Downey runner qualifies for Junior Olympic National Championships

 Distance runner Stephanie Hernandez will represent Downey at the national championships next week. Courtesy photo

Distance runner Stephanie Hernandez will represent Downey at the national championships next week. Courtesy photo

DOWNEY – Stephanie Hernandez from the Instride Track Club will be representing her team and the city of Downey in Tallahassee, Fla., for the USATF Junior Olympic National Championships on Dec. 9. 

Stephanie, 10, is a fifth-grader Old River Elementary School and is the only participant from this area.

Stephanie qualified as an individual at the Regional Championships held Nov. 19 in Santa Clarita. She completed the tough and hilly 3k course in 12:00. 

She is currently ranked in the top 18 in this region of southern California, Nevada and Hawaii. Hernandez’s goal is to place in the top 25 at Nationals which would make her an All-American.

The Instride Track Club relies heavily on donations and fundraisers in order to travel or participate at the championship meets. Any financial help to get Stephanie to Florida would be greatly appreciated. Donations can be made here.

Coach Eric Nilson can be contacted at with further questions and information.

Downey churches announce merger


DOWNEY – St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Downey Avenue is inviting the public to attend the inauguration service on Sunday, December 3, of its merger with the congregation from the former Moravian Church of Downey.

With the approval of senior leadership in both denominations, St. Mark’s will become known by the new name:  St. Mark’s Espiscopal-Moravian Church.

St. Mark’s reports some tangible changes have already been implemented. The Moravian star has been mounted, and the open Bible is prominently displayed in the sanctuary. Orders have been placed for the Moravian Book of Worship and the church is planning an educational series for members to learn about each other’s unique traditions.

The former Moravian Church of Downey closed after 63 years last June when its congregation declined to the point where it could no longer maintain the facilities. 

City Council chooses Sean Ashton to be next mayor

 Mayor Pro Tem Sean Ashton.

Mayor Pro Tem Sean Ashton.

DOWNEY – The Downey City Council unanimously voted current Mayor Pro Tem Sean Ashton and Councilman Rick Rodriguez as the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem for 2018, respectively, at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Downey traditionally rotates Mayoral and Pro Tem duties annually, with council voting on who will take the positions at the end of each year. 

While the mayor pro tem typically steps into the mayor’s seat, this is not a guarantee and has not always been the case.

Current Mayor Fernando Vasquez made the motion to appoint Ashton to the mayor position, with Rodriguez seconding.

This will be Ashton’s first time as mayor.

After the vote, Ashton said he was honored, humbled and nervous to step into the mayor position.

“I want to do what’s right for the city, and I’m appreciative of my council colleagues to put their utmost confidence in me to guide the city through 2018,” said Ashton.

The City Council got off to a rocky start in 2017, when Ashton – who was seemingly next in line to be mayor pro tem for the year – was passed over by his council mates when then-mayor Alex Saab nominated himself to serve as mayor pro tem.

Ashton responded days later by accusing his council colleagues of violating the state’s open meetings law and threatening a lawsuit.

The council held a re-vote for the position and made Ashton mayor pro tem.

Council members now seem to be on the same page, however, despite differences of opinion.

“There’s always going to be differences of opinion, and I’m ok with that; I don’t expect everybody to believe the same way I believe,” said Ashton. “The main thing is we work together as a whole; even if we do have a difference, there’s a way of doing…we understand that we’re always going to have a difference of opinion, but if we do it in a way that’s respectful to the citizens and respect the process, then we’re going to get along.”


Rodriguez said he’s excited about the promotion.

“What an honor to be mayor pro tem in this great city of Downey,” said Rodriguez. “When I ran for office, the hope and prayer was to be mayor one day…to be able to follow the legacy behind these guys ahead of me, I’m really honored and blessed.”

The transition will occur when Ashton is sworn in on Dec. 12.

Salary Raises

Council members made several payroll adjustments at Tuesday’s meeting, including boosting the salaries of police chief Carl Charles and city manager Gilbert Livas.

The city, Downey Police Officer’s Association (DPOA) and Downey Police Management Association (DPMA) recently completed a series of negotiations which included wage hikes.
The agreement provides for three across-the-board range adjustments from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020 as follows: 2% effective Dec. 4, 2017; 2% effective June 18, 2018; and 3% effective July 1, 2019.

Under the adjustments, Charles’ salary will now top out at $19,927 monthly.
Charles’s pay increase also forced an increase in Livas’ salary, due to a clause in his employment agreement.

