A Lifetime Supply of Care: 98-Year-Old Reflects Back on Nearly a Century of Support
Patient serves as living history of medical foundation’s commitment to access, high-quality care
You could say they grew up together.
In Gladys Winn’s 98 years, Sutter’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) has been by her side for 89 of them—exclusively caring for her and eventually for her entire family.
As a young girl growing up in Menlo Park and Palo Alto, the one constant in Winn’s life has been the care of PAMF clinicians. The list of doctors who have treated her and her family reads like a roster of PAMF’s founders, including Russell Lee, M.D., Blake Wilbur, M.D., Edward “Fritz” Roth, M.D., and Esther Clark, M.D.
From primary care, to maternity care to surgical care, Winn’s medical needs have aligned with other important milestones of her life. This Betty White look-alike credits her agility and excellent overall health today to her physicians at PAMF. This legacy of care has even been passed down to her daughters, Arlene and Kathy.
Kathy began seeing O. Ralph Tanner, M.D., a preeminent ophthalmologist, for lazy eye at age 4. “Dr. Tanner had recently presented at a big medical conference on the technique of patching the strong eye to strengthen the weak eye,” she said. “I understand that now it is a standard of treatment, but at the time it was brand new. By the time I was in high school, I didn’t have to wear glasses. PAMF has been incredible for our entire family.”
“We love Sutter’s philosophy of care, with the umbrella approach to cover all our needs,” added Arlene, who underwent knee surgery from Noman Khan, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at PAMF, who also performed back surgery on Winn. “The quality of healthcare is phenomenal.”
This level of safety and security has been a comfort to Winn’s daughters. They have not lived in California for decades, but they oversee their mother’s healthcare from a distance through Sutter’s online tools when they cannot be with her.
“We email her doctors and ask questions about her medications no matter where in the world we are,” said Arlene. “For a brief time, she developed medication-induced diabetes and had to go on insulin, and we were able to manage the entire adjustment to insulin through the data online.”
And while Winn has been in the care of many at PAMF, her sweet spirit and good-natured humor is oftentimes just what the doctor ordered.
“Whenever I see Gladys is on my schedule, it picks me up a little bit because she always makes me feel good,” Jennifer Gillett, M.D., Winn’s internist at PAMF for the last 13 years. “Gladys takes really good care of herself.”