An Open Letter From a Patient

Dear Health Care Team Members:

I am a very happy and pleased Johns Hopkins patient. In January 2011, I was referred to Johns Hopkins for treatment of my lung disease. The only cure for my disease was a bilateral lung transplant, which took place on December 18, 2011. While I have had excellent success with my transplant, I have had the opportunity to return to the hospital (six admissions and nine outpatient procedures requiring anesthesia) and outpatient center (over 100 office visits and over 700 tests or studies) for subsequent medical care.  I realize I will continue to be a Johns Hopkins patient for the rest of my life.

Recently, I had the opportunity to be the patient member on the panel at the Town Meeting on September 8, 2015 discussing Patient and Family Centered Care (Also read the Patient Wish List blog of 10 things a patient would like to share with his or her care team.) One of the questions dealt with the patient survey, which patients receive and answer about their patient experience. As I mentioned in my remarks, one of the key factors that affects my patient experience is my health care team. While I was able to make a few remarks about my team members, I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with a little more information about my health care team. It is a very dynamic health care team composed of many members of Johns Hopkins Hospital and Outpatient Center staff.  I have divided my health care team into two groups: The face to face group and the behind the scene group.

The face to face group is composed of the following team members:

My Admitting Team

  1. The security guard who clears me for entering the hospital and, with colleagues, keeps me, my family and my health care team safe 24/7.
  2. The admitting clerk who process my paperwork to make sure I do not have to spend time with my insurance company or others doing paperwork.

My Patient Room Team

  1. All the physicians including fellows, residents and interns who are responsible for my medical care.
  2. All of my nurses who provide my nursing care and the nurse manager for the unit.
  3. The medical technicians who assist my nurses in my medical care.
  4. The environmental care associates and environmental care technicians who clean my room.
  5. The nutrition assistants who deliver my meals.
  6. The phlebotomists who draw my blood.
  7. The imaging technologists who take x-rays in my room.
  8. The case manager who is planning my discharge.
  9. The transportation specialists who transport me from my room to my procedures/diagnostic tests on time and to the right place.
  10. Administrative staff assigned to my nursing unit.
  11. Anybody else that walks in my room.

My Procedures/Diagnostic Test Team

  1. The receptionist who greets me and makes sure the paperwork matches why I am there.
  2. The physicians who provide my procedure/diagnostic tests.
  3. The radiologist and pathologist who review my results or pathology and interpret the results.
  4. The nurses involved in my procedure/diagnostic test and who try to keep me comfortable throughout.
  5. The technicians involved in my procedure/diagnostic test who are either performing the diagnostic test or making sure the equipment and instruments are ready.

My Telephone Team

  1. The dietary technicians who take my telephone meal order and assure I am ordering the right foods for me.
  2. The administrative staff I contact with all sorts of questions. They know just where to connect me for answers.

My Outpatient Center Team

  1. The physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant who will be evaluating and taking care of me.
  2. The nurses who will be assisting the provider with their assessments and care.
  3. The medical technicians who is taking my vital signs.
  4. The front desk clerks who process my appointment paperwork.
  5. The discharge clerks who process my discharge and schedule my follow up appointments.
  6. The radiology administrative assistants who match my paperwork for the test.
  7. The radiology technicians who perform my test.
  8. The radiologist who reviews my test and writes a report.
  9. The lab admitting clerks who process my lab order.
  10. The phlebotomists who draw my blood.
  11. The lab technicians who perform the lab study and enter the data in my medial record.
  12. The pathologists who review my laboratory/pathology studies and interpret the results.
  13. The security guards who check me in when I enter the outpatient center and give me directions to my appointment or help guide me if I am lost.
  14. The parking cashiers who process my parking ticket and wish me a good day.

As you can see, this is a large and dynamic health care team, but that is only the face to face group. Let me discuss my behind the scene group. They are throughout the organization.

  1. The food preparers who will be preparing the food to be cooked for me.
  2. The cooks who will be cooking my food.
  3. The servers on the food line who will be preparing my tray.
  4. All the food supervisors who are responsible for my food service team.
  5. The pharmacists who review my medications to prevent negative interactions and side effects.
  6. The pharmacy technicians who prepare my medications for delivery to the floor.
  7. All the pharmacy supervisors who are responsible for my pharmacy team members.
  8. The lab technicians who conduct all my lab analysis and report the findings into my record.
  9. All the lab supervisors who are responsible for my lab team.
  10. The security staff throughout the campus who insure my safety and the safety of my family and those who work here.
  11. The administrative staff throughout the hospital and outpatient center who process my appointments, file my claims, record my payments or any other administrative action I require.
  12. The information technology team who keep all the information technology working together to assure all the data about me connects to those who need it including me (MyChart).
  13. All the supervisors and their supervisors of my health care team members.

