MGH clinicians gathered Dec. 11 for the Schwartz Center Rounds for the Primary and Palliative Care Community, where caregivers and audience members shared touching experiences and important lessons learned while witnessing a patient’s journey at the MGH.

“I think my ability to help my patients and my ability to help myself is much better after 27 years of knowing my patients,” said Patty Gibbons, MD, of the MGH Medical Group, who attended the rounds. “Being a primary care doctor, you are on the inside when patients and their families make decisions. It has opened my mind to ways of doing and being that would not have occurred to me decades ago. I can pass that on to others who are going through life experiences I haven’t been through.”

Many spoke about how they were inspired by the simple, compassionate actions of patients and their loved ones. Panelist Arminda Baptista, lead clinical associate at MGH Medical Group, spoke about the spouse of a diabetic patient who packs a special lunch with all of the necessities – utensils, a placemat, a drink – to ensure the well-being of his partner.

Panelist Simone Rinaldi, NP, of the Palliative Care Division, described her patients’ “simple but courageous acts,” such as going to a sports game in a wheelchair or stopping at a favorite fast food restaurant after chemotherapy before their nausea sets in. “Despite the knowledge that time might be short, patients continue to try, continue to show up, continue to say ‘yes’ to life,” she said.

The discussion also featured panelist O’Neil Britton, MD, MGH chief medical officer and senior vice president, who acknowledged the importance of meeting patients where they are. The event was moderated by Susan Edgman-Levitan, PA, executive director of the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation, and Barbara Moscowitz, MSW, LICSW.

Panelist Julia Shea, RN, of the Bulfinch Medical Group, said she recently was at a Christmas cocktail party out-of-state where many of the attendees – upon discovering that she works at the MGH – wanted to share their illness journeys and express thanks to those at the hospital who cared for them. “They just want their stories to be heard. I think since we come here every day, we are not as sensitive to the excellence in practice that happens here at the MGH and the impact it has on our patients.”

Read more articles from the 12/15/17 Hotline issue.