Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thank you, Beth Israel Deaconess!

People have different views of what causes what in life, and that's fine with me. On this blog you'll hear lots of thoughts about that.

Here's one of my strongest opinions: I wouldn't be here writing this if it weren't for some extraordinarily good people at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston.

It's not fair to include some names and not others, but since they have 6,000 employees, I've got to stop somewhere. Here are my heroes:

  • Dr. David McDermott, of the famous Atkins & McDermott team - among the best in the world for RCC (renal cell carcinoma). You may be a Yankees fan, but I love ya anyway, Dr. McDreamy.
  • Kendra Bradley, RN and a dozen other initials, from Dr. McDermott's "biologics therapy" team. Kendra is one of those extraordinary individuals who knows what people need before they say it. "I have to," she says. "I've worked a lot with little kids who have cancer, and they don't always have the words to say what they want." You go, KB. You've been fabulous in handling this overgrown kid.
  • Mee-Young Lee and Virginia Seery, both nurse practitioners. One of the defining memories of my many days in the hospital this year is the sight of one or both of them standing at the foot of my bed, with their constant beaming smiles and confident voices. What they said wasn't always good news, but these women have mastered the art of conveying strength, encouragement and confidence. I love strong, confident women.
  • Dr. Megan Anderson, the orthopedic surgeon who fixed my leg when the cancer led to its fracture (and again when my Frisky Pony act broke the screws she'd put in). She too works with kids (do we see a pattern here?) and won me over when, on our first visit, she reached for my foot and said "Let's check the pulse in your little feeties."
  • The nurses of Stoneman 7, whose quiet competencies are the gold standard of care, in my book. My life was at stake as I received a dangerous treatment, and they did it all right.
  • Dr. Danny Sands, my primary care physician, and co-manager of the creation of PatientSite, BIDMC's out-of-the-ordinary patient communication web site.
Finally, last in this list (which is where he'd want to be), Paul Levy, not MD nor NP nor RN nor medical nuttin' - he's just President & CEO of BIDMC, and he's the template for how I'd like every CEO in the world to operate. He is open, honest, feeling, compassionate, and tenaciously dedicated to doing good in the world - and competent, on top of all that. Competent enough to run a billion dollar enterprise, pulling it out of a tailspin five years ago so it's now flying high. Boy am I glad he did that.

Characteristically, Paul writes Running A Hospital, the first blog by a hospital CEO. You should read it - he's getting worldwide attention for his openness ("transparency") about the challenges of running a hospital, and for generally shaking up the conventional style of healthcare management. On that blog my "handle" is Patient Dave.

And so begins this blog: the New Life of Patient Dave. Let the games begin!