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Patient Stories

  • Ray Martz

    Eric Nakakura and Research Group Awarded $1.2M Grant to Study Small Intestinal Neuroendocrine Tumors

    Eric Nakakura, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Surgery at UCSF and a leading authority on neuroendocrine tumors of the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas, is among a team of researchers awarded $1.2M grant by the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF) to elucidate the causes of small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (SI-NETs). Dr. Nakakura said the research would help to unlock the mysteries of the disease and lead to more effective potentially curative treatments: "This project arose from unexpected clinical observations of a rare disease, which has puzzled all for over a[...]
    Story Tags: Carcinoid SyndromeGastrointestinal Neuroendocrine (Carcinoid) TumorsLiver MetastasesSmall Intestine Cancer
  • Ray Martz

    Eric Nakakura and Emily Bergsland Discuss Carcinoid Syndrome Treatment on "Healthy Body, Healthy Mind" Series

    Eric Nakakura, M.D., Ph.D., a UCSF gastrointestinal cancer surgeon and Emily Bergsland, M.D.. a UCSF gastrointestinal oncologist, recently discussed the treatment of carcinoid syndrome on "Healthy Body, Healthy Mind", a series hosted by Information Television Network (ITV), a PBS content affiliate. Dr. Nakakura is an Associate Professor in the UCSF Department of Surgery and Dr. Bergsland a Professor in the UCSF Department of Medicine. The ITV episode, which portrays the struggles of Ray Martz with carcinoid syndrome, recounts the situation he initially faced - that his condition was[...]
    Story Tags: Carcinoid SyndromeGastrointestinal Neuroendocrine (Carcinoid) TumorsLiver Metastases
  • Mansfield Doi

    Surgery Wellness Program Eases Path to Surgery

    Mansfield Doi
    My father Mansfield Doi was undergoing endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP, a procedure used to correct a narrowing in the bile ducts. The advantage of ERCP is that it is non-invasive, but after repeated procedures showed limited effectiveness, his UCSF gastroenterologist suggested surgery. He was referred to Dr. Hobart Harris, Chief of the Division of General Surgery at UCSF, who determined that medically he was a candidate for surgery. However, because of his age – my dad is 86 - Dr. Harris encouraged us to coordinate with the UCSF Surgery Wellness Program, which was a[...]
  • Lorelei Batty

    A Complex Procedure for Life-Threatening Pancreatitis

    A Complex Procedure for Life-Threatening Pancreatitis One morning in December 2014, Lorelei Batty woke up screaming in pain and sick to her stomach. Emergency room doctors in her hometown of Santa Maria, Calif., thought the 3-year-old had the flu and sent her home. But Lorelei didn't improve over the next week and a half, and a far more serious diagnosis soon came in: pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that's rare in children and can be difficult to treat. After spending most of the next nine months in seven different hospitals with deteriorating health, Lorelei finally[...]
  • John Maduell

    Conceptual Artist Retains Limb Against Long Odds

    John Maduell
    In his 33-year career as a conceptual artist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, John Maduell illustrated futuristic technologies few others could imagine. But he never envisioned the toll diabetes and vascular disease would take on his body—or that one day he might lose his legs because of these problems.  Maduell's troubles started two years ago when he developed a diabetic ulcer on his left foot. "Before I knew it, I was in the hospital, with three toes amputated," he says. Still, the wound didn't heal, and Maduell, who now lives and paints in Modesto, was told removing the[...]
    Story Tags: Diabetic Foot UlcersDiabetic Peripheral NeuropathyPeripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
  • Richard Wodrich

    Chico Resident Richard Wodrich Receives Lung Transplant at UCSF Medical Center

    Richard Wodrich LTX Patient
    The Chico News and Review reports on the journey of Richard Wodrich to the double lung transplant he received at UCSF Medical Center for treatment of irreversible and incurable chronic lung disease. The transplant was performed by Dr. Jasleen Kukreja, Surgical Director of the UCSF Lung Transplant Program.  Longtime local bluegrass musician Richard Wodrich loves to sing and play guitar, but that became progressively more difficult over the last decade or so, to the point where he had trouble just breathing—let alone playing music. About four years ago, he was formally diagnosed with[...]
    Story Tags: Lung Transplant
  • Allison & Quinn Mendez

