An Example of Good Customer Care & Great Human Empathy (at the Saratoga Community Health Center),

I happened to be at the Saratoga Community Health Center's Dental Clinic this past Tuesday when I had the privilege to witness a real act of compassion and empathy. It gave me a renewed sense of optimism in the human spirit and provided an example of how we should all strive to behave when confronted with a situation that we could easily dismiss as “not our responsibility”.

While waiting for my friend as she had her routine dental cleaning, a young man in his early twenties wandered in looking a bit lost. The three women working in the reception area immediately asked if they could be of help and quickly realized he was confused and frightened. When he stated he had an appointment but was not sure with who, could not find the referral paper and then began to cry, the women quickly took him under their wing and offered impromptu services.

When he requested counseling services, they did not tell him that he was in the wrong place and say “we do not do that here”. Instead one women responded by bringing him to the Community Room and sitting down with him to listen and get a better understanding of the situation. While she lead him to the Community Room, the phone receptionist immediately began making calls to track down where the young man had been and to whom he had spoken to earlier. She persevered to find out who he had seen, what medications they had recommended and when they had offered him an appointment. When the woman who had started the impromptu counseling session requested her companions to call down to Behavioral Health, her colleague went to check on them and ensure all was fine.

The phone receptionist learned that the behavioral health office him had given him an appointment before sending him on his way. It was his good fortune that he wandered upstairs into the care of these women. Upon leaving the dental office, I happened to see the young man was still in the Community Room sitting across from the woman who I assume was a dental professional. That day, her listening ear and caring look provided more immediate benefits than any of her regular appointments were likely to offer.

I know that my day benefitted greatly by witnessing the simple steps of kindness and empathy shown by these women. During a period that hospitals and health clinics are keen to differentiate themselves for good customer service, it is these unseen acts of true human empathy that need to be applauded.


L. Merghart

Greenwich, NY

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