West Hills Hospital & Medical Center
West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is your community resource for better health. We have the capability and expertise to perform emergency open heart procedures, perform brain and spine surgery.
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Recognizing National Public Health Week this April

From April 3-9 this year, West Hills Hospital joins other medical centers and healthcare organizations around the country in celebrating National Public Health Week. This year, the public awareness campaign is continuing its theme of working toward making America the “Healthiest Nation” by 2030. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the hospital, consider making an appointment for a check-up with your family physician. Your doctor can help you understand your current health status and work toward improving it.

Vaccinating all children

Vaccines are an inextricable part of a strong public health system. Pediatricians agree that vaccinating children is one of the safest and most effective ways to save lives, prevent the discomfort of serious illnesses and build strong communities.

As part of National Public Health Week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put the spotlight on the Vaccines for Children Program. This nationwide program provides no-cost vaccines for eligible children.

Improving access to healthy food

National Public Health Week recognizes the importance of improving access to nutritious foods for all families. It highlights the necessity of building a robust food system that gives families access to affordable, nutritious foods that are free from unsafe contaminants. Organizations that recognize National Public Health Week have called for:

  • Eliminating food deserts
  • Improving school nutrition policies
  • Developing stronger nutrition policies

Stamping out cigarettes

Cigarettes are widely recognized as one of the most serious threats to public health. Smoking cigarettes doesn’t only harm the smoker. Tobacco smoke harms everyone near the smoker, and it’s thought that tobacco residue left on surfaces can cause health problems long after the cigarette has been extinguished.

If you smoke and you’re ready to quit, your family physician can give you the support and resources you need. You can also ask your loved ones for their support while you work toward a healthier you.

West Hills Hospital is an award-winning, state-of-the-art hospital with a firm commitment to uncompromising patient care and safety. We continually strive for healthcare excellence in all that we do, and we learn directly from our patients about how we can serve the West Hills community better. Call a registered nurse at (818) 676-4321 or explore our website for information about our hospital services, including Cancer Care, Grossman Burn Center and maternity healthcare.


Safety Guidelines for Dogs and Kids

Most children love to play with cute animals, but unfortunately, this isn’t always safe. Even if a puppy or dog is usually gentle, it’s easy for a dog to interpret a child’s quick movements as signs of aggression. This is one reason why children are more frequently the victims of dog attacks than adults. The emergency care physicians of West Hills Hospital can help children heal from an animal bite, but prevention is always better than a trip to the hospital.

Approaching Unfamiliar Dogs

Kids need to hear information multiple times before they remember it—and even then, they may need frequent reminders. Don’t be shy about reminding your child to never approach unfamiliar dogs, even if a dog wanders into your family’s own yard. If your child does see an unfamiliar dog while playing in the yard, he or she should immediately go inside the house and inform an adult. To reinforce this lesson, consider comparing unfamiliar dogs to human strangers. You could remind your child that he or she wouldn’t hug the cashier at the supermarket and that petting an unfamiliar dog is much like this scenario.

Petting Dogs Safely

When it is permissible for a young child to pet a dog, he or she should only do so with adult supervision. Young kids need plenty of reminders to let the dog sniff the back of the hand first, then to pet the dog gently. Remind your child not to pull on the dog’s ears or tail, try to climb on the dog, or take toys or food away from the dog.

Dealing with Aggressive Dogs

Despite these safety precautions, aggressive dogs may still attack children. Emergency care physicians recommend teaching kids to be quiet and “still like a tree” when a dog approaches them. Kids should avoid looking directly at the dog, making sudden movements, yelling, or hitting the dog. If a dog does knock a child down, he or she should curl up into a ball. Emergency care physicians recommend covering the ears and head with the hands.

If your child is attacked by a dog, please call 911 without delay to request emergency care in the West Hills area. In addition to our unsurpassed emergency care, West Hills Hospital recently opened our Advanced Wound Care Center, which offers specialized care for patients with traumatic and hard-to-heal wounds. Non-emergent healthcare questions may be directed to a registered nurse at (818) 676-4321.


Can Driving Yourself to the ER Delay Your Treatment?

Despite knowing that a 911 dispatcher’s job is to handle emergencies, many people hesitate to call 911 when they need emergency care. Some patients mistakenly assume that driving to the hospital right away is preferable to waiting for an ambulance. Others worry about using Emergency Medical Services (EMS) if they aren’t truly sure whether they have a medical emergency. But the bottom line is that, when emergency care is needed, every second counts. Here at West Hills Hospital, our emergency care physicians strongly urge our neighbors not to hesitate to call 911.

Driving to the ER does delay life-saving interventions.

One of the most damaging myths about driving oneself to the ER is that it facilitates faster emergency care. Patients reason that when they drive themselves, they can leave right away instead of waiting for the ambulance. But in fact, patients can receive certain medical interventions as soon as the ambulance arrives. EMS personnel can bandage bleeding wounds, put on a stabilization neck collar, administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), or use a defibrillator. Patients can continue to receive medical attention in the ambulance while on the way to the hospital.

