Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Miracles in Medicine - Not Everyday Events

"You can't make up a story like T.F.'s  She arrived in the St. Francis ER with a ruptured aorta.  If that weren't bad enough, she immediately went into cardiac arrest.  Doctors knew they only had seconds to react.  They opened her chest and massaged her heart, miraculously they brought T. back right there in the Emergency Room.  They continued with extensive cardiothoracic surgery in the operating room to repair the aorta.  They saved T's life......................."

This message, under the headline "This is NOT Science Fiction," comprised the body of a full-page ad (undoubtedly extremely expensive) on the back page of the Science Section of the NY Times on February 3, extolling the virtues of St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center, in Roslyn, NY.

Here am I, a physician, reading about this truly "miraculous" result - imagine that - a person in cardiac arrest due to a ruptured aorta -  an aorta so destroyed that it required subsequent "extensive" repair - saved in the emergency room with open chest massage!  Wow!!  I won't burden readers with all the questions I would pose as to how this "miracle" was effected.

Such "miracles" are extremely rare.  That's why they're called "miracles."  Don't believe for a second that the next patient with a similar devastating life-threatening emergency is going to have the same "miraculous" result - not at St. Francis - not anywhere.

The public should not evaluate hospitals based on advertised heroics.  Hospitals should be rated by a proper and thorough research of results as well as by appropriate evaluations by recognized authorities.

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