Volunteer work by Hanover Park twins helps lift patients' spirits
Identical twin brothers Deep and Prem Patel, of Hanover Park, share a dream of becoming doctors, and they also spend their free time together volunteering at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.
The brothers offer their calm, kind demeanors to help lift patients' spirits in West Surgery Transport, usually side-by-side on the same days.
Deep and Prem are so similar, often dressing alike, that for a little while some of the nurses in West Surgery didn't realize they were two different people.
Both graduated from Northern Illinois University last spring.
Prem is currently applying to medical schools, and Deep says he will apply to medical school next year.
"As a physician, I think bedside manner is one of the most important parts of the job," Prem said. "Volunteering allows me to build those communications skills by interacting with patients of all ages."
Deep agrees that physicians need good personal skills, and that his time volunteering at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital is training him to be a better communicator.
"You really are building skills that you'll need as a physician," Deep said.
The Patels are often the last interaction a patient will have with the team at Central DuPage Hospital, as they help transport patients from recovery to the hospital exit during discharge.
"We leave a lasting impression on what can be a tough day," Deep said.
The desire to help others is deeply rooted in the Patel family. The brothers have volunteered at other health care institutions in the past. They attended college during the pandemic and continued to create learning and growing opportunities in research and medicine.
"Prem and Deep are very hard working, and respectful to patients, patient's families and staff," said Welvin Noel, a patient care technician and phelbotomist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. "When I see Prem or Deep transporting a patient, I know the patient and family members are in good hands and have had excellent door to door care at Northwestern Medicine."
During National Volunteer Week April 17-23, Northwestern Medicine salutes volunteers who are essential to delivering patient-centered care and ensuring that every patient has an excellent experience.
More than 900 Northwestern Medicine volunteers across the health system volunteered more than 111,000 hours of service in 2021 at 15 locations.
In addition, Northwestern Medicine employees also volunteer in the community. In Fiscal Year 2021, 840 Team NM volunteers logged more than 2,500 hours at 41 volunteer events.
To learn more about volunteering at Northwestern Medicine, visit nm.org/patients-and-visitors/volunteer.