Emergency Room visits are never fun. They are fraught with pain, with the uncertainty of waiting, with being surrounded by others in distress. And when you are in an urban center ER, most of these difficulties are tripled. It takes someone spectacular to shine in that kind of situation.
I came to Albany Med ER because of two weeks of crippling pain. I needed to see someone in Neurology, and my Boston medical connections had (they thought) lined things up for us so that we would get to see a Neurologist and get some answers in a relatively short amount of time.
Accompanied by my husband, I was in the ER from 3 pm to 3 am. Yes, 12 hours. The staff said that they had never seen it so full, so chaotic. After two and a half hours in the ER waiting room, the slow process of getting me seen began. X-rays (twice), a fourth-year student, an intern, an attending, a neuro doctor, asking the same questions over and over and coming up with no answers. Techs. Nurses. And while they were all trying to do their best it was clear they were being pulled in so many different directions that it was impossible for them to give their full attention.
So there I was, lying on a gurney in the overflow area, in pain, eleven hours out from any medication, nothing by mouth because nobody knew what "they" wanted to do. And every time I asked someone about it, they assured me they would check and that was the last I heard from them until they passed by again a couple of hours later.
All except one.
We were lucky enough to work with Zachary Chandler (whom we immediately nicknamed "SuperZac"). Completely unflappable, calm, and compassionate, with enough of a wicked sense of humor that had both my husband and me chuckling in an otherwise dismal situation. If I needed something, he checked on it. When he passed by, he made sure he touched base with us. When I inquired (about 1 am) regarding a CT that I was told I needed before I could go home, he went right to the computer, saw it had NEVER BEEN ORDERED, and jumped on it. He took the time to answer any questions we had with thoughtful answers, considered ones. I was not just a wrist ID and a body on a gurney, I was a person worthy of his time and assistance, and it showed in every action he made regarding my care.
I come from a completely medical family: my father was an internist/cardiologist, my brother is a pediatric pulmonologist, and my mother was an RN. I have been steeped all my life in what good medical care looks like: how patients should be treated, what it takes to be a champion for those in pain and distress. Zac Chandler lived up to my family's exacting standards. And I can give no higher accolade than that.
Zac's a treasure, pure and simple. And Albany Med is lucky to have him.