2008-07-23

Open discussion on hospitals, take two

Let's try this again. Please post your observations and comments about Athens Regional Medical Center and St. Mary's Health Care in order to help the community compare the two hospitals. ARMC has recently advertised they will be available through more insurance plans, so many Athenians will now have a choice of two hospitals.

11 comments:

Les Dilghow said...

ARMC did a good job with the delivery of Little Les. The wife and I were happy. Not to mention the food in the cafeteria was above average. I have only visited St. Mary's and it seems like a nice place, lots of crucifixes. They get a boo for a Bank of America ATM in their shiny new atrium, they need a local bank represented. B of A is evil.

Tim said...

OK, I'll bite again. St Mary's business office sucks. The care there is fine. They took good care of me when I had my knee surgery. I did ask them to quit putting pain medication in my IV then caught them doing it again while I 'slept' but that was just shift change stuff. All in all, I was pleased with the actual care I received but their business office is a joke. ARMC seems to be the better hospital based on what I have heard others say (chancing hearsay charges) but I don't have first hand experience with ARMC so thats all I have to go on.
I am not offended by the crucifix's at St. Mary's. I would expect no less from a hospital with that name and lineage.
I will close my comments by saying that both places are continually growing/adding on. To quote Abbey (I think..)
'Unbridled growth is the paradigm of the cancer cell'.

Adrian said...

How durst thou levy these baseless allegations on the Internet without interviewing at least two physicians, an administrator, and the parking attendant and providing sworn affidavits. ;-)

Tim said...

I would also add that the original post has generated 21 (at last count) replies, which has to be an Athens World record. For whatever thats worth!

paveplanet said...

For what it is worth - maybe it is payback for the bad mojo tone of my previous post, but my wife had to be admitted to St. Mary's on Monday of this week quite unexpectedly and for quite a serious condition. The care that St. Mary's provided was incredible from everyone in the emergency room to the caregivers for the patient rooms.

This morning my wife and I had a very good session with the doctor and nurses about our options. It was done jointly, but it was stressed by the doctor that it was my wife's decision in the end. Also I can certainly attest to the fact that a full range birth control issues associated with my wife's condition was fully discussed (even those that you would think that might be taboo in a catholic setting).

Therefore, I stand on my original post that you really need to engage dialouge with the actual healthcare provider. I think their perspective, training and own beliefs are far more indicative of the type of care and options discussed than any official policy of either ARMC or St. Mary's.

Mike-El said...

Sending out good mojo, healing thoughts, and best wishes for your wife's rapid and full recovery, pave. Hang in there, pal.

Adrian said...

Thank you for your comments, everyone. Paveplanet, I also hope your wife gets better, and I'm very glad to hear that the physician provided good counseling. One of my claims in my earlier post was also based on what someone close to me learned, but I wasn't going to discuss that person's details in order to support that claim. The particular patient was given good counseling by her physician/surgeon but was told that a hysterectomy at St. Mary's requires a consent from her husband. I can only relay what I was told; that particular question will never be an issue for me as a male.

Winfield J. Abbe said...

