Good Samaritan Hospital
Through leadership in research and adopting the latest technological and clinical practices, Good Samaritan Hospital offers excellent medical care for the people of Silicon Valley.

What does your doctor want you to know about your bone health?

The importance of good bone health is often underestimated, according to the orthopedic surgeon featured in this video. He sees patients at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. This interview briefly touches on the treatment options for bone problems, but prevention is possible. Prioritizing your bone health at every stage of your life will help preserve your mobility and independence later in life.

Know the risks of poor bone health
It’s possible for anyone to develop bone problems like osteoporosis—older women aren’t the only ones whose bones can become brittle. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know if you do have osteoporosis unless you have a bone density screening, or you suffer a fracture.

Be proactive about your bone health by asking your doctor about your risk factors, getting a bone density screening when it’s recommended and making some lifestyle modifications.

Quit smoking or don’t start
Smoking is an established risk factor of poor bone density. One of the reasons for this is that tobacco smoke suppresses the body’s ability to use dietary calcium for bone tissue.

For people who smoke, the risk of osteoporosis, fractures and long-term disability is just one more compelling reason to quit. Overcoming any addiction is hard work. Your doctor can connect you to the smoking cessation tools, medicines and resources that can help you succeed at becoming a non-smoker.

Limit alcohol consumption
Heavy, prolonged alcohol consumption can weaken the bones by negatively influencing the hormones that regulate calcium metabolism. Depending on your health history, your doctor may recommend that you avoid alcohol altogether.

Otherwise, women are generally advised to stick to no more than one drink per day. For men, the threshold is two drinks daily.

Get active
Weight-bearing exercises, such as jogging and playing tennis, help build strong bones. If you already have osteoporosis, your doctor can design a safe exercise program for you.

Consume food sources of calcium and vitamin D
Calcium is necessary for strong bones, but your body can’t use calcium properly without vitamin D. Look for low-fat or nonfat dairy products enriched with vitamin D. If you’re having trouble getting enough nutrients from food alone, your doctor may recommend a supplement.

The orthopedics specialists at Good Samaritan Hospital have made it their life’s work to improve your quality of life through better bone and joint health. We encourage patients in San Jose to ask us about proactively preserving bone health, but we also offer state-of-the-art medical interventions when problems develop. Call our hospital at (888) 724-2362.

Can babies still be healthy if they are not breastfed?

The saying, “breast is best” is true, which is why maternity experts recommend exclusively breastfeeding babies for the first six months of life. Unfortunately, breastfeeding isn’t always possible. Some women are unable to breastfeed because of their health or because breastfeeding is too painful for them. Regardless of whether your baby is breastfed or bottle-fed, the healthcare providers at Good Samaritan Hospital will go the extra mile to provide the superior, personalized care your family deserves.

Why infant formula is different from breastfeeding
One of the primary differences between formula and breast milk is the immune-boosting benefits of breast milk, which can’t be replicated by formula. Babies who are breastfed do tend to have lower risks of infections and, later in life, chronic diseases. However, bottle-feeding a baby certainly doesn’t mean he or she will automatically be less healthy, nor does breastfeeding guarantee that a baby will be healthier.

Watch this featured video to hear from a pediatrician at Good Samaritan Hospital. She explains that she does encourage mothers to breastfeed, but ultimately, she respects that it’s the mother’s choice to decide how best to feed her baby.

How to choose infant formula
The FDA regulates formula, which can give nervous parents some peace of mind. Manufacturers are required to include specific nutrients that babies need. However, there are a few differences among the brands.

Some formula has proteins from cow’s milk, while others have soy or hydrolyzed protein. Some formulas are designed for babies with specific health needs. Those with reflux can benefit from eating formula made with a thickener.

Some brands of infant formula include DHA, which is a fatty acid that plays a key role in brain development. DHA is naturally present in breast milk, so consider looking for formula with this ingredient.

The maternity team at Good Samaritan Hospital respects the choices made by parents in the best interests of their babies’ health. When you choose our hospital in San Jose for your labor and delivery, you’ll welcome your baby in a private, comfortable birthing suite with all the amenities of home. Call our nurse referral line at (888) 724-2362 with your questions about our maternity care.

Is it an emergency? A guide for new parents

Becoming a parent for the first time is simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. As the bond between you and your child grows stronger, it’s natural to be fearful of him or her getting injured or sick. The pediatricians at Good Samaritan Hospital truly understand the concerns of new parents. We’ll give you the resources and know-how you need to handle any childhood emergency with confidence. Our emergency care team is available around the clock to help your baby feel well again quickly. We invite you to watch this featured video, in which one of our pediatricians explains some of the red flags to watch out for.

If your baby has a fever
Newborns under three months of age should be seen at the ER for a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The temperature should be taken rectally. For a lower fever, call the pediatrician for guidance.

