Back to Bogota


Raleigh – Durham Airport (RDU) – A more personal post today for readers –

The nice thing about traveling to Colombia is that even though the distances are pretty far geographically, flight times are pretty short.  After a one hour flight to Miami, it’s just three short hours to Bogotá.  Despite that – Bogotá is certainly a world away from my quiet life in Virginia.

– Now I am here in the airport, beginning my journey back to Colombia, starting with a week in Bogotá, my favorite of all Colombian cities (so far!)  My adoration of Bogotá came as quite of a surprise to me – and still surprises me after all these months.  I’d enjoyed Cartagena – that beautiful, historic but steamy coastal city, but I expected that.  It has architecture, museums, monuments along with the ocean, and a latin-caribbean feeling that I like so much.  Anyone can love Cartagena with its elegant fortresses, warm sunny weather and welcoming residents.  No – Bogota is different.  It’s high mountain elevation (8000 ft) gives it a unique climate (eternal fall) with distinct rainy seasons. The city sprawl extends the entire basin of the foot of the mountains – the city itself is surrounded by a haze mix of cloud, smog/ pollution from its inhabitants..

No, my enjoyment of Bogotá was a complete surprise.  I had expected to tolerate the city, to endure the bustle, rush, the traffic and the very condensed humanity that is a city of ten million people.  It was, in my mind, a necessary evil as part of my research for writing the book.  I am many things, but a city girl?  Not hardly.  A more rustic/ rural / redneck gal could not be found, in northern Nevada, West Virginia and now, in the smallest of urban cities, a mere hamlet of southern Virgina.  I expected to be intimidated by the sheer volume of people; after all, I hate crowds, and busy public places. But somehow, it was the complete opposite – it was invigorating, intoxicating.

The very sophistication, the people, the life of the city was addicting in a way I never expected.  As three months turned to four, and then five – I kept expecting for my love affair with the city to fade or flame out.  But it hasn’t, and I am already mourning my return to the USA.

In Bogota Surgery news:

The New York Times has recently published an article talking about the HIPEC procedure as “bringing hope to patients**”.  In typical media fashion, they manage to interview the one surgeon who talks about the procedure in an exceedingly cavalier fashion – and the author of the article reinforces this with his terminology (which I find disturbing.)   Did he really need to describe the surgery thusly:

“After slicing the man’s belly wide open, he thrust his gloved hands deep inside, and examined various organs, looking for tumors. He then lifted the small intestine out of the body to sift it through his fingers.

As he found tumors, he snipped them out. “You can see how this is coming off like wallpaper,” Dr. Lowy said as he stripped out part of the lining of the man’s abdominal cavity.

After about two hours of poking and cutting, Dr. Lowy began the so-called shake and bake. The machine pumped heated chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity for 90 minutes while nurses gently jiggled the man’s bloated belly to disperse the drug to every nook and cranny. ”

Blatent sensationalism in my opinion – certainly guaranteed to sell papers.  If they terrorize a few patients in the process, I guess they don’t care..  Using patient friendly terminology doesn’t mean writing an article like a Stephen King novel..  But then – I am guessing that Andrew Pollack has never had a close family member or friend facing this sort of illness.

The author also does a poor job researching his sources or the actual clinical indications for the procedure, but Bogota Surgery readers will be interested to note the cost of the procedure in the USA ranges from 20,000 to 100,000 – which certainly provides plenty of incentive for medical tourism.

However, despite this fantastic language – the authors voice serious concerns about the effectiveness and appropriateness of this procedure.  As you know, I have been following the available research and will continue to do so – to bring readers more information about this procedure; it’s feasibility and effectiveness.

** Since publishing my initial article on HIPEC with hope in the title, there have been a spate of articles using that terminology, as well as several blatent rip-offs of my original article.  The success of this article has been surprising, as well as the level of plagerism with on-line media, including large, well-known media outlets.

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