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“There Are Angels Among Us,” Including Lifesaving EVS Worker

On Monday, August 3rd, Blanca Alban was conducting her daily routine checks of the restrooms before leaving for the day. It was about 3:50 pm when she entered the men’s restroom at the Chester Medical Offices (Kern County), and noticed a young man lying on the floor in one of the stalls.  His face was pale and he was nonresponsive. Read what happened next, and learn how Blanca’s quick thinking and calm demeanor may have saved this young man’s life.

Staying Safe as COVID-19 Cases Rise

Our infectious disease expert offers advice to help members and patients protect themselves and get the health care they need.

Over the past weeks, the nation has seen a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. Kaiser Permanente remains ready to safely and expertly treat an increase in patients with COVID-19, as well as provide primary and specialty care appointments and procedures. We continue to encourage everyone to practice healthy habits to protect themselves and others from continued risk. Stephen Parodi, MD, national infectious disease leader for Kaiser Permanente and executive vice president of external affairs, communications, and brand at The Permanente Federation, shares tips to stay safe and healthy as COVID-19 cases rise.

Resilience Room De-stresses Nurses

Outside of the COVID-19 unit on the 6th floor at KP Los Angeles Medical Center (LAMC), is a quiet room. In it, the scent of lavender fills the air, calming music plays, encouraging quotes and art line the walls, laminated packets of information on stress relief and mental well-being are laid out, and hot tea steeps in a corner. LAMC staff can come read, relax, close their eyes, get a neck massage, talk to a mental health professional, sit in silence…or cry.

“We wanted to create a space where people could go and have their feelings,” during the unbelievably challenges they face providing care to  coronavirus patients, said Misty Lahti, RN. And so they did. This is the Resilience Room. Learn about it here.

The Fighting Spirit Outruns COVID-19

From our friends at Kaiser Permanente Northern California comes the remarkable story of  Tom Butts, a triathlete who battled hard against COVID-19 and won. After 110 days in the hospital (87 of them on a ventilator) at KP San Jose, Tom outpaced the coronavirus through sheer determination, a fighting spirit, and a lot of hard work — his own and that of everyone involved in his well-bring. In the picture of his triumphant departure (above), his broad smile and raised arms express the triumph and joy that Tom, his loved ones, and his many providers shared as he rolled out the hospital doors. Full story here.

Security with a Smile (and a Cheer) Makes National News

Want to smile? Watch this amazingly uplifting TV segment about the goodness in people helping people.

ABC World News Tonight aired this story featuring security guard Robert Johnson, a man who takes the time to make certain that the nurses, doctors, and other medical staff at KP Downey Medical Center know they are appreciated. Every morning, he greets them and cheers them on as they end their night shift. Kelly Wilson, RN, was also interviewed, and explained the gratitude these essential workers have for Robert’s show of appreciation. What a great example of the heartfelt caring and camaraderie exhibited at Kaiser Permanente during these challenging times when the coronavirus pandemic is dominating the news. Be like Robert! Watch it here.

COVID and Cancer Can Wait…Senior Portrait Glam Day Can’t

In early March 2020, Hani Atkins was preparing for her upcoming 18th birthday, including a trip to Disneyland with her family, and anticipating her senior year of high school with all of the exciting moments that entails. Those plans, however, did not play out as expected. Not only did the theme park temporarily close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but on April 22, Hani was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) – for the second time…

Read about how a group of nurses at Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Fontana Medical Center turned a hospital stay into a glam day to make sure this special young lady did not miss an important milestone  in her young life.  True beauty runs deep in this story.

The Importance of Empathy (video)

There is so much useful information packed into this 3 1/2 minute video — and it’s never more relevant than right now, during this highly-charged, double-pandemic moment in time.

We all manage stress and anxiety in our own way based on our own experiences. Without knowing it, we create expectations of how others should behave and react. Given the events of the last few months, KPSC’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is seeing an increase in burn-out and stress anxiety. They have shared this video to emphasize the importance of effective communication and empathy during these times. Even if we have differing opinions, empathy helps us understand others and perhaps even lend support. Watch it here.

iPads for Patient Communications: The Tender Side of Tech

No one thinks technology has a tender side (or even thinks about this at all). But a cross-departmental team of industrious Kaiser Permanente Southern California IT professionals discovered it – unknowingly. When the “No Visitors” policy was instituted early in the COVID-19 crisis, patients were disconnected from their dearest, most vital support systems, just when they were most needed.

The simple solution, as it turned out, wasn’t simple at all. Read how the extraordinary efforts of the KPSC team implemented a solution in record time — allowing patients to connect with loved ones and employees to connect their work to its emotionally impactful outcome. Story here.

Mental Health Heroes Turn Chaos to Calm, Unsure to Secure

In the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, a grandmother, mother, and two young children were all hospitalized at Downey Medical Center. All except one child tested COVID positive. Their situation demonstrated the chaos that the virus wrought; spotlighted the complexities of managing this novel situation; and exemplified the heroics of three KPSC social workers who had to resolve this high-pressure, multi-faceted case. How did they do it? Find out here.


