I am fortunate to have my practice at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, be a member of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and be affiliated with and a member of the Board of Directors of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. I think that it is important and may be useful for potential patients to have information about these highly regarded institutions. They are an invaluable resource and support system for a physicians committed to performing high quality, state of the art medical care.
Many patients have conflicting feelings about seeking care at a large, major, metropolitan medical center. On the one hand, they recognize the potential advantages of being cared for by physicians with extensive experience in specialized, increasingly technical, rapidly evolving medical fields. On the other hand, patients are concerned that the specialist from whom they are seeking care, who may often have a fine local, national and international reputation, may not be the provider of care within institutions that have many physicians-in-training. Moreover, the sheer size of major metropolitan medical centers, with the thousands of people who work within them, raises in many patients’ minds the speeccter of impersonal care. I have confronted and thought about these issues all of my career.
I firmly believe that the quality of care at major, metropolitan, university affiliated institutions begins, continues and ends in exactly the same place as it does in smaller, community based medical facilities; that is, with the physician from whom care is being requested. He or she is responsible for every aspect of the care for which he or she is being consulted, is responsible for personally providing the care for which he or she is being consulted and is responsible for obtaining appropriate expert assistance in a timely fashion when the care being provided requires such assistance. It has been my experience throughout my career that the specialist whose help is being sought can set the tone and control to a very large degree the quality of the experience that a patient has, even, and perhaps especially, within a large, major metropolitan, university affiliated medical center.
I firmly believe that if the specialist from whom care is being sought takes charge of that care that there are then significant advantages to patients of having care provided within a major medical center. Even the presence of physicians-in training can be extremely valuable. These individuals represent a highly selective group of bright, hard working, well-informed, but, as yet, inexperienced young people who, with proper guidance and supervision may become the medical leaders of tomorrow. There presence in hospital on every medical and surgical service 24 hours a day 7 days a week should be a source of re-assurance to patients, not a source of coancern. It is up to the attending specialist to assure patients that this extraordinary talent is used appropriately.