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Andre: Navy Veteran and Client Care Supervisor

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Andre has been with ACCESS since September 2014 and immediately excelled in his position with our Client Care department, earning him a promotion to supervisor! Prior to joining ACCESS, Andre was in the Navy for eight years, with a tour in Iraq where he worked Humvee duty, providing security for supply trucks and worked as a Detainee Operative. We absolutely adore Andre and his kind, sensitive nature and wanted to talk about what brought him to ACCESS!

How did Andre decide to work in veterinary medicine?
Andre already had a full-time job and was looking for a part-time position to supplement his income when his friend, an ACCESS employee, mentioned our San Fernando Valley location was hiring. He “fell into” veterinary medicine and hasn’t looked back!

Why did he choose Client Care?
Andre was in the Navy for eight years. He was stationed in Virginia, Florida, Oregon, and Seattle, in addition to a two year tour in Iraq and an additional two years in Bahrain. He had worked with the Ordinance Men until he broke his hand and was placed in the office with the administrative team and found that he really enjoyed it! He became a Yeoman, or Office Supervisor and is able to apply the skills he learned there to his current role at ACCESS.

What is his favorite animal and why?
Andre grew up around animals, always having pets at home and loves cats even though he’s allergic to them. He also has a soft spot for dogs, especially his black Chihuahua, Star, who he found four years ago on the streets—they’ve been inseparable ever since!

Does Andre collect anything?
Andre saves all of his movie and concert tickets!

What is his favorite meal and the best thing that he cooks?
Surprisingly, with all of his experience in the Navy, Andre found time to attend culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu! He likes to apply the skills he acquired there to whip up eggs benedict with homemade hollandaise!

What is the most challenging case Andre has ever dealt with?
Andre is very empathetic toward pet owners who have to say goodbye to their pets and finds euthanasia to be emotionally challenging. Andre had to make the difficult decision to put his own pet to sleep several years ago and understands how hard the process is, though he takes comfort in knowing he was able to be there for both the pet and their family.

What is his favorite procedure to see or do?
Andre enjoys observing frontal sinus trephinations—a procedure in which a doctor will temporarily remove the front part of an animal’s skull to gain access to an infected part of the sinuses. From there, they administer a strong anti-fungal cream to the entire sinus cavity. The entire procedure can last hours, with great results! Andre is fascinated by this, as when left untreated, the fungus can eat through the bone and eventually corrode the brain. With this treatment however, the patient has a better chance at survival.

Andre

ACCESS Does Continuing Ed in South Bay!

Dr. Domenico Bianco, our Internal Medicine specialist, kicked off our lecture series in the South Bay with a talk on IMHA! We were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet all of the doctors and technicians who attended and look forward to our next talk in September!

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From South Central to South Bay

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Gabe (pictured above with Dr. Sarah Zimmerman) is an RVT who grew up in South Central and started working with ACCESS in September 2013. Since then, he has used hard work, skill, and determination to become the Technician and Purchasing Manager for ACCESS – South Bay. We’ve known Gabe for quite a while, but wanted to learn more about him!

How did Gabe decide to work in veterinary medicine?
Gabe used to be the IT Manager for an elementary school. One day, while he was creating barcodes for new textbooks, one of the teachers asked if he knew of anyone who would want to pick up overnight shifts at a local veterinary hospital.

Gabe started out there part-time and within a year became a full-time employee who was managing all of the supply purchases.

Why did he choose the emergency room?
The general practice Gabe started out with functioned as an emergency room overnight, which is where he developed a passion for emergency medicine! “I thrive on controlled chaos and love the caseload of the ER, so this was a natural choice for me.”

What brought Gabe to ACCESS?
After the initial practice, Gabe had moved on to general practice. After about six years there, he realized he missed caring for critically-ill patients and being exposed to unique and specialized surgical procedures, so he came to ACCESS – Los Angeles!

What is his favorite animal and why?
Gabe adores Pitbulls! He loves their loyalty, the bonds they have with their owners, and their goofy demeanors.

Does Gabe collect anything?
Gabe has over 1,000 football cards, including rookie cards for some of his favorite players, Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning, and Penny Hardaway!

What would he be doing if he weren’t an RVT?
Outside of veterinary medicine, Gabe had dreams of owning a body shop and working on cars.

What is Gabe’s favorite meal and the best thing he cooks?
He loves to grill, but don’t ask this connoisseur for his favorite dish—he can’t narrow it down!

What is his favorite procedure to see or do?
Gabe generally likes orthopedic surgeries, but really enjoys SUB placements, and thoracotomy procedures.

