On October 7, St. Joseph Hospital hosted Celebration 2017, an annual fundraising event whose proceeds benefit the St. Joseph Hospital Heart and Vascular Center. This year’s funds will go toward building a new, next-gen cardiac catheterization laboratory for technologically advanced procedures. The Celebration, which took place at the City National Grove of Anaheim, raised a record-breaking $450,000 for the center. Allied Anesthesia was proud to be one of the event’s sliver sponsors and a contributor to the event’s rare wine raffle. (more…)
ALLIED ANSWERS & INSIGHTS
Anesthesia awareness is what people often refer to as “waking up” during surgery. It’s one of the greatest concerns among patients scheduled for surgical procedures. And this makes sense considering the terrifying urban legends around anesthesia awareness. Those stories are enough to make anyone think twice about going under. (more…)
ALLIED ANSWERS & INSIGHTS
By Dr. Peter Sawras
ALLIED ANSWERS & INSIGHTS
By Dr. Peter Sawras
In 1980, the New England Journal of Medicine published a letter stating, “We conclude that despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of drug addiction.” (more…)
One of our own, Dr. Armen Chalian, was recently part of an outreach team of 32 doctors, nurses and social workers that delivered care to 750 patients and performed 58 surgeries in Yerevan, Armenia. (more…)
By Salomon Maya, MD
A new kind of physician-only team is bringing added value—and safety—to the OR
Traditionally, the physician-only model has cost more because doctors have limited their scope of work. But times are definitely changing. (more…)
The first post, written by Allied physician Dr. Peter Sawras, offers a bit of pre-surgery advice for patients
It’s official! Our new medical blog, Allied Answers & Insights, is live. If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t eat before surgery (and who hasn’t?), check out the very first post in the series right here. In the article, our very own Dr. Peter Sawras offers up the history behind the ban and gives all the good reasons for it. (more…)
Allied Answers & Insights
It’s the question we hear most: “Why can’t I eat before surgery?” It just so happens there are some really good reasons. Read on to find out!
By Allied Anesthesiologist Dr. Peter Sawras
In 1848 a pregnant woman went under anesthesia and died from aspiration. Yup, she had a meal before surgery and all that semi digested food ended up in the lungs. You are right, that is bad. (more…)
St. Mary Medical Center has awarded Allied Anesthesiologist Dr. Lisa Wilson the Values in Action Award for Excellence—the hospital’s highest honor
We’re proud to announce that Allied Anesthesiologist Dr. Lisa Wilson is the recipient of this year’s Values in Action Award for Excellence from St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, the fine hospital where she practices regularly. The award is the highest honor the medical center’s administration gives its physicians. Dr. Wilson received the award at a ceremony at St. Mary Medical Center on May 17. (more…)
Our team is growing! We recently added eight new board-certified physicians in our Orange and Fullerton divisions. Many of the new doctors are fellowship trained in pediatric anesthesia or in regional anesthesia and acute pain management. (more…)
We’re proud to announce that one of our leading physicians, Dr. Paul Yost, will begin serving as new board chair for Orange County health care system CalOptima on March 31. Dr. Yost will serve the remainder of soon-to-be former chair Mark Refowitz’s term, which runs through June 30 of this year, until another election is held. (more…)
Dr. Clifford Char, our colleague and friend—and LA Times’ “Unsung Hero” for 2016—has completed 25 medical mission trips around the globe since 1998.
As of 2016, Allied physician Clifford Char has completed 25 medical mission trips in underdeveloped nations, averaging more than one trip per year since 1998. Char was named the Los Angeles Times’ “Unsung Hero” for 2016. An article on the website features the details of his charitable work. Char has been an Allied Anesthesiologist since 2000. (more…)
Orange County Medical Association and Orange Coast Magazine honored seven Allied Anesthesia physicians in January, naming the doctors to the highly publicized 2017 Top Doctors list.
Allied Anesthesia announced today that Orange County Medical Association (OCMA) chose seven of the group’s anesthesiologists as 2017 Top Doctors. The Top Doctors program is a collaborative effort between OCMA and Orange Coast Magazine. (more…)
Award-winning medical group Allied Anesthesia today confirmed that 2016 was another year of growth in size, significant methodological advancements and widespread adoption of new technologies. The group credits the openness of its partners to progressive approaches and its individual physicians’ commitments to innovative health care for the year’s success. (more…)
Allied Anesthesia today announced a $13,000 donation to support the St. Joseph Hospital Behavioral Health Center of Excellence in Orange, Calif. Dr. Alex Ramirez, Allied Anesthesiologist and steering committee member for the hospital, presented the donation at the hospital’s annual event, Celebration 2016, last month. (more…)
We all have burning questions about general anesthesia, but, with all of the appointments and other business around scheduling surgery, it can be tough to remember to ask those questions. So the Allied Docs put together answers to some of the questions patients might have about this critical part of the surgical experience. (more…)
Successful first year solidifies group’s belief that future-minded, collaborative members are key to success without corporate management or big-bank backing in the rapidly changing health care market .
Allied Anesthesia announced today that its first year as a consolidated medical group was a success. The group formed in Jan. last year by way of a merger with Fullerton Anesthesia Associates and Upland Anesthesia Medical Group, which effectively consolidated anesthesia services for three of the five Southern California St. Joseph Health System ministry hospitals—St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, St. Jude’s in Fullerton and St. Mary’s Hospital in Apple Valley. The merger also consolidated services to Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), Hoag Orthopedic Institute, San Antonio Regional Hospital and numerous ambulatory surgery centers in Southern California. (more…)
Avid fly fisherman doctor dedicated his free time to helping struggling disabled American veterans heal through the sport, Allied Anesthesia seeks to carry on this legacy
In an effort to promote awareness of the needs of disabled American veterans and create a meaningful memorial to the late Dr. Jeff Katz, Allied Anesthesia recently presented a generous gift to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF). Dr. Katz and his wife Carole Katz were deeply involved in the extraordinary project, which aims to empower and heal disabled veterans both mentally and physically through the art of fly fishing. (more…)
Topics range from cancer and contraception to obesity and transgender transition on Allied Physician’s new podcast “Straight Talk MD”
Transgender youth. Cell phones and brain tumors. Economics of obesity.
No public health topic is too sensitive or too controversial for Dr. Frank Sweeny’s podcast, “Straight Talk MD”. (more…)
Four Allied Anesthesia physicians dressed in costume and handed out candy as part of Children’s Hospital of Orange County’s annual trick-or-treat event Oct. 30.
Drs. Raymond Bailie, Gregory Perkins, Manoj Kulkarni and Joe Kim were among the volunteers who took time off work to help bring goodies and good cheer to CHOC’s young patients.
Bailie, who dressed as Buddy Blue from the Rainbow Brite franchise, said Halloween is one of his family’s favorite holidays.
“It was important for us to be involved at CHOC’s Halloween celebration so the children at the hospital would not miss out on Halloween,” Bailie said. “It was especially heartwarming to see the genuine smiles from the children and all the adult participants.”
Perkins, a hockey player, dressed as an Anaheim Ducks hockey player.
“The look of amazement on the younger kids’ faces was priceless and very satisfying,” Perkins said.
He said the older children were more subdued because they realized what they were missing by being in the hospital during Halloween. However, he said, they appreciated all the great costumes and decorations.
Everyone from neurologists to security officers participate in CHOC’s annual Halloween event, which is open to inpatients and outpatients alike. Many of the children wear costumes, some of which are donated.
