Tuesday, February 16, 2010


A note from nurse Judi:

Sometimes we get so bogged down with every day life we forget about the little things that we do which can mean so much to our patients. Yesterday, I had such an experience. Several months ago I got a panicked call from a lovely gentleman who had emigrated from Russia and was living and working in Massachusetts. He was calling about his wife who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

The story goes like this. His wife was visiting Russia and caring for her sick 90 year old father, when she felt a lump in her breast. Frightened, she went to the local hospital in Russia for a biopsy and was told by the physician that it was cancer. She wanted to come to BIDMC for her care and left Russia immediately. The only medical information that she brought with her was the pathology report, in Russian, and a breast ultrasound. Nothing else. She tried for several days to obtain the pathology tissue but was not able to get anyone to agree to send the samples to the US. So, we started from scratch. She had to undergo the biopsy all over again so that we could indeed confirm if this was cancer and plan treatment accordingly.

The patient is now on the other side of her treatment and doing well, and yesterday they stopped by the breastcare center to visit and bring me beautiful roses, but what really grabbed my heart is the following. She told me with tears in her eyes that she wanted to show me something…when I looked it was a pair of hospital socks, you know the kind we give to patients to wear so they don't walk barefoot through our hallways. She asked, "Do you know what these are," and I replied, "Of course, they are hospital socks," and she said "No, they are caring."

I looked at her sort of skeptically because at first I didn't get it. She went on to explain: "This simple act of giving out socks to keep ones feet warm exemplifies caring, that we would care so much about our patient and keep them comfortable and safe and warm." Her plan was to take these simple socks back to Russia on her next visit. She wanted the people at home to see how much the doctors and nurses and health care workers here "care" about their patients. Enough to make sure that their total being is cared for, including even making sure their feet are warm!


Sheila said...

Dear Paul,
A simple act of kindness is never wasted, to show others now much we care that mean so much. It really does not cost us anything to be nice and smile. The care I receive at BIDMC is just not available everywhere. I found that out what I experience at your hospital that is not available in my city, no comparison. It is the extra things that people do or say that we remember and mean the most to us and are so appreciated. I remember them well also when I was a patient in BIDMC in 1979.

What a heart warming story.
I always enjoy coming to BIDMC everyone has always been so nice and helpful.

Anonymous said...

Had my first colonoscopy in Sept at BIDMC in Lexington. I was quite apprehensive, and a migraine with nausea (triggered by the test prep) made it worse. I remember being so touched by the warm blanket and the special socks, so I could feel warm and covered and safe while I waited. I still have the socks, washed and tucked in a drawer! They do make me smile..so, there is something about socks!

John said...

I was a temporary guest at one of your competitors last Friday. In addition to the socks and the warm blankets (it was cold in the prep area and even colder in the OR) I received a long stem red rose when discharged. Certainly a nice touch and it reminded me of this post and the length to which hospitals are going to make their guests feel comfortable. Would I be more likely to return to have my next procedure done there because of the rose? Or maybe my copay could have been a couple of bucks less if I passed on the rose at admission. Sort of the same reaction I've gotten from clients who would rather have their interest rate reduced than be entertained. In any event, I found out later that a benefactor provides the roses at NE Baptist and I've decided to follow my surgeon not the flowers.