February was a sad month for the department of Surgery with the passing of three long-time members – Hal Abrams, Elwood Ireland and Walter Pleban.
Hal was a gentleman and always did his best for his patients. Walter was committed to Bridgeport Hospital. He started here as a teenage volunteer and only left for school and the Air Force. Elwood Ireland was an outstanding chief of Urology for many years and set the standard for the high quality of urologic services we have provided since then.
I last talked to Walter at the Pleban Burn Lecture and he looked frail, but everyone was happy to see him and he looked happy to see all of us, including the visiting professor from Georgetown University, our former Burn Director Phil Fidler.
We held the second annual Clinical Planning Retreat at Tashua Knolls in early February. Most of the retreat was about the major changes taking place in healthcare economics.
As Steve Marshalko, MD, pointed out at the March Medical Executive Committee meeting, we may soon be in the situation where health care resembles cable TV, with some patients buying basic coverage, some getting the sports package and some getting the deluxe package. Unfortunately, that leaves us at the mercy of the insurers and without as much control as we should have. Fortunately, we have dedicated physicians like Dr. Marshalko stepping up and working to improve the situation for all of us.
The last two sessions of the retreat were about medical education. Richard Belitsky, MD, deputy dean for education, Yale School of Medicine, talked about the profound changes occurring in undergraduate medical education.
Karen Hutchinson, MD, talked about the changes in resident education taking place and that are continuing.
Dean Belitsky was particularly eloquent, describing the connection young medical students make with patients and with their physician mentors. As he spoke, it was easy to recall why we became physicians and the joy that the doctor-patient relationship can bring. He also highlighted how for many of us, teaching young students and residents is a very rewarding experience.
Michael Ivy, MD
Chief Medical Officer