Saturday I did a post on my experience at the neurology department at the hospital. I had waited a day before I wrote anything because I have learned over the years that it is often better to let one’s temper calm before saying something. This allows you to think more clearly and keep from sticking your foot in your mouth. I was still fairly ticked about what I have seen as an ongoing problem within the neurology department, and rather than just have an audience limited to those that might come across this blog, I decided to take the bull by the horns, as it were.
On Saturday I decided to look up the email addresses of those that run the hospital. I couldn’t find the address for the person I was looking for, but my research did locate the addresses of those on the hospital foundation board. With fingers crossed (which by the way makes it hard to type) I sent emails to the various board members and included a link to this blog. Truthfully, I did not expect any type of response. My only hope was that the board members would take time to read the email and perhaps a few entries on the blog. If they deemed my writing worth passing on, then so be it. If they thought of me as being a crank then nothing would change, and all I wasted was an hour or two of my time.
Sunday came and went without much fanfare, and Monday I was off to see my primary doctor at the clinic, something I will write about in my next post. Around 12:30pm on Monday my phone rang. I recognized the number as being one of the hospital/clinics exchanges, and thought I had forgotten something at the doctor’s. To my surprise and delight, it was the folks at patient relations and risk management from the hospital. I will apologize right now for not remembering the two women’s names that I spoke with, but suffice it to say they were very attentive, professional and sounded genuinely concerned about the things I have written.
The three of us spoke for over a half an hour, with me monopolizing the conversation. They informed me that my email had in fact been passed on to various persons within the hospital’s organization, and that the hospital was taking my concerns seriously. As we spoke I could feel a sigh release from deep within me, one of relief and gratitude. When I sent the email my biggest concern was that I would be thought of as nothing more than someone who wanted to “kvetch” and not be taken seriously. I was wrong.
Many organizations state that they are fair and balanced, but that is not always the case. I am trying to be fair, balanced and honest with anyone that reads this blog, and I am willing to admit if I provided incorrect information. On Saturday I wrote that the patient relations office was closed at 10:30 in the morning, and I was rather incredulous that the people who are able to address patient issues were unavailable to the patient. The representative from patient relations that I spoke with on Monday explained how their office works, and with this new information I would like to offer an apology to them. It seems that they run a very lean office, with less than a handful of staff to deal with any and all patient issues throughout the entire hospital’s system. This includes not only the actual hospital, but also all the outlying clinics. With a lean staff, this leaves, at times, the office unattended. However, their response to my concerns was in a very timely and professional manner, and for that I give them kudos and thanks.
As to my direct concerns regarding the neurology department, both women were very attentive. As I explained to them, my desire was not to simply “bitch” about the hospital, there are MANY on staff that are wonderful. But, rather to inform the “powers that be” of issues they may be unaware of. I explained my experiences with neurology, and also my background. Having had to deal with the hospital during the course of my professional career, I know that there are some fantastic people throughout the system. Having dealt with the system now as a patient, I again have met many wonder and professional staff. However, there was that one department that seemed to not understand what patients are going through and needing on a professional level.
They informed me that my concerns were relayed to the director of the neurology department, and that the department had actually begun a training program that day for the neuro staff. A program that will hopefully bring about greater awareness and sensitivity to patient’s needs.
I also received a call from the director of neurology yesterday, and she and I spoke for quite awhile. She stated that she was grateful for the feedback, and was unaware of some of the issues I had written about. All too often when we are in the middle of an organization we are unable to see its operation objectively. Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out where issues exist.
She and I also talked at length about my medical issues, and where and what we (the medical staff and I) need to do from here.
The response that I received was overwhelming, and reaffirming. I was starting to lose hope that somewhere along the way I would get answers and perhaps a solution. Now I feel a bit more at ease and again hopeful. Now only time will tell. But I applaud the hospital staff for their timely and professional response, and look forward to see what changes are going to happen.
I also hope that my comments will be of assistance to other patients as they deal with their illnesses. Sometimes all it takes to affect change is to simply point out the issues, and not be afraid to stand up for one’s self.