There really are people and organizations out there who still care. We’re all so accustomed to haphazard, slovenly service, that it’s refreshing to find someone cares how we feel and what we think about the service we received. At times, I can be pretty quick to criticize bad service, products, etc., so I try to be just a quick to commend good ones.
In December, my wife Sharon had hip-replacement surgery. The surgery went well, and her recovery has been a bit quicker and smoother than we were prepared for. We’re both happy with that.
On the day of surgery, however, I felt like no one cared about the patient’s family. I was told what time the procedure would start and to expect her to be in the OR for a couple of hours, then in recovery for 30 or 45 minutes.
It was almost noon when I was ushered out of pre-op to wait for her. I had several errands I could have run that afternoon, along with a stop in a restaurant for lunch, but there wouldn’t be time to do that and be back at the hospital by the time they projected she’d be in her room. Not wanting to disappoint her, I elected to eat a rather mediocre meal in the hospital cafeteria and come back to the waiting room.
After waiting nearly four hours beyond the anticipated time to go see Sharon in her room, I was fit to be tied. I wrote about my experience that day in a blog post (click here to read it), and I sent copies of the link to three executives at the hospital, urging them to read it.
For the next couple of weeks I thought I was being ignored. Then I received calls from a couple of the people I’d sent the link to. They had all read it, and they took it to heart. They asked me if I’d be willing to sit down with a committee to discuss what had gone wrong and help them figure out how they could improve.
Just hearing an acknowledgment of my complaints was edifying. For them to ask my help in improving their procedures almost blew my mind. I couldn’t believe they were taking me that seriously.
Yesterday, I took an hour out of my birthday—yes, I’m even older than I used to be—to meet with their committee. I was ushered into a boardroom where a dozen of their department heads were gathered. They all had pens and paper to take notes.
After we went around the table breaking ice and introducing ourselves (I told them I was too old to remember names), the lady chairing the meeting told me a bit about how interested they were in what I had to say and what they could do to improve relations with patients’ families. Then they turned the meeting over to me and told me to walk them through my experiences and frustrations of that day and to take all the time I wanted to do so.
Once I finished, we all batted a few ideas around for ways to improve, and they told me they would be meeting seriously about these ideas and would invite me back to discuss their proposed changes. Then Priti Jain, the lady who served as sort of my personal contact, took me to another meeting room where we discussed a few more things, and she asked me if they could call on me to meet with them about other problems areas.
What had been a bad day has turned into a wonderful experience for me and a great example of an organization trying to be the best it can be. My kudos to Texas Health Harris Methodist Southwest Hospital. I couldn’t have asked for more.
For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.
For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.
Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.