About 800 people from around Mountain View and other Peninsula and South Bay cities came to El Camino Hospital's 50th anniversary celebration over the weekend.
At the afternoon event on Saturday, Oct. 15, community members were given a peek into the inner workings of the hospital and had the chance to talk to medical professionals about serious conditions, such as cancer, or simply learn how to improve their eating habits.
Rob Honma looked on with a smile as his son, Jeremy, manipulated the robotic arms of the multi-million dollar da Vinci Surgical System in the parking lot outside of El Camino Hospital on Saturday.
Honma had brought his son to the hospital's 50th anniversary celebration in the hopes of glimpsing just such a piece of technology. "Most people will never be able tot touch this," he said of the machine.
As someone who is interested in healthcare technology, Honma may have had more fun than his son at the celebration -- a fair of sorts, with live music, games and demonstrations of some of the latest services El Camino has to offer. Still, he did his best to encourage interest from his son, quizzing him on robotics terminology after he stepped away from the machine.
Jeremy, for his part, said the da Vinci was inspiring, even though he isn't sure he would ever want to be a surgeon. "It shows how far technology has come," he said. "It shows you that if other people can do this, you can do it too."
"Today is about celebrating the legacy of El Camino Hospital," newly appointed CEO Tomi Ryba said of the day. It is a legacy that has lately been inextricably linked to technological development.
In addition to giving the community a hands-on trial of the da Vinci system, the hospital announced its newly formed partnership with PulsePoint, a Pleasanton-based foundation that recently launched an iPhone application designed to save lives through crowdsourcing.
To download the app, go to the iPhone App Store and type in "fire department," then chose the app labeled "San Ramon Valley Fire Department."
Once downloaded, the app can be signaled by 911 dispatchers fielding reports of heart attacks. People with the app who are within a short distance of a heart attack victim will be notified of the victim's location and may choose to go help by performing CPR on the victim. While the only department currently participating in the CPR alert system is the San Ramon Valley Fire Department, Matthew J. Stamey, chairman of PulsePoint said the alert system will begin rolling out in San Jose in about four months and move on to other South Bay and Peninsula cities in the following months.
CPR, the app's makers explain, is very easy to perform and can go a long way toward keeping a person alive until paramedics arrive with more powerful tools and drugs that can be used to revive someone suffering from cardiac arrest.
Brian Huebner, an 11-year-old who came to the celebration with his grandparents, learned how to perform basic CPR while at the festival.
"I knew about it before, but I never knew how to do it," Brian said, adding that he is glad to be familiar with the chest-compression first-aid procedure. It might come in handy some day, he said.