Child Life specialists guide the patients down to the second floor where they walk around to collect their candy. They also go trick-or-treating for patients in isolation and deliver the goodies to their rooms.
“It is important for Allied physicians to participate in such events to build teamwork with CHOC Children’s Hospital,” Perkins said. “We provide exceptional care in the operating rooms but it was nice to provide compassion and generosity outside of the ORs as well.”
The new neurointervention suite at Children’s Hospital of Orange County is designed to increase survival and reduce disability among pediatric patients with neurological anomalies.
Allied Anesthesia physician Joseph Kim, who is the medical director of anesthesia at CHOC, was directly involved in creating the service that recently opened. Kim worked closely with Dr. Shuichi Suzuki, neurointervention specialist at the UC Irvine Medical Center, to ensure the opening went smoothly.
Previously, when children needed this procedure, they would have to be transferred to UC Irvine Medical Center or other outside hospitals, which caused logistical problems and potentially life-threatening delays in treatment.
“What this does is provide a central location for the pediatric population to come and have their neurological anomalies treated in a timely manner by eliminating the need to transfer back and forth between CHOC and other hospitals,” Kim said.
Two of the most common conditions that require neurointervention techniques are arteriovenous malformations and cerebral aneurisms, according to Kim. Some conditions are congenital and some are the result of trauma.
Kim recalls one patient, a young girl whose head was run over by a car resulting in multiple arteriovenous malformations. CHOC’s neurointervention team has treated her twice already to try to eliminate the malformations.
“We’re excited to have started this service at CHOC,” Kim said.
Recognized as leading stroke center, St. Jude’s “smart” surgical suites set it apart.
Allied Anesthesia is a proud partner of St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, where innovative medicine is the norm not the exception.
St. Jude was recently named one of the nation’s top stroke centers by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, making it one of only 10 hospitals in the state to earn the distinction.
The chances of survival for stroke patients and others suffering neurological disorders were enhanced when St. Jude opened its $255 million Northwest Tower, which includes a neurosurgical operating suite outfitted with high-resolution, digital intra-operative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) coupled with sophisticated new surgical navigation, visualization and information capabilities.
The neurosurgical operating suite, which is one of 14 “smart” surgical suites located on the tower’s third floor, is the first of its kind in California.
“Independently, the iMRI operating suite and Comprehensive Stroke program are both highly specialized and not commonly found in most hospitals; rarely are they found in the same hospital,” said Dr. Kyle Wehner of Allied Anesthesia, which provides anesthesia services to St. Jude Medical Center. “These combined programs truly set us apart from other Southern California hospitals.”
The iMRI suite allows neurosurgeons to assess their progress using real-time MRI imaging while the patient is still anesthetized. They can ensure that an entire tumor is resectioned and check for bleeding or other complications that could require additional surgery.
Allied Anesthesia physician Dr. Tim Downing was directly involved in the stroke certification process and was the first anesthesiologist to be trained on the iMRI protocols.
“Anytime you can minimize a patient’s exposure to anesthesia, it lowers the risk of complications,” Downing said.
The iMRI operating suite complements the hospital’s state-of-the-art Neurointerventional Lab, where stroke patients are taken to be catheterized if preliminary procedures are unsuccessful. If the patient requires surgery, the iMRI suite is close by.
“This will absolutely improve the stroke patient’s odds of survival,” Downing said.
The Advanced Certification Comprehensive Stroke Center designation recognizes St. Jude’s superiority in expertise, resources and training that are necessary to successfully treat complex stroke cases.
St. Jude already has been recognized nationally for exceptional neurosurgical outcomes, including being named a top neurosurgery hospital by Blue Shield/Blue Cross.
Allied Anesthesia has an excellent reputation and proven track record for quality of care, efficiency and patient satisfaction.
Paul Yost served at a time of tumult, transition and transformation
Allied anesthesiologists contribute in many ways. For the past year, Dr. Paul Yost served as President of the California Society of Anesthesiologists, representing more than 3,000 anesthesiologists throughout California.
Under Yost’s leadership, the CSA joined the effort to defeat Proposition 46, ensuring that all Californians continue to have access to highly specialized surgery and anesthesia care.
Working to allow the practice of Anesthesiologist Assistants in California, the CSA introduced its first credible legislative effort with the expert help of KP Public Affairs. AB 890 (Ridley-Thomas) would allow certified Anesthesiologist Assistants (physician assistants for anesthesiologists) to practice in California. Although the bill didn’t make it out of committee during this legislative session, the CSA is leveraging its experience in the legislative arena to represent its patients and the specialty.
From an organizational perspective, Yost’s most memorable achievement was completing a strategic analysis and reorganization of the CSA management structure. Following the analysis, CSA moved its central office from San Mateo to Sacramento, with closer proximity to the Capitol where the CSA can better advocate for its physician members and their patients.
Yost said, “It was an incredibly tumultuous and busy year, filled with world class educational events in Hawaii and San Francisco, board meetings, strategic planning sessions, national meetings, Capitol hearings, press releases, visits to anesthesiology training programs, interfacing with the ASA, CMA and other specialty societies, district meetings, and just talking with members.
“Although it was a year filled with upheaval, change brings opportunity. The CSA has taken advantage of that opportunity and is now financially stable and very well positioned to represent our patients and our specialty well into the future.” From a personal standpoint, Yost was humbled to be the spokesperson for his profession and his physician anesthesiologist colleagues in California.
Yost practices adult and pediatric anesthesiology at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, where he is Director of Cardiac Anesthesiology, and at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children’s), where he is Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, Co-Director of Pain Management and Past President of the Medical Staff.
Yost thanked his colleagues at Allied Anesthesia for allowing him the time to be involved on behalf of the CSA.
“This year has frequently taken me away from my clinical responsibilities and I know that my absence has been a burden upon other Allied physicians who had to cover my clinical cases and call,” Yost said. “Thank you! Allied anesthesiologists are the best!”
Allied Anesthesiologist Lynnus Peng, MD, is a medical author on eMedicineHealth.com, part of the WebMD network. Dr. Peng wrote eMedicineHealth.com’s article on Outpatient Surgery.
Peng’s article explains the process of outpatient surgery, from preparation and testing through the actual surgery and post-surgical recovery. For patients with an upcoming outpatient procedure, the article can help to inform about what to expect during what can be an intimidating process.
Parent precautions designed to keep emergency room visits to a minimum
Today, the physicians at Allied Anesthesia, who provide services to Children’s Hospital of Orange County and other major medical facilities in Orange and San Bernardino counties, released a series of tips to help children stay safe over the summer months.
Summer can be a particularly hazardous time of year for children, who spend more unsupervised time outdoors.
The most common causes of injuries and death for young children are drowning, biking, falls, car accidents and pedestrian mishaps.
“By being aware of the most common injuries and how to avoid them, parents can keep their families safe and secure this summer,” said Dr. Paul Yost, an Allied anesthesiologist and director of cardiac anesthesia at St. Joseph Hospital of Orange. “The fewer children we see in the emergency room, the happier we are.”
Here are some tips to help children avoid the emergency room this summer:
- Children younger than 10 should never cross the street alone or play unsupervised near roadways.
- Teach young children to look left, right and left again before crossing the street and to make eye contact with drivers as they are walking.
- Tell them never to run out in the street to chase a ball or pet.
- Children should always wear a life jacket when in a boat or riding on a personal watercraft.
- Never leave children alone near swimming pools or other bodies of water even if they know how to swim.
