, Newburyport, MA


February 13, 2013

Caliber of care at AJH the best

To the editor:

There seems to have been a lot of buzz lately about changes to Anna Jaques Hospital, i.e., the elimination of the old smokestack, the new entrance and the opening of the Institution for Savings unit featuring single-occupancy rooms. And although I am thrilled to see these changes, I am even happier to know that the one thing that has not changed is the caliber of care that is at the heart and soul of Anna Jaques.

On a Friday evening in early January, my husband had an abrupt change in his health. I took him to the Anna Jaques Hospital Emergency Department (ED) and told staff I thought he was having a stroke. He was whisked from reception into an ED bay (room) and immediately surrounded by a doctor and several nurses. They rapidly assessed him and took him to radiology for a CT scan. When he returned from having his brain scanned, they brought a computer into his room to initiate “tele-medicine.” The computer’s large screen had a camera on the top. We were told a neurologist (who was in Boston) would be coming online to assess my husband. We were able to see the neurologist on the computer screen and hear his commands, while he was able to observe my husband’s evaluation on his end. The neurologist and Dr. Morse (the MD in Anna Jaques’ ED) conferred and my husband was offered a medication that dissolves clots. Once a patient is given this medication (TPA), they require the availability on a neurosurgeon should there be a complication. Since those services are available in Boston, my husband chose to be transferred to Mass. General Hospital.

The coordination of care was unbelievable. Dr. Morse and nurse Mickey were fantastic! It felt like my husband was their only patient. (I later learned it was one of the busiest nights in the ED ever. The ED nursing director, Diane Wigmore, and the clinical nurse leader, Peter Tura, who had worked their full day shifts, had been called back to help that evening.) The ambulance arrived immediately to take us (I was able ride to Boston in the ambulance) to Mass. General.

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