Monday, June 4, 2012

A Passion for Patients

I am often on planes – seems to be the blessing and curse of success - I have to admit, after working and being away from my family for several days, I usually just want to slip on my head phones and look out the window, but sometimes my seat mate just wants to chat. 

It was a Thursday, I missed #2’s baseball game the night before so I was a little grouchy, and I was eager to get home to spend time with my boys.  I had splurged $50 to upgrade to Airtran “1st class” which generally translates to a comfortable quiet trip home.  As I was praying the plane wouldn’t break, in walked my seat buddy – a 6’5  55+year old woman carrying a 10 month old baby.  There went quiet….though the conversation that followed was much more than I ever imagined.

We talked about the airplane – we talked about raising children – we talked about travel abroad - we talked about the Lord and then we talked about her adorable baby.   Soon I learned her name was “Mary” and it was her grandson who was only 4 months old when his mother, her youngest daughter, had passed away.  The story struck me, but more than that - staring into the face of the little boy on her lap - it broke my heart to imagine my boys growing up without me. 

Her daughter was a vibrant healthy young woman who became ill and deteriorated over several months.  She had several visits to the emergency room of their rural hospital with little answers.   Eventually, she was admitted to that hospital, Mary kept her children and her husband stayed with her as her advocate.  The baby became ill and Mary had to bring him to ER, when she arrived her son-in-law left his wife alone and met her to check in and see his son.  While he was gone, his wife pressed her call light – with no response she went to the bathroom alone then returned to her bed.  When he returned to the floor, he saw the call light on in the hallway outside her room.  He found his wife unresponsive.  In his confusion, he pressed the call button and began yelling for help – with no answer he ran to the nurses’ station.  The unit secretary ran to another patient’s room to find the nurse.   A few moments later – Mary heard a Code Blue call to her daughter’s room.  Leaving the baby with the ER nurse she flew to the floor, but nothing could be done.  Her daughter had died.
My mind immediately went to Regina and the E-patient movement. I shared about the Walking Gallery and my dear friend’s story of the loss of her husband.  How she had inspired me, and how the people in the gallery inspire me. 

She asked me what I did in healthcare – so I shared about Noah, and what we do at Sphere3.  She asked if I could get the data about her daughter’s incident. “I am not sure” I responded – seeing disappointment flush her face – I tried to explain that some technology does not support historical records – some technology does not save any records at all especially in small rural hospitals.  There are ways for me to get to data on a go forward basis, but many times it's a challenge to get to the retrospective data if it was not planned for when the initial technology was installed.  However, I would take a look if she ever wanted me too.
I wrote a while back about the drive to do more, to make a greater impact, to intercept the incidents, to save lives…..when patients are your driver – when people are your purpose - you do more.  You find yourself listening on an airplane - when you just wanted to look out the window.  You connect with people who inspire you and will drive you to go further.   

Are you doing this for the sake of profits?
Are you doing this for the sake of the patients? 
Are you inspiring a conversation in the HIT community or are you riding on the wave of government funded HIT? 

Don't ride the wave - find your inspiration and drive for change that matters.  

1 comment:

  1. I agree that helping people brings much more satiety and meaning to our lives than money and profits ever can!


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Kourtney Govro