Sunday, February 13, 2011

Maestro Muti Gets Pacemaker

Feeling poorly in October, 2010, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Maestro Riccardo Muti traveled to the World Health Organization's #2 country for health care delivery, Italy, to be evaluated for "abdominal discomfort" and was diagnosed with "extreme exhaustion" while costs of care are held to a minimum:
After a series of medical tests at San Raffaele Hospital, it was determined that Maestro Muti is suffering from extreme exhaustion as a result of prolonged physical stress. In this case, as often happens, the exhaustion manifested itself in abdominal pain and other physical symptoms. His physicians believe that he was able to work through his symptoms in his first two weeks, given all of the heightened excitement, but, that as time wore on, it became increasingly more difficult to do so.

Maestro Muti’s medical doctors have prescribed one month of complete rest, which he has begun at his home in Italy. The Maestro reports that he is feeling “not perfect, but relieved” to know it was not something more serious as first indicated by his symptoms.
Later, he returns to the United States just before the great #SNOMG, collapses at rehersal in Chicago, has facial fractures and receives America's finest: a permanent pacemaker, courtesy of the good ol' 37th WHO-ranked U. S. of A.

While hindsight is always 20:20, you can bet his workup and treatments were thorough, timely, and quite expensive here in the United States.

Suddenly, though, #37 doesn't sound so bad, does it?



Keith said...


I am not sure this is the greatest example of our superior medical system that you seem to feel is so underrated. His prior symptoms would not have led me to consider an arrythmia and, I believe you would acknowledge, arrythmias can often be missed on first consideration. He then takes a plunge, smacking his face into the stage. This certainly is a history that would indicate possible syncope, for which he presumably is diagnosed with a cardiac arrythmia and treated with a pacemaker.

Is the implication that Italian medicine is inferior? Doesn't seem like a fair example to me.

Furthermore, Maestro Muti is a world reknowned conductor with likely an excellent insurance plan from his employer. He will undoubtedly get excellent treatment, with the only concern I would have being one of potential overtreatment due to his stardorm and primo insurance coverage.

Also, would an individual lacking insurance coverage and ability to pay be able to access the same treatment as The Maestro? Likely, he would have to go to the ER with his vague complaints of fatigue, get some blood tests and such, and be told to follow up with his primary care physician, who likely does not exist for him. He may have to wait for weeks to get an appointment at Strogers and only be taken seriously when he finally does pass out as Maestro Muti did. Only then does he get admitted to a hospital and properly diagnosed. Is this any better care than the Maestro received?

All Italians have access to health care and affordable medications, something we cannot claim in the US (unless you believe our former president who said "they can always get care in the emergency room".

Your level of care highly depends on your ability to pay, and likely accounts for the meager numbers we post in respect ot our fellow industrialized countries. Treatment is not distributed here in relation to need, but ability to pay. Not a very equitable system, in my estimation.

Having said this, we do have some of the best medical institutions in the world. They tend to be isolated from our pockets of poverty and largely accesible only to the well insured. Maestro Muti was fortunate to collapse close to one of our better institutions. May we all be so lucky in our two tier medical system to land at one of our better endowed medical centers with a lovely looking lobby and the proper ammenities.

Anonymous said...

So it wasn't exhaustion after all?
It was an arrythmia?