    Living Proof that the Gift of Life Is Possible

    Pedsurg Mendez Family Photo Quinn
    Our story began on March 5, 2012. We were almost 26 weeks along with our second child, a son. The pregnancy had been uneventful; however, at our 20 week ultrasound our obstetrician was not able to get a clear view of our son’s heart. He told us that from what he could see, his heart appeared fine but he would like a follow up ultrasound in six weeks. We felt no cause for alarm and were pleased that our doctor was being so thorough. On the day of the follow up appointment, our doctor informed us he saw a large collection of fluid in our baby’s chest around his lungs. I also had too much[...]
    Story Tags: Fetal Surgery
  • Rose Gutierrez

    Letting Patients Call the Shots

    Jasmine Wong
    The "shared decision-making" model fosters a higher level of collaboration between doctors and the people they treat. Rose Gutierrez has a big decision to make. Gutierrez, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last spring, had surgery and 10 weeks of chemotherapy. But the cancer is still there. Now Jasmine Wong (pictured right), a surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco, is explaining the choices—Gutierrez can either have another lumpectomy followed by radiation, or she can get a total mastectomy. "I think both options are reasonable," Wong said. "It's just a matter of how[...]
    Story Tags: Breast Cancer
  • Chris Schroeder

    When Chris Schroeder's Kidneys Failed, His Family Stepped Forward

    Chris Schroeder has been extraordinarily unlucky — and extraordinarily lucky. The 58-year-old Walnut Creek, Calif., resident grew up in a family where the specter of polycystic kidney disease, a disorder in which cysts form on the kidneys and eventually stop them from functioning, loomed large. His mother had a kidney transplant in her late 60s, and her father died of hereditary disease at the age of 56. So, from a young age, Schroeder was on the lookout for signs that he too would face similar challenges. Chris Schroeder with his wife and son By the time he was in his early 40s, his[...]
    Story Tags: Kidney TransplantLiving Donor Kidney TransplantPeritoneal DialysisPolycystic Kidney Disease
  • Marla Levy

    "Miracle Patient" Receives the Gift Of Life

    ADCT Photo Marla Levy With Dr Merrick
    My name is Marla Levy and I owe my life to Dr. Scot Merrick, Chief of Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery at UCSF. My story begins in Southern California when I was 21 and diagnosed with a congenital heart defect: supravalvular aortic stenosis or SVAS. SVAS develops before birth and causes narrowing of the aorta, the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. At age 27, I had my first open heart surgery. My aorta was replaced with a human valve, and when doctors couldn’t get my heart to start after the procedure, I received an emergency right coronary bypass.[...]
    Story Tags: Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)Heart Valve DiseaseSupravalvular Aortic Stenosis
  • Ken Byk

    An Unexpected Journey After Crossing the Finish Line

    Ken Byk.jpg
    I had just crossed the finish line at Bay to Breakers, a 12 kilometer footrace that takes place in San Francisco each spring, when I suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed on the ground. Luckily for me, of the 10,000 race participants, the one that rushed to my aid was an anesthesiologist who performed CPR for 20 minutes before restoring my pulse. I was taken by ambulance to the University of California, San Francisco, where I had a second cardiac arrest and was again resuscitated. I later learned that I had severe coronary artery disease. There were two 90% blockages in my arteries,[...]
    Story Tags: Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
  • Lata Mohan

