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In the Spotlight

Get In, Get Out, Get Well

As the demand for emergency services continues to rise, Providence Tarzana has established a “Rapid Medical Evaluation (RME)” area to increase access to care. This area is specifically designed to efficiently treat the less serious health issues such as the flu, sprains or minor injuries.

Unlike an urgent care, our RME is staffed with board-certified emergency physicians and nationally certified nurses. You will be seconds away from the main ED in the event your condition suddenly worsens and requires a different level of care. And specialists are available should you need one.

Our goal: for you to get in, get out and get well.

Our physicians, nurses and staff are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality treatment, right when you need it. Whether your emergency is big or little choose Providence Tarzana. If it is little, our RME was designed with you in mind, because here, the little things matter.

In the Spotlight

ICE your Phone for Emergencies

In case of emergency (ICE) is a program that enables first responders such as paramedics, firefighters and police officers, as well as hospital personnel, to contact the next of kin of the owner of the mobile phone. We encourage everyone to utilize this program. Here are the steps you should take:

  1. 1) Choose a responsible person to be your In Case of Emergency contact.
  2. 2) Inform your ICE contact that you have chosen them as your designated contact and provide them with information that may affect your treatment. Remember MAD or “M” “A” “D.”
    • Medicines – list all current medications you are taking, including herbal and organic supplements because they can and do interact with some medications.
    • Allergies – list all known allergies, especially to medications, but also to foods.
    • Doctors – include the names and phone numbers of doctors or other medical providers responsible for your regular care.
  3. 3) Add this contact as a new entery, with their phone number, in your mobile phone address book under the heading “ICE.” Example: ICE-Jenny or ICE-Mom. For more than one ICE entry, label them ICE1, ICE 2 and so forth.
  4. Your phone needs to be unlocked for the contacts to be accessed. Some companies to sell ICE stickers to alert first responders that you have contacts in your phone.

In the Spotlight

Hypothermia Treatment for Heart Attack Patients

Less than two weeks after instituting new therapeutic hypothermia treatment for heart attack patients, Providence Tarzana Medical Center has applied the body-cooling treatment in three cases – and each patient showed remarkable neurologic recovery.

Therapeutic hypothermia treatment, where cardiac arrest patients are cooled to 92 degrees, is being studied nationwide to help prevent brain damage caused by a loss of blood supply. Its initial use this month in the Providence Tarzana Emergency Department and intensive care units has been 100 percent successful.

“With the institution of the protocol, in the first week-and-a-half, we’ve had three patients  who have had complete recovery of neurologic function after prolonged cardiac arrest,” said G. Scott Brewster, M.D., medical director of the Emergency Department at Providence Tarzana.

One of those patients was Maria Ramos, 39, who was rushed to Providence Tarzana by paramedics after fainting at home. She suffered cardiac arrest in the hospital, was resuscitated and the new treatment applied. Within days she was walking, and subsequently suffered no neurological effects.

And 62-year-old Ana Barajas, another patient who suffered cardiac arrest, was started on the hypothermia protocol and soon was awake and talking. She, too, was discharged after a short stay, though she did return to have a pacemaker implanted.

The hypothermia therapy has been developed and studied in recent years and now, having reviewed the evidence and the successful implementation of the program at Providence Tarzana, Providence Health & Services is creating protocols for its two other Valley medical centers to use not just in the emergency rooms, but throughout the hospitals. In fact, one recommendation involves working with paramedics to apply hypothermia treatment en route to hospitals, Dr. Brewster said.

“We’ve done cooling measures for quite a long time, but there’s never been a concerted effort to go hospital-wide with the process so that anyone who has a cardiac arrest in the local community or arrests in the hospital has the ability to benefit from the protocol,” Dr. Brewster said. “We’re creating a standardized approach that’s literature-based and coordinated between the Emergency Department and the ICU.”

The success of the program stems from collaboration of emergency department physicians, cardiologists and nurses, said Shirley Heidersbach, the hospital’s chief nursing officer.

The goal is to ensure even better chances of recovery for cardiac arrest patients, many of whom are having heart attacks.  A New England Journal of Medicine study four years ago found that patients who did not receive cooling therapy after a massive heart attack had a 57 percent chance of dying or having significant brain damage. Hypothermia treatment has reduced that percentage by up to 20 percentage points. At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, cardiologists are working with physicians in the hospital’s trauma center on companion protocols.

While various methods are used nationwide in the procedures – including applying ice bags around a patient – Providence Tarzana uses a machine that automatically regulates cool water to flow through gel wraps around the patient’s legs and chest. Typical treatment runs about 24 hours.          

Providence Tarzana, Providence Holy Cross in Mission Hills and Providence Saint Joseph in Burbank are STEMI receiving centers – approved by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction centers. The designation means that patients who exhibit signs of the most serious kind of heart attack are brought by paramedics to a certified center, even if it means bypassing other hospitals.

Physicians see enormous benefits in the use of hypothermia therapy to fulfill the role of designated STEMI receiving centers.

The certification is based on a hospital’s ability to quickly treat these patients and to demonstrate they have the facilities, technology and specialty physicians to provide immediate diagnostic tests and intervention.


Ike Manaster’s wife and daughter were sick with colds and he was miserable with a sinus infection.

But he knew relief was on the way when a visit to the doctor led to an Augmentin prescription to battle the infection. What he didn’t know is that the first dose of medicine would nearly kill him. “I took the first pill and within 15 minutes I started getting a lot of pressure in my forehead,” said Ike. “I started to get red and my eyes were stinging and then my breath started to get short.”

His breathing worsened, so much so he told his wife who immediately dialed 911. Something inside told Ike the ambulance wouldn’t get to him in time, so a ride down the street to Providence Tarzana’s Emergency Department was his best option. Ike jumped out of the car and ran into the ED where the nurses instantly knew he was in severe distress.

“I was in the doctor’s room doing some dictation, when I heard the nurses say a patient was turning blue,” said Chris Major, MD. “I dropped the phone and ran to the room where I saw a healthy looking young guy barely breathing. All he was able to say was Augmentin, and we immediately diagnosed a severe allergic reaction.”

Dr. Major and the nurses went into action injecting epinephrine into Ike. The first injections weren’t enough and they were losing him. “He was getting worse in front of my eyes and his only words were ‘please help me’.” Major wouldn’t give up and let his medical school training, years of experience and a recent lecture about allergic reactions dictated his actions, giving Ike the highest amount of Epinephrine allowed. “I remember hearing him tell the nurses to just keep giving it,” says Ike. “He just kept pushing it and I’m awfully glad he did because I knew I only had a few minutes of life left, and his instincts are why I am here today. Dr. Major is a top notch ER doctor.”

Ike went home the next day, and two days later he had to return to the ED with his daughter where he received a very warm welcome from the staff who was thrilled to see he was alive, well and back in action.

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