Tuesday, April 24, 2018

But Does It Make You Turn Your Head and Cough?

Some patients of Baltimore’s Sinai Hospital may find an unusual visitor at their bedside. His Its name is Bari, which refers to the bariatric surgery the visited patients have undergone.

It’s a high-tech solution to a problem of proximity: patients want to be able to interact with their doctor, but sometimes the doc is miles away working other cases.

Dr. Alex Gandsas is able to move a joystick-controlled robot into a patient’s room and conduct a brief videoconference with them when he can’t visit in person. The interesting thing is that according to Gandsas, the average hospital stay for the patients who are visited by the robot is actually shorter than those who have to wait for the personal touch.

I wonder if that’s because those visited feel better sooner because they know they’re still interacting with their specific surgeon, or because they’re just afraid of what the damned thing will do next?

If I were in a hospital bed recovering from kind of serious surgery, I would much prefer to have my doctor physically in the room. But if he wasn’t in the building, and I had my choice of a machine allowing me to videoconference with him or a nurse stopping by, I think I’d still be happy with the robot.

Nothing against nurses — I hope they’d still stop by, too — but if I am operated on, I want the person who did the actual cutting to see how well I’m doing, or to hear me whine if necessary. There may be some piece of information I pass along unintentionally that the surgeon actually needs to hear…something that means nothing but discomfort and inconvenience to me, but could signal a possible complication to him. And if he’s the one qualified to do surgery, he should hear directly from me, not secondhand from someone else’s report.

I think we’re so spoiled as Americans that sometimes we think that if everyone doesn’t drop what they’re doing at any moment we need them, that we’re being neglected. I applaud any kind of technology that can give us individual attention even if it’s not necessarily eye to eye.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.