+
True
Toyota

Question: How can a car company improve health care? Answer: Just ask Liseth Urias.

Liseth has been diabetic for 15 years. But after not being able to afford the medications necessary to manage her condition for nearly five years, her eyesight had deteriorated significantly, resulting in severe blurriness.

She came into the county-owned Harbor-UCLA Medical Center with high blood pressure, diabetes out of control, and — it was discovered — bleeding in her eye. If she didn't receive the treatment she needed soon, she would end up completely blind.


Listen to Liseth's emotional voice tell her own surprising story, and then scroll down to learn more.

Liseth needed surgery, and she needed it now.

But "now" wasn't an option — not for her and not for hundreds of patients seeking treatment at the medical center's eye clinic whose mission is to "serve the underserved."

The facility had a surgical waiting list that was hundreds of patients long. Patients like Liseth were routinely waiting months — yep, months — for surgery.

All images via Toyota/YouTube.

As a major medical hub, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center sees a large volume of patients, many of whom have limited resources and, because of their inability to pay for ongoing care, are often in an advanced state of their disease.

As a result, there was a constant backlog of often very sick patients in the eye clinic. Doctors were spending more time looking for supplies and paperwork than they were with patients. Nurses and patient administrators were frustrated, key resources weren’t flowing to patients, morale was suffering, and people like Liseth were at risk of medical complications caused by the prolonged waiting periods for treatment.

Unfortunately, Liseth's story isn't unique, and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center isn't either.

"Liseth is a great example of our patient population," says Susan Black, chief improvement officer of the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. "She's young, and she didn't have access to care."

A host of factors caused by the exorbitant costs of health care have put a strain on working-class Americans and, consequently, on the hospitals that serve them. Backlogs and waiting lists are common, and so is the constant risk that low-income patients may not receive the surgery or treatment they need in a timely manner.

But this is where the story takes an unexpected turn with the help of a surprising character: Enter Toyota.

Yes, that Toyota. The car company.

As part of their ongoing commitment to share knowledge and innovation that they know can reach into sectors far outside their own, Toyota engineers responded to the call for help from the hospital. They were certain there was much the hospital could gain from the Toyota production system, known for its efficiency and productivity, and they were eager to use their philosophy to address the clinic's concerns together.

Toyota team members worked with the medical staff to adjust their systems in ways big and small to improve work and patient flow.

Tweaks as seemingly small as introducing color-coded systems and repositioning the placement of supplies to save nurses and doctors time made a huge difference.

Applying the car company's production philosophy ultimately:

  • Cut clinic cycle time (the time a patient checks in to the time they are discharged).
  • Increased the number of patients they see every day.
  • Eliminated the backlog of patients (in the hundreds) waiting for surgery.
  • Allowed the staff to see patients within clinic hours and not have to work late every night.

Ultimately, the eye clinic was able to have a greater impact — improving daily operations, helping more people in need, and eliminating the backlog. With the new system in place, the clinic staff was able to focus on what matters: delivering vital health services to improve the lives of community members.

And if that's not impressive enough, here's what it meant on an individual, human level:

Liseth received her surgery — before going completely blind.

While there will always be many factors involved and many systems at play in a story of a person receiving the health care she desperately needs, there's no doubt that the introduction of something as unique as an auto manufacturer's production philosophy was a critical factor. And as a result, the changes that were implemented in the eye clinic are now being tested out across the entire hospital.

To hear directly from Liseth, her doctors, and the Toyota team member who worked on this project, watch their story above. It isn't just an example of a company doing good, although it is certainly that.

It's also a reminder of what happens when people think outside the box, share wisdom, and innovate to solve problems.

The results can be, quite literally, eye-opening.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

Keep ReadingShow less