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Doctors Hospital checking meds for free
Doctors Hospital of Manteca pharmacy director Dr. Katy Marconi oversees three pharmacy student interns who will take part in this week’s drug safety check for area residents. They are from left Janelle Shin from the UOP School of Pharmacy; Thuy Nguyen and Sanoz Tofighi, both from the Touro University School of Pharmacy in the Bay Area. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin
It’s “brown bag” week at Doctors Hospital of Manteca.

Everyone is welcome to fill paper bags with their prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines for a safety inspection at the hospital today through Friday.

They will be checked by the pharmacy staff to ensure that no two medicines are going to cause a toxic reaction as part of a nationwide effort to promote patient safety awareness.

Dr. Katy Marconi, director of the hospital pharmacy, said that clinical pharmacist Benjamin Joe will be in charge of the process of checking the medications in the conference center of the facility.

She added that three pharmacy school interns, now  serving at Doctors,  are also going to be on hand to assist in the assessment of the “brown bags” patients bring to them.

The student interns are Janel Shin of the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy and Sanoz Togighi and Thuy Nguyen from Touro University School of Pharmacy in the Bay Area.

“A Prescription for Patient Safety: One Partnership, One Team,” is the theme for this year’s Patient Safety Awareness Week.

It is an effort to strengthen ties between patients, families and their health care providers to foster improved patient safety.

“We want to send the message, however, that patient safety at Doctors Hospital of Manteca is not just a week-long event or program,” said administrator Mark Lisa.  “Patient safety is a basic principal by which every employee, physician and governing board member at this hospital lives by,” he added.

Lisa said he also wants patients to keep in mind that safe health care starts at home, through healthy lifestyle choices like eating right, not smoking, exercising and wearing seat belts.

Dr. Marconi further noted that the hospital pharmacy stores thousands of medications for 24 hour service for its patients’ benefit.

She said her pharmacy is unlike any others in the community as most of its medicines are injectable.  It serves three other hospitals, as well, during night time hours – one other Tenet hospital in Central California and two in Southern California -- through state of the art technology.  Dr. Marconi said it is a “very safe” process.

Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton, Los Alamitos Medical Center near Los Angeles and Lakewood Regional Medical Center, in Lakewood, are all connected by a computer driven medication delivery system.

The medicines are kept in locked compartments at those sites – compartments  that can only be opened by a doctor’s prescription,  and the corresponding code sent over the internet  from the Manteca hospital pharmacy staff.

Dr. Marconi – a doctor of pharmacy – first came to Doctors Hospital 22 years ago as a staff pharmacist.  Her husband, Robert, is also a pharmacist who works for the State of California in the medical office in Stockton.

She said that she and her staff monitor all medications to ensure that patients are getting enough of what has been prescribed and yet not too much. “It is a good pharmaceutical practice,” she noted.

She lauded the “good support” she and her pharmacy staff receive from hospital administrators Mark Lisa and Carmen Silva.

Diane Pinakiewicz, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation said, “Clear and open communication between patient and providers is at the very core of quality care, and is a vital component in keeping patients safe during their journey through the health care system.

Doctors Hospital is a member of the National Patient Safety Foundation.

Programs highlighting new methods for improving the information exchange that occur during patient/provider encounters will be launched and promoted during the course of the week at Doctors.

For additional information on Patient Safety Awareness Week or the Universal Patient Compact, visit  To participate in the “brown bag” check by hospital pharmacists call for a reservation at 1-800-470-7229.