- In group situations, designate a “water watcher,” who agrees to monitor the water at all times.
- Never leave a child alone in a car, not even briefly. Place your purse, briefcase or cell phone in the back seat next to your child as a reminder.
- When parked, keep your car locked to keep children from climbing inside and becoming trapped.
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 on your child 30 minutes before he or she goes outside. Reapply the sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Make sure children drink lots of water during the day to stay hydrated.
Bicycles, skateboards and scooters
- Children should always wear helmets when they ride bikes, skateboards, skates or scooters.
- Limit riding to daylight hours.
- Children younger than 10 should stay on a bike path or sidewalk.
- In addition to helmets, skateboarders and skaters should wear wrist guards, knee pads, elbow pads and mouth guards.
- The safest way to enjoy fireworks on July 4th is by attending a public display.
- Even “Safe and Sane” fireworks can cause severe burns and eye injuries.
Health-care events provide patients with free surgeries and procedures
Orange, Calif. – Allied Anesthesia physicians are committed to giving back to the community.
Eleven physicians from Allied’s Fullerton division volunteered to help provide free outpatient procedures to some of Orange County’s neediest residents during the 8th annual Super Surgery Saturday, March 21, at St. Jude Medical Center.
The event was coordinated by AccessOC, which was founded in 2007 to address the medical care needs of Orange County’s uninsured population
AccessOC is just one of a number of community health-care initiatives that Allied physicians participate in.
Recently, three physicians from Allied’s Orange division assisted in performing free endoscopies at St. Joseph Hospital of Orange.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to see how grateful the patients and their families are to receive world-class health care in an environment where they don’t have to worry about the financial burden,” said Dr. David English, of Allied’s Orange division, who has participated in three community health-care events.
“When Allied asks for volunteers, there are always more volunteers than there are spots available,” English said. “That says a lot about Allied, that so many anesthesiologists are willing to give their time for a worthy cause.”
Since 2007, AccessOC has mobilized more than 800 volunteers to provide more than 450 uninsured patients with donated surgeries and procedures valued in excess of $6 million. The procedures not only improve patient health but their quality of life as well.
Doctors perform a variety of surgeries including: hernia repair, cataract, biopsies, gallbladder and minor gynecological procedures.
“Some of the patients have lived with a correctable medical problem for years but were never able to get the problem fixed until they came to St. Jude as part of AccessOC,” said Dr. Kyle Wehner, of Allied’s Fullerton division, who has volunteered for five AccessOC events.
About 30 patients are treated several times a year at five different hospitals after being screened for eligibility by participating community clinics in Orange County where about 18 percent of adults are uninsured.
“Members of Allied strive to provide the highest quality anesthesia care to all members of our community regardless of their financial status,” Wehner said. “A sense of community is a quality we look for when hiring new anesthesiologists. Volunteering and charity work are part of our culture.”
New Movement Focuses On Creating A More Enjoyable And Memorable Experience
Allied Anesthesia physicians are embracing the concept of “gentle C-sections” which was pioneered in Boston and is swiftly gaining ground across the country.
Unlike traditional cesarean sections, gentle C-sections focus on making the experience more enjoyable and memorable for the mother by making her comfortable and speeding up the bonding process between mother and baby.
“We’re the hand holders of the patients,” said Dr. Salomon Maya of Allied.
Maya and other Allied anesthesiologists have been known to entertain their patients, turn on music, make sure they have fresh, warm towels, and even scratch their nose for them if necessary.
“We almost pamper them to make sure the birthing experience is as positive as humanly possible for them,” Maya said. “A lot of times they are afraid or nervous and they just want someone to hold their hand during the C-section. And, we do all that.”
Allied physicians go one step further than most by performing a regional nerve block called a TAP block, which helps alleviate the pain of a C-section once the epidural wears off. The TAP block is done after the C-section is completed and while the patient is still numb from either her epidural or spinal anesthesia.
“Most women, all they need to take is Motrin and they don’t have to take any narcotics which can cause side effects like nausea and constipation,” Maya said.
Gentle C-sections also commonly involve removing arm straps from the mother so she and baby can have immediate skin-so-skin contact. Skin-to-skin contact, which is more common in vaginal births, promotes quicker bonding and gives them a head start on breastfeeding.
“It’s really a team effort with us figuring out exactly what we can do for the OB and what we can do for the mom,” Maya said. “We’re the ones making sure everything goes smoothly.”
Allied Anesthesia physicians are observing American Heart Month by explaining their role in keeping the heart healthy during surgery and encouraging patients to work toward a healthier heart in general.
Most patients don’t realize that anesthesiologists do a lot more than just put them to sleep before surgery and administer pain medication after they wake up. Anesthesiologists play a critical role in monitoring, regulating and stabilizing the heart during surgical procedures.
In addition to blocking the nerves that send pain messages to the brain, anesthesia slows the heart and causes the patient’s blood pressure to drop. For someone with a healthy heart, there are usually no complications.
But if the heart is defective, especially if the defect or condition has been undiagnosed, the role of the anesthesiologist is even more critical.
Typically, anesthesiologists will review the patient’s chart, interview the patient and conduct a brief physical examination to determine if there are any undiagnosed heart issues before surgery.
If the patient has been experiencing chest pain, pressure or shortness of breath, it’s important that they share that with their anesthesiologist.
Allied physician Dr. Rajesh Bhat, a specialist in cardiothoracic anesthesiology, often assists during open-heart surgery or when the patient has a serious pre-existing heart condition.
“Patients also should discuss with their surgeon and anesthesiologist before suddenly stopping any medications before surgery and to make sure the anesthesiologist is aware of all the medications that they take,” Bhat said.
Since Allied’s recent merger with Fullerton and Upland anesthesiology groups, Allied has more cardiothoracic anesthesiology specialists than any other group in the region.
During open-heart surgery, these specially trained physicians use a state-of-the-art probe inserted into the esophagus and stomach to take detailed ultrasound images of the heart. The procedure allows them to constantly monitor the heart, to detect structural heart problems and to assess the results of the surgery while the patient is still on the operating table.
The easiest way to avoid heart issues in the first place is to follow these tips for a healthy heart:
- Don’t smoke.
- Be physically active.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Cut fats and add more plants and fish to your diet.
- Keep blood pressure below 120/80 and cholesterol below 200 milligrams/deciliter.
Seven Allied Anesthesia physicians recently became board-certified pediatric anesthesiologists, bringing the total number of Allied physicians with the new subspecialty to 36.
Allied Anesthesia, which serves Children’s Hospital of Orange County in addition to numerous hospitals and health care facilities throughout Southern California, is the only group in Orange County with that many board-certified pediatric anesthesiologists.
Drs. Kaveh Matin, Ralph Da Graca, Jack Canton, Lorraine Kaelin, Norichika Okada, Kishan Patel and Eric Ontiveros joined the other Allied pioneers in the specialized field of pediatric anesthesiology, which was first offered by the American Society of Anesthesiologists in 2013.
“Board certification helps assure the families that the physicians caring for their children really do understand the specific needs and issues that pertain to the pediatric patient population,” said Da Graca, a board-certified pediatrician and neonatologist who has been with Allied since 2008.
He said pediatric anesthesiologists are often dealing with high-risk patients who have multiple medical problems so it’s critical to have a firm grasp of pediatric physiology and the various metabolic, genetic and cardiac issues that are unique to the pediatric population. And, dosages for children are more critical because they are based on a patient’s size.
