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Safe Care in Healthcare: How I Coped With the Unknown

Published on Jun. 27, 2023

Parenthood is a joyful, exciting and humbling experience that can also induce fear, uncertainty and concern with anything and everything out of our control, or at least it has been for me. The whirlwind of emotions I experienced 17 years ago as we prepared for our twins to arrive was indescribable as a father-to-be, so as my wife carried our twins, I geared up the only way I could: by being supportive and bracing myself for the unknown.  

For us, the “unknown” tested our spirits leaps and bounds when at 23 weeks gestation, my wife, Karen, went into preterm labor. What followed were 42 days in the hospital reliant on clinical staff and healthcare professionals whose expertise and care was instrumental in improving the health of my wife and twins. As a healthcare professional myself, I was able to live firsthand how complete strangers were able to provide us with comfort during one of my most challenging life experiences with their competence, kindness and understanding that made all the difference when we needed it most. 

I learned and observed more than I would care to admit during these 42 days, which reaffirmed my professional passion of safe care in healthcare. Looking back, close attention and detailed monitoring of my family’s health might have been how I coped. My wife made a full recovery and today, my twins are happy and healthy 17-year-old girls who still bring me all the joy while inducing the common fears that come with parenthood.  

But the survival of Karen and the twins 17 years ago was a true miracle as healthcare then wasn’t what it is today with technology, monitoring and innovation. I attribute much of that miracle to our experience of feeling like our family was the central priority with every decision made throughout our course of care. Unfortunately, due to my professional role which focuses on quality of healthcare in a hospital, I knew that clinical care across the country is not always where it should be, and care often varies in consistent application. 

As a parent, the best care to me means care that is safe, free of harm, effective and evidence based. It means care that places the patient at the center, is delivered timely and efficiently, takes stewardship into account, and finally, it does not vary in quality.   

“Nothing about me, without me,” is my philosophy of excellent care which been a lifelong passion of mine that I have spent 34 years pursuing. I fiercely believe that excellence should be the standard, not the exception. 

I now realize that fatherhood truly began the moment I learned we were expecting and all of the feelings of excitement and joy, along with the fear of the unknown. The gratitude that I have for the caring staff that saved Karen and the twins almost two decades ago has not wavered. And my hope is that if a parent has to endure the uncertainty of the health of their child, that they know that behind that care they receive, there is a passion like mine that is committed to ensuring that best is in place to help them.  

One of the Nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals in the Heart of California

For eight consecutive years, Valley Children’s has been recognized nationally a Best Children’s Hospital by U.S. News & World Report in seven pediatric specialties, underscoring an unwavering commitment to providing superior clinical care with exceptional outcomes. This designation is one of many distinguished honors Valley Children’s has received that reinforces the pediatric healthcare network’s commitment to excellence. Valley Children’s was the first children’s hospital west of the Rockies to receive Magnet Nursing designation, and is also part of an elite group of only 16 centers worldwide as a Designated Platinum Center of Excellence by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) for providing lifesaving treatment for failing heart and/or lung function. With quality scores in on in the top 5% in the country, Valley Children’s has also received national recognition by The Leapfrog Group for putting safe care for patients first, leaving no doubt that through superior results with measurable metrics that patients and families can count on.

About the Author

Raed Khoury is the vice president of quality, patient safety, clinical value and physician operations at Valley Children’s Healthcare. In this role, he is responsible for the development, management and implementation of a strategy and vision to improve patient quality and safety outcomes across the organization. In addition, he provides overall strategic, operational and financial leadership to Valley Children's Specialty Medical Group to ensure efficient and effective patient care delivery, quality care and customer satisfaction.