When Angie Weight, 44, an artist and mother of four, reflects on the day she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, she says she is overcome with gratitude.
“I am now living my life more fully and with more purpose. When I walk into Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health, it feels like home. The building represents hope for me. The center has given me the opportunity to watch my children grow up.”
Angela Weight (left) and her neurosurgeon, Alexander Khalessi, MD, chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at UC San Diego Health, are pictured in 2018 after rappelling down the tallest waterfront hotel on the West Coast to raise funds for brain cancer research. Weight was the first patient at Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health to undergo the most advanced care in Southern California’s first and only intra-operative magnetic resonance imaging surgical suite.
Nearly four years ago, Weight was diagnosed with oligodendroglioma — a rare type of neurological cancer that is difficult to diagnose and treat because of how and where tumors are found in the brain.
Initially, she was told her tumor was inoperable, but was then transferred to UC San Diego Health. Her tumor required the most advanced care in Southern California’s first and only intra-operative magnetic resonance imaging surgical suite.
Weight was the first patient at Jacobs Medical Center to undergo an advanced procedure using the high-tech surgical suite, which deploys an MRI scanner at the operating table for real-time imaging of soft-tissue and bone before, during and after a surgical procedure. For brain tumor patients, the technology allows surgeons to safely assess whether a tumor has been fully removed or requires further work.
“I was nervous but totally trusted my incredible neurosurgeon,” said Weight. “When I heard him tell me that he was able to remove 100 percent of the tumor, my heart was bursting with emotion. It felt like a true miracle.”
The intra-operative MRI and Weight’s story are one of many achievements that have been recognized and celebrated at Jacobs Medical Center over the past five years. The 10-story, 245-bed hospital is home to specialized inpatient care, outpatient clinics, a blood bank, pharmacy and healing arts collection, as well as:
- 10 operating rooms, including 4 intraoperative imaging suites
- 32 private postpartum rooms, 3 birthing center rooms and 52 private Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) rooms
- Rooftop helicopter landing pad
“The excellent patient care and cutting-edge therapies delivered at Jacobs Medical Center were made possible by the visionary philanthropy of Joan and Irwin Jacobs,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “This truly innovative facility has further elevated UC San Diego Health’s stellar reputation as a leader in health care for our region and beyond.”
“The opening of Jacobs Medical Center was a momentous event that required the herculean efforts of our team members. I will never forget how we gathered in the early morning hours that day as our first patients, from a critically ill bone marrow transplant patient to our tiniest patients in our NICU, arrived at the hospital,” said Patty Maysent, CEO, UC San Diego Health.
“Our physicians and staff were ready to greet these patients and their families with the highest of clinical and professional standards that day and have done so every day since.”
UC San Diego Health opened Jacobs Medical Center on November 20, 2016. Named in honor of the $100 million in contributions from Joan and Irwin Jacobs, the 509,500-square-foot facility combines renowned physician-scientists and care teams, advanced technologies and creative arts and culinary offerings to provide an extraordinary healing experience for patients and families.
“This hospital brings the vision of UC San Diego’s founders who saw a need to integrate groundbreaking research and discovery with outstanding patient care to life,” said David Brenner, MD, vice chancellor for health sciences. “Physicians, researchers and nurses work side-by-side to deliver the most outstanding medical and surgical care to patients locally, nationally and globally.”
Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health celebrates its five year anniversary. The 10-story, 245-bed hospital opened November 20, 2016. Several milestones in health care have taken place within the 509,500-square-foot facility.
Several remarkable milestones in health care have taken place within the three-specialty centers located inside Jacobs Medical Center: the Rady Pavilion for Women and Infants, the Pauline and Stanley Foster Pavilion for Cancer Care and the A. Vassiliadis Family Pavilion for Advanced Surgery.
Multi-disciplinary teams in these pavilions have treated everything from the most complex malignancies and chronic diseases to delivering single and multiple births and providing specialized care to premature babies, some weighing less than a pound. As the only academic medical center in the region, UC San Diego Health is uniquely positioned to offer patients access to clinical trials for emerging therapies and advanced surgical techniques.
Surgeons at Jacobs Medical Center have innovated and refined techniques and procedures that have set the standard for safer surgeries. For example, through research led by the late UC San Diego School of Medicine professor and Nobel Laureate Roger Tsien, UC San Diego Health surgeons have advanced fluorescence-enhanced visualization of nerves to preserve healthy tissue. UC San Diego Health is also recognized for multi-organ transplantation, minimally invasive surgery for weight loss, precision cancer care and hearing preservation in those with acoustic neuromas.
During the global COVID-19 pandemic, UC San Diego Health experts across specialties have led the way regionally in treatment and research with testing, therapeutics and vaccinations. Comprehensive teams continue to work around-the-clock caring for critically ill patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“I am so unbelievably proud of our multi-disciplinary teams who provide the most exceptional care,” said Maysent. “In a most challenging and unprecedented period, they continue to show up every day to give patients more time with their loved ones, bring new life into the world, provide compassion at the bedside and combine research with clinical care that has set national models and guidelines.”
Angie Weight, mother of four and artist, continues to be cancer free nearly four years after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumor.
Additionally, Jacobs Medical Center captures the curative power of creativity with an expansive art collection. Paintings, photos and sculptures by renowned artists are featured on every floor and inside every patient room to foster an uplifting environment that fosters warmth, comfort and inspiration.
In March 2021, a monumental sculpture by prominent artist Jeff Koons debuted in the lobby of Jacobs Medical Center. “Party Hat (Orange),” donated by the Jacobs, is part of the 150-piece Healing Arts Collection at the hospital founded in large part by the vision and leadership of Joan Jacobs. The larger-than-life metallic artwork reflects the transformative power of the healing that happens on the premises.
Weight says it was this attention to detail combined with the highest quality of medical care that gave her confidence, strength and a second chance at life. She says that she is not only surviving, but thriving. She has follow-up appointments every three months and continues to be tumor-free.
“The experts at UC San Diego Health are like a beautiful orchestra working together. I owe my life to them and the incredible efforts that happen inside Jacobs Medical Center,” said Weight. “I am able to continue to be all the things I love most — a mom, wife and artist — because of my experience in the hospital that now holds so much special meaning for my entire family.”
Jacobs Medical Center by the Numbers
- 35,403 surgeries performed
- 14,719 babies born
- 76,172 inpatients treated
- 155,039 emergency room visits
- 1,470,588 patient meals served
- Nearly 6 million pounds of linen/textiles cleaned
- About 11K data cables run throughout the hospital equating to approximately 1,375,000 million feet of cable
- More than 1,100 computers installed
U.S. News & World Report named UC San Diego Health the #1 hospital in San Diego and #5 in California with 10 specialties ranked among the nation’s best in the 2020-2021 survey. The annual rankings are designed to assist patients and their doctors in making informed decisions about where to receive care for a variety of health conditions, common elective procedures and complex surgeries.
About UC San Diego Health
UC San Diego Health is the only academic health system in the region and is comprised of UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and Jacobs Medical Center, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Institute, Moores Cancer Center, Shiley Eye Institute, and the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute, all in La Jolla, as well as primary care and same-day services at clinics throughout Southern California. UC San Diego Health Medical Center is home to the area’s only Regional Burn Center and one of only two Level I trauma centers in the county.