Da Graca and Matin, Allied’s CEO, said having the board certification is a validation of their knowledge and multiple years of experience working with children.
Matin said eventually having all Allied physicians who work at CHOC becoming board-certified in pediatric anesthesia will be a selling point for the hospital.
“It gives the hospital a sense of security in knowing they have the highest quality physicians caring for their young patients,” Matin said. “And, it will help them promote themselves as one of the leading hospitals in pediatric care going forward.”
Happy New Year!
As we move forward into a new year, we hope to improve our services, and continue to provide the best health care for our patients. Every year, our physicians work with children from Children’s Hospital of Orange County and at other area hospitals taking care of young patients.
We have gathered our most helpful tips to keep in mind if your child has a procedure scheduled later this year. In addition to these tips, you can always ask your physician for any other advice to prepare your child for the big day.
Address Anxiety with Honesty
For anyone about to undergo a procedure, there may be some anxiety, but for children, the anxiety may be accompanied by fear and anger. As parents, you can curb that nervousness by helping your child understand their procedure, and address any other emotions they may have with encouragement and positive words.
Make Your Child as Comfortable as Possible
Before the big day, make sure that your child feels calm going into the situation. Make certain that the room is comfortable, and reassure them that they are in good hands. You can bring certain items to the hospital that may comfort them when they wake, or just be supportive with your own presence.
Be Strong and Set a Good Example
As a caring parent, it is natural that you may be concerned or nervous as well, but putting on a strong face for your child is critical.
Assure Your Child of a Positive Outcome
Explain the procedure as honestly as possible without using any alarming language. It may not be necessary to go into details of the procedure, as long as your child knows that after everything is said and done, he or she will be feeling better.
Present Information to Them So They Understand
You can use books or toys to help children through the process. There are many stories about children staying in the hospital, or you can show your child what to expect using a doll or stuffed animal. Remind them that a doctor is there to help them feel better, not hurt them.
Do Some Prep Work
If you can, go to the hospital beforehand and show your child around. Introduce them to the staff, and let them get a sense that the hospital is a good place to get better and it’s a safe place.
Finally, be positive and know that your child will be in good hands.
Once again, Happy New Year!
Allied Anesthesia physicians in Orange are working to adopt electronic records for the hospitals they service in order to bring more efficient care to their patients.
Bringing together all of a patient’s information and streamlining it electronically is fairly standard in most hospitals, but physicians hope to bring it to every hospital. In addition to reducing costs, implementing electronic records will provide more accurate and faster access to patient information, physician comments, and any other necessary notes.
Allied physician Dr. Manoj Kulkarni explains, “When you accumulate a large number of electronic records, you can easily evaluate the data and perform really strong studies to improve your practice.”
Digitizing medical files is positive for many reasons. From the physician’s perspective, electronic records provide quicker, more accurate, and complete patient information that multiple medical professionals can access simultaneously. The records also highlight critical information that can help provide better service to patients in terms of which procedures or medications best fit individual needs based on medical history or medication allergies. The system also can ensure more safety; physicians can see any patient conditions immediately, and safely take the next step.
Dr. John MacCarthy, president of Fullerton Anesthesia Associates, which was recently acquired by Allied Anesthesia, agrees that this system is key to efficiency. He said, “Electronic records make for much more accurate and faster charting so more of your attention can be directed towards taking care of the patient.”
The electronic files are also a smart fiscal decision. They allow for more accurate collections using fewer employees, and the program also tracks billing information, so hospitals can receive optimal payments electronically.
The combination of these features makes it easier for healthcare professionals to give attention to their patients, and that’s the most important thing of all.
The team members of Allied Anesthesia are always working to make our patients comfortable during every step of any procedure. To make each patient’s experience the best it can possibly be, we hired an independent company, SurveyVitals, to survey all of our patients on a scale of 1 to 5. We wanted to know how they felt about the quality of care they received, and how we could improve. Now, there is even an optional Contact Me feature, so if patients would like to discuss their experience via email or phone, they can request to do so.
We believe that by providing our patients the option to give feedback about their experience, we can improve our quality of care, and better understand the experience from a different perspective.
We are grateful to have the opportunity to stretch and grow from new knowledge, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to improve our practices. “We’ve received a lot of positive feedback,” said Dr. Salomon Maya, who coordinates the survey for Allied Anesthesia. “It reinforces the message that we do our best to go above and beyond for our patients.”
Further, we can learn from other comments that may or may not relate to anesthesiology, but rather privacy or clarity of information. The feedback helps make us aware of what we can keep in mind during our interactions with our patients.
Patient privacy has always been a concern for healthcare professionals; the surveys have demonstrated that patients value the dedication that Allied physicians give to privacy. Maya explains, “I’m constantly aware and pay special attention to my patients’ privacy.I make sure I close the curtain of the patient’s room and ask if the patient would like their family members to leave the room during my interview.”
He went on to explain his desire to make patients feel listened to and informed and comfortable about anesthesia during whatever procedure they may need. “I make the point with my patients that, although there are different types of anesthesia, it may be, for this type of surgery, our only option is general anesthesia.”
Allied physician Dr. Tony Ho agrees with Maya, and explained that SurveyVitals gives the group a way to compare its performance on more subjective matters, like patient communication and effectively easing a patient’s anxiety, with other anesthesia groups that have also chosen to participate. Ho said that even simple measures, like fully explaining a medication regimen, goes a long way. He added, “We have a lot of good clinicians, but bedside manner is something all of us can strive to be better at.”
We are so encouraged by the feedback from SurveyVitals, and we always welcome feedback from our patients during every step of the process.
Recent news about Joan Rivers’s death during a routine endoscopy has caused concern among the public. The 81-year-old comedienne passed away a week after going into cardiac arrest during an endoscopic procedure, in which a tiny camera is passed into the esophagus, stomach and intestines to diagnose and treat conditions of the gastrointestinal system.
Although the cause of her death has not yet been determined, the media has focused on anesthesia and her age as a possibility for complications. In a recent interview with KFI radio, Allied Anesthesia physician Dr. Paul Yost, president of the California Society of Anesthesiologists, explained that the risk factors of anesthesia are more complex than just age. He confirmed that a patient’s age is not the sole factor when considering risk, but in fact, other medical conditions and overall health are more significant considerations.
Anesthesiologists take careful measures when preparing patients for procedures. It is critical to address the individual needs of every patient. If an older patient is in good health, his needs will differ greatly from those of a younger patient with serious medical conditions. A physician anesthesiologist should always be the one to administer anesthesia, and be present during any procedure in case of emergency.
Dr. Greg Perkins, chairman of St. Joseph Hospital in Orange and member of Allied Anesthesia, and Dr. Yost agree that the best thing a patient can do, regardless of age or health, is follow the doctor’s instructions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the risks, fasting prior to the procedure or medications that are safe to take. Actively working with your physician and following directions throughout any procedure helps ensure a speedy recovery.
Dr. Yost’s interview with KFI can be heard in its entirety at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGJOw24opMY
We’d like to offer a very warm welcome to our new colleagues from Fullerton Anesthesia Associates and the Upland Anesthesia Medical Group. Allied Anesthesia is now consolidating with two of the most respected anesthesia groups in Southern California.
The new Allied Anesthesia will formally begin operations on January 1, 2015, representing more than 100 physicians operating in at least six hospitals and over a dozen ambulatory service centers.