When I, a patient, think about my health care experience as I fill out my survey form, all the actions by each member of my health care team members are carefully considered as I evaluate my patient experience. Some of you may not have considered yourself as part of my team, but to me you clearly are team members. Each of you plays a role in my patient experience regardless which group you are in. Naturally, my face to face team members get more of my direct attention, but I have not forgotten about the behind the scene team members and the role you play. Being one of my health care team members is not easy. You have to make sure that everything that I am experiencing works like a finely turned, well organized, coordinated, happy and respectful health care team.

Although, I will never have the opportunity to meet some of you, especially my behind the scene team members; I want you to know I value what you do for me as a member of my health care team. I want to thank each of you for providing me with a great patient experience. You have given me a very special gift – the gift of life – and I sincerely thank all my health care team members for their individual contribution.

Warmest personal regards,

Podge M. Reed, Jr.

Proud Johns Hopkins Patient

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Rating: 4.7/5 (7 votes cast)

An Open Letter From a Patient, 4.7 out of 5 based on 7 ratings


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }


Katie Bratt March 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Thank you Mr. Reed! I am also a Clinical Laboratory Scientist and I take great pride in my behind the scenes work. I always remind myself that their is indeed a patient behind every test tube. We rarely get to our meet patients or even get to hear from them so it is an honor to know that you recognize us as part of your health care team. God bless you with strength and good health and keep on fighting the good fight!


Joan O'Connor March 10, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Wow, what a wonderful and heartfelt message. Hearing your responses just reinforces why I had always wanted to become part of the best Hospital and team since I was a teenager. I have been in the medical field all my life and nothing makes me happier than to see such a positive outcome for our patients. May God Bless you and your family and keep you all safe.


Susan Booker March 10, 2016 at 11:35 am

I have worked here for over 40 years, in clinical research for the most part, and I have never thought of the patient experience in these terms. Thank you, Mr. Reed, for so beautifully showing us what it takes to care for a patient in an institution like Hopkins. It's mind-boggling! I'm sure that your team sees you as a responsible and rewarding patient to have in their care.

This got me thinking...if you add to this team the members of the research community who have contributed medications, techniques, etc., to patient care and healing, the effort that goes into providing high quality medical care becomes even more impressive.

The the Principle Investigators who spend many hours beyond their clinical, teaching and research duties writing grants to procure funding for research ranging from the study of genetic changes in a single cell to the study of world populations,

To the administrative staff, laboratory technicians, clinical trial coordinators, research nurses, statisticians and more who bring the grant to life and the study to completion,

To those who provide the infrastructure for the enterprise by working in human resources, the supply-chain, equipment maintenance, animal care and many more services, this is a vast and amazing system. As Linda Williams said above, I'm proud and privileged to be a part of this team.


Velma S. Pack March 10, 2016 at 9:35 am

How humbling this letter is....No big "I" and no small "you" serve on his teams. What a sweet encounter! I may never meet you in person Mr. Reed, but I can genuinely care for and appreciate your person. I pray you have many more days in which you experience life in its fullness.


Patricia Economas March 10, 2016 at 9:21 am

Very nice letter. Mr. Reed understands more than most what makes up the team. We are all an integral part working together to produce the best outcome. I am glad to be a part of that team!


Linda Williams March 10, 2016 at 8:49 am

Thank you! I am proud and privileged to be a member of your Health Care Team as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist in the Department of Pathology/Core Laboratories.
Stay happy and healthy and may God bless you with many more wonderful years.

Linda Williams, MLT (ASCP)


Clement Kibuh March 10, 2016 at 7:10 am

OMG! What a way to start a great day at work. How rewarding is it to know someone is impacted by what we do on a daily basis even if "behind the scene". Thank you for your warm words Mr.Reed Jr. and I only pray God who is the healer continues to do His good work in your life. As a health care team, we can only administer treatment and God heals.
Stay blessed and may God continue the healing process.


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