A Stay on the Lakefront (Almost)
Date January 16, 2018
It has been my good fortune to spend five days at a 4-Star Bed and Breakfast in Duluth! Great Staff! Great Food! Great Results!
OK. I will stop with the games! My stay has been at St Mary’s Medical Center. It seems that the older I get the more I frequent this Duluth Landmark.
I do not mean any slap in the face to St Luke’s but I have not had the good fortune to visit their accommodations. I know several doctors in that establishment and I used to donate blood in an office there. I know the staff is excellent I just can’t speak to any other classic evaluation categories.
So what do I base my evaluation of a hospital on? I will share my judgments if you don’t mind.
First I look to the staff. A well-trained staff will not be regimented. Their personalities show thru the corporate mask of ‘must does and do nots’ in other words they can toe the corporate line without being stiff and regimented. They are given the opportunity for their personalities to show thru. Characteristic of Excellent management. I have always believed that you can walk into an establishment and know almost immediately what the management is like. We are off to a great start.
The most important part of what I expect in a hospital is the medical team. The nurse that is assigned to you straddles both the staff and medical team categories. At least I haven’t figured out a way to separate the two.The doctors are a big part of the final score. I have them second in line only because I want to make sure the staff gets the ‘Attaboy/Attagirl’ they deserve.
The doctors at Essentia/St Mary’s have always been excellent. Skilled, professional and friendly each and every time. Dr. Mary Boylan for a quadruple bypass. Dr. Kevin Treacy. Wait a minute, he and his eye surgeon clinic are associated with St Luke’s. Yes indeed he is but I have to give him the extra big kudos he deserves. I had a cataract removed under his skilled care. After the second one was removed standard procedure called for me to visit his office the following Monday morning so he could confirm all was as it should be.
Well during the weekend I was assaulted with a virus that attacked my small bowel. Wait, this was an attack of the flu bug, please excuse me. While I was laying in a temporary room in comes Dr. Treacy. He had borrowed the equipment he needed to evaluate my eye from St Mary’s and began his examination. What impressed me the most that he was performing this exacting feat using extremely expensive equipment while sear next to a commode of my sweet smelling vomit! Imagine that! Going out of his way, after normal business hours, making the arrangements for the equipment AND SITTING NEXT TO A BIN OF MY PUKE running an exam. That is “going the extra mile”. I had heard he was an excellent doctor but he is immensely more than that.
The next most important aspect of a well-run hospital is the commissary/food service program. St Mary’s operates a meal on-demand service for patients. When you want to eat grab a menu, grab the phone, call room service, order your meal, and wait forty-five minutes. Your meal is delivered.The best part is that the food is good. Maybe not great at times but well prepared and delivered hot.Salad greens are fresh. Beef and gravy are not overdone and full of flavor. Grilled salmon was not to my liking but that is no doubt because it was salmon. Baked cod was firm and flaky. Yes, I did miss some salt but that is what I will have to learn to live with. Mrs. Dash seemed an acceptable substitute.
The Next category to evaluate are the facilities. Clean and orderly can’t be beaten. Messes were cleaned up normally within minutes. It was a busy time at St Mary’s. There was talk that it was the peak of the flu season. That was the same report as on the national news. Beds were getting an air mattress for patients that needed them. It was nice to sleep on but maneuver around or exit the bed was another story. I am used to pushing off with my right hand but with only air for resistance that was a bit difficult. I am sure there are workarounds but I didn’t have the energy to figure them out. I rate the facilities for cleanliness and safety as excellent. Staff seemed to take care in making sure that a patient was following their safety program. Another point on the facilities is that I was on the campus between Third and Fourth Streets East. This is not the new construction. I have been in that building and the towering glass windows framing the Duluth Harbor are beautiful. I believe St Mary’s has positioned itself as the preeminent medical facility in the Northland. My opinion is that thru the facilities, the staff especially, the food service and all of the intangibles that St Mary.y Hospital has achieved its mission.
I spent part of the time with a second patient in the room. this man was from central Wisconsin and was a bit concerned trying a new hospital. But to each staff person he talked with, or a personal friend on a phone call, he sang the praises for each phase of Essentia’s environment including doctor’s thoroughness, support personal availability (physical and occupational therapists etc) and food (quality and quantity).
I must give one ding though. Yesterday and last night the wind was blowing. The old inside wood windows were no match. The temperature in the room dropped dramatically.
I am sorry to end on a sour note but such is life. Good first impressions can always be erased by lousy second impressions.
Thanks for stopping by.
A Dear Friend (even though he may not know it), has given me permission to use the images he makes in my postings. Thank You Rick Rice