22 January 2006

Welcome Home, Hunter

Hunter came home Saturday, after 58 days at Children's - all of which were due to infections from being in the Hospital. We thank all of the wonderful nurses who helped Hunter heal, the doctors who did their work, and the supporting staff. Hunter, and her twin sister Brighton, will continue to be regulars at CHRMC for follow-up visits - and we hope those are their only reasons for returning. They will be in and out of Children's for the next 16 and 1/2 years regardless of the specific reason.

While Hunter has left the building, her impact on the Hospital has not. The investigation by the Special Assault Unit of the Seattle Police Department is still underway. I am meeting with the Chief Medical Officer, Surgery-in-Chief, and Head of Neurosurgery to discuss the foul-up on her latest surgery (for which her surgeon apologized in writing but still has avoided actually speaking to me) - which stems from the fundamental problem that some surgeons don't feel the need to fully prepare prior to performing a procedure. There are weeks and months of change still coming from Hunter's most recent stay. As the guy on the TV commercial says, "I guarantee it."

As I've said throughout this blog, and will continue to, Hunter and Brighton (and their brother Marshall) are just the most immediate reason I am motivated to force improvement at Children's. All the parents reading this have equally strong motivations but may not have the knowledge or lack of fear of the healthcare system that my wife and I have. I am motivated to help them too (and in small ways already have though they'll never know it). Once we create a similar level of motivation among the management team of Children's, including CEO Tom Hansen, then we will be at the beginning of a real change process.

So, Hunter says "goodbye" to all the wonderful nurses and doctors she had over the past two months and reminds the CHRMC management team to say "hello" to an intense level of change that is going to be occurring at the Hospital. Then, we hope that change will spread to other Children's hospitals nationwide. Who says a 1-year old girl can't change the world?

Margaret Mead is attributed with the quote "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." I hope that the CHRMC management team isn't in such denial that they doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people who are highly motivated to ensure the survival and thriving of their children can and will change the broken system and culture at CHRMC.