University of California Davis Medical Center
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I wish every doctors office was as good as this one. Check in was less than 10 seconds and our care was 100% authentic. Everyone there obviously shows a true interest in patient well being. The spine center office is absolutely fantastic and I cant thank them enough for everything they do.
If you are contemplating surgery/treatment at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center/UC Davis Medical Center, there are some important things you should know:
1.Your surgery may end up costing 2 to 3 times more here than at other facilities. It would be wise to get an estimate beforehand. If you are under-insured or if you do not have health insurance, you may want to consider treatment elsewhere.
2. Inexperienced medical students may be involved in your case. You will not know their exact level of participation in your surgery. Surgery reports/medical records are written to conceal this fact. Your surgery may be longer than necessary because you are, essentially, a training tool.
3. Your chosen surgeon might only be present for, "key portions" of your surgery and not necessarily your entire surgery. It is not uncommon for teaching hospitals to double-book surgeons, so it is possible that your chosen surgeon may be participating in your surgery and another patient's procedure simultaneously. You won't be made aware of this potential scenario at your pre-op appointment.
4. The nursing staff quality in the hospital can be hit or miss. Some nurses are unsympathetic and short-tempered, and this can make for a very difficult hospital stay.
5. Medical staff attend/teach classes certain days of the week and, as a result, the hospital can be under-staffed at times to the detriment of the patients.
6. UC Davis offers very little in the way of resources or emotional support for cancer patients. This is clearly not an area of focus for them as is research, clinical trials, fundraising, teaching, image promotion, etc. They do not have cancer nurse navigators like other medical foundations such as Dignity Health. Their Cancer Resource Center is a small self-serve type room with some limited literature and computer work stations. All information here can be also be accessed on the internet or by calling the American Cancer Society.
7. UC Davis neglects to understand that adult cancer patients (and their families) are in just as much need of compassion, nurturing, and thoughtful care as pediatric cancer patients. Cancer can be a frightening experience at any age.
8. Post-operative follow-up care is surprisingly minimal, even for those patients with serious medical conditions that require continued care. Once you are out of sight, you are out of mind to the UC Davis Health System. You will; however, be contacted long after your surgery/treatment for financial donations and to participate in various studies. In that regard, UCD does not forget about you.
9. It would be wise to have a family member or friend act as your eyes, ears, and overall advocate during your entire surgery experience. Do not automatically assume that the staff at the UC Davis Hospital have your best interests at heart. Keep in mind that you will be just one of dozens and dozens of patients being processed through the surgery system that particular day.
10. UCD has a high infection and patient readmission rate. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that UCD is a teaching facility and a county hospital; however, this is still a significant factor patients should take into consideration when choosing where to have surgery.
I regret that my surgeon, Dr. Michael Campbell, did not put as much time and effort into my post-op care as he put into selling his skills and UCD's merits at my pre-op. I now have to go to elsewhere for cancer care (including routine ultrasounds) because UCD lacks the resources and, frankly, the desire to help me further. I've also had to spend quite a bit of time amending my inaccurate and biased medical records.
When I chose UCD for my cancer treatment, I thought I had found an ally in my battle against cancer. I thought UCD would have my best interests at heart and would provide me with compassionate and comprehensive care. I couldn't have been more wrong. I've spent more time and energy battling UCD (and trying to recover from my treatment here) than the cancer itself.
On the morning of my surgery when I was having second thoughts, rather than respecting my wishes or calling a time-out to regroup, my medical team coerced me into the procedure anyway. No one noticed that I hadn't signed an advanced directive after I had requested it. They couldn't keep the oxygen mask on my face on the operating table because I was hyperventilating. The anesthesiology resident disconnected the tube from the mask and tried to push the tube into my mouth. I thought she was going to break my teeth. That was the last thing I recall.
When I awoke from anesthesia and learned the results of my surgery, the nursing staff criticized me for crying. I couldn't get water, pain meds, or assistance with the restroom the day after my surgery because the hospital was reportedly understaffed.
Other than one brief post-op appointment with Dr. Campbell, I had little to no other care, resources, or contact from UCD in the weeks after my surgery. Once I was out of sight, I was out of mind. Dr. Campbell never informed me of my cancer stage and he denied my request for a referral for radiation treatment right after he told me that I should consider radio active iodine.
When it comes to emotional support, keep your expectations low. UCD does not practice integrative whole patient care. Dr. Campbell acted as though I was asking for something unreasonable or excessive when I requested additional time off from work at my post-op appointment to psychologically process the final pathology (lymph node metastasis) and to get a game plan for radiation treatment. At the time of my surgery, UCD's Cancer Resource Center (a tiny room located inside the Cancer Center) didn't have any information on my type of cancer/endocrine disorders. The Resource Center is staffed with part time volunteers and not trained medical professionals. UCD doesn't have cancer nurse navigators or counselors of any kind. Their social worker will refer you back to the Resource Center if you call. UCD's Cancer Center website makes it look like they offer more resources and support for their patients than they actually do.
Three years after my surgery, I'm now left on my own trying to figure out what to do with the cancerous lymph nodes I still have that can't be easily treated with surgery or radiation. Dr. Campbell told me that potential complications from further lymph node surgery could leave me disabled. He admitted that he does very few of these types of procedures yet he couldn't (or wouldn't) refer me to another surgeon with more expertise (not even for a consult). I have no choice but to look for cancer-care outside of the UC Davis health system and I'm left wondering exactly what part of my experience here at the Comprehensive Cancer Center was supposed to have been, "comprehensive."
The bottom line: Don't be too influenced by the positive reviews here, by a smooth-talking surgeon, or by UCD's self-aggrandizing image. I made those mistakes. Do yourself a favor and shop around. There are better surgeons and better facilities out there. There are certainly more compassionate and less profit-focused places than UCD if you have a serious illness. Having cancer is hard. UCD will only make your situation even harder.
Some of the best care in Northern California... IF you have the right insurance
Loved it! Will definitely stay again on my next trip through Sac. Hope the pool and hot tub renovation if finished on my next visit.