The merger is a natural move for all three groups. Allied, Fullerton Anesthesia Associates and the Upland Anesthesia Medical Group have all earned reputations as leading anesthesiology groups, known for their track records of improving efficiency while increasing positive patient outcomes.
Many anesthesiologists in all three groups have demonstrated their commitment to excellence by serving in leadership positions within their medical staffs and professional organizations, and all three groups are committed to working as true partners within the institutions where we serve.
By combining the resources and expertise of a larger pool of skilled anesthesiologists, we’ll be able to offer greater levels of patient care and service to our partner institutions.
You can find more details on the consolidation in our press release, and I hope you’ll join all of us in welcoming our new colleagues.
We are excited to announce, the new president of the 3,000-member California Society of Anesthesiologists (CSA) is our very own Allied physician Paul Yost.
Dr. Yost is a very qualified individual for this position. His years of experience, wealth of knowledge and many talents are a testament to the type of leader who should hold such an esteemed position in this statewide organization that promotes the highest professional standards, provides continuing education, and advocates for anesthesiologists and their patients.
As the director of cardiac services at St. Joseph Hospital of Orange, and former president of medical staff and co-director of pain management at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Dr. Yost has felt that there is strength in teamwork.
He expressed his dedication to organized medicine by explaining, “We’re so much stronger when we work together. To me it’s something you do. It’s a part of your professional life. You get involved and try to leave the organization better than when you started.”
Among his many goals as president, Dr. Yost promised to continue to listen to and learn from his colleagues. He believes that every member of the CSA has a voice that is valid and meaningful, and he encourages other physicians to engage politically with the CSA. For Dr. Yost, the success of the CSA can be measured by demonstrating value to all members.
He also discussed the importance of interacting with new minds within the industry. He plans to visit as many training programs as possible in the next year to reconnect with program directors, chairs and colleagues. These training programs will also provide the opportunity for Dr. Yost to work with younger members.
“I really want to know, what do younger anesthesiologists need? How can we make them and ourselves more successful?” Dr. Yost continued. “Because our youngest members have the longest time left in the specialty, and they are closest to the knife-edge of change, I’d like to identify and respond to their changing needs.”
Dr. Yost expressed gratitude to his colleagues at Allied Anesthesia for allowing him the time to be involved on behalf of the CSA. He plans to keep his Allied Anesthesia colleagues up-to-date on the latest developments in their field for their own growth and for the benefit of their patients.
Congratulations to Dr. Yost on his achievement.
The nursing staff at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange honored Allied Anesthesia physicians Frank Sweeny and Phillip Richardson during National Nurses Week in May.
Due to their incredible leadership and collaboration, Drs. Richardson and Sweeny received the 2014 M.D. Friend of Nursing award.
Dr. Richardson’s contributions to the hospital include helping the nursing team to pilot the first cesarean section on-time trial. He is also an advocate for the laborist program and has been available for consultation as the hospital’s maternity program continues to grow.
Dr. Sweeny was nominated for providing leadership and support, and for bringing dignity to every interaction at all levels. He consistently takes the time to work directly with the nursing team to ensure quality patient outcomes.
Both Richardson and Sweeny were surprised and honored by the awards. They are firm supporters of nurses, and recognize the key role that nurses play within the health care system. For them, it is necessary that all members of the team be celebrated and thanked.
“This is truly a special award that will always be dear to my heart,” Richardson said. “My mother and grandmother were both nurses, and I believe they would be proud that they raised a son/grandson that is being recognized as a Friend of Nursing.” He added, “Every partner in the process is critical for the best outcome for both the mother and baby and we need everyone working together.”
Sweeny also took the opportunity to thank the nurses, who he said “do so much and get so little credit” yet are so critical to positive patient outcomes.
We are pleased that our physicians were recognized for their efforts, and we also would like to take a moment to thank all members of the nursing team at St. Joseph Hospital. Their dedication makes a big difference in the lives of our patients.
Allied Anesthesia physician Dr. Thanh Tran specializes in labor and delivery at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange and spends a lot of time providing information about epidurals for his patients having their babies.
Epidural Fast Facts:
An epidural is a procedure that numbs pain fibers and prevents transmission of pain signals to the brain.
The name ‘epidural’ comes from its place of delivery into the body, “the epidural space” which lies in front of the spine.
An epidural is a procedure, available to women in labor, that relieves pain and promotes more comfortable labor and delivery.
Unlike receiving systemic narcotics (IV pain medications), the effects of an epidural remain targeted to the area in need, without significantly affecting other areas of their body.
Effects are localized, so less medication is administered. This is safer for the baby and the mother.
Epidurals allow the mother to be awake, alert and comfortable during labor.
Communication During Any Procedure Is Key
To ensure patients are comfortable and at ease with their epidural, Dr. Tran likes to make certain all women’s questions are answered with clarity.
Is it safer than other options?
It’s a safer option. Because there are less drugs in the mother’s system and it’s safer for the mother and baby.
What if I need a C-section?
If a C-section is called for, the epidural can be used to prevent the need for general anesthesia.
What if I’m nervous?
Labor is a time of high anxiety; unfortunately, that anxiety causes an excess production of stress hormones in a mother, which can ultimately slow contractions. The epidural can help with those issues. It’s amazing how many times I’ve seen a labor that’s not progressing be facilitated by an epidural by alleviating pain and anxiety and allowing a patient to relax.
When is it too late for an epidural?
Women can usually receive an epidural at any point during labor, provided there is enough time for it to take effect before delivery.
What are the risks?
Though you should discuss the risks with your doctor, the risks are minor and rare.
There is an increased risk of assisted delivery (forceps or vacuum extraction for delivery).
The medication may decrease blood pressure. Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure and treat as necessary.
Headaches can occur if the needle is inserted through the epidural space into the dural area.
Fever can occur, but the increase in temperature is not believed to be from infectious causes.
Occasionally, an epidural does not work effectively and a woman may still feel pain, or pain on one side.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, which is a serious but treatable complication. The risk of meningitis is the most common of the “rare neurological complications” occurring in an estimated 1 out of 100,000 patients or at a rate of 0.001%.
Another rare complication is the accumulation of blood in the epidural space, which can cause neurological symptoms. This is a surgical emergency and is typically linked to the concurrent use of blood thinners (anticoagulants) – one of the reasons that women on blood thinners (anticoagulants) are typically not candidates for epidurals.
The development of spinal epidural abscess after an epidural is extremely rare and estimated to occur in 1 out of 505,000 patients or at a rate of 0.0001%. This rare complication can be life-threatening and can present with signs of back pain, incontinence and neurological symptoms.
Women who are concerned about the epidural’s effects should talk to their anesthesiologist to get the facts.
Allied Anesthesia physicians have undertaken a clinical pathways initiative to reduce the amount of time patients spend in post-op following the six most common surgeries performed at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange.
The pain control guidelines are designed to standardize best practices, reduce costs and improve patient safety and outcomes.
Dr. Yost explains, “Allied’s contributions to St. Joseph’s Hospital and its patients extend well beyond the scope of the typical anesthesiology practice. Our physicians work tirelessly to identify areas for improvement and team up with talented surgeons, nurses, technicians and administrators to develop and implement institutional changes to improve the quality of care at St. Joseph’s Hospital and the bottom line.”
The clinical pathways project is just one of a number of initiatives Allied physicians have undertaken in recent years to improve the quality of care at St. Joseph and the bottom line.
Others have included:
- Enhanced teamwork and communication among physicians, nurses and technicians resulted in immediate and obvious improvements in the ease and speed of patient flow.
