My wife and I had our first child in April 2016. At that point in my career, I had been working as a veterinarian for fourteen years and lived in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. I continued living in Wauwatosa, but I worked in West Allis and Jackson and treated animals from other surrounding areas like Brookfield and Elm Grove. It was during my work at the other clinics that I decided I wanted to open a veterinary hospital in Wauwatosa. My wife was hospitalized at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa three times during her pregnancy. We dealt with many different doctors and medical professionals. Despite everyone’s best efforts, Henry was born thirteen weeks early and spent those thirteen weeks at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa. (Are you sensing a theme? Many of our life events have happened in Wauwatosa.)
Henry’s hospitalization was the first time that I had been on the opposite end of the table, so to speak, being a veterinarian and discussing treatment options with medical professionals. Everyone at Children’s was great. Let me say it again to emphasize: Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin was great! That said twice, those long thirteen weeks made me realize there were minor (sometimes nitpicky) things the care team did that made us feel relief, panic, frustration, or a combination of these. I have taken what I learned from all the different situations during Henry’s hospitalization and am applying it in my practice each day. I do not want you to leave Harwood Veterinary Hospital feeling panic or frustration; I want you to leave knowing your pet is in good hands. Knowing that I understand your pet is your family. Knowing that I presented all the facts and treatment options. And understanding that whatever care plan you choose, it is the best one for your pet and your family.
The rest of the story on Henry: he is doing well. He’s walking and talking and thinks he’s the boss. There was only one day during his entire hospitalization that we did not make it to the hospital. While 2016 was a stressful year for us, we made it. Here we are and it’s almost 2018. I still tear up a little when I stop and think about all the people who helped us during my wife’s pregnancy and after Henry was born.
As a veterinarian, I treat your baby of the four-legged kind. Some of Henry’s doctors were very to the point and gave us the facts and treatment options; this approach worked well for me since it aligns with my personality type. My wife, on the other hand, wanted to hear the doctors’ recommendations and learn about past patients and their outcomes having chosen either Option A or Option B. Neither of our preferences in dealing with medical staff was “wrong,” but I learned that being positive (while still being honest) goes a long way. His hospitalization was a good reminder to always listen to my client’s concerns no matter how big or how small. We became very frustrated very quickly the few times our concerns were not addressed or “blown off.” Careful listening plays a key role in how clients feel.
Everything I learned from the experiences with my wife and son has made me a better veterinarian. I care. I listen. I am located in Wauwatosa. Come see me. I look forward to meeting you and your pet and greeting established patients and their humans.