Livas’ contract requires a 5% differential between him and the next highest-paid employee.
The 2% compensation adjustment, due Jan. 15, 2018, will bring Livas’ annual salary to $262,979.

Both pay increases were approved unanimously.

City Clerk

Maria Alicia Duarte was unanimously selected as Downey’s newest city clerk.

The city clerk administers democratic processes such as elections, access to city records, and all legislative actions ensuring transparency to the public.  

The city clerk also acts as a compliance officer for federal, state, and local statutes including the Political Reform Act, the Brown Act, and the Public Records Act.  The position also manages public inquiries and relationships and may arrange for ceremonial and official functions.

Duarte stepped in as interim city clerk earlier this year after the departure of Adria Jimenez.

Duarte will receive a monthly salary rate of $8,293, and a six-month severance payment in the event that council decides to exercise its right to remove her from the position.

Duarte’s hiring will cause no fiscal impact, as personnel costs are budgeted in the current FY 2017-18 budget.

Downey advances to CIF championship game

DOWNEY – The Downey High School football team advanced to the C.I.F. Division 4 championship game with a decisive 41-21 win at Capistrano Valley last Friday night. 

 Photo by Pedro Garcia

Photo by Pedro Garcia

With the win, the Vikings improved to 11-2 overall and in the process eliminated Capistrano Valley from the playoffs and ended the Cougars’ perfect season (12-1).

Downey jumped out to an early 14-point lead against Capistrano Valley and never looked back. Downey led by the same 14-0 score at the end of the first quarter. 

Both schools scored a touchdown and PAT in the second quarter and Downey took a 21-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Both teams scored a touchdown in the third quarter and Downey maintained their two-touchdown lead, 28-14, as the third quarter came to an end. The Vikings outscored the Cougars 13-7 in the fourth quarter and pulled away with the 41-21 win.

Viking quarterback Kijjon Foots completed 14/17 pass attempts for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Foots did not throw an interception and his quarterback rating was an impressive 157.7. Foots also carried the ball eight times for 44 yards.

The Viking ground game was led by Baraq Ross’ 25 carries for 223 yards and three touchdowns. 

Downey’s receiving corps was led by Christopher Atkins’ six catches for 106 yards and one touchdown Noah Skobis’ four catches for 51 yards and Edward Esparza’s three catches for 31 yards and one touchdown.

The Viking defense was led by Malcom Perry’s six solo and five assisted tackles, Jacob Manetta’s three solo and four assisted tackles and Noah Skobis’ four solo and two assisted tackles. 

Downey will host Cajon this Saturday at 7 pm. The game will be streamed live online by Fox Sports Prep Zone.  

Shared Stories: A Peace Corps Odyssey

Anthony Kingsley gave two years in service to the ideal of international brotherhood.  He received much in return.  It’s a timely story for this Thanksgiving season. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns

By Anthony Kingsley

In 1994 I was getting bored and while reading the job advertisements in the LA Times I came across a notice for a presentation at the Long Beach Library being given by some Peace Corps Volunteers who had just returned from Central America.

I attended and thought - that’s neat. So I completed the application to be a Volunteer. I remember one question – Where would you like to serve?  I answered Barbados, Fiji and some other places with a nice warm ocean and swaying palm trees. 

I got accepted – for Poland. Later I got a letter from Medical – you cannot be cleared because your tests indicate that you have a serious heart problem. I went to a cardiologist who looked at the printout and said he knew what the problem was. He did another EKG and it was normal. The previous technician had hooked up the terminals wrong.

By this time the deadline for Poland had passed. So I was given a choice – Armenia, Bulgaria or Kyrgyzstan. I accepted Armenia. Now I did not know that these four countries had a warm ocean and swaying palm trees.

Just before Memorial Day 1995 I was on a plane to Washington DC for orientation and to meet the other thirty-one Volunteers. We were A3, meaning the third group to Armenia.
A few days later we were on a plane to Paris. But it was only for a five-hour layover.  Then it was on to Yerevan on Armenian Airlines. 

As we were coming in to land there were no lights. But just before we were about to touch down they turned on the runway lights. 

Peace Corps transported us to the Armenia Hotel on Republic Square.  That night we went out walking and the fountains were all lit up, couples walking around and children playing in the fountains. I said to some of my friends – “This is going to be a good two years.” 

We stayed with host families for three months of training. My host family consisted of George, my host father, and his daughter Armenie.  But we only had running water one hour a day, no heat and sporadic electricity because of the war with Azerbaijan.

