Coordinated care teams can help heal the ailing doctor-patient relationship

My first cousin died suddenly in his home last month. More like a brother to me, Steve was a 68-year-old avid saltwater fisherman who had been healthy all his life — you’d be far more likely to find him angling for bonefish on the flats of the Florida Keys than anywhere near a doctor’s office. Steve’s death was likely due to a complication from a heart attack he suffered a week earlier. His death illustrates the story of a health care system that is increasingly failing to meet its basic responsibilities.

After experiencing chest pain while playing hockey — his other lifelong passion — Steve went to a local emergency department. It turned out that he was having a heart attack. The cardiology team quickly intervened and placed a stent in his heart to reopen a blocked artery. Two days later, the doctors sent him home from the cardiac intensive care unit with nothing more than a list of medications he had never heard of and a recommendation that he follow up with an outpatient cardiologist.

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