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Leon Morgenstern, MD: 1919-2012

Leon Morgenstern, MD, a beloved colleague and the founding director of surgery for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, died Dec. 23 at his home in Malibu at age 93. A surgeon, scholar, humanist, medical researcher and prolific author, he remained active after his retirement and was working in his Cedars-Sinai office as recently as Dec. 21.

Cedars-Sinai is planning a memorial in his honor.

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Here comes the flu

C-S sees spike in flu cases; new visitor precautions put into place

Cedars-Sinai is experiencing an increase in flu cases, and California public health officials warn that the flu epidemic that has already hit hard in other areas of the nation is headed our way.

"The number of positive influenza cases confirmed at Cedars-Sinai has increased substantially in the past two weeks," says Rekha Murthy, MD, director of Hospital Epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai. "We are admitting five to six patients per day with influenza diagnosis and three to four positive for other respiratory viruses."

To help prevent the spread of infection and protect our patients, all Cedars-Sinai employees and members of the medical staff are strongly urged to get vaccinated if they have not already done so. This year's vaccine is particularly effective – an estimated 90 percent of all the flu strains circulating in the nation are included in the current vaccine, according to the CDC.

Cedars-Sinai medical staff, including attending physicians, can receive a free vaccination at Employee Health Services, located on the second floor of the Spielberg Building, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. No appointment is necessary. Flu shot clinics are also being scheduled on campus; watch for further announcements about dates and locations.

Physicians are advised to take note that a number of precautions have been put into place this week to minimize the spread of influenza-like illness at the medical center. These include:

  • Screening visitors with symptoms of influenza-like illness as they arrive (fever and any of the following: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, sore throat) and keeping them from visiting patients.
  • Pre-emptively place patients with influenza-like illness on Droplet Precautions (employees, medical staff and volunteers must sanitize hands and wear a surgical mask when entering these rooms).
  • In ambulatory care areas such as the ED, provide a disposable surgical mask for patients with influenza-like illness and separate from others where possible.
  • Reminding employees, patients and visitors to observe proper hand hygiene and respiratory/cough etiquette (cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue).
  • Urging staff with influenza-like illness to stay home until symptoms subside (usually five to seven days from onset) or absence of fever for 24 hours.