We were given language lessons and one day we were told to go back to our host family and practice. 

So I said to George what I thought was “Hey George, let’s go for a walk on Abovian Street”.  Then Armenie said, “Tony, why do you want my father go find a streetwalker on Abovian? That was my last attempt at the Armenian language.

After three months I was assigned to an organization as a Small and Medium Enterprise Consultant. This organization was also responsible for my housing. I was given a house to share with Stefan, a German consultant. After a short time, Stefan moved out and Dick More, the head of the program from the Netherlands, said he was going to stay with me – he only came about once a month. And so the Kingsley Arms was founded, a stopping point for Volunteers from all over Armenia.  The full Irish breakfasts became legendary.

One day Dick said that I was living better than he was and that I should find a place of my own. He arrived at about 3:00 am and I always had cold beer and cold vodka ready for him.  On his next visit I told him I had found a place and I would be gone when he came the next time. He said, well wait a little while and we will talk about it on my next trip. I never did move.  Maybe I should have joined the diplomatic corps!

But the organization did not have enough work to keep me busy so I was free to take on secondary projects.

One day an A2 volunteer asked me to help her school children because they were always hungry.  I set up a school lunch program that eventually served 224,000 lunches in some other schools throughout Armenia.

I was visiting a Volunteer in Vanadzor and he introduced me to his translator.  She was quite pretty but her two front teeth were blackened. So I set out to research dental hygiene in Armenia. I found out that the belief was that if teeth were brushed too much it would wear away the enamel. So I set up a dental hygiene program that trained school nurses and gave 15,000 children tooth brushes and toothpaste, compliments of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.

I think we brought a lot of peace. Five male Volunteers and one female Volunteer married Armenians. But the winters were very cold – minus 15 degrees.  

After two years and three months it was time for us to say goodbye to Armenia.

The best job I ever had, receiving a living allowance of $5.00 a day. 

Rio Hondo College hosting two-hour law panel

WHITTIER -- Five Los Angeles area attorneys whose practices range from criminal law and  immigration law, to employment law will headline a two-hour panel on law school and legal careers at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, at Rio Hondo College.  

The panel is being organized by Rio Hondo College's Pathway to Law School program in partnership with Ferias Legales, a non-profit organization focused on providing resources to the community and college students.  

The Pathway to Law School program is one of 28 such programs hosted across the state that guides students from community college, through four-year institutions and into law school.  

The program targets underrepresented, first year students and partners with six California law schools.  

The event, titled "Attorney Panel: Speaker Series", is part of a larger partnership between the Pathway to Law School program and Ferias Legales.  

Other areas of collaboration include a mentorship program that pairs judges and attorneys with students; an internship program that exposes students to various different areas of law; a Mock Trial team of volunteer attorneys who provide feedback to students; and a Court Visitation Program where students visit courtrooms and witness actual legal proceedings and speak with prosecutors, defense attorneys, court personnel, and judges who invite the students to speak privately in the judge's chambers.  

The Pathway program launched in 2014 and was recently awarded the third annual Diversity Champion Award from California LAW for excellence in guiding a steady stream of students as they pursue their dreams of becoming lawyers and judges.  

Speakers at the two-hour panel represent a diversity of practices and backgrounds: 

Jose Colon is a UCLA Law School Graduate and is Head Deputy at the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office in the Norwalk Courthouse.  Mr. Colon assigns misdemeanors and felony cases and assists defense attorneys on questions of law, trial strategies, and procedures, and provides training for new staff.  

Mr. Colon graduated from Princeton University where he majored in politics.  He attended Passaic High School in New Jersey and is of Puerto Rican heritage.  

James Sargent is an Air Force veteran and Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, where he currently serves the city of Compton. A graduate of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, Mr. Sargent was a member of the prestigious Byrne Trial Advocacy team and served as Assistant Coach of the Byrne team from 2010 -2014.

After gaining civil litigation and civil trial experience in the areas of product liability and toxic tort, Mr. Sargent joined the District Attorney’s office where he has tried over 40 criminal cases to verdict. He serves on boards and otherwise supports organizations that promote equal access to justice, the development of a more diverse legal landscape, community development and mentoring.

Sharon Abaud is an immigration attorney who operates her own law office, located in Gardena, California.  Ms. Abaud’s parents were born in Santiago, Chile and it is thanks to her parents that she is fluent in Spanish.  Ms. Abaud obtained a B.A. in the field of International Studies with a minor in French from California State University of Long Beach.

