Thomas Serena

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by Thomas E. Serena MD, FACS, FACHM, FAPWCA

Parents of most children growing up in the sixties read them Winnie the Pooh. My father, a Woodrow Wilson fellow in English literature, read us Homer’s Odyssey, four times. I remember listening with excitement and anticipation as Odysseus rowed between the fearsome sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis. More than 40 years later I find myself navigating two equally challenging concepts: Efficacy and Effectiveness.

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by Thomas E. Serena MD, FACS, FACHM, FAPWCA

I had the honor of lecturing to an audience of mostly European physicians at the M.I.L.A.N. Diabetic Foot Conference this past February in Milan, Italy. My session this year focused on our current and ongoing research in point-of-care diagnostics. To date, we have enrolled more than a thousand patients in a dozen clinics across the United States. All of these trials led to the development of the first commercially available wound diagnostic, WOUNDCHEK (Systagenix, Gargarve, UK), approved in Europe last year (it has not yet received FDA clearance for use in the US). A revolutionary product, I imagined that it would have received rapid, wide-spread acceptance among my European colleagues. At the end of the presentation I asked for a show of hands: “How many of you are using the test in your clinics or hospitals.” In an audience of nearly one hundred, only three attendees raised their hands.

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by Thomas E. Serena MD, FACS, FACHM, FAPWCA

"Would you like that super-sized?" is a phrase made popular by the fast food giant McDonald’s. The McDonald’s marketing geniuses tapped into a sentiment that permeates the American psyche. We are convinced that bigger is better; that size can be equated with financial stability and better service. However, if there is a lesson to be learned from recent history it is bigger is not always better or even desirable.

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by Thomas E. Serena MD, FACS, FACHM, FAPWCA

From the third floor patio of the Foreign Correspondent’s Club (FCC), the evening breeze is a welcome respite from the sweltering heat of Phnom Penh’s hospital wards. An assortment of barges and boats strung with neon lights drifts along the Mekong Delta. This location, made famous by the movie the Killing Fields, has become the meeting place for NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and volunteers of all sorts. Nightly, we would share our tales of life and death in Cambodia’s capital city. A recurring theme was the lack of active ingredients in medicines purchased at local pharmacies. A trio of Brits complained that it was far worse in other resource poor nations. I was appalled that someone would reduce the dose of a medicine for economic gain.

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by Thomas E. Serena MD, FACS, FACHM, FAPWCA

One of the greatest honors of my life was being inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at The College of William and Mary. I was a gymnast there during my college days, a sport I chose early in life. My first loves were basketball and football, but I was always either too small or too light to play these sports competitively for my school teams. Even on the playground I was frequently chosen last in basketball pick-up games. To this day I remain sensitive to team picking. I recently received a call from a physical therapist looking to join my wound care team. Her hospital had enlisted the services of a management company that had marginalized the role of physical therapy in the outpatient wound care center.

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by Thomas E. Serena MD, FACS, FACHM, FAPWCA

I owe my humble thanks to GK Chesterton, the Christian apologist, for the title of this blog. In Chesterton’s book of the same title he observes that men have a strong tendency to cling to a deeply held belief despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.This is true as it applies to the current thinking surrounding hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

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