Local Advocate, Patient Says PAMF Doctors Make Health Care Personal
Posted on Nov 28, 2011 | 0 comments
As executive director of Familia Center, a family resource center for Latino families located in Santa Cruz, Yolanda Henry works every day advocating for people who often cannot speak for themselves. That’s why she takes her 84-year-old mother to the same Palo Alto Medical Foundation doctors she herself has trusted for the last 30 years. Henry knows that at PAMF, her mom’s doctors will take the time to carefully explain her mother’s medical condition and options to her in simple, unhurried terms she can understand, and often in her native Spanish.
“My mom is 84,” said Henry. “She came to visit me several years ago, got sick, and never went home.” Rushed to the hospital with abdominal pain, Henry’s mother was treated by PAMF surgeon Dr. Joseph Fabry, who performed an emergency hernia surgery.
“It was our first experience with the PAMF staff,” Henry explained. “Besides being very competent and personable, Dr. Fabry fully explained to us the cause of the problem—an issue that stemmed from one of my mom’s previous surgeries. I felt so relieved to have Dr. Fabray there because he corrected something that could have gone very, very wrong.”
Soon after, both Henry and her mom became patients of PAMF primary care physician Tracy McClay. Henry’s mother also sees PAMF cardiologist Ryan Brant and PAMF pulmonologist Dr. William Hart.
“My mother just loves her doctors,” said Henry. “She likes that they’re so young, so nice, and the fact that Dr. McClay and Dr. Hart speak Spanish to her. Mom does understand English, but her English is not as good as a native speaker, and she’s also a senior. So, it’s great that her doctors take the time to explain to her, in Spanish, what’s happening with her health care. They’re never rushed. They make sure Mom understands what’s going on, what the different medications are for and what her course of treatment is. They address her directly and answer all her questions.
“Mom feels empowered with her health care when she leaves her doctor’s office. And it makes her feel great.”
In addition to her work at Familia Center, for the last 10 years Henry has also served on the Santa Cruz Community Board (Sutter Health Peninsula Coastal Region), which assists in overseeing the operations of Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center in Santa Cruz. Acting as ambassadors to the community, Henry and the other board members provide information about the health care needs of the various populations in the community, and then work with the Center to help meet those needs.
“Speaking from an advocate’s point of view, the PAMF medical staff never loses sight of who the patient is. I think they provide excellent ‘customer service’—excellent patient care,” says Henry.