Going the Extra Mile at Intermountain Medical Center – We’re Here When You Need Us
By David Grauer
Administrator/CEO, Intermountain Medical Center
Families and patients typically experience the highest highs and the lowest lows in a hospital: They experience wonderful joy in the birth of a baby or the saving of a life of a loved one after an accident – and in contrast, great sadness if they’re here to visit a gravely-ill friend or for the death of a loved one. No matter what happens, their experiences here are unforgettable. They become part of a family’s history and legacy – which is why our staff at Intermountain Medical Center work so hard to treat everyone the way they’d want their family members to be treated.
One recent example of this involves the story of a patient from out of state who died here – whose story was told in a note written by one of our excellent nurses in one of our intensive care units. The story was so touching I wanted to share it with you. Our nurse said this: “I know I work in a great place, for a great company, and with great people. Some days I have this reinforced more than others. I simply wanted to share this with you because I know how much you would appreciate this.
“Today, Chris Jones, the ICU manager, made a trip outside the hospital to get a bottle of Pepsi for my patient. (We only have Coke products here.) Natalie Holdaway, our diet tech, made an extra trip to the cafeteria for a piece of pizza and a milkshake for the same patient. Dr. Hildegard Smith made a trip to Smith's for grapefruit juice and returned with a grocery sack full of different types, again for the same patient. (Hospitals don't stock grapefruit juice because of all the drug interactions it triggers.) Other coworkers picked up the slack while they were going the extra mile.
“Why would a nurse manager, a diet technician, and a doctor cater to this degree for my patient? “His requests at first thought may seem extreme; however, he had less than a day to live. He wanted a Pepsi...he got one. As a cardiac patient, high-sodium pizza and high-fat milkshakes haven’t been on his diet for many years...but he had them. Grapefruit juice hasn’t passed his lips for over five years...and he drank several glasses. Pretty simple requests from a dying man.
“That night, Chris Kemp, one of our ICU nurses, pushed another bed into the patient’s room (thank goodness we have big rooms). The patient spent his last night with his wife in the bed next to him so they could hold hands. He had a peaceful, comfortable, quick death the following day after visiting with family. Many people had a great hand in helping him LIVE out the rest of his life.”
I was deeply touched by that note to know what our people did to make this heartbreaking situation more bearable for our patient and his wife. I love working with people who invest not just their minds, but their hearts in the work they do and the people they care for. Lynda Christensen, the nurse who wrote the note, and the people she wrote about – Chris, Natalie, Hildegard, and Chris – are heroes for going the extra mile for this patient and his wife.
We try to walk those extra miles every day for everyone we serve. I can’t think of a better example of the kind of uncommon compassion you’ll find here at Intermountain Medical Center when you need us.