Eighty-five year old entertainment veteran Vivian Sherwood perhaps summed it up best for those with very serious lung problems, "There is nothing worse than struggling to take a breath."
Vivian has been visiting the Pulmonary/Critical Care/Sleep Medicine Center at 301 West Pueblo Street in Santa Barbara regularly for treatments and therapy for more than 5 years. Her pulmonologist Dr. David Zisman works with two other board certified specialists, Dr. C. Eric Schroeder and Dr. Ann Lee. The department also employs three respiratory therapists, one nurse and two medical service coordinators who tend to their patients.
These physicians are often presented not only with patients who already have a diagnosis of COPD, asthma, pneumonia, lung cancer, pulmonary hypertension and interstitial lung disease, but often with people who have bothersome or severe symptoms of persistent cough, shortness of breath, an abnormal chest x-ray, or chest pain. Those with sleep disorders are also diagnosed and treated here.
My doctor is like a member of the family and the whole staff is wonderful," says Vivian. "Dr. Zisman listens to my lungs and to my voice," she adds, finding it refreshing to have a physician who listens patiently to her concerns. "He has an in-depth understanding of my condition and he works closely with all of my other doctors. I think he is the best doctor in the world – an old fashioned doctor in the best sense of the word."
Dr. Lee explains the unique partnership between physician and patients that often exists when treating chronic conditions, "Education is vital to achieving good outcomes. It's my duty and passion to help my patients understand their condition, treatment options and expected results so they may be best in control of their health. With this knowledge and communication, as a team we can accomplish meaningful results. Bring me your questions and we'll look for answers together."
In addition to seeing patients in the office, all three physicians help staff Cottage Hospital tending to some of our community's most vulnerable populations who may be critically ill and in the medical Intensive Care Unit. They also assist surgeons with their patients who have breathing difficulties, provide consultation for the hospitalist physicians with evaluations and treatments for respiratory diseases and symptoms. They are also part of the Neurointensive Care Multi-Disciplinary Team that provides comprehensive care for stroke patients.
Dr. Schroeder leads the Pulmonary/Critical Care office as the head of the department and was selected as the outstanding Physician of the Year in 2012 by the staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. He has been instrumental at promoting collegiality amongst the clinic and hospital physicians and setting high standards for the department.
When asked what she would most like others to know, Vivian replied, "Someone is struggling to breathe right now — I want them to know about the whole wonderful team at Sansum Clinic."