Janet and Jack Daniels

Daniels

I had diabetes and I knew it was very important that I did not give up going, however arduous the process was. So, my husband and I decided to “try” a new doctor. Someone had recommended a new doctor in our area who had a totally electronic office and who seemed to “really know his stuff” as this person put it.

So, my husband and I both made appointments with Dr. Scott Yates. My husband liked him better than I at the first as he seemed a bit too fond of his computer compared to the type of doctor I was used to; but the wait wasn’t too bad and he really DID “know his stuff.” So, I decided I would give him a try. At the time, I had no idea what a momentous decision that was that day.

Over the next few years, Dr. Yates continued to be our primary care physician, and a fine job he did, too. Although he tried, he really had trouble keeping up with the patient load, and often seemed rushed at my appointments.  I could tell Dr. Yates didn’t like this one bit.  But, that is the nature of medical care today, isn’t it?

My father was a physician, my son is a Cardiologist and my sister is a Pulmonary and Critical Care specialist. So I know how medicine has changed. I know that good doctors are rushed and harried and hassled. I know that the economic pressures from government and insurance companies have forced them to see more and more patients every day.  

But, does it really have to be that way?

In the first week of November, 2006, I started running a fever but I thought it was just the flu. I began to have a lot of pain and thought my gall bladder had finally developed stones or an infection. I was feeling so very bad; I had my husband take me to the ER at Presbyterian Hospital of Plano.

The emergency room physician called the on-call surgeon who determined that I needed an emergency cholecystectomy.  They put me on IV antibiotics and removed my gall bladder.  I do not remember, but I am told that, after surgery, I was having a lot of trouble breathing and kept going to sleep in the middle of my sentences.  I was given a pressurized oxygen mask, but was too exhausted to use it.  The doctors decided that I needed to go on a ventilator.  Finally, after multiple tests, it was determined that I had Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) which was probably caused by a virus.  I continued to get worse and three days later, I was so sick that Dr. Yates was trying to figure out how to tell my husband and family that the specialists taking care of me didn’t think I would survive.  Well, this isn’t a posthumous publication; I’m still here!

Of course, I was very sick but neither I nor the doctors were going to give up. With Dr. Yates as coach, the team played on. He coordinated my care, calling in the best heart and lung specialists in the area. He spent hours in the ICU double checking every detail – he reviewed lab reports with my sister (the critical care specialist) and my son (the cardiologist).  They said that some of the doctors taking care of me weren’t as comfortable sharing this information, but Dr. Yates was. When questions arose, he researched to find answers. My physician-family members were amazed! Of course, I was comatose. I remember being on the ventilator in the ICU and hearing Dr. Yates talking to me, encouraging me to rally, giving me updates about my grandchildren. Not what we picture when we think about doctors but that’s what mine did! Eventually, my lungs improved and I was able to be weaned off of the ventilator.

Dr. Yates told me later that the day in the ICU when he thought I probably wouldn’t survive was the day he decided to change his practice. Time and focus and concentration are important. He knew that patients needed more time with their doctor and to be able to reach them quickly when ill. He knew that the relationship between patient and physician depends on trust and that this relationship is critical. With cell phones and email, he knew that he could be available to his patients 24/7. This is exactly what happens with the Center for Executive Medicine. When I come in for my appointments, I am escorted to a consultation room and I’m seeing Dr. Yates within minutes. Dr. Yates isn’t rushed and I have time to discuss everything I want to with him. At first, I could not believe this system was really true. But, when I started picking up the phone and calling him when I needed to, there was this amazing relief to know I did not have to wait the entire weekend to get advice or help or medicine.  I don’t think I could go back to the “old” way that most doctors practice medicine today after being a member of the Center for Executive Medicine. It really works. It is wonderful and I highly recommend it to anyone.

The hours that Dr. Yates spent in the ICU…and the hours since then getting me back in shape to enjoy my husband, children and grandkids... What are they worth?

Well, I sent Dr. Yates a card at Christmas that said:

Prescription: $10
Hospital Bill: $168,000
Saving a life: PRICELESS

Janet Daniels
Frisco, Texas


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