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Second Opinion

Second Opinion

Many patients have come to the office after being evaluated by Mayo Clinic or wanting to go to Mayo Clinic. It appears that Mayo Clinic has become the ultimate authority on all things health related in the United States. I believe the Mayo Clinic has a place in the practice of medicine today, I'm just not ready to refer to it as our Medical Mecca.

The Mayo Clinic started in 1863 by Dr. William Worrall Mayo who moved to Rochester, Minnesota to examine new recruits for the Union Army. The year following, he decided to stay and set up a solo practice. Twenty years later, a large tornado hit the area. Dr Mayo asked the Sisters of St. Francis to help him care for the injured people. Within seven years of the tornado, the Franciscan sisters opened Saint Mary's Hospital and Dr. Mayo's two sons, William J. and Charles H. joined him in practice after they finished medical school.

Henry Plummer, MD, joined the Mayo practice in 1901. He created a common medical record, invented lifts and conveyors for moving records and x-rays and he established a registration system. He also conceptualized and invented the world's first telephone paging systems. In 1907, five thousand patients registered at the Mayo's clinic. In 1915, doctors came from all over the world to observe and learn which led to the first formal training program for physicians: the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine.

In 1939 both brothers died within a few months of each other. The clinic they founded has grown into an internationally renowned medical center. There are three locations within the United States (Rochester, Minnesota; Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida). In 2013, the Mayo Clinic leaders convince the Minnesota Legislature to approve public funding to support Destination Medical Center plans. It's estimated that the Mayo Clinic will receive six billion dollars of investment money over the next twenty years. Clearly, the Mayo Clinic is a money generating machine.

Currently, the Mayo is a multi-specialty clinic which provides the exclusive medical care for 72 counties in Minnesota as well as hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide. Their marketing has been extremely successful at creating the belief in our US citizens that the Mayo Clinic is by far the authoritative center of knowledge in medicine. What has actually emerged is a very conservative multi-specialty medical practice with state of the art facilities to expedite care. Dr. Plummer's vision was to integrate medical care in a large outpatient facility. Mayo Clinic has perfected that one-stop-shop mentality. They are the Walmart Superstore of American Healthcare.

There is no question that a few areas of expertise within several medical specialties are probably the most seasoned in the world. Take for example Dr. Molina; He has evaluated and treated one hundred and twenty six Merkle Cell tumors (rare cancer): the most in the world. He is thought of as being one of the world's experts in that particular cancer. The same holds true for experts in Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis. But the Mayo Clinic no longer holds a lock on the advanced medical equipment or medical knowledge. With medical information readily available on the internet and the proliferation of sophisticated imaging equipment and esoteric clinic laboratory testing throughout the country, the Mayo Clinic no longer has an edge on other medical centers in the United States, or the world for that matter.

Mayo physicians are by and large similar to all physicians. They are conservative traditional occidental allopathic doctors who work in a corporate clinic setting. Many patients go to Mayo clinic, have a very extensive work-up, and are told very little about their disease state or told their disease is just in their head. We have a couple of hundred patients who have visited Mayo. Only a handful had anything useful come of their visit. The rest were angry at the entire experience.

Friday last week, I had a interesting conversation with a physician at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He was very kind on the phone. He called me about rejecting a patient who wanted to go there after I had evaluated them. He stated that he reviewed the medical records we had sent and he believed the patient received a extremely detailed work-up. He said Mayo Clinic could offer nothing to the patient since all the appropriate examinations had been performed. He related that the administration at the Mayo Clinic were concerned about the anger that patients feel when they arrive there and go through a very expensive work-up, only to find that the Mayo physicians were unable to help the patient what-so-ever. He believed that the patient we referred at the patient's request would not benefit from an evaluation there. Furthermore he stated patients have this impression that Mayo has secret medicines and cures that Mayo doesn't share with the public which was pure delusion or fantasy. He also stated that they do research, but patients are treated with evidence based medicines. He felt he had no alternate but to reject the patient's request to be seen.

Mayo has its hands full with controversy. A prominent Mayo Clinic doctor has stepped forward as a potential whistleblower in a move that could breathe new life into concerns about possible antitrust violations at the Albert Lea Mayo Clinic site. There are a number of potential law suits pending and possible anti-trust charges that could impact them in a harsh way. I am sure their review process is ramping up to discourage any more anger focused on their inadequacies to diagnose and treat rare diseases.

So before you decide that the only Medical Center you believe can provide you absolute knowing in healthcare is the Mayo Clinic, think again. They are very good at diagnosing and treating disease that has been diagnosed prior to seeing them, but they have a difficult time teasing out two or more diseases occurring at one time.

Where would I send you for a second opinion? It depends. Do you have your passport up to date?


Posted by Amanda Sanders at 2:47 PM
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