Excellence = Saving My Life

Jan 07

I am planning to write about all the things that are in my head right now since I am back from my “Southern Fried Marathon” (we were in AL, GA, AL again, MS and back to GA), but not just yet.  God has been teaching me to go slow in every area of my life.   I want to write about my special holiday where we continued the birthday party all through the month of December.  (You know, I don’t wait until the day of to celebrate anything!)  I want to write about the Passion Conference 2012 I attended in Atlanta that was nothing short of phenomenal.  I want to write about my tears as I opened so many Christmas Cards again this year from strangers who read this website.  I will write about all those in the future, but for now, I am writing to tell you about a special Christmas present that FedEx delivered to me on Christmas Eve…


Back in the days that we lived at Casa Colina in 2008 and 2009, we were contacted by a research assistant to the author of this book, Joseph Michelli.  Our miraculous story and great admiration for UCLA Hospital had been brought to his attention by the director of marketing at UCLA, Pattie Cuen, and UCLA’s CEO, Dr. David Feinberg.  Just going to show how the body of Christ works so beautifully, Pattie attends our church, Bel Air Pres, but we had never crossed paths with her until AFTER my stroke.  She heard about the prayers requests at church and then contacted Jay soon after I began my stay at UCLA to offer any help she could.  She also brought our story to the attention of UCLA’s Medical System’s CEO, Dr. David Feinberg, who told Jay that the support we had received from our LA community as well as our online supporters around the world was a “new paradigm in patient support”.  My situation had every reason to result in tragedy, but the way in which it unfolded, by the grace of God, has come to represent how the UCLA Medical System seeks to function in the lives of real people.  We were completely honored at being the story that concludes this book (which was recently the #1 on NY Times and Wall Street Journal).  We have yet to read the whole book, but really look forward to understanding a bit more of the behind-the-scenes approach which created this system that has been so impactful to my life and so many others.  It continues to blow my mind that out of all the hundreds of thousands of patients whose lives have been forever changed by this institution, we were given the chance to be a face of the ideal patient story.


A few favorite quotes from the final chapter of the book…


“All of the lessons of this book are summed up in Katherine’s story…Every aspect of Katherine’s safety was built into the processes and procedures of the operating room.  All the work of UCLA’s leaders to drive a safety culture allowed Dr. Gonzalez to focus on the likely risks of the procedure itself, without undue concern for underlying or neglected safety precautions.”


“Dr. Gonzalez believed that Katherine’s procedure might not have been attempted at other hospitals.  In referring to his willingness to go forward with the delicate operation, he stated, ‘That’s what we do here.’ “


“Jay and Katherine have not kept their praise for UCLA to themselves…[they] are brand ambassadors for UCLA…Katherine’s honest, poignant, grateful, and inspirational posts shape the perceptions of UCLA for countless numbers of her blog readers, validating the notion that ‘Service Serves Us.’ “


– Check out the official site for the book here.

– Watch the Youtube video explaining the vision for this book here (Jay and I make a small cameo in this video both speaking to the UCLA administration, and Dr. Gonzalez and I walking arm in arm.  A word about that:  I did not have my cane and was walking/balancing on Dr. G to shoot this.  I kept walking (bumping) into him and hitting his side as we walked together.  I apologized profusely to him, and he looked over at me with tears in his eyes and said, “I did not know if you would ever walk again.  Your walk is beautiful.”)


Buy the book here.


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