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How to choose a hospital

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2003

I'm helping my sister, newly diagnosed with advanced stage III ovarian cancer, research hospitals and doctors to be sure that she's going to the best one for her situation. She's already been told that chemo is necessary first to shrink some of the tumors that are in difficult/dangerous places to improve operability. That gives her about two months to be sure she's headed to the right hospital and the best doctors for her needs. Can anyone suggest how to choose a hospital and/or doctor? Or even how to research them? What questions should we ask? What websites and other resources would be helpful? Thank you all and God Bless.

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Posts: 48
Joined: Feb 2002

I'm not too sure where you live, but I think she should go to Sloan Kettering in NY or MD Anderson in Texas for a second opinion. If you can't get to either of those places, call them to see where they suggest. I hear John Hopkins is good. In Michigan, Karmanos is fantastic and UofM hospital too. On a separate note, my Mom had chemo first before her surgery too. It was very successful. Her doctor shrank her Stage IV tumors and then did the debaulking and then reinstated the chemo (carbo taxol). Good luck to you :)

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2003

Thank you both, als26 and the CSN guy. I've been using the ACS webpage as a starting point. So I have some basic info. My sister lives in MT and we're hoping, for her travel comfort, to find a hospital in Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis or Salt Lake City (places she can get to by flying with no layovers). If none of these have strong enough gyn-oncology departments, we'll certainly consider MD Anderson, Sloan Kettering and Johns Hopkins. Via internet research, I can find press releases and hospital documentation, but I was hoping to gather personal references and experiences as well. I have one from MD Anderson, so far. Do you know where I can find others for any of these hospitals?

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gdpawel's picture
Posts: 538
Joined: May 2001

Good, competent, quality medical care is not just the lastest high-tech toys, without competent physicians behind them. Survival rates immediately following complicated cancer surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy are two to three times higher at facilities that perform a high volume of these procedures.
Cancer patients needing such treatments therefore should be served in more-experienced settings (like in Philadelphia, New York or Tampa) and not at your local home town hospital. There are over 80 NCI-designated cancer centers across the United States.

Obtaining informed consent is one of the most important responsibilities of any physician who uses any therapy that may potentially injure a patient. In order to "inform" the patient the physician him/herself needs to understand the anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, etc. of the treatment as well as all of the potential risks and complications. Alternative treatments should be described.

In addition to understanding (which is increasingly difficult, even for "specialists" in an age of burgeoning medical knowledge and technology), the physician "informing" a patient needs to spend enough time to make sure that the patient understands well enough that the "consent" was truly "informed.

Posts: 21
Joined: Dec 2003

Can you say what hospitals in Philadelphia you recommend?

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