Kaiser Permanente Northern California members with complex cardiac illnesses, such as Eric Wallace (pictured above), have quick access to a team of highly experienced specialists

Christmas was right around the corner, and Eric Wallace knew something was wrong. He’d started feeling faint and often needed to sit down.

A Kaiser Permanente member for 30 years, Wallace had never been hospitalized — so at first, he ignored these warning signs.

“Real men don’t go to the ER,” he joked.

But that’s exactly where Wallace, 71, found himself in the winter of 2014, as his heart rate shot up to more than double its normal rate.

Worried, Wallace met with his personal doctor at our Gilroy Medical Offices. He was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heartbeat, and got medication to stabilize his condition. He described all his care as “unbelievably great.”

Referrals are easy

As a Kaiser Permanente member, Wallace also got a quick referral to our Santa Clara Cardiac Specialty Care Center.

Led by Charlie Young, MD, chief of Cardiac Electrophysiology for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, the Santa Clara team includes 17 doctors, nurses, technologists, and physician assistants. Together, they care for about 30 patients per week.

The right care, done right

In April 2015, Wallace underwent an ablation. This advanced, minimally invasive procedure is used to destroy heart tissue that causes an irregular heartbeat.

After making a complete recovery, Wallace is thrilled with the attention he got from his care team.

“They were doing everything they could to identify what was going on and to offer options,” Wallace said. “The concern for me … was so clear.”

“Patients get very quick service with highly experienced specialists, thanks to our integrated system that makes sharing of expertise so easy,” said Dr. Young.

Advanced technology working for you

Our Santa Clara Medical Center was 1 of the first 3 hospitals in California to acquire the advanced Niobe Magnetic Navigation System. It allows our cardiac team to perform safer, noninvasive procedures instead of major open-heart surgeries, says Dr. Young.

Today, Eric Wallace’s heart rate is stable and he’s back doing what he loves: travelling with his wife, Carolyn; helping his clients as a financial adviser; and exercising at a gym near home.

“I had the right people selecting the right procedure, and doing it right,” he said.  “My care team … gave me my life back.”

April 7, 2016


Serving all of Northern California

Our Santa Clara Medical Center, where Eric Wallace received his care, is one of 21 Kaiser Permanente locations offering cardiac care in Northern California. Like our San Francisco Medical Center, it’s also a cardiac surgery hub that specializes in performing complex cardiac procedures for members throughout the area.

The Northern California cardiac team includes:

  • 16 cardiac surgeons
  • 26 cardiac interventionalists
  • 21 anesthesiologists
  • 7 cardiac electrophysiologists
  • 7 cardiac MRI specialists
  • 2 adult congenital heart specialists

Learn more about TPMG’s excellent cardiac care at My Doctor Online, including important information about atrial fibrillation.