    Bouncing Back Fast After Minimally Invasive Surgery

    Lata Mohan
    Lata Mohan tackles life's challenges with grace and humor. In 2012, when a colonoscopy revealed a large tumor in her colon, Mohan's children launched an exhaustive search for the best possible surgeon to treat her. When the family met with Dr. Madhulika Varma, they clicked immediately. Describe your life before your diagnosis. I was living with my daughter and surrounded by my family, including my children and two grandchildren. My husband had been very ill, and I was the one who took care of him. I felt like I could do it all. It never[...]
    Story Tags: Colon Cancer
  • Mike Schofield

    Two-Time Transplant Recipient Meets Donor's Family

    Michael Schofield
    After Michael Schofield had his first islet cell transplant in April 2012, he wrote a letter thanking the family of his donor. It was over a year before he heard back from the donor’s mother. That's when he learned they had more in common than the young man whose cells Michael was carrying. He was en route to meet the mother last June, when he got another exciting piece of news: UCSF had a donor for the second islet transplant that he needed. In the space of a week he connected with one donor's family and started a new connection with another.[...]
    Story Tags: Type 1 Diabetes
  • Herbert E. Barker Jr.

    "Exceptional" Care at UCSF Center for Colorectal Surgery for Rectal Cancer Survivor

    I too am a rectal cancer survivor. My relationships with the hospital at UCSF and with Dr. Varma’s team was like yours: exceptional. I am now nearly four years out from “D Day” (April 17, 2009) and thus far, no recurrence. We are truly fortunate and blessed to have been exposed to this disease when we were. There is now so much that can be done with the number of treatments available. Hope you are now and remain ok. I continue to support the UCSF Center for Colorectal Surgery as I participate in the research project. And, I too got back to a gym routine and feel great. Good luck! -Herbert[...]
    Story Tags: Rectal Cancer
  • Dan Martin

    Minimally Invasive Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) Rules Out Cancer

    Earlier today Dr. Hueylan Chern called me to let me know that I don’t have cancer and that the transanal endoscopic microsurgical (TEM) excision procedure was a success. I really don’t know how to say ‘Thank You’ in a way that relays my true emotions. Obviously, I’m ecstatic and my family is also. You were my first contact at UCSF, you made the recommendation to use this procedure and it will forever positively impact my life. I am also especially happy that we went with the TEM over the more invasive procedure. Along the way you helped reassure me that you thought this was the right[...]
    Story Tags: Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM)
  • Tom Bassett

    Hitting Cancer "Hard and Heavy"

    I found out I had colorectal cancer at 47. As an otherwise active and healthy person, when I saw traces of blood where they shouldn’t be, I chalked it up to my bike riding. Yet because of a family history of colon cancer and a father-in-law in the medical field, I thought I would preemptively get a colonoscopy, which turned out to be a wise decision.  Results for patients who discover colorectal cancer early are generally good, and the majority of patients with early stage disease are cured. However, despite my luck at finding the cancer early on, it was staged as III. I would require[...]
    Story Tags: Colon Cancer
  • Courtney Annotti

    Life After Ulcerative Colitis Surgery Feels Amazing

    Colorectal Photo Courntey Annotti
    My name is Courtney Annotti. I’m 22 years old and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) eight years ago. UC is a chronic condition that causes long-lasting inflammation in the large intestine. For years I experienced pain that would come and go, and the anxiety of always having to know where a bathroom was. I tried several medications to control my symptoms, but to no avail. Concerned that my condition was worsening day by day, my gastroenterologist referred me to UCSF to meet with Dr. Madhulika Varma, Chief of Colorectal Surgery at UCSF.  When I met with Dr. Varma, I immediately felt[...]
    Story Tags: ColectomyOstomy Surgery: Ileostomy & ColostomyUlcerative Colitis
  • Mark Carpenter

    Preparing for a Triathlon after Outrunning Espophageal Cancer

    Mark Carpenter After Running NYC Marathon
    My name is Mark Carpenter, and I owe my life to the doctors and nurses at UCSF.  My story began in January 2010, when it became difficult to swallow. A few weeks later my general practitioner delivered the news that changed my life forever: I had esophageal cancer.  I went first to a surgeon in my local community who was unwilling to operate given the advanced stage of the tumor. Along with my wife, I decided to search for a second opinion. We were referred to UCSF where we met with Dr. David Jablons, chief of Thoracic Surgery and program leader of the Thoracic Oncology Program, who[...]
    Story Tags: Esophageal CancerEsophagectomy
  • Fran Cruse

