Summer 2019

You Can Help Bring Advanced Care to Simi Valley

Imagine the feeling of terror when you or someone you love starts to feel the crushing pressure, the pain and the difficulty breathing that signal the beginning of a heart attack. A heart attack can be fatal and requires immediate medical attention. Now imagine your relief when you arrive at the hospital and hear the words, “We can help you!”

Adventist Health Simi Valley opened our community’s first Cardiac Catheterization Lab (Cath Lab) in 2015. Since that time, the words “we can help you!” have brought comfort and hope to more than 1,300 heart attack patients. In 2016, we earned the STEMI Receiving Center designation. Ambulances were then allowed to transport patients with a type of heart attack called ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction, or STEMI for short, directly to our hospital for immediate care in our Cath Lab.

Until that time, STEMI patients and their loved ones had to endure the agonizing extra minutes it took to travel outside of the community for help. Hundreds of people in our community are alive and well today because they received quick treatment for their STEMI heart attack right here in Simi Valley. That immediate care is available thanks in large part to the generous donations of people like you!

We’ve worked hard to be good stewards of the gifts that made our Cath Lab possible. As a result, Ventura County Emergency Management Services, which certifies STEMI receiving centers, has noted that we have the fastest “door-to-balloon” time in the county. The measurement of door-to-balloon time is from the moment a STEMI patient arrives at the hospital to the moment the clot-clearing balloon opens the blocked artery.

“That is quite an accomplishment for such a relatively new program,” said Simi Valley cardiologist Thanh Nguyen, MD. “It is a testament to the quality of the physicians, nurses, technicians and others in the Emergency Department and the Cath Lab, as well as the first responders and those who care for patients after they leave the Cath Lab.”

Opportunities Abound With a Second Cath Lab

The tremendous success of our Cath Lab clearly shows how vitally important it is for our community. It also highlights the value of expanding our services even further with a second Cath Lab—an opportunity to say, “We can help you!” to thousands of additional patients every year.

“With our current Cath Lab, we are able to meet the needs of our community for interventional procedures,” Dr. Nguyen said. “However, intervention is just one part of cardiology. With a second lab, we’ll be able to do many of the exciting new procedures that are now possible in the field of cardiology and other areas of medicine.”

The addition of four specific Cath Lab services that will significantly benefit our community. In 2017, more than 7,000 area residents had to leave the community for these services. Having advanced care available close to home will spare our family, friends and neighbors the cost, inconvenience and stress of seeking care elsewhere. The addition of a second cath lab would add the following services:

  • Interventional neurology—Using a catheter, neurologists can dissolve or remove blood clots in the brain that cause stroke. Like STEMI, this is often a lifesaving procedure that can literally stop a stroke in its tracks. The faster this is able to happen, the more brain tissue is preserved, which usually means fewer long-term side-effects.
  • Electrophysiology—This branch of cardiology focuses on defects in the heart’s electrical system. One of the most common defects is arrythmia, which causes the heart to beat too fast, too slowly or out of rhythm. In the Cath Lab, cardiologists can repair these dangerous, potentially life-threatening conditions without the need for surgery.
  • Peripheral vascular care—Just like the heart, other arteries in the body can become clogged. People with diabetes are particularly at risk for this life-threatening condition. In the Cath Lab, physicians can remove these blockages and restore blood flow, giving patients a new lease on life.
  • Interventional radiology—This is a non-surgical, minimally invasive option to diagnose and treat many types of diseases without the disruptive effects of surgery. In the Cath Lab, physicians can take such actions as stopping internal bleeding, repairing an aneurysm (a dangerous bulge in a blood vessel), dissolving blood clots in the lungs or legs—and much more.

In addition to addressing the immediate medical need, procedures such as these can help to prevent future life-and-death emergencies. But Adventist Health Simi Valley must have a second Cath Lab to be able to offer these procedures.

“Our current Cath Lab has to be available at all times to treat STEMI emergencies,” Dr. Nguyen said. “The additional procedures we’d like to offer can take several hours, so we need to have a dedicated Cath Lab for them.”

There’s another important reason for creating a second Cath Lab at Adventist Health Simi Valley: the future. Because catheter-based procedures offer great advantages over surgery for patients—such as less pain and quicker recovery—the technology is booming.

“If we would have talked 10 to 15 years ago about the procedures that are being done today via catheter, I would have said you’re crazy,” Dr. Nguyen said. “And we’re just going to see more and more innovative applications in the future.”

A second Cath Lab will put Adventist Health Simi Valley at the forefront of this revolution in catheter-based diagnosis and treatment.

The Future Is Almost Here

The Adventist Health Simi Valley Foundation has committed to raising $1 million to make the promise of a second Cath Lab a reality. Already, our generous community has covered a significant amount of that pledge. With your help, we look forward to the opening of the new Cath Lab during the fourth quarter of this year.

Among the most enthusiastic supporters of the second Cath Lab is Joyce Erdman, a member of the Adventist Health Simi Valley Foundation Board. In some respects, she may seem an unlikely supporter of the hospital. In the mid-1990s, she and her family went through an emotionally charged personal experience with her father’s care at what was then known as Simi Valley Hospital.

The encounter left Erdman disappointed and angry at the hospital for many years. Eventually, however, she had a big change of heart. She began to consider how important it was to help Adventist Health Simi Valley rise in its ability to care for the community she has called home since 1973.

