I've spent the better part of the last three days in New York Presbyterian’s Cornell Hospital. Not a fun time. My mother underwent surgery to fix leaking heart valves. Not to worry... her operation was a success and all the experts think she will be just fine.
Putting this main issue aside for my post, I want to focus on this hospital. More specifically, let's talk about its unique cardiac unit and heart institute. To sum it up quickly in four words– man, am I impressed.
This is not "your grandfather's hospital" (sorry for quoting an old Oldsmobile tag line, especially given this post’s headline). No, the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute feels like what the best hospitals will become over the next decade or two. The waiting area is a pristine, marble atrium where family and friends can sit comfortably watching flat screen TVs, connect to the Internet (through six computers), sit back and read a book or simply do nothing. There are special tutorials on monitors and along the walls which describe the various procedure's undertaking in this wing (great education), all while a casual Au Bon Pain serves coffee, sandwiches and desserts in the background. To this blogger, it felt more like experiencing a new museum or the lobby of a Fortune 500 company versus being in any type of hospital setting.
Moving on to the staff, nurses and doctors, I've never been so enthralled. Every hospital talks the customer service mantra. My experience is that most don't really care and never deliver it. Cornell passes this test with flying colors. From the night before the operation, when a team of five surgeons came into my mother's room every hour to check on her and openly discuss any fears she had, to how these same people called us and then came to the atrium after the surgery to walk us through each and every detail... it was truly special. Whenever we had a question or needed help, someone came to my mother's bed very quickly.
Now, we're experiencing the aftercare in ICU. ICU is a pretty scary place simply because all the patients there are just coming out of surgery and are dealing with 20 different pains and possible problems. That often creates a lot of chaos and confusion, with lots of nurses/doctors/families stressing out (at least that's what I've seen in other hospitals). That just isn't the case at Cornell. The round the clock nursing staff and attending doctors are firmly in control and create a very confident, peaceful setting which evokes calmness. And, that goes a long way in helping patients (like my mother) recover that much quicker.
Lots of Wall Street/ financing money was given to make this wing a truly special place. All one needs to do is look at the walls to see that the major benefactors were: Ronald Perelman (private equity), Maurice Greenberg (former AIG CEO) and John Mack (CEO of Morgan Stanley). Clearly all of this money came before the crash three years ago, which is a very good thing. Many ordinary folks might not think too highly of these and other Wall Street titans these days. Can't say I blame them. But, here's one tremendous example of a little good that greedy Wall Street sprinkled onto New York City's outdated hospital infrastructure. The results are magnificent. And, that's worth writing about.