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Patient Experience Week: doctors heal in many ways

You are a doctor who truly cares for her patients and their families.

A doctor who does much more than her “duties.”

A doctor who goes above and beyond.

A doctor who is a true healer.

When Dr. Lauren Van Scoy, associate professor of Medicine, Humanities and Public Health Sciences in the College of Medicine, read the letter from Sara, a patient’s wife, she was touched.

“It made my day as a health care provider,” Van Scoy said. “It affirmed that a lot of the little touches that often go unnoticed are appreciated and matter.”

These “little touches” included Van Scoy printing out photos Sara had emailed and posting them in the patient’s room.

They included Van Scoy putting the phone near the patient’s head while he was intubated and sedated in the hope that he might be comforted by his favorite songs and uplifting messages his family had recorded.

They included Van Scoy calling Sara daily and continuing to follow up after Sara’s husband was no longer her patient.

“She was like a ray of sunshine that came into my life,” Sara said. “A doctor can heal in many ways. It’s not just the medications, procedures and tests. Dr. Van Scoy is a prime example of this.”

For Sara, Van Scoy was her lifeline. “I could call her at any time if I had a question, concern or needed a listening ear. She was my guardian angel and my husband’s fiercest champion. She told me she would do whatever it takes, and she did.”

Today, Sara’s husband is in rehab. He still has a long way to go, but Sara considers his recovery a miracle and credits Van Scoy for playing a huge role in improving his health.

“My husband’s situation was very dire, but that did not stop Dr. Van Scoy from doing everything in her power to get him better,” Sara said.

Sara said she hopes to meet Van Scoy in person someday. “I told her once everything settles down, we definitely have to meet. She is a shining example of what a doctor should be.”

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