Back to articles

Pediatric Echocardiograms Now Available


On May 22, 2013, a beautiful baby girl, Yaretzi, (Aztec for “will be loved forever”) Ramos, was born to Fabiola Ramos at the Family Birth Center. This is a typical event on any given day at Ukiah Valley Medical Center. But for the Ramos family the day became anything but typical.

Upon further assessment of Yaretzi by pediatrician Paul H. Macdonald, M.D., it was determined that Yaretzi would need a pediatric echocardiogram. “Newborns can be extremely vulnerable and I wanted to take necessary precautions to make sure her heart was functioning properly.” Initially this came as a shock to the Ramos family.

“Typically for this test we would have to transport the baby by helicopter or ambulance to the Bay Area leaving the family filled with anxiety as the mother recovers and the family prepares to make the trek down to San Francisco or Oakland to be with their baby. Just knowing the extra burden this puts on families helped UVMC’s administrative team make the decision to invest in the necessary training and equipment to make pediatric echocardiograms available at UVMC,” said Dr. Macdonald.

“The investment in the well-being and piece-of-mind of mothers and young families is worth the cost,” shared UVMC CEO, Gwen Matthews. “As the largest medical center in Mendocino and Lake counties, we want to make sure we are able to provide the services our community needs close to home,” continued Matthews.

UVMC Echocardiography supervisor, Linda Tea, shared, “Each of our adult echocardiography technicians recently went through training at the University of California Davis Medical Center. This training was comprised of observation studies of live pediatric echocardiograms being performed in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and outpatient radiology lab. Our techs also went through extensive simulations demonstrating their competency on a state-of-the-art training mannequin before attempting the test on an actual pediatric patient. The pediatric echocardiogram can be performed on newborn infants to eighteen-year-olds.”

As for her daughter being the first patient to have a pediatric echocardiogram done at UVMC, Fabiola said, “I am so glad we were able to do the test here [at UVMC]. I couldn’t imagine having to worry about Yaretzi being transported without me to [the Bay Area] and then having to worry about getting down there myself.” Fortunately, the echocardiogram ruled out the need for any transport.

“I am so thankful for the care I received at UVMC and especially the nurses; Monica, Daisy, Maria and Dr. Macdonald – they are all angels who helped my little angel. I will forever be grateful to UVMC,” said Fabiola.

In addition to pediatric echocardiograms, UVMC offers state-of-the-art diagnostic services including one of the most powerful MRI’s in Northern California, PET/CT scanner, CT scanner, nuclear medicine, digital x-ray, ultrasound, digital mammography, DXA scan, and other advanced diagnostic tests and procedures at two different locations: Mendocino Radiology and UVMC. For more information on diagnostic imaging tests and procedures available at UVMC please call (707)-463-7342.