President’s Message

Posted on Sep 2, 2021 in President's Message | 0 comments

I felt a pit in my stomach that weighed a ton. I had just gotten out of a code, a cardiac arrest that had sadly not survived. He was a relatively young man, and had a sudden and dramatic collapse, with not too many comorbidities. In short, his demise was quite unexpected. We had done everything possible, but that day was just not meant to be.

A short while later, my charge nurse notified me that his family had arrived and were waiting to hear news. Of course, I was encumbered, mired in the details of my other patients, but I knew that talking to the family was going to be the most important thing I did that day.

I had Stevie, the chaplain, as backup for some emotional support – not just for the family, but for me as well. When delivering bad news, you can never know how a family will react. Most of the time, it’s just sadness, but sometimes, it’s anger that can be misdirected at physicians and nurses.

As I walked toward a private room where the family was waiting, my brain had to switch gears. While working, I tend to be pretty analytic, almost a bit too calculating and cold in allowing logic to dominate my decision making. Though cognitive neuroscientists have dispelled the myth of a strict right/left brain divide, there are some useful distinctions between the two halves that interact. Take for example Broca’s area, the portion on the parietal lobe that encodes speech/language: the left side typically analyzes the content of the language, while the right side interprets the prosody and emotional content of speech.

I sat down with the deceased patient’s wife and his brother. Behind masks, our eyes met, and I could see that she was still hopeful. As I delivered the bad news, I could tell that she needed to hold my hand. She grasped very tightly on my every word. And as I tried to be analytical, I knew that that was not what she needed. She needed more, that human connection of grief. I hugged her as she sobbed. She thanked me for all I had done.

When I left that room, the pit I had in my stomach was gone. Perhaps it was a sense of relief on my part that the ominous task was complete, but I think that it was actually that I was able to help a family get some closure.

These are the challenges we face everyday, as we get lost in the minutiae of medical data. Our patients expect a translation of data into something more relatable, more personal. This is not only in times of bad news, but with equivocal and good news as well.  

On the business side of things, I hope you all have read the emails from the system, the medical staff, and our chief medical executive, Dr. Boynton.

Below is additional information to help us be compliant with the public health order recently instituted.

Vaccinated (at a Sutter hospital Dec 2020 – Mar 2021)

We should have your vaccination records. No further action is required.

Vaccinated (not at a Sutter hospital via myEHS)

If you are already fully vaccinated but did so in an outpatient setting or a non-Sutter hospital you should have received an email requesting you to submit your information. If you have not already done so, please use the following link to provide your vaccination information:

Not vaccinated

If you are not yet vaccinated, then by Sept 30, 2021 you will need to submit either/or:

  1. Valid proof of vaccination:
  2. Valid religious or medical exemption via the following links:

In addition, you will need to provide negative test results semi-weekly starting August 23, 2021 in order to continue treating patients in the hospital setting. Please use this link to submit your test results:

  • Recommendations on testing frequency and timing can be found in CDPH guidance for acute care hospitals and all other clinical environments.
  • Clinicians do not need to submit proof of their test results. The state only requires they report the result of the test. However, it is recommended they retain proof of each test.

If you plan to be fully vaccinated, you will be exempt from the bi-weekly testing requirement two weeks after receiving either a single-dose COVID vaccine or the second dose of a two-dose vaccine and no further action will be required.

Please contact Leanna Hudson (Manager, ABSMC Medical Staff Services) if you have any questions or need assistance with your submission.

Jeff Chen MD, MPH, FACEP
Chief of Staff, ABSMC Summit Campus