To the Journal editor:
My father was hospitalized after a fall which broke his neck and was taken to Marquette General Hospital for 30 days of intensive care, general care and rehab.
The sign above his bed with five little words, "my friends call me Pete" personalized him and MGH embraced this 82-year-old resilient man wholeheartedly. We were impressed with the level of care from day 1. We struggled getting his Parkinson's medications and feeding schedule in place, not once, but twice and a third time as he transferred from unit to unit.
It's a part of health care that you would think should be seamless, but it's not. I will say an advocate is essential. You can talk about how messed up the health care system is, but when it comes down to it, the system is made up of people.
We'd like to thank the incredible staff for their devoted care: Jennifer, Jason, Laci, Trish, Meagan, you are incredible. If there is ever a day when you wonder if you are having an impact on your patients, remember your friend "Pete." Kathleen, Jenna, Marcy, Liisa, Holly and the rehab staff, you were amazing and made us comfortable walking away every night leaving him. An advanced stage Parkinson's patient, broken neck and trach isn't easy, add a free spirited man that would rather be on his ATV and now you have your hands full.
After leaving your care, we did our 30 days in Milwaukee, attempting to get rid of the trach. While that didn't work, it was worth a shot. A few more weeks in MGH rehab and we were close to getting him home.
Four days before being discharged, his Parkinson's neurotransmitter failed (after seven years) and he wasn't well enough to get it replaced. Our only choice then was to find a nursing home that would not only accept a trach patient but also would care for him properly.
Back to advocating. A place can say they accept trach patients, but when it comes down to it, if MGH's procedures for sterile suctioning are the industry standard, then why isn't everyone following the same?
We lost him to MRSA, but he is at peace. Thank you to all who were a part of dad's care and who cared for dad. You are truly wonderful examples of the success of our health care system and have left an indelible mark on our hearts.