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New Tech Blog: Max On Media
Max On Media is a technology-based blog written by Burke Liburt. Burke Liburt is the co-founder and CMO of SynchroPET, a biomedical device company that has licensed patented nuclear imaging technologies from Brookhaven National Laboratories. He has developed marketing strategies at television groups (Dun & Bradstreet/ ABC Television) and at his own multi-media company. Read Max On Media Now!
Stony Brook Innovation Center Blog

Innovation Medicine

Jun 12 2016

The most helpful topic for an Innovation Center blog would seem to be examining whether innovativeness can be instilled in people the way installing computer programs enables us to do different things, and if so, how is it downloaded, or learned?  Is there a single Skill Set underpinning all the other attributes that are identifiable in the majority of innovators, short of the few savants floating around, and even there?  Do innovations like the light bulb and Internet arise out of nowhere, or evolve as species do: putting similar things together again and again, and how is that done?  

Silver spoons to some mouths, Golden spoons to others, Dare a man to change the given order.
Though they smile and tell us
                        All of us are brothers,
                        Never was it true this side of Jordan
                                    “Old Coat,” by Elena Mezzetti, Mary Travers, Paul Noel

                    It was, in part, a longing—common enough among the inventors of heroes—to be someone else; to be more than the result of two hundred regimens and scenarios and self-improvement campaigns that always ran afoul of his perennial inability to locate an actual self to be improved.  Joe Kavalier had an air of competence, of faith in his own abilities, that Sammy, by means of constant effort over the whole of his life, had finally learned only how to fake.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, p. 115
            By Michael Chabon

If—I repeat, IF—the people who hold our very lives in their hands are victims of the (blink blink) Systemization (some might say, Innovation) of Everything, blinded by the assembly line that goes by the ehemism of Managed (some might say, Mismanaged) Care, how much more likely is it that the vastly less well-educated and trained people responsible for the products we hold in our hands, should succumb to the same fate, and necessary for them to to take measures to prevent, or at least diminish its insidious spread into the very fabric of our lives any more than it already has.
Disguise is the chief tool of the devil, they say.  Being podded is sugar-coated a thousand ways.  Social and Technical Progress is one thing.  Too often, the price is too high.  I’m not talking about your souls.  Who cares, right?  We all make our own bargains and cut ever more corners, as expedience requires, in that regard, and besides, better minds than either of ours have wrestled over what the heck—even where the heck—the soul really is for eons, and struck out swinging or looking eventually, however well they played the count.
I’m talking about how you live, your state of mind, how you actually feel about yourself and others feel about you.  Being admired for who you are is a whole other world from being admired because you’re a doctor, professor, or executive, much less for all you have as a result of them. 

I mentioned in the last post having a distressing medical condition.  I’ve mentioned distressing minor situations throughout the posts, due to the thoughtlessness, uncaring, patent incompetence of people in various institutions, caused by allowing the system in which they work to become sacrosanct and turning them into a cog in it, grateful for their paycheck and benefits.
Here, as I like to say, is where this gets not merely interesting, but scary.  Better than even chance I’ll be alright, BUT … the odds woulda been much better if the surgery being done next week were done in April when an MRI proved definitely that it was necessary.  WHY wasn’t it done then?  Because first a gastroentologist—and not just any gastroelntologist, but one at one of the few hospitals in the metropolitan area that doesn’t advertise how advanced and nice it is because its very name suggests that that is a given—didn’t bother actually looking at the MRI; he just read the report and ordered an ultra-sound endoscopy to investigate the situation further, which took six weeks to schedule.  WHY?  Because Managed Care rules his life to the extent that he didn’t stop to consider whether the usual protocol might be bypassed.  I can only hope that avoiding the extra work it would entail didn’t enter into his oversight.
In its absence, the doctor has a fru-fruey hair style, to bolster his identity, his sense of himself. 
Then the endoscopy specialist, who heads the department, no less, did the same thing; or should I say, didn’t do the same thing.  He got the MRI report, indicating the distressing situation, and didn’t bother to look at the actual picture, which would have shown him precisely what the surgeon saw.  Again, I can only hope that, since the procedure was scheduled for 4PM six weeks after it was ordered, losing out on one more payment didn’t enter into his oversight.

