Remembering Margo

Dr. Margo Prade’s life ended tragically in November, 1997 in the parking lot of her Akron, Ohio medical office.  Grainy images taken by security cameras in a car dealership across the street that showed a man walking up to her van were shown extensively on local television.  Her ex-husband, Douglas Prade, a high-ranking captain in the Akron Police Department, would later be convicted of the shooting; he is currently serving a life sentence.   

Now a long-time friend of Dr. Prade’s, Donzella Michele Malone, has written a book that she hopes will show people who Margo Prade was. "She was more than a doctor — she was a friend, a caring community icon,” says the author of “Remembering Margo: A Triumphant Life, a Tragic Death and Life’s Greatest Deception. She’s been remembered as a murder victim for eight years. I don’t want that anymore.”

Margo Prade was born and raised in Akron, graduating as valedictorian from Central-Hower High School. She graduated from Kent State University and NEOUCOM in 1983 and completed her residency with Akron General Medical Center.

JCAHO seeks feedback on standards manuals

The Joint Commission is seeking feedback regarding your ability to understand and implement the JCAHO standards and elements of performance.  Their goal is to produce a more user-friendly manual.

They are currently gathering comments on the following chapters from the accreditation manuals:

  • Management of Human Resources
  • Management of Information
  • Improving Organization Performance

‘Under the Knife’ by Diane Fanning Scheduled for April 2007 Release

Under the Knife, the Dean Faiello story, written by Diane Fanning is scheduled for release in April 2007. 

Ms. Fanning writes:  It is the story of Dean Faiello, who was busted in Manhattan for practicing medicine without a license.  While out on bail, he continued to see patients.  When one of them died—Maria Cruz, a financial analyst for Barclay’s—he buried her body under concrete at his carriage house, sold his home to unsuspecting buyers and fled to Costa Rica.


CBS News Report  02-19-04 – Body of Maria Cruz found

Microsoft to Offer Software for Health Care

The New York Times (free registration required) is reporting that Microsoft plans to offer software tailored for health care. 

Peter Neupert is Microsoft’s vice president for health strategy. From 2003 to 2005 he served on President Bush’s Information Technology Advisory Committee and helped run a subcommittee focused on technology in health care.

“I’ve had an opportunity to see how messed up the health care system was,” Mr. Neupert said. “And to really have an impact, you need a footprint like Microsoft’s.”

As an initial step, Microsoft has purchased Azyxxi (pronounced ah-zik-see), which was developed by a group of doctors at a non-profit hospital in Washington DC. The software is designed to retrieve and quickly display patient information from many sources, including scanned documents, E.K.G.’s, X-rays, M.R.I. scans, angiograms and ultrasound images.

Microsoft has been moving in this direction for some time; its Executive Circle (tagged thought leadership for business results) contains a detailed statement about the project dated January, 2004.

Effective, efficient information collection and retrieval is a huge hurdle for health care. Here’s hoping Microsoft can help create a bridge.

Change of Shift 1.3

Change of Shift 1.3, is up at Emergiblog, so stop by and see what Kim has collected for this edition.  Change of Shift is a bi-weekly collection of posts featuring nurses and nursing. 

If you think you may be heading for burn out, be sure to read Burn In at Kim comments that it’s the most fascinating piece on burn out she’s ever read.


Volunteers for Mock Fair Hearing Needed

Dear Medical Staff Services Director:

This letter is a formal request for a fair hearing as defined in the medical staff bylaws Article 2, Section 7…

Dr. Jones recently had his privileges restricted based upon the findings of a peer review panel, and the letter you’ve just opened makes it plain that he plans to vigorously contest those findings.

Because (hopefully), fair hearings don’t happen often in your organization, you’re probably not sure about all the details.  How do you prepare?  What documents will you need to produce?  Who will be involved?

The answers to those and many other relevant questions will be answered in Atlanta on Sunday, September 17th.  The pre-conference session entitled Mock Fair Hearing, How to Prepare and How to Prevail will be presented by Catherine Ballard and Allen Killworth from the law firm of Bricker & Eckler in Columbus, OH.

Yours truly has volunteered to participate. I anticipate a) learning a great deal, b) having great fun and c) having to fend off crowds of autograph seekers after the last curtain call… 

Speaking of participation.  I am assisting Ms. Ballard in identifying a few additional “character actors” for this production, the only requirements are a) a desire to learn about the process of fair hearings, b) willingness to participate and have fun and c) fearlessness in the face of 7.5 minutes of fame.

