Amongst all the debate about healthcare reform we sometimes forget to appreciate what we already have and celebrate miracles of medicine that are happening in our hospitals everyday. This is one such story.
When my cell phone rang one early Wednesday morning and I saw it was my sister in Texas I was concerned, like always when I receive a call from her. This is because my elderly mother who has a number of health conditions also lives in Texas and I always fear that she has taken a turn for the worse and my sister is calling to inform me. My fears are usually unfounded but this morning the words I heard made my heart stop. My mother had fallen, could not move for several hours, and barely made it to the phone to call my sister. Our first thought was she had another stroke and we feared the worst outcome.
Regardless of the cause of her fall the first thing to do was to call the emergency response system. My sister immediately called 911. Within minutes the emergency team were at my mothers house and within less than an hour she was at Seton Medical Center Williamson and under the care of the emergency team. Their initial medical diagnosis was my mother fell and broke her hip and injured her shoulder, not a stroke like we had feared. We were also informed that she will require immediate hip replacement and they were already preparing her for surgery. Although hip replacements are fairly routine these days complications such as bleeding, blood clots, dislocation, infection, and nerve injury can occur. I took the next flight from New Jersey to Texas. Once we new her medical condition was stable and in good hands our concerns also became financial. Mom was between health insurance companies because she has pre-existing conditions and finding affordable health insurance for her has been difficult. How will we afford her surgery and rehabilitation? I desperately wished that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was already in place. To our surprise the hospital informed us that they will assist with her cost of care. I cannot describe how relieved we were.
When I arrived in Texas the following morning her surgery had just been completed. A very pleasant surgeon explained that her hip replacement was uncomplicated and we will be able to see her soon. He also explained that she will be able to return to her normal level of function once she has healed. After about an hour in recovery we were able to see her in her hospital room. I was relieved to see my elderly mother in good spirits despite her injury and the surgery she just received. She was in pain but more from her shoulder injury than the hip replacement. For the next few days of hospital stay I observed the best care I have ever witnessed in a hospital. Dr. Mahmuda Begum, all the nurses, nurse aides, physical therapist, and other staff pampered my mother with attention. They treated her like she was their mother. Hand-offs between shifts were seamless and the entire care team was on the same page. Denise Clazel, RN, MSN, the case manager, worked tirelessly to find a rehab center with a scholarship bed and miraculously she was able to find one at St. David’s Rehabilitation, a top rehab facility. She explained that this was the first time she has been successful in finding a scholarship bed at this facility. We were very grateful.
When I left Texas a week post her injury my mother was walking with little assistance. She continues to undergo physical rehabilitation and we are hopeful that she will fully recover. We thank the Georgetown emergency response system and all the staff at Seton Medical Center Williamson that took care of my mother and made this miracle of medicine possible.
Let's all take time to appreciate healthcare providers as the country forges ahead under a new healthcare law that promises to make it possible for more people to receive miracles of medicine.