Loma Linda University Health believes in whole-person care. Healing is not just physical, but emotional and spiritual as well.
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Avery and Carolyn Pratt
For Avery Pratt, Jr., MD, and his wife Carolyn, the best thing about being treated for prostate cancer at Loma Linda University Medical Center is the fact that Avery never felt like he was being treated for cancer.
“One of the best things that happens there is that you don’t feel like you have cancer,” Carolyn says of the treatment her husband received at the James M. Slater, MD, Proton Treatment and Research Center at LLUMC. “When you walk in the door, you’re not treated like a cancer patient, and that takes an enormous amount of stress off of you.”
To show their gratitude for the patient-centered care they received, the Pratt’s recently contributed $2,500 to the Robert J. Marckini Chair for Proton Research at Loma Linda University Medical Center.
Because of his background as a board-certified radiologist, Avery came to the program with a better grasp of the science and technology of proton therapy than most of the nearly 12,000 men treated for prostate cancer at the Center since its founding more than 20 years ago. What impressed him the most was one particular facet of Loma Linda’s famous patient-centered care.
“The camaraderie at Loma Linda, and the way the whole program is designed to keep you informed at every step of the way makes a huge difference,” she continues. “Also, the spiritual aspect. Loma Linda goes to great lengths to make sure that patients and members of their family are treated wholistically.”
Bob, Kavitha, and Kannan Herrington
When Kannan Herrington was born in June 2005, his parents, Bob and Kavitha, welcomed him with love, joy, and fond aspirations. Shortly after his birth, however, doctors realized little Kannan was born with serious health issues.
“We were confused,” Kavitha reports. “We were seeing a local cardiologist, but had a lot of unanswered questions.”
Fortunately, the Herrington’s heard of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital cardiologist Neda Mulla, MD, and made an appointment with her.
“She spent an hour-and-a-half with us,” Kavitha recalls, “and explained the scenario to us from A to Z. We felt like we finally understood the problem.”
What the Herrington’s understood was that Kannan was born with ventricular septal deviation, or VSD, a common cardiac anomaly. Basically, there was a hole in the central wall separating the left and right sides of his heart. Fortunately, Dr. Mulla explained that the problem could be surgically resolved.
Once inside Kannan’s heart, Leonard Bailey, MD—the famed cardiothoracic surgeon who pioneered infant heart transplantation at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital—found another problem: Kannan also had an atrial septal defect, or ASD. The flaw allows blood to flow between the two sides of the heart. Dr. Bailey successfully patched the VSD and fixed the ASD.
Today, Kannan is doing very well. The precocious eight-year-old is all set to start third grade this September and is excited about participating in the Gate program for advanced students. Kavitha says he plays three or four sports and is a very good all-around athlete. “His heart condition hasn’t impaired that at all,” she notes. Although Kannan still has a heart murmur, Kavitha says he won’t need additional surgery.
To show their gratitude for the excellent care he received at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, Bob and Kavitha Herrington launched the Kannan Invitational Golf Classic to raise money for playrooms and “safe zones” in the hospital. On the 2013 tournament web page, Kannan explains that playrooms and safe zones are places where kids can go to read books, play with toys and video games, and be with other children. “They don’t allow doctors, nurses, or needles in there,” he writes.
“Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital offered us specialized care that was very comforting when we had no clue what was going on,” she continues. “We’re very grateful for it! Every step of the way, they held our hand.”
She is similarly enthusiastic about Dr. Mulla. “She’s awesome!” Kavitha adds. “We actually look forward to our visits with her. We’ve been seeing her every two years, but she always remembers everything about us.”