If you’ll be in Atlanta on Sunday and are interested in participating, please drop me a note ASAP at

Grand Rounds 2.44

Grand Rounds 2.44 "The Garden" opens this week at Medical Humanities with this engaging comment:

So often matters medical are portrayed in the language of war: the fight against disease, the battle against cancer. These are the metaphors that have dominated medical discourse in the mainstream media. Yet, the military metaphor is not inevitable. Health-care professions tend their patients with the devotion and attention that gardeners lavish on their plants, hoping to keep them healthy.

Take a few minutes to stroll through The Garden and enjoy the blog bouquet.


Scheduling an Appointment

Rita:  Hello, I need to schedule an appointment to see my doctor.

Scheduler: Okay, why?

Rita:  I provide a brief explanation. (Symptoms could be benign, but according to a kind-hearted blogging clinician I queried, could also indicate that one is teetering on the verge of ‘crash and burn’. Consult a doctor for medical advice.)

Scheduler:  You can have first available… 28 days from now.

Rita:  Ah, I’ve been advised that I should see someone soon.

Scheduler:  Okay, you can see one of our residents in 15 days…

I take the 28 day appointment with my primary care physician; then hang up and try to decide what to do.  Symptoms have resolved so a trip to the ED seems a bit over the top.  In view of potential for “crash and burn” 28 days seems to yawn into forever.

I don’t want to be a hypochondriac, neither do I want to give up blogging (not to mention life) prematurely.  Hmm.

I send an email to my PCP, apologize for bothering her, and briefly explain symptoms and appointment date.

Within five minutes she is on the phone – I’m very impressed!   (I am also momentarily convinced that her rapid response means that a Code Blue Team is about to rush into my office pushing a crash cart and waving wickedly large needles.)

She tells me that she happened to be online when my message came through.  Okay.  No Code Team is on the way; this is good. 

PCP advises me to call the office and ask to speak to the nurse, who will arrange for one of the group to see me in the next day or two.  In the meantime if symptoms reappear, go to the ED.

I went, had a few tests, early results all look good.  Just one of those “things” apparently.  I feel better knowing I’m not ignoring something scary.

So here’s the “public service announcement” portion of this post.  When you or someone you love is the patient – be an advocate, keep asking until you get an answer you can live with.  Better to be thought a hypochondriac (which by the way is defined as “the persistent conviction that one is or is likely to become ill… despite reassurance and medical evidence to the contrary) than to have a somber physician tell you they might have been able to help if only you’d come in sooner.


I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. – Agatha Christie

Coping with Disaster in Healthcare – Lessons Learned

I spoke this week with John Pigott, M.D., Chief-of-Staff at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, and Sue Westendorf, Director, Medical Affairs at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Florida.  Dr. Pigott and Ms. Westendorf are putting together a presentation for the September National Association Medical Staff Services annual conference in Atlanta entitled, When Lives Depend on You – Coping with Disaster in Healthcare.  

It was an enlightening conversation.  Sue’s hospital was hit hard by Hurricane Ivan, which blasted through Pensacola in 2004.  She and her facility weathered the storm, but not without a few “lessons learned” as she puts it, along the way. 

Dr. Pigott was away from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, but returned home after the storm to a hospital, medical staff, and community that were completely different from what he left behind.  He speaks eloquently of the difficulty, despair, and absolute determination of his colleagues at Tulane and surrounding hospitals to focus their energies on the future while not forgetting the rich history of their past.

It promises to be a memorable, thought-provoking presentation.

Cavalcade of Risk – Issue #4

If you have an interest in healthcare risk management, you’ll want to review The Cavalcade of Risk – Issue #4, up this week at the MedBillManager Blog.

While perusing the offerings you will note that filed appropriately under THE LITTLE KNOWN PEOPLE IN HEALTHCARE - is a post from the MSSPNexus blog. 

Christopher writes:  What is the MSSP you ask? Ah, that’s why you should read the post and follow the other link “Important Contribution“. Rita! I did not know. Thank you.

You’re welcome Christopher – and thanks for highlighting the MSSP contribution to the safety and quality of healthcare!