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News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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