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> Cover Story
April 13, 2006

by lyle e davis

His name at birth was Muzyad Yahkoob. His vital statistics are: Born January 6, 1914, in Deerfield, Michigan. He would become known by several other names later in his life . . . Amos Jacobs, for one . . . but then he finally changed his name to the one we remember today, with great affection. Danny Thomas.

Danny Thomas was very successful in show business. He was the star of “Make Room for Daddy,” was the father of Marlo Thomas, a television actress in her own right, the star of “That Girl,” and ex-wife of Phil Donahue, another media luminary. Thomas was also the producer of several successful television series, “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”

But what Danny Thomas will be most remembered for, his permanent legacy to the world, is his founding of the St. Jude's Research Hospital, which is dedicated to finding cures for catastrophic children's diseases. The hospital opened in 1962 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Thomas died in February 1991, and both he and his wife, Rose Marie, are buried in a memorial garden at St. Jude’s.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is the single largest center in the United States for the treatment and research of pediatric cancer and other childhood catastrophic diseases. It is the first and only institution established for the sole purpose of conducting basic and clinical research into catastrophic diseases. Once a patient is accepted, St. Jude covers all medical costs beyond those covered by insurance. Families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude Hospital also provides transportation, lodging, and meals for one parent and child.

When Thomas opened St. Jude Hospital in 1962, fewer than 5 percent of its patients survived. Today, more than 80 percent live because of the dedicated work of St. Jude's doctors and scientists and the generosity of St. Jude's supporters. St. Jude Hospital freely shares all of its research, findings and treatments with all other medical institutions.

Why a hospital? Why in Memphis? He had been contemplating what he would do to repay God for his good fortune and kept looking toward the back country of the Mississippi Delta to establish some kind of home or medical center to help the very poor of Louisiana. He was also troubled by a news story about a young African-American boy who died because he was refused admission to a segregated hospital. This caused Thomas to build a racially-neutral children's hospital in the South. The final choice of Memphis as the location was influenced by his mentor Cardinal Stritch, the Archbishop of Chicago, who suggested Memphis (the site of his first parish).

Most recently the work of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital gained attention as they jumped in and not only agreed to provide medical care and support to hundreds of non-St. Jude pediatric cancer patients who were being treated in Gulf Coast-area hospitals and whose treatment was disrupted by Hurricane Katrina. St. Jude staff carried medical supplies to the St. Jude affiliate clinics located at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and at the Louisiana State University, Department of Pediatrics, in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Teams of St. Jude physicians, nurses and social workers helped evaluate patients and families at the St. Jude affiliate clinics to support the medical teams already on-site.

More than 80 patients whose cancer treatment was disrupted in the Gulf Coast area because of Hurricane Katrina were treated or evaluated at one of the three St. Jude locations.

St. Jude also provided vital treatment to critically ill pediatric cancer patients from the Gulf Coast region in its primary facility in Memphis, Tennessee, as dictated by their medical situation. Some of the direst cases were airlifted to St. Jude.

St. Jude funded these efforts to pediatric cancer patients affected by Hurricane Katrina at no cost to their families. St. Jude is committed to providing care and supplies indefinitely for these patients who were already undergoing much stress and difficulty even before the hurricane disrupted their treatment.

Patients receiving life-saving treatment today are still counting on the support of the St. Jude’s which, in turn, relies upon the public to support their effort.

Some of the more impressive results of the efforts of St. Judes include the research that pushed the survival rate of acute lymphoblastic leukemia from 4 percent to 85 percent and the overall childhood cancer survival rate from less than 20 percent to more than 70 percent.

St. Jude’s has, overall, an impressive efficiency rating as to how it apportions the funds it raises. Almost 75% of its funds goes to program expenses, administrative expense is a bit high at 10%, fundraising expense runs around 16%. St. Judes, which focuses almost exclusively on children with cancer has 36 in patient beds, 14 transplant beds, and 8 ICU beds.

We were a bit surprised at the high compensation rate paid to its Chief Executive Officer, Richard C. Shadyac. He is paid $428,511. This compares to what Palomar Pomerado Health’s CEO, Michael Covert, who is paid $425,000, and with bonuses, could rise to as much as $600,000. Palomar Health oversees Palomar Medical Center in Escondido and Pomerado Hospital in Poway, a combined 650-bed public hospital district. He administers an annual budget of nearly $350 million.

