Monday, August 11, 2014

Overlake Patient's Story Inspires Huge Increase in Number of Milk Donors

On August 5th, The Keller Group and Overlake Medical Center coordinated media interviews with Robin Ballard, mother to 32-week old Leif, and Madeleine Williams, a nurse who donated breast milk to Overlake's new Mother's Milk Depot. 

Leif was born premature at 28 weeks, and has been in the NICU at Overlake since his delivery nearly five weeks ago. Because Leif was born premature, Robin's breast milk had not yet come in, so he received donated breast milk in order to get the crucial nutrition he needed to survive. 

All four Seattle-based television news stations were there to capture Robin, Leif and Madeleine's unique connection to one another and share the trio's story. As a result of the coverage for the Mother's Milk Depot on King 5, KIRO 7, KOMO 4 and Q13 Fox News, the Denver Milk Bank received 26 new inquiries from potential donors last week.  That's a 225 percent increase over the total number of donors to Overlake's Depot in the past eight months! 

The Keller Group and Overlake Medical Center could not be happier with this outpouring of support from members of the Pacific Northwest community - we're incredibly thankful local media showed such interest in sharing Robin and Leif's story and are pleased to announce doing so has inspired many women to explore donating their own breast milk. 

Donated breast milk provides life-saving nutrition to premature babies and there is currently a critical shortage of donated human milk. With 60,000 low birth weight infants born every year who need donated breast milk for nourishment to survive, this huge increase in donors is truly life-saving.

Thank you again to Robin and Madeleine for sharing your stories!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Overlake Medical Center Opens Mother's Milk Depot

The Women's Clinic at Overlake Medical Center has opened a Mother's Milk Depot, where moms can donate their breast milk to infants in need. Overlake is one of only a few hospitals in Western Washington to offer a local donation location to mothers in the greater Seattle area.

"We're very excited to bring this new, vital service to our community," said Lynne Sanders, manager of Overlake Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. "Our top priority is providing evidence-based treatment and best practice to those in our care, including the hospital's youngest patients in our NICU." 

Today, The Keller Group got the privilege to see the impact of the breast milk donated to the Mother's Milk Depot firsthand when our staff visited 32 week old Leif in Overlake Medical Center's NICU.

Leif was born premature at 28 weeks, and has been in the NICU at Overlake for almost 5 weeks. When he was born, Leif's mother's breast milk had not come in yet, so he received donated breast milk in order to get the crucial nutrition that he needed to survive. 

Twenty-seven-year-old Madeleine Williams, a donor and mother to her own 7-month-old son, is hoping more mothers will donate surplus breast milk. She recently donated more than 300 ounces of surplus breast milk to Overlake's new milk depot. Williams works in Overlake Medical Center's Emergency Department as a nurse. 

"We've been so blessed with a healthy child," Williams said; but she also knows there are families who are not able to produce milk for their premature infants. "There are babies out there who are dying because they don't have this nourishing milk that they need for their bodies. I feel so lucky to be able to give such a unique gift," she continued. 

With the opening of its Mother's Milk Depot, Overlake hopes to make it more convenient for moms to donate and serve its infants. Last year, Overlake's NICU used more than 1,000 ounces of donated human milk to treat critically ill premature infants. 

"Donating breast milk is a true labor of love that can provide life-saving nutrition and immune support to fragile, premature babies," said Mother's Milk Depot manager Sandra Salmon, RN, who specializes in mom and baby care as a part of the Overlake Medical Clinics Women's Clinic. "With the opening of our milk depot, we're looking for mothers who would like to join our efforts to provide the best support possible to these infants." 

Frequently Asked Questions about Mother's Milk Depots: 

1. What is a milk depot? - A milk depot is a controlled collection point where healthy, lactating women can donate their surplus breast milk for premature babies. The milk collection, shipping, processing and distribution are overseen by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), an organization consisting of many banks and collection depots throughout the United States and Canada. The Overlake Mother's Milk Depot partners with the Mother's Milk Bank of Colorado, which provides the necessary screening and blood testing at no cost to donating moms. 

