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Patient Remains On ECMO Machine For 13 Days And Survives

On September 21, 2008, 26-year old ML started feeling short of breath. It quickly got worse; she began to feel dizzy and started sweating profusely. Her family called an ambulance and she was rushed to NewYork Presbyterian’s The Allen Hospital, where her condition worsened. Her lungs were failing. Corey Ventetuolo, MD, her first pulmonologist, knew that ML needed to be transferred to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, but feared that she would die during the brief journey. Her family decided to take the risk.

ML did indeed flatline during the ambulance ride, but she did not die. Her survival despite severe lung failure is due Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Columbia University Department of Surgery Blog*

What Patients And Families Should Know About Kidney Donation And Transplantation

Lloyd Ratner, MD, Director of Renal and Pancreatic Transplantation at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, has released a highly informative YouTube video regarding kidney donation and transplantation. The video is addressed to prospective patients, kidney donors, and families, and provides clear answers to their most common concerns.

In this direct and engaging presentation, Dr. Ratner addresses topics such as the advantages of living donor kidney donation; laparoscopic and open surgical techniques; what donors and recipients should expect during and after surgery; post-operative pain and follow-up; and post-donation pregnancy. The full seventeen-minute video can be seen here:

About Kidney Donation

*This blog post was originally published at Columbia University Department of Surgery Blog*

Interview With An Unsung Hero: Administrative Director Of The Pancreas Center

Francine Johanna Castillo, MS

Francine Johanna Castillo, MS

Administrative Director, The Pancreas Center
Administrator, Division of GI/Endocrine Surgery
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center

Patients usually seek treatment at centers such as NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia because of the expert care they know they will receive from the hospital’s physicians and surgeons. Patients may be less aware that a vast network of dedicated, highly trained staff is quietly working behind the scenes, tending to every detail of their office visits, testing, procedures, and follow-up care. The contributions of such personnel in ensuring the quality of patients’ and families’ experiences at the hospital can not be overstated.

In this brief interview, we highlight one such person: Francine Castillo, MS, Administrative Director of the Pancreas Center. As John A. Chabot, MD, Executive Director of the Pancreas Center explains, Francine is “the heart and soul” of the Pancreas Center. She bears central responsibility for ensuring that all aspects of the center run well: financial operations, patient care, community outreach, and fund-raising events. In addition, she is the administrator of the Division of Endocrine Surgery/NY Thyroid Center. Francine’s commitment to providing patients and staff with the best services possible has earned her tremendous respect among both patients and colleagues, who rely heavily on her administrative expertise.

What are your responsibilities at the Pancreas Center? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Columbia University Department of Surgery Blog*

America’s New Export: Hospitals And Medical Schools

Photo of Presbyterian Church

I often cringe when I see charts displaying parallel growth lines of these two variables: the number of American fast food restaurants in a given country and local obesity rates. The bad news is that our unhealthy eating habits have been exported successfully to foreign countries. The good news is that we’re going to export hospitals and health services next.

I spoke with Emme Deland, Senior Vice President of Strategy at New York Presbyterian Hospital, about the globalization of healthcare and the exportation of American health technology and expertise. You may read my summary of our discussion, or listen to the podcast here:


Dr. Val: Where does New York Presbyterian Hospital stand in terms of the global marketplace for medical tourism?

Deland: We’ve spent the last couple of years reviewing our strategy regarding medical tourism because we want to be a part of the global healthcare economy. There is a growing market for hospital development overseas, particularly in India, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and China. The US offers the most advanced medical care in the world, and it’s only natural that other countries want to begin importing it. Whether it’s minimally invasive surgery, infertility techniques, or prenatal diagnostics and care – America is among the global leaders in health technology and services.

Dr. Val: What do these countries want to import exactly? Providers, infrastructure, physical plants, data systems, consultants who can advise on ways of doing things to reduce errors and improve quality?

Read more »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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