Christie Ernst, Preoperative Medicine

October 2014 Golden Rose Recipient

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Submitted by Cornelia Taylor, School of Medicine

Christie is an amazing clinician who consistently displays compassion and empathy to patients and is very skilled at navigating difficult situations. Recently, at the very end of a busy clinic day, her last patient came for a visit in anticipation of surgery. The patient’s family drove in from a town a few hours away. While on their way, they were informed that the surgery was cancelled because it was not likely to be beneficial. The family was upset and distraught and insisted on coming to OHSU for further discussion. Christie had not been involved in the presurgical discussion and met the patient and the family for the first time that afternoon. The situation seemed fairly chaotic, requiring patient evaluation, family reassurance, and coordination to obtain supplemental oxygen and pain medication. Christie was calm, focused on the needs of the patient and engaged the rest of the clinic team to ask for help. The encounter was emotionally charged. The patient was suffering and had just been told that surgery would not help. This probably had a big impact on the hopes that had been placed on this particular intervention that was not going to happen. And Christie rose to the occasion to professionally and compassionately talk to the patient and concerned family members to make arrangements for the patient’s short-term care before returning home. Christie is a shining example of what OHSU is all about.