Ms. Abaud then obtained her J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California where she successfully completed a concentration in Immigrant Advocacy.

Monica Sanchez McQueen is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Burke Williams & Sorensen, LLP where she focuses on employment law.   Ms. McQueen has represented and advised private and public sector employers on matters involving numerous federal and state law claims, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, defamation, leaves of absence, whistleblower violations, freedom of speech, and association, privacy, and wage and hour, including collective and class action suits.

She has drafted and revised employee handbooks, personnel rules, personnel ordinances, updated specific policies and advised public agencies on the handling of a variety of employment matters.   While attending the University of California, Los Angeles, Ms. McQueen interned at the United States Department of Education, in the Office of the Secretary, in Washington D.C.  While in law school, she was a member of the San Diego Law Review.  Ms. McQueen studied at the University of San Diego Institute of International and Comparative Law in Barcelona, Spain and Oxford, England.

Briana M. Kim is the principal owner of Briana Kim, PC. Ms. Kim focuses her practice on labor and employment litigation, representing employees against employers in individual and class claims for workplace discrimination and wrongful termination, as well as wage and hour disputes. Ms. Kim has experience prosecuting cases in claims for workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation, denial of protected leaves of absence, overtime pay, wages, commissions, tips, rest breaks, and meal periods.  

Ms. Kim received her J.D. from Loyola Law School in 2007 in Los Angeles. She received her B.A., with honors, in Human Development from the University of California, San Diego in 2003. Ms. Kim is fluent in English and Korean and is conversational in French. Ms. Kim is admitted to practice in both state and federal court in California. She is also admitted to practice in Illinois.

Downey woman dies after traveling to Mexico for liposuction

DOWNEY -- A 51-year-old Downey woman died Nov. 11 after traveling to Tijuana to undergo a liposuction procedure. 

irma saenz.jpg

Irma Saenz died at Chula Vista Medical Center, the L.A. Times reported. She had been in a coma at a Tijuana hospital before an ambulance brought her across the border. 

Saenz reportedly had the procedure done at Embellecete Aesthetic Surgery Group under the supervision of Dr. Guillermo Diaz Vergara. He is not a licensed plastic surgeon, who are the only physicians authorized to perform liposuction, the Times reported. 

According to family members, Saenz found the clinic in a Facebook group. Through an intermediary, she paid a deposit, scheduled an appointment and arranged for an Uber to drive her from Downey to Tijuana on Oct. 27. 

She slipped into a coma that same day and was transferred to Hospital Arcangeles, a Tijuana hospital with an intensive care center. She was transported to Chula Vista on Oct. 30. 

Results of an autopsy by the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office are pending. Friends and family have created a GoFundMe page to pay for funeral expenses.

'Irving Berlin's White Christmas' comes to Long Beach


LONG BEACH -- “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” a stage production based on the beloved film starring Bing Crosby, will be performed at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach Dec. 1-10. 

The holiday classic features 17 of Irving Berlin’s best-known songs, from “Blue Skies” to “I Love a Piano” and the timeless holiday favorite “White Christmas.” 

The musical tells the story of veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, who have partnered as a successful song and dance team following WWII. 

After meeting a sister act, they follow the girls and their hearts to a magical Vermont inn, owned by their old Army commander. Will the spirit of the holidays bring together families old and new? 
Performances are Dec. 1 at 8 p.m., Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., Dec. 8 at 8 p.m., Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. 

Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at 

Downey offense too much for Corona del Mar

 Downey beat Corona del Mar last Friday, 49-42. Photo courtesy @DowneyVikes on Instagram

Downey beat Corona del Mar last Friday, 49-42. Photo courtesy @DowneyVikes on Instagram

DOWNEY – The Downey High School football team traveled to Newport Harbor last Friday night and defeated Corona del Mar, 49-42. Downey improved to 10-2 on the season and will face an undefeated Capistrano Valley team (12-0) at Capistrano Valley on Friday.

In the Downey/Corona del Mar game, both offenses showcased their talent. Both teams scored two touchdowns and converted their PAT’s early in the game. The score was tied at 14 at the end of the first quarter. 

Downey gained the advantage in the second quarter when they scored two more touchdowns. Corona del Mar only scored one touchdown in the second quarter and the Vikings took a 28-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The two teams continued battling in the third quarter and each scored a touchdown. The score was 35-28 at the end of the third quarter. 

