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Dec. 26, 2009

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It was with great interest that I read this article since I was recently Dr. Spirtos' patient. At the strong urging (insistence) of a relative who works in the medical field and knew of Dr. Spirtos' reputation as a surgeon (especially with high-risk patients like me), I flew from my home in New York to see Dr. Spirtos.

From my first visit to the Women's Cancer Center through my surgery to my final office visit, several things impressed me about Dr. Spirtos. First, I was awed by the number of women in the waiting room that traveled from across the country (as well as from overseas) to consult Dr. Spirtos. Second, the concern and attention paid by the office staff - after all, we were all there because we had cancer and although we tried to be brave, we were all scared. But what most impressed me were the comments from everyone in associated with Dr. Spirtos including the UMC nursing staff, medical students, residents and research staff. The people in the profession who work with doctors every day stated over and over again that the man was a 'genius', the most talented surgeon they had ever seen, and if their mothers needed surgery they would want Dr. Spirtos operating - just the kind of reassuring comments a patient wants to hear as they are headed into surgery! My surgery was scheduled for 5:00 p.m. I was not taken to the pre-op area until after 6:00 p.m. and have no idea how long I was in the operating room, but I do know that Dr. Spirtos stayed with me in recovery (after a very bad reaction to morphine) until I was stablized. I was one of the lucky ones - my cancer had not spread, I need no further follow-up treatment except for regular, frequent check-ups, and I was able to fly back to New York ten days after surgery. A few day after my return home, imagine my surprise when Dr. Spirtos himself, not his office staff, called to make sure I made the trip safely and to ask how I was recovering!

I know I have written at length about my own experience with Dr. Spirtos, but that is what I know. I don't know about UMC's internal problems or mismanagement - I just know how I was treated by Dr. Spirtos and his team.

As for Ms. Silver, she should thank her lucky stars that UMC can attract surgeons of Dr. Spirtos' caliber. Rather than making personal comments against these doctors, she should address the issues and correct the problems and deficiencies they bring to light. And oh, Ms. Silver may be right in one respect - Dr. Spirtos IS an "interesting character" but in my nearly sixty years I have found that most brilliant, talented people are intesting characters! And as for Dr. Spirtos being "disruptive", any one who takes the time to speak out publicly as an advocate for women's health, patient care and safety, I say "hurrah" and a great big "thank you" from one grateful and lucky patient!

(Suggest removal) 12/26/09 at 9:18 a.m.

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