Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

The following review is posted on cancer.org as well.

This is going to be a long post but I think people should honestly know about Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center if they plan on going there.

A little history first:  My mom has Stage 4 Colon Cancer mets Liver.  Been on chemo since late 2015.  She recently got Y90 radiation done for the liver.  Now off chemo for 3 months because they suggested Lonsurf (last line chemo) which we didn’t want and always wanted a surgical option to remove the main tumor.  Our local hospital where she gets her chemo suggested us to see if Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC has any clinical trials available for us.  So our oncologist helped us get in contact with MSKCC and that’s where the “annoyance” (to put it lightly) began.

We love our local hospital (Englewood Hospital in NJ).  Everyone were friendly there, nurses, assistants, secretaries and even “hot shot” doctors.  They even do things fast…pick up the phone right away to get in touch of other doctors for a quick consult or suggestions.  Love our local hospital.  We only wanted the 2nd opinion because we didn’t like the Lonsurf last line chemo suggestion.  So our oncologist suggested MSKCC.

I know MSKCC is a specialized place that does only cancer.  So of course they should be considered the best compared to local general hospitals.  They got the “brand name” backing them.  But I’ve asked a few of my business clients that used them before and they all say you’re “just a number” there.  All of them prefer the friendlier local hospitals in the long run.  But of course we wanted a surgical option or clinical trial.

First sign of “arrogance” from MSKCC is that they auto schedule us.  Which is fine for us because mom doesn’t work and I have my own business that I can take off at any time.  But they didn’t ask us what day we’re available to go and just assume people are just waiting for them!  But it’s cancer and mom’s been off chemo for 2 months at that time so we agreed.  Remember, going from NJ to NYC takes about an hour (if no traffic) for us plus tolls, expensive parking and food comes out to like $200 a day to go out there.

First time seeing the oncologist, normal wait time (normal being 1.5 hr), we spoke to his assistant first since he wanted to get a history of everything.  It was a nice chat with the ASSISTANT which we explained everything and took about 15 minutes.  Then the actual oncologist came in.  He spoke to us for 3 minutes!!! 3 minutes!!!  He said that there’s no clinical trials for mom but maybe a surgical option.  And told us to speak with the surgeon.  Then he left.  Didn’t even say which surgeon to talk to or what department to contact to schedule.  He said someone will call us in a week.

Wasted a week waiting around for a call.  Then MSKCC surgical department called and said they scheduled us to speak with the surgeon a week later.  Yes, auto-scheduling again.

So next week we went to speak with the surgeon.  Surgeon spoke to us for….1 whole minutes!! 1 minute!!!  He said that IF they do surgery then they remove all the tumors or none at all.  There’s no option for them to remove the primary tumor and leave the rest for chemo.  Then he said for us to talk to the liver specialist since he said “most people die not from the surgery but from liver failure afterwards”.  Seriously?!?!  Die/death is not something you should be saying to cancer patients.  Give them hope and kindness even if it is terminal.  So afterwards he said someone will call us to schedule.

Got auto-scheduled again for a fibroscan on the liver.  Fibroscan is a non-invasive test of the liver to see if there’s any problems.  But of course the test was non-conclusive because they said it could be false-positive because of the tumors or from the inflammation from the Y90 radiation from last month.  Then they say we should do an upper endoscopy to check for varices.

Auto-schedules again and did the upper endoscopy.  They said that everything looked good from the upper endoscopy.  And that they will pass the reports back to the oncologist.

Waited a week and got auto-scheduled again to see the oncologist the day after Christmas.  Hoping for good news that we can do the surgery.  Got there and had to wait 2 hours because the oncologist was running late (or maybe enjoying a long holiday lunch).  Finally came in and guess what…he set a whole new low record of 30 SECONDS!!  30 SECONDS!!!!  He said that surgical decision is made by the surgeon.  He said that he doesn’t know because they’re different departments.  Then he left.  SERIOUSLY!!!!  Make us come all the way out ther for 30 SECONDS of BS!  Could’ve told us over the phone or even just don’t schedule us to even go in for that BS.

So I messaged the surgical department about it on the MSKCC patient portal.  Asking what’s going on and how to proceed.  Got a call back from the surgical department ASSISTANT.  She said the surgeon says not to do the surgery and just get back on chemo.  SERIOUSLY!!!  The actual surgeon can’t even take their time to actually talk to us?  We wasted a whole month for all this runaround.  Total time spent talking to actual doctors was less than 5 minutes.

I WILL NEVER RECOMMEND THIS PLACE TO ANYONE!!  This place is just “TOO BIG TO CARE”.

PROS – Less back pain since your wallet will be lighter for paying the primium NYC parking and food.

CONS –
1) You’re just a number
2) They bill the insurance companies over double the local hospital and they can get away with it
3) They don’t give a rats a$$ about you
4) Auto-scheduling like everyone has nothing better to do with their lives
5) You’ll probably get more love and advice from your Starbucks barista
6) They love wasting your time

THIS PLACE IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE FOR BEING A SPECIALIZED CANCER HOSPITAL.  WILL NEVER GO THERE EVER AGAIN!!  STAY FAR AWAY!!