Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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A BI-WEEKLY PUBLICATION FROM THE CEDARS-SINAI CHIEF OF STAFF Dec. 17, 2010 Issue | Archived Issues

New Officers Elected for 2011

MEC Update

Christopher Ng, M.D., was elected for a second term as secretary of the medical staff and David Kulber, M.D., was elected as treasurer at the Dec. 6 Medical Executive Committee meeting. Also at the meeting, Chief of Staff Scott Karlan, M.D., announced that he has begun to send new Constitutional language to medical staff members for comment.

Morning After Report- December 2010


Physician News

George Berci, M.D. ...

John Harold, M.D. ...

Prediman K. Shah, M.D. ...

Rick B. Delamarter, M.D. ...

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Reversal of Dabigatran's Effects

Pharmacy Focus

Dabigatran (Pradaxa®) is a new oral direct thrombin inhibitor approved in the U.S. for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in non-valvular atrial fibrillation patients.1 Over the past few weeks, there has been increased interest in this product and a growing number of inquiries regarding the management of these patients when anticoagulation needs to be reversed.

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Meetings and Events

The Drug Industry, Clinicians and Responsibility
Jan. 19

Advances in Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT
Jan. 21-23

International Symposium on Pancreatic and Biliary Endoscopy
Jan. 28-30

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State Law Prohibits Use of Aliases on Prescriptions

Are any of your patients using an alias? If so, beware. Writing a prescription, using their fake name or pseudonym, will put your license at risk.

» Read more

Early Palliative Care Referrals Improve Quality of Life and Life Expectancy for Lung Cancer Patients

By Linda Gorman, RN, MN, PMHCNS-BC, FPCN
Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist

The Palliative Care world has been buzzing about a new study that demonstrates the positive impact of early referrals. This data challenges the fears that some people carry that the presence of palliative care hastens death.

» Read more

'Discovering for Life' Campaign Surpasses Goal

Funding to benefit Cedars-Sinai research and community

The most successful fundraising campaign in the history of Cedars-Sinai recently came to an end. Discovering for Life surpassed its goal and raised $357.1 million. Click here to learn more about the campaign and what it is helping to fund.

She's No Diva …

But oncologist Angela Lopez does sing opera

Cedars-Sinai’s Angela Lopez, M.D., recently traded her white coat for a black evening gown, surprising peers and patients by singing at the 11th annual Celebration of Life. Few, if any, of those attending knew that Dr. Lopez is a formally trained opera singer.

» Read more

Cedars-Sinai Tumor Terminators Raise $15K for Research

The Department of Neurosurgery “Tumor Terminators” are on a mission: to make the grey ribbon just as recognizable as the pink. John Yu, M.D., Ray Chu, M.D., and Rebecca Naor (pictured l-r ) joined the team of physicians, Cedars-Sinai brain tumor patients, nurses and support staff in the third annual Heroes of Hope Race for Brain Tumor Research this past month.

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Alumni Association Honors Bernard Salick, M.D.

Bernard Salick, M.D., a world-renowned medical entrepreneur whose clinics developed the standards of care for cancer treatments, was awarded the 2010 Howard I. Wilner, M.D., Alumnus of the Year Award.

He accepted the honor at the Cedars-Sinai Alumni Association’s 2010 Annual Business Meeting and Dinner on Dec. 8 at the Sofitel Los Angeles.

» Read more

State Law Prohibits Use of Aliases on Prescriptions

Are any of your patients using an alias? If so, beware. Writing a prescription, using their fake name or pseudonym, will put your license at risk.

California law prohibits the use of any false information in writing prescriptions. That includes pseudonyms for patient names.

It's not rare for patients (including our medical colleagues) to be admitted using a phony name to maintain their privacy. We are at greatest risk when writing discharge prescriptions for these patients.

Early Palliative Care Referrals Improve Quality of Life and Life Expectancy for Lung Cancer Patients

By Linda Gorman, RN, MN, PMHCNS-BC, FPCN
Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist

The palliative care world has been buzzing about a new study that demonstrates the positive impact of early referrals. This data challenges the fears that some people carry that the presence of palliative care hastens death. The recent study by JS Temel et al found that patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer had a number of benefits from receiving early palliative interventions which included regular appointments to address symptoms, goals and advance directives. This population is known to have a substantial symptom burden and often receives aggressive treatment at the end of life.

Patients were randomly assigned into two groups: one group received early palliative care integrated with standard oncologic care and the second group received standard oncologic care alone.

