Close Print View Issue

New Model Provides Right Care, at the Right Time, and in the Right Place


When Christian and Bethany Hansen, of Eastbrook, said goodnight one cold December night they could not have imagined the long road that lay just ahead of them.

Christian awoke with a high fever, explains Bethany. “I was concerned that he was slipping into a diabetic coma. This is something that had happened twice before,” she says.

When first responders brought Christian to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital (MCMH) it was discovered that he had sepsis from a wound on his foot. Treatment had to start immediately. “I found out we had about an hour to save his life. I was terrified,” Bethany continues.

During the course of his recovery, Christian spent time in both the intensive care unit and the medical/surgical unit at MCMH. He also saw a wound care nurse three times a week. Bethany shares, “We really developed a great relationship with the staff at Maine Coast. As Christian’s advocate, I would ask a lot of questions and the staff assisting us was always very responsive, understanding, and friendly.

Although Christian was eventually discharged, his fever returned. Mercedes Ang, MD, internal medicine specialist at MCMH, determined that further testing was needed— that testing that could not be done at MCMH. Christian was to be transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC).

“We were hesitant at first to change hospitals,” Bethany recalls. “We knew the staff at Maine Coast and were comfortable with the care he was receiving. After speaking with his caregivers, it was determined that it was best to go to Bangor to rule out any unknowns. It was the right thing to do and EMMC had the equipment and level of care to perform the tests.”

What Bethany and Christian were not aware of at the time is that MCMH and EMMC were piloting a new care model that further assures patients throughout the region receive seamless care no matter if they are seen in Ellsworth or Bangor. The committee in charge of bringing this work forward is the EMHS Downeast Patient Flow committee, with clinical representation from MCMH, EMMC, and Blue Hill Memorial Hospital. Donna Russell-Cook, FACHE, president of EMMC and co-chair of the committee says, “It’s all about providing the right care, at the right time, and in the right place—just one more benefit of receiving care within a comprehensive integrated healthcare system, such as EMHS. During a patient’s transition, staff at both Maine Coast and EMMC work very closely together to develop the best plan of care for the patient’s condition. Depending on the success of this model, we would look to eventually roll it forward to other regions of Maine.”

Upon arriving at EMMC, Bethany was surprised by the consistent high level care she received. “The staff members at both hospitals were very open to my questions and already well aware of Christian’s medical history. If it weren’t for the travel, we might have never known we left Maine Coast,” shares Bethany.

When Christian and Bethany arrived back at MCMH, they were welcomed with smiles and questions regarding their travel and experience, and if they felt better having received testing at EMMC. Bethany smiles and says, “Yes, absolutely.”

Today, thanks to the help of both MCMH and EMMC, Christian is recovering while enjoying life at home.