    Surgery Gives Grandmother "A Cherished Gift Every Day"

    Fran Cruse With Her Grandchildren
    In 2002, my mother, Fran Cruse, was diagnosed with Stage II lung cancer. In the following months, my three siblings and I took her to surgeons and oncologists near her home in Carson City, Nevada. Because the tumor was extremely large and pressing against her aorta, the doctors told us there was nothing they could do – that she should just enjoy the time she had left with her family.  We were devastated. At the time, my mother was a vigorous 60-year-old woman with eight grandchildren. Although she had a serious illness, she wanted to do all she could to fight the cancer. We scoured the[...]
    Story Tags: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Alyssa Welch

    A Story of Hope and Survival

    Amanda, Kim, Alyssa.jpg
     Alyssa flanked by mother Kim and older sister My name is Kim Welch, and my daughter Alyssa’s story is one of hope and survival. She was born 15 years ago with autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD). ARPKD causes severe damage to both your kidney and liver. Alyssa was two and a half years old when she had her first kidney transplant. Ten days after her successful kidney transplant, unrelated to her congenital disease, Alyssa was diagnosed with eye cancer. Her left eye was surgically removed and replaced with an artificial one. Time marched on and so did Alyssa’s[...]
    Story Tags: Kidney TransplantPolycystic Kidney Disease
  • Dwayne Teach

    I Feel Incredibly Lucky to Be Alive

    Dwayne Teach Pic2.jpg
    My name is Dwayne Teach and I feel incredibly lucky to be alive to share my story with you today. I had a massive pulmonary embolism in 2007 followed by a gastric bypass in 2009.  Three years ago I received a new heart and could not be more grateful for the care delivered by the University of California, San Francisco. In the matter of a week, my entire life changed. It all began with flu-like symptoms on a Monday. I was feeling much worse by Thursday so I decided to go to the hospital. After checking in at my local hospital in Fortuna I was transferred to a larger institution in Eureka. On[...]
    Story Tags: Heart Transplant
  • Sheila FitzPatrick

    Due Diligence Pays Off

    Sheila Fitzpatrick.jpg
    An international attorney specializing in data privacy and employment law, Sheila FitzPatrick spent three weeks of every month hopscotching the globe. Curious and passionate, she nurtured a worldwide network of friends who became her second family. A self-described "super-active" person, she loved heart-pounding 2-mile swims in the morning and long, leisurely walks around the great cities of Europe. She approached staying healthy with the same drive. Regular checkups never revealed the slightest hint of kidney disease. But in 2008, her[...]
    Story Tags: DialysisEnd-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)Kidney Transplant
  • Susie Rember

    Insulin-Free Patient Grateful for Islet Transplant

    Susie Rember
    Susan Rember was eight years old when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1957. At the time, diabetics used glass syringes, tested their urine for sugar levels and were told they could never live a normal life. But Rember was mostly free from major complications for 50 years, until she suffered a heart attack in 2005. She had a quintuple by-pass, but when three of the grafted vessels immediately failed, the Denver-based artist began exploring the possibility of an islet transplant. In 2007, she got new islets through a clinical study[...]
    Story Tags: Type 1 Diabetes
  • Sandy Raffi-Rashed

    Surgery Ends Decades of Obesity, New Life Begins

    Sandy Raffi-Rashed after losing 185 pounds
    Sandy Raffi-Rashed after losing 185 poundsWhen Sandy Raffi-Rashed, a 60-year-old mother of two, went to the airport to pick up her youngest son visiting from Manhatten, he didn't recognize her. "I was waving to him from the car and he thought, 'Who is that strange woman waving at me?" says Raffi-Rashed, of Novato, Calif. "Then, when he saw me, he said, 'Oh my God!'" His mother had undergone a transformation after weight-loss surgery. In July of 2011, Raffi-Rashed had gastric bypass surgery at the Bariatric Surgery Center at UCSF Medical[...]
    Story Tags: Laparoscopic Gastric BypassObesityPost-Bariatric Body Contouring
  • Suitulaga "Sugi" Hunkin

