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April 20, 2010

Gathering Courage

Getting health care reform passed in Washington was hard. Reigning in health care costs and changing how doctors practice medicine might be even harder.

Dr. William Boden is a cardiologist in Buffalo. In the mid 1990s, he watched as a new procedure called stenting became the silver bullet for patients with heart disease. Millions of stents were being installed, making cardiac surgeons, and the stent manufacturers, a lot of money. Dr. Boden was concerned there wasn't enough data to show how effective the stents actually were in the long term. So he conducted a trial, called Courage, that looked at patients with stable but chronic angina. Half got stents; half just got medication. The results were highly contentious, especially for interventional cardiologists like Rajiv Jauhar. Dr. Jauhar performs over 700 angioplasty and stent procedures a year, and says that his patients demand stenting, for lots of good reasons. Dr. Boden and Dr. Jauhar talk to Dick Gordon about treating chest pain with and without stents, and the challenges of practicing medicine in the enormously complicated U.S. health care system.


Roody Joseph is the almost-accidental aid worker in Haiti who appeared on the show in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. Roody says he's expanded his outreach to include over 300 families because many NGOs have stopped providing food. Dick talks with Roody about how he's coped with the rainy season while sharing a tent with his father in close proximity to hundreds of others.

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