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Dr. Kevin Springle did a Really Great Thing!Article posted on Monday, November, 1st, 2010 at 8:15 am
When I received the Voice Mail, I have to admit, I was glad that I missed his call. And I’m pretty sure he was glad too. It’s hard enough taking that first step into a cold pool without jumping right off the diving board.
His message was simple…. Mrs. Thompson, I’d like to have an opportunity to talk with you, but I understand if you don’t call back. He left his home phone and mobile number and never once mentioned Christie Pediatric Group, which made me think that he was calling on his own behalf and not on theirs. I took that as a sign of sincerity. I didn’t want a visit from a “sacrificial lamb” sent to “deal with the angry mother”. (I think that is probably how they viewed me…maybe some of them still do.)
I knew immediately that I would talk to him – that wasn’t a difficult decision. The question was how, when, and where? And I really didn’t make it easy on him. I wanted to meet with him in person, at a place that I felt comfortable, and soon. Part of me believed that Neely’s Story must be having a negative impact on him and the Christie Group…and that was the reason for his call. But I hoped that his intentions were pure and that he was calling me to apologize, not to appease.
And he was.
He apologized and took complete ownership for his mistakes. In fact, he tried to take ownership for everyone in his practice, but I wouldn’t let him. Each of the Christie Pediatric Group doctors who played a role in Neely’s illness had an opportunity to set us on the right path, and most didn’t.
Dr. Springle said he felt instinctively during one of our earlier visits to his office, that something was different about Neely. He just didn’t trust or take action based on those instincts. As we talked, I told him I hoped he would think about Neely every time he treats a sick child, and he said he already does. He also said he thought he was a good listener before…but now, he knows he still has room to grow in that area.
And he asked for my forgiveness, which is something I couldn’t have given him until he asked for it. And that opened the door for both of us to heal.
Dr. Springle did a really great thing. He took an opportunity to look at Neely’s Story and objectively see the part he played in that story. He admitted his mistakes, took ownership of them, and committed to change for good. Some doctors would have dug in their heels and continued to defend their actions (some doctors still are.) But Kevin Springle chose to do it a different way. I’m glad he did. I think he will be a better doctor because of it.
And while we will never again be patients at the Christie Group, I have to admit that Dr. Springle is on the very short list of Doctors that I would call if anything ever happened to Neely. And if you’ve been following this story….you know how much that means. Let’s face it….if he ever weighs in on Neely’s Medical Care again, I think he might recommend running every test under the sun and calling in every specialist available.
One doctor does not make a practice. Just like any organization, I think people have to work together under a common set of values. I think that one day Dr. Springle might grow to find that his approach to patient care is very different than some of his colleagues. I wonder if his example will be a catalyst for change in them….or maybe there is something completely different ahead for him. I can’t wait to find out.