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Rural Partners in Medicine

Month: September 2016

Are Bigger Hospitals Always the Better Choice?

· In the News ·

Doctors usually think bigger hospitals offer better surgery. Turns out, we’re wrong.

During surgical training I got a call from my mother with an unusually focused question. She had just returned from the doctor’s office where she was told she needed to have her gallbladder removed. Her question to me was simple enough — “Where should I have my surgery?”

Like nearly every health care provider, I’m quite used to having family members ask for medical advice. Usually it is in other fields I do not practice, and I often guide them back to the doctor they’re already seeing.

But this time was different. Not only was my mom asking about a procedure I have actually performed, she was also asking an important question about variation in hospital quality that is the focus of my research work. Even if I weren’t her son, I was probably a good person to ask and should have an informed answer for her. Like every son, I wanted my mother to have the best operation possible. I told her to travel across town to the large academic center. She resisted.

My mother preferred to stay closer to home at a small community hospital….

This article can be found here: Doctors usually think bigger hospitals offer better surgery. Turns out, we’re wrong