Advancing treatments through clinical trials

Kaiser Permanente’s clinical trials help advance treatment for health conditions and diseases ranging from heart disease and cancer to AIDS and COVID-19.
William Towner, MD, has seen firsthand how clinical trials can contribute to the development of more effective and safer medical treatments. He began working in clinical trials at Kaiser Permanente at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and now serves as physician director for clinical trials at KPSC where he currently leads clinical trials for treatment of COVID-19.

“AIDS was often a fatal disease with few treatment options,” he recalled. “Through clinical trials, more and more effective disease therapies were developed. We are now able to treat HIV with one pill taken once a day, and patients usually do very well. Clinical trials really have driven medicine forward.” Watch this 2-minute video about clinical trials at Kaiser Permanente, and how they help to transform care.

To stay informed of KPSC research, sign up for Impact, the newsletter from the Department of Research & Evaluation. View the latest issue or subscribe here.

Dad with COVID-19 Zooms in on daughter’s birth, one floor away

We will all have remarkable coronavirus stories to tell for years to come, from the heartbreaking to the heartwarming. Emberly Anne McCabe, a newborn girl born on April 20 at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center, will likely be telling the story of her own birth for the rest of her life. Her parents, Roxanne and Milo, are already sharing theirs in the national press, from “Inside Edition” to People magazine.  That’s because Milo, suffering from a critical case of COVID-19, watched Emberly Anne’s birth take place one floor away in the same hospital via a live Zoom video conference. “I never thought with our first child that this is the story that we’d be telling her about how she was born!” said Roxanne McCabe. Almost equally miraculous…thanks to the excellent care he got at KP Baldwin Park, including treatment with Remdesivir, Milo was able to leave the hospital just a few days later, and join his new family at home. Watch the amazing video here.





First Responders ♥ Frontline Workers…and the Feeling is Mutual

The sounds of blaring sirens and spinning helicopter rotors, and the sights of flashing lights and multiple emergency vehicles would surely garner attention. And that’s the point. “Hero-to-Hero” appreciation events, in which first responders and front-line health care providers show their mutual support, have rolled to every Kaiser Permanente Southern California medical center and flown over many.

These first responder caravans roll through city streets as neighbors wave in gratitude, and on to KPSC hospitals,  where hey are greeted by crowds of KPSC employees and physicians, awed by the inspiring expressions of gratitude and recognition – and sending it right back. The resulting ripple effect of support raises all our spirits, and further roots us in our united dedication to care for the people of our communities. Read the rest of the story here.

National Nurses Day: “She didn’t ask to be a hero”

Johaira Michelle didn’t ask to be a “hero”, but she’s been one to her patients and fellow nurses.

Caring for new families during this pandemic has been a meaningful experience for Johaira Michelle Dilauro, RN, BSN CLE, who works in labor and delivery, post-partum, and the NICU at West Los Angeles Medical Center. She has used her warmth and empathy to create a compassionate care experience for her patients, including a COVID-19 positive mother. She has worked tirelessly to care for new families, and in the process, championed efforts to secure more masks and face shields for her hospital, to ensure her team and others helping patients with COVID-19 received the proper protection they need to continue fighting this global pandemic. We are proud to call Johaira Michelle Dilauro a “hero” for all she does to support her team while providing extraordinary care for mothers, newborns and new families at a most unprecedented time.  Even LAFC star Adama “Dio” Diomande agrees, as his photo shows. See his special thank you tweet to Johaira  here.

Cellist. Community Builder. KP Attorney.

On most days, Beong Kim mans a busy workload, juggling non-stop calls and meetings, reviewing complex documents, and advising on intricate legal matters in his capacity as vice president, assistant general counsel at Kaiser Permanente. It’s not what anyone would describe as soothing, and there’s certainly no time for escapism. But every so often, that’s just what he and his wife Bonnie Wongtrakool bring to their Pasadena neighborhood, through their increasingly-popular “porch concerts.” Read how they are bringing a bit of harmony to these dissonant times.

One Nurse’s Day. One Patient’s Last Day. A Personal Reflection.

Sometimes, a story needs little introduction. This is one such time. Cecilia Fleming-Tumer, MPH, RN, shares her beautifully expressed self-reflections on her experience with a patient who was taken by COVID-19 – and on her role as a nurse leader and fellow human being. Her moving words inspire us to remain strong, committed, and compassionate, whether we face similar circumstances or not. Read them here, or in the Los Angeles Daily News where they were published as part of Nurses Week.

