Saturday, February 16, 2008

Breaking Down BWH versus MGH

I'm taking a different approach to being on-call over the weekend. Go with the flow. Don't worry, be happy. 10 new consults on a Saturday? No problemo.

The Brigham & Women's Hospital (BWH, located in Brookline) and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH, located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of downtown Boston) are two of the premier medical centers in the world. Being located in the same city and both serving the Harvard Medical School, they are not surprisingly historic rivals (even though they are now officially both part of the same health care system, Partners).

I work at both hospitals, roughly 50% of the year at each place. How do the two cutting-edge medical centers compare with one another? I've rated them in a number of key categories. This is one man's opinion.
Category One: Ease of Chart-Finding.
Disadvantage: MGH. I spend a good chunk of my time wandering around the patient floors at MGH frantically looking for the green and gray charts each patient has which are essential for figuring out what's going on (good forbid we ask the patient, right?)

Category Two: Cafeteria Quality.
Disadvantage: BWH. This is a close one, as both are pretty nasty, as hospital cafeterias tend to be. The disadvantage goes to BWH for having an unimpressive selection of greasy food.

Category Three: Elevator Speed.
Disadvantage: BWH. Trying to get up to the top floors during the middle of the day at BWH can be a twenty-minute affair. Just painful.

Category Four: the 5pm Consult.
Disadvantage: MGH. Nothing can quite explain the demoralizing effect of the consult inexplicably called at 5pm, or the Dialysis patient who has missed his Saturday dialysis appointment and shows up in the ER late in the day, that must be seen before the end of the day. Perhaps it's the larger patient volume at MGH but this tends to happen a little more at MGH than at BWH.

There you have it, folks: MGH and BWH, the two Harvard-associated beacons of cutting-edge medical therapy in Boston, are on approximatyle equal footing when they are rigorously compared with respect to these all-important medical categories. (And if you think I'd honestly publicly state my preference for one hospital or another while still a fellow in this dual fellowship program...well, that just wouldn't be all that bright...)

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