June #BTSM Chat – Dr. Michael McDowell, Guest Moderator

June’s #BTSM chat featured Dr. Michael McDowell, a neurosurgical resident at the University of Pittsburgh, as our guest moderator. Dr. McDowell attended Columbia University for medical school, and Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University for undergrad, where I currently attend. Dr. McDowell kindly reached out to me as an ASU alum, and inquired about #BTSM chats after having read about them in an article.

He shared during tonight’s chat that he believes in “the utilization of technology and social media to improve the care and communication with patients” because “Technology is highly utilized in the neurosurgical field, almost more than any other field, but not outside of the OR.” When asked how much of his training focused on developing interpersonal skills with patients, Dr. McDowell responded that “The only formal training is a short course at the start of residency. Everything else is based on med school or observing.” He continued to say that being in such a small field of medicine “breeds a pressure to surgically cure as many as possible at the cost of interpersonal relationships sometimes. The worlds greatest neurosurgeon [later identified as Robert Spetzler] spends about 5 seconds with each patient, but operates on 8 a day. Would he be better if he spent twice as long with half as many patients? Or should he try to heal the body over the heart? The answer is complicated, and some surgeons lean more in one direction than others.”

  • T1: Where have we failed you?

– Do people feel that the short amount of contact you may have had as a failure?

  • T2: How was the outcome of your surgery compared to the expectation?
  • T3: What should I tell my patients to expect? (this)

Join us next month for July’s #BTSM Chat on 7/6 moderated by @TheLizArmy!

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