Thursday, August 07, 2008
Four lessons learned from complaining By Anthony Policastro About 8 years ago I visited a new restaurant in Salisbury. The food was good. The experience was unpleasant. When I tried to complain to the manager she told me that she had no time to talk to me. I have never gone back. A few years later I visited a restaurant in Dover. The food was good. The service was slow. I had an appointment. I had to leave before I could eat. I got an apology from the owner in a letter after I complained. At a later time the Board of Medical Practice scheduled a dinner at that restaurant. I went to the dinner. This time the service was very good. I subsequently visited a third time on my own. The service was again great. I will go back there again. In both situations I had developed an opinion of the restaurant based upon one portion of one experience. Each time I complained. The responses were different. Those responses helped make my subsequent decision to return or not return. There are some lessons here for dealing with physicians and hospitals. We have a tendency to do the same thing with medical care that I did with both restaurants. We have a bad experience at one visit. We then decide that all future experiences will be bad. Therefore we do not return. The complaints that I see as a member of the Board of Medical Practice are often of the same type. There has been a single incident. The patient is upset so they complain to the Medical Board. The first lesson is to realize that if you have a bad experience and you feel you need to complain about it, the complaint needs to go to the people who provided the bad experience. It is not fair to them to not let them know what is wrong. If they do not know, they will not have a chance to correct it. If they do not correct it, someone else may have the same problem. The second lesson is to see what kind of response you get when you complain. A cordial response should tell you that they want to do better. A rude response would suggest just the opposite. The third lesson is that just because you have a bad experience at one point that may not be the case in the future. There is a fourth lesson. That is to make sure you keep an open mind when you go back. If you go there expecting things to be bad, you will almost certainly find something to complain about. People in medicine are there to help patients. If you have a bad experience, it is usually due to something that will not likely happen over and over again. Perhaps it is time for me to give the restaurant in Salisbury a second chance.

Eighth annual Fun Fest The Beebe Medical Center Auxiliary will hold the 8th annual Fun Fest at Winswept Stables on John J. Williams Highway (Rt. 24), in Lewes, on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is open to the public and a great place to bring the entire family. Proceeds generated at this annual event will be used to support the programs at Beebe Medical Center. Numerous games, including two obstacle courses, a train ride, and a moon bounce, will be featured. There also will be face painting. Winswept Stables' petting zoo and pony rides will be part of the day's activities. Members of the Winswept Stables Pony Club will give riding demonstrations throughout the day. Refreshments, including hot dogs, hamburgers and homemade baked goods from Auxiliary members, as well as pumpkins and chrysanthemums, will be available for purchase. Members of the Beebe Medical Center Auxiliary and of the Junior ROTC at Cape Henlopen High School will be volunteering at the event.

Nanticoke plans golf tournament The 22nd annual Nanticoke Health Services Golf Tournament is Friday, Sept. 5 at the Seaford Golf and Country Club. The day will consist of practice, lunch, 18-holes of golf, dinner and door prizes. A full field of participants is expected with a noon shotgun start and scramble format. The tournaments goal is to raise over $35,000 for Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. Proceeds will be used for the hospitals charity endowment prescription fund, a special indigent fund for patients in need of assistance with their prescriptions. Teams of four players will compete for various donated prizes. During the course of the day, golfers will have chances to test their skills by competing in contests for Longest Drive, Closest-To-The-Pin, Hit-The-Green and a Hole-In-One. All participants will have the opportunity to putt through a three-step qualifying round. Following dinner, three people will putt for $2,500 each. Entry fees are $150 per player and $600 for a foursome. Sponsorships packages are available. Anyone interested in individual reservations or sponsorship opportunities should contact the Nanticoke Health Services Development office at 302-629-6611, extension 2404 or email

Stroke support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer free monthly Stroke Support Group meetings designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at Nanticoke Cancer Care Center from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. The meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions in which caregivers and survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support and networking. Refreshments will be provided. Sheila Brant and Joan Burditt, occupational therapists at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, will facilitate the support group meetings. Pre-registration not required. For more information, call 629-6611, ext. 5121.

Depression support The Mental health Association in Delaware will be sponsoring a Depression Support Group in Laurel on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. The meetings begin at 7 p.m. The MHA encourages anyone dealing with a depressive disorder to attend. Register in advance by calling 1-800-287-6423. Peer support groups sponsored by Mental Health Association of Delaware are not intended to replace professional mental health treatment. MHA does not publish support group locations; locations are provided with registration.

Caregiver support group Join our monthly support group at the Cheer Community Center, the second Monday of each month at 11 a.m., 854-9500. This support group is for you, whether you are a new caregiver or have been taking care of a loved one for years. We are turning the Fearless caregiver book into a guide for our support group. Each month a chapter will be discussed, concerns shared and support given.

Oncology symposium The Sixth Annual Seaside Oncology Symposium will take place Saturday, Oct. 11, at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel in Rehoboth Beach. The Tunnell Cancer Center and the Medical Society of Delaware sponsor this annual, half-day symposium to update participants on the diagnosis and management of cancer. It is designed for physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals. The conference, which begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends with lunch at 1 p.m., is planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint-sponsorship of the Medical Society of Delaware and Beebe Medical Center. The Seaside Oncology Symposium is supported by unrestricted educational grants from various pharmaceutical companies and programs. Details regarding this years topics and speakers will be available soon. Hotel reservations may be made directly with the Boardwalk Plaza at 800-332-3224.