A passion for prevention

As the chief medical officer of HealthFair, I am writing to express my disagreement with several statements featured in your May 14 article “Hospitals, health-test firms promote screenings that many don’t need.”

It’s unfortunate that this type of incomplete information leads to discouraging individuals from participating in potentially life-altering preventive screenings.

As a practicing heart surgeon for over 30 years, I’ve witnessed the catastrophic consequences of cardiovascular disease in the surgery room in an attempt to save a patient’s life. I’ve had to confront families of patients while they anxiously waited for reassurance regarding the health of their loved ones. The question of why this condition was not detected earlier is a recurring theme. This dilemma is at the heart of the problem facing American medicine today, which has led HealthFair to emphasis disease prevention.

Instead of debating the questionable points of this article, I prefer to share a letter I received this week from a recently screened participant, Mrs. Madeline Justice.

“Every year or two, I visit the HealthFair screening bus. Although I regularly see my physician, it’s a way for me to receive additional testing at an affordable price. When I visited in February, what the technicians found absolutely saved my life. They discovered I had aortic stenosis. The staff was professional and caring. They took the time to explain my results and I immediately called my physician from the bus.

(The Washington Post/THE WASHINGTON POST)

“My cardiologist confirmed the results and I am now recovering from a successful valve replacement surgery. If it wasn’t for HealthFair, I would’ve never known anything was wrong. I can’t thank them enough for their services.

“I encourage all my friends to get screened. It’s affordable and well worth the price. Your health is worth it.

“Thank you for saving my life!”

In the article, Steven Weinberger of the American College of Physicians, states, “A lot that ends up being found is clinically of no importance at all.” At HealthFair we believe Mrs. Justice’s life is important! That’s why we are passionate about our work.

Geoffrey Toonder, Chief Medical Officer, HealthFair, Allentown, Pa.