Twelve major surgeries. Twenty hospitalizations. Ten medical centers. Four states. Over the last 35 years, Valerie McGinty hasn’t been a stranger to medical care.
“I think I’m qualified to speak from a patient’s point of view,” she explained in a recent letter to Altru Health System. “I feel compelled to tell someone what happened to me while I was an Altru patient.”
In September 2014, Val was scheduled for her first surgery at Altru: a hernia repair.
Because of past experiences with hospitals, Val feels anxious before any surgery. “I approached my upcoming visit to Altru with dread.”
After meeting with Dr. Billie Jo Grieve, general surgeon, Val’s fears diminished.
“Dr. Grieve stands out as the best of the best,” Val raves. “She assured me she could do the surgery, but that Mayo Clinic had a special hernia department. If I felt more comfortable, I could go there. My insurance didn’t allow it. For that, I’m so grateful.”
“She allowed time for every question and concern. She made me feel like I could make intelligent decisions regarding my care, and that my knowledge of my own body was valid and respected.” Val explains, “Dr. Grieve exhibits a comforting ability to make you feel safe in her care. I cannot tell you how relieved I felt when I left her office.”
A Hard Stick
While in the prep room, Val informed the nurses that she was often a “hard stick” when setting up an IV.
“In the past, I’ve had technicians try 17 times—no exaggeration. It took them three attempts to put in my initial line, taking extra care to be as gentle and pain-free as possible.”
Vicky Haines, surgical resident, also stood out to Val. “She was the pinnacle of professional and personal care. Her genuine compassion was visible in every encounter. She seems to take real joy in caring for her patients.”
Val had to return to the emergency room twice after discharge. “There, I was treated with the same respect and dignity.”
Nurses and Aides
Val shares, ”Aides are the ones who do the nitty gritty, often embarrassing, care. They can make you feel uncomfortable or comforted. My aides were wonderful in their gentleness and respect for my dignity.”
“Nurses are the frontline caregivers. They bear the daily responsibility for their patients’ care, while being professional, compassionate, patient and tolerant of a hundred different complaints,” explains Val. “The nurses I had at Altru are without a doubt the finest I have ever had. I have never had an experience like this where every single one of my nurses was exactly who I needed, at exactly the right time, for every moment I was under their care.”
Val ends by saying, “In my opinion, Altru Health System is a world-class facility—in every sense. Every person genuinely seemed to care about what effect their position had on me. They treated me like an intelligent, whole person. I would absolutely recommend Altru’s care to everyone I know.”
Have you experienced that moment in care when you knew your life had changed for the better? We’d love to hear your story. Let us know.