Babies who are three to six months old should be seen at the ER for a fever of 101 degrees or higher. For babies older than six months, the threshold is 103 degrees or higher.

Regardless of the temperature or age, a pediatrician should exam the baby if he or she displays other severe symptoms along with the fever. These symptoms include stiff neck and inconsolable crying.

If your baby falls
Babies must be supervised at all times when they’re on an elevated surface, such as the changing table. If you need to get some changing supplies from a lower drawer, keep one hand on your baby at all times. Or, pick up your infant and hold him or her while retrieving the supplies.

Accidents do happen from time to time. If your baby falls, you should assume that he or she might have internal trauma or a brain injury. An ER doctor can evaluate your baby.

If your baby has convulsions
Infants and small children can suffer febrile seizures when they have a fever. Febrile seizures are frightening, but they are not necessarily a sign of a lasting seizure disorder. Your baby should be seen at the ER promptly if he or she has convulsions.

When your baby needs emergency care, you can count on the specialists at Good Samaritan Hospital. We maintain ER wait times in San Jose that are consistently below the national average because your child’s health is our highest priority. Call 911 for medical emergencies or call a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362 for general health information.

Key differences between depression and bipolar disorder

Mental health disorders like depression and bipolar disorder affect millions of people, and many of these don’t get the healthcare they need to manage their disorders. The behavioral health specialists at Good Samaritan Hospital want you to know that we genuinely care about your health and quality of life. For all of your medical challenges, we’re here for you.

Symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder
Both bipolar disorder and depression are mental health disorders, and they both cause depressive symptoms. These symptoms can include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, emptiness and sadness
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Changes in appetite or sleeping habits
  • Unexplainable aches and pains
  • Difficulty concentrating

Patients with depressive disorders experience these sorts of symptoms consistently. Patients with bipolar disorder cycle through depressive episodes, followed by manic episodes. These periods of mania can cause the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness and hyperactivity
  • Excessively euphoric mood
  • Racing thoughts
  • Rapid speech
  • Abrupt changes in conversation topics
  • Distractibility
  • Poor judgment
  • Risky behaviors
  • Substance abuse
  • Unrealistic beliefs in abilities
  • Aggressive behaviors

In addition to periods of mania and depression, patients with bipolar disorder can experience psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, delusions and disorders of thought.

Treatments for depression and bipolar disorder
One of the reasons why it’s so important to get an accurate diagnosis is because the treatments for depression and bipolar disorder are different. You can hear more about this issue when you watch the accompanying video. It features a psychiatrist at Good Samaritan Hospital.

He explains that patients with bipolar disorder are sometimes misdiagnosed with depression. They fail to respond to the treatment because they don’t actually have depression.

With the right treatment, both depression and bipolar disorder can be successfully managed. Patients with either disorder can lead full, productive lives.

Behavioral Health Services at Good Samaritan Hospital offers the compassionate, sensitive care you deserve within a welcoming environment. We personalize our inpatient and outpatient services to meet the unique needs of each of our patients, and we offer a diverse range of support groups to the San Jose community. Call our nurse referral line at (888) 724-2362 and let us help you improve your quality of life.

Prepare for summer hiking by recognizing these dangerous Bay Area plants

Californians are often characterized by their love of outdoor recreation. But before you set out for your next hiking adventure this summer, take a few minutes to brush up on the basics of the Bay Area’s poisonous plants. Taking precautions to avoid poisonous vegetation can help you stay out of the Emergency Room at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose.

Poison ivy

Poison ivy is one of the most widely known poisonous plants that cause contact dermatitis. Poison ivy is more common in the eastern states, but Bay Area hikers can still encounter it from time to time. Stay away from plants with the following characteristics:

  • Typically has three spoon-shaped leaves
  • Grows as climbing vine or spreads on the ground
  • Often found along ocean beaches

Poison oak

Poison oak is particularly common in western states. Its leaves look like oak leaves, but the plant grows as a shrub or a vine. The plant typically features three leaflets but can feature up to seven.

Poison hemlock

Poison hemlock isn’t related to hemlock trees, but it does look quite similar to Queen Anne’s lace. The foliage of poison hemlock also looks similar to carrot tops. There are ways of identifying the subtle differences.

Check the stalks. Poison hemlock has smooth stalks with purplish discolorations. Queen Anne’s lace has green stalks that look somewhat fuzzy.

Check the height. Queen Anne’s lace generally doesn’t grow taller than three feet or so, but poison hemlock can reach three to 10 feet in height.


Oleander features vibrant, beautiful blooms, but it can be fatal if ingested. Oleander is a shrub with dense foliage and clusters of flowers in pink, yellow, red or white shades.

If you do develop a serious skin reaction this summer, the emergency care physicians at Good Samaritan Hospital can provide effective care around the clock. Our hospital in San Jose is committed to maintaining the highest standards of patient care because our emergency care doctors live and work in the same community as our patients. Call a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362 for general hospital information.

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