Thursday, September 8, 2011

What If Mrs. Brown Was Your Mother?

Our vision is to be the hospital where everybody gets treated the way we want our own loved ones to get treated, and we often get it right.

Meet Jane Brown, a woman in her late 70s who recently received healthcare in GBMC’s Emergency Department (ED), Cardiac Care Unit (CCU), and the Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit.  Mrs. Brown is someone who knows our organization and was around as the hospital was being built.  She jokes that the kids used to say GBMC stood for “Great Big Medicine Chest” because it looked like a series of drawers going up the hill.

Mrs. Brown came to the ED with a complaint of severe pain (10 on a scale of 1 to 10) in her lower left quadrant. “This was the first time I was really, really sick,” Mrs. Brown says.  “I was sick enough that I begged to die.”  Thankfully, Mrs. Brown did not die; in fact she was released from GBMC and sent home last week in better condition than when we first met her.

In Mrs. Brown’s words, “From the very first time I entered the emergency room, I felt safe and felt surrounded by human beings who were going to try to help with my excruciating pain.  I knew I was in a safe place. I’ve never been this sick in my life. I’ve had breast cancer, and I don’t mean to diminish that but breast cancer has a beginning, a middle and an end.  This was a jolt to be so disabled.”

“I have been truly fortunate to find myself in a place where you understood what was happening and from a patient’s point of view that is extraordinary. The staff was present, not just physically there but there’s no question that they cared and I was not just a patient in a bed.  While on Unit 35, I’ve met some fascinating human beings.  We’ve had conversations about things besides just my medical condition, like whale watching and science for young kids.”

Asked where we can improve, Mrs. Brown made a comment about noise. Being quieter is something that we are already working on but the source of the noise that bothered Mrs. Brown was different. She said the high heels worn by women walking in the hallways of the ACE Unit were somewhat noisy.

We don’t always get it perfectly right but Mrs. Brown had to stretch to find anything that could be improved about her experience at GBMC. It’s interesting that noise, which is very hard to control because many of us are moving around in small spaces, was the one thing she brought up.  We need to reflect on how much noise is going on when a patient is convalescing nearby.

The fact that Mrs. Brown is so laudatory of her experience at GBMC should mean a lot to us. The fact that we really helped Mrs. Brown in her time of need is something we all need to reflect on.

Do you have a patient experience you’d like to share? If so, please comment below.

Finally, I encourage all GBMC staff to attend one of our Town Hall meetings, which are an opportunity for direct communication between employees and senior management. If you would like to submit a question about the hospital/organization prior to the meeting, please submit it via GroupWise to Ann Brecht-Castle or drop your written question off to the reception area in Human Resources.  These meetings provide an opportunity to ask questions, raise issues, share information and clarify key objectives. Raffles will be conducted at each meeting, and lucky employees can win gift certificates! The value of these meetings is directly related to participation by staff members so we look forward to seeing everyone there.

The meeting schedule is as follows:   

DATE                             TIME                                          LOCATION

September 12, 2011        11:30 a.m. (Lunch Provided)      Civiletti Conf. Room A & B
September 13, 2011        06:30 a.m.                                  Back of Dining Room
September 22, 2011        09:00 a.m.                                  Owings Mills
October 7, 2011              07:00 a.m.                                  Back of Dining Room
October 14, 2011            08:30 a.m.                                  Gilchrist - Hunt Valley

For more information about the Town Hall meetings, check here on the InfoWeb:
Town Hall Information


  1. If Mrs. Brown were my mother, I would hope she would be designated VIP!

  2. Our family had a horrible experience here this weekend when bring my father to the ED Ryan Toth held on to a disk that was vital to my Dad getting proper care over 13 hours past before myself and a student doctor went to retrieve It Ftom Ryan's desk his negligence could have resulted in my fathers death. I contacted several of the staff to express my concerns and calls were not returned perhaps the chief of nuerosurgery should re-read the ms. Brown article. Thanks GBMC foe the worst hospital experience ever.


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