- Increased percentage of patient charts completed 48 hours prior to surgery, from a baseline of 25 percent to more than 80 percent.
- Educated surgeons’ offices about the importance of making sure each patient’s paperwork and test results arrive at the Preoperative Assessment and Testing Service Center 48 hours before surgery.
- Revised testing protocols and guidelines to eliminate all unnecessary preoperative testing.
- Created an OR coordinator position to work with the OR nurse manager to improve the efficiency of daily OR operations.
- Implemented a “SuperUser” program to fill the gap left by a 45 percent reduction in anesthesia technicians.
As we continue to serve our patients, we are always working to improve our process. We believe that patient comfort and safety are among the most vital components of quality health care.
We are thrilled to congratulate eleven of our physicians who were recognized and honored for all of their hard work and dedication to health care.
In January, Drs. Cliff Char, Ian Chait, Klane Hales, Jack Canton, Eric Ontiveros, Alejandro Ramirez and Paul Yost were selected for inclusion on the Southern California Super Doctors 2014 list, compiled by Key Professional Media and published in Los Angeles magazine.
This is quite an achievement: The Southern California Super Doctors list only represents about five percent of physicians in the region. It identifies physicians who are well-respected and recognized among their peers. Each candidate undergoes an independent evaluation by research staff, a peer review by those in the practice area and a good-standing and disciplinary check.
In addition to our team of super doctors, Drs. Armen Chalian, Tony Ho, Phillip Richardson and Frank Sweeny, Canton, Char and Hales were chosen by the Orange County Medical Association as “Physicians of Excellence”, appearing in Orange Coast magazine.
Applicants selected for this honor were required to meet at least two of the following four criteria: 1) physician leadership; 2) teaching/mentoring; 3) humanitarian service; 4) unique contributions, significant awards and recognitions related to substantial contributions in medicine, health care or on behalf of humanity.
We realize these sorts of awards are an enormous honor, but for the Allied team, making a difference for our patients is the true reward.
Recently, Dr. Armen Chalian returned from Armenia where he volunteered to provide anesthesia services for pediatric reconstructive surgeries. Chalian was part of a 17-member team of doctors and nurses from across the country on the 10-day medical mission sponsored by Plasticos Foundation of Orange County, California. The team taught and supervised residents, screened more than 120 children and performed nearly 50 surgeries at Arabkir Children’s Hospital in the capital city of Yerevan.
The days were long and some of the surgeries were very intense, but Dr. Chalian said he felt energized and excited to be helping those in need. Cases ranged from cleft lips and palates, to nose and ear abnormalities, and even post-trauma cases.
Chalian explained that the experience was life-changing for the patients, but equally life-changing for the doctors and nurses who performed the procedures. “We went there to help others but in reality it really helped me more just from the experience of giving,” he said.
While every procedure was memorable and touching, one in particular stood out to Dr. Chalian. Fifteen-month-old Tatevik was severely burned in a cooking accident; her hands had melted into balls of flesh. Though not all the standard medical equipment was available in Armenia, surgeons were resourceful.
The team was able to use needles, instead of surgical pins, as splints on each of Tatevik’s fingers. Following the procedure, her hands were open and the surgeons were confident she would have some movement. The transition will be nothing short of life-changing.
We’re proud of our physicians for constantly reaching out to those in need. As Dr. Chalian said, “Everyone is just so outstanding and amazing, I felt it was my turn to go and I’m glad I finally did.”
The ABA examines and certifies physicians who complete an accredited program of anesthesiology training in the United States and voluntarily apply for certification.
This particular test offers subspecialty certification specifically for the treatment of children. For our physicians, this was a perfect chance to showcase our specialty: providing quality care and dedication to children in need of medical attention.
Paul Yost explained his enthusiasm about the ABA program and Allied physicians who participated. “We have the utmost concern for all of our patients, which is why we took part in the voluntary certification process; we hold our physicians to the highest standards in both the general and specialty areas of our profession. We have confidence in their expertise, and these results confirm that.”
After the exam, a significant number of physicians became board-certified pediatric anesthesiologists. This was a wonderful opportunity for us to grow as a community and prove our expertise in our field.
Dr. Yost concluded, “Our strong showing on the national certification exam shows off our core competency in the care of children to our patients, their families and our community. This is verification at a national level that Allied physicians are trained and certified to deliver the highest quality pediatric anesthesia service to the children of Orange County.”
We are proud to take part in any endeavor that helps provide our patients with the best possible care.
Congratulations to all the team members who participated.
The holidays are best spent with friends and family in the comfort of home. Waiting in the emergency room during this special time of year is especially hard, but many holiday injuries are preventable with a little extra supervision and caution.
We’ve put together some tips to help keep kids happy, healthy and comfortable throughout the holiday season.
1. Stay Alert while Shopping
Through all the hustle and bustle, it’s likely kids will need to tag along for holiday shopping. This can be a great time to bond, but it can also be dangerous. Every year, over 25,000 children are treated for injuries related to shopping carts and escalators. Keep little ones buckled into the shopping cart seat, and make certain all shoelaces and loose garments are tied and secure when riding on escalators.
2. Decorate with Discretion
A festive home is a wonderful way to spread holiday cheer. Make sure that small light- bulbs, ornaments and fragile decorations are out of reach. Spun-glass, angel hair and bubble lights are beautiful to look at, but can be harmful if swallowed. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on small decorations and ornaments that look like candy.
3. Use Caution with Christmas Trees and Other Plants
Christmas trees, mistletoe, holly berries and other plant garlands are a holiday staple. However, they can be fatal if swallowed, so make sure that tasty-looking berries and other poisonous plants are out of reach both to kids and pets. Also, as children marvel at the beautifully decorated Christmas tree, adults should give a little extra supervision to help avoid eye injuries from sharp needles.
4. Make the Holiday Fireproof
There are more than half a million residential fires every winter. In addition to testing your fire alarm batteries frequently, be sure to keep Christmas trees in water, away from fireplaces and radiators. Never leave candles or fireplace fires unattended. And, finally, check tree lights for frayed wires and broken bulbs.
5. Pick out the Right Gift for the Right Age
Riding toys, like scooters, skateboards and skates, can be dangerous for unskilled children. If you do purchase one, be sure to give complementary protective gear. For younger children, check the suggested age range for small toys. Anything smaller than a child’s fist can be a choking hazard, especially for little ones under the age of three.
With these simple tips, holiday injuries can be prevented, and you can focus on family and fun. Like you, we want your kids to be waiting for Santa, not waiting for their doctor.
Happy Holidays from our Family to Yours!
Allied Anesthesia is invested in a patient’s well-being from the moment they walk through the door until they get back to themselves again. Our hard work every step of the way not only makes our patients happy, it also helps make the hospitals we work with successful.
This is especially true for St. Joseph Hospital of Orange. Consumer Reports Magazine recently ranked them among the top 20% of hospitals in the nation when it comes to avoiding adverse events.
The ratings focused on five measures across 27 commonly scheduled surgeries. This included: infections related to catheters and tubes, surgical-site infections, readmissions, serious complications such as bed sores, collapsed lungs or blood clots and adverse events such as patient death. St. Joseph had 28 percent fewer adverse events than predicted.
Clearly, these results speak to the incredible staff and dedicated doctors at St. Joseph Hospital including the Allied Anesthesia team of physicians. We have worked to provide the best care from admissions through recovery, and in doing so, we have been able to help improve cost efficiencies, patient satisfaction and overall quality over the past decade.
