Health care becomes personal for Tripler CSM

| August 12, 2016 | 0 Comments


Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy S. Sloan
Medical Command, Tripler Army Medical Center

HONOLULU — Things can get pretty busy in a hospital.

Consider that in a typical day at Tripler Army Medical Center there are just under 2,000 clinic appointments, 1,800 prescriptions being handed out, 565 radiology procedures happening and some nine births a day. This staff is continually working seven days a week providing high-quality health care to Soldiers, families and veterans.

As the senior enlisted leader of TAMC, I make staff visits to our clinics daily, and I take distinguished visitors through this historic hospital explaining what we do and how we do it. I take part in our commander’s monthly recognition ceremony and shake the hands and pass out awards for our staff’s competency and achievements.

You would think that there is no one who knows more about TAMC and its services than me; however, recently, I was given the rare opportunity to experience our staff through another set of eyes: that of a patient.

Sustaining an injury
Recently, I was in a pretty bad hiking accident. I try to get out with our Soldiers and experience the beauty of Hawaii as often as possible, so I was leading a group of seven members of our Tripler ohana through some challenging terrain as we attempted to negotiate our way to a spectacular waterfall.

While hiking, a weather front moved in, and it began to rain pretty hard. Seeing a need to discontinue our hike and get to safety, our group began to make its way out of thick jungle foliage.

Suddenly, part of the ground gave way where I was walking, and a mudslide carried me 30 feet down the side of a hill and deposited me into a rock-filled stream. I laid there in the cold water with possible facial fractures, torn ankle ligaments, dislocated fingers and a concussion while our Soldiers made their way down the very dangerous hill to provide assistance.

Evacuation by air was not an option with the thick jungle canopy cover. As the Soldiers arrived and assessed the situation, they picked me up and bravely “carried” me over extremely rough terrain for almost two miles until 911 emergency services could be activated.

When the ambulance crew arrived, it quickly took action, assessed my injuries from head to toe, provided appropriate trauma intervention and quickly evacuated me by ambulance to TAMC.

ER experience
Once inside the Emergency Room, what I experienced was amazing. A team of professionals calmly communicated with each other to ensure that they provided the most comprehensive trauma care possible.

Everyone was extremely professional and competent in the execution of their duties, from the ER staff to the orthopedic team, as well as the support of radiology and pharmacy. I was experiencing TAMC health care as a real patient, and it was excellence on display.

This view as a patient opened my eyes to the fact that, while measuring what we do to identify excellence and areas that need improvement are important, we can never make them so important that we forget the excellence that is happening in the trenches every day and the people behind that quality. The point of care, whether it be a medic, doctor, technician or nurse, is the most important part in the continuum of health care.

No matter what business you are in, the most important part of that business is your people. Take some time and get out from behind those conference calls, meetings, PowerPoint slides and computers, and go see your people. See what they do for you and your organizations.

I guarantee the time you spend with your people will give context to the values on those PowerPoint slides that seemingly drive too many decisions.
To my hiking team and my Tripler ohana, I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this organization and the work you do. Thank you for helping me and your outstanding service to all that you have helped. I truly love you all!

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Category: Health

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