I am not one to say negative things about a place or people, especially one such as a children’s hospital, but after experiencing the treatment we’ve received at Greenville Shriners and the high bar that has been set by that staff, I feel compelled to speak about the Lexington Shriners.

The Shriners Hospitals for Children Lexington facility opened in 2017 on the University of Kentucky HealthCare campus, giving the two organizations the opportunity to have a collaborative relationship. So much so, that most of the attending physicians at Shriners Children’s Lexington are also professors at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. So when we received word that a new upper limbs specialist was coming to Shriners Children’s in Lexington, we jumped at the chance. We’re talking a 1-hour drive vs. a 5-hour drive, so I feel like anyone in our position would at least take the opportunity to check it out.

We walked away feeling as if we had wasted our time.

I won’t sit and discredit anyone or anything. All I can speak to is what we experienced.

Shriners Hospitals for Children has over 20 locations, and no doubt that no two are the same, however, the fundamental differences we experienced at Lexington compared to what we’ve grown accustomed to at Greenville, was jarring.

Right off the bat, we had to wait over an hour between checking in and getting registered. This is a process we complete at Greenville in less than 10 minutes before we ever sit down. Once registered, we moved down to another waiting area, to wait an additional 15-20 minutes. So we’re over an hour and a half before we’re ever seen by the first person. 

I understand doctors’ offices and medical facilities can be busy, and sometimes there is waiting involved, but in over two years’ worth of visits to Shriners in Greenville, we’ve never even had to sit and wait in the lobby for over 10 minutes before being called back.

Once we were finally seen by the doctor that we came to see, the differences in mentality between the two Shriners locations, became glaringly obvious.

While I do give the doctor credit, for sitting on the floor next to our son while talking with us, it was clear that he hadn’t taken a look at Harrison’s chart prior to coming into the room. During his questioning, it seemed he was as much, if not more interested in the treatment we’ve been receiving at Greenville vs. what our concerns were with our son. He was more interested in asking if Harrision was caught up on all his shots, than taking the time to look at Harrison’s left shoulder, which is one of the top concerns for both us and Harrision’s therapists.

At one point, it definitely felt as if the doctor was trying to “recruit” us to bring all of Harrison’s treatment to Lexington and away from Greenville. Once he realized the amount of therapies Harrison goes to, and the fact that we were very happy with Greenville, and would be staying there with the specialists for our son’s condition, his mentality went to a “wait and see” approach.

His only treatment plan for Harrison at the time, wasn’t to incorporate particular exercises into his therapy. It wasn’t new splints for his wrists or potential surgeries down the line. It was simply to sit back and “wait to see if his muscles wake up.”

We are not the sit-and-wait type of people. If we had gone with the “sit and wait” approach this past two years, our son wouldn’t be standing.

The final words the doctor said to us, before saying we may schedule a follow-up in 6 months, was that all kids with arthrogryposis would be lucky to have parents like us. It was clear we knew our stuff enough, that he really didn’t have anything to say.

We walked away disappointed for sure. Not just disappointed that we had essentially wasted half the day, but disappointed that it is clear that a “wait and see” treatment is the standard for the Lexington Shriners location.

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