Topic: "Best in the South" (5)
Dr. Arthur Kellermann is a Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, and he is a Physician on Staff at Grady Memorial Hospital. He stood on one side of the prone figure on the table in front of him, while the parents of the patient stood on the other. The father looked down, unable to meet the doctors' gaze, but the mother stared deeply into the eyes of the doctor, searching for a sign. Kellermann spoke first, "It was a terrible crash. His truck left the road at high speed. The ambulance crew saw that he was severely injured and called a helicopter. He has several injuries--a collapsed lung, internal bleeding. But his brain injury worries us the most."
It was at this point that the mother interrupted. Kellermann was already aware that they had driven two hours from the North Georgia mountains to downtown Atlanta's only Level I Trauma Center, burn unit, emergency psychiatric unit, and 750 inpatient beds. "Doctor, I don't know how to say this, but I must. My husband lost his job six weeks ago. I work but my employer doesn't offer health insurance. I have to ask: Will my son get the care he needs?"
She started to cry, and Kellerman said "Ma'am, you're at Grady Memorial Hospital. Our doctors are the best in the South. We choose to work here because we believe in what this hospital stands for. I swear to you--we will do everything in our power to save your son." Kellermann was already aware that he hadn't told her the entire truth.
The best may not be good enough, and, if her son should make it, he could be disabled for the rest of his life. Kellermann was already aware that the parents would be billed for the helicopter flight, and for weeks of treatment in intensive care. Hundreds of thousands of dollars will mean that all of their savings and a mortgage on their home would not meet the bills sure to come.
Kellermann was already aware that the unpaid bills will push Grady Memorial Hospital closer to insolvency. By staying silent however, he left the mother with what she, and he both, needed--hope. His written words cannot be improved upon:
"Hope that her son will beat the odds. Hope that Emory researchers will discover an effective treatment for brain injury, so future victims will have a better chance of recovery. Hope that Georgia will fund a statewide trauma network, so everyone can benefit from top-quality trauma care. And finally, hope that someday, perhaps soon, this great nation of ours will finally cover the uninsured, so no more mothers will need to ask, "Will my son get the care he needs?""
Frodo offers the possibility that should he and Dr. Arthur Kellermann, whose name he knew not before this day, arrive before Saint Peter at the same time, Frodo would offer up his entry pass to ensure that a man such as this, the best in the South, obtain his deserved position at the right hand of God.
Frodo has no doubt that someone calls Kellermann by the nickname "Hawkeye."