at the SMFM annual meeting. VMC was honored alongside a prestigious list of international medical centers that included; Harvard; Leiden University Medical Center (The Netherlands) Yale; UCSF; Johns Hopkins; University of Bern (Germany); Columbia U; and the London School of Medicine (United Kingdom). Duggal, the Vice Chair of VMC OB/Gyn Department and (like many VMC Physicians) a Stanford School of Medicine Clinical Professor, was assisted in her research by VMC Department of Anesthesia Attending Physicians Dr Tim Park and Dr Carter Cherry, and recent VMC OB/Gyn residents Dr Vineela Poddatoori and Dr Sara Noroozkhani.

The study intended to determine whether supplemental oxygen given to mothers at the time of cesarean section would decrease infections. This is a topic of great medical interest in hopes that simple and inexpensive interventions may improve outcomes, particularly in obese patients. All research, which included over 800 participants, took place on the VMC Labor and Delivery Unit.

As the largest and busiest hospital in Silicon Valley, VMC has long been a hub for important clinical research. Yet again, the world is taking notice. The VMC Foundation salutes Dr. Duggal and her colleagues for making this study possible. Once again, VMC is proving that we are the (not so) little county hospital that could.

Newsflash: This actually isn’t funny…

I’m a little astounded by how far we need to go in educating people about signs of stroke. When I saw this video, I was very alarmed – but based on the comments and how it went viral, seems most folks thought this was funny.

I like funny. This isn’t it.

As of this writing, I’m not sure anyone knows whether this reporter was suffering a stroke…but that’s not really the point. The point is, she exhibited some tell-tale signs – and way too many otherwise intelligent people had a good laugh.
Am I out of line, here? Watch the video and tell me what you think.

For expectant mothers considering induction, VMC prescribes patience

Dr. James Byrne, Chief of Obstetrics at VMC, talks to NBC Bay Area on the hazards of labor induction for non-medical reasons. As the leader of the regions largest birthing center, Dr. Byrne has heard more than a few unusual requests from expectant mothers eager to have their baby early. He prescribes patience. See why.

Ow. Help?

Every few years I like to experience the emergency services at Valley Medical Center for myself, to make sure the excellent care I always tell people about is for real. Last weekend, Saturday 3am seemed like a super time…nothing much on TV, ya know.

I’ll leave it a mystery how it exactly happened, but I’ll say this: If you gave me a hundred bungee cords and had me try to replicate the accident—on purpose—I’d never manage it again. It was in so tightly and deeply, there was no way I was getting it out without expert help.

So off we went to VMC’s Emergency Department…my friend Lydia drove, thankfully. She was visiting from the Southland, and I think she was pretty surprised to see how efficient and, yes, cheerful everybody was in OUR “county hospital”. Many—okay, most—folks waiting were in worse shape than I was and had priority, but it couldn’t have been an hour before they were taking x-rays of my finger to see if I’d gone through the bone or something else important.

By this time I was pretty freaked out. If you know me, you know that playing guitar is more important to me than pretty much anything else I use that finger for, so you can imagine my relief when the news came back that I’d missed serious damage by, oh, the width of an eyelash or two.

I’m not used to being the least chipper person in the room, and it really helped that all the doctors and nurses and techies around me were so upbeat. Maybe they thought this case was pretty cool. I wasn’t looking (believe me!) when they finally got the bungee hook out, but in no time I was anesthetized, sterilized, trussed up and we were on our way.

Yes, this wasn’t a life and death situation like so many others that come through the doors (or land on the roof via helicopter) at VMC every day, but I cannot thank the team enough for saving my finger.

Maybe you have a VMC Emergency story more compelling than mine (most are, I recon). Feel free to share if you like at , as we at the VMC Foundation pass on the kudos when we can. Until next time, make sure your bungee cords have those rubber safety tips on each end. It could save your weekend.