Thursday, June 7, 2012
[Oops. In case there's an error message with the video, here's the link to it on Hulu.]
A few years back, when I was chairman of the local Surgical Quality Assurance Committee, we got dinged on a visit by JCAHO (the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organizations, pronounced "jaycoe" for reasons unknown.) Our monitoring process was flawed, they told us, because we weren't uncovering unnecessary surgery. When I suggested maybe it was because, in our community, we weren't doing unnecessary operations, the response was "C'mon!!" (Pronounced cuh-maa-hnnn, with the maa scaling downward, and with facial expression to match.)
So I did what any responsible surgeon would do: I sent around a memo (from the fictitious Surgical Utilization Committee, or SUC) to the entire medical staff, detailing the trouble we were in, asking for suggestions how we could increase our amount of unnecessary surgery, and including a few ideas of my own: declaring certain operations always unnecessary, such as left inguinal hernia; designating one surgeon a month to do unnecessary operations; arranging a specific location, such as the newly-opened surgery center as the place to do them.
Sitting in the doctors' lounge as people picked up their staff mail the next morning after I'd gotten there early and deployed the paper, I noticed a certain stratification of responses: internists, seeing the word Surgical, shitcanned the paper without reading it; surgeons read it over and got an excellent laugh out of it; family docs read it with incredulity, saying, "This is terrible! They can't do that!!! They can't DO that!!!"
Anyhow, as I read of the above-Reported typically teabagger response by North Carolina legislators (fresh off marshaling discrimination into their constitution) to worrisome scientific data, I thought of my memo for some reason. Both are incredibly stupid responses; one a seriously deluded and dangerous (if quite emblematic of the current R party) response to an actual problem, and the other a fanciful (let's call it brilliant and hilarious, okay?) response to a non-problem. But in North Carolina, no one's laughing, and, evidently, not enough are saying "They can't do this!!" Revealing much about the teabagger mentality, they actually think they were making a global problem go away, like babies playing peek-a-boo.
Me, I didn't really think I was; but when JCAHO followed up six months later, we passed without having made any changes.