Both teams scored traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Downey held on for their hard-fought, 49-42 win.

Downey quarterback Kijjon Foots completed 19/25 pass attempts for 309 yards and five touchdowns. Foots’ passer rating was an impressive 156.5. Kijjon also ran the ball 20 times for 102 yards.

The Viking ground game was led by Baraq Ross’ 22 carries for 156 yards and one touchdown.

The Downey receiving corps were led by Chris Atkins’ highlight reel performance of 10 catches for 206 yards and four touchdowns. Baraq Ross also had four catches for 41 yards in the winning effort.

The Downey defense was led by Nicholas Whitney’s four solo and four assisted tackles, Brenden Hodge’s six solo and one assisted tackle, Tijeer Bryant’s five solo and two assisted tackles, Noah Skobis’ five solo and one assisted tackle and Malcom Perry’s two solo and four assisted tackles.

Coach Williams, his staff and players are all looking forward to their game against Capistrano Valley later today. A win tonight will get the Vikings into the C.I.F. Division 4 championship game against the winner of the Cajon/Murrieta Mesa game.

WARREN GIRLS' CROSS-COUNTRY: The Warren High School girls’ cross-country team saw their season come to an end last Saturday morning at the Riverside Course in Riverside. 

The Lady Bears ran at 8:05 a.m. and finished 18th in the Division One Race with 421 points. Warren finished in a team time of 1:35.10 and an individual runner’s time of 19:02. 

The Lady Bears finished in seventh place last week in their respective heat at C.I.F. Prelims to advance to the C.I.F. Final Saturday.

Great Oak finished in first place with 56 points, Vista Murrieta finished in second place with 138 points, Arcadia finished in third place with 164 points, El Toro finished in fourth place with 207 points and M.L. King finished in fifth place with 230 points. California High finished in 17th place with 416 points and Roosevelt finished in 19th place with 447 points.

Warren’s sophomore standout Nadine Gomez was the first Lady Bear to finish. Gomez finished 53rd overall with a time of 18:28.4. 

Senior Leann Pavana finished 60th overall in a time of 18:34.6 and senior Vilma Alvarez finished 106th overall in a time of 19:13.7. Freshman Natalie Esparza finished 119th overall in a time of 19:20.8 and junior Arianna Cervantes finished 129th overall in a time of 19:33.4.

Coach Waldron is extremely proud of this year’s team. This team has improved steadily throughout the season due to their hard work and determination. The Warren girls’ cross-country team was the only Downey or Warren team to advance to C.I.F. Finals. 

MIDDLE SCHOOL SPORTS: Downey’s middle school sports program has concluded its second rotation and five city championships were up for grabs in boys’ volleyball and girls’ soccer. 

There were three grade level championships in boys’ volleyball and two championships for girls’ varsity and junior varsity soccer.

In 8th grade boys’ volleyball, Griffiths finished first with a record of 6-0, Doty finished second with a record of 4-2, Stauffer finished third with a record of 2-4 and Sussman finished fourth with a record of 0-6.

In 7th grade boys’ volleyball, Griffiths finished first with a record of 6-0, Stauffer finished second with a record of 4-2 and Doty and Sussman finished tied for third with records of 1-5.

In 6th grade boys’ volleyball, Doty, Griffiths and Stauffer finished in a three-way tie for first with a record of 4-2 and Sussman finished in fourth place with a record of 0-6.

In girls’ varsity soccer, Doty and Griffiths were co-champions with records of 5-1, Stauffer finished in third place with a record of 2-4 and Sussman finished in fourth place with a record of 0-6.

In girls’ junior varsity soccer, Doty and Sussman were co-champions with records of 5-1 and Griffiths and Stauffer finished tied for third place with records of 1-5.

After two rotations, Doty and Griffiths are tied with 3.8 championships each, Stauffer has 2.8 championships and Sussman has .5 championship(s). Outright championships are one point, co-championships are .5 point(s) and tri-championships are .3 point(s), respectively.

Doty was a co-champion in 8th grade football, won 8th and 6th grade girls’ volleyball outright, were a tri-champion in 6th grade boys’ volleyball and were co-champions in girls’ varsity and junior varsity soccer.

Griffiths won 7th grade girls’ volleyball outright, won 8th and 7th grade boys’ volleyball outright and were tri-champions in boys’ 6th grade volleyball. Griffiths was also a co-champion in 8th grade girls’ soccer.

