Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Transition from Individuals to Institutions

A recent experience served as an example of the trend in health care of relying on institutions rather than individuals.

Wife Marilyn has for some time known that she had a cataract that would eventually require repair.  Recently, she decided that the time had come.  She called for an appointment with her Ophthalmologist, only to learn that he had suffered a major stroke and died.

An appointment was then made with another Ophthalmologist in that same group.  She saw him once in clinic and yesterday underwent cataract surgery at his hands.

While sitting in the waiting room during the procedure, it occurred to me that the only thing we knew about the surgeon performing surgery on my wife’s eye was that he was a member of a large, well known and well regarded group of ophthalmologists.   I couldn’t even remember his name.  Without thinking about it, we had placed our full confidence in the organization; i.e., the group, trusting that whoever it allowed to do surgery was competent.

I suspect that some version of the same was true of the other dozen or so people in the waiting room.

The surgery was successful.

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