The Origins of Connect & Care

Hans Duldner

The beginning

On July 29, 2012, my father, Mr. Johannes Duldner went to the emergency department complaining of pain in his right lower chest and right upper quadrant. After a long emergency department evauation, I had to tell my father that he had “lesions” in his liver. My father was a straightforward man, and after only a few feeble words trying to soften what I knew was an ominous diagnosis, I told him that these lesions were the cause of this pain. He wanted to know what they were, and despite my attempts to be stoic, I could see he was afraid. I had never seen my father afraid. I explained that he needed additional tests to determine the etiology of these liver lesions. As his son and a physician, I had to tell him that it was likely cancer. Unfortunately, it was. Ultimately he was diagnosed with metastatic gastric adenocarcinoma (cancer of the stomach that spread to his liver).

His ensuing journey through the healthcare maze at a hospital and LTACH southwest of Cleveland was fraught with bad care, mistakes, misdiagnoses, misdirected care, poor communication, deceitful tactics by the facilities, insurance coverage debacles and deliberate avoidance to address issues by the administration at both facilities.

My father died November 20, 2012, but it was not the cancer that ultimately lead to his death………. it was the healthcare that he received.

Connect & Care was conceived because of the problems and poor care he suffered through, and what the family had to endure. Even as a physician and advocate for him, my father’s care was unsatisfactory. If these problems occurred despite my watchful eye, then it is likely occurring much more widely and unknowingly to patients and families who do not have someone with healthcare experience or knowledge.

Connect & Care is a mechanism to provide patients and families with tools they can use during their healthcare journey that will lessen or eliminate the likelihood that they will encounter problems similar to those that my father and our family endured. Its goal is to make healthcare better.

Connect & Care is my father’s legacy.