    Heart Failure Patient Loses 100 Pounds Before Transplant Surgery

    UCSF News reports on the use of a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) as a bridge to a heart transplant allowing a patient to lose the weight needed to undergo the procedure: Suitulaga "Sugi" Hunkin has been overweight most of his life. He attributes that to his love of food and his Samoan ancestry.  Because of his size, he also had trouble breathing and experienced irregular heartbeat - symptoms his doctors diagnosed as heart disease called cardiomyopathy, which usually leads to heart failure... He needed heart transplantation surgery to replace his failing heart, but before that could[...]
    Story Tags: Heart FailureVentricular Assist Device (VAD)
  • Sloane Rilliet

    After Specialized Prenatal and Newborn Care, a Healthy Girl

    Sloane Rilliet
    Halfway through her pregnancy, Elizabeth Gedney learned her baby had congenital diaphragmatic hernia, or CDH, a potentially life-threatening defect in which the diaphragm doesn't form properly in utero. Gedney's case was relatively mild, but she required close monitoring throughout her pregnancy. Her daughter, Sloane, received intensive care after birth, followed by several surgeries to repair her diaphragm. Gedney speaks about the diagnosis and Sloane's treatment at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. How did you find out Sloane had congenital[...]
    Story Tags: Congenital Diaphragmatic HerniaFetal Surgery
  • Kim Mendes

    Insulin Free for the First Time in 40 Years

    Kim Mendes
    Bay Area native Kim Mendes has lived most of her life with Type 1 diabetes and the disease has taken a heavy toll on her body, causing a host of medical problems including peripheral neuropathy, heart disease, kidney disease and a compromised immune system. She got an islet transplant in 2010 and has been insulin free ever since. How long have you had diabetes? This is my 40th year as a Type 1 diabetic. I was seven years old when I was diagnosed. I had fallen into a diabetic coma and insulin brought me out. From that moment on I was[...]
    Story Tags: Type 1 Diabetes
  • Lindsey Friedberg

    Young Woman Reinvents Herself After Weight-loss Surgery

    "My personality was being swallowed by the fat just like the rest of me," says Lindsey Friedberg, a 23-year-old graduate student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Friedberg, who grew up in Ocean City, N.J., surrounded by "slender and tan" girls, has battled her weight all of her life. Her high school years were spent counting calories, eating raw food, drinking 12 bottles of water a day and writing down everything she ate, including the gum she chewed and number of mints. But nothing worked. When Friedberg's mother, who[...]
    Story Tags: Obesity
  • Jeff Grubbs

    "Ticking Time Bomb" Regains Health After Bariatric Surgery

    Jeff Grubbs, of Galt, Calif., describes his old self as a "ticking time bomb." At his heaviest, the 48-year-old — who is 5 feet, 7.5 inches tall — weighed 311 pounds. He had a body mass index (BMI) of 47, qualifying him as morbidly obese. The extra weight took a dramatic toll on his health. Grubbs suffered from type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid problems and back pain, requiring him to take up to 15 pills a day. In December of 2010, Grubbs made the decision to have gastric bypass surgery at UCSF's Bariatric Surgery Center,[...]
    Story Tags: Laparoscopic Gastric BypassObesityType 2 Diabetes
  • Amy Baghdadi

