Air Force Veteran Monique Lyerly, the mother of three children (ages 18, 10 and 8) recently came to VA’s Manhattan Campus Emergency Department with chest pains. Concerned that she might have a pulmonary embolism, her physician ordered a CT scan. Fortunately, the outcome was that she did not have a cardiac problem or issues with her lungs and she was discharged home.
Lyerly was so appreciative of the kindness with which she was treated that she wrote to Dr. Curt Dill, Chief of the ED:
“I wished to share my emergency room experience at VA’s Manhattan Campus.
“Upon arrival, I was greeted by the sight of many male Veteran patients in the unit and became very distressed.
“When the paramedics asked the nurse which bed would be mine, I wondered if I would be placed between two male Veterans. I was worried. The ER nurse advised that I would be going into the Women Veterans Treatment Room. I was very surprised to learn that this room existed.
“Very professional and kind.”
“Once I was there, I felt safe. I knew that I could undress safely, possibly close my eyes for a moment, and focus on breathing, which was difficult.
“In addition, Dr. Lutwak (pictured above with a patient) was my physician. She was very professional and kind. Her bedside manner was exemplary. Having Dr. Lutwak as my physician enhanced my ER experience.
Thank you for providing a safe place for women Veterans!”
Lyerly said later that she was very impressed that Dr. Nancy Lutwak took the time to sit at her bedside, discuss her history and describe services that VA provides. “She made me feel that I was more than just a person with a condition. It was great. This patient wants to send a message to female Veterans that, “This is real, this really exists!”
Dr. Nancy Lutwak
The Women Veterans Treatment Room was opened several years ago thanks to Dr. Lutwak who says, “When people think of women in the military, they think of equality and serving side by side as equals. There are times when the separation is warranted and certainly welcome – especially by women Veterans.
“In situations where they are being treated for medical purposes, they appreciate being in a separate room, where they can have private conversations with their doctors and medical caregivers, change their clothes, and receive treatment,” says Dr. Lutwak.
About the author: Stephanie Griffin, Volunteer, Public Affairs, VA NY Harbor Healthcare System