What This Blog is About

A long time mentor and friend, Cicely Berry, often says: "all we do comes from our need to survive".

Cis is the Voice Director of The Royal Shakespeare Company. Her profound work and deep appreciation of the human spirit has affected diverse communities all over the world.

Will take you to my current work.

This blog is dedicated to the belief that the overall health of a community or organization is a clear reflection of their ability to communicate.

"Cada cabeza es un mundo" - Cuban proverb

"Every head is a world"

Friday, January 4, 2008

It Always Hits Home

I have avoided this blog recently. The recent holiday season was difficult. With all the reading, research and personal experience regarding today's health care -- things hit hard over the last few weeks.

My wife, after having a fairly routine outpatient knee surgery on Dec. 21st, found herself on Dec. 23rd in an ambulance.

There is still confusion but the consensus seems to be that during the surgery she suffered pneumonia from what is called an aspiration.

The staff effort in the emergency room was diligent. There were other complications and they were able to sort out what was going on with expertise and understanding. However, I also had to work with them to make certain that they did not make quick assumptions to what might be a more complicated scenario.

Interesting, that when I apologized to the nurse for my assertiveness on arrival when I noticed a certain dismissive summary too quickly from two staff members, the nurse actually thanked me.

"I was proud of what you said to the admitting team. They needed to hear it and they will treat her differently now".

The short of it is that communication from this strong ER effort to other staff members was awful. Some verbatim that I heard.

"When I go to get the labs, sometimes I take the pictures myself because they are asleep up there" - Resident Doctor

"This used to be a really good hospital. It's not anymore" - Nurse

"That's not the right dosage. I am supposed to write that prescription" - Doctor upon discharge who had participated in the ER.

"We will keep her in the ER for as long as possible, because she will not get the same care once she goes upstairs (admitted)" - Nurse and long time employee

These are only a few of the morale, implementation and work routine hazards we experienced.

It goes deeper. Guarantees to connect and exchange information with my wife's primary doctors was never done.

I did find staff sleeping when they were on specific assignment to caring for the patient. Yet, there was never a question about the motivation or commitment of the health care workers. Something more dense is affecting their ability to perform.

We are all needing to help this situation.


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