    The Gift of a Lifetime

    Amy Baghdadi
    Amy Baghdadi was living a perfectly normal life — working as a lawyer and raising two young kids with her husband in San Francisco. While training for a half marathon her side would ache after long runs. She figured it was just pulled a muscle. Then one evening the pain was so excruciating that her husband made her go to the emergency room. An ultrasound revealed that her liver was full of tumors, which were quickly diagnosed as cancer. After an aggressive chemotherapy regimen failed, Baghdadi's treatment options were running out. Liver[...]
    Story Tags: Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma)Liver TransplantLiving Donor Liver Transplant
  • Lori MacKenzie

    Innovative DIEP Flap Microsurgery an Alternative to Breast Implants

    SFGate.com reports on "free DIEP Flap", an innovative reconstructive  microsurgery performed by breast reconstructive surgeons in the Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at UCSF. The team, led by Hani Sbitany, M.D., Co-Director of the UCSF Center for Reconstructive Microsurgery and Director of the Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction Program, performs the surgery as an alternative to implants during post-mastectomy reconstruction. UCSF is one of the high volume centers for this procedure in the country. Dr. Sbitany's patient, Lori MacKenzie, underwent the procedure after an[...]
    Story Tags: Breast CancerBreast ReconstructionMicrovascular Surgery
  • Sarah Morse

    Overcoming a Frightening Family History and Her Own Doubts

    sarah morse
    Sarah Morse Sarah Morse, 72, lives in San Francisco's Fillmore District. She and her husband have three grown children and six grandchildren, and enjoy visiting their renovated 1956 Airstream, parked on the hillside of a friend's Sonoma County vineyard. Morse is also a breast cancer survivor. Diagnosed at 59, she was certain she didn't have a chance of surving but swore that if she did, she would find a way to help others. Today, Morse is cancer-free — and living up to her promise. You can watch a[...]
    Story Tags: Breast Cancer
  • Alison Wesley

    After Islet Transplant, Glucose Control is "Amazing"

    Islet Cell
    UCSF News reports on the experience of Alison Wesley who had "brittle" Type 1 diabetes and received an islet transplant, infusions of pancreatic islets, also called islets of Langerhans, enabling her to effectively control her glucose level. Frontiers of Clinical Research: Islet Transplantation Alison Wesley received her diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes when she was just 11 years old, after she developed the classic symptoms of the disease – severe weight loss, excessive thirst, sugar cravings, frequent urination, and feeling lethargic. To treat the diabetes, doctors put her on the first[...]
    Story Tags: Type 1 Diabetes
  • Clare Dowling

    Back in the Saddle

    Clare Dowling and Smokey
    Clare Dowling and Smokey, one year after her transplant. Just before her 19th birthday, Clare Dowling got a terrifying surprise. The college freshman and competitive equestrian learned she had an extremely rare, dangerous and poorly understood lung condition, called pulmonary veno-occlusive disease (PVOD). Characterized by high blood pressure in the lung area, PVOD has no treatment other than a lung transplant. Dowling's PVOD progressed quickly. Three months after the diagnosis, she was living in the hospital,[...]
    Story Tags: Lung Transplant
  • Alfonso Garcia

    A Young Man Saves Teen's Life

    Alfonso Garcia was just like any other typical healthy and active 16-year-old. He dreamed of attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, boxing, and serving in the military like his two other brothers. Then, in January 2010, he suddenly started feeling sick. He became feverish, anemic, fatigued and jaundiced. Alfonso found out that he had Wilson's disease, a rare genetic disorder in which copper in the body isn't properly eliminated and instead accumulates, damaging the liver and nervous system. Alfonso and his family received a grave[...]
    Story Tags: Liver TransplantWilson Disease
  • Jim Hom

    Wanderlust Continues After Kidney Transplant

    Jim Hom is an avid traveler, who would rather be exploring remote parts of the world than sitting on a couch. So, when Hom learned that he had diabetes in his early 40s, he knew he had to make some immediate life changes. He started exercising more and watching his blood sugar by limiting his carbohydrate intake. While vacationing with his family in Maui in 2001, Hom broke out in a rash. He felt tired and weak. A local doctor diagnosed him with shingles and suspected that his kidneys weren't functioning properly. When Hom returned to[...]
    Story Tags: DialysisKidney Transplant
  • Douglas Weil