Adrian: I applaud your effort to obtain experiences of patients or former patients of the local hospitals in Athens. However, how enlightening will they be in making medical decisions? Both of these hospitals are now rather large business operations. ARMC, Inc. is a "public" hospital, while St. Mary's is quasi public or "private". But both serve the public. Both advertise in various publications, especially the local daily newspaper, and encourage patients to come to them for medical problems, from routine problems to cancer to heart disease, etc. Both hospitals seek to put on a good front just as any business does. Obviously neither wants to air dirty linen in public and present the public with their failures as well as their successes. But a true and meaningful evaluation of each would require an elucidation of past successes and failures would it not? But both of these institutions basically operate in secret. If there are serious failures of one kind or another, these are settled in secret so future patients do not know and cannot know of them and their details, in order to evaluate the efficacy of their current programs.
This is the main problem in seeking to evaluate these hospitals. It is like a relationship between two persons; as long as everything is happy and agreeable, there is no problem. But it is when the chips are down and disputes arise, that the test of character comes. So it is with these hospitals. They must be forced, by some new state laws, in a direction of full disclosure. They must be prevented from continuing to operate in secret, especially with regard to failures.( We must learn from the gross failures of King-Drew in Los Angeles and Grady in ATlanta).
In 1997, about 11 years ago, my wife, Mary Anne Abbe, was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. She finally decided on a course of action involving several medical doctors at the M.D. Anderson CAncer Center in Houston, TExas, as well as local doctors in Athens. Like most patients, she did not want to move to Houston for an extended period of time. The protocol for the various approved procedures for dealing with this disease differ depending on whether they are administered here at AThens, or there at Houston. The preparation of the support staff (emergency facilities) are different too at the different locations. There is not space here to describe fully all that happened in her case. Suffice to say that she was nearly killed here at ARMC, not from the cancer, but from the treatment. A local reporter from the ABH prepared an article about what happened to her, but just before it was to be published, it was pulled by the editors and not published. I am a physicist. I am not a medical doctor. I was not satisfied with the explanation of her local doctor following her near death here, so I performed my own investigation of what happened to her. Luckily, her cousin is a medical doctor in another state. He was able to help me greatly in my investigation. After my investigation, I wrote up a monograph, supported with detailed medical reports and references, documenting, to a very high probability, and confirmed by her doctors at Houston, what happened to her. It is published in the article "An Unsuccessful Effort to Deny Use of STate of Georgia Facilities for Fund Raising by the American Cancer Society" by Winfield J. Abbe, Ph.D., May, 2000, and is available at the UGA Library and the Athens Public LIbrary, Heritage Room for all to read if interested.
In a nutshell, here is basically what happened to my wife: All approved orthodox cancer treatments approved by the cancer generals of the United States are life threatening. So if you die while under treatment, you could die from the cancer or the treatment or both. Following a single round of chemotherapy administered at ARMC, my wife developed a very high temperature and severe abdominal pains. When she was taken to the AMCR emergency room, an emergency room doctor must deal with her. He was not familiar with her case and took much time seeking to discover what happened to her. After about 20 hours, giving her morphine and drugs to reverse morphine, he discovered her colon was dying and part of it had to be removed. There are disagreements among doctors regarding the cause of this. She did not have colon cancer, so why would her colon begin to die? In investigating this I found that this is a well known problem for administration of chemotherapy to cancer patients.
Chemotherapy kills cells, good and bad alike. It is like a machine gun killing all cells inside the body. It especially kills rapidly dividing cells as are found in the digestive tract. If enough of these cells are killed, a rapidly moving infection can develop in the lining of the colon leading to an actual portal of entry for dangerous and deadly bacteria, normally found in the bowel, to enter the bloodstream. Clostridum Septicum bacteria was found in her bloodstream. Most patients die in 24 hours when this happens. I found a book "The Cancer Syndrome" by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. published some 17 years earlier (1980) describing in almost perfect detail what happened to my wife. After part of her colon was removed, an illeostomy (waste bag) was installed. She was in the ICU for about 11 days in a vegetative state. Luckily she did not die, but she came very close to death.
The point is that if she had been at Houston, Texas at the M.D. Anderson CAncer Center when this happened, this episode would likely have been prevented for a number of reasons. First, they do not adminster chemotherapy in the hospital there, where many vicious germs exist. Second, their emergency room doctors are in immediate contact with the oncologist treating the patient so immediate adminstration of antibiotics can be provided should a situation develop as developed with my wife. In other words there is a very large difference in the outcome depending on the level of knowledge of those at the treatment center.
My wife moved to Houston and lived there over a year. She had numerous chemotherapy treatments, radiation treatments, full mastectomy and reconnection of her colon there. The cost was of the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars. No medical doctor is going to admit in writing that the chemotherapy, approved by the medical orthodoxy for cancer treatment, caused or nearly caused the death of a patient. This is called an iatrogenic or doctor caused death. The full description of what happened to my wife is presented in the reference above, with documents and references attached. Every patient with serious disease should very carefully consider their choices and not automatically choose the local hospital just because they have the most expensive ads in the local newspaper, while they cover up falures or near failures with secrecy. For serious diseases, one is likely better off at a university center hospital than a local one. M.D. Anderson is one of the very best cancer centers in the world. Patients come there from all over the world. It is as good as Harvard University, but cheaper to live in Houston. But because the state of treating cancer is at such a crude level, everyone must make every effort to prevent the disease in the first place.

Christopher Byrne said...

Same Doctors, same employment pool for staff...so no real difference.

Charging patients and visitors for parking? Hmmmm, ridiculous? Will there be a special rate for those people who do not have health insurance?

Adrian said...

People without health insurance would obviously pay more for parking because they couldn't get a contract price and that obviously makes so much sense.

Winfield J. Abbe said...

I call your attention to the recent article in USA Today "Hospital Death Rates Unveiled" by Steve Sternberg and Anthony DeBarros at the link
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-08-20-hospital-death-rates_N.htm?POE=click-refer. This excellent investigative article compared hospitals all over the country, including Athens, Ga. The local newspapers, ABH and Flagpole have been silent on this article. As the authors pointed out, hospitals are used to working in secret. The last thing they want is for the public to know any of the may sordid activities which go on in them. Unfortunately, like the Athens Government in General, the local hospitals also have a "friend" in the local daily newspaper, which takes their money for advertising, but fails to responsibly report their activities.