Kaiser Vallejo ObGyns

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Editor Note: the reviews below apply to Dr. James Sakamoto when he was a member  of Berkeley/Orinda Womens Health Group.

October 2002

I'm interested in recent experiences and references specifically on Dr. James Sakamoto of the Berkeley/Orinda Womens Health Group. I have read the previous recommendations on the website regarding Drs. Foley and Honegger of his group, but am scheduled to meet with Dr. Sakamoto. Any info about his attitude towards interventional aids for childbirth, bedside manners, etc. would be appreciated. Thanks. Mable

I saw Dr. Sakamoto a number of times during my pregnancy and after my child's birth. I was struck by his reassuring and clear way of communicating. He was very receptive to all my questions and had a great bedside manner with both me and my husband who came to the prenatal visits with me. Also, he was the doctor on call while my friend was in labor, and my friend had glowing things to say about how he handled the birth of her son. I would recommend Dr Sakamoto. Deirdre

My doctor at Berkeley-Orinda Women's Health is Dr. Girard, but Dr. Sakamoto delivered my second baby. He is not my favorite of the doctors at that practice. Once in my second pregnancy at 33 weeks I was feeling regular contractions and was worried and I called the practice to report it. The nurse on the phone was concerned enough to say that Dr. Sakamoto the doctor on call would call me back, but he never did. I called back again, and she told me she had faxed my chart over, and she would try to get him to call me back again. I ended up coming in to see someone else, but my next appointment with Dr. Sakamoto I asked him about it and he told me they must not have faxed over your chart which was not true, since I had seen it in the hand of the doctor I eventually saw. Additionally, I felt as though he should have taken responsibility for the error in any case. I also called him after the birth of my second child when I was passing very large clots, since he was the doctor on call, and he took a *very* (nearly two hours)long time to call back, and then told me not to worry about it based on nothing at all. I decided not to see him at all during my third pregnancy, and was very happy with the practice otherwise. Anon.

I love Dr. Sakamoto. He wasn't my primary doctor at that practice, but I would pick him in the future, now that I know all of them. (However, all the docs there are good.) He's a sweet man, who knows his stuff. He was the one who made the call on Day 3!! of my induced labor to up the pitosin to high enough levels so that I finally responded and did not need a C- section. Pick him. Irene D Irene D

Sakamoto is excellent--clinically and surgically saavy with a nice bedside manner. He would be my first choice after Richard Rudd, M. D.

Dr. Kurt Wharton is my wonderful OBGYN who is part of the Berkely-Orinda Women's Health, of which Dr. Sakamoto belongs to as well.

During my pre-natal care, I had to see all of the doctors, Dr. Sakamoto being one of them. I highly recommend all of the doctors in this practice (especially Dr. Wharton). Although extremly friendly and professionally, I did not find Dr. Sakamoto's bedside manner to be as nurturing as Dr. Wharton and Dr. Jill Folly. He seems to be very clinical. Another friend of mine who delivered with Dr. Wharton also had similar issues with Dr Sakamoto's bedside manner.

He is an excellent doctor though and I think it might just be a matter of personality fit, therefore you would have to see for yourself if he is a good fit for you. However in terms of recommending a practice, I think you would find you would be in great hands with the practice and doctors here in general. Anon

My wife is out of town, otherwise I am sure she would respond . . We think Dr. Sakamoto is fantastic. Great manner, great listener, very flexible. We switched to him for the birth of our second child (the first was with a midwife) and couldn't have been happier. My wife continues to use him for GYN. Stephen

I am a patient of Dr. Wharton's but Dr. Sakamoto was the doctor on call when I went into labor. He was the one doctor from the practice who I had not met so I was very nervous when I found out that he would be the one delivering my child. However, I found him to be wonderful. I had a few complications during labor and in addition to that my husbands father passed away shortly after our son was born. Dr. Sakamoto was very kind to us and spent a lot of time supporting us both as new parents and my husband in the loss of his dad. You would be in good hands with Dr. Sakamoto. Amy

I saw Dr.Sakamoto several times during my pregnancy and have seen him once since, though Dr. Honegger is my primary physician in that practice. He has a very nice ''bedside manner'' and is a thorough clinician. I have had only good experiences with him. Maria

James Sakamoto is one of the finest doctors I have ever encountered, and I have been fortunate in consulting some extraordinary physicians. He is gentle,caring,and sensitive, highly knowledgeable, and smart. He does not hurry you through an appointment, and gauges your understanding--psychological and informational (i.e.,as a matter of health/medical science)--of his assessments and recommendations and acts accordingly, taking greater care and/or going into greater depth as the situation-- and you--require. Dr. Sakamoto has been my OB/GYN over 20 years, shepherding me through miscarriages, 3 pregnancies,the specter of cancer, and now menopause. I have an ongoing OB/GYN medical condition that requires periodic consultation with Dr. Sakamoto. Twice in the past year I have failed to check in and report--once because of a family crisis and more recently because of the death of a parent. In both instances, he initiated the required follow through. This man is a highly skilled and caring physician, and a rare human being. Consider yourself fortunate to be able to secure his services. Appreciative, Long-Time Patient

Hi Mabel, I've been seeing Dr. Sakamoto for 4 years now. I saw him througout the pregnancy/birth of my first daughter almost 4 years ago (although Dr. Girard delivered) and then he was my OB for my last pregnancy, which was a complicated twin pregnancy... (he ended up referring me out to a perinatologist) In my dealings with him, I was always very happy. He is very traditional, though, and errs on the conservative side. Some may even call his attitudes towards certain things ''old school.'' Please feel free to email me if you have any specific questions, but I would definitely recommend him and the rest of the practice! rileynme

I really like Dr. Sakamoto. Like you, I'd initially called the practice he belongs to because of the posts here about Dr. Honnegar. She was busy, so my first appointment was with him. I found him to be wonderful. His bedside manner is great - I've never felt rushed - and he is very genuine. I've seen all the folks in that practice now many times each (I just had a baby last month), and I like them all, but I definitely prefer him whenever I make an appointment. Maryanne M

Dr. Sakamoto was the attending doctor for my daughter's birth at Alta Bates. I had not met him before the labor and birth but I was very happy that he supported my requests (no questions asked) for intermittent monitoring, no continuous IV, no meds, squatting almost to the end of the labor, etc. when the nurse did not want to initially. She said she saw very few unmedicated births.

I had planned a homebirth but moved to the hospital since the baby came early and I had no regrets at all. Dr. S. was respectful and I and the people who supported me created an environment where I was in charge. happy mom

I highly recommend Dr Sakamoto. My baby is now 11 months. He is sensitive, has excellent bed-side manners. comes highly recommended by my Ob/Gyn doctor-friend, and is willing to work with low interventions. When my husband suddenly left me during the pregnancy, Dr Sakamoto was very supportive and he helped to make the birth as low stress as possible (he promised to stay beyond his shift to help me with a VBAC). Yvonne

I love him. I cannot tell you the nightmare he pulled me from. 1st time pregnancy, young OB overreacts: forces an early induction and then announces that she is leaving the practice and won't be delivering baby. Girard and Sakamoto came in and told me to go home, wondered what I was there for anyway. 18 days later Sakamoto was there for the delivery. (of course its really the nurses that get you TO the delivery, not the OB!!!) Calm, level headed and warm. He did not perform an episiotomy, though afterward he discovered a fairly large tear on the inner vulvo -vaginal wall that needed a bunch of stitches. 4 weeks following delivery, I needed a deep cervical excision. This he did with precision, and I healed far better than my previous excision 5 years earlier. I can't say enough good things. ljennings

I am a patient with Berkeley/Orinda Women's Health - Dr. Foley is my primary OB, but I saw Dr. Sakamoto while she was on maternity leave. In total, I saw him three times and loved him. He was kind, listened, extremely friendly, and very attentive to my needs. I almost wished he was my primary!!! Cynthia

James Sakamoto wasn't my OB/GYN but I met him several times during my pregnancy, and when I finally went into labor (several days late) I was enormously relieved that he was the doctor on call. I think his bedside manner is fantastic; he's caring, conscientious, and extremely gentle. (He's also fairly blunt about not wanting his patients to gain too much weight, which didn't bother me too much but did annoy some friends of mine. I don't know if this would be an issue for you.) I love my regular OB/GYN, but I'd switch to Dr. Sakamoto in a heartbeat. anon

I think Dr. Sakamoto is a good clinician and is good with typically sized women. I am overweight saw him only twice, but got two rather unpleasant lectures about my weight from him, both unasked for and inappropriate to a nine months pregnant woman who was not his regular patient. I also was unable to get him to handle a skin infection that I had because he told me it was caused by my weight and wouldn't go away until I lost weight.This was both wrong and unhelpful. The other doctors in the practice were less judge mental, particularly Dr. Honneger who prescribed something that worked for the skin infection and although she told me at the beginning of the pregnancy what additional risks I might have as an overweight mom, asked if I wanted to discuss it further and moved on. Anon.

I also recommend Dr. Sakamoto, and I wanted to respond specifically to his thoughts on intervention. Dr. Sakamoto has been by ob/gyn for 6 years, through the pregnancy and birth of 2 healthy kids. While he is definitely a medical doctor, I found him to be very much inclined to let the body of a healthy pregnant woman do its work without intervention. My first daughter was breech at 39 weeks -- many doctors would have scheduled a C-section immediately. Instead, he and Dr. Wharton attempted an external version, which was successful, and my daughter was delivered vaginally. I also asked him what he would have done had my daughter remained breech, and he said that he still wouldn't have done a c-section, because in his experience, many breech babies turn in labor. I found this to be a great attitude. I think in some circumtances (if the baby is under 8 lbs) he will also deliver a vaginal breech. He also won't push epidurals or anything.

In my first pregnancy, when I started bleeing at 8 weeks on a Sunday, he called me back immediately and met me at his office soon after. I have always found him very responsive.

I like all the doctors ot Berkeley/Orinda and I am very happy with Dr. Sakamoto. Julie

For what it is worth, although I have not myself had a personal experience with Dr. Sakamoto, I have been a Doula for about 10 years now, and over that time I have heard nothing but great things about him. Much more so than about any other OB/GYN in the area. From the things I have heard, he appears to truly respect birthing women and the birth process. If I am not mistaken, he has a low c-section rate too. Good luck to you. marianne

Dr. Sakamoto delivered my son 3 years and performed a D 1 year ago after a miscarriage. I really like him and his bedside manner. I would use him for any of my OB/GYN needs. (I also like Dr. Wharton in his practice, but have only seen him for prenatal exams.)