by (Rev.) John Fisher
If you feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest, you are probably having a heart attack. For me it was more like a mid-sized dog. Instead of a heart attack, it was a gallbladder about to burst. So I literally walked myself into the ER of Chestnut Hill Hospital on Sunday morning. Immediately, I was placed onto a wheelchair for an onslaught of tests.
Though pleased with the immediate and well-coordinated care, having complained of chest pains, I was doomed to be admitted. As a former high school administrator and a brother/uncle of five nurses and two doctors whose passion and patient care I admire and think unparalleled, I was well-positioned to assess this organizational system.
I cannot go into detail about everyone who saw me as they were too many to report: doctors, nurses, medical residents, medical students and student nurses. Collectively and individually, they made it clear they were patient-centered first. Each team of health care professionals knew the updates from the others. Good communication! Good teamwork! Always solicitous and courteous!
The cardiologist’s visits were daily, thorough and encouraging. Never in a rush, I felt as if I were Dr. Rodriguez’ only patient. I was impressed by the TV repairman who came in to fix the other patient’s TV but apologized to me for interrupting. When I asked a woman from housekeeping how she was, she replied “very sad.” When I politely inquired why, she elaborated on the sadness of the Boston Marathon incident. How compassionate!
She moved me to remember the plight of others while experiencing my own little discomfort. Another housekeeping woman, Mary, greeted me joyfully every morning. In conversation with her, she told me that she has been doing this job for 19 years, every day a happy one. A transporter, Herb, was exceptionally nice and comforting. He was so cheerful calming me “on route.” When I walked into the OR area, he was comforted by many. I learned later he had recently lost his wife. What compassion! What a family! How could he treat me so well with all that on his mind?
A new state-of-the-art OR! CHH has bragging rights. Then came the perfectly choreographed operation. People helped me move onto the table, lights were adjusted, parts of the table were positioned, an injection of anesthesia with some oxygen and then recovery. The PACU nurses gave me a hand-crafted Phillies Phanatic pillow to ease pain. Unfortunately, I vomited on it while being transferred to the fifth floor. To my great and pleasant surprise, Andrea shows up minutes later with a new one for me. How thoughtful! I took this with me to remind me to be kind and considerate at all times.
A friend and pastor of OMC parish mandated that Dr. Donna Barbot was to operate as she had removed his gallbladder with precision and perfection. She came very highly recommended. When I first met her, I told her that I needed to run the upcoming Broad Street Run with my nephews and nieces. She asked if I was going to run with them, or would they leave me in the dust. When I said it would be the latter, she told me there would be other years.
Her humor was calming. Yet, at the same time she thought that my running this year could actually be a possibility if she could do this laproscopically. And she did! I grew more impressed with each encounter I had with her. I was not surprised to learn she had been voted a “Best Doc in Philly.” Great doc, great person!
Karen Lodge, the nurse practitioner, thoroughly reviewed my care plan as I was being discharged. I even got to meet the Chief Medical Officer. What a privilege! This afforded me the opportunity to offer him my overwhelming commendations for all the staff at Chestnut Hill Hospital. It turns out that in high school, he played on the same teams as my brother. He proceeded to lavish compliments about my brother as an athlete and a person. Anyone who speaks well about my family is a great person.
So, Dr. John Scanlon, let me thank you for your family, a kind, courteous and highly competent staff who made me feel welcomed and well-treated!
When looking to overhaul, fix or change health care, let’s keep in mind that we have dedicated and competent health care professionals who have their priority right — the care for the health and personhood of the patient. Let them decide how to fix health care.
The Rev. John Fisher, 54, is a member of The Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, a congregation of Roman Catholic priests and brothers who base their spirituality on the teachings of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. He teaches at DeSales University in Center Valley.