Open Letter to Children’s National Medical Center

To Children’s National Medical Center:

Below is a physician’s review I posted to Angie’s List.  Since your survey was eliciting feedback, I thought you should know.

Dr. Yewande Johnson met with our family shortly before my son was scheduled to go into the OR for his first of two surgeries in one week.  She took a very thorough history and took the time to introduce us to all of the residents that would be assisting her with my son’s sedation.  She noted that my son was a redhead and took the time to explain to us the issues that can arise because his biochemical makeup.  She asked about each of his prior surgeries, taking thorough notes of the issues we have encountered in the past.

We were so impressed with her professionalism that if possible we wanted her to be the anesthesiologist on the second surgery scheduled for later that week (it was Monday).  Had she politely declined, we would have thought her a good physician and left it at that.  But what she did next went so above and beyond the call of duty, that her name is forever etched into my head.  Mind you my son has had over 20 surgeries and I cannot remember one of his anesthesiologists by name.

When we mentioned the second surgery, Dr. Johnson asked why we had not scheduled the procedures back-to-back.  While the first surgery was very extensive, the second was relatively minor and required only 15-20 minutes to complete.  We explained that we had tried without success for a couple of months.  It was just not possible for us to coordinate the surgeons’ schedules.  It was at this point that she politely excused herself and said she would be right back.  Her resident continued with the exam.

Right before they were about to wheel my son back, she returned with a orthopedic surgeon in tow.  She explained that she had spoken with our regular orthopedic surgeon over the phone and convinced him to allow another orthopedic, who was free right then, to perform the relatively minor procedure.  She asked if it was OK.  OK!!! This was fantastic.  Not only did it save wear and tear on my son and our family, but it saved a huge sum of money for pre-op and post-op treatment, not to mention the additional days we would have had to stay in the hospital.

This action was nothing short of heroic.  I would not have thought any less of Dr. Johnson had she just performed the exam and done her job.  But she didn’t just do her job.  She went above and beyond the call of duty.  She is a shining example of why people should go into medicine.  There is no way I can ever repay her kindness.

The only thing I can do is fully recommend and endorse her.  If your child is scheduled for surgery at Children’s National Medical Center, be sure to tell your surgeon and ask for her by name.

Needless to say I gave Dr. Johnson all “A”s on her evaluation.  When your child is in the hospital, you surrender a great deal of your control as a parent to doctors, nurses and hospital employees.  No institution is perfect.  But a few outstanding individuals can make up for a few glitches here and there.

People like Dr. Johnson and Nurse Hannah are but two of individuals that tipped the scales far to the right of positive for this stay.  Please keep up the work and continue recruiting compassionate people to carry out your hospitals mission.



Benjamin Roberts

Father of Ethan


2 comments on “Open Letter to Children’s National Medical Center

    • Hi, thanks for commenting. To answer your question: what they have found is that redheads tend to require more anesthesia and that they do not always respond to pain medication as other children. They also tend to be bleeders. It is something to watch out for. With my son specifically we have found that he responds more readily to n-said pain meds better than narcotics. While narcotics did knock him out for a few hours. The meds like Tylenol and Toridal were more effective at addressing his pain.

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