The Surgical Assembly Line

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When I think of an assembly line, two images pop into my head:

  • The I Love Lucy Chocolate Factory episode where Lucy and Ethel are trying to wrap chocolates (and eat them too!) and can’t possibly keep up.
  • My high school history class, when we learned about Henry Ford’s invention of the concept of an assembly line, where hundreds of cars were being assembled in one day. It revolutionized manufacturing, helping companies produce much more than ever before.

I thought of both when ...

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Treat Your Human Body Like You Treat Your Car

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My friend Janet has a bad wound on her leg. It has been there for two months, and just looks worse and worse. Now it looks so bad she doesn’t even want to leave the house.

“What does your doctor say about it?” I asked her.

“I’ve been back to him five times!”, she responded. “He keeps giving me antibiotics, but it doesn’t seem to get any better.”

“Five times???” I asked her, incredulously.

It was time for “the talk” with Janet.

… the talk ...

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Busting the Cure Balloon and Finding a Workable Solution

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“The cure cannot come soon enough.” 

As someone who works in healthcare, and who speaks to patients and their loved ones every day, this is a statement I hear frequently. Whether we’re talking about someone’s cancer diagnosis, or Alzheimer’s Disease, or ALS, or MS, or diabetes…  it seems to be everyone’s hope – that a cure is on the horizon.

When my father was alive, and in his 24th year after his prostate cancer diagnosis, he lamented the fact that he had ...

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Ac-cen-tu-ate – the Negative?

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It’s time to take a trip with the Way-Back Machine to a song many of us heard when we were kids – because our parents played it on the radio or record player. We all sang along!

With lyrics by Johnny Mercer, and sung by Ella Fitzgerald (that’s Ella in the photo above), the song “Ac-cen-tu-ate the Positive” became popular in the mid-1940s, with its very (yes) positive message of how we should focus our lives.. on ...

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Spare Yourself Grief: Get It In Writing

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As the director of AdvoConnection and its associated websites, I hear about so many patient and caregiver complaints, problems, hurdles and – dare I say it – atrocities.

Among the most frustrating and egregious I hear way too often;  that is, with advance permission from their insurer, someone underwent a test, a procedure, or surgery, or saw a specialist, only to be told later that the insurer wouldn’t pay for it after all.

Wh-a-a-a-t?? 

If this has happened to you, you are probably ...

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“When I’m Sixty-Four” and If I’m Alone….

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Back in 2004, I was between husbands, and in my early 50s. As silly as that may sound (“between husbands”), the truth was, I spent 18 years with that status, between divorce and remarriage… and I was alone.

“Alone” is the key to today’s post.

Back in 2004, I was also diagnosed with a rare and terminal lymphoma. Yes – terminal – and yet here I am writing about it in 2019. You can read the story in ...

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A Riddle: When Is the “Best Doctor” Not the Best Doctor?

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… followed by a second riddle: When Is the “Best Hospital” Not the Best Hospital?

Everyone loves a good riddle. I think it’s because the answer is often clever, maybe a play on words. We chuckle (or groan!) at the answer, and sometimes the first riddle will trigger a handful more… just fun.

I wish I could tell you these two are clever, chuckle-inducing riddles, too. Unfortunately, not only aren’t they funny; they can be deadly.

There are two circumstances under which the ...

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So What Are You S’Posed to Do With Those Hospital Prices?

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In the category of “be careful what you wish for…” 

Well-meaning policy people have now created a monster.  We can name this monster “Good Start,” but it’s not a very useful monster – yet.

That monster rears its ugly head in the form of the new law that became effective January 1, 2019 that requires most hospitals to make their pricing available to the public. The idea – a good one – is that there is nothing else in this world that ...

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It’s Open Season – er, um – Open Enrollment Time (How to Choose the Right Health Plan for You)

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It strikes me as no coincidence that Fall is both Open Enrollment time for choosing a healthcare insurance plan, and Open Season for hunters.

In both cases, it’s about stalking prey. Right?

So now that I’ve put that vision in your head, it’s time to get a bit more practical. No matter how we feel about having to go through the paces of choosing the right health insurance plan, no matter that we would far prefer to have a tooth pulled or ...

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The Folly of Driving to the ER

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Hugh, a gentleman of about 68 years, lived alone. Hugh wasn’t feeling well. It was just a general feeling that something – who knows what? – just wasn’t right.

After a short while, Hugh walked over to see Phil, his next door neighbor. Phil agreed to drive Hugh to the Emergency Room.

It took them about 30 minutes to get there. Hugh signed in, and together he and Phil sat down in the waiting room. Within 15 minutes, Hugh keeled over, out ...

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