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Monday, May 20, 2013

Everyday miracles in the ED

Earl is an "environmental service worker" in our Emergency Department.  His formal responsibilities include mopping floors and removing trash.  Wearing his tan, hospital-issued uniform, he is tall and lean with graying hair and would make one think of the actor Morgan Freeman. I have changed his name but the following letter and the events it describes are very real...

Dear Earl,

On the evening of Friday, May 10th my father-in-law was brought by ambulance to the Emergency Department after a serious fall and spinal injury.  You were on duty that evening. 

I saw many things happen in the ER that night.  Few of my memories, however, are more vivid than those of your kind and very meaningful gestures, your expressions of empathy and words of consolation, not just for our family but for many others as well.  I have the sense that this is something you do every day.  I recall in particular when you went to the bedside and saw an anxious 19 year old girl, our daughter ______, leaning in and holding the hand of an older gentleman on a stretcher.  He was grimacing in pain and she was looking shell shocked, and you said “you must be so worried about your grandpa… It really is going to be OK.” 

Hospital leaders spend a great deal of time trying to promote a culture of caring.  This is true not only because measures of Patient Experience are now publicly reported, but because providing compassionate care is what we are all here for.  Thank you very much for being a true leader by making patients and families feel better, and showing all those around you how it is done.  We would be grateful if you would agree to attend an upcoming Administrative Meeting so that you can share your ideas with the hospital’s senior staff.

Please accept my most sincere thanks for everything you do.

Yours truly,

Michael B Grosso

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