Last year, Bert Robles was driving his motorcycle home after dropping into the office on a Saturday, when a young driver unexpectedly swerved into his lane. Bert had to brake hard, and lost control of his Harley.
He slid along the road, sustaining fractures and many bruises and cuts. Luckily, the accident happened about a mile from Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital from which he had just come. In 2015 Bert became Guthrie’s first Chief Information Officer. Suddenly, he was back at the hospital, this time as a trauma patient.
Staff at Guthrie’s Emergency Department and its Level II trauma center didn’t realize Bert was a fellow employee right away. Still, he says, “it felt like the people who were treating me were family members genuinely concerned about my well-being.”
That genuine concern extended to his wife, Josie Robles, who also works at Guthrie and who Bert called from the ambulance.
“I kind of lost it when I saw him on the stretcher,” Josie says. “But the staff was wonderful about making me feel OK and letting me know that he was all right.”
Doctors evaluated Bert’s battered body and, thanks in large part to his use of safety gear and crash bars, found no serious head, neck, or spine injuries. Still, he had to have surgery, which included putting metal screws in his leg. One year later, he’s still recovering, and he’ll likely need follow-up care for long-term effects, like swelling.
A New Perspective
Bert’s experience as a Guthrie patient has given him a new perspective about emergency services.
“It certainly allows me as a member of the community, not just as an employee, to see how vital and important our emergency services are, because life can change in an instant,” he says.
Bert’s accident deepened his and Josie’s sense of pride in the work they do to maintain and bolster that standard of care, and also their commitment to support the financial needs of the hospital. Guthrie is currently raising funds to double the Emergency Department’s size and make upgrades that will lead to shorter wait times and even better experiences for patients and families.
“Not being in clinical roles, you don’t always experience that firsthand delivery of care,” Josie says. “This experience has made us both feel good about supporting the organization in order to make sure that for the next person who comes through that emergency room, the staff continues to have what they need to do a great job.”