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.