with her son Eli's blessing, I publish Jacqui's story
Jan 1, 2014 at Haywood Regional Medical Center I was honored to meet this pleasant vibrant lady, bothered for a few months with a mild nagging cough. She was new to the mountains and her Drs told her she likely had some allergies. It was winter, right? How about diagnosis =bronchitis, antibiotics, home. Easy. Nothing more to do for many docs. Quick dispo, in and out. Have a nice life.
In this day of 'metrics' and nationwide hospital administrations judging us based on how quickly we see and 'move' patients, we are often criticized and financially penalized for spending too much time with our patients. Patients complain about long ER waits, which only serve to encourage administration to twist the screws tighter. It's a vicious cycle. 'Door to doc' times, 'Length of stay', get them in and out, move the meat. Metrics, metrics, metrics. It's a national epidemic and catch-22.
For Jacqui that day, I treated her as I would have had my mother treated. It's how I try to treat all my patients, though I am not perfect. I ordered a chest xray, completely expecting to find nothing, but at least give her the benefit of a doubt and peace of mind. It is easy enough. Next thing we know she is getting a CT chest and 3 days later a biopsy. Diagnosis; non smoker lung cancer.
Barely 15 months later, Jacqui's valiant battle with cancer was over. She was released from her pain this week and is with her God. Our God. Rest in peace, Jacqui.
I was blessed to be a part of her journey through her son's tremendous facebook page Love for Jacqui. Please visit this page to hear her inspirational story and struggle, to draw from her strength in life and her incredible faith. I will always remember the opportunity to visit her in hospice last month in Nashville and to pray with her. It is rare in the ER that we are able to see the results of what we do.
Thank you Jacqui for reminding me why we are physicians and humans. To my physician and nurse colleagues, remember that what you do MATTERS. It may give precious time to people. It is hard to keep up the vigilance in the midst of so much abuse of the ER, but you make a difference every day in peoples' lives. So when your bladder hurts, you are famished, monitors are beeping, the ambulances with emergent toenail pain patients never stop, consultants disrespect you, and when administration is complaining you didn't meet that 10 minute EKG deadline...keep holding the proverbial hand of those patients who truly need you and let the rest wait.