The True Impact of Compassion
Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center had long been the hospital of choice for Ira Handelman and his family. At one point, the caregivers at Tarzana had saved Ira’s life during a complicated medical challenge he faced. But when asked why he feels so strongly about the care provided at Providence Tarzana, Ira brings up an even more intimate topic: the story of his recently deceased wife.
Ira’s wife Alice suffered from multiple-sclerosis and liver disease. On New Year’s Eve, 2017, Alice had a stumble and broke her leg. Ira brought her to Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center. X-rays showed that she would need surgery to repair her leg, but due to her other conditions and a low blood platelet count, her doctors were very careful about embarking on this procedure. They waited over a week to operate, just to make sure Alice was strong enough. Unfortunately, their concerns were warranted.
Mid-way through the surgery Alice crashed, and her physicians stopped the procedure. Alice was in critical condition for the following week. Ira vividly remembers the skill and dedication of Tarzana’s caregivers during that week. Though his wife’s health was very tenuous, “they kept her alive,” he said. “The level of sensitivity, care and compassion we received, from everyone, the nurses, the doctors, even the maintenance workers…it was above and beyond the level of anything I’d ever seen.”
After Alice recovered, the physician team at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center successfully completed her surgery, replacing much of her blood with new infusions in order to do so. In total, Alice spent 40 days in the hospital, and Ira says that by the end the hospital staff felt like family. “40 days in a place, where you have not one complaint, to me it’s unheard of,” he said.
Afterwards, Alice went to a rehab facility to try and rebuild her health. But with the multiple diseases she was experiencing, she struggled. With her blood count beginning to raise concerns, Alice returned to Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center. While she was receiving care, nurses and doctors who had met Alice and Ira previously would stop by and visit in their spare time. They truly felt cared for every moment they spent in the hospital.
Meanwhile, her care team was doing everything medically possible to treat her condition. Unfortunately, Alice’s body had reached its limits, and she passed away peacefully in her room. “To the last moment she was alive,” Ira said, “we were blown away by the care she received.”
When friends and family reached out after her death to make donations in her honor, Ira was clear that the only organization his family was designating would be Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center.
“Words cannot express my gratitude for the way we were treated,” he said.
Pam Kessler: Sixteen years ago, the wonderful doctors, nurses and caregivers at Providence Tarzana Medical Center saved my son’s life.
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