What is one thing Gabe wishes pet owners would start doing?
“Become properly educated on pet ownership before you get a pet. Most families see animals as a source of protection or income instead of a new addition to the family and don’t know about the proper medical care needed for a pet.”

What does he consider to be his greatest achievement?
Gabe prides himself on his hard work, so it’s no surprise that he’s most proud of becoming the Technician and Purchasing Manager for our South Bay location! Gabe is happy to be able to start the hospital from the ground up and really see it grow.

Outside of the hospital, Gabe enjoys spending time with friends and family and listening to music. We’re thrilled to have been able to see him grow into a management position and we’re even more excited to see what the future holds for him.

Pictured below from left to right: Gabe, Greg and Raul.

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Lynx Love

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Miko is a Lynx kitten who came to see Dr. Annie Lo at ACCESS – Los Angeles for an orthopedic issue. In addition to a snazzy new bandage, he received many hugs and snuggles from our staff, namely Jessica, one of the RVTs in our surgery department!

 

Miko-Tech

Titus and Dr. Buks…

Say hello to Titus! Titus belongs to Heather, one of the members of the surgery team at ACCESS – San Fernando Valley. He came in to Meet Dr. Buks and get a quick check up…and of course, endless snuggles!

Titus

Meet Esmeralda…

Esmeralda

Esmeralda is one of our incredible RVTs at ACCESS – Los Angeles. Her calm, unusual, and collected demeanor perfectly accompanies her great sense of humor and awesome art skills! Esmeralda has been with us since April 2014 and we wanted to learn more about her.

How did Esmeralda decide to work in veterinary medicine?
Preferring pets to people, it was an easy choice for Esmeralda! She has always bonded easily with animals, so caring for them was an obvious choice when picking her career.

Why did she choose the emergency room?
When she was in school, Esmeralda learned about all of the types of places a Registered Veterinary Technician could work and one stood out—she was drawn to emergencies. During her externships, her passion was confirmed! Esmeralda really enjoys caring for patients after the initial triage and loves being able to nurse them back to health, especially getting patients to eat! She also takes a liking to creating the best environment for her patients, whether it be by intricate bandage designs, or crafts, and is known around the hospital for it!

What brought Esmeralda to ACCESS?
After school, she started working at a specialty hospital, but wanted more. She then found ACCESS and was happy with her placement in our Emergency & Critical Care Department.

What is her favorite animal and why?
Esmeralda loves cats and rats! She likes that they’re quirky and social in their own way.

What would Esmeralda be doing if she weren’t a tech?
An embalmer or pathology assistant! Esmeralda enjoys learning and caring for those in need and these professions help provide important insight for the loved ones of the departed.

What is her favorite meal and what is the best thing she cooks?
Esmeralda loves pizza and can whip up a great vegan cupcake (though it has been a while), or simple serving of French fries!

What is the most challenging case Esmeralda has ever had?
“Table patients,” from a personal, and observational perspective. Esmeralda finds table patients, animals who are severely injured or sick and on life support, to be very challenging given their advanced illnesses and intensity of their treatments.

What is her favorite procedure to see or do?
Necropsies! Esmeralda loves the science, and sometimes, mystery behind it.
Esmeralda is also fond of observing pacemaker implantations done by our board-certified cardiologists. The technology, process, and life-saving ability is awe-inspiring!

What is one thing Esmeralda wishes pet owners would start doing?
Be more understanding, trust the knowledge of the veterinarians and technicians, and go in with an open mind. The staff’s goal is not only to save your pet and nurse them to health, but to also educate pet owners.

What does she consider to be her greatest achievement?
“Raising a wild son and becoming an RVT.” Esmeralda is close with her family and finds fulfillment in watching her young son grow up and setting an example for him in becoming a licensed professional in her field.

Outside of the hospital, Esmeralda enjoys making candles and photography, specifically, black and white shots of plants and animals! Esmeralda is loved by her coworkers for her knowledge, compassion, and care and we consider ourselves lucky to be able to work with her!

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Nina, the Pup in a Cup’s Plasma Exchange!

Nina is a six-year-old German Shepherd who was referred to Dr. Adam Eatroff, head of Nephrology & Hemodialysis at ACCESS Los Angeles, for advanced treatment of myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune condition that affects the connection of the nerves to the muscles.

When Nina first came into the hospital, she was unable to walk, stand, or even support herself and we knew we had to help.

Myasthenia gravis occurs in humans and animals and not only affects the muscles of the leg, but also weakens the esophagus, a condition called megaesophagus (because the esophagus enlarges, like an empty bag). Without the ability to contract the muscles in her esophagus, Nina was unable to keep food or water down, resulting in food being regurgitated into her lungs (a life threatening problem called aspiration pneumonia). She was also facing the possibility of starvation! Animals who have megaesophagus typically have to use a Bailey Chair (a device similar to a high chair) when they eat to keep them upright, making it easier for them to swallow. Nina’s family found that a large tub with pillows inside was the best fit for their beloved Nina. She happily sits inside during mealtime and enjoys the one-on-one experience with her family and caregivers!