    Neck-Lift Success Story Highlighted in NY Times

    The New York Times reports on the use of neck-lifts, a plastic surgery procedure to improve sagging necks and double chins. The Times interviewed William Y. Hoffman, M.D. (pictured right), Professor and Chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at UCSF for the story.   NECKS don't lie. Sagging there betrays age like the rings on a tree, and now-common Botox and fillers in the face make neck imperfections stand out in stark relief. In her 2006 best-seller, "I Feel Bad About My Neck," Nora Ephron, by then 65 and a resolved turtleneck wearer, raged against the injustice of[...]
    Story Tags: Cosmetic Surgery
  • Bicknell Ramsay

    Multidisciplinary Cardiovascular Treatment Saves Limb

    Bicknell Ramsay — a 74-year-old retired engineer who lives a fully active life — was concerned that a wound on his foot would not heal. Having volunteered for a clinical study on peripheral artery disease (PAD), he described the wound to the principal investigator, UCSF nurse practitioner Roberta Oka, R.N., DNSc. She referred Ramsay to Michael S. Conte, M.D., (pictured at right on left), Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at UCSF Medical Center. By then, the wound exceeded two centimeters and was enlarging. After an ankle-brachial index test found only 30 percent of normal[...]
    Story Tags: Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)Coronary Artery DiseaseCritical Limb IschemiaLower Extremity Bypass SurgeryPeripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
  • Dipti Anderson

    Once a Patient, She Now Guides Others through Treatment

    If you're a new breast cancer patient at UCSF, Dipti Anderson is one of the first people you're likely to meet. As a patient liaison, Anderson helps women navigate the often overwhelming new world of treatments, tests and appointments, alerting them to the many support services available at UCSF and answering their questions. Equally important, she's a sympathetic ear and a reassuring voice. "I always ease their worries by telling them they've come to the right place," she says. Sometimes she also shares where her deep confidence in UCSF[...]
    Story Tags: Breast CancerBreast Reconstruction
  • Jessica Galloway

    Breast Cancer Turns San Francisco Mom into Advocate

    Jessica Galloway hates to be called a 'cancer survivor.' It's been four years since she began her battle with breast cancer, and she feels healthy and strong, but the thought that her cancer might return is never far from her mind, and she resists the label of conquering hero. "I don't know that I will survive breast cancer," she says. But you could certainly call her a fighter. Once diagnosed, the former competitive ski racer attacked her disease like she might have tackled a ski course: with all the effort she could muster. In addition to[...]
    Story Tags: Breast Cancer
  • Garrett La Fever

    Man Replaces Severed Thumb With Toe

    The Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at UCSF provides service to patients from literally head to toe. Surgeons have the technical expertise to perform a wide array of cosmetic procedures and also provide highly specialized surgical procedures for a host of other problems including craniofacial and cleft lip surgery, microvascular reconstruction, and treatment of complex wounds. For patients like Garrett La Fever, who lost his thumb in a woodworking accident, this expertise can mean all the difference. Using a novel technique, Dr. Scott Hansen collaborated with Dr. Charles Lee[...]
    Story Tags: Microvascular Surgery
  • Garrett Lafever

    Toe to Thumb Surgery Heals Beautifully

    ABC7News.com in San Francisco reports in on a follow up on a story in which a patient underwent a  toe-to-thumb transplant, a complex microsurgery, to restore function in his hand. The team peforming the surgery included Scott L. Hansen, M.D. (pictured right), Chief of Hand and Microvascular Surgery at UCSF and Charles Lee, M.D, St. Mary's Microsurgery Director: A follow up on a story we first brought you a year ago. Garret Lafever lost his thumb in a woodworking accident. It was a devastating loss since the thumb is responsible for 40 percent of function of the hand. But a team of doctors[...]
    Story Tags: Microvascular Surgery
  • Simone Chou

