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  • 'It was a simple gesture but it reduced me to tears'

    A Mary Bridge patient’s father, Brian Schumacher, sent the following letter to MultiCare Health System President and CEO Diane Cecchettini, RN, describing his interactions with staff members at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. He allowed us to share his note with our readers.

    Subject: Comments about our stay at Mary Bridge.

    Hello Diane,

    On Wednesday evening last week my son, Rip, was seen in the Mary Bridge Emergency Department, diagnosed with leukemia, and then admitted to the HEMONC unit on the 6th floor. As you can imagine, it has been a whirlwind experience for both Rip and our entire family. However, your world class staff, and beautifully functional facility, have made the absolute best of a terrible experience. 

    Every aspect of our experience, from the nearly immediate registration in the Emergency Department, to the amazingly quick diagnosis from Dr. Ted Walkley (and his wonderful bedside manner), to the super-efficient and friendly staff on the floor, has been excellent. 


    They have all taken the time to explain to us the details of his treatment, what we should expect to see happen, and what pitfalls potentially lie ahead. And I’m not just talking about his nurses – everyone in each of the departments has been great!

    I’ll confess right now that my mother, who was with me when we brought him into the ED, has been an RN for more than 40 years (and an ARNP for the last 25). She has one of the best work ethics of anyone I’ve ever met and she’s still working three-quarter time because she loves her job. So to say that she has been very impressed is really something because that isn’t easy to do. In fact, one of her pet peeves is when medical staff members enter a patient’s room and neglect to introduce themselves. Of the hundreds of times people have come into our room, not once has someone forgotten to introduce themselves and tell us why they were there.


    I don’t want to forget Rip’s primary doctor in this medical adventure, Dr. William Thomas. He exudes confidence, which helps lower our anxiety levels, and instills confidence in this institution. From the moment we met him we have felt like there was no place we would rather trust with our son. He appears to be an institution within these walls but that hasn’t dampened his obvious enthusiasm for his work or his caring attitude.

    I’m even going to call out one of the chef’s in your cafeteria: Josh Norton. Tonight I had left Rip’s room for the first time in 24 hours and went downstairs for some dinner. While trying to select what to eat, Josh made a suggestion and provided some light-weight banter. 

    Chef Josh

    At some point I explained my situation with Rip and he expressed his best wishes for us. As I was trying to check out, and literally handing my credit card to the cashier, Josh came out of nowhere and swiped his badge. I think he said something like, “Good luck.” It was a simple gesture but it reduced me to tears.

    Rip is feeling much better but we know he has a long journey ahead. I can only say that we are glad to have picked Mary Bridge to help us. We know there is a reward at the end of this dark tunnel and with Rip’s positive attitude, and the help of the staff at Mary Bridge, our whole family will make the journey successfully.

    Thank you again for such a great facility. This is truly a gem for the entire region.


    Brian Schumacher

    Posted on Sep 19, 2013 in Kids' Health