The “Kiss of Life”

There is something that’s been on my mind for a long time.  But it’s part of a larger issue.  Let me explain.

About six months ago I heard a commercial on the radio about a state-of-the-art treatment for prostate cancer called “Cyberknife.”  It was being offered at a hospital in Long Island (a suburb of NY) that I had never heard of. 

Well, I sat up straight, and to quote Anatole Broyard, “my mind became immediately erect.”  But my gut reaction was negative: concern, even fear.  I thought, not knowing anything at all about the “Cyberknife,” that folks in the PC community were going to fall for it in a big way regardless of its merits.  That’s because anything healthcare-related that has the word “cyber” in it is “sexy” these days. Same for “robot”.  If you’re a clever marketer, you’re going to find a way to slip those words into your promotional materials

Then it occurred to me, if this Cyberknife is so good, why is it not being introduced by a top-notch hospital?  There are loads of them here in New York.  I did a brief search online and came up with very little info about Cyberknife, none of which suggested that it was superior to current PC treatments.  Seemed that it was indicated for brain tumors.

Recently a friend sent me an article about a robot making rounds for a particular doctor when he is unable to be at the hospital in person.  So the next time you go for a check-up, you may hear the words:

 “Have a seat.  The robot will see you soon.”

And that would be too bad.  My friend Hughie, who is on ADT and  about to have palliative radiation, told me that his long-time doctor (GP) embraced him the last time they met.  And it wasn’t the first time:  Hughie had once suffered a heart attack in the doctor’s presence, and it was he who gave Hughie mouth-to-mouth rescucitation — the “Kiss of Life,” as he calls it.  And then the doc took Hughie to the hospital in his own car.  

It just happens that the last time I saw my own internist and told him all about dear husband’s, he also gave me a (chaste) kiss on the way out.  It was for me, like for Hughie, “The Kiss of Life.

Now show me a robot who could do that.

Moral is: The best thing you can do for your health is find a doctor who really cares about you.  And it ain’t easy.  I am going to talk a lot more about the doc-patient relationship, because it is so critical to our health.  Please chime in.

Leah

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2 Comments

  1. jeffm5690 September 28, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Cyberknife has been around for about 8 years and is being used worldwide. The reason for it not in many hospitals is two-fold. For one, many states (NYS for one) require a Certificate of Need (CON) which could take many, many years… Private facilites do not need such approval. The next issue is the cost and reimbursement. You cannot treat more than about 8 patients a day on a Cyberknife. For a full course of treatment, Cyberknife is reimbursed less by insurers and Medicare. Why would a major hospital spend years on red tape, $4 Million, treat less patients and for less money???

  2. Esther Chaco August 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I heard about this but it never cross my mind having it done on my husband for his PC diagnosed since 2006. We decided to choose alternative treatment but a lot of work not an easy one. It is also something that you do everyday juicing, no red meat or any kind of meat intake and less sugar and carb. This kind of “treatment” has to be done religeously everyday not you do today tomorrow you don’t. So far from 10 2006 to now his PSA never goes up more than 3.74 mostly 2.2 to 1.6 that is for the last 5 years. His 3 biopsy is up and down still stage 1 and gleason reading of 6. The last biopsy was 2009. The amazing one is the recent MRI 2010 showed small enhancement of cancer and normal DRE since 2007. No spread of any and so we decided not to have nay kind of treatment . He will have another follow up to evaluate him at JHU and we will see how is the report and this time I want to have the opinion of the doctor at JHU if after his MRI report has some significant changes then I am thinking of having this Cyberknife done and hope we chose the right procedure to treat his PC.

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