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The Current Orthopaedic State of the Nation

Posted by Dee on 6/15/05 at 20:22 (176904)

I couldn't resist sharing this post from the Dr. Brodkin's website (http://www.arch-pain.com/Questions_toc.htm). Why are there so many bad foot surgery outcomes out there when the success rate is always '90%.'
His candidness is very refreshing.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005 (1:36 PM CDT) Well, if it should ever happen to seem to any visitors that I am singling out any particular speciality of medicine for blame for really awful surgical outcomes, this is true. I actually do believe that the surgical outcomes of surgery done by a particular group of docs who work on 'bone and joints' is getting worse. This is one reason why anyone searching the net for outcome research will have a hard time finding any data. The worse the results, the greater the secrecy. There is an inherent bond between the consistently terrible surgical results cranked out by one specialty in particular; and the growth of another branch of medicine called 'pain management'. It is all to easy for docs who are used to having people who still suffering pain after surgery, or who perhaps actually have an increased pain level post-surgically to simply refer them to stand (if they are still able to stand or walk) in the long, long line at the pain management doctors' offices. Would it not make more sense to treat the underlying problem correctly, the first time around and get rid of the pain ?? The nation paid approximately $1.7 trillion for health care a couple of years ago. When compared to a $10 trillion economy that year this amounted to a total of 17%. This is almost double the over-all cost of health care twenty years ago, which was about 10% of the entire economy. Does this mean that doctors are twice as bad ?? It might be of interest for any net surfers to look up the 'Flexner Report' which was done by Abraham Flexner in the year 1910, which is now some 95 years ago. This was the last over-all analysis of whether the country's medical schools were doing a good job or a really awful job in educating tomorrows docs. The 126 or so medical schools we have now seem to crank out people with a rigid thought process. These are the same folks who get defensive and antagonistic if you happen to mention, 'Oh, by the way, Doc, my elbow is still floppy and it's been three years since the surgery. Do you think this will go away or get better with time ??' More later...-Dr. B

Re: The Current Orthopaedic State of the Nation

John H on 6/16/05 at 09:23 (176936)

Other things to consider. At the begining of the century the average life span was around 50. Now it is between 76 and 80. Much of the cost increase in medicine is a direct result of new and very expensive medical equipment such as MRI machines, heart equipment, PET Scans, etc. We now replace hips,knees and provide functional arms and legs. Drugs and the large cost of develping them have played a big part in increased medical cost. We transplants hearts, livers, kidneys and even reattach limbs. I personally think any increase in medical cost has been worth it. At the turn of the century I would probably have been dead for 20 years. In my lifetime I have personally had a neck fusion, low back surgery, and a kidney stone treated with non invasive ESWL. My treatment for these conditions was not available in years past. People from all over the world come to the U.S. for treatment of many conditions. With people living longer and experiencing the conditions of old age it should be expected our medical cost will continue to rise as a percentage of GNP.