life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Columbia Presbyterian

That's shorthand actually.  It's really called New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center.

It's the best hospital in NYC and one of the best in the country.

It's an aspect of life in NYC that I didn't think I'd be addressing.  But here we are.

My father needed an aortic valve replacement.  The traditional method is open heart surgery, but because of other medical conditions my father was ineligible for such surgery.

Welcome to 21st century cutting edge technology.  Transcatheter aortic valve replacement.  Similar to an arteriogram, catheters are snaked through arteries to the heart, and the replacement valve is placed on top of the patient's existing (defective) valve.

My father got his difibrillator at St. Francis, Long Island's premiere cardiology center ( they call themselves "the heart hospital").  But St. Francis only recently got FDA approval for clinical trials of transcatheter aortic valve replacement, but my father didn't meet their criteria.

Hence the referral to Columbia Presbyterian.

He had the procedure yesterday.  I visited him last night and he was doing very well. (I am far too accustomed to seeing my father in a CCU, but it beats the alternative.)  Should be home in 4-5 days.  Amazing, isn't it?

So, as I said, I visited my father last night.  Field trip to 168th Street, a quick ride on the A train to a neighborhood I had never visited before. The hospital is like a city within a city - over a dozen different buildings from 165th St. to 168th Street, from St. Nicholas Avenue to Riverside Drive.  There are three different emergency rooms, each with ambulances from all over the city. There are "you are here" msps to help you find your way.   Entering one of the buildings is like checking in at the airport -- I had to stand in line, show ID and receive a visitor's pass which listed my destination.  Thankfully I didn't have to let them search my bag, though I am told they do so at some of the buildings.

Once inside, it was like every other hospital.  But still . . . the enormity of the place . . .


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