In a crisis situation, people crave two things: expertise and real-time information. Fortunately for Rebecca and Gene Weaver, their care teams delivered both.
When their daughter, Lydia, was having serious problems after she was born at Fairview Southdale Hospital, their Fairview and University of Minnesota Health care teams sprang into action and, just as important to the Weavers, kept them in the know every step of the way.
“Given the fact that it was a very scary entry, the staff did everything right,” says Sharon Nolan, Rebecca’s mother and an RN at Fairview Clinics – Edina.
“I am just so proud of them. They followed the Fairview values to a T— to a T. I’m proud to be a Fairview nurse.”
UMN Health provides specialty mothers’ and children’s care across the system.
During an uneventful first pregnancy, Rebecca and Gene, were looking forward to becoming parents.
When her water broke Aug. 8, Rebecca came to Fairview Southdale as planned. The delivery went well, though Rebecca spiked a fever and was on antibiotics for Group Strep B, a mostly harmless bacterial infection in adults that can occasionally cause complications in newborns.
But when little Lydia was born and placed on Rebecca’s chest, it became clear that something was horribly wrong.
“She was completely unresponsive,” Rebecca says. “They immediately cut the cord, took my baby and flew into action.”
Despite her worry and confusion, Rebecca says she was confident in the specialty care delivered by the UMN Health care team, mainly because they were open and honest.
“I said, ‘Is she going to be OK? She’s not crying.’
“I loved the fact that they didn’t say, ‘Oh, it’ll be fine,’” Rebecca says. “The NICU doctor said, ‘She’s running a fever. She has fluid in her lungs. She’s very sick, and we’re not sure of everything that’s going on, but we’re going to do everything we can. The next hour is critical.’ They were honest—I knew what they knew.”
Still running a fever, Rebecca was not allowed to follow Lydia to the NICU, but Gene was. After about an hour, he returned to give Rebecca a report.
“He told me they were giving him updates while working on Lydia,” Rebecca says. “He was able to come back and tell me everything. He didn’t just say, ‘This is what I saw.’ He knew exactly what she was diagnosed with, what was wrong.”
Rebecca added that everyone she encountered at the hospital made her feel like she was an important part of the team.
“The next morning, I was getting ready to go down to the NICU,” she says. “The head doctor of the NICU came up to my floor, knocked on my door and said, ‘I want to talk to you about everything that’s happened, is going on now and where we go from here.’
“He had already given that report to my husband, who was in the NICU while I was getting ready, but the doctor wanted to keep me informed, too, and made a special trip to tell me what we needed to do going forward. I was so impressed by that!”
Her exceptional patient experience didn’t end when Rebecca was no longer a patient: When she was discharged from the hospital Aug. 10, Rebecca and Gene were given a warm welcome in the NICU, where they both stayed by Lydia’s side for several more days.
When Lydia was discharged, “They loaded us in the car and said, ‘Please send us Christmas cards!’ They were our family,” Rebecca says.
“When we got home, there was already a card waiting in the mail, signed by those nurses who took care of me, and each one wrote a little message. It was so wonderful.”
For the Weavers (and Sharon), a scary situation was made better by open, honest communication and a personal connection with the doctors, nurses and hospital staff.
“Even if Rebecca and Lydia were receiving the best physical care, if Rebecca and Gene weren’t being informed, it would’ve been a completely different experience,” Sharon says.
“You can receive wonderful medical care, but there is the other element of communication—it helped Rebecca recover better than she would have, both physically and emotionally.
“They were all so professional and supremely qualified—my daughter is proof,” Rebecca says. “We will always go back to Fairview.”