We choose UCLA every time.
Like many of the children who end up at Mattel Children's Hospital, our son has a complex medical profile, and includes catastrophic Infantile Spasms, neurological visual impairment, spinal deformity, low muscle tone that keeps him from holding up his head, and for this visit, GI problems. After a year of deliberation (and a couple of hospitalizations), we decided that our son needed to have a g-tube, to take care of his nutrition and hydration needs.
While his regular specialists are at UCLA Medical Center—and we are both Bruins ourselves—at every step of this surgical process we were blown away by the efficiency, safety, professionalism, and genuine care for our boy as a person and as a member of a family. We were incredulous at the precision, and kept saying to each other throughout our short visit, "Who does that?"
Our pediatricians figured we'd have to wait months for a surgical spot. UCLA called, "How's next Thursday?"
We met every specialist. Every person who was to have a part in our son's care was friendly and helpful. It was clear that everyone knew what their role was, and their timing was impeccable. Fortunately with the skills of Dr. Steven Lee and his surgical team, all went swimmingly, and fairly quickly. And because he placed the g-tube button right away, We didn't have to return weeks later once the stoma site had healed, as another boy we know did at a different hospital.
But it was after the procedure was done, that our already good impression turned to True Blue and Gold. Even in a post-op center filled with people, our boy received individualized care, right down to the teddy bear in scrubs. Because he would likely only be an overnight or two guest, we had a shared room, along with some extra goodies to soften that "blow"! We were astonished by the nurse checking the temperature of the in-room fridge—precision! We were worried that our son would become withdrawn following the stress of surgery, but by the middle of the night, he was smiling at his nurse. Beside the excellent training we received from the nurses, they and the social workers worked a miracle in the two hours before we left—something we hadn't been able to do in two years!—helping to secure our son's daily nutrition needs through his health coverage for his return home.
We left truer Bruins than ever, and his g-tube has made a tremendous positive difference in our son's growth and hydration, especially when he gets a cold, as well as our family's daily stress levels.
We know we'll be back. Our son's medical journey has really only begun, but we have every confidence in UCLA to help him meet those challenges.