You Make a Difference in Internal Medicine

The University of Iowa Health Care Making a Difference program is designed to recognize individuals who have performed in an exemplary manner, consistent with the goals of service excellence, and with a commitment to quality care.

Over the last few months, members of our department were nominated by colleagues, patients, and patient family members for a variety of actions that have had a major impact. Recognizing others is fast and easy with the Making a Difference nomination form.

Judy Streit, MD
Nominated by: James A. Brown, MD., Staff Member

Dr. Judy Streit spent an hour of her time the morning of January 5, 2021, unexpectedly assisting a UIHC patient in getting a required COVID‐19 negative testing letter completed and input into EPIC. The recent University of Iowa graduate was traveling to Europe as a Fulbright scholar in the early afternoon, required an up‐to‐date COVID test and was under time pressure to have the necessary documentation letter (which had not come through) completed prior to flight departure. Dr. Streit, who was working in the travel clinic, understood the situation and went out of her way to help. While she had not previously cared for the patient, she immediately obtained necessary permission/information and generated the detailed letter required by the Spanish consulate for international travel during the COVID pandemic.

Ashwin Subramani, MD
Nominated by: J.H., Patient’s Family

Dr. Subramani,
Thank you for your skilled care of our Aunt D. in her final days in her fight against COVID‐19. It’s common for people who are really good at something to not even realize how skilled they are because it’s a skill that comes easy or that they’ve mastered. I’m sure you’ve spent much of your training focused on honing your clinical expertise, but what mattered most to us was your communication skills. Just in case you haven’t been told, you are a master at patient and family experience. You took the time to call with updates and used the shared decision‐making model with D.’s daughter to provide the right information at the right time to help her make the appropriate medical decision for her mother. You were compassionate in the way that keeps patient and family at the center of care…we did not feel rushed. I was hopeful that D.’s daughter’s would be able to utilize the information that they had to make the appropriate (however difficult) medical decision not to move forward with an unwanted trach. You skillfully navigated that, made extra phone calls to me as their advocate, and found a way for us to stand in for the family when it was time to help D. find peace and comfort at end of life. In person, you were present in the moment.

During a pandemic when compassion fatigue is so real, you shined. I hope that despite the despair and heartbreak that you must face on a daily basis and that even if you don’t always see the clinical outcomes that you hope for, I hope you know that you are having a positive impact. The HOW you do the work mattered so much to us. Sincere thanks for your care.

Donald Brown, MD
Nominated by: G.G. and C.G., Patient

I was struggling to negotiate on my walker following spine surgery, to get from our parking on the far SE corner of ramp 4 to get to the elevators. When we finally reached the elevators, a very kind man approached us and asked if we needed assistance? He promptly grabbed a wheelchair and offered to help. He introduced himself only as “Don.” Through the course of the next 15+ minutes, this man helped us to negotiate through small elevator doors and delivered us through the labyrinth of hallways to the check-in area of the sky walk. When I inquired about his background he only stated that he had worked at the hospital “for many years.” When the young man at check‐in questioned whether he should be admitted, he only told him that he was staff, and was guiding us to our destination.

After clearing security, “Don” continued our conversation and talked about his home town of Manchester, Iowa. He discussed playing football, both ways at only 133 lbs. and how his coach fudged his weight to make him appear larger. “Don” continued to tell how us how special my surgeons, Dr. Matt Howard & Dr. Satoshi Yamaguchi are, and how they have achieved professional renown throughout the country.

It took extended questioning, but we eventually learned our escort’s name. “Don” was actually Dr. Don Brown, Cardiologist. He humbly shared that he was in his 48th year of “serving patients” at UIHC. Dr. Brown delivered my wife and myself to the check‐in area for my rehab therapy and was so service-oriented that he even asked if we “needed a beverage” before he left us in the waiting area.

I want those in charge of UIHC to know that Dr. Don Brown epitomizes the caring and dedicated staff that makes UIHC such a special place. His humble demeanor, deep character and true caring shines through.

2 Responses

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