April 26, 2012

I See! Thank God I See At Last


Recently I witnessed and was the beneficiary of a miracle. Lawrence Hamburger, M.D., Medical Director of Ophthalmology at the Henry Ford Health System’s Troy, Michigan office led the miracle. Dr. Hamburger led; however, he would not have made it happen without the competent staff in Troy and Sterling Heights, Michigan. I received no compensation for writing these unsolicited comments.

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I am sixty-six years old and recently Dr. Hamburger performed cataract surgery on my right eye. It went smoothly; I experienced zero pain and very little stress. In fact, my vision in the eye is presently 20/25, almost perfect and I have worn glasses for almost fifty years. If surgery in the left eye has the same result, which is not likely, I will not need glasses for distance. This will not happen.

The success of the operation is a miracle; in addition, so is the fact his team of professionals truly has empathy and care for their patients. In these days of the internet and striving to generate as much revenue as possible, this attention to the needs of the client is rare.

I am a terrible patient (customer). The last operation I had was when I had my tonsils out at eight years old. That was not a pleasant experience. The only good thing about it was it permitted me to eat plenty of ice cream. At the time, my tonsils were fine, but the doctor convinced my parents that since my brother needed his removed they might as well get mine out at the same time. This background helps you to understand that I was not at ease with the thought of someone taking a sharp instrument to my eyes.

My pleasant experience at Henry Ford started when the reception staff in Troy, Jean, Terry and Sharon, greeted me. Within seconds, they pulled my file, escorted me to the waiting area and asked if I would like a cup of coffee. At most, I waited five minutes before Kathy, I believe, one of the technicians, escorted me to the testing area. Her demeanor sent a message that she cared, wanted me to be comfortable with what she was doing, and did a good job explaining what she was testing for at each station. During my visits to this office, I have interacted with all of the other technicians including Lorrie, Kim, & Angelina. Truly, they are all professionals who care.

Before meeting Dr. Hamburger, I knew professionals were taking care of me. Their actions showed that they cared about me the person. I was not just another set of eyes for them to work on.

After Dr. Hamburger diagnosed my condition, he turned me over to Sharon Hoste who schedules the surgery. She is a professional and cares. She made sure I understood the entire procedure and even followed up with two phone calls before my surgery date to make sure I was comfortable.

The surgery took place in Sterling Heights and I really thought that the treatment I received in Troy would not carry over to the different location. Was I ever wrong! My appointment was at 6:45 AM and I figured it would be like an oil change on my car; you take your car to the mechanic and wait two hours before someone talks to you. I was sitting less than five minutes before Kathy registered me and before I knew it Stephanie led me into the prep area and assisted in getting ready for my first surgery in almost fifty years. Once again, empathy and caring showed through. I knew that I was not just another eye to work on.

The surgery team, including Dr. Wetzel, the anesthesiologist and a pre-operation RN, either Kathy or Linda, prepared me for surgery. Their demeanor was professional and comforting.

The operation was painless and lasted no more than 15-minutes. By 9:15, I was on my way home. Dr. Hamburger explained every step he was doing. I have had two follow-up appointments to make sure the result was as planned. In my eyes, no pun intended, the result is spectacular.

What can I say about Dr. Hamburger? He is a pro at what he does. He efficiently diagnosed my problem and took the time to assure I understood the total process I would be going through. I know he is very busy; however, I also know he worked hard to make me comfortable with the procedure I was about to undertake and succeeded in demonstrating that he would do everything in his power to make the outcome to my satisfaction. He exceeded my expectations. Many doctors have an attitude that since they are doctors they know everything. This was not Dr. Hamburger. He cared.

I spent most of my working career as a member of senior management at financial institutions, including a CEO. I took a great deal of pride in developing a staff that was “In Search of Excellence”.  It appears that Henry Ford, certainly in Troy and Sterling Heights, share the same values. Service at the level I received does not happen without the commitment of management. Therefore, take a bow. You too deserve the credit for building a great team.

I will let you know how the operation on the left eye goes in late May. I expect it too will go well; however, I keep telling myself not too expect another miracle. With the team at Henry Ford Troy, I may be surprised.

Thank you HENRY FORD!

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