“Code Blue! Code Blue!” The alarm resonated throughout the medical-surgical unit. Nurses and doctors poured into the hospital room, running towards the patient’s bed where Missy Bingiel lay in respiratory distress. Her husband, Michael, was rendered powerless, watching in fear as the hospital staff resuscitated his wife. Thoughts of Missy and their three sons ran through his mind—what would they do without her?
More Than Medicine
Scenes like this are far too common in any hospital. In such times of distress, patients and their families often need something more than medicine. Our hospitals and our approach to healthcare have that “special something,” setting us apart from other healthcare providers and even from other faith-based hospitals. More than medical technology, facilities, and our expert caregivers, it’s our commitment to provide Christ-centered care.
Gordon Hospital, located in Calhoun, Georgia is a model example. This 69-bed hospital has been providing Christ-centered care to the local community for 58 years. When a patient is admitted into Gordon Hospital, not only will they receive top quality medical attention, but spiritual and emotional care as well.
So, what does Christ-centered care look like in Gordon Hospital? Let’s take a closer look at Missy’s story to truly understand.
A Patient in Pain
Missy was suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Gordon Hospital physicians recognized her case as unique; it was unusual for such a young woman without medical problems or many pulmonary risk factors to experience such a severe case of ARDS. Weeks passed and her situation continued to deteriorate. Her extensive time in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and atypical medical condition made her a useful participant in the Central-Line Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI) study conducted by Johns Hopkins and Adventist Health System hospitals.
In and out of consciousness for days at a time, Missy required multiple invasive procedures. All the while, Michael remained by her side, his nights spent sleeping in a waiting areas or a chair at her bedside.
“I took a leave of absence from work because at that point everything was about making sure my wife was alright, and to get her back home,” said Michael.
Gordon Hospital employees diligently provided the medical care possible. They also gave something equally important: love, care and compassion. Aware that Michael and his family were undergoing a tremendous amount of stress, a hospital employee arranged for Michael to stay in a room across the hall from ICU where Missy was situated. Michael literally moved into the hospital.
Late one night, Missy’s oxygen saturation levels and heart rate began to drop; her nurses feared she would experience cardiac arrest and code again. The night nurse on duty came to Michael urging him to pray.
“She told me that if we had a prayer circle, we needed to get it started because she was worried,” Michael recollects.
Family, friends, church members, and hospital employees congregated in the hallways, praying for Missy’s recovery.
Christ-centered care means living like Christ and extending His compassionate care in every action and interaction. Often, when a patient is admitted into a hospital, their loved ones undergo tremendous distress and heartache. By modeling themselves like Christ, Gordon Hospital employees supplemented high quality medical care with a much needed spiritual support and emotional care to both Missy and her family.
Sadly, not all disease are curable or all illnesses remedied, but as with all things in life, one needs to ask the Lord for guidance, His will, and sometimes, a miracle.
Miracles Do Happen
An hour after the prayer vigil began, a nurse found Michael praying in the hallway. They had resuscitated Missy and her condition stabilized. Their prayers were answered. Missy was on the road to recovery.
“There’s a higher power that has an impact on these patients,” says Maxwell Parrott, M.D., a physician who cared for Missy. “It’s not just the doctors and nurses and the physical therapists. There’s something else at work beyond just the mere mortals in these halls.”
Forty-five days after being admitted to Gordon Hospital, Missy returned home with her husband and children. While thrilled to finally be home, the Bingiel family felt sad to leave another family behind—their caregivers.
“God put us in contact with amazing doctors, nurses and the staff, even the custodians at Gordon Hospital,” Missy proclaims.
So, what does Christ-centered care look like? One only has to walk the halls of our hospitals to witness this care first hand. It is the nurse that hugs a worried husband, a hospital attendee who joins in a prayer vigil; it is a hospital team who recognizes where abilities end and where Christ’s begin.