It's a commitment in so many ways. WLS changes a lot of things - and it needs to change a lot of things! I've been troubled about the Detroit location since the beginning. It's soooo far away. With the number of times one has to go there I'm making a big commitment for time too! It'd take a day to drive there and another day to drive back - plus what ever time it takes for the appointments.
It troubled me so much I approached my doctor to find out why it was Detroit. She didn't know - she just went with the recommendation from Dr Freedhoff
from the Bariatric Medical Institute
. I must have become rather whiney with her - because my doctor ended up saying quite sternly (and loudly) - Marie, just get it done! Go to the consult! You don't have any more time! Still whining at her - why does Dr Freedhoff choose Detroit but Dr Dent (Ottawa Weight Management Clinic
) choose Utica NY? Why can't I go to NY?? My doctor replied - fine - why don't you ask Dr Freedhoff why? Why don't you find out why Dr Dent sends his patients to NY? Call OHIP and find out what you have to do to make the change if you can...
So, I did.
My husband and I went into BMI earlier this month and met with Dr Freedhoff. He's a great guy - very personable, warm, approachable - he resonates activity - you feel more alive around him. He explained to me why he had outlined that the RNY would be the way to go and why he had chosen Detroit. You'd never guess why. ... You wanna know why?? because they're a center of excellence for bariatric surgery. I said sure they are - but there are lots of them. Why not Utica NY - another center of excellence?? He said that BMI had sent 20+ patients out for WLS and all had gone to Detroit. All of them have had fantastic experiences and because of their fantastic track record and their standing as a center of excellence - why should he look further? The man hasn't even looked at other surgeons or centers of excellence. Go figure!
I called Dr Dent's office from the parking lot after the meeting with Dr Freedhoff. They explained that they referred their WLS patients to Dr Graber
in NY simply because he has stellar (low) rates of complications and deaths. Every person they have referred to him has only ever had positive things to say of their whole experience. They said they used to refer people to Dr O'Malley in Rochester - but they changed to Graber.
Off I went to do some more research. I found out about the company that assigns the Centers of Excellence ratings to the surgeons/hospitals. (Surgical Review Corp
) It's a non-profit company that has a set of requirements that surgeons/hospitals have to meet prior to requesting a Center of Excellence rating. Surgical Review Corp must do an on-site inspection and they also have unrelated peers review their surgical records. Based on this information, Dr Graber is just as "good" as Detroit.
Next I looked at the surgical background of Dr Graber versus the two potential suregeons at Detroit. I found that Dr Graber has done at least double the quantity of bariatric surgeries when compared with either of the two Detroit doctors. He also has 100% of his practice dedicated to bariatric surgery, where the other doctors don't. I like the fact that Dr Graber's hospital, Faxton St Luke's, is NOT a teaching hospital. (Detroit is.) And the cherry on top was that when dealing with Dr Graber's office and staff - they treat you like a person - not a number. Everything is very one-on-one oriented. Detroit was completely different. Everything was done as part of a crowd.
I phoned OHIP to find out the procedure for asking for a change of "venue" for my consultation. They said all that was needed was that my doctor has to fax in a letter to their office.
On Sep 19th I dropped off a letter at my doctor's office going through my reasons for requesting the change. I emphasized with her that I hoped she'd be able to fax a letter to OHIP as soon as possible so that my space in Detroit is freed up for someone else. My doctor called me back on Thursday Sep 20th, in the afternoon, and told me she had faxed off her letter to OHIP.
Now I wait. I wonder how long it will take to find out if they'll approve the change of venue.