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July 21st, 2009
06:41 PM ET

Who’s holding the knife?

When you’re under anesthesia, do you know who’s actually doing the surgery? CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen tells you how to be an empowered patient and find out who’s cutting you before you get wheeled into the OR.

Filed under: CNN Newsroom
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Jana A. Floyd Palumbo

    Dear Elizabeth,

    You better believe I know. I get my work done at the VA. I am VERY proactive about my healthcare now and have been since 2000. As a female Veteran, who has seen it all in the VA Medical System, I am alive today because I pay attention, say no to drugs I can not take, take action when necessary to remove improper doctor's from the teams they serve on and have NO PROBLEM whatsoever with suing Dr.s who stink at their jobs.

    I'd LOVE to chat about this. Feel free to email me. I also iReport, Twitter, TokBox and Facebook. You name the place and the time, I'll be there to discuss it.

    July 21, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  2. suhail khan

    GOD IS HOLDING THE knife laugh if u want 2.Human being r all different just like the four finger in your hand none of them r alike,u can never know who is holding the knife .Empowered patients if u r rich u fall in that category

    July 21, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  3. Beth

    How creepy. One more reason not to vote for nationalized health care! I'm thinking holistic please.

    July 22, 2009 at 3:56 am |
  4. michael armstrong sr.

    I just had carodid artery sergery and im hoping a qualified doctor did it not a trainee whos been practicin on cadavers but I guess a trainee has to learn some way but only with my permission.

    July 22, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  5. Cathy Burks

    Re: Health Care Horror Stories

    My 53 year-old sister died last Summer, 2008 - self employed construction business had her families medical insurance with a long time friend of her family. Months after she had died called this long time family friend, the wife (works in debt collections for a large hospital – husband in the insurance business) and I spoke to gather info. on what she knew of my sister's death. She became upset and shouted out that toward the end of my sister's hospital stay , in a drug induced coma, her insurance had maxed out. You determine what occurred, the money was not longer available and that was that! Can you put two and two together, after the conversation I knew what had transpired. My sister had surcomed to the greed of the industry.

    July 23, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  6. Medical Student

    So I see that people who disagree with your viewpoints do not make it to your "empowered patient" pages.

    You know what would be fun? Why dont you see just what the difference is between your MPH and trying to earn an MD? Go through a month of shadowing with some of the third year medical students. Go do a week on OB a week on surgery a week in the ER and a week on medicine. Put in the time that medical students put in so that you get get the real feel and see what really happens in a hospital. You could even report what you find on CNN so that other will know more about the inner workings of a hospital, about where real financial waste comes in medicine and about why physicians get paid what they do. This means, when they work 6-7 days a week and sleep overnight in the hospital (if they are lucky enough to sleep), you should do the same with them. Furthermore, when you see the medicaid patient who is obese, has 5 children and comes to labor and delivery for child 6 with no employment and does not have a father helping her raise her children, you will begin to understand where social problems arise. When you see the patient come in for heart failure and you come to realize that they are there because they did not make lifestyle changes and did not take their medication, you will see all the dollars at work. When you see the IV drug abuser come in time and time again with an infection of the heart only to sneak drugs into the hospital and inject them into the IV being used for antibiotics to cure the infection they caused, you will see your tax dollars at work. It will amaze you to see the same patients come in time and time again with alcohol withdrawal looking for the Ativan they know they will get from the hospital to prevent them from life threatening alcohol withdrawal (delirium tremens). It will amaze you to see the patients who exceed the weight limit or diameter limit of the MRI or CT scanner that are in need of imaging to help with their management. The list will go on and on and on (and then you will realize that these passionate people are actually PAYING tens of thousands of dollars a year to learn as much as they can so that they can be the best doctors out there for patients like you and the above posters who want to sue at the drop of a hat who really just want to spit in our faces). When your month is over and you breath a sigh of relief that you are not hundreds of thousands in debt, working over 80 hours a week with the ability to sleep in on the weekend and have a normal family life, you will come to understand why the things your write and the lies politicians such as Obama say to the public infuriates health care providers.

    Otherwise, if you fail to have such an experience and continue spouting ideas without ever experiencing the truth, your book that you are so excited to publish in hopes of making money for yourself is just as worthless as the rest of the people who know nothing and pretend. In fact, I would compare your articles right now to that of the wonderful and helpful Kevin Trudeau. For information about him:
    Ill spare you wasting time and let you know – He makes books and outrageous claims on TV about "the truth about medicine" and how the big bad docs are trying to rip you the patient off. Well, people buy into his books and into his "candida cleansing idea" and spend their money that should be going towards the most proven medical care. Basically, he makes similar claims to what you make, but more directly prays on the hopeless and ill. Until you see it for yourself, I recommend not pretending to know it all. Not only do you sound ignorant, but there is a good chance that you are actually doing harm to your readers. If they choose to be "empowered" and go against medical advice because they know better from listening to you or reading something off the internet, they may make an uninformed medical decision that can cost them their livelihood or even their lives. For your readers who feel empowered to make sure they know the right decision from the right doctor, words that you write on your blog and report on TV can have a major impact. Really, I hope you think about this each day you wake up and go to work. You are potentially impacting peoples' lives with what you do so you, like us, have an obligation to do the best you can to present evidence based facts or at least disclose your opinions as nothing more than opinions coming from a person with a master in public health and no real medical education.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  7. Emily Theroux

    The video doesn't work. An error message comes up:

    "The video you are attempting to view has either expired or is not embeddable."

    I don't think it's me because I can access your other vids.
    I hope it can be fixed. Thanks.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:35 am |
  8. Babak bozornia

    I am a doctor in Pennsylvania and if i had you or your family member as my patient I would have both of you thrown out of my hospital. This is a hospital not a restaurant where you pick and order whatever you wish. And next time please have at least a doctor or nurse comment on these not a "medical Correspondent". God only help you if you ever need medical help (which you will!) I'd love to see which doctor will take care of you!
    You'll be lucky to have the janitor taking care of you in the hospital.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:50 am |

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