This Fourth of July, Kaiser Permanente Celebrates the Independence Good Health Brings

Three Kaiser Permanente members share their personal stories

Jul 03, 2012, 09:00 ET from Kaiser Permanente

OAKLAND, Calif., July 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- This month, when the nation marks the Fourth of July with fireworks, Kaiser Permanente celebrates its members who have been liberated from pain and life-threatening conditions. Kaiser Permanente's Care Stories blog ( presents three stories of members who now lead healthier, more independent lives thanks to the care they have received.

Launched in July 2011, Care Stories is a collection of first-person video narratives featuring Kaiser Permanente members talking about their own care in their own words, unscripted and uncompensated.

July's stories include:

  • Susan Mahler was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2000. During a valve replacement surgery at Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center,  her doctors discovered that the left side of her heart had stopped working. With the successful valve replacement and careful monitoring by her care team, Susan continued to live an active life, until 2009 when the right side of her heart began to fail and her internal organs started to shut down. After a year spent going in and out of the hospital, Susan received "the magical phone call" on June 20, 2010, and had a heart transplant that night. "I am absolutely without a doubt sitting here because Kaiser cares," Mahler said.

Watch Susan's care story:      

  • Alane Gernon-Paulsen suffered from chronic back pain for 25 years after sustaining an injury playing ultimate Frisbee. Diagnosed with two herniated discs, Alane became dependent on medication and sought help from a variety of specialists. Then she found Michael Jaffe, MD, a physician who specializes in pain management at Kaiser Permanente Kearny Mesa (Calif.) Rehabilitation Center, who explored options with Alane until they hit upon localized injections. "He's really improved my life – my quality of life – a ton," said Gernon-Paulsen of Dr. Jaffe, whose care has made "a real big difference" and liberated her from debilitating pain.

Watch Alane's care story:      

  • Caroline Vierzba was driving home from work when she noticed the vision in her left eye was distorted. Once safely at home, she made an appointment with Nader Ameli, MD, an ophthalmologist at Kaiser Permanente South Bay (Calif.) Medical Center. Caroline's description of a shadow-like obstruction in her vision made Dr. Ameli suspect her retina might detach. He performed a procedure that he hoped would prevent that outcome and met with her the next day – Thanksgiving – to confirm that it was successful. Over the next days and weeks, Caroline regained her sight and was "very thankful" to Dr. Ameli and Kaiser Permanente for the exemplary care she received.

Watch Caroline's care story:

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to:

Contact: Farra Levin, Kaiser Permanente, 510-414-9246

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente