Patient Safety Honor Roll evaluates hospitals to determine high performing hospitals

By Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

St. Louise Hospital
Photo courtesy Verity

Congratulations to the doctors, nurses and staff at St. Louise Regional Hospital. The hospital was just named to the State of California’s Patient Safety and Maternity Honor Rolls for demonstrating a strong culture of safety across multiple departments.

St. Louise made the Maternity Honor Roll for meeting or surpassing a statewide target aimed at reducing births via c-section in first-time mothers with low-risk pregnancies.

“We are proud to be on both honor rolls. It takes a team effort and our physicians, nurses and support staff are committed to meeting rigorous performance measures for our patients’ safety,” said Gloria Dela Merced, RN, St. Louise Regional Hospital executive.

The Patient Safety Honor Roll evaluates hospitals to determine high performing hospitals. It measures various areas including hospital acquired infections, adverse patient safety events, sepsis management, and patient experience. These measurements are foundational to establishing shared goals and sense of purpose, and to advancing improvements. St. Louis has demonstrated a strong culture of safety, provides high quality care to patients, and showed its ability to meet the state’s patient safety measures.

Photo courtesy Mt. Madonna
Students work on DNA molecules as part of learning about forensic genetics.

Madonna freshmen got a little taste of CSI learning about forensic genetics and the structure of DNA. An unusual recent project engaged the students as “detectives,” who collaborated in small groups to solve a “crime.”

Their “case” began with one vial of DNA collected from the crime scene and five suspects. The students had previously learned that enzymes can be used to cut DNA molecules into fragments that vary for different people. Making the fragments visible and sorted by size creates a “fingerprint,” or a pattern that is specific for individuals.

“It was hard to wrap my head around what was happening with the DNA in the lab,” said student Sam Kaplan. “Although it was a hands-on activity, you can’t see DNA, and that makes it hard to understand. Each step we did with our hands had a result on a molecular level that was nearly undetectable to the naked eye.”

Next they ran the samples through an electrophoresis chamber on agarose gel (a high grade seaweed agar, used in cooking). This process caused the negatively-charged DNA fragments to move across the gel at various rates. At the end, the students compare the bands created on the gel to each other to determine the perpetrator of the crime.

“In my 11 years of offering this lab, I’ve noticed that students really enjoy forensic genetics and gain a better understanding of how DNA can be used to identify people and to determine ancestry,” said science teacher Lisa Catterall. “Our creative students also enjoy making up a story and assigning suspects to each vial of DNA!”

Kaplan said the activity offered an opportunity to learn about the topic on a deeper level than otherwise might be possible.

“The job of a textbook is to cover all the material you are required to learn in a relatively concise way,” Kaplan said. “However, these projects allow you to delve into a topic and ask questions about it, they allow you to study the same topic in great detail, but with a different perception.”

Wow! Sounds like a great course, and a lot of fun.

Mark Bisbee

Former Watsonville fire chief Mark Bisbee was appointed Jan. 6 as Gilroy’s new interim fire chief while the city searches for a permanent candidate. Bisbee is a 35-year veteran and served as fire chief for Watsonville for more than nine years prior to his retirement in 2014. He holds a bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University.

Bisbee takes over from interim chief Jeff Clet, who was appointed in January of 2019, taking over from Alan Anderson. His appointment ended because he was limited to 960 hours per fiscal year as a CalPers beneficiary. Bisbee has the same limitations. City officials are hoping to hire a permanent chief by May.

Also during that Jan. 6 meeting, Mayor Roland Velasco selected Councilmember Cat Tucker as mayor pro tempore for 2020, a position that rotates annually. Councilmember Marie Blankley served as mayor pro tempore last year.

Photo courtesy Gilroy Garlic Festival

The Gilroy Garlic Festival is now accepting applications for vendors and entertainers for the 2020 festival. All applications must be submitted by March 13, 2020 to be considered for this year’s event.

Each year, the Gilroy Garlic Festival hosts artist and vendor booths featuring original fine arts, handmade crafts, and food, beverage, and merchandise booths selling everything from Cajun crawdads to tie-dye T-shirts as well as kid-friendly food and fun family activities. This year, the festival will have a new layout with new booth locations, configurations, and pricing options. Any vendors interested in having a booth at the 2020 Gilroy Garlic Festival should visit and complete the online application form.

The festival also offers a wide variety of quality musical entertainment, including rock ‘n roll, country, blues, jazz, reggae, and swing. Entertainers interested in performing at the 2020 Gilroy Garlic Festival should go to and complete the online application package.

Any fans of Hogwart School in Gilroy? Morgan Hill’s BookSmart has an party for all you wannabe wizards. The BookSmart Community Advantage presents a tri-wizard tournament to celebrate Harry Potter Book Night from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6. The party is open to all. Prepare for an exciting celebration of the Harry Potter books. There will be tri-wizard challenges, drawing for prizes, costumes, games, and other magical fun for Muggles.

Robert Airoldi