For the Health of it™ Vol 3. No. 9
Reflections on a visit to Massachusetts General Hospital: The Aura of Peace and Calm & the Implicit Patient-Physician Contract to “Do the Right Thing, Always.”
Early November 2015 10:50 AM, Blake 14 Waiting Room
Siting alone, it had been just a few minutes since the message came from the dad that his wife will go in for a Cesarean Section. While staring into space and looking down upon the City of Boston from the waiting room, an aura of peace and calm came over me. “These are hallowed halls” I think, “born of a noble profession and tradition” to “First do no harm” and “Do good”. It boils down to this: “Do the right thing, always.” That’s my expectation of MGH and the obligation that is carried by those of us who have taken “the oath”. After all, I have known and worked with people from this place since my college days. “Where have we gone wrong?” I wonder. “How is it that The Business of Medicine has gone so far off track?”
I think, “The best of the Art of Medicine can be delivered to those in need through MGH and other places like this that I have worked in.” and “You have been a part of this for over 4o years, now” I say to myself, while breathing a sigh of relief “she is in good hands”. I know how it works … from the inside and the outside and from the casualties I have seen over the years … I know exactly how it works and sometimes fails to work.
And yet, despite my worry and fear of the bad things that can happen … even in the best of hands, I too feel the aura of peace and calm that comes from the faith and trust in the implicit contract between People-Patient<>Physician-Provider to “Do the right thing, always”. And, there is no doubt that this aura … these feelings come from bonding … the faith and trust I put into the hands of the folks at MGH. This is the same faith and trust I bring to the critically ill patients and their families I care for and treat. They trust I will “First do no harm”, “Do Good.” and “Do the right thing always.”
Soon, another text message arrives to drive me out of my thoughts. This one is complete with a photo of the new baby in Dad’s arms next to smiling mom … my daughter … this is personal. I can tell dad is beaming under the misfit surgical mask. “How is she?” “Good” he texts, but it is about 40 minutes before he comes out to greet me and bring me in to see with my own eyes. I see all is well. Mother is well. The baby is exceptionally pretty. Not just in my eyes.
“You have confidence in this place” I say. He nods. “Why is that?” I ask? ‘They have a deep bench that’s just as good as the first team.” He answered. “That’s why you come here, right?” I ask. He nods again. That’s what it takes to deliver best care and treatment every minute of every day. Even in the best of hands, things don’t always go as well as expected. But, when exemplary care and treatment results in better than expected outcome, that results in bragging rights and best practices … 100 on the B2 score.
And we move along, one day at a time, seeking more Reliable Partners and Exemplary Care. We want you to help us deliver better and best health and health care to the people we are all here to serve. We want to know about your Reliable Partners and your Exemplary Care, so we can share your good fortune with the rest of the world.
Have Sweet Day and I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.