Dr. Alejandro Ramirez, medical director of surgical services at St. Joseph, explained, “Unlike most anesthesiologists, who focus only on the surgical experience, Allied physicians think more globally by addressing risk factors from admissions through recovery. Allied really brings value to the health care that the hospital provides. As a result, St. Joseph is light years ahead of other institutions in terms of positive outcomes and patient and surgeon satisfaction.”
St Joseph Hospital is a wonderful example of what is possible through hard work and dedication. We are excited to support them as they continue to provide outstanding healthcare to Orange County.
For more information please view the Consumer Reports article at: http://www.consumerreports.org/health/doctors-hospitals/hospital-ratings.htm
At Allied Anesthesia we value every member of our community. That’s why when an opportunity arrises where we can improve the health of our community, our physicians are eager to lend a helping hand.
Every year since 2007, the non-profit organization, AccessOC has worked to provide more than 400 uninsured patients with minor surgeries. Talented specialists across the medical field have volunteered their time and services to patients that live at or below poverty line.
This year a handful of Allied physicians will join the dedicated health-care professionals on Surgery Saturday, Sept. 7. Dr. Paul Yost explained, “Patients are incredibly grateful for getting the procedures. Some have waited months or even years for help.”
Doctors perform a variety of surgeries including: hernia repair, cataract, biopsies, gallbladder and minor gynecological procedures. These expensive procedures not only improve patient health, but improve their quality of life as well.
Allied physicians are really looking forward to the event because it allows them to use their skills to help those in need. Dr. Yost summarized the sentiments of the team by stating, “It reminds me of why I went into medicine to begin with, to use my skills to provide needed services in the community. It’s like Winston Churchill said, ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’”
For more information please visit: www.AccessOC.org
Helping children whose families struggle to provide a simple, but life-changing, operation, is even more rewarding.
Although it’s not the first time members of Allied Anesthesia have provided for those in need, and it certainly won’t be the last time, we’d like to spotlight two of our generous and wonderful physicians for their hard work as they selflessly better the lives of others.
We are so proud of Dr. Cliff Char and Dr. Ian Chait for their work with the non-profit organization Operation Smile. The international charity treats thousands of children in developing countries with cleft lip deformities every year.
The simple procedure takes only minutes, but the results last forever. Our doctors have helped children do what we take for granted everyday, including eating, speaking, socializing and even smiling.
Countless times, both Char and Chait have joined other medical professionals from around the world for two-week missions.
During their missions they perform between 100 and 150 surgeries. Additionally, they train local medical practitioners in an effort to create self-sufficient and sustainable solutions within developing countries.
Between the two physicians, their selfless work has stretched across the entire globe. Dr. Chait goes on two missions each year; he’s made a difference for children in Morocco, Peru, China, Egypt, the Philippines, and will be leaving again this fall. Dr. Char just returned from a mission in Nicaragua, but he has also volunteered in India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Egypt and Nepal.
For Dr. Chait, helping someone in need is absolutely priceless. “It’s an incredible feeling when you take a kid to the recovery room and the mother comes in and sees the kid with the defect repaired,” Chait said. “The look on the mother’s face is an incredible, emotional experience.”
Dr. Char agrees, “There is so much need out there and the amount of work we do is a lot, but it’s so small when put in the big picture. There’s just so little we can give and we get such huge benefits in return.”
It is with a great deal of pride and appreciation that we thank our team members for helping make such a huge difference in the world.
For the last several years Allied Anesthesia has been fortunate to have Dr. Paul Yost as a member of our team. He has always been a shining example of what we stand for and what we value. Recently, Dr. Yost was named president-elect of the California Society of Anesthesiologists at the 2013 House of Delegates meeting in Los Angeles.
Dr. Yost is no stranger to incredible achievements. In 1982 he completed his bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Stanford. He then earned his Medical Doctorate degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 1986 and completed two medical residencies: Pediatrics at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami, Florida, and Anesthesiology at UCLA.
Currently, Yost practices adult and pediatric anesthesiology at St. Joseph’s Hospital of Orange, where he is director of cardiothoracic anesthesia, and CHOC Children’s Hospital, where he is past president of the medical staff.
In his new position, Dr. Yost will help lead the 3,000-member organization to promote the highest professional standards, provide continuing education and advocating for anesthesiologists and their patients. He will also work closely with the CSA president to find ways to support the membership, their specialty and their patients.
Yost explained how important organized medicine is to both doctors and patients. “We’re so much stronger when we work together. To me it’s something you do. It’s a part of your professional life. You get involved and try to leave the organization better than when you started.”
Although, the CSA position requires Dr. Yost to spend time away from his practice, the team at Allied Anesthesia was happy to pick up any slack. “The whole group is contributing in a sense by allowing me to do this,” he said. As a result of everyone’s teamwork Yost will be able to keep his colleagues at Allied Anesthesia up to date on the latest developments in their field for their own growth and for the benefit of their patients.
We are excited to congratulate Dr. Yost on his latest accomplishment, and we know great things lie ahead for all of the members of Allied Anesthesia.
Allied Anesthesia physician, Dr. Thanh Tran was recently recognized as a 2013 Leader in Oral Health by Healthy Smiles for Kids.
Ten years ago, Healthy Smiles for Kids, a non-profit organization, began providing education and dental care to thousands of Orange County children. The program works with USC and CHOC to increase the number of pediatric dentists in the region.
Since its inception, Dr. Tran has played an essential role in developing and coordinating the pediatric sedation training program for USC dental fellows at Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
The success of the program has been clear. In 2003 there were less than 60 pediatric dentists, but thanks to combined efforts from Tran and other members of Allied Anesthesia, there are now 85.
“Everyone at Allied Anesthesia joins in to help train these dentists,” Tran said. “I’m just the point person who helps the process move along more smoothly. We don’t think of it as a chore or duty,” Tran continued, “It’s part of the profession and we do it because we love it.”
Dr. Tran also received two Senate resolutions in recognition of his contributions to the oral surgery residency program at USC from Sen. Mark Wyland, 38th District, and Sen. Lou Correa, 34th District.
Allied Anesthesia proudly congratulates Dr. Tran and the other key anesthesiologists that have contributed to Healthy Smiles for Kids‘ success.
For the anesthesiologists at Allied, our patient’s safety and comfort is a top priority.
In addition to administering anesthesia in the operating room, the anesthesiologist monitors a patient’s heart rate and breathing during surgery and provides medication and methods to handle pain post operation.
Most patients are a little nervous prior to a medical procedure. Any uncertainties or anxieties about anesthesia should be addressed prior to surgery by talking to your anesthesiologist.
The relationship between patient and anesthesiologist should be a strong one based on trust and understanding. Here are some important questions you shouldn’t hesitate to ask your anesthesiologist before and after your procedure.
What is your training and experience?
Patients should ask whether their anesthesiologist is a medical doctor or a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Some states allow CRNAs to administer anesthesia on their own, while other states require an anesthesiologist’s supervision. Either way, patients should know what kind of training and experience the individual, who supervises their anesthesia care, has.
Allied Anesthesia only employs high quality anesthesiologists, who are among the top 1 percent in the country. The group specializes in pediatric anesthesia and is the exclusive anesthesia provider for Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
What will you be doing during the surgery?
In short, I make sure my patients know that I will be watching every beat off their heart and every breath they take.
