When Healthcare Goes Right

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In early September, my son and his father were out riding bikes on a really hot day (90 degree temps) during the final days of summer while I was touring an amazing facility run by the Children's Health Foundation that serves vulnerable children in the South Bronx. On the subway ride home, I got a disturbing text massage: "Michael not well. Called ambulance. On our way to Methodist." As soon as I saw it - above ground for two stops - I called Michael's dad in a panic. He seemed calm and told me that after riding for a while, Michael became lightheaded, was sweating profusely and complained of not being able to see anything. His dad called 911. They were taken to the Emergency Department at New York Methodist Hospital, our community hospital in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Luckily for us, Methodist has a pediatric ED, which just makes so much sense for populations with lots of kids.

As soon as I saw my precious Michael, I knew he would be fine. He looked good and was joking with the ambulance drivers with video game references. Mr. 11-year-old is a gamer! Within five minutes of Michael's arrival in the ED, the resident came over and evaluated him. She asked all of the right questions, was reassuring and ordered an EKG just to be certain there was nothing else going on. It was clear to all of us that he had suffered from heat stroke. Within another five minutes, the EKG tech came over and was so sweet with Michael while putting on the leads.  A nurse in the unit came by with juice and cookies - she was hilarious and engaging.

At this point in the patient journey, I started to think about all of the other ED experiences I've had with my elderly parents, which often lasted eight to ten hours at a time and left me feeling uneasy. I was nervous that we were in for the same.

But my fears were wrong. Everything at the NY Methodist Hospital Pediatric ED went right. We hung out with Michael as he got back to himself and other kids came in for care. I became a little impatient and asked the staff when Michael would be discharged. About ten minutes later, the attending came over and apologized for the delay.

He began the discharge process. I asked him how to access Michael's record from the day so we could share it with his pediatrician. I could tell that he does not get this question often. At first he said that I should go to the Records Department, but then told me to wait a minute and went to copy the EKG report himself.

We have lots of problems in healthcare and there are countless interactions that frustrate me. But our visit to the pediatric ED at NY Methodist was not one. Press Ganey - send me the survey.