Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An Interview with a Patient

Focus has asked me to write a story "about a woman who recently had emergency heart surgery in Dalian and the doctor who performed it using some amazing new techniques and technology." The woman, it turns out, is one with whom I ate dinner the other night in celebration of a friend's birthday. She showed us the smallest dot of a scar on the inside of her right wrist. The doctor, she said, had used a probe with the thickness of a hair to, instead of cutting her open, shuttle four stents, one the longest in the world, up her right arm, through her chest, and into her heart. "In any Western country, they would have cut me up. They would have said, 'No way; it can't be done.'" The cost was about as much as my monthly salary—that is, bupkis. "If you need surgery, do it in China. There's no reason to go into debt just to have a surgery."

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