Friday, December 2, 2011

Minnesota…A Great State to Get Sick In

For decades, Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson dominated our airwaves with humor and commentary on Minnesota life.  There was no better way to start out the day than with a cup of coffee and the Boone-Erickson show on the radio.  My favorite episodes tended to be “Minnesota Hospital” and they would always add something like “Minnesota, a great state to be sick in”.

I recently learned how true that was when I was admitted to the Fairview Southdale Hospital with a stomach ailment.  Two doctors and their team worked together, ran tests, utilized the latest technology, and did all that could be done to determine the cause.  They asked me exhaustive questions and, in the end, they found the source.

But this is not where the story ends.  Rather, in my time there I realized that this hospital had only one goal and that was to serve the patient and do it professionally, thoroughly, and with a sense of compassion and humor.  From a patient viewpoint, this was a team coming together to solve a medical problem and restore health to a patient. Orderlies, housekeepers, technicians, nurses, doctors were marvelous examples of teamwork and they all took pride in their work.

By the time I left, the nurses and I were laughing as we went to leave.  I knew I had been part of something extraordinary and that is that people love their job when they are part of a meaningful human endeavor and there can be none higher than protecting human health.

If there is a basic lesson here it is that those institutions that most clearly identify with their customers tend to the most successful while those who are more self-serving suffer from dysfunction.  Witness Congress.

Thank you all at Fairview Southdale Hospital; you are a shining example of the best.

PS This coming Monday night, Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson will be reading the Christmas Carol at the Old Log Theater.  Susan and I will be there.  This is a special Christmas event that you will not want to miss.


  1. Not to throw cold water in your direction, but how much of the quality of care that you received was because you are you.... a state treasure and well known mouthpiece for social injustice?

    If you ask Joe GeneralPatient, you might find there are vastly different viewpoints for the same moment of observation. Personally, I have had only one recent interaction at that particular hospital and my experience was not nearly as glowing as yours.

    I am much relieved you had a good outcome, Governor; you are rather dear to this state. But I don't think you can discount your celebrity status when assessing your experience...not to mention your ability to actually be able to afford/pay for your treatment.

    Would that everyone could walk out of every hospital in this state with the same jovial departure!

  2. I am enjoying S.J.'s comments and also her blog. Experiences do vary, but I must say that I, a non-celebrity, spent a week at Abbott Northwestern Hospital last summer and that the nursing care was professional, yet very personal. Maybe this really is a great state to be sick in. And it certainly didn't hurt that I have good insurance.

  3. Ihave had great experiences at United, Unity, and Regions Hospitals when I've had "body and fender work" as well. part of the package is trust, respect, and good spirits on the part of the patient as well.

    you're sure to see the profesionalism from the staffs here in Minnesota. but in all aspects of life, you have to put some skin in the game to make it memorable.


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