A Top Scoring QB Deserves a Top Scoring MD

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Peyton Manning by Jeffrey Beall (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons / captioned and attributed

Peyton Manning is THE man at the center of whirlwind attention as the Denver Broncos battle for the title of World Champion in Sunday’s historic Super Bowl 50. This week, ESPN (and dozens of news outlets) ran stories and video clips detailing how the multi-MVP quarterback was told that he would “eventually” need hip replacement. USA Today even suggested that the news “may be surprising,” but with over 300 sacks and countless other tackles taking Manning down during his 17 year career in the NFL, it should surprise no one that his hip has taken a beating along with the rest of his body.

Nevermind Manning’s conversation with his doctor occurred over two years ago, or the fact that a hip replacement likely won’t happen for at least a decade or two, the “news” does beg a more serious question: how should Manning pick his next doctor? Especially given that he hasn’t had the best of luck with surgeries?

Manning’s Surgical Track Record

In mid-July of 2008, Manning underwent knee surgery to remove an infected bursa sack. Seventeen days later, he returned to the operating table for a second procedure. The exact circumstances and sequence of events are not clear, but ESPN reported that doctors had “tacked down all the skin around the knee to prevent [the bursa] fluid leaking, which could have led to more infection.” That necessitated a second surgery.

Sure sounds like a surgical complication and a re-admit to me.

The average recovery time for an operation like this is four to six weeks, but Manning was out closer to eight weeks. He ended up missing training camp and all five preseason games. The extra two weeks of recovery arguably caused the Colts to enter the 2008 season with a slow 3-4 start before Manning caught his stride to win 9 straight regular season games.

In Feb 2010, Manning again went under the knife for a herniated disc in his neck that nearly put an end to his football playing days. Eighteen months, multiple alternative procedures and four surgeries later (as documented by this blog), the problem was finally solved.

Stats Matter for QBs, why not MDs?

Manning’s prowess as a quarterback is not a matter of opinion. We all know Manning’s record, which includes a highest career passing record of 71,940 yards and 539 TD Passes. There’s even a stat which consolidates a number of QB performance measures into a single score – the QB Rating (Manning holds the NFL record for number of games with a perfect, 158.3 QB rating)  By any objective measure, Manning is among the very best of his peers.

It seems ironic that despite America’s obsession with sports stats, we don’t apply any objective measure to understanding healthcare quality, where the consequences of poor performance have far greater impact.

The doctors that performed the single-level anterior fusion that ended Manning’s neck problems do have great reputations as sport specialists, but a look at their MPIRICA Quality Scores shows they are not perfect. While they have a better-than-average scores of 600 for cervical spinal fusion, Manning might have chosen Dr. Justin Field of Pheonix, Arizona or Dr. Henry Aryan of Fresno, California, both with a perfect score of 800. Just like Manning, Drs. Field and Aryan are at the top of their game.

Don’t you think a high-scoring player like Peyton Manning deserves a high-scoring surgeon? Don’t you think everyone deserves to know the stats of the surgeon they choose?

Here’s an Offer You Shouldn’t Refuse

Hey Denver Broncos, just so you know, like every other employer, your organization can get all the MPIRICA surgeon quality scores we currently have for free for all your players and employees. Just email bob@mpirica.com and he’ll take care of you.

And Peyton, if you’re reading this, we just want to let you know that if you decide to get your hip replaced after this Sunday, you should talk to one of these six doctors with a perfect 800 MPIRICA Quality Score for hip replacement surgery:

Dr. John Dearborn (Fremont, California)
Dr. Steven Barnett (Orange, California)
Dr. Steven Dellose (Newark, Delaware)
Dr. Joseph Locker (Ocala, Florida)
Dr. Kenneth Kress (Atlanta/Cummings, Georgia)
Dr. William Berghoff (Fort Wayne, New Jersey)

You’re welcome.  (And Go Broncos!)