In the current TLS I have a review of two books on cardiac surgery. One is Stephen Westaby’s memoir of his career, the other is Thomas Morris’ historical perspective.
The full text is not freely available online, so here is the bit the TLS have made available to tease you all:
It is tempting to place Stephen Westaby’s Fragile Lives, a memoir of his career as a heart surgeon, in the category the journalist Rosamund Urwin recently called “scalpel lit”; following Atul Gawande’s Complications (2002) and Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm (2014) and Admissions (2017), here is another dispatch from a world arcane even for the majority of doctors. To some degree, Westaby’s book follows the Marsh template. In cardiac surgery as in neurosurgery, life and death are finely poised, and even minor technical mishaps by the surgeon, or brief delays in getting equipment to theatre, can have catastrophic consequences.
Like Marsh, Westaby, a consultant at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, is jaundiced about the bureaucracy of health care and the mandatory “training” imposed on even the most experienced practitioners – “writing my personal development plan at the age of sixty-eight”. Now that death rates are published by the NHS,…
Makes you want to read the whole thing, does it not?
As it happens, Henry Marsh’s Admissions is reviewed in the same issue by George Berridge.
Via #revScreen comes the following:
J Hum Hypertens. 1996 Feb;10 Suppl 1:S69-72.
Interactive electronic teaching (ISIS): has the future started?
Consoli SM1, Ben Said M, Jean J, Menard J, Plouin PF, Chatelier G.
Medical education of hypertensives as well as of other asymptomatic cardiovascular risk patients requires individualized, interactive and attractive strategies. Electronic teaching set up in hospital or clinic settings opens the way of the future, saving time and allowing more advantageous use of caretakers. ISIS (Initiation Sanitaire Informatisee et Scenarisee), a French computer assisted program for cardiovascular risk patients, combines a scientific information, divided in 12 sequential but independent modules, with a recreative imaginary trip in the world of ancient Egypt. To test the impact of this tool on patient health information retention, 158 hypertensives hospitalized in a day-hospital clinic were randomized into an intervention or ISIS group (IG, n = 79) and a control group (CG, n = 79). Both groups received cardiovascular education through standard means. In addition, IG patients underwent a 30 to 60 min session on the computer. Cardiovascular knowledge was tested by a nurse administering a standardized 28-item questionnaire before and two months after education. Retesting was done by telephone interview. A total of 138 completed questionnaires (69 from each group) were analyzed. Overall mean cardiovascular knowledge score before education (14.3 +/- 4.2, range 4-25) improved significantly after education (3.7 +/- 3.5, p = 0.0001). This improvement was more important in the IG than the CG (3.8 +/- 3.6 vs 2.4 +/- 3.2 respectively, p = 0.02), especially in hypertensives having a known disease for more than six months. Isis is now available in two languages: French and English. Patients’ satisfaction and the conclusion of this comparative trial encourage confirmation of these first results in other French or English speaking populations, in order to test the long term effects of structured electronic teaching sessions on health behaviour, and to promote a wide use of computers and multimedia communication in hypertension control programs.