Many patients don’t realize that anesthesiologists are an integral component of the surgical team along with surgeons, nurses and others in the operating room. Administering anesthesia is just the first step. Anesthesiologists monitor the patient’s vital signs and are prepared to respond rapidly in case of an emergency.
What if I get nervous before surgery?
The first step is making sure you’ve got the right fit. Choosing a top quality hospital and a quality anesthesiologist will go a long way toward easing anxiety.
Once you’re in the operating room, one way to calm yourself is to think about something relaxing. For instance, think about your favorite vacation spot, your children or your favorite food. Think about things that make you happy.
If it’s not you that’s having the procedure it’s still common to be a little nervous, especially if you’re a parent with a child undergoing surgery. Make a list of questions and ask before your child has the operation to help put your mind at ease.
What should I expect when I awake?
Anesthesiologists also are pain management specialists. They have access to a variety of medications and techniques that will help decrease a patient’s discomfort after surgery.
The physicians at Allied Anesthesia have done a lot of creative things with ultrasound guided nerve blocks for acute postoperative pain. Nerve blocks may be used as the main anesthetic technique or combined with general anesthesia to substantially reduce pain after surgery. They have proven to be invaluable to patients undergoing more invasive procedures such as joint replacement and bone fracture repair.
Because we know what we’re doing, patients get discharged quicker and are able to begin physical therapy soon after surgery.
Our specialty is to make sure that when patients wake up from surgery they are comfortable and we can handle any potential discomfort they might have.
What’s a good way to prepare myself for surgery?
A patient’s surgical experience has a lot to do with their expectations.
Those who expect to do well, generally do.
It’s important to approach the procedure with a positive attitude, confident that you have chosen the best hospital, the best surgeon and the best anesthesiologist.
After that, all that’s left is for you to do is close your eyes, relax and let it happen.
Drs. Cliff Char, Ian Chait, Klane Hales, and Paul Yost were selected for inclusion on the Southern California Super Doctors 2013 list compiled by Key Professional Media and published in Los Angeles Magazine. Also, Drs. Char, and Eric Pearson were chosen by the Orange County Medical Association as “Physicians of Excellence” in Orange Coast Magazine.
“I am honored to be chosen as a Super Doc and Physician of Excellence,” Dr. Char said. “It is difficult for me to accept because I know that there are many other physicians who care and blend their skills and knowledge with excellence to provide compassionate care. I am grateful for Allied Anesthesia Medical Group to allow me to provide free anesthesia care around the world and to be able to practice the best anesthesia care that I can.”
The Super Doctors list identifies physicians, who are well respected and recognized among their peers. Each candidate undergoes an independent evaluation by research staff, a peer review by practice area and a good-standing and disciplinary check.
Candidates are evaluated on 10 indicators, including: years of experience, hospital appointments, fellowships, professional activities, leadership positions, academic achievements/positions, board certifications, publications, lectures, presentations, honors, awards and other outstanding achievements.
Applicants selected for the 2013 Physicians of Excellence honor were required to meet at least two of the following four criteria:
- Physician leadership
- Humanitarian service
- Unique contributions, significant awards and recognitions related to substantial contributions in medicine, healthcare, or on behalf of humanity.
The physicians at Allied Anesthesia are proud to be part of a team of surgeons, nurses, perfusionists and support staff at St. Joseph Hospital of Orange, who received a three-star rating (the highest rating) from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
The rating was based on the outcomes of coronary artery bypass grafting cases from July 1, 2011 through June 30th, 2012.
This recent rating placed the hospital among the top 10 to 15 percent of adult cardiac surgery centers for the third year in a row.
Scores were based on a combination of 11 measures of quality divided into four domains, starting with risk-adjusted mortality based on the condition of the patients prior to surgery. Another factor of the rating is the percentage of patients who are discharged without serious complications such as stroke, infection or kidney failure.
The score also considers the percentage of procedures that involve using an internal mammary artery for bypass grafting. The final domain is how often all four primary peri-operative medications are prescribed. Each participant receives a score for each of the four domains, an overall composite score and a star ranking.
Dr. Paul Yost explained, “The physicians of Allied Anesthesia are extremely proud and humble to be an integral part of the award winning St. Joseph Hospital of Orange cardiac surgery program.”
It is an honor to work with the gifted staff at St. Joseph Hospital and provide the proper care to our valued patients.
Many members of Allied Anesthesia volunteer their services locally and internationally. Recently, several anesthesiologists from our team participated in the annual Access OC event, This local organization provides medical care to Orange County’s most vulnerable residents.
Another organization Allied Anesthesia is proud to work with is Operation Smile. As we’ve posted in earlier blogs, Operation Smile is a wonderful international children’s medical charity that works to repair cleft lip deformities on children in underdeveloped countries. Often children born with a cleft are unable to eat, speak, smile or socialize. Their families are unable to afford the surgery necessary to give them a normal life. In a simple one hour procedure, these problems can be solved.
I just returned from the Philippines, where I spent my fifth medical mission with Operation Smile. Our team consisted of over sixty people from eight countries. We exchanged ideas about how to help those in need, and performed over 100 surgeries.
In addition to our medical successes, this mission was especially meaningful as it was the 30th anniversary of Operation Smile, and it took place in the inaugural location, Naga City.
I was fortunate enough to spend time with the organization’s founder, Bill Magee. We enjoyed a very welcoming dinner with a special guest; a young woman with a beautiful voice sang a special song for Operations Smile. This young lady was one of Bill Magee’s first patients.
As always, the experience was very rewarding.
The holidays are an anticipated and exciting time of year for children. It is a wonderful opportunity to make lasting memories and celebrate family.
However, many parents choose to take advantage of school and work holiday schedules and year-end savings on insurance to schedule needed surgery for their child. In addition to the fear and anxiety a child has about their surgery, they may also feel left out and angry, especially if they miss celebrations with friends and family.
No matter what the procedure, the physicians at Allied Anesthesia in Santa Ana, who provide anesthesia and pain management services at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), are committed to ensuring every pediatric patient is as comfortable and unafraid as possible. To help parents with their child’s experience, we have complied a list of tips that will be especially useful during the holiday season.
Helpful Tips for Holiday Surgery
Keep a Positive Attitude
- Children take cues from their parents; with that in mind, it is important to remain calm and reassuring.
- Focus on the outcome instead of the surgery itself. For example, “After knee surgery, you can play baseball again”
Keep Your Child Informed
Bibliotherapy can be very useful. There are several age appropriate books that help children prepare for their surgery. Wrap the book in gift-wrap and give it to the child before their surgery so you can read it together.
- Curious George Goes to the Hospital –H.A and Margaret Rey
- My Brother Needs an Operation –Anna Marie Jaworski
- Goodbye Tonsils -Craig Hatkoff
- A Visit to the Sesame Street Hospital
Younger children might want to become familiar with what a doctor does by playing with a toy doctor’s kit. They can learn how the instruments work by using the tools on stuffed animals and dolls.
Older children may want to tour the hospital facilities prior to their surgery date. They can meet the staff, and become familiar with the equipment and procedures.
Include Your Child As Much As Possible
For children staying overnight at the hospital or longer:
- See if Santa makes bedside visits or if the hospital offers special holiday meals and events.
- If the hospital allows, bring some festive items to decorate the room.
- Should a holiday gathering happen while your child is away, take lots of photos or ask everyone to write a little get well note.
- Although it’s the holidays, hospital space is limited. Keep that in mind when you bring gifts. Also, check with your doctor about special diets that may restrict candy and baked goodies.
Above all, be honest and reassuring.