Tuesday, July 03, 2007

How did your doc learn to do that?


…HA is in the throes of various eye ailments and recently asked two doctors how many of a certain procedure they had performed. The answer both times? "Tons."
...Is "tons" a term of ophthalmological art?

…What is tons in numbers exactly?

…It is OK to ask your doctor how often he or she has performed the operation you are about to have. Smart, even.

…Barry Meier, writing in the NYT (Aug 1, 2006), tells how various doctors learned to implant defibrillators (a matter of life and death) into patients. One doctor attended weekend sessions provided by a medical association and took a day-long test.

….A second group chose a program tailored by the manufacturer of the device—and most did not take the day-long test.

...In other words, no standard training period or approach.

…Devices like the defibrillator are growing in acceptance and there are not enough highly trained people to implant them.

…Most patients don’t know if they are the doctor’s third implant or their 300th, one doc said.

…Even the classes with the day-long test are voluntary.

…And the docs who take a manufacturer’s course seem to implant the manufacturer’s device.

…Isn’t that one for the Big Book of Duh?

…Bottom line: Don’t be shy—ask how many operations the doctor has done and where he had learned to do this procedure.

…Usually the good ones have done hundreds, even thousands. And learned in an operating room, not from doubling up watching someone else in a motel over the weekend.

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