Wednesday, June 18, 2008

10 out of 10

There is a lot of commentary from patients about how they are treated in emergency rooms, so I was pleased to get this note yesterday from a colleague I have not seen in many years:

I just wanted to take a few moments to provide you with some first hand feedback on your organization - my personal experience.

On Saturday afternoon (June 14) I tripped and fell in the steps leading into the Copley Square entrance to the Westin Hotel and dislocated the fourth finger on my right hand. At first when I got up, I brushed myself off and was ready to go on my way until I looked at my hand and saw my fourth finger on my right hand pointed off at a 90 degree angle. (It was the strangest thing to look at ... and it was my hand!!!! ) I quickly realized I had a problem ... and jumped into a cab and sat for a minute to figure out which hospital I should head to. I must admit my mind is no longer geared up to think about emergency rooms since my kids have all grown. It took a call to a friend in the medical profession (my daughter the NP was out of town) to suggest I head off to the BID ... he called again to tell me to head off to West Campus.

The cabbie was great ... especially when I told him I only had $11 in my wallet.

From the first instance I walked into your emergency room there was an immediate positive response to my situation. The young woman checking people in saw my hand and said "that must be painful" and lead me into a check-in room. A nurse came in and quickly checked my vital signs, soon followed by an administrative person who entered my current information into your data base. They then asked me to wait in the waiting room ... at that point I was ready to plead for some pain relief ... but took the opportunity to practice my patience. A couple of minutes later ... seriously only a couple of minutes, I was taken into a patient room. And soon a nurse came in to check my finger out, then a doctor came in, and she explained that I had probably dislocated my finger and they could pop it back in place.

The doctor first ordered an x-ray to be sure nothing was broken. But before I was taken off to x-ray, they shot my finger up with lidocaine (I think) and gave me a couple of Percocet. As you might guess, I was very ready for that shot. Feeling no pain, I was off to x-ray where they verified that I had no broken bones. The doctor quickly popped my finger back into place. After one more x-ray, I was sent home.

I was in and out of emergency in less than 2 hours. Everyone was very pleasant and extremely professional. All very impressive ... including the facilities. I'd go back in a heart beat, (though I'm not making any plans.) And or sure I'd recommend your emergency department as a first choice to everyone and everyone in need. I'd rate the experience a 10 out of 10. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul-

Hope you don't mind an unrelated question. I was surprised to hear today that it is still considered "best practice" to dispose of all waste (controlled substance) via drain. I wondered, with your backround, if you could comment on this practice, and if you see hospital guidelines changing in the near future to prevent the environmental impact this type of disposal presents?


Anonymous said...

As part of the research staff assisting in BID, I have to disagree with you Cathy, unless you are refering to something else by "waste(controlled substance)".
BID works with very descriptive guidelines on what type of residual material can go down the drain and how to dispose of the other waste. Generally it includes programing with an external team to pick up the waste in proper containers. People recieve good information about this before starting to work and get a good refresh every year. There is a team of people at BID who controls this and are always eager to provide more information on how to dispose of material. They always reinforce that when in doubt: Do not throw down the drain!

Hope this helps a bit! There should be someone more knowledgable than me out there about this.

Ari Herzog said...

Paul, this story leads to a pertinent question: If you were that person and needed an ER, would you go to BID? Or are you open to using any hospital's services?

Considering many car salesmen don't necessarily drive the cars they sell, how's it in the medical industry?

Anonymous said...


My preference for routine issues is the ED at BID~Needham, our community hospital.


Anonymous said...

BID from within my circles does have the reputation of setting the standard. Our family will drive the 35 minutes from NH to go specifically to BID for all non life threatening events. However are there variances of service and patient satisfaction associated with the shift/time of the visit?

Anonymous said...

So interesting on finding this. My son just called and said he was charged $1500 to pop his little finger back into place at a local Urgent care facility. Does this sound right?

Anonymous said...

i hurt a rib muscle on a friday night in roslindale and had a friend drive me to BID needham. (the muscle spasmed, and i could barely breathe but wasn't in immediate danger by any means) i knew that if i went somewhere in the city i'd have to wait forever! i received prompt service in needham. once i waited so long at a city ER that i wasn't able to get the stitches i needed due to potential wound contamination issues...

Anonymous said...

I live a few minute's walk from the medical center campus, but if I need to go to an emergency room and am capable of driving or being driven, I go to the BID-Needham ED after having had a good experience the first time I went there - a friend drove me there following a sporting injury at a nearby Newton field. It's the same doctors as at BIDMC, so I know I'm getting high quality care. On the four occasions I've had to use it, I've never waited more than 20 minutes. Plus, it has a comfortable community hospital atmosphere.

Anonymous said...

This comment isn't about the ED, but about the astounding improvement in care I've encountered as a patient of the gastroenterology unit at BID in Boston. I have checkups and tests there once or twice a year, and it used to be a bit of a nightmare: a minimum one-hour wait in the waiting room, confused and surly staff at the desk, and an exasperated doctor. I liked the doctor, and got expert care, so I resigned myself to the long waits and nasty staff encounters and brought a book and an iPod.
Last year, suddenly, remarkably, a revolution seemed to occur! The unit moved to West Campus, and the atmosphere changed for the better -- in radical fashion. The desk staff is skilled, kind and professional. The wait? Nothing. I mean nothing. I get seen at the time of my appointment. I'm greeted by name. Staff taking vitals make a point of washing their hands in front of me, engaging me in conversation and explaining everything they're doing. The phlebotomist watched my son, who I had to bring with me, while I dashed to another room to complete a test.
The doctors seem delighted with the change, too, and all seem extremely proud of what they've achieved in terms of patient care. I'm not sure what fomented this revolution, but you've won my loyalty for life.