2. Why should moms donate their breast milk? - Donated breast milk provides life-saving nutrition to premature babies. In the United States, there is a critical shortage of donated human milk. According to HMBANA, there 60,000 low birth weight infants born every year who need donated breast milk for life-saving nourishment. 

3. Why is human breast milk important to pre-term infants? - According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:
"The benefits of feeding human milk to preterm infants are realized not only in the NICU, but also in the fewer hospital readmissions for illness in the three years after hospital discharge. The potent benefits of human milk are such that all preterm infants should receive human milk. Milk from the infant's own mother, fresh or previously frozen, should be the primary diet, and it should be fortified appropriately for the infant born weighing less than 1.5 kg [3.3 lbs]. If the mother's milk is unavailable despite significant lactation support, pasteurized donor milk should be used." 

4. How does the process work? - Moms who have been screened and accepted as prospective donors can come to Overlake Women's Clinic to drop off their frozen breast milk and blood work to be tested at their outpatient lab. The milk is temporarily stored in a deep freeze state before being shipped, along with blood samples, to Mother's Milk Bank in Colorado for processing. By providing this service, Overlake spares busy, nursing moms the task of packaging and shipping their donated milk. 

5. Who can donate? - Healthy lactating moms with infants under 1 year of age can be screened to be a donor. 

For more information on donating breast milk at Overlake's Mother's Milk Depot please call: (425) 635-6150 and/or visit

Local media was on site to capture the story of Leif and Overlake's new Mother's Milk Depot, check it out by clicking on the links below:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cardiac Survivor Celebrates Paramedics Who Came to Her Aid

Last February, Bellevue resident Heather Kelley was on her way to the Seahawks' Super Bowl celebration at CenturyLink Field when her heart stopped. Yesterday, after nearly six months, Kelley was reunited with her paramedic rescuers for the first time during Seahawks training camp at Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC).

Kelley and her two daughters were among the estimated 700,000 Seahawks fans who flooded downtown Seattle to celebrate the return of the newly minted Super Bowl champions on Feb. 5, 2014, but the trio never got the chance to celebrate with the team and their fellow 12s.  Just outside CenturyLink field, Heather collapsed from a sudden cardiac arrest. Her two daughters immediately took action - 14-year-old Taylor called 911 and 15-year-old Ryan began performing CPR. When Paramedics arrived, they had to shock Heather's heart three times before getting a heartbeat. She was transported to Swedish Hospital where she later had a defibrillator implanted to help start her heart, should it suddenly stop again in the future. 

My near-death experience has deepened my sense of gratitude,” Kelley said. “I will never see a Medic One vehicle again without remembering that they saved my life and allowed me to continue being a mom to my beautiful daughters.”

Yesterday, Kelley, her husband and her two daughters reunited with first responders including Christina Dixon (pictured with Heather Kelley, left) and David Van Velthuyzen, the two paramedics who restarted Kelley’s heart. The family also got the chance to spend time with the team they were hoping to celebrate last February, attending training camp and meeting Seahawks defensive end Greg Scruggs.

“We’re proud of Heather’s daughters and the first responders who helped bring her back,” said Jan Sprake, executive director of the Medic One Foundation. “Our region has achieved a cardiac arrest survival rate of 62 percent thanks to our strong paramedic teams and the training at their disposal, but surviving a cardiac arrest all starts with the community and their steps to first activate Medic One and initiate CPR until our teams can arrive.”