The study population with early palliative care had significant improvements in both quality of life and mood. Patient preferences regarding goals and resuscitation wishes were clearly documented and followed. This group received less aggressive care at the end of life based on patient wishes. Earlier referral to hospice was also achieved. One of the most important results was that patients receiving early palliative care intervention had median survival longer than those receiving standard oncologic treatment only (palliative care group median survival of 11.6 months vs 8.9 months).

This study reinforces the need for early palliative care referrals for patients with serious illness. It also reminds us that introducing palliative care early in the presence of advanced disease does not mean the patient has to “give up” cancer treatment. The two can co-exist. Palliative care is not synonymous with hospice.

Reference: JS Temel, et al. (2010). Early palliative Care for patients with Metastatic Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. 363:733-42.

'Discovering for Life' Campaign Surpasses Goal

She's No Diva …

But oncologist Angela Lopez does sing opera

Cedars-Sinai’s Angela Lopez, M.D., recently traded her white coat for a black evening gown, surprising peers and patients by singing at the 11th annual Celebration of Life. Few, if any, of those attending knew that Dr. Lopez is a formally trained opera singer.

The medical center’s Bone Marrow Transplant Program hosts the event, which was held at Skirball Cultural Center in October. More than 100 survivors and their families came to the event where patients share their stories.  

Dr. Lopez, a hematologist/oncologist at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, sang “Voi che sapete” from “The Marriage of Figaro,” followed by other, more contemporary selections.

“I had no idea that Angela had this talent. For a split second, I thought she was lip-syncing,” said hematologist/oncologist Amir Steinberg, M.D., with a laugh.

Dr. Lopez grew up primarily in Europe where she began singing in churches. She soon became a frequent soloist in local concerts, specializing in a pre-baroque repertoire. When she moved to the United States, she continued singing and focused on recital performances. She has trained with master instructors in Europe and Los Angeles.

Dr. Lopez’s musical career was sidelined in her early 20s by an injury to her vocal chords. Instead, she decided to go to medical school. Her mother’s death from breast cancer was the catalyst for Dr. Lopez becoming an oncologist.

Music still has an important role in her life; she directs her church choir on the weekends.

“Singing brings a great deal of enjoyment and balance to my life,” Dr. Lopez said. “When I sing in private, I often find myself connecting certain lines or verses to individual patients. And many times, I will sing to honor a person who has passed away as a way to express my sadness. Sharing this part of me with patients at the event was very gratifying.”

Dr. Lopez sang “Voi che sapete” from “The Marriage of Figaro,” followed by other, more contemporary selections.

Dr. Lopez’ performance was a surprise for many who attended the event.

Dr. Lopez prepares to sing at the Celebration of Life event for cancer survivors and their family members.

Cedars-Sinai Tumor Terminators Raise $15K for Research

The Department of Neurosurgery “Tumor Terminators” are on a mission: to make the grey ribbon just as recognizable as the pink.

John Yu, M.D., Ray Chu, M.D., and Rebecca Naor (pictured l-r in the photo below) joined the team of physicians, Cedars-Sinai brain tumor patients, nurses and support staff in the third annual Heroes of Hope Race for Brain Tumor Research this past month. The race was sponsored by the Brad Kaminsky Foundation on behalf of the Heroes of Hope Grey Ribbon Crusade, and raised a total of $63,000 for pediatric and adult brain tumor research. According to team captain, Jaime Richardson, RN, $15,000 of the money raised is designated for research here at Cedars-Sinai.

Alumni Association Honors Bernard Salick, M.D.

Bernard Salick, M.D., a world-renowned medical entrepreneur whose clinics developed the standards of care for cancer treatments, was awarded the 2010 Howard I. Wilner, M.D., Alumnus of the Year Award.

He accepted the honor at the Cedars-Sinai Alumni Association’s 2010 Annual Business Meeting and Dinner on Dec. 8 at the Sofitel Los Angeles.

Dr. Salick developed the first cancer center at Cedars-Sinai and pioneered the idea of 24/7 services. He was introduced at the event by Selvyn B. Bleifer, M.D., and Keith L. Klein, M.D.

His current work includes the development of comprehensive cardiovascular centers nationwide that offer diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease and related end-stage renal disease on an outpatient basis with inpatient affiliations.

The annual award is named in honor of Dr. Wilner, who spent four decades as a member of the Cedars-Sinai medical staff. He served as medical director of Employee Health Services, clinical chief of the Department of Medicine and executive director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Wilner passed away in 2005.

Dr. Yzhar Charuzi (left)and Dr. Howard Allen (right) were among the many physicians who attended the dinner to honor Dr. Salick. Dr. Charuzi is president of the Alumni Association and Dr. Allen emceed the event.

Dr. Salick accepts the 2010 Howard I. Wilner, M.D., Alumnus of the Year Award.

Dr. Salick with his wife Gloria.