Brain Power

NorthBay and Neurosurgeon Team Up to Usher in a New Era

What would inspire a man to give up a successful neurosurgical practice in Newport Beach and move 400 miles north to settle in Solano County?

For Jeffrey Dembner, M.D., the answer is simple: The opportunity to build NorthBay Healthcare’s Center for Neuroscience from the ground up.

“We want to provide comprehensive, immediate care and follow-up services close to home.”
—Dr. Jeffrey Dembner

That’s how he built his practice more than 10 years ago in Southern California, learning how to connect with a community, offering individuals customized and personalized care. “My office was located fairly close to respected academic centers, but patients preferred to come to me because they knew they’d receive immediate, hands-on care with a neurosurgeon they could reach day or night,” he explains.

It’s that same philosophy he plans to continue at NorthBay Medical Center, where he will serve as medical director and architect of the Center for Neuroscience, and head a team of local neurosurgeons in responding to head, neck and spine trauma cases.

“We’re thrilled to have a neurosurgeon of his experience and caliber,” says Deborah Sugiyama, president of the NorthBay Healthcare Group. “The addition of this advanced service is a major cornerstone for NorthBay.”

Just weeks after Dr. Dembner’s arrival, NorthBay celebrated the opening of a seventh surgical suite at the Fairfield hospital. The $6.1 million addition includes state-of-the art equipment some specifically for brain surgery.

But NorthBay’s Center for Neuroscience will be much more than brain surgery, explains Dr. Dembner. A neurosurgeon also deals with spine and skeletal issues. Dr. Dembner is trained and experienced to treat head and brain disorders, including tumors, aneurysms, vascular malformations, hydrocephalus and head trauma.

“It’s my goal to build a comprehensive, patient-focused Center for Neuroscience that can handle the needs of Solano County patients so they don’t have to travel to the Bay Area or Sacramento for great care,” he explains. “Some people think that if you see a surgeon, you’ll walk away with an appointment for surgery, but I explore all the options, from pain management and therapy through to surgery and recovery.”

To that end, he’s meeting with physicians, therapists and medical staff to get the word out, and form collaborative partnerships. “For many years, patients had to be referred outside of Solano County for care, when it came to brain tumors or neurological disease management, but that’s no longer the case,”
says Dr. Dembner. “There is a wealth of experience at NorthBay in all the major services—oncology, vascular and cardiac. These are successful programs and the Center for Neuroscience will complement them perfectly.”

NorthBay’s stroke program received an immediate boost with Dr. Dembner’s arrival. Before, patients who experienced brain hemorrhaging were transported out of the county. Now, about 90 percent of stroke cases can be handled in Fairfield.

His role is also vital in NorthBay’s effort to secure Level II Trauma status, which, if granted, would mean that NorthBay Medical Center could receive all trauma cases, including those with head injuries.

Currently as a Level III Trauma Center, patients with head trauma are sent out of county for care. “That’s hard on the patient, because travel delays immediate treatment, and it’s hard on the families who have to travel out of county to be with their loved ones,” says Dr. Dembner. “We want to provide comprehensive, immediate care and follow-up services close to home.”

He’s already jumped in with both feet, training an eager and responsive neurosurgery team, running mock drills and explaining the power and depth of the new equipment.

“They’ve been eager to learn and they’re ready to deliver. Coming to NorthBay has not only given me a chance to build a program, but to work with some amazing, dedicated individuals. NorthBay wanted someone who was not afraid to work with people—to educate and be educated,” he says. “It’s a good fit.”

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