Note to our followers: Due to a lack of sufficient funding, HealthNewsReview.org will cease daily publication of new content at the end of 2018. Publisher Gary Schwitzer and other contributors may post new articles periodically. If you wish to donate, your gift might help keep the site available to the public for a few more years, by defraying costs of web hosting and maintenance. All of our 6,000+ published articles contain lessons to help people improve their critical thinking about health care. Read more about our change in status. And here's how to make a donation.

Including a medical arms race angle in a local health care story – “hot potato” indeed

Posted By

Tags

Maura Lerner of the Star Tribune newspaper is a veteran health care journalist.

She reports on a man leaving “the Mayo Clinic with a man-made heart and a power pack, ushering in a new era in Minnesota medicine.” The story starts with the “firsts” –  “the first patient in Minnesota — and one of 1,000 in the world — to receive a portable artificial heart that won’t keep him tethered to a hospital.”

But she ends the piece with important questions about competition among hospitals, resource allocation and the medical arms race.  Excerpt:

At this point, only a small number of patients are likely to be candidates for the total artificial heart, said Dr. Peter Eckman, a heart transplant specialist at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview. “The market for this, so to speak, is limited,” he said.

Nevertheless, both the university and Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis are gearing up to do the implants as well.

Hospitals are ready to go

“We’ve gone through all the training, we have it on the shelf,” said Eckman. “All three of these centers have been looking for patients. Mayo found the first one.”

Asked why Minnesota needs three centers, within 90 miles, implanting artificial hearts, Eckman laughed.

“That’s a bit of a hot potato,” he said. “I’ve obviously got a dog in the fight. We look at it as an extension of the program we already offer.”

This could have been just a cheerleading piece.  Lerner made it something more by introducing this angle, one which we hope she and the newspaper continue to pursue.

You might also like

Comments

We Welcome Comments. But please note: We will delete comments left by anyone who doesn’t leave an actual first and last name and an actual email address.

We will delete comments that include personal attacks, unfounded allegations, unverified facts, product pitches, or profanity. We will also end any thread of repetitive comments. Comments should primarily discuss the quality (or lack thereof) in journalism or other media messages about health and medicine. This is not intended to be a forum for definitive discussions about medicine or science. Nor is it a forum to share your personal story about a disease or treatment -- your comment must relate to media messages about health care. If your comment doesn't adhere to these policies, we won't post it. Questions? Please see more on our comments policy.

Comments are closed.