Monday, February 21, 2005

Teaching Hospitals

One comment which I did not offer was about the UC Davis Veternary program. This is the second time we have worked with them with Molly. What impressed me about their entire operation was the concern for Molly and their willingness to respond to all of our questions. Our son Pete took Molly for the original MRI - the oncologist then spoke with him about the prognosis in such stark terms that he was upset. That was not her fault but I think Pete recognized the seriousness of her condition. I spent a couple of days talking to our vet and to the Davis people about the risks and potentials of alternative strategies. I did a thorough net search on last weekend to discover whether we knew all we needed to know. I even asked our vet whether the surgeon was a bit too quick to cut.

But then came the operation. Pete took her to the hospital on Wednesday and as a I said in one of the other posts we then had to wait for a slot. We had been told by the oncologist that the surgeon was one of the best and we should try to fit Molly into the schedule. Each night she was there, and each morning, a student would call with an update. The students seemed to understand who Molly was and how important she has become in our family. When the time came for the operation on Friday - we were called before and after.

As noted on Saturday, I decided I wanted to go see her. I knew both the trauma that might be caused by visiting her and leaving and the trauma that it would cause us - the stitches are very large - but I thought it would help in her recovery.

Our main student was a young woman who expects to graduate in May. She was a Dartmouth undergraduate. When it came time to release her on Sunday, we spent a lot of time explaining the discharge instructions - in writing - but also with care to make sure we understood how to maximize Molly's recovery. She helped us get Molly to the car and into the car. As noted earlier - Molly is not 100% (surprise). She then reassured us that if anything developed after Molly was home to call back and either ask questions or bring her back.

For the past 30 years, at times I have spoken in the Legislature about the special nature of teaching hospitals - how they integrate teaching and care. All of that rhetoric was confirmed with this experience. While I would have preferred not to have this happen to Molly, I am comforted by the notion that a group of professionals takes their responsibilities so seriously.

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