If you would like to share your reflections on how the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted your work and/or personal life, (50-350 words, please) send it to:

Your daily dad joke

Who doesn’t need a good, clean dad joke? Not a one of us. It’s what we all need right now. Get a new one daily, along with poems and inspirational messages, by dialing 1-877-JOY-4ALL (1-877-569-4255). A group of Canadian teens launched the low tech, now viral idea with the intention of bringing a smile to elderly or isolated people. Now viral, JOY4ALL still provides exactly what its name promises.

On April 29, Wear Jeans with a Purpose

For the past 6 years, Kaiser Permanente Southern California has participated in Denim Day to support Peace Over Violence’s campaign and to observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Wear jeans on April 29 to help raise awareness about sexual assault prevention, and shine a light on KPSC’s Family Violence Prevention Program, which addresses child, elder, and intimate partner abuse.

Humbled, Inspired by Community Donations

“We’re all in this together” is so much more than a coronavirus rallying cry, as many people are proving through caring acts and deeds. Nowhere is this more evident than in the donations that members of our community have made to Kaiser Permanente Southern California patients, physicians, and employees.

“These humbling, inspiring demonstrations of care truly motivate our people during this extraordinarily demanding time. Grateful just isn’t a strong enough word,” said John Yamamoto, VP, community health, government relations, and community engagement, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Health Plan and Hospitals. Examples include:

  • Masks from our SEIU UHW labor partners, who are also working with their business partners to switch their manufacturing to produce critical PPE.
  • 3D printed face shields donated by a robotics team in San Diego and a computer science teacher in Garden Grove.
  • Hundreds of iPads donated to hospitals including Kaiser Permanente Ontario Medical Center and other hospitals by EdoATM Gazelle, enabling socially-distanced patients and loved ones to communicate.
  • Heartwarming children’s hand-drawn artworks — life-affirming cards of gratitude and hero recognition delivered to parent and others at KP facilities.
  • Pizzas! Donuts! Cappuccinos! And delicious healthy meals and snacks donated to the hard-working people at KP medical centers throughout Southern California.

See more examples and details (plus a comment from Mister Rogers!) here.

Miss the sounds of the office?

Sure, you miss the camaraderie. But what about the keyboard taps, footsteps, phones, and your whistling, chip-crunching neighbor? Believe it or not, those familiar sounds can be comforting (and for some, even increase productivity. If broken mufflers, barking dogs, and leaf blowers aren’t doing it, there’s an app for that. Check out I Miss the Office, and relax. Or don’t.
Think this is interesting? Thank KP’s Hatch Group  for the tip. This in-house team of researchers, strategists, creators, builders and dreamers are helping Kaiser Permanente prepare for our future.

Are we flattening the curve?

Are We Flattening the Curve?

Some hopeful indicators point to “yes,” as this report suggests. California’s aggressive stay-at-home orders and other factors may be flattening the curve of confirmed COVID-19 cases. This means we need to keep it up, and be vigilant in our preventive measures, like staying home, frequent hand washing, and – if we must go out – wearing a cloth face covering and practicing social distancing.

COVID-19 upsides

Every cloud…well, you know. Here are some upsides to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Families and roommates are finding new joy in old forms of fun. Jigsaw puzzles, Pictionary, board games and Charades are making a comeback.
  • Have you noticed? Kindness and gratitude are everywhere. Let’s make this part of our new normal.
  • Online dating is way up, thanks to so many people staying at home. But online scams are up too. Let the bachelor(ette) beware. Swipe here to learn more.
  • Baking homemade bread is trendy. So much so that many grocery stores are sold out of yeast and flour. Try these workarounds if you want to give bread baking a go. Just watch those carbs…
  • Chicken wings are cheaper! Fewer pro sports events means fewer wings consumed. Lower demand = a surplus of wings = lower cost. Get ‘em while they’re hot.
  • More time for Panda Cams, Hippo Cams, All the Cams. Check out these animal live streams from zoos around the world. After work 😊.

KP partners in Mayor Garcetti’s “L.A. Protects” Initiative to produce urgently needed COVID-19 supplies

Mayor Garcetti’s “L.A. Protects”

Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced the formation of “L.A. Protects,” a new partnership to organize Los Angeles’ fashion and garment industry to make protective gear and other medical supplies for frontline workers. The initial target for the initiative is the manufacturing of 5 million non-medical masks for people who need protection – grocery store workers, non-medical staff in hospitals, and others providing essential services during the COVID-19 crisis.

Kaiser Permanente is a partner in L.A. Protects, having provided the specifications for a non-medical mask that is being open-sourced to the public.

“The number-one mission right now is saving lives,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Our manufacturing sector is unmatched anywhere, and the ingenuity of working people will help us get through this emergency. L.A. Protects will save people – and save jobs.”

L.A. Protects could help businesses that might otherwise have to close and furlough staff, by connecting them with opportunities to provide an essential service. L.A. Protects will match approved manufacturing companies with essential industries in need of masks – including the health care industry, grocers, take-out restaurants, delivery services, as well as food and beverage manufacturers.