By Deanna Thompson
After working as a healthcare consultant for years, Patty McBride said she is not an easy patient. Coming into a facility, she said, “My eyes are checking everything — the building, how staff interacts.” So, after making the decision to have surgery at Mission Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was on high alert.
Extra Caring and Concern
McBride, an Asheville resident, had been cleared to have surgery shortly before elective procedures were canceled due to the pandemic. Then, in early May, she got a call that elective surgeries were resuming and asking if she would like to schedule her procedure with general surgeon W. Alan Bradshaw, MD, a general surgeon with Mission Surgery.
From her first visit to the surgeon’s office through her surgery, hospitalization and discharge, McBride said every staff member and doctor she encountered treated her in a safe, professional and compassionate manner. COVID-19 procedures included social distancing in waiting areas. Workers had been screened and were wearing masks, and patients were not permitted to have a partner with them beyond registration. “I tell patients they are more at risk going around town than going in the hospital,” said Dr. Bradshaw.
Staff not only explained the many special precautions they were taking due to the pandemic, but also provided warm reassurance. “They just couldn’t have been more caring and more concerned for my comfort and my anxiety,” said McBride.
Providing a Hand to Hold
One of the biggest changes due to COVD-19 was that McBride’s husband could not be with her before and after surgery. But in each area she visited in the hospital, “I think the staff went overboard in the most positive sense since my husband couldn’t be there,” she said.
For example, as she waited for surgery, nurses checked on her often. In the operating room, her nurse was by McBride’s side. “She made sure I saw her eyes and we connected,” said McBride. “When they were starting to put me under anesthesia, she wouldn’t let go of my hand.”
Before surgery, Dr. Bradshaw spent time with her discussing the procedure, which was reassuring. And, both during and after surgery, he and the staff gave phone updates to her husband, who was waiting at home. “That was a big comfort to him,” said McBride.
One of McBride’s greatest worries was the anesthesia, because it was critical that she not experience vomiting after her type of surgery. “This is the first surgery in my life where I have woken up and did not vomit,” said McBride. “The anesthesiologist and the nurse anesthetist listened to my concerns and made sure that did not happen. That was amazing.”
Don’t Put Off Needed Procedures
If you have delayed surgery due to COVID-19, Dr. Bradshaw suggests scheduling an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options now that elective procedures have resumed. Some problems can worsen without timely treatment, he noted.
Those who move forward with surgery can be reassured that Mission Hospital has extensive COVID-19 safety measures in place. “We have a wonderful staff at Mission that does their best to take care of every patient every day,” said Dr. Bradshaw.
“They’re really going out of their way now to make sure patients are having a good experience.”
That culture of caring was obvious to McBride at every step. “I said to my husband, ‘How many people did I describe to you that I interfaced with? It was an incredible number.’ And bar none, every single person was professional, efficient, knowledgeable, very compassionate and very caring,” she said. “I have never had such a positive medical experience on every level.”
COVID-19 Safety Measures at Mission HealthAt Mission Health, we remain diligent in our fight against COVID-19, and the health and safety of our patients, caregivers and communities is our top priority. Our facilities have maintained strict standards based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The precautions we’ve taken and the protections we’ve put in place make our clinical care facilities the safest possible place to receive healthcare at this time. To learn more about the steps that Mission Health is taking to safeguard patients, visitors and staff, visit missionhealth.org/COVID-19.
W. Alan Bradshaw, MD, is a general surgeon with Mission Surgery.