Tri-City’s Hospital Executive Director Art Gonzalez receives, $436,000 which, with up to a 30% bonus package could equal $566,000. Tri-City, which serves Oceanside, Vista and Carlsbad, is significantly smaller than Palomar Pomerado, with only 397 beds. Gonzalez administers a $239 million budget

The argument will be made that St. Jude’s CEO is responsible for revenues of $429,640,606, and assets totalling $1,234,660,649. Well, Palomar Pomerado Health District is responsible for $350,000,000 in revenues, only slightly less than St. Judes.

Meanwhile, let us look at other life-saving facilities:

Children’s Hospital and Health Center, San Diego
A Medical Center
Just For Kids

In contrast, Children’s Execcu-tive Director, David B. Gillig, receives $273,957 in compensation. Under his direction, Children’s is quite an efficient hospital when it comes to raising revenue and allocating funding. They provide almost 80% of their funding to program services and their administrative expense is very low, less than 5%.
Children’s Hospital has annual revenues of over $756,000 and has 232 staffed beds and nearly 13,000 admissions annually.

This would suggest that Messrs. Shadyac, Covert and Gonzalez are grossly overpaid . . . or that Mr. Gillig is woefuly underpaid. In checking with hospital CEO’s compensation nationwide, the median compensation level is $268,000, after bonuses, the median rises to $313,200. (Source: ACHE Compensation Study (ACHE = American College of Health Care Executives) (2005 Hospital Compensation Survey - Conducted by Hay Group)

The reader may draw his own conclusions from this study.

Since St. Jude’s is not a traditional hospital (they don’t have an Emergency Room, they don’t treat broken bones, measles, etc. . . . . only catastrophic illness, normally cancer) they have a much smaller patient base. Children’s Hospital handles all types of illnesses and injuries.

Since Children’s first opened its doors in 1954, their mission has been “to restore, sustain and enhance the health and developmental potential of children through excellence in care, education, research and advocacy.”

Children’s is San Diego region’s only designated pediatric trauma center and the only area hospital dedicated solely to pediatric care. Their goal is to help create a region where all children go to school healthy and ready to learn how to be productive, responsible citizens.

Quality pediatric care requires specialized training and a special sensitivity that is perfected through caring for children 100 percent of the time. From mild illness and injury to the most severe medical emergency, Children’s specially qualified clinical staff and affiliated physicians provide a full continuum of care.

From birth through adolescence, children have special health care needs that are different from those of adults. Their bodies respond differently to injury and illness. And most children do not understand – or know how to deal with – the experience of serious illness or hospitalization. Children’s responds to those needs by providing expert pediatric care within a unique healing environment.

Rose Pavilion: (See photo below, right). Their healing environment, created with kids in mind, incorporates state-of-the-art technology with a climate of caring. Designed specifically to help kids get and stay healthy, Children's promotes healing and reduces anxiety through a unique combination of design, light, color and art. Within this environment of caring, children and their families become part of the healing process.

In addition to caring for children at their main campus in Kearny Mesa, Children’s has 15 neighborhood centers offering primary care and specialized services. Children’s is also active in numerous community outreach programs, including health education, early intervention and counseling, child abuse prevention and child safety issues.

Healthcare Fit For a Child

From birth through adolescence, children have unique health needs. Children’s understands those needs, and the appropriate care to meet those needs. It all comes from extensive training and experience focused exclusively on children.

A child too young to talk cannot tell you where it hurts or how he or she is feeling. Squirming, crying and pulling away from those who are trying to help are all normal childhood reactions.

The anxieties of a toddler and a teenager and the ways to ease those anxieties are not the same. Children’s understands the differences and knows how to tailor treatment to fit a child’s changing physical and emotional state.

In 2001, Children's Hospital and Health Center was selected by Child magazine as one of the 10 best children’s hospitals in the country. The hospitals were judged according to the quality of their doctors and nurses, survival rates for common childhood cancers, and the amount of government research funding the hospitals receive.

San Diego Children's
Hospital Foundation
3020 Children's Way
MC 5005
San Diego, CA 92123
tel: (858)966-7749

City of Hope
Cancer Center

It all started in a tent 93 years ago. Two tents, actually, both of which were hospital tents set up initially as a haven for those stricken with tuberculosis. By any definition the City of Hope began with compassion as the driving force that led to the founding of City of Hope in 1913.

From that humble beginning City of Hope has grown to a magnificent facility recognized worldwide as a leading center of research and treatment of life threatening diseases.

