“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” — Herman Melville
It all started with a doctor who could not cure him.
As you age, you begin to have complications, or small problems, or your family has health concerns. I just needed a well-rounded family doctor. A friend recommended Dr. White, so I made an appointment to meet him, and I’m so glad I did. From then on, he became my go-to for every concern. He consistently impressed me with his professionalism and his standard of care. He is just a great guy.
I had an unusual case concerning my eye. It was very rare. I decided to make an appointment with Dr. White and it turned out I would need to see someone else regarding my condition, so he found me an excellent neuro-ophthalmologist at the university hospital to take care of me. I had never even heard of a neuro-opthalmologist. I was so grateful Dr. White knew a really good one, and could get me an appointment.
Even though White didn’t treat my condition, he impressed me with his standard of care. Being in the insurance business, I know good healthcare, and I acknowledge when someone’s going above and beyond. To this day, Dr. White takes care of me, and directs me to help when he can’t offer it himself. He is a great resource for my family and has helped me make connections with other specialists.
Now, it turns out my condition will get better on its own over time, so that’s great. But you have to understand that the positive or negative outcome of the patient is not as important as the experience and the care they feel they received. When Dr. White retires one day, I want to make sure there’s a legacy for him that goes forward so student doctors, as they’re learning at the university hospital, will look to him and know he was a great person.
The positive experience and the gratitude the gentleman felt inspired him to make a major contribution to the hospital in Dr. White’s name. However, it’s worthwhile to note that the experience wasn’t related to the medical outcome.
In our research into patient-centered care, we have discovered that this is often the case. When patients or family members look back, it is frequently the emotions they experienced, not the medical treatment, that drive their perceptions of the situation.