I’ll Have the Apple Juice with Oatmeal Cookies Please

One of the many benefits of living in the greatest city in the world, NYC, is access to some of the world’s best doctors and hospitals. One such place is the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 for orthopedics and No. 3 for rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2017-18) and has been among the top-ranked hospitals for orthopedics and rheumatology for 26 consecutive years.

Late last year I found myself in need of HSS’ services, specifically an Epidural Caudal. In non-medical speak, this is an outpatient procedure that involves using an ultrasound machine to guide a needle into the lower back to deliver medicine to a targeted area that is causing chronic pain.

As you can imagine, the thought of having a needle injected into my spine, well, caused the hairs on it to rise and as I arrived at the office that morning my nerves were working overtime. Little did I know that the amazing folks at HSS were more than prepared to alleviate my anxiety and my pain.

Thoughtfulness and empathy were clear themes throughout the day. Upon check-in, a woman at the front desk greeted me with a welcoming smile and a calming hello; instantly, I could feel my nerves subsiding. She asked me if I wanted a loved one to receive text updates during and after my procedure (this gave me the warm and fuzzies). When I excitedly responded that my wife would love that, she replied, “is this Dana (my wife’s name)?” This, I thought to myself, is how things should work!

With a smile, they quickly moved me from station to station where I digitally completed my required paperwork. Special consideration was given not only to my emotional well-being but also to my physical comfort; the process was smooth and efficient. Every person that I encountered was friendly, knowledgeable and professional. They took the time to explain the details and answered all my questions, the entire time reassuring me that I was in good hands.

The doctors never made me feel rushed; they even asked if I wanted to review the images from the procedure while I was still in the operating room. About halfway through the procedure, my doctor asked how I was feeling. I replied that I had been very nervous when I arrived that morning, but couldn’t even remember why as the experience had turned out to be quite pleasurable. Without hesitation, he responded, “that’s exactly what we strive for.”

Once out of surgery, I was taken to the recovery room and given a menu that rivaled any business traveler’s hotel snack bar (see below). Don’t mind if I do!

The positive experience that I had that day wasn’t an accident, but rather a carefully crafted journey. From the moment I walked through the door until the moment I walked out, everything was about me. Any company that is in the business of service could stand to learn a thing or two from the folks at HSS.

On my bus ride home, I couldn’t help but feel sad that I likely wouldn’t have another experience like this again for a long time!


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