Sunday, September 25, 2011

NOT THURSDAY BUT---Another Editions of................

A flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon:


1)       There is only one today since there was supposed to be a 2 week hiatus but this seemed rather pertinent and brought back some thoughts that might benefit you should you be in a position to have to deal with what you will read here.

         Having just finished reading the book     “Wendy & The Lost Boys” a particular part struck me toward the end of the book.  I am not going to review this book about Wendy Wasserstein. Suffice it to say she was brilliant, she died at a young age with much suffering and the author captures her and her family quite well.  Warts and all.  What struck me near the end of the book and the end of Ms. Wasserstein’s short life was her final stay at a particular hospital---Sloan Kettering.

           What struck me was anger.   Let’s start by my saying three things---1) Sloan Kettering does have advanced and excellent Cancer treatment programs and 2) I believe that in our capitalistic society “if you can afford it go for it”, and 3) I truly resent their slogan heard many times in “commercials”—“The Best Cancer Treatment Anywhere”(perhaps a bit of a paraphrase).

          So, let us start with #1.   I agree.
           Now to #2.   According to the book (and verified) there is, I believe, the 18th floor which has rooms—VIP rooms done up as posh hotel suites and the services are commiserate with that.  Medical and otherwise.  Again, “if you can afford it---go for it”.
          Finally we get to #3.   This comes from personal experience and will be the first to say that people’s experience color their anecdotal comments.   I will also add that once you have received a diagnosis treatment depends a lot on the care and interest of the medical staff.   Sloan Kettering has, from my experience, proven to be a cold and unwelcoming place that puts their protocol, arrogance (the best indeed), ahead of patient care and sensitivity.  Not, of course, on the 18th floor.  I have no problem with that.  My problem comes when in my own dealings with them (not for myself, I add) one became a cipher and when treatment was to begin was told coldly by the (then) head of radiology when called to ask when treatment would start—“...when I find a slot.  If that does not suit you then try to find another hospital”.  Sensitivity and caring.  Indeed.   You can also take a number at a supermarket and get more diplomacy.
     This leads me to the positive part of this commentary.   Westchester County Medical Center at Valhalla, NY.   While it is true one has to relate with one’s physicians I found there the most caring physicians, nursing staff, and when they see a problem they schedule accordingly and as rapidly as possible   Are they always successful?  Of course not.  Is the treatment state of the art?  That it is.  With the added bonus of a caring and diplomatic staff.
         I am sure there are other places in this          nation that also have such staffs and do not trumpet their brilliance---but not their insensitivity—as Sloan Kettering. Look at the parking fees you save by avoiding the place---unless you go for the 18th floor and then you have a limo driver anyway.
        As to physicians at Westchester County Medical Center I won’t mention them here but should you want some recommendations (w/ special attention to ENT and Radiation) contact me privately.
         Nobody asked me but....., that page really opened a can of long buried worms.