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Parkland Memorial Hospital: “Heroes Work Here”

April 29, 2021: This article was inspired by observations involving the incredible work being done by the doctors and nurses at Parkland Memorial Hospital. My observations of this impressive medical complex are in stark contrast to a swath of unfriendly and miserable airport and airline employees encountered during a recent flight from Tampa to Dallas. The brand of airport and airline “service” during the trip to Dallas was diametrically opposed to the team of caring professionals encountered at Parkland Memorial. After 6 hours of “tolerating” the type of arrogant and rude treatment we have all come to expect from airport and airline staff, I entered a new world that offers a completely different experience relating to the human dynamic and personal interaction. The team at Parkland Memorial reassured my belief in human nature during tense and troubled times in our society – unfortunately, a time where the worst in our culture is often seen daily (especially in media, social media, entertainment, politics, and corporate America).

Upon landing in Dallas, I approached the Parkland Memorial Hospital. As you can see from the image used for this article, the entrance to this world class medical complex greets you with the words, “Heroes Work Here”. This is a massive claim to live up to, but as I will convey in this article, the staff at the Parkland Memorial are indeed heroes in every sense of the word. This world at Parkland Memorial is a world completely different from the smug and antisocial experience we associate with the typical TSA employee or American Airline flight attendant or any other major retail representative abandoning the notion of “customer care” while hiding behind a mask and social distance.

I do not wish to detract from the focal point of this article by dwelling on underwhelming airport and airline staff (this is merely an attempt to draw out a stark contrast and underscore the quality of character we see in our hospitals and medical centers). Suffice it to say that in this new era, the steep and rapid decline in customer service and human decency is cascading to all-time lows within many commercial sectors (business leaders and owners should take note). The staff of TSA and airlines like American Airlines offer some of the “finest” examples of miserable customer care and human disinterest.

Turning back to the primary theme of this article, let us take a closer look at Parkland Memorial Hospital. The Parkland medical complex (formally known as the Parkland Health & Hospital System) first opened its doors in 1894 and is now one of the largest public hospital systems in the country. The hospital averages more than 1 million patient visits annually. Services include a Level I Trauma Center, the second largest civilian burn center in the US and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The system also includes 20 community-based clinics, including primary care and women's clinics, 12 school-based clinics and numerous outreach and education programs. Parkland is the primary teaching hospital for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. (Source: Parkland Memorial website – April 2021)

A hero is defined as “a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life for a worthy cause”. The Parkland world of heroes is most easily defined at an esoteric, personal, and observational level. Heroes can be defined in many ways. They save lives. They heal people. They comfort those who may have loved ones suffering through a terminal illness. They can draw a smile to your face when a smile seems impossible. They show an authentic personal interest in your needs. They soften the limits of their job descriptions and often extend their reach well beyond the call of their duty. They demonstrate humility as they ply their expert and essential skills in acts of caring and giving. They welcome you into their professional community as if you were part of their family. They truly care about all people – they are truly society’s heroes and all too often vastly “unsung” in our praise.

I am certain that my observations about the amazing team of medical experts at Parkland Memorial Hospital are consistently felt across our great country and elsewhere around the world. It seems to me that we see the best in people in environments like hospitals and specialized medical centers where society’s “greatest heroes work”. It would be wonderful if all people took note of our humble heroes in our hospitals and applied a fraction of their human decency and interest during their professional and personal days. For all who would like to see true heroes at work, take note of all the heroes in our hospitals and find your own way to express your appreciation of them. By: Extremely American Colin Wright

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