So Steve and I had a great time driving to Houston on Wednesday night (check the comments to this post for my travel reports). On Thursday morning I made rounds with Steve as he checked in with the medical professionals at MD Anderson who are treating him for his throat cancer. We drove over to MD Anderson at 7 am and I was astonished to learn that basically every hospital in Houston is located in one area of the city. It’s nice that you can just drive down the main drag until you see a place you like and then wheel in for treatment. Sort of like the Vegas Strip, except for medical care.
MD Anderson is the Bellagio of this medical highway and everything inside is state of the art and sleek. There is an Aquarium in the complex, which I didn’t see. But I did see lots of small aquariums in various waiting rooms. Did I say everything was state of the art? I’m sorry. The wheelchairs aren’t. They have sloppy white chalk stencling on the back proclaiming "Property of the State of Texas. Do Not Remove" and they look more like what you’d see on death row rather than in a cutting edge medical facility.
But that’s just the wheelchairs. Everything else in the building sends a not-subtle message of ‘we know how to cure cancer and we do it with incomparable professionalism.’ All of their medical records are electronically stored in a central database that is accessible from any computer in the complex, and as Steve went to each appointment (which obviously involved going to different areas of the Head & Neck center) his information would be accessed by the nurse and updated on the fly. Apparently, this system is somewhat new, having been set up in the last 6 months. All of the medical people love it, and it obviously helps the patients. Maybe one day all of the courts will have a similar system of centralized information, and so will law firms. Then again, maybe not. It’s one thing to cure cancer, and it’s a completely different thing to try to reform a profession that thrives on precedent and therefore resists change.