“It took a mindset change,” Erdman said. “I decided that if a life-threatening emergency were to happen to my mother, husband, children, or even a neighbor, I would want the hospital to be the best it could be in order to help them.”

Since that time, she has been vocal about her support for the local hospital—and the second Cath Lab in particular.

“I’m surprised by how many people don’t realize that Adventist Health Simi Valley is a nonprofit hospital,” she said. “As a nonprofit, the hospital relies heavily on support from the community. Our hospital is here for us whenever we need them, so it’s really important to be here for the hospital when it needs our support.”

For more information about how you can help Adventist Health Simi Valley, please call (805) 955-6670, email ahsvf@ah.org or click here.


Grateful Patient Stories

Alex’s Story

On December 29, 1980, community member Alex Gandel was driving on the 118 freeway approaching Kuehner Drive when he noticed sparks ahead in the distance. As Alex tried to aid other motorists involved in the accident, he was hit by an oncoming car. View Alex’s video where he shares why he is a grateful patient of Adventist Health Simi Valley.


A Grateful Patient Responds with Enthusiastic Support

Marilyn Dorlac loves living in Simi Valley—and she is passionate about sharing her enthusiasm for her city’s hospital, Adventist Health Simi Valley.

“I feel community residents need to have a strong connection with the hospital where they live,” she said. “The city of Simi Valley is really blessed to have a hospital like Adventist Health Simi Valley.”

However, Dorlac does more than just talking about her support for the hospital. As a donor to the Adventist Health Simi Valley Foundation, she helps to ensure that the hospital continues to grow in its ability to serve our community.

Why does she give? “The hospital is here for the community, so we have to be there for the hospital,” Dorlac said.

A Bond of Trust

In her five years living in the community, Dorlac and other family members have called on Adventist Health Simi Valley several times for medical care. And, she said, the hospital has always responded with open arms.

“I have a trust with Adventist Health Simi Valley and a bond that can never be broken,” she said. “I know that everyone there really cares—the great doctors, the nurses and the staff. When I was there, the doctor was really attentive and listened to my concerns, and the nurse stood by my side the whole time and watched over me. Everyone answered my questions. And on top of that, the hospital was very clean.”

Although Dorlac hasn’t needed the services of the hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab (Cath Lab), it is one of the features of the hospital she is most grateful to have available so close to home.

“With the Cath Lab there, I would never be worried about coming to Adventist Health Simi Valley for help with heart problems,” she said.

Dorlac used to bring in cookies to express her appreciation and admiration for the Adventist Health Simi Valley team, but she has recently switched to healthier apples and oranges.

“I thought that if I kept bringing in cookies, they may end up having to use the Cath Lab for themselves!” she joked.

A Lasting Impression

The quality of medical treatment and compassion of the care team have made Marilyn Dorlac a supporter of Adventist Health Simi Valley for life.

“They go above and beyond the call of duty—they are kind and nurturing, and they always make me feel like I’m their top priority,” she said. “The way they have treated my family and me will be with me for the rest of my life.”


New Women-to-Women Lunch & Learn Fall Series

The Adventist Health Simi Valley Foundation invites you to join us as we help women in our community connect with other women who are healthcare professionals to address the often-taboo subjects that affect our daily lives. Launching this fall, this exciting new community program has been developed by women for the women of Simi Valley, Moorpark and our surrounding communities.

Register for one or all events. The mission of the Adventist Health Simi Valley Foundation is to share God’s love and inspiration by providing opportunities to invest in improving and saving lives. To help us fulfill our mission, we’re asking attendees to pay $15 for each event to cover the cost of their lunch. We promise to deliver a delicious, well-balanced and healthy meal for your enjoyment and well being as we gather to learn together.

Each event is designed to build community and provide education. We hope to create a safe environment where we can share our stories and ask candid questions about the issues we face as women.

Location: Adventist Health Simi Valley
Garden Conference Room

2975 N. Sycamore Dr.

Simi Valley, CA 93065

If you wish to receive further information about our Lunch & Learn series or any other upcoming events developed by the Adventist Health Simi Valley Foundation, please click below.

Sign Up


You’re invited to attend our No-Show Gala!

What Is a No-Show Gala?

A No-Show Gala is an event you don't attend. No one comes. It's unbelievably great. Considering the highly saturated calendar of events and activities in our community, the board of the Adventist Health Simi Valley Foundation decided this year to give everyone an opportunity to participate in making a difference with minimal cost to their time.

You get the opportunity to financially impact a real cause in your community—the expansion of our advanced care through a secondary Cath Lab at our hospital. The best part is you won’t need to find the perfect dress to wear, and you don’t need to call the babysitter or even sit through another chicken dinner. Thanks to our partner, The Acorn Newspapers, a virtual space has been provided where donors and leaders can gather on November 8 as they are recognized for their gifts. Everyone wins when we participate in the biggest No-Show Gala of the year!

The Adventist Health Simi Valley Foundation is working to reach our one-million-dollar goal by October 1, 2019. The No-Show Gala concept allows us to MAXIMIZE our efforts—and your generosity, as 100% of your gift is tax-deductible and impacts the goal directly.

Please join us at the No-Show Gala benefiting Adventist Health Simi Valley by visiting our event page here or our Facebook page, where we will provide updates and recognize all donors along the way to October 1.