Like St. Judes, The City of Hope is a biomedical research and treatment center dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. City of Hope has achieved numerous scientific breakthroughs and pioneered many lifesaving procedures that have impacted treatment worldwide.

Unlike St. Jude’s, however, the City of Hope treats adults as well as pediatric cases.

City of Hope is a Comprehensive Cancer Center - the highest distinction awarded by the National Cancer Institute. It is one of only 39 Comprehensive Cancer Centers nationwide.

More than 7,000 bone marrow and stem cell transplants have been performed at City of Hope.

City of Hope was awarded more than $55.6 million in research grants and received nearly $73.9 million in revenues from patented technologies in FY 2005.

Above, City of Hope

A growing number of important cancer therapies are based on research pioneered by City of Hope scientists, including the drugs Herceptin, Rituxan and Avastin.

Millions of people with diabetes worldwide benefit from synthetic human insulin developed through research conducted at City of Hope.
More than 300 physicians and scientists and over 2,500 employees work to find the causes of and cures for cancer and other life-threatening diseases, including diabetes and HIV/AIDS. City of Hope, located on over 112 beautifully landscaped acres, has 165 licensed beds, 39 of which are devoted to bone marrow transplantation patients.

City of Hope is the first . . .and currently only institution in the world to perform a clinical study using genetically engineered T-cells to recognize and attack glioma, a form of brain cancer that is almost always fatal.

City of Hope was one of the first medical institutions to conduct bone marrow transplantation, now the standard of care for diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma, and a treatment that holds promise for combating other diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Recently, City of Hope physicians performed the world’s first total marrow irradiation procedure using TomoTherapy technology; this technology allows physicians to focus on blood and bone marrow with precise delivery of radiation so adjacent organs are not damaged. There is a dramatic reduction in side effects compared to Total Body Irradiation, the former method.

US News and World Report named City of Hope one of America’s 50 best cancer hospitals. The Chronicle of Philanthropy named City of Hope in its most recent survey of tope philanthropies in America.

City of Hope is a global leader in the fields of bone marrow transplantation and genetics and has developed innovative therapies for more than 75 types of cancer as well as diabetes, HIV/AIDS and numerous immunological and genetic disorders.

More than 290,000 volunteers and donors worldwide support City of Hope and make it possible to continue the lifesaving work done there.

City of Hope is one of an elite group of Comprehensive Cancer Centers, the highest designation bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. In collaboration with top medical centers nationwide, City of Hope generates new scientific knowledge and shares its discoveries to help people in local communities, ensuring the best therapies reach patients around the corner and around the world.

City of Hope is very efficient with the money it raises. Almost 82% of revenues goes toward programs, Administration expenses are a bit high at almost 13% but fundraising costs are quite low at slightly over 5%.

Annual revenues flowing to City of Hope totals $425,630,749 with expenses of $390,894,866
for an excess funds total of $34,735,883.

The President and CEO of City of Hope, Michael A. Friedman, is compensated with $857,964, clearly the highest compensation of any of the hospital facilities we’ve examined.

By using information reported on an organization's most recent Form 990, we include as compensation an individual's salary, cash bonuses, and unusually large expense accounts and other allowances. All CEO’s cited in this study were evaluated using the identical formula.

City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute
1500 East Duarte Road
Duarte, CA 91010-3000
800-423-7119 or 626-245-HOPE (4673)

Recent noteworthy events:

4/4/2006 - City of Hope Research Establishes First Direct Link Between Tumor Growth and Immune System Suppression

Research conducted by scientists now at City of Hope Cancer Center reveals that the STAT3 protein, a regulatory molecule that signals and directs the activity of genes, works to "cloak" cancer cells, making them invisible to the immune system.

4/4/2006 - City of Hope Researchers Identify "Cancer Stem Cells" Responsible for Lung Cancer Tumor Growth

A small population of cells in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) possess stem cell-like properties such as self-renewal and are responsible for tumor growth and progression, according to research by City of Hope Cancer Center scientists. The identification of these tumor-initiating cells provides greater insight into cancer pathogenesis and may lead to new avenues for therapies and treatments.

4/3/2006 - City of Hope Researchers Develop New Method of Identifying Genetic Markers for Lung Cancer

City of Hope Cancer Center researchers have developed a method for isolating and identifying genes associated with lung cancer that may lead to better risk prediction and earlier diagnosis of the disease.


Note: In each of the above source references you will find additional bibliographies. There is a wealth of information on the Internet and in libraries f