Message from the President

Around the Clock

by Loren B. Hamel, MD -- President, Spectrum Health Lakeland | Jan 25, 2019
There was no time to lose. As the countdown to 2019 began on New Year’s Eve, Cindy Reynolds watched the clock for a different reason. She had to get her teenage-aged son Ronald to the Emergency Department. That evening, he had had a seizure at home and after Cindy spoke with his urologist Dr. Barber at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, he recommended Ronald go to the Emergency Department right away.

When Ronald and his parents arrived at Lakeland Medical Center, they were greeted by a security guard who helped the family secure Ronald’s wheelchair for safekeeping. While being treated in the Emergency Department, Ronald had a grand mal seizure. Although Ronald has other medical conditions including spinal bifida with hydrocephalus and a spinal fusion, the clinical team stayed calm and focused, starting an IV line to give a much-needed drug during the seizure.

A short time later, Ronald was diagnosed with sepsis and the team was preparing to transfer him to a patient room when his blood pressure began to drop. The doctor decided to place a central line. During this procedure and throughout the evening, the doctor kept Cindy up to date. She felt safe knowing Ronald was being cared for by the “young doctor with an old soul.”

During the night, when Ronald’s condition worsened, Cindy stepped outside to get some air and collect her thoughts. While she stood in the Emergency Department parking lot, a nurse came out and gave her a box of Kleenex and a hug, telling her that everything would be okay.

When the doctor determined that it was in Ronald’s best interest to be transferred to DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, a Pride Care ambulance transported Ronald where he was admitted to the Pediatric ICU unit in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.

At DeVos Children’s Hospital, around the clock care and constant updates from the care team helped Cindy remain relaxed enough to not have to worry about her own health issues, as stress can sometimes trigger her epilepsy.

Ronald’s urologist Dr. Barber came to visit him first thing on the morning of New Year’s Day. Cindy was very impressed that he made a visit to see him on the holiday.

After 36 hours in ICU, Ronald was transferred to the sixth floor where he played Star Wars games, watched movies, and received a stethoscope to check his own heartbeat. Cindy felt the kindness of each team member she met, making her stay with Ronald as comfortable as possible until he was cleared to go home on January 3.

The family shared their story because they wanted to extend their gratitude to everyone who helped with Ronald’s care. The security guard who watched over Ronald’s wheelchair for seven days until the family could retrieve it. The doctors in the Emergency Department who always had Ronald’s best interest in mind. The ambulance service who made two trips for Ronald on New Year’s Eve. Dr. Barber who constantly makes himself available. The nursing staff at DeVos Children’s Hospital including Nurse Tammy and others who took great care of Ronald.

When I heard this story, I couldn’t help but feel gratitude for all of you too. Thank you for caring so deeply about our patients each and every day, including New Year’s Day, and providing the best possible care to our patients around the clock.

Dr Hamel signature

If you would like to read more of Message from the President, click here

© Spectrum Health Lakeland 2019