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Have you ever been to a hospital that has no billing department? I have, when it was my distinct privilege to visit the Shriners Burns Hospital in Boston.
How did a person from New Jersey end up in a children’s hospital in Boston, and a really special hospital at that? Quite simply, a friend and brother Mason, John Sugden, asked me for a favor. John is a Boston banker and former volunteer firefighter/EMT in Dover. He serves on the Board of Fire Engineers for Dover and is an active community volunteer. John is now a member of the public relations committee for the Shriners Burns Hospital in Boston. John is also a dedicated Shriner and a man who never believes in doing anything in half-measure.
John asked me to go to Boston to help him with what seemed to me to be an odd problem. John told me that the staff members at the burn center were concerned that they were not seeing all of the patients who might benefit from their specialized burn care. The outstanding staff at this world-class burn facility knew that exercising their skills was a critical element in allowing them to maintain their life-and-death talents at peak condition. They want to get the word out that they stand ready to help children everywhere who may be in need of their specialized care.
Do not get the wrong idea. We don’t want you to go out and create new patients. What we would like you to do is become an advocate for the Shriners Burns Hospital. Many of you are in the front lines of emergency care in North America, and may have the opportunity to recommend a Shriners facility to a family in need of assistance during a time of devastating burn trauma to a child.
To get a better idea of what goes on at the facility, I traveled to Boston to meet with a number of staff members on the burn center team. This is the type of topic that I could just read about. I had to meet with the dedicated caregivers who labor valiantly each and every day to make a difference in the lives of their patients.
After meeting a half-dozen of the hospital’s key professionals, I am here to tell you that they live, breathe, eat and sleep teamwork. There appears to be a seamless interaction between the burn victim, the team and the victim’s family from the first moment a patient enters this facility. After visiting with these dedicated professionals, I came to the conclusion that this story was definitely not one that could have completed through telephone interviews.
I met with members of each aspect of the hospital’s health-care team. Let me stress to you that the word “team” is not strong enough to explain the bond that links these dedicated caregivers. From the doctors to the nurses to those in the areas of pharmacy and therapy, each person outlined his or her part of the overall team effort. It is not uncommon for the doctors and pharmacists to hold daily conferences to arrive at the best possible medication regimen for their young patients.
Dr. Rob Sheridan is the assistant chief of staff. He is a man on a true mission, and his love of his work is obvious from the moment you meet him. Sheridan developed his interest in burn injuries while serving with the U.S. Army. He took his specialty training at the world-famous burn center at Brookes Army Hospital in Texas.
Over the past decade, he has developed a deep and abiding love for his work. He loves working at the Boston Shriners Burns Hospital because of the high level of interest in the type of work being done, as well as its team approach to burn care. He told me that, “the team stays with the problem until it is solved.” Members of his staff continually warn him to stop giving out his cell phone number to patients and families. That speaks volumes regarding his dedication and commitment to his patients.