- Second District
When someone is having a heart attack, time is of the essence; minutes after it stops receiving blood, the heart muscle begins to die causing permanent damage. Eventually, the heart will simply stop. In South Los Angeles, however, the nearest available treatment was more than 10 miles away – and many minutes away to hospitals around the county as far as Torrance or downtown Los Angeles.
St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood is now a certified ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (known as STEMI) Center, offering trained cardiologists and immediate treatment for anyone suffering a heart attack. There are now 34 such centers in LA County, with St. Francis and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center as the other such locations in the Second District. The new center is particularly important for Los Angeles County, considering that coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death for residents–with blacks and Latinos suffering the highest rates among all other ethnic groups.
“The heart is a muscle like the brain,” said Adam Garcia, a cardiovascular and radiology technician at St. Francis. “If it doesn’t get fed, it won’t do well. And so that is why we have to take care of the problem as fast as possible.”
Within minutes at St. Francis, trained staff can stabilize a patient, insert a stent in a blocked artery or perform surgery. The STEMI Center compliments The Heart Center at St. Francis Medical Center, which has a full-time staff of cardiologists, specialty trained nurses, surgeons and technicians who offer a full range of heart care services. Quick treatment can not only save lives, but also reduce the risk of long-term heart damage and prevent life-threatening complications.
“We needed to provide this care and so this is super exciting,” said Dr. Michael Stephen, Chief of Staff, St. Francis Medical Center.
Added Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who attended the launch of the new center: “The residents of South Los Angeles deserve access to high-quality services in their community and the opening of this new receiving center does just that. Lives will be improved and even saved because of what is happening today.”
Mervyn M. Dymally, the Trinidad-born former Congressman who broke race barriers as a legislator in California and in Congress, was honored posthumously at Charles R. Drew University with a bronze memorial sculpted in his image.
A true pioneer, Dymally, who died in 2012, was the first Trinidadian to serve California as State Senator and as Lieutenant Governor. He was one of the first U.S. Congressmen of African and Indian origin. Dymally was also one of three African-Americans ever to hold statewide office in California.
Among his most noted and successful efforts was his tireless work on to see that Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II receive reparations.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who attended the sculpture’s unveiling, said Dymally was “a character, a charmer, a generous teacher and one of the hardest working elected officials I’ve ever met.”
The bronze bust by internationally acclaimed artist and sculptor Nijel Binns, has been 10 years in the making. Binns is best known for his 16-foot bronze “Mother of Humanity” sculpture of an African woman standing on the globe and holding a feather of peace located at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee.
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas credited Dymally with being the first major political figure to help launch his career into elected office in 1991.
“Merv’s legacy lives on not just in his legislative career,” said the supervisor, “but in the legions of people across all ethnicities, he mentored.”
Every year, Loyola Law School presents the Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Public Service Award to an individual who is dedicated to social justice and shows a commitment to serving their community. This year, the award was given to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
The great-grandson of slaves, the grandson of a sharecropper and the son of a Golden State Mutual insurance salesman, Cochran became one of the leading lawyers of his time before passing away in 2005. Inspired by Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Cochran graduated from Loyola Law School and went on to create a highly successful criminal defense practice.
No issue was more defining of Cochran’s work than police reform. Both Cochran and Supervisor Ridley-Thomas were entrenched in the battles of the 1980’s and 1990’s around reforming the Los Angeles Police Department. Now, as a Los Angeles County Supervisor, Ridley-Thomas is pushing to bring structural reform to a Sheriff’s Department that needs more accountability.
Thanks to a motion authored by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Sheriff’s Inspector General Max Huntsman and Interim Sheriff John Scott will come up with a plan for how a citizen’s oversight commission would work and serve as a means of checks and balances for the Sheriff’s Department.
This comes after ongoing investigations into the Sheriff’s Department use of force in county jails, including a criminal investigation by the United States Department of Justice, the indictment of 20 deputies and a civil investigation.
In addition, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas authored a motion to change the way juvenile defendants are appointed legal representation. The board is now set to analyze and review the current system which often does not offer young offenders adequate defense.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this award and be a part of this tribute to a man who embodied a dedication to social justice and a commitment to serving his community,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas to the crowd of nearly 200 lawyers. “The legacy of Johnnie Cochran lives on in those whom he mentored, those who continue the fight to improve the quality of life for all people and those who have been influenced by his good works and deeds.”
California is currently experiencing the worst drought on record, prompting Governor Jerry Brown to declare a water shortage emergency and to call for conservation efforts.
The good news is that this week, Los Angeles is expected to receive several inches of rain. Still, we cannot become complacent; there are many steps residents nonetheless should take to reduce water consumption and curb water waste.
For more information on the many ways to conserve water, please refer to the California Department of Water Resources at http://www.water.ca.gov/ or Save Our Water at http://www.saveourh2o.org/ and www.landscapinglightly.com.
Also, for latest in storm preparations, please follow @LACountyCEO on Twitter or visit the LA County Department of Public Works C.A.R.E. at http://dpw.lacounty.gov/care/.
“Image was provide courtesy of the Council for Watershed Health.