Friday, May 21, 2021

The Dance Center and Our Cancer Team Live Our Vision

This week, I received a letter from the grateful wife of a patient from our Milton J. Dance Jr. Head and Neck Center, expressing their deepest gratitude for the outstanding work of Dr. Ray Blanco and other members of the Dance Center team. The letter made me realize again how lucky I am to be the CEO of the GBMC HealthCare system. Even during the pandemic and the cyberattack, I have received many letters, emails, and thank you cards for the work of our people who do extraordinary things for our patients. 

This patient came to us after feeling a lump in his neck back in mid-October 2020. His primary care physician at first treated him for an acute infection, but when the lump persisted, the physician ordered an ultrasound and referred the patient to a specialist at another hospital. The patient and his wife were not happy with the care he received at the other hospital. The patient’s wife then called her otolaryngologist, Dr. Andrew Goldstone. She wrote:

Dr. Goldstone, who I am lucky enough to call my ENT, without hesitation referred me to Dr. Ray Blanco, a head and neck surgeon, with your Milton J. Dance Jr. Head and Neck Center. Within minutes my husband had an appointment for the next day and all paperwork had been emailed to me along with telephone verbal follow through (and this is where our amazing cancer journey began!).

As I progress with our incredible experience at GBMC, I want to mention that we were more than aware of the hardship that was placed on GBMC with both COVID restrictions and ultimately a cyberattack. Yet at NO TIME was the compassionate care and attention given us compromised in any manner.

Dr. Blanco was more than thorough. His attention to every detail was absolutely flawless. He was kind, compassionate, and very detailed in what we needed to do. When we left Dr. Blanco after that first appointment, we had the confidence, peace of mind, and a sigh of relief that we were in the right hands.

Due to COVID restrictions, I was not allowed to be with my loved one during his surgery. Dr. Blanco told me that someone would be calling me periodically. Dr. Blanco kept his word. I received several calls as the surgery progressed, and I was updated through each procedure. When the surgery was over, Dr. Blanco personally called me and explained in detail what he had done, as well as what the next steps would be.

We had been told that Dr. Blanco would be stopping in to see my spouse the day after surgery to check on his swallowing. I thought to myself, really ...on Thanksgiving weekend someone would be checking on him? Well, as promised; I received a call that he was in the room with my husband checking on his swallowing and that he would be able to come home on Sunday. He was released on Sunday as promised.

When first faced with a cancer diagnosis, there's fear and trepidation. I can convey to you that Dr. Blanco, Dr. Tang, Dr. Neuner, Dr. Sinada (and their respective staff) and our incredible team at the Dance Center, we were never alone. Not for one moment. Not for one second. I can honestly say, we felt we were at home with these amazing people. They did everything for us, guided us through every step always with caring compassion. How important did they make us feel!!!!

Gratitude to Dr. Sinada and his expert dental skills in guiding my husband through that aspect of his cancer. 

Since the surgery, we have been treated with truly the most supreme care one could ever imagine. The fabulous staff at the Infusion Center, and our beloved Dance Team who took care of both of us. We were never alone. While at this time, chemo is completed, we do want to give our gratitude and praise to the Infusion Center staff.

Our gratitude as well to wonderful Dr. Tang and her staff for their wonderful care, expert, and kind attention to my loved one and for always keeping me updated and informed.

We now have the additional privilege of monthly zoom meetings with Dorothy Gold, Karen Ryniak, and the amazing cancer support group we have met through them. We feel like we have a new group of friends to share cancer experiences.

Dr. Chessare, suffice to say, we are so overwhelmingly pleased with the care we got at GBMC that we hope to be able to use your hospital for all future medical concerns. When I proudly share with others the care and treatment we received at GBMC, they're all amazed (or, our friends who already are patients at GBMC just nod their heads in agreement!)

We thank you, Dr. Chessare and we thank each of your healthcare professionals, from Dr. Goldstone's first return call to me, we couldn't be more grateful. Every single person we've met along the way has shown us the most genuine and sincere compassion (even the manager in your gift shop)! Our heartfelt love and gratitude for each of you. God Bless!

What else can I say? What an outstanding example of GBMC living up to its vision. Our vision is about a relationship between a physician, his or her team, and a patient. It is about a promise to that patient to work with him or her to maximize his or her health. It is about having the time to reflect on patients’ health between visits, to make sure that they are getting what the evidence says will keep them well.

The letter above is a great example of teamwork and rallying around a patient and their family! We need to continue our work to make this happen for every patient, every time. I am very grateful for all my colleagues involved in this case. I know how hard they work and I want to thank them for not forgetting why they do what they do.

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