Eric N. Mendeloff, M.D., Director, Congenital Heart Surgery at Medical City Children’s Hospital

MD News spoke with Eric N. Mendeloff, M.D., Director, Congenital Heart Surgery at Medical City Children’s Hospital, about the future of health care.

Q: What is the most significant change you have seen in health care in the last decade?
A: Physician reimbursement.

Q: What do you think is going to be the most surprising health care development that is on the horizon?
A: The impact of the health care reform act on the practice of medicine.

Q: What do you wish someone had told you about being involved in health care?
A: The profound impact that people who aren’t even actually involved in patient care will have in determining the policies and future of medicine.

Q: What new development in medicine excites you the most for its potential effect on patient care0, and why?
A: I think that gene therapy and tissue engineering are both extremely exciting frontiers in medical research that are still very much in their infancies.

Q: What do you think will be the biggest change in health care in the next 10 years?
A: The American public will need to have a reckoning with respect to their expectations and reasonable limits of health care.

Q: Why are you so passionate about health care?
A: There is no greater feeling than to be centrally involved in a process that allows babies with otherwise lethal cardiac lesions to undergo surgery and survive to go home with their families.

Q: Do you have a personal motto that you live by?
A: “Commitment to excellence is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing.”

Q: What is the best career advice you received?
A: If you don’t like what’s going on, then start your own parade.

Q: What or who inspired you to pursue a health care career?
A: My father.

Q: What aspect of modern clinical care, in your opinion, has made the greatest difference in the lives of the most people?
A: Understanding and treating heart disease.

Q: In general, do you think patients today are better informed about health topics than in earlier times. Why or why not?
A: Yes, because it receives much more media attention than in the past.

Q: What message about health and wellness do you most wish to communicate to your patients?
A: The importance of an integrated approach in which the health care providers and the family work together as a team to achieve health care goals.

Q: If you had not entered the health care field, what occupation do you think you might have pursued?
A: An artist.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests?
A: All forms of exercise, reading and music appreciation.

Q: What is the key to being successful in the health care arena?
A: Always striving to be the best at what you do. The process begins with meeting and counseling the patient and his or her family, having a comprehensive understanding of the patient’s health care issues and being wholly devoted to seeing the patient through the health care issue that prompted him or her to seek me out as a physician.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
A: Strive to maintain balance in life.

Q: If you were not involved in health care, what would you be doing?
A: Something that required constant need for intellectual and creative engagement.

Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learned during your health care career?
A: If something doesn’t feel “right,” then it usually isn’t.

Q: What motivates you each day?
A: The intense gratification that comes from being involved in a process that honors the sanctity of a child’s life.

MD News Future of Health Care 2011, Dallas/Ft Worth



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