Good Samaritan Hospital Expands

Women's Health Services

When hundreds of community members recently attended a gala event marking the tenth anniversary of Good Samaritan Hospital's Heart Institute, they paid tribute to a program that has grown in quantum leaps over the last decade. As one of the largest and most compre-hensive providers of cardiac care statewide, the Institute has become known as "The Best in the West" for its cardiology and heart surgery services. Patients, referring physicians and managed care personnel have come to rely on the hospital's heart physicians for their ability to handle all types of cases effectively, from the routine diagnosis of cardiovascular disease to the specialized interventional procedure performed without the standard transfusion.

But with successful programs as well in neurosciences, obstetrics/gynecology, ortho-paedic surgery, digestive diseases, kidney stones and ophthalmology, Good Samaritan holds the distinction as one of the few hospitals in Los Angeles with growing services that are meeting the community's needs. This expansion is abundantly clear in the area of women's health services, where physicians many of whom are affiliated with the University of Southern California School of Medicine have developed new programs that are touching thousands of lives annually.

Last year, for instance, hospital radiologists, oncologists, surgeons and other Good Samaritan medical staff members established the hospital's Breast Care Center, a program that applies a multidisciplinary approach in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

"Rather than visiting many different doctors at many different times, patients have the opportunity to benefit from a panel of experts that meets with her in one setting," said Good Samaritan radiation oncologist Rufus Mark, M.D., a co-founder of the center. "Our physicians work closely with her to determine the most appropriate and effective courses of treatment and follow her progress through recovery."

At Good Samaritan, breast cancer patients have many options, including the stereotactic biopsy, a less invasive and less costly procedure than the traditional open biopsy, as well as breast conservation treatment, a viable alternative to a mastectomy in many breast cancer cases.

Providing female patients with alternatives is, of course, the raison d'etre of Good Samaritan's women's health program. When urogynecologists John Klutke, M.D. and William Kobak, M.D. joined the hospital's medical staff last year, patients with urinary incontinence found they had a broad range of effective non-surgical and surgical treatments available. Through estrogen therapy, pelvic floor exercises, biofeedback, functional electrical stimulation, mechanical devices and surgical therapies, the physicians' patients are achieving a very high rate of lasting continence.

And this year, when renowned infertility expert Richard Paulson, M.D., a leader in assisted reproductive medicine, arrived at Good Samaritan, he brought with him a program that offers couples wishing to conceive the widest range of options: in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), intracytoplasmic techniques and oocyte donation. Dr. Paulson was part of the team that recently helped a 63-year-old woman bear a healthy baby. She is the oldest patient on record to have done so.

"Historically speaking, female patients have been an underserved community," said obstetrician/gynecologist Robert Israel, M.D., director of the hospital's Women's Health Services. "We at Good Samaritan are working aggressively to reverse that. In addition to an exceptional team of obstetrician/gynecologists, a thriving obstetrical unit and a very busy and top-ranked Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, our hospital boasts a gynecologic oncologist, a specialist in cancers of the female reproductive system, as well as a group of perinatologists, physicians who excel in high-risk pregnancies and deliveries. In fact, we just started up a Maternal Transport Program that brings to our hospital patients facing difficult labors and deliveries. While we'll always be pleased to care for babies who need to be transferred from other facilities to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, we want to focus our efforts on transferring their mothers before actual births. Experience has shown this is the best way to achieve optimal outcomes for both mother and child."

To receive more information about Good Samaritan's women's health programs, or any of the hospital's services, please call (213) 977-2977.

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