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For Local Patient and Nurse, Hoag ‘Has Been the Constant’

By Elizabeth Swanson

My first nursing job was at Hoag, and I delivered both my children at Hoag. I helped my mom through her hip replacement surgeries at Hoag Orthopedic Institute, and when my husband was hospitalized with COVID-19 complications, it was Hoag that restored his health.

Through every medical event in our family – the good and the scary – Hoag has been the one constant, our partner in care.

Around the Swanson household, I’m treated like the Chief Medical Officer (CMO). I choose all our doctors and specialists, and I have even started getting more involved in the health care choices and appointments for my parents and my in-laws. If I’m the CMO, I’m only successful at it because Hoag is on my side.

As a mother, wife and daughter, I have long felt grateful for Hoag’s convenience and personal touch. As a nurse, I appreciated their commitment to innovation. But my respect for Hoag grew deeper in September, when I fell in my driveway and suffered a subdural hematoma and spinal cord injury. Being treated for brain bleeding during the pandemic – when no one could visit me or advocate for me – made it clear just how critical it is to have empathetic, quality care in your hour of need.

The nurses, neurologists, physical therapists and aids were there for me, never letting me feel alone and helping to turn a scary situation into a triumph. I still require physical therapy, but I was able to recover completely, with no surgery and no serious lasting effects. I came to really appreciate Hoag’s commitment to continuity of care. My primary care physician, Terra Safer, M.D., from Hoag Medical Group (HMG) stayed close to my progress in the hospital and helped me identify the specialty care that I would need to recover after my hospital stay.

Of course, after recovering from my injury, my entire family developed COVID-19. Here, again, Hoag was instrumental in helping us, with telehealth visits and quick, convenient email access to my kids’ HMG pediatricians through the Hoag Connect MyChart patient portal.

What is really impressive to me is the way Hoag is able to accommodate so many different needs. What we need as a young family is very different than what my mom and mother-in-law need. But we are all able to get the excellent care that we want, where we need it.

As a nurse, whenever I read about Hoag being the highest-ranked hospital in Orange County or winning another award, I just took it for granted. To me, the fact that Hoag is the best hospital around wasn’t big news. But during the pandemic and my recovery from my accident, I really started to think about Hoag as the resource that it is – to me, to my family.

When I saw what the rest of the country, and even the rest of the state, has gone through during the COVID-19 crisis, I really came to appreciate just what it means to have a first-rate hospital in our own backyard.

During the last year, with so many things thrown into chaos and uncertainty, Hoag remained a dependable constant in our lives. And I’m so grateful for it.