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.

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.

What does it mean when you cough up phlegm?

Phlegm is a sort of mucus that most people don’t notice too often. Usually, a person will only cough up phlegm when he or she is ill. Although a phlegmy cough usually is not a situation that requires emergency care, it can be distressing to experience this problem. When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a doctor at Good Samaritan Hospital explain some of the common causes of phlegm. He also discusses when it’s a good idea to visit the hospital to talk to your doctor.

The colors of phlegm

Only your doctor can accurately diagnose the cause of your phlegmy cough, but the color of the sputum may give you some clues. White phlegm, for example, may be caused by viral bronchitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Green or yellowish phlegm might be caused by:

  • Bacterial bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus infections
  • Cystic fibrosis

Black phlegm can be particularly distressing for patients to see on a tissue. It can be caused by:

  • Smoking
  • Coal dust inhalation
  • Pneumoconiosis (black lung disease)
  • Fungal infection (uncommon)

The right time to see a doctor

Your primary care doctor is a trusted source of medical information and advice. He or she genuinely wants to help you enjoy good health, but you’ll have to take the first step by making an appointment. Even if your phlegmy cough turns out to be inconsequential, talking to your doctor about this issue can give you peace of mind.

Every patient has unique health needs, but in general, you may wish to consider seeing your doctor if:

  • Your phlegmy cough doesn’t go away
  • Your symptoms seem unusual to you
  • You experience other troublesome symptoms along with the cough
  • You have a compromised immune system
  • You have a history of lung cancer or other lung diseases

The emergency care physicians at Good Samaritan Hospital are firmly committed to providing all of our patients the superior, compassionate care they deserve. Whether you have a minor medical emergency or a serious condition, we’re here to provide sound medical guidance within a supportive setting. You can speak with a registered nurse at our hospital in San Jose by calling (888) 724-2362.

Are you eligible to donate blood?

There is a constant, pressing need for blood donors all over the country and right here in San Jose. By becoming a blood donor, you could save the lives of people in your own community. Donated blood is urgently needed for emergency care, cardiac care and cancer care patients, along with those undergoing routine or emergency surgeries. It only takes a few minutes of your time to visit a local blood drive and find out if you’re eligible. If you have any health concerns about becoming a blood donor, the physicians at Good Samaritan Hospital look forward to discussing them with you.

Body type

For most people, height and weight are not barriers to donating blood. Eligible blood donors must simply weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors who are 18 years old or younger must meet additional weight requirements, depending on their height.

Chronic medical conditions

Each potential donor’s health will be evaluated individually, but in general, patients with chronic illnesses may still donate as long as the condition is well-controlled and the individual feels well. These general guidelines apply to the following medical conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Heart murmur
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Allergies
  • Asthma

Patients with bleeding problems might not be able to donate blood for their own safety. Additionally, the following medical conditions prohibit people from donating blood:

  • Mad cow disease
  • Family history of mad cow disease
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Hepatitis
  • Recent hepatitis exposure
  • Recent malaria exposure
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Active infection

This is not an exhaustive list of medical conditions, so be sure to fully disclose your medical conditions when you go to the blood drive.

Medication usage

The blood drive professional will ask you about your medication use and whether you’ve recently had any vaccines. Most medications do not prohibit you from donating blood, including the following:

  • Birth control
  • Aspirin
  • Over-the-counter nutritional supplements

The emergency care and cardiac care providers at Good Samaritan Hospital would like to offer our sincere thanks to all blood donors throughout our San Jose community. You can get in touch with a registered nurse at our hospital by calling (888) 724-2362. If you aren’t eligible to donate blood, you can still help others by donating your time at local blood drives.

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