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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Why you should talk to your doctor and why doctor should listen


courtesy of University of Pennsylvania archives
Dr. William Osler, co-founder of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, advocated a strong doctor-patient relationship.

“The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient with the disease.”

This quote is from the renowned physician and teacher Sir William Osler, co-founder of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who lived and practiced from the mid-19th to the early 20th century. During his time, antibiotics were unknown, surgery was still an extremely dangerous proposition and public health measures such as hand washing and the importance of a clean water supply were just beginning to take hold. The wide array of diagnostic methods and treatments we take for granted today were mostly nonexistent.

Yet Osler understood and taught that a strong doctor-patient relationship – whether achieved within minutes or over a period of years – was crucial to diagnosing and treating illness. He knew that it was in fact the cornerstone of outstanding medical care.

“Listen to your patients,” he advised. “They are telling you the diagnosis.”

In today’s high-tech medical world, with its ever-expanding litany of blood tests and imaging studies (not to mention countless medications), it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that a doctor’s most powerful tool remains listening to patients. This becomes particularly challenging in a seemingly always-rushed environment, where time is in short supply and the tendency is often to keep things moving in assembly line fashion.

Yet as physicians, we still rely on our patients to tell us their stories. Given the chance, patients often paint a picture to guide their doctors toward the proper diagnosis and treatment. Having patients feel comfortable enough to do this is a precious trust that doctors cannot take for granted.

Part of every medical school and residency curriculum today includes instruction on patient-interviewing skills and a newer focus on developing and maintaining a strong patient-provider relationship. Many health-care organizations, such as the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, also conduct formal training and observation programs to promote solid and enduring patient-provider bonds. No blood test or expensive piece of diagnostic machinery will ever replace this relationship as the engine that drives exceptional medical care.

This is why I believe that having a primary-care doctor is so important to your overall health. Knowing and trusting your provider makes it easier for you to give us a deeper, more comprehensive picture of who you are. It also allows us to better reflect this in your chart for when you need to see other providers.

Our job in treating you, the patient – either preventively or for a specific illness or injury – requires that we know you as a human being. And no two human beings are completely alike, even if they suffer from the same disease or disorder.

Osler, the grand old father of modern medicine, understood this better than most. His words to his fellow physicians about not forgetting such a basic tenet still ring true today, nearly 100 years after his death: “Every patient you see is a lesson in much more than the malady from which he suffers.”

Dr. Robert Russo is an internal medicine physician at the Redwood City Center of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation and column editor Arian Dasmalchi provide this monthly column.

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