Thursday 25 September will remain firmly etched in my mind as I was told of the disappearance of a five-day-old baby from our Maternity Ward at Middlemore Hospital. While the baby was safety returned to its parents, thanks to CCTV and the prompt action of staff, security and police it was a harrowing time for the parents and staff involved.
The first thing I want to say, and I’m sure I speak on behalf of all of us is that our hearts go out to the family concerned. As a dad with three children of my own and two stepdaughters I could only imagine the pain the parents were going through. As a CEO, there was a strong sense of responsibility. This extra-ordinary event took place within our Hospital – a place where people should feel safe and secure.
With additional safety measures now in place, we will be undergoing a full review into what happened. I just want to acknowledge the graciousness and calm attitude the family have shown, under such incredible circumstances. We are doing all we can to provide full support to the family and the staff involved to minimise any impact from this terrible event.
The power of compassion
For many of us work is a place of routine, where we perform similar tasks and activities on a day-to-day basis. This gives us a degree of comfort or certainty in what we do.
For the people we look after, whether it’s in Hospital, a General Practice or out in the community, our workplace can be a place of extraordinary stress and uncertainty and I’m incredibly mindful that we have a responsibility, not only to keep our patients safe, but also to provide quality care with compassion, patience and understanding.
Like many of you I’ve been on the receiving end of care and have felt vulnerable, anxious and out of my comfort zone. As a result I’m incredibly mindful of how compassion must take centre stage in everything that we do – whether it’s a reassuring touch, a helping hand or just someone there to listen. As always, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Granny Test and our commitment to provide the standard of care we would want our family members to receive.
Some of you may have watched a video called Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care. I’ve watched this video 3 times now and it still has a profound effect on me. It shows what happens when you put yourself into someone else’s shoes – hear what they hear and see what they see. It’s incredibly powerful and is something we should all be mindful of when caring for our patients, their families and ourselves. After you have watched the video ask yourself the following question – would you treat people differently?