Thanks to research and training funded by the Medic One Foundation, King County boasts the nation’s highest survival rate for witnessed sudden cardiac arrest.  Heather's oldest daughter, Ryan, learned in school that CPR cannot hurt someone, it can only help them.  In an interview yesterday, Ryan explained this knowledge gave her the confidence to perform CPR that fateful day in February - a choice that played an instrumental role in saving her mother's life.  Research that supports the development of educational programs like the one at Ryan Kelley's school is funded in large part by the Medic One Foundation, a local non-profit organization that ensures the quality of our region’s pre-hospital emergency care. 

The Medic One Foundation also funds paramedic training programs for first responders in the Pacific Northwest region.  The UW Paramedic Training program is among the best in the country, requiring 2,500 hours of instruction from University of Washington physicians - more than twice the number of hours required by most programs. Each student also averages 700 patient contacts during training, a number more than three times the national average.

To donate to the Medic One Foundation and support a lifesaving organization, click here.

Local media was on site to capture the Kelley family's emotional reunion with the paramedics who saved Heather's life - check out more coverage of this amazing story through the links below!


Women Take Control of Breast Health at Overlake Mammo Party

Overlake Medical Center hosted a group of women at a mammography party on Thursday, July 10th. Overlake offers mammography parties to encourage women to receive annual mammograms. While most women consider annual mammogram screenings to be an unpleasant chore, mammography parties make the patient experience one women can look forward to.

Each mammography party includes a spa-like environment for a group of women (family and friends invited by the hostess) to join together so they may relax and enjoy wine and cheese or tea and cookies while at the same time receiving their annual screening mammogram.

Early detection is critical to long term breast health and is vital to the successful treatment of breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women. Statistics indicate that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. If detected early, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 97 percent. Women over age 40 should have a mammogram every year, and women between the ages of 20 and 39 should have a mammogram every three years.

Overlake is pleased to offer the best technology for its patients, 3D Digital Mammography-a breakthrough technology poised to revolutionize how breast cancer is detected today. Overlake chose this breast imaging system based on its excellent image quality and patient safety. The ergonomic design ensures a more comfortable experience for patients. The diagnostic tool also supports more confident diagnoses by radiologists, saving valuable time, reducing the need for follow-up imaging and allowing patients to get answers faster.

In order to be a hostess or an attendee of a mammography party you must be at least 40 years of age and have no current symptoms (no lumps, bumps, pain, etc).

To schedule a party call (425) 688-5985 and one of Overlake's mammography coordinators will be happy to schedule your party. The hostess will be able to schedule the time and location most convenient for the party members. The coordinator will need the name and telephone number of each of the guests so she may call and obtain pertinent health and insurance information.

For more information, please visit

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New WGU Washington Scholarship Helps Local Students Earn Master's Degrees in Business

WGU Washington is offering a $2,000 scholarship to professionals looking to continue their education and professional development in business. The Master's Degree in Business Scholarship is designed for new WGU Washington students working toward a business-related master's degree. 

"In business, a master's degree can provide a foundation for career advancement," said Brian Stading, president of Centurylink's northwest region. "WGU Washington has proven to provide graduates with the knowledge and skills to succeed, and that's exactly what top employers are looking for in today's environment."

"WGU Washington's flexible model is ideal for busy, working adults interested in advancing in their careers," said WGU Washington Chancellor Jean Floten. "Our affordable, flat-rate tuition is already a good value, but these scholarships will go a long way to helping recipients earn a high-quality, university degree." 

The Master's Degree in Business Scholarship is competitive, a student needs to go through a series of steps and meet certain requirements in order to qualify. Applicants must submit an application for admission and be accepted to the university, submit their previous transcripts and complete an interview with a scholarship counselor. Eligible applicants must be newly enrolled in, or in the admissions process for, one of the following programs:
  • Master of Business Administration
  • MBA Information Technology Management
  • MBA Healthcare Management
  • M.S. Management and Leadership
  • M.S. Accounting
The five master's degrees in business were created for working adults looking to further their education in a way that fits with their lives. The state-endorsed, online university uses technology that allows students to study, complete assignments and take exams on their own time and at their own pace. 

