I wrote a letter to the hospital that cared for us during all of our bad news, surgery etc. I thought I would share:
To Whom It May Concern:
We recently visited Strong Memorial Hospital. We were referred there from Dr. Lubell’s office at Guthrie, for a level two ultrasound and amniocentesis after receiving a positive risk screening for Down’s and T18 during our pregnancy. The staff treated us with such care and compassion during what turned out to be the worst news of our life that we felt we had to share our experience.
We live in rural PA and don’t have many medical resources in our surrounding area. Once we heard the news of the positive risk screen we were hoping to get in to see someone quickly. Our local Perinatologist’s office scheduled us an appointment for 2 weeks out. I was distraught about the idea of waiting two weeks to get in to see the doctor and then wait another 2 weeks for amnio results. I was 18 weeks pregnant at the time we found out about the positive screen and wanted answers quickly so we could start making decisions about what to do with the pregnancy if it turned out the baby had a fatal trisomy. I asked my doctor’s office if they could give me another referral and try to get us in somewhere else sooner.
Only a few minutes later I received a call from Diane at Strong Reproductive Genetics. She was my first encounter with the hospital and left a positive impression on me. Diane was very calm and helped make me an appointment early the next week. It was Thursday when she called me and she made us an appointment for first thing Monday morning. I was crying when we talked on the phone and Diane reminded me that positive risk screens happen all the time, and often turn out to be false positives. She reminded me to be optimistic and take it one day at a time. She was caring and compassionate on the phone.
We made it to our appointment Monday, March 7th and talked for a long time with Jeanne Peterson, the genetics counselor. Jeanne was nice, caring, and knowledgeable and talked with us for as long as we wanted. She answered all of our questions and didn’t make us feel like we were wasting her time. She treated us as though we were her only patients that day. It’s nice when someone in the medical community gives you their full attention! I would highly recommend Jeanne to anyone who needs a genetic counselor.
Next we made our way to the ultrasound area and were ready to have our level two ultrasound. Here is when things started to go wrong for us personally. During the ultrasound the technician found that there was no longer a heartbeat for the baby. My husband and I were devastated. We thought we were assessing risk for T21 and T18, not finding out that our baby was already gone. The technician gave us a while to grieve alone and went to get the doctor. Doctor Glantz came in and asked if he could continue looking on the ultrasound so that he could see if he could give us some answers as to why the baby passed away. He found a few indications of cystic hygroma, hydrops and a possible chromosome abnormality. Doctor Glantz then asked us about our regular ob/gyn and how we wanted to proceed. He offered to call our doctor for us and make arrangements. Dr. Glantz contacted our regular ob/gyn and found out that at Guthrie my only option was a Labor and Delivery. Since this was my first pregnancy and first child I wasn’t interested in my first experience with labor being to deliver a stillborn. Dr. Glantz said he would see if he could arrange a D & E with one of his colleagues and left again to make those arrangements.
It’s hard enough finding out that our much wanted and loved child passed away at 19 weeks, but it’s even harder to imagine having to make all of the arrangements to have surgery on my own. Dr. Glantz took care of everything. He was compassionate, caring and very realistic about why this happened and what our next steps should be. I’m grateful to his care during this time. I couldn’t have asked for a better provider. He made the traumatic personal experience as painless as possible. I was astounded at the care we received in his hands. I have already talked to my regular ob/gyn about using Strong Memorial in the future for any perinatology needs a future pregnancy might have. I would be honored if Doctor Glantz would be able to provide care in any future pregnancies.
Next, we had to have the two day D & E procedure. I met Doctor Stanwood and her assistant Bev. They were both so compassionate and wonderful. Dr. Stanwood told us we were her last appointment of the day and she would stay as long as we needed to answer questions and reassure us. She explained the procedure, talked about why we might have lost the pregnancy, and discussed future pregnancies. She was compassionate when inserting the laminaria and so sweet about answering questions.
We arrived the next day for the actual procedure. I’ve never had surgery or anesthesia and didn’t know what to expect. The surgical staff continued my wonderful experience. They were all so compassionate. While they prepped me I was crying and not doing so well emotionally. Every person I came into contact with told me they were sorry for my loss and some even gave me hugs. I felt so cared for during this experience. I wish I had been aware enough to get the names of everyone that helped me during my care. I would like to thank each and every person for the compassion and caring they showed during this experience.
My husband and I went through the worst thing we can imagine at your hospital. Your staff made the experience the best it could possibly be under the circumstances. Diane Bater, Jeanne Peterson, Dr. Glantz, Dr. Stanwood and Beverly were all wonderful. Not to mention the countless other people I came into contact with during my time at the hospital. I want to thank you so much for the compassionate, respectful care we received at Strong Memorial Hospital. I hope you will pass our appreciation on to those who made a difference during our experience!
Our Sincere Appreciation,
Amy and J