Why the Harvard Business Review was wrong about patients

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters


Maybe it’s because I’m not a physician, a nurse or any other type of health care provider. Maybe it’s because I’m merely a dull-witted heart attack survivor. Maybe it’s because I spent virtually all of my 35+ year professional career in the field of public relations. But the reality is that I seem to think about health care more like a marketer than the average person might, and as such, I’ve been puzzled for some time about recent quality of care debates on whether patients should be considered “consumers” or not.

In one debate camp, you have doctors like Dr. Atul Gawande, whose Big Med article in The New Yorker caused apoplectic sputtering among some of his colleagues when it was published last August.  That’s because Dr. Gawande touted a national restaurant chain as a potential model of the kind of standardization and quality that have been so lacking in health care.   Continue reading “Why the Harvard Business Review was wrong about patients”

ICD warning: defective defibrillator leads recalled

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

It’s nail-biting time for hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide who have had a Riata defibrillator implanted next to their hearts (79,000 in the U.S., 5,300 in Canada, 4,000 in Australia – just for starters). The recent news about the Riata recall might feel like being told you now have a ticking time bomb inside your chest. Trouble is, you just don’t know if that time bomb will start firing when it shouldn’t, or fail to fire in time to resuscitate your heart when it should.

And worse, neither does your doctor.

In December 2011, following reports of premature erosion of the insulation around the electrical conductor lead wires in these devices, the FDA ordered an urgent Class 1 recall (the most serious type of recall) of all Riata and Riata ST Silicone Endocardial Defibrillation Leads manufactured by St. Jude Medical Inc.  Here is the FDA recommendation to all patients with these Riata devices implanted in their bodies:*    Continue reading “ICD warning: defective defibrillator leads recalled”