The scholarship provides $500 per six-month term for as many as four terms, up to a $2,000 total value. Scholarships will be awarded based on, among other considerations, the student’s academic record, readiness for online study and current competency. The application deadline is Oct. 31, 2014.  

Click here for more information about the Master's in Business Scholarship.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sclater Architects share insights on Bellevue Collection Expansion

On Thursday, June 26, Alan Sclater and Craig Kasman of Sclater Architects gave a tour of the entire Bellevue Collection. Downtown Bellevue currently has eight major projects under construction, including the Lincoln Square expansion that broke ground on June 11. Many cannot imagine Bellevue being anything but the urban hub that it is today. However, in the 1940s, what is now the city’s downtown core was used as farmland. Sclater Architects work on the Bellevue Collection has been a major catalyst in the areas transformation from rural land to metropolitan hub. 

During the walk, Sclater said that he never anticipated how big the Bellevue Collection would become. The Lincoln Square expansion is an exciting project for Sclater. One of the towers will include a 244-room hotel and 250 high-end apartments, while the second tower will house 700,000 square feet of office space and 177,000 square feet of retail. The expansion will encompass a total of 1.5 million square feet. 

Citing the fact Kemper Development Company (which oversees much of the development in downtown Bellevue) likes tenants who are “unique and special,” Sclater said the new retail tower will host more luxury stores.

 According to an article in 425 magazine, those who are curious to see what the expansion will look like upon its completion can visit The Studio, a high-tech sales office where state-of-the-art monitors and precise 3-D models illustrate what the Collection and downtown Bellevue will look like when it is finished. 

"We never thought it would get this big," Sclater said during the tour. "When we first started, we just wanted to build out to the street, just wanted to build an urban environment."

For more in depth looks at Sclater Architects’ expansion of Bellevue, check out these articles:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Overlake Medical Center Targets Earlier Detection of Lung Cancer with Affordable Screening Alternative

Overlake Medical Center launched a new lung cancer screening program aimed to help identify lung cancer in its earlier stages. The hospital is hoping to increase the odds of surviving lung cancer with earlier detection. 

"Unfortunately, many patients we see are already in the later stages of lung cancer, when the chances of successful treatment are significantly reduced," said Todd Freudenberger, MD, an Overlake specialist in pulmonary medicine and one of the hospital's leading lung cancer experts. "With earlier detection, we know we can make a significant difference in the lives of our patients and tilt the odds back in their favor." 

"The discouraging reality about lung cancer is early stages of the cancer are not easily detected without such screenings," said Dr. Freudenberger. "Patients become aware of the disease when symptoms become apparent. Too often, this signals a later, less treatable, stage of disease. We know we can catch this earlier with the right screening technology."

The new lung cancer screening program uses an affordable, low-dose CT scan that uses only 10 to 30 percent as much radiation compared to a standard-dose CT scan. 

An Advisory panel to Medicare convened in May to discuss the low-dose CT screening for lung cancer and assess whether Medicare should cover the screening in high risk individuals. The panel voted against recommending national Medicare coverage for the annual screening for lung cancer.

“Having Medicare and other insurers cover screening would clearly save lives,” said Dr. Freudenberger. Overlake's goal is to keep low-dose CT screening as affordable as possible until these payers decide to offer coverage. Overlake Medical Center's low-dose lung cancer screening costs $199.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer diagnosed in men and women. Lung cancer causes more deaths in the United States than breast, colon, pancreas, and prostate cancer combined. 

Should a screening reveal a patient does have lung cancer, Overlake Medical Center's Cancer Center provides the latest and most technologically advanced methods of treatment including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted drug therapy. 

Overlake's unique lung cancer program is distinguished by state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities, leading-edge treatments and a skilled, interdisciplinary staff.

For more information about Overlake Medical Center's lung cancer program click here.

You can also read a more in depth story in the Puget Sound Business Journal!