"I think what sets us apart is that we are the community hospital," says Jennifer Steel, chief community relations officer for the hospital. "We embrace the community and its needs. We're dedicated to the community ... and our entire staff walks the walk. Our staff are incredibly talented and dedicated as well as professional and give so much to this community."
The 451-bed hospital stayed open and served patients during Hurricane Katrina and in the aftermath of the storm, says Steel, who has worked at West Jeff for 35 years. President and CEO Gary Muller, the nursing team and others in the organization recently received several awards from a variety of sources for excellence of care and service during the hurricane.
In addition to primary-care offerings like periodic free prostate screenings and pap smears, West Jeff has several stand-out services such as its Neuroscience Institute and Cyberknife Center. The latter laser treatment, says Steel, is the only one of its kind in the region and offers hope to patients with inoperable brain and spinal cord tumors as well as other types of cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
Dr. Rodriguez-Fierro heads the outreach program Doctors to the Rescue, which conducts medical missions overseas but also sponsors a local "bicycle drive" to raise money to purchase bikes and helmets for local children.
To make sure its facility is always operable, the medical center recently opened a support-services facility center 19.5 feet above sea level that includes the hospital's power plant, chillers, heaters and other necessary equipment. The facility, which is considered a model for medical campuses in flood-prone areas, originally was scheduled to open about the time Katrina hit the area.
Vehicle for Recreation
Join the fun of a grand opening for a new business from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 29, at French Quarter RV Resort (500 N. Claiborne Ave., next to Municipal Auditorium) and see actor Robert DeNiro's two-story, $2.5-million RV. The celebration also will include local music and horse-and-buggy rides as well as cocktails and hors d'oeuvres around a pool.