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Hudson's Corner: From eye doctors to Northern District police, let's hear it for responsiveness

Justice System

Over the last month, we have had several incidents that point out how effectiveness and success correlate with responsiveness.

First came some family surgery at the Wilmer Eye Institute. No wonder it is ranked number one in the world. The responsiveness of administrators, doctors and staff is stunning. "Pronto!" seems to be their motto.

Over the last year, top docs have each responded to email questions within the hour. That includes emails in early morning and late night hours. No reply has been terse or with mention of how very busy the doctor is. To the contrary, each has noted that if we had further questions, not to hesitate to email or call again.

"Do not sit stewing in your juices," has been the constant refrain of one. His phrase has guided us, even when we hesitated.

Because these doctors have email, and because we do know how busy they are, we have not phoned them. One top doc suggested we call him on his cell or at home. We never did that. We emailed, and he replied quickly every time, even once from New Mexico, completely apologetic that he had been out of reach for two hours!

We wondered if these three doctors' responsiveness was connected to the fact that we had met them through a Roland Park neighbor, also a top Hopkins doc. When we mentioned the trio's breathtaking responsiveness to a physician's assistant, she said that almost every top doc with whom she has worked responds promptly and kindly, without condescension.

She believes they have accomplished all that they have, because they do not let things pile up, and because they focus on the person and symptoms in front of them.

When I think of world-renowned, talented people we are fortunate to know in medicine and other fields, the common denominators seem to be responsiveness, humility and a sense of connection to all, not just to those with the three P's: power, prestige and position.

One of the most powerful attorneys in the country once said to me when discussing a city issue, "If an attorney does not respond to you the day of contact, switch attorneys."

That was years ago, and I have made note of responsiveness ever since.

Government could learn a lesson from responsive institutions like Wilmer. If Hopkins can humanize and respond, Baltimore City can too. The installation of the 311-phone system and the ability to report issues on http://www.baltimorecity.gov have improved responsiveness and accountability.

Forgotten trash debris, potholes and missing street signs are taken care of more quickly than before the 311-system began. For sewage back-ups, we still add a call to our responsive City Council representatives. One call to them guarantees a quick response.

Roland Park has recently experienced an uptick in burglaries. Garage doors have been kicked in, unlocked porches have been entered and bikes have been stolen. One house was being burglarized when a resident returned. The suspect apparently died of injuries suffered when fleeing from a balcony.

The word of his demise does not seem to have deterred further burglaries. Through a Roland Park Civic League initiative, officers from the Northern District were scheduled to meet with residents on Oct 15. One officer recently wrote that he suspects a few individuals are responsible for many of these incidents.

When I saw a suspicious group on our street 10 days ago, I called 911. I do not know how long it took police to respond, or if they did. But more burglaries followed.

I have just obtained a block watch phone number, 443-984-2371. The very responsive person in the mayor's office took my information and sent my number immediately via email.

Let's hear it for responsiveness.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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