    When Her Kidneys Failed, a Friend Made an Unusual Offer

    It's often said that the friends you make in college are the friends you keep for life. In the case of 34-year-old Simone Chou, a friend she made in college helped save her life. In her last year at UC Berkeley, where she was getting a bachelor's degree in nutrition, Chou learned that she had lupus. In lupus, the body's immune system turns against itself, sending antibodies — the body's defenders against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders — to battle against its own tissues. In Chou's case, her immune system was[...]
    Story Tags: Kidney TransplantPeritoneal Dialysis
  • Ashlee Harris

    Cranial Re-animation Surgery

    The Wittgenstein Forum blog  reports on a Nevada Appeal article highlighting the benfits of using cranial re-animation surgery to treat Mobius Syndrome, a rare birth defect caused by the absence or underdevelopment of cranial nerves that control eye movement and facial expression. The surgery is performed at UCSF by Dr. William Hoffman. Miracles happen every day. So they say. But what if you're a family in need of multiple miracles? Such is the case with the Harris clan in Carson City. Their problem was simple – and yet seemingly unsolvable. Their daughter Ashlee, 7, a first-grader at Mark[...]
    Story Tags: Moebius Syndrome
  • Patrick Caldie & Stephen Fowler

    Work of Love

    Stephen Fowler and Patrick Caldie have more in common than teaching at-risk high school students at the El Dorado County Office of Education. On Feb. 1, 2007, Fowler donated part of his liver to Caldie at UCSF Medical Center's Liver Transplant Program, one of the nation's leading centers for adult and pediatric liver transplants. Fowler underwent a new procedure, called a living donor transplant, which allows a living person to donate a segment of their liver that then grows or regenerates to full size in the recipient. UCSF liver transplant[...]
    Story Tags: CirrhosisLiver TransplantLiving Donor Liver Transplant
  • Gloria & Veronica Ramos

    Living Donor Transplant Emblemmatic of Loving Family

    Gloria Ramos
    When Gloria Ramos received the call in August 2000 that UCSF Medical Center had a liver for the transplant she badly needed, the Ramos family drove to the hospital with great anticipation and excitement. But further testing of the available organ revealed it wasn't a good match for Gloria and her daughters and husband expressed their disappointment. "This only means that I'm at the top of the list," Gloria recalls assuring her family. "I'll get called again!" Gloria contracted Hepatitis C through a blood transfusion in 1982 but the deadly virus lived undetected in her body until the summer[...]
    Story Tags: CirrhosisHepatitis CLiver TransplantLiving Donor Liver Transplant
  • Karen Peterson

    Brothers in Arms - Working Nights at UCSF to Cure Mesothelioma, Spurred by a Widower's Grief and Hard-Raised Cash

    SFGate.com reports on the collaboration of David M. Jablons, M.D. and Jeff Peterson whose wife Karen and died from mesothelioma, a devastating disease. Dr. David Jablons couldn't save Karen Peterson's life or even extend it. But he could give quality to whatever life she had left. That turned out to be about nine months, long enough for her twin boys to see her waterskiing on Lake Tahoe and boogie-boarding in Oceanside and laughing more than coughing.  Jablons, chief cardiothoracic surgeon at UCSF, was the last in a line of specialists Peterson had sought out coast to coast in a 22-month[...]
    Story Tags: Malignant Mesothelioma
  • Mike Wooldridge

    Cancer survivor takes fight against disease to the streets

    SFGate.com reports on the the journey of Mike Wooldridge after getting a devastating diagnosis and being turned away for surgery by M.D. Anderson, and being told it was incurable, only to get treatment at UCSF that enabled him to run in a marathon not long after that. Running a marathon without a third of your right lung might seem impossible, but for Mike Wooldridge it's just another day on the road.  Diagnosed with a fist-sized tumor in his right lung a year ago, the Pleasant Hill Web site designer was initially given a 10 to 15 percent chance of surviving. Today he's running 30 miles a[...]
    Story Tags: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
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