What happens when a health care provider is helped by a patient?

When I realized that the best way to explain patient-centered care was to start asking for patients to share their stories, I found out quickly that providers had exceptional stories to share as well.  And, I would be remiss if I didn’t embrace all perspectives of patient-centered care.

If we are fortunate (and the good news is shared), we have many opportunities in our lifetimes to hear of individuals that have been helped by their health care providers.  We learn of life-saving diagnosis and intervention.  Or we are moved by inspirational stories of life-changing, and often life-saving, behavioral change.  But how often do we hear of the equally uplifting stories of patients helping providers?  I say, “not enough.”

So, with this in mind, I am very blessed to share Maria’s story.  Maria was Richard’s favorite nurse. Richard was my nephew’s favorite uncle.

In her own words…Maria, and Richard’s, Story…

In October, I will be running the Chicago marathon.  I’m not a runner, but was inspired by my friend, Richard, to join the SCIS (Spinal Cord Injury Sucks) team and commit to raise money for spinal cord injury cure research, as well as awareness of the devastation that spinal cord injuries can cause.

Richard will not be there, at the finish line, to celebrate my run.

Unfortunately, I am running not only in honor of Richard, but in memory of him, as Richard passed from complications of quadriplegia last February.

I was part of the care team that got to know Richard during the months he spent at OU Medical center following a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. I was able hear about the things he loved before his injury, how he lived an active and full life while teaching others to do the same.  He created a personal workout regimen for me and cheered me on in a weight loss competition (one that I lost by 0.5 pounds,grr).  I came to love the person he was and had become after his injury.  I am a better person for knowing him and am trying to “pay it forward” by raising money for spinal cord injury research.

They [spinal cord injuries] are, unfortunately, a very common injury and devastate the person and the family. Read about the organization I am running for, and its founder, who has sustained a spinal cord injury himself.

Please, donate to this cause and help spread awareness about spinal cord injuries. You can make a difference! Thank you!



About kansaspcmh

Kansas Patient Centered Medical Home Initiative, associated with the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians and Kansas Primary Care Physicians Coalition. Focusing on...people, process, and practice. View all posts by kansaspcmh

One response to “What happens when a health care provider is helped by a patient?

  • Lisa Fields (@PracticalWisdom)

    Thank you for sharing this story. I was fortunate enough, REALLY fortunate to have been given a scholarship to attend #med2. I too identify more as a provider helped by a patient than vis versa.

    What sets #med2 from the other medical school conferences is that Dr. Larry Chu made sure the e Patients were front and center both literally and figuratively.

    None of us can ever afford to be within the “us” and “them” camps. Many E Patients are truly “subject matter experts.” The health care dollars are now so limited and the needs so great it’s only when we combine our knowledge, skill and abilities will we made the gains we all want to me.

    I deeply respect your story and the contribution Richard made during his life.

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