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Getting the Surgeon’s Attention

I treat a lot of patients with multiple disabilities, like cerebral palsy and epilepsy, so things get complicated when they are admitted to the hospital. The parents have to deal with multiple rounding teams who come into the room at unpredictable times.

One such parent told me how she had solved the problem of dealing with surgeons who would not answer her questions. Her child’s surgeons often rounded at an ungodly hour in the early morning when no one was awake, spent a few minutes in the room and then moved on. By the time the mother was awake, the surgeons had left.

So, she figured out a strategy. Once the surgeons came into the room, she closed the door and stood in front of it. The surgeons could not leave until she let them out, and she would not let them out until they had answered all of her questions.

I have often recommended that strategy to other parents. By the way, it also works with rounding teams from other specialties.

David L. Coulter
Natick, Massachusetts