Mountain View Voice

News - July 5, 2013

Women's hospital celebrating 20 years

by Nick Veronin

The first women's hospital to open its doors in Northern California is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Women's Health at El Camino Hospital, a special wing of the hospital, opened in the Orchard Pavilion building on the hospital campus in June of 1993.

The original focus of the hospital was mainly maternal services, obstetrics and gynecology, but the center has expanded its focus to include cardiovascular care, mental health and bone health, according to Women's Health Executive Director Michele van Zuiden.

Zuiden told the Voice that women face different health problems as they age and often experience health issues differently than men.

"When women suffer from a heart attack, they have different signs and symptoms than men," she said, noting that men often experience what is known as the "Hollywood heart attack" — sudden, crushing chest pain coming out of the blue. "Women often have much more subtle symptoms," she explained — such as fatigue and only mild numbness in an arm.

As the health center recently changed its name from Women's Hospital to Women's Health, it has been expanding its efforts to educate the community about things like this.

Women also suffer depression at a higher rate than men, Zuiden said, mentioning that Women's Health at El Camino Hospital has a "very robust behavioral health program."

The specialized center has been regularly recognized by the magazine "Bay Area Parent" as the best place in the area to have a baby.

Zuiden said she believes this is due to a number of factors, including caring, attentive staff and state-of-the-art technology.

A recently completed focus group study of mothers who gave birth at Women's Health said they were very satisfied with their stay, according to Zuiden. "What they talked about a lot was the service and caring of our nurses."

Women's Health at El Camino Hospital also has one of the most advanced neonatal facilities in the area.

All of this contribute to the high number of women who choose to have their baby at ECH, she said.

Since the women's hospital was founded in 1993, doctors there have delivered about 85,000 children — about half of the entire number of babies delivered at El Camino Hospital since it opened its doors in 1961. "We are very proud of that," she said.

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