On Saturday, June 3, our family was camping at Governor Dodge state park. Our son, Michael was playing on some nearby playground equipment and fell unexpectedly. As I approached him, he was in extreme pain and upon closer inspection, it was apparent he had seriously broken his wrist.
We quickly looked up the closest hospital and Upland Hills Health Hospital and Clinic appeared. Since we were unfamiliar with the area, we immediately proceeded to the facilities without any knowledge of the staff, the organization or the services. We live near the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, and travelled to Upland Hills due to its proximity to the state park.
Upon our initial interactions and throughout the experience, I was immediately impressed with the ongoing attention, sensitivity and empathy the staff provided – to Michael in his extremely distressed state and us, as parents, who have never had an emergency room visit with our children.
As it turned out, Michael’s wrist was completely fractured (displaced bones) and required surgery within 24 hours (due to pins required next to the growth plate). The staff quickly diagnosed the situation and a surgeon specialist from Madison and the accompanying staff were called in to complete the procedure. The team arrived quickly, and was helpful, informative and supportive.
The surgery went well and the on call assistant provided additional help as we attempted to fill a prescription. Michael enjoyed marshmallows around a fire at the campsite that evening.
My wife, mother-in-law (who is a physicians assistant) and I were complimentary of the staff, the facilities and the overall customer experience. Kudos to all those who were on duty and assisted throughout what turned out to be the 10-hour visit.
I want to recognize the following staff members who made the difficult experience a better one. Please extend our gratitude and note our massive appreciation for their skills and ability to personalize the experience. If possible, extend further recognition or awards allowed within your organization. You are fortunate to have such an outstanding team.
Registrars – My apologies, I didn’t capture their names and they were leaving as we were wrapping up. Both were incredibly gracious and helpful throughout the entire process. They often checked in to monitor Michael’s progress and showed incredible empathy throughout the day. They also helped to entertain Michael’s little brother, Liam, as we waited for surgery prep. I want to commend their patience as Liam was fascinated with the door that had to be unlocked to enter and exit.
Dr. Quinn (ER physician) – Dr. Quinn was outstanding while interacting with Michael and helped address the situation swiftly. He provided continual updates as we waited for the x-rays and immediately provided pain relief for Michael upon arrival. Without his quick action, it would have been an excruciating couple of hours for Michael (and parents). Dr. Quinn had excellent bedside demeanor with Michael and helped keep him calm. There were a number of urgent ER patients that morning/afternoon, but Dr. Quinn provided one-to-one attention making it feel as though we were the only patients requiring attention. (Michael later mentioned he was impressed with Dr. Quinn’s knowledge of video games).
Kendrick (ER nurse) – Kendrick was amazing. Like Dr. Quinn, he was completely engaged with Michael and us, and was incredibly attentive to our needs. He checked in often while we waited, was quick to replenish the ice on Michael’s arm and routinely noted Michael’s pain level. I was also amazed with his attentiveness to both me and my wife. His service and ongoing care was truly amazing and is a credit to your commitment to patients.
Jeff (anesthesia) – Jeff was so kind and gentle with Michael, helping to keep him calm and walking Michael through the anesthesia process. I was impressed with the way he treated Michael with respect, yet knew how to provide a caring touch as Michael’s anxiety increased during surgery prep. As parents, we were on edge with the overall experience, but Jeff stepped in as an empathetic, reassuring professional.
Dr. Self (surgeon) – Dr. Self made the hour-long trip to Dodgeville in the middle of the afternoon to perform the surgery. He was very detailed with his explanation of the situation, the surgery and what was required. He also showed incredible patience answering my numerous questions while attempting to take notes on my phone. The other staff members were extremely complimentary of Dr. Self and his abilities prior to his arrival, and his outstanding work met and surpassed expectations. At our initial follow up at Gillette’s Children’s Hospital, the doctor was complimentary of Dr. Self’s work and noted the perfect course of action.
Nancy (surgical assistance/care) – Nancy was also called in that day (I’m sure unexpectedly), but could not have been more helpful and empathetic – as if it were the middle of the work week. We were struggling to get a prescription filled at the local pharmacies. She helped problem solve the situation and found others to help secure the required medication. Furthermore, Michael took quite some time to wake up after the surgery, and she showed incredible patience throughout. We felt as though she was true to her commitment to assisting us and helping Michael prepare for discharge.
There was an additional assistant who was in surgery that day. We had limited interaction with her and I was not able to catch her name. Please extend our thanks to her, and any others we may have overlooked, during the stressful day.
Be very proud of your staff and facilities. I hope others recognize your commitment to caregiving for patients. Your customer experience is a credit to your operations and is an ideal model for other organizations.
But most importantly – thank you for providing the amazing care for our son Michael. It was a frightening experience, but your nurturing, caring staff helped create a calming, inviting environment, and combined it with outstanding dedication and skill, attending to his medical needs.
As for Michael – his summer plans of baseball and swimming were sidelined for books and board games, but he was a good sport (and was pretty popular around the neighborhood). He was thrilled to get the pins out after four weeks and on July 19 the cast came off for good. He celebrated at a Minnesota Twins baseball game and jumped into Grandma and Grandpa’s pool that evening! He headed off to school a few weeks ago with just a small brace during physical activities.