Stauffer was a co-champion in 8th grade boys’ football and won 7th and 6th grade football outright. Stauffer was also a tri-champion in 6th grade boys’ volleyball. Sussman was a co-champion in girls’ junior varsity soccer.

Coaches and players are all looking forward to competing for more city championships after the Christmas Break.
The third rotation will begin in January and feature three grade level teams each for boys’ and girls’ basketball as well as two boys’ soccer teams consisting of a varsity and junior varsity team.

Tryouts and practices at each school site will begin before the Christmas Break and games will begin on Jan. 9.

Paging Dr. Frischer: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm


AAA means one thing to a driver with a flat tire, but quite another to someone with a dilated aorta. 

If you are a man older than 50, you run roughly a 4-7% chance of having an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), and if you are a woman over 50, your odds are closer to 1%.

The aorta is the largest artery in the body, and it carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart and supplies it to the rest of the body. The problem with an aortic aneurysm is not simply that it is a swelling of the aorta, but that as it grows larger, the risk of the aorta rupturing becomes significant. 

Usually there will be no symptoms before it ruptures, and it may not be possible to have immediate emergency surgery in time to repair it. The risk for rupture depends on the size of the aneurysm, and if it does rupture, 75% to 90% of the time it is fatal. In the United States, ruptured AAA is estimated to cause 4-5% of all sudden deaths. Therefore, screening is critical for those at high risk.

Typically, an AAA is found when an exam is performed for another reason. A doctor may feel a pulsating bulge in the abdomen, or it might be detected through computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or abdominal ultrasound.

So, should we all be routinely screened? The answer is complicated. The majority of aneurysms never rupture. As the number of screenings increase, so will the number of previously undiagnosed small aneurysms that are unlikely to ever rupture. Elective surgery can prevent aneurysm rupture, but every surgery always carries with it some level of risk. And, since the patient who is most likely to have an AAA is older, the risk that
accompanies surgery is even greater. 

Surgical repair is typically considered an option only for aneurysms that have reached five and a half to six centimeters in size. Imagine knowing that you have an aneurysm of “only” five centimeters! Would it feel like a ticking time bomb? You can see how challenging those borderline cases can be.

Current recommendations suggest that men between the ages of 65 to 75 who have ever smoked cigarettes should have a one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm, using abdominal ultrasound. In addition, men aged 60 and older with a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm should consider regular screenings. 

On the other hand, the statistics don’t support screening of women smokers ages 65 to 75, or those with a family history. The reason is that when lower risk populations (such as women) are screened for AAA, they are twice as likely to undergo elective surgery within three to five years. While the risk of death from elective surgery is far lower than the risk of death from rupture, many of these elective surgeries are unnecessary, and pose needless risk.

The goal of treatment is to prevent a rupture. If the abdominal aortic aneurysm is too small to justify elective surgery, then it can be monitored. Monitoring would include annual x-rays, controlling blood pressure (which relieves the stress on weakened arteries), not smoking cigarettes, getting regular exercise, limiting alcohol, and eating a healthy diet. To regular readers of my columns, most of this list should look pretty familiar! 

Speak with your doctor about whether you are a candidate for screening.

Kaiser hospital in Downey receives 'A' grade for patient safety

kaiser downey.jpg

DOWNEY -- Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center once again received an “A” grade for their dedication to patient safety by The Leapfrog Group in its fall 2017 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade.

“Patient safety is so important to us and we’re constantly working to ensure our patients are safe while under our care, so we’re extremely proud that our hard work has led to us earning recognition in Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grade,” said Jim Branchick, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center.

“Members gain more confidence in Kaiser Permanente's patient-centered, physician-led system knowing that they’re receiving care at one of the nation's safest hospitals.”

“Physicians and staff here at our medical center utilize advanced technology, along with carrying out the highest safety standards, all while delivering exceptional care that Kaiser Permanente is known for,” added Binesh Batra, MD, area medical director, Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center.

“Receiving high marks from the Leapfrog Group is a testament to Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to quality health care and patient safety.”

Along with Kaiser Permanente Downey, nine other Kaiser Permanente Southern California hospitals received Leapfrog’s “A” rating, including medical centers in Anaheim, Baldwin Park, Fontana, Irvine, Moreno Valley, Ontario, Panorama City, West Los Angeles and Woodland Hills. 

Developed under the guidance of Leapfrog’s Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 30 national performance measures to produce a single letter grade representing a hospital’s overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade methodology has been peer reviewed and published in the Journal of Patient Safety.