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The Friday Four: JFK's Last Surviving Surgeon Speaks

Fri, 11/22/2013 - 8:47am
Mike Schmidt, Editor, Surgical Products

I spend most of my days attached to an office chair in a spacious cubicle that is best described as not quite neat nor messy. I pass the time looking back and forth at two large computer monitors and clicking between an ever-changing number of computer programs and internet browser tabs.

As editor of Surgical Products, I am tasked with locating, editing, posting, and publishing different pieces of content the SP audience will find interesting, valuable, or (hopefully) both. It’s a challenging task at times, but my efforts are rewarded when I come across riveting stories geared toward people who spend most of their days in the operating room.

With that in mind, I plan to start a regular feature called “The Friday Four.” It seeks to highlight some of the people behind some of the interesting stories I stumble upon during my daily search for relevant content. Without further ado, here’s the first installment…

1. Dr. Robert McClelland -- Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The media has marked the occasion with extensive coverage, including (but certainly not limited to) an extremely interesting news piece that aired on CBS 11 News in Dallas earlier this week. The last surviving surgeon who attempted to save JFK’s life was interviewed, and McClelland says quite a bit about his experience treating the president on that fateful Friday in Dallas five decades ago. Frankly, I was surprised someone who played a significant role in those days events was still alive. Just as surprising was the vivid detail in which McClelland describes Kennedy’s final moments and the measures he and two other surgeons took to save his life in the minutes that followed his arrival at Dallas’s Parkland Hospital. It’s rare to come across anything fresh, interesting, AND credible about the JFK assassination these days, but the McClelland interview is a must-see/read for OR professionals and history buffs alike.

2. Beth Jasper -- An Ohio woman’s tragic death in a car accident earlier this year has shed light on the growing problem of overworked nurses at hospitals around the country. The woman, Beth Jasper, was killed on March 16 while driving home after a 12-hour shift at the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati.  Jasper’s husband, Jim, is suing the hospital because he believes she was “worked to death.” He points to nursing staff shortages, long shifts, and a lack of regular work breaks as factors in his wife’s death and maintains hospital staffers were aware of such problems. However, he states, nothing was done to alleviate them.  Jim Jasper’s attorney. Eric Deters, says Beth Jasper may have fallen asleep before her one-vehicle accident occurred. The lawsuit aside, it is abundantly clear this is a significant problem at many hospitals. Furthermore, working long hours is not exclusive to nurses. It’s been a topic of much discussion in the healthcare industry in recent years, and I can't imagine this lawsuit will do anything to quell the debate.

3. Amy Robach -- Something about seeing a public figure go through a health ordeal leaves an impression on me. Let me see if I can explain this better: An interesting story about a well-known person will catch my attention about as often as an incredible story about a complete stranger. I can’t quite explain why this is the case, but I was reminded of this when I stumbled upon a story about “Good Morning America” correspondent Amy Robach. A month after undergoing a public mammogram on the ABC morning show, the 40-year-old Robach announced this week she has breast cancer and that she would immediately have a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Perhaps what’s most disconcerting about Robach’s story is how surprised she was to learn she had cancer. An Associated Press story states she emerged from the mammogram and casually mentioned that “it hurt less than she thought it would.” She said little else of note. Weeks later, she was stunned to discover the results of the mammogram. It’s really a sobering and unsettling tale, and one that I will continue to monitor as Robach continues her treatment for breast cancer.

4. The Obamacare Site Woman -- Her smiling face greeted those who logged on to Healthcare.gov for roughly a month after the site launched as a means to enroll Americans in health insurance. Then she was gone. Not much is known about the woman, nor why her image suddenly disappeared from the home page around the beginning of November. She’s since been replaced by a number of icons, and rumors swirled about who she is, her background, and how her face ended up on the site. Here’s what we know: Her name is Adrianna, and she’s a wife and mother of one who lives in Maryland with her husband of six and a half years. Adrianna is originally from Columbia, but she has lived legally in the United States for the past six years. Furthermore, while she is eligible for healthcare through the Affordable Care Act, she has made no effort to sign up for it and is neither in favor of nor against the legislation. One thing the article linked above seems to indicate (based on her direct quotes) is that she regrets being associated with the website. Something tells me that regret played a role in the oft-discussed photo being taken down.

Have any nominees for The Friday Four? Email me at mike.schmidt@advantagemedia.com. Check out more news, blogs, and product content at www.surgicalproductsmag.com. 

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