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Teaching hospital vs private hospital

anjuanaanjuan Posts: 236
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I just got back from a consultation with a ortho surgeon who is with one of the best teaching hospitals in the country. He is recommending a two level fusion at L4/L5 and L5/S1 using PLIF with BMP. Overall I really liked him and am impressed that 100% of his practice is spine surgery. I also have an consultation next week with a neurosurgeon at a private hospital that my pain management Dr. recommended. From his bio it appears that he also does primarily spine surgery.

My question is if you had a choice would you prefer a large teaching hospital with an excellent reputation, or a smaller private hospital that is also good? (I had my sinus surgery done at the smaller hospital in 2006, and while it was outpatient I had a great experience with the care.) One of the other differences is that the private hospital is only about 20 minutes from my house and the teaching hospital is about an hour from home.

thanks for your input!


  • :) i would do the pro and cons of each place and see which one has the most pros! then pick that one! Jenny :>
  • I agree with paula about the Drs. One advantage teaching hospital have over other hospitals are great trauma units. If you where in a car accident or something similar to that I would go to a teaching hospital anyday. Or if you where going to get a new procedure that hasn't been done a lot or is being tested. But when it comes to routine surgeries I would go with the Dr that I felt more comfortable with, has a good reputation. Also what is important in choosing a hospital is its reputaion. Reputation for being clean and good working staff. This matters so much for your recovery.

    If anyone is offended with routine surgeries I mean surgeries that these Drs do all the time. These hospitals both have med-surg floors and operating rooms that look alike.
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  • My husband and I each had surgeries within the past 6 months. I had lumbar fusion, he had hip resurfacing. Both of our doctors worked out of the same "family" of hospitals, but his had more recently merged into the larger group. My surgery was first, at the teaching hospital. So, not having anything to compare it to, when it came time for his, and the doctor said he would do it at the small, private hospital, we decided if that was where he was more comfortable, we wouldn't press to have it at the teaching hospital where he wasn't comfortable yet. Afterall, we weren't sure the care I had gotten was any better than anywhere else at that point. Oh my gosh, what a bad choice we made!! My husband was very disappointed her had not chosen the teaching hospital. He loves his doctor but was very unhappy with the hospital choice. Big-no huge-difference. If the doctor practices in different places take time to check them out, as they wii be the ones providing your care after the doctor fixes you. Sorry to ramble, but this hit home.
  • I had my surgery at a teaching hospital (at a university)-I have a tumor in the same area that the surgery was preformed so I was refered out to it. Anyway-I had AWESOME care there! WAAY better than any other hospital I have ever been in-I have been in 4 different hospitals all together. I had great care, awesome nurses (ALL of the nurses!)-do not be afraid of teaching hospitals. I have even been told that they are better BECAUSE they are teaching hospitals. Good luck!
  • oh.....the hospital was also 1 hour away from my house. And I have a NS-NOT a OS.
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  • I also agree with Paul, I would select the surgeon and where ever he would want to do it, I'd go there. My OS works for a large group but has priveledges in a large internationally known teaching hospital. My only concern was that I did not want a resident do my surgery even under his supervision. So we asked him if he is going to perform it himself, and he reassured us that he would. So that worked out just fine, and I was happy with my surgery, and especially with my surgeon.

  • I have had surgeries (not spine surgeries) at both teaching hospitals (university hospital) and private hospitals. What I understand about a teaching hospital is if it is a good, well funded one it should have all the latest state-of-the-art equipment. What frustrated me with the teaching hospital however is putting up with the constant stream of examinations from trainee doctors prior to and after surgery. Particularly as I was having inguinal hernia surgery and I did not like the numerous times prior to surgery of having to get out of bed, drop my PJ pants while someone held my ..... while I coughed!

    As others have said, definitely you should pick doctor first - no matter how good the hospital is, if your doctor is not up to par then you have potential problems!
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • I believe that all of the hospitals in my city are teaching hospitals. When I had my son, I just went to the hospital that was associated with my doctor.

    This hospital is brand spakin new, and absolutely BEAUTIFUL

    I also had my gall bladder removed there.

    I was told by a friend that delivering at this hospital, they would ask my permission to allow students in the delivery room. I thought no way!! When I was going into labor (induced) I kinda panicked about it. By the time they asked me, I was so into my contractions, I didn't even care. I never even noticed they were in the room.

    One girl, who was training to be a nurse, got dizzy watching them put in my IV, when she saw them do my epidural, she hit the floor!! She had to be sent home.

    I grew up in a small town, with a private hospital. I don't think I can really compare the two, because the cities themselves are so different... Apples and Oranges you know. I found the private hospital to be a little less friendly, but a lot more quiet. Again, probably the result of the small town atmosphere, not a whole lot going on at the hospital there.
  • I agree, you need to pick you doctor first. Base this on their skill, reputation, knowledge, communication and your gut feelings. Then your doctor can tell you what is appropriate for your situation as in the hospital settings.

    I found a great doctor and he gave me the choice between a private hospital and a huge teaching hospital. His office is located at the large teaching hospital, lol. He recommended the private hospital since I had no other pressing medical conditions that could complicate things and my procedure was fairly straight forward. He said from his experience his patients had better care and went home quicker. Although if something major happened I knew I could be transferred. I really didnt want a dozen people coming in and out, I wanted to focus on resting and getting moving so it made my choice simple.

    You doctor can help you figure out the pros and cons of both facilities. I wish you luck in whatever you chose.

    Take Care,
  • I didn't have a choice because my original surgery was an emergency. I was in my local hospital and when it was discovered I needed delicate spine surgery, I was taken by ambulance to the largest teaching hospital in Boston. I also had all my follow-up appointments and subsequent fusion surgery at this hospital as well. I really never had a doctor, I saw several each time I was seen. All of this was overseen by the head of neurosurgery who ended up doing one of my fusion surgeries. While in the hospital, I was seen maybe 3 or 4 times a day by neuro residents plus yhe head guy. I received wonderful care.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
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