To treat myasthenia gravis, Dr. Eatroff used our hemodialysis machine to perform plasma exchange, a procedure that separates the portion of the blood that contains a disease-causing substance, in this case antibodies. The red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are then put back into the patient, along with a fluid that replaces the plasma.

Nina spent about nine days in our hospital where she received treatments, went through daily exams to measure progress, and had many snuggle sessions. She was kept comfortable in the hospital and made many friends with our staff members—most notably Precious, Dr. Eatroff’s assistant, and Sheridan (see below), an RVT.

Nina regained her strength and was able to go home to continue recovering with her family, most importantly walking out the front door with no assistance needed! Hemodialysis can be used to treat many diseases, not just kidney failure, but also diseases that have nothing to do with the kidney, like myasthenia gravis and immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA). We are so happy we were able to help sweet Nina and get her back to her loving family! You can also follow Nina’s journey on Instagram at pup_in_a_cup_Nina!

If you have any questions about hemodialysis or plasma exchange, don’t hesitate to ask your primary veterinarian or Dr. Adam Eatroff!


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Puppy Love!

Victor from our LA surgery team is pictured here snuggling Harper, another employee’s pet. We love being able to treat animals like family, and Harper is no exception!

Harper

 

Meet Molly…

Molly

Molly is one of the many friendly faces you meet at our front desk at ACCESS – San Fernando Valley. She’s been with us from the start, has a passion for Client Care, and loves meeting new people, and we wanted to learn more about her!

How did she decide she wanted to work in veterinary medicine?
Molly loves animals and has wanted to work with them since she was four-years-old! She finds it exciting to work in the field and loves being able to see the healing process.

Why did Molly choose Client Care?
She loves meeting new people and seeing all of the different types of cases that come to the hospital. Molly also like being able to apply her well-honed skills in her work. She works tirelessly to ensure that our clients and staff members are cared for. Molly always tries to put herself in the other person’s shoes, allowing her the perspective needed to assist and comfort those around her.

What brought her to ACCESS?
Molly worked at the veterinary practice that used to be in the Valley before ACCESS purchased and renovated it. She had read a lot about Dr. Mills prior to making the decision to stay on and transition to ACCESS and was moved by what he had to say. Molly was excited to work for someone who stressed treating all of our patients and clients like family and to create a space for people to come and receive care while feeling safe and warm. Years later, she’s still excited to come in for each shift!

Where is Molly’s favorite place to visit?
Although her family is originally from California, Molly loves to visit her Mom in Portland. Together, they take in all the area has to offer as well as spend time with their beloved family dog. Molly also enjoys her visits because it takes her back to her childhood—she returned from her most recent trip with two homemade lasagnas!

What is her favorite animal and why?
Molly is a dog lover at heart and grew up with at least one always in her home. She also likes foxes for their sweet, innocent look and intelligence!

What would she be doing if she weren’t in Client Care?
She would be in vet school! That’s right, Molly can’t see herself in any other field, but she does take great joy in being able to help the families of the animals we treat.

What is Molly’s favorite meal and what is the best thing she cooks?
She loves breakfast, specifically pancakes! Molly even found a recipe for green tea pancakes that she swears by, though her wienerschnitzel is the best dish she cooks!

Does she collect anything?
Molly has been collecting smashed pennies since she was born! These quick and compact souvenirs take up two full jars at home, each commemorating a fond memory with family and friends. Molly estimates she has over 200 smashed pennies, including some from Portland, New York, every Southern California zoo, and the border of Canada!

What is one thing she wishes pet owners would start doing?
“Be more aware and don’t wait until the last minute to seek veterinary care. Many major issues can be prevented if they’re caught early enough.”

Molly’s greatest achievement is being able to save the lives of rescue dogs, even the ones she has adopted! Her huge heart shows in everything she does and we are so thankful for the opportunity to work with her every day.

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We’re here for you, even on the 4th of July…

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Locations

South Bay

2551 W. 190th St., Torrance, CA 90504

Tel: (310) 320-8300 - Fax: (424) 293-7254

Los Angeles

9599 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

Tel: (310) 558-6100 - Fax: (310) 558-6199

San Fernando Valley

20051 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Tel: (818) 887-2262 - Fax: (818) 704-0323

Central Valley

4300 Easton Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93309

Tel: (661) 281-1320 - Fax: (661) 302-4193

Click here for maps (and to find directions)