At the same time this was going on, I was told by a new dentist at my exam and cleaning after enrolling in a dental plan for the first time, in which my dentist of thirty years didn’t participate, that two rear molars needed to be extracted, which my old dentist kindly said that she thought were one needing a root canal and the other just had a big cavity, from a printout of the x-rays.  Not to over-complicate the matter, the new dentist also nicked out a filling behind one of my front teeth, which my dentist said should be replaced. 
By coincidence, soon thereafter, I overheard someone I’ve known at the gym for years raving about the dental school here, so I called to schedule an appointment, whereupon I learned that a dental student had to first do an evaluation, BUT … since the semester was ending soon (this was in March) I had to wait until August when the students returned.  I explained the urgency of the situation, and was told that a student would call to schedule an appointment. 
Three weeks later, the student said he needed the x-rays, so I asked the dental office that took them to email me the actual ones, and of course got a runaround.  They couldn’t send them to me, just another dental office, BUT … the dental school cannot accept emails, perhaps not even from President Obama, so I signed up with another private practice in good faith, which forwarded the supposed x-rays to me, in case I ran me into another snag there. 
When I met with the student, however, it turned out that the new dentist only emailed a partial set of the x-rays, so of course the student couldn’t complete the evaluation, and of course my dental plan wouldn’t pay for another set of –rays within six months of the first set.  Some woild, huh?  But I did get a real dentist to look at the bad teeth and their x-rays, who assured me that the teeth did indeed have to go, but since they weren’t bothering me, not to bother them.
Then, right on time, like the products that die as soon as the warranty expires, one of the molars started chipping as soon as the endoscopy was ordered, but the dental student, who was doing my intake, insisted that nothing could be done till the intake was finished, as per … GUESS: dental school protocol, and stuck to that line as if his diploma, residency, and eventually obtaining a license to practice depended on bending me to his willIf I wanted the teeth taken care of right away, I should go to a private dentist.  As fate would have it, when I called the office that had gotten the x-rays for me, who kindly advised me that they requested the full set from the first office, to no avail, and learned that they couldn’t guarantee that the extractions would be healed by the time the endoscopy was being done. 
Somehow or other, between the patient advocate, the receptionist at the school switchboard, and who knows who else, I got a call an hour later scheduling the extractions in short order at the dental school.  When the dirty deed was done, I asked the capable, kindly resident about the chipped filling, who took a good look and said it should be repaired pronto.
Back to square one with the student about that now.  I’d finally gotten the dental plan to coerce the first office to email the complete set of x-rays, and brought them on a thumb drive to the extraction, where I was escorted to radiology, who said they couldn’t use them because they were in the “wrong” format, so I not only got the second dental office to convert them to .jpg and resend, but texted the dental student links to TWO online dental journals with instructions to do so, then pleaded with the dental student that it was unreasonable for him to refuse to get the filling fixed until he got the x-rays when he had them but for the incompetence of their radiology department.  When I complied with his need to complete the evaluation with my converted x-rays because the THREE HOURS I’d spent there the first time was insufficient, I asked his  professor to take a look, herself, who agreed to try BYPASSING Almighty Protocol, for once, and told her when she got the ball rolling, that that was as important a part of her student’s training as the rest of what she showed him. 
“Think about it,” I said, figuring she looked like she’d know whoe Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, maybe even Robert Donat were, “every (fill in their names) and Cline Eastwood movie are about someone bucking protocol and saving the day.  Then I asked, “What did you say your name was?  Ben Casey?”

As we waited for the paperwork, I asked the student, since Big Data is becoming so significant an aspect of medical care, how many patients had the skill, drive, and patience to pull off what I had—TWICE—and how much needless pain, suffering, and expense were wasted because of their (blink blink) protocol.  Forward that thought to the hospital and all the other hospitals, and you can see why our healthcare is ranked twenty-first—I rrrepeat, TWENTY-FIRST—in the world.  Whatever is good for General Bullmoose ain’t necessarily good for the USA.

Stony Brook University Innovation Center, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3775

Phone: 631.632.7171
Fax: 631.632.8181