For the past four years, Monica Tell has watched with anticipation and excitement the hospital building construction on the corner of MacArthur and Broadway in Oakland.
She is a lifelong Kaiser Permanente member who lives in Oakland.
On Saturday, Aug. 23, during a community open house, she proudly showed off the new hospital and its state-of-the art, regional Pediatric Center to her newest family member, daughter Diana Rebecca Tell-Campos, born at the old Oakland hospital 16 months ago. The new 12-story, 349-bed hospital opened July 1.
“See?” she cooed to Diana. “You could have been born here!”
More than 100 parents and children joined senior KP leaders for the special back-to-school event that included a cooking demonstration by Ayesha Curry, wife of Warriors All Star Stephen Curry and star of the Comcast SportsNet program “Cookin’ with the Currys.” She showed how to prepare healthy meals for busy families gearing up for the start of a new school year.
For Tell, the event was a chance to peek inside the hospital and tour the Pediatric Center with her daughter.
Comprehensive Pediatric Services
“Today is a day to highlight our comprehensive pediatric services at the new Oakland Medical Center for Bay Area families,” said Odette Bolano, senior vice president and area manager, KP East Bay, during her welcome remarks at the event.
As a regional hub for pediatric inpatient and surgical care serving children from throughout KP’s Northern California Region, the hospital’s Pediatric Center is a “children’s hospital within a general hospital,” Bolano said. “We are proud of this achievement, and today we celebrate with the community.”
John Loftus, MD, physician-in-chief of the medical center, told the visiting families that one of many important features distinguishes the Pediatric Center as a Pediatric Center of Excellence: It is a teaching hospital for new pediatricians.
The center has all the pediatric sub-specialty services provided in dedicated children’s hospitals, including a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and specially designed gathering areas for children.
These are complemented by highly recognized specialists, including pediatric neurosurgeons, oncologists/hematologists, and pulmonologists. Additionally, it houses the first intraoperative 3T magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) system on the West Coast, which allows pediatric neurosurgeons to view complex brain features while performing delicate surgery.
Better for Families
Tell, a first-time parent, and other visiting families took a quick tour of the whimsical and colorful 12th floor entrance to the Pediatric Unit, the family room with a sweeping view of the San Francisco Bay, then went to the 11th floor to see kid-friendly, all private rooms with pull-out beds for families.
“I’m really happy to see Kaiser Permanente investing in the community to make it better for the families it serves,” said Tell, who brought along two nephews.
Jackie Anderson, a longtime KP member, toured with her daughter, Jai Tate, who is due to give birth to a boy in a month. Tate is planning to deliver at the new hospital.
Anderson said everything she saw inside the hospital “was soothing, calming, and beautiful.” At the elevator bank, they inspected and tried the electronic, interactive wayfinding screen, which each termed “very high-tech.”
“We’re taking a tour for him,” said Tate, cupping her belly.
“It makes me feel good that my daughter gets to have this great beginning here with my first grandchild,” Anderson said.