April 7, 2014

Slap Happy Surgeon

Our daughter was one of the fastest kids in school, she still holds the girls' middle school record in the hurdles. Unfortunately this has cost her. She has been complaining for some time about her hips "snapping" and aching; after several tests we found out that due to a congenital condition, she will need to have both her hips replaced. It doesn't need to be done right away, but the discomfort is mounting.

Annnnnnd guess who her surgeon is...
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Federal investigators say a Syracuse surgeon often slapped anesthetized patients on the buttocks and insulted them before surgery.

The Syracuse Post-Standard reports that the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that the doctor slapped patients so hard he sometimes left red marks or hand prints.

St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center faces sanctions over the issue, including a possible termination from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

A complaint filed in January with the state Health Department identifies the doctor as Michael Clarke, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip replacement. The state health department's findings are the basis of the federal report.
From what I have been able to gather about this man, as a surgeon there is none better; as a human being there are few worse. It is his conduct, not his competence, that is in question.

Still, we are considering the services of some other surgeon. And perhaps another hospital also since the one he was in appears to have been more interested in the lucrative hip surgery field than in patient dignity and safety. For a typical hip or knee replacement surgery where the patient is in the hospital for two and a half days, the bill is over $26,000. Many of these patients are on Medicare which is how the feds got wind of this.


LL said...

I'd pick a different doctor.

I terrified the surgeon who worked on my knee (some years ago) to the extent that he went on vacation immediately afterward and even on his return refused to speak to me even on the telephone. I still don't know what I said or did under anesthetic, but ended up speaking with a nurse practitioner, who was present during the procedure and agreed to act as an intermediary.

Which was strange.

If you demand to be in the OR with your .45, maybe you could use Michael Clarke...but I suspect that he's a timid soul if he insults and slaps people under anesthetic for shits and giggles.

Gorges Smythe said...

I would go elsewhere. You never know when he'll take even more "liberties."

Kid said...

There are no doubt more choices. Best wishes for your daughters health.

underground pewster said...

It says a lot about the culture of the operating room, the doctor's lounge, the Surgical staff, and Administration of the hospital. I am sure it will be corrected, but I would consider going elsewhere if the procedure is to be done in the next 12 months.

Doom said...

I hate to say this, but I am going to say it anyway.

If he is the best surgeon, with the best outcomes, and you are not going to use him because of "feeling", then you are mistaken. Simple.

If I had to guess, many, if not most, surgeons, if recorded, would be found to be... rude bastards. They learn, over time, to hate. Dunno why, but they do. They have become slaves to money, success, and what often stands in the way of enjoying their wages is what they work on. Express it openly or not, they feel it.

Then again, when you think about it, what a doctor, of any stripe, is... is a man who is willing to ignore the pain of others, and do to them what no God-fearing man would even contemplate, often knowing they don't, at least initially, have the skills to actually help. They are, in essence, very well paid psychopaths. Truths you might not like, but... the truth just is what it is. Go with "feelings" if you must, but prepare to pay in more than money costs.

underground pewster said...

I have a "feeling" that I have just been called a psychopath.

sig94 said...

I take it all into consideration, everyone has a valid point. But since her operation is (hopefully) a good 10 years in the future, we will have time to make a decision. Ultimately our daughter will have to go with the surgeon that she feels comfortable with.