Calling 911 is better for public safety.

When a medical emergency develops, a patient’s condition can rapidly deteriorate. This means that you might think you’re able to drive yourself to the ER initially, but you might become dizzy, need to vomit, or even lose consciousness while you’re in the car. Attempting to drive in these conditions jeopardizes the safety of everyone else on the roadways.

Calling 911 activates a comprehensive emergency response system.

Another reason why driving to the ER can delay your treatment is because EMS teams are in frequent contact with staff at the hospital. After assessing your condition, the paramedic contacts the ER to advise the staff of the medical interventions you may need upon arrival. If you’re experiencing a life-threatening problem such as a heart attack or stroke, the ER team can prepare to treat you as soon as you arrive.

West Hills Hospital is the leading destination for patients with medical emergencies in the West Hills area. With our world-renowned Grossman Burn Center, Accredited Chest Pain Center, and Approved Stroke Center, our state-of-the-art hospital is fully equipped to save lives and improve outcomes for patients with all sorts of medical problems. A registered nurse is available at (818) 676-4321 to answer questions of a non-emergent nature.


How to Help Your Child Care for a Rash

Most skin rashes are relatively harmless, although they can cause uncomfortable itching. Still, it’s always a good idea to consult a pediatrician at your community hospital, especially if this is your child’s first rash or if you’re not sure whether the rash is serious. Here at West Hills Hospital, our physicians are committed to providing high-quality, child-friendly care.

Know When to Seek Medical Care

Sometimes, skin rashes can indicate a serious medical problem that requires emergency care. If your child has a fever, it may be time for a trip to the ER. Other red flags include the appearance of tiny red dots that do not fade when pressed, the development of bruises not caused by injuries, and rash-related symptoms that last longer than a week. If you’re ever unsure of whether your child should be evaluated by a doctor, it’s best to err on the side of caution and call your family physician or visit the ER.

Treat the Skin Gently

If a physician has seen your child, follow his or her discharge instructions carefully. Otherwise, you can help your child feel more comfortable by treating the skin gently. Draw a bath for your child with warm—not hot—water and add a few cups of oat flour. You can easily make oat flour at home by adding a few cups of uncooked oatmeal to a food processor and pulsing until finely ground. After your child bathes, pat the skin dry gently with a soft towel. Try to leave the rash exposed to air as much as possible.

Discourage Scratching

Skin rashes can be itchy, but your child should try to avoid scratching. You can reduce the itchiness of a rash by keeping your child in a cool area out of the sun. Dress him or her in cotton clothing that has been laundered with hypoallergenic detergent. Keeping the skin well-moisturized can also help your child feel more comfortable.

From skin rashes to broken bones, you can find the compassionate care your child needs at West Hills Hospital. Our hospital is proud to serve West Hills-area families with unparalleled maternity services, emergency care, specialized burn care, and cancer care. Parents can call (818) 676-4321 to speak with a registered nurse at our hospital.


What to Do in the Event of an Eye Injury

During the warmer months, emergency care physicians tend to treat eye injuries more frequently than in other months. It’s a wise decision to wear protective eyewear when using power tools, operating lawn equipment, or playing certain sports. Emergency care doctors strongly recommend that parents keep children away from areas where tools and machinery are being used. If an eye injury does occur despite these precautions, West Hills Hospital is always open to provide care.

Chemical Irritants
When chemical irritants get in the eye, they often cause painful burning and stinging. In most cases, acidic substances cause the most redness and burning, yet can usually be flushed out easily. Alkali substances might not cause as much redness or pain, yet can lead to very serious eye health problems. When the eye is exposed to chemicals, the first step you should take is to flush out the eye with lots of sterile saline solution or plain water. Then, go to the ER. As you’ll learn by watching this featured video, emergency care physicians can check for serious eye injuries and visual impairment.

Eye Contusions
An eye contusion is also called a black eye. Although black eyes typically fade within a week or two, it’s best to see an emergency care doctor to make sure there is no internal damage. Do not take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for the pain, since these can worsen the bleeding. Instead, apply an ice pack wrapped in a clean towel for 20 minutes at a time, every one to two hours. Do not apply pressure against the eye.

Foreign Objects
Most foreign objects that get into the eye are dust particles or eyelashes. You can remove them by irrigating the eye with sterile saline solution. Blink frequently to dislodge the object and avoid rubbing your eyes. Less commonly, penetrating objects like shards of glass may enter the eye. Do not attempt to remove an object that has penetrated the eye. Instead, call 911 right away.

If your child sustains an eye injury, don’t hesitate to call 911 or rush your child to the hospital. At West Hills Hospital, our emergency care department is available around the clock to respond to every type of medical emergency. General questions about our hospital services may be directed to a registered nurse in West Hills at (818) 676-4321.


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