This evening as I was looking through the web for some inspiration for a Hospital Impact blog, I came across a description of a wonderful health care experience. It was so much fun that I wanted to share it locally, too.
Dr. Karen Donelan, Senior Scientist in Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital, gave a wonderful description of her experience in the health care system. A dear member of her family received timely access when the pcp’s answering service worked, the receptionist, technician and doctor all showed compassion and demonstrated their desire to be there for the family and the patient. At every step information and decisions were shared, so much so that the family felt part of the care team, and finally the doctors were highly trained and had all of the right tools. She described this as truly, significantly different care than they had ever observed with other family members. According to Dr. Donelan, "It was seamless, high quality , accessible, compassionate and expert with a fully disclosed price and plan of treatment."
This description was so moving to me that it made me sit back in my chair and say, "This is absolutely the way it should be."
It has always been my dream that we could provide this type of care; that patient after patient, family member after family member would call, write or personally attest to this phenomenal care. After all, why shouldn’t it be this way? As I was reading it, I wondered if it was a major teaching facility or a wonderful, cottage type hospital in some little, rural town in Iowa. I remember reading something like this about teaching, and then saw that it was written in the 1400′s. Maybe this was from ancient Rome or Greece? After all, Planetree had its roots under the Sycamores where Hypocrites lectured.
Then, I saw the punch line: It was the care that the author’s dog, Rico was given by the Veterinarian. Surprised? Don’t be.
I remember our very tough vet as he euthanized our retriever after having cared for her for 12 years. He stood solemnly over her as he began to give her that final injection, and lowered his head, got tears in his eyes, and lovingly stroked her until her breathing stopped. Honestly, it was one of the more moving experiences I’ve ever had, and it was with our dog.
Maybe we should all take our cues from the above description, and turn to our partners in health care, the veterinary hospitals. Sure, they probably have to clean the puddles up in the waiting rooms a little more often, but this staff generally is there because they truly love animals, and, although we tend to forget it, try to hide it, suppress it, overlook it and cover up for it; we’re animals, too.
Finally, a friend told me about a Vet who was also a board certified MD, who practiced both professions out of different ends of his building. I’m thinking that a bad day for him would have been when he had to say, "I’m